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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Birthday season...

October marks the beginning of festivities in our house with two birthdays in October followed by two in November. Birthday celebrations are of a very elastic in nature around here and can last from one day to a week- throw in Halloween and before you know it it's Christmas.

Last weekend it was my turn and as always I was showered with lovely thoughtful gifts starting with this gorgeous orchid. Next came the books, oh so many books...

As you can see I have a fondness for Wodehouse. The other two books I've been coveting for some time. The glorious big magic book is full of wonderful illustrations and photographs of magicians from the 1400s to the 1950s. I'm not sure I've ever shared my obsession with early twentieth century magic with you before but that's a post for another day!

The other book is a cookbook from the famous Parisian confectioners, A La Mere de Famille. As an Australian, the thought that this corner store has been in continuous operation since 1761, well before white Australia is almost unfathomable. The recipes throughout the book reflect the different eras covering everything from cakes and biscuits to chocolates, candied fruits, syrups and ice-creams. Most intriguing of all, however, are the stories surrounding how the shop has found new owners often by serendipity rather than through family connection. The right people just seem to appear at the right time including a number of people who were initially enamoured customers.

So as much as I would have liked to just blink my eyes and find myself in Paris, birthday lunch was a little closer to home at our closest Italian equivalent, Brunetti's where we had homemade gnocchi with tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella, pizza and salade caprese. We also took home one of their profiteroles towers filled with zabaglione cream for afternoon tea and lounged around reading books and dozing for the rest of the day. Bliss!


Friday, October 18, 2013

How does your garden grow?


The early days of Spring have been an erratic affair in Melbourne this year with often very chilly 16 degree days and warm 26 degree days in the same week. It has also been incredibly windy so I've put off planting anything new and needy in favour of maintaining and re-staking existing plants. I'm also holding off on planting tomatoes until the more traditional Melbourne Cup Day but the nice weather on the weekend got the better of us so we all trundled off to the nursery to explore the seeds and seedlings.

After a few not so successful attempts with seeds in the past I like to stick to seedlings so I came home happy with my parsley, basil, mint, oregano and thyme (the rosemary I struck from a larger plant my father gave me - rosemary for remembrance). The kids carry less battle scars than me (although there were those weirdly contorted carrots we grew one year) so they opted for seeds but we all agreed that they should be for relatively quick growing things that they would actually eat.

Enter Little Gardeners seeds and their lovely Rainbow Veggie Salad mix (radishes, rainbow silver beet/ chard and carrots - we've held off on the carrots!) and some cucumber, lettuce and rocket. As you can never have enough basil we also bought some basil seeds which came impregnated in a paper disc which you just pop into the soil. I'm not at all sure where I am going to put all the resulting seedlings but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

What's growing in your garden?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Patience is a virtue...


I was so excited to hear that Eleanor Catton's book, The Luminaries had won the Man Booker Prize today. I've had it sitting by my bedside waiting patiently for me to find the time to dive in and lose myself in this rollicking 19th century, astrologically-inspired thriller. It's one of three BIG books that I've been waiting patiently to see released this year. While Catton wrote her 832 page prize-winner in just two years, it's been seven years since Marisha Pessl released her clever, crazy debut novel, Special Topics In Calamity Physics, while true to her word that she would only ever write one book every ten years, Donna Tartt's, The Goldfinch is her first book since 2002 (you might have read her wonderful debut novel The Secret History way back in 1992).

Big books are a big commitment and mixed reviews are almost a given when ambition and size collide but advanced reviews for 'The Goldfinch' here and here have me counting the days until its release.  Marisha Pessl's 'Night Film' might be a bit more of a gamble given her propensity for melodrama and structural experimentation but as this reviewer noted, 'Just because you know you’re on a rickety ghost train doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride.'

Friday, October 4, 2013

This moment...

'A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember'.

Inspired by SouleMama