May 2010 -

Just a place for my old thoughts

A domestic weekend
Sunday, 23 May 2010 11:55 pm

It was good to finally get to Friday after the events of the last two weeks. On the way home I picked up some veal schnitzels, potatoes and basil. So for dinner we had pan fried veal with a lemon, caper & butter sauce, crushed pesto potatoes and steamed broccoli. It was the first time I had tried this sauce and it worked out pretty well.

Saturday we headed out to check on a few properties for sale in our local area. It seems that this is the time of year to sell houses with quite a few coming on the market. I think their asking WAY too much but we will see. After finding out that we can't expand our back deck we're thinking about the possibility of moving house.

On the way home we picked up a few groceries and then played around with a computer game called "Portal" for the better part of the afternoon. Then Deb made fresh pizza dough and we built pizzas. Margherita pizza, prosciutto buffalo mozzarella & basic and a ham & mushroom. They all turned out really well. Deb has definitely got the pizza dough bit figured out. Now we just need a real pizza oven.

Sunday we cleaned the house and I got the lawn mowed. Deb did about 200 loads of washing and then we picked up ingredients for dinner. Ahead of our Christmas in July Deb is experiementing with a few side dishes so we had roast lamb, creamy spinach bake & rosemary potatoes for dinner. I also made fresh breadrolls that turned out better than I could have hoped. I love using the Kitchenaid mixer because the resulting bread is just so good.

To top it all off, and because I really did need it after a full mean, Deb had made a self-saucing chocalte pudding. It was very very good...and I have leftovers for tonight.

Have a good week!

A belated post
Thursday, 20 May 2010 12:18 am

Ok, so let me back this up to last week. Friday night, with the cats safely in boarding, Deb and I got the train out to the airport, ready to head to Melbourne for Nicky's birthday in Daylesford. Deb had got really cheap flights with Tiger so I couldn't really complain too much over the lack of leg room, the fact they ran out of beer before getting to me or only having something that didn't taste entirely unlike chardonnay.

At least the flight down was pretty straight forward. On arrival in Melbourne we found that the term 'carrier terminal' was used fairly loosely by Tiger. It involved a shed, with mesh walls and a demountable loo. But our baggage did come out quickly and we were on our way to pickup our hire car. Deb had booked as a convertable astra with Hertz for the weekend. We had previously hired them but the newer models were hardtop and all the staff spent the entire time scaring the hell out of us about breaking the converable and how we would be responsible and have to take it to a Holden dealer ourselves. Not a good message to be sending to your clients. Did anyone offer to take us over the car, to show us what is supposed to be the right and wrong thing. they didn't.

Now I have to say that there is some weird rule about prestige cars that they are designed to be hard to use. Hell, you don't want just anyone being able to jump in and drive the bloody thing. That would be common. No, they decide to use different symbols for everything, to create a radio system so complex that it cannot be used without the manual. I ask you, in all the time you have hired cars have you EVER had to get the manual out to use the radio? Really?

Anyway, we got on the road and were doing well when a red warning light came on the dashboard. Awesome. Again to the manual to discover that it was related to the oil, brake or clutch fluid. Hmmm... it did turn off again just as I was looking for somewhere to pull over. And then came on and off a couple of times more as we drove onto Daylesford. By that point, short of the brakes failing or teh engine exploding I was going to make it to the cottage.

We did get there without further incident and found an anti-pasto platter that we had ordered waiting in the fridge. So, with a fire going and a bottle of red wine we had brought down we could finally relax.

There was supposed to be a 'full' breakfast but apparently that means cereal, UHT milk, butter and jam. No bread though, I'm not entirely sure why. So the next morning after phoning Hertz about the car I also called the booking agent to discover that our ideas of a 'full breakfast' differ somewhat. After he explained what it meant I explained that there wasn't even bread...should I by trying to butter a cornflake? And given that the cottage had a massive chrome and black steel four slice toaster it seemed a bit of a waste.

So, we wandered back and forth between the car park and the cottage waiting for RACV to arrive. Eventually in frustration I pulled out the manual again, popped the bonnet and found the break fluid was empty. Shortly after RACV did arrive, topped up said break fluid and we were on our way.

So rugged up, heater of full and the seat warmers set to "arse melt" we spent the next couple of hours just driving around and have a wonderful time. We caught up with Nick and her family for lunch out at a place called the Lavendar Farm and then back to the cottage for a pre-dinner spa and snooze.

I should say that on arriving back we found a whole loaf of bread outside our front door.

Dinner was booked down in the wine cellar of The Lakehouse which Deb and I had seen so many years earlier and always wondered about having dinner there. Nicky didn't hold back on the wine with an amazing selection being presented. The food was very good and the company quite awesome.

The next morning we woke up and had a very slow start to the day before heading up to the main street for a coffee and pastry. Then a run back to Melbourne airport to board Tiger for the flight back. Unfortunately the flight was delayed but at least not as badly as some passangers who were apparently there since the morning.

Home, a bit of late shopping for dinner and a mercy dash to work to pickup my laptop for a trip to Sydney the next day. I was up early to catch a taxi back to the airport for my trip down.

The business travel was probably the best I have had for a while, with me getting tons of stuff achieved and setup. I have to say that I am not a big fan of business travel but I was in bed each night pretty early so it was a good chance to slow down for a bit.

On getting home I was greeted by My Furrgus who told me all about the bad things that had been happening to him for a very long time and that I should sit still on the coach and let him sit on me. He was quite firm about that.

It's nice to be home and I'm looking forward to a nice domestic weekend of getting the house back in order and cooking some good food.

Sunday, 23 May 2010 8:30 am

I love little stories about Fergus

In search of Bread
Monday, 10 May 2010 11:34 pm

So, last night I tried out another bread recipe that Deb's friend had given her. I use the Kitchenaid mixer and the recipe was for hand kneaded bread so there was need for a little variation. What I have discovered with bread is that hand making it will often mean the use of 'extra' flour to keep it from sticking. In the mixer you just add the ingredients and go for it. This does help to reduce the hit and miss nature of our bread until now.

Anyway, I think I knocked too much air out of it before the second rise but by leaving to stand a little longer did help. The result looked pretty convincing but could probably have used a little longer in the oven.

If anyone has a good bread recipe let me know. I'd love to give it a go.

Deb's Friend
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 1:06 pm

Ooops... I probably should have said to knead lightly! Try a hand knead before the second rising if you're game to use the recipe again. :)

Do food and fun runs mix?
Sunday, 9 May 2010 10:50 pm

A weekend filled with food and physical activity (for others that is) and a Birthday.

Friday night we caught up with Serena at Southbank for a drink after work. Deb had an appointment before hand so I found a seat at Fifth Element restuarant & bar. By the time that Serena and Deb arrived I was already half way through my first beer with the day looking much better.

We ended up having drinks and tapas there and then headed over to Mado for dinner. Unfortunately they were packed so the service was a little slow and being a fairly cool night and not having their plates warmed the food cooled a little too fast. All up though it was pretty good with the highlight being the pide pizza that Deb ordered.

Saturday was Serena's Birthday but even this couldn't delay the need to give the house a clean. After that was done though we gave Serena her presents (a ton of cookware and items that we thought she might find useful) and then went over to DFO shopping. Everyone came back with at least something.

That afternoon we had cheese and a drink on the deck and were obliviously watching Iron Man 1 on TV when our other dinner guests arrived, Anita & Simon. No worries, a few drinks all round then off to David's for dinner. As usual it was very very good and washed down with a selection of Serena and our older wines.

Sunday was a bloody early start for the Mothers Day Classic fun run. I had escaped the torture part because of my back but got to be pack mule for the day and carry everyones bags. Deb, JT & Jason set off on the 4.5km (aka 4.33km) run and all did really well. Deb came in under her last years time.

We then bid Jason fairwell and headed home for showers (and a snooze on the bed for me) before heading down to lunch with Mum. It was a really nice afternoon but everyone was starting to flag after our very early start. So we dropped JT off at home and then headed back to cook dinner, watch a little TV and then bed by 9:30 or so. I honestly don't even remember my head hitting the pillow.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 10:28 am

Are my eyes even open? I look like I just got out of bed! ;)

A whole lot of nothing much...
Tuesday, 4 May 2010 11:29 pm

It has been a really busy few weeks with lots of activity between being up the coast, diving and then having Libbette and Jaron stay last weekend.

It was great having them stay. We seemed to spend a huge amount of time sitting out on the balcony eating cheese and drinking wine. A tough way to spend the long weekend. We also went out for breakfast which again is a tough way to spend a weekend.

On the cooking front we hit the italian pretty hard on Saturday with a proscuitto entre and lasagne for main. That was pretty good actually.

Actually, speaking about the desks decks we accepted the quote from Mike to get them done so May 17th it all begins. Should only take about 3 weeks and we'll be on our new desks. We can't wait.

Work is work. Not very exciting at the moment which is why cooking has featured so highly in my mental therapy. I love to come home and just relax in the kitchen with a glass of wine and a recipe.

On the Kitchenaid front I made a chocolate cake on the weekend that turned out pretty well. It was for Deb to take to work but we still have 3/4 at home which is not helping the waistline one bit.