Monday, 8 February 2016

In My Kitchen February 2016

What's new in my kitchen at the moment?  Not much folks, to be honest.  It has been a bit of a quiet one here on the home range, though we have been out and about a fair bit.  We were down in Ballina last week for our wedding anniversary, and I picked up a couple of nice things.  But the best thing of all was this gorgeous ring from hubby.  Not strictly in my kitchen but it will be whenever I am there :=) 

my lovely anniversary gift     

Strangely it didn't quite fit my finger when hubby gave it to me, but the next day and ever since, it has been a perfect fit.

odd little biscuits

These are apparently based on an original French recipe, and are meant to be drunk with champagne.  Honestly, they were a bit weird - neither one thing nor the other.  Not a biscuit, not a macaron, not a cake.  It must be a French thing. 

here's the French champagne to go with...  

My fave champers.  It helped wash down the weird French thingies. Our friend the potter came by to share a glass with us.  We added another of her works to our collection: a huge and colourful mug.  I think you could bath the baby in that one.

now that's a mug!     

another sweet little gift from Miss B potter extraordinaire  

hand-made Polish ceramic angel    

Some mates of ours run an art gallery cum gift shop in Bangalow, down in northern NSW.  This is such a cute little village (also where the Hollywood types hang out); you really must get yourselves down there one day folks!  One of their artists comes from a family in Poland who have been making these lovely ceramic angels for decades.  This one is my kitchen angel.  Clearly my cakes will always be perfect from now on. :=)

yes another wooden spoon  

This one is just to give Fiona from Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures a laugh.  She knows of my predilection for spoons. 

tea towel showing Harvest café's location  

How can I resist a tea towel?  I have a pile of them in my linen cupboard showing lots of places we have been.  I may be a mad collector but I do actually use them.  No sitting around doing nothing.  Dishes and hands WILL be dried on them :=)   

So that's it for another month everybody.  Join in the fun with our lovely host Maureen from The Orgasmic Chef.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

My Sunday Photo 7 February 2016

hand-painted coconut shells   

Last weekend on our anniversary trip away, we went to a local craft market.  I saw a stall with these cute painted coconut shells.  The lady told me they were hand-painted and food safe.  Our potter friend later said they were most likely painted in China and not food safe at all.  What a cynic!  Anyway they were irresistible and headed home with us (along with a few other things of course).  I think they will make lovely gifts.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Harvest Café Newrybar New South Wales - Review

a gorgeous if very hot day here in Newrybar     

Mr P. and I have eaten here half a dozen times at least over the last couple of years. We are regular visitors down this way, and like to stop off at Newrybar and check out the deli, and have a bite to eat in the café - which is really a restaurant to be honest.

Let's get this out of the way first.  Hospitality/service in the northern NSW region is erratic to say the least, and ego-destroying to say the worst.  We were lucky enough to have a marvellous and friendly waitress serving us on this day (a boiling hot Friday last week).  Sorry I didn't get your name, lovely lady.  

lovely waitress  

preservative-free ginger beer from Byron Bay $6   

a glass of  King Valley Prosecco $12  

Mr P. loved his ginger beer; it was refreshing and not too sweet. He said, and I quote: "it was the best ginger beer I have ever had." High praise indeed from the ginger beer afficionado.  Our charming waitress told us they take the syrup and put it through the soda fountain so it is delightfully sparkling.  I had the Prosecco, also refreshing and not too sweet. :=)

Hubby had a slice of woodfired sourdough bread ($2.50), with butter and smoked salt. The bread is made right here at Harvest in the 101 year old bakery behind the restaurant.  They must have been baking the day we were there as a lot of smoke was coming towards us on the verandah.  I thought this slice looked a bit like a map of Australia.  Mr P. adores bread and this one was a winner - flavoursome and really fresh.

sourdough w/- butter and smoked salt $2.50 per slice 

In the meantime, I ate some oysters.  With local finger limes, $4.50 each.  Served on pretty and shiny rocks, with a wedge of lime on the side.  I loved these; so fresh and zippy in the mouth due to the finger lime pearls, and the smooth creaminess of the molluscs.

creamy and tangy oysters  $4.50 each   

Next came my grilled octopus.  This was a tender chunk of octopus, with just the right amount of chew.  I think some diners might find its looks a bit startling, due to a prevalence of baby octopus not that many years ago.  I found it delicious; apparently there was also sobrassada on the plate (raw, cured sausage-I looked it up), but I can't say I noticed.  I just ate up all the delicious, chewy components on my plate very happily.

grilled octopus $20  

local roasted potatoes w/- thyme $9   

The potatoes were a tiny bit too soft for me; I tend to like them quite firm but they were very tasty.  Skin-on so you get the goodness and a bit of bite.  We polished them all off easily.

beetroot plum sorrel and hazelnut dressing  $8  

I would never have thought to put beetroot and plum together but it worked well. Somewhat sweet, earthy beetroot, sweet but tangy plums and crunchy nuts added up to an enjoyable mixture of textures and flavours.

cucumber fig yoghurt & fennel pollen $17    

This was a very refreshing cucumber broth, with figs and dried (?) yoghurt.  I know I keep on about the refreshing food, but it was just so darn hot that we really appreciated anything cool and tangy on the tongue that day.

violet crumble $16   

The waitress had me at "violet ice cream".  I have a thing about floral scented food.  I know lots of people hate it but I am not one of those nay-sayers.  I love them - lavender, rose and especially violet.  The chocolate mousse was light on the tongue, the honeycomb was crunchy and sweet.  Altogether, it was a wonder and I hoovered it down.  Sorry Mr P.

pretty little eggplants growing in the front garden     

Harvest grow their own herbs and veggies in both garden beds and on the farm, and they believe in using locally grown and sourced food.  All done in a casual but up to city standard atmosphere.  We will be back! as a certain Austrian used to say.  And don't forget to drop into the deli and bakery to grab some gourmet goodies.  Not cheap but worth it.  

the 101 year old bakery out the back      

18 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar NSW 2479
Ph 02 6687 2644

Harvest Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

My Sunday Photo 31 January 2016

sign outside an antiques store in Newrybar NSW   

Mr P. and I are enjoying a wee break away for our wedding anniversary down in the depths of glorious northern New South Wales.  It is a stunning area; you must all come and visit!:=)  This is outside an antiques store which resides in an old, former butcher's shop.  You can still see the old blood stains on the concrete floors which are original. (That's Mr P. lurking in the background on the right). 


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Tweed Gallery Cafe - Review

Mr P. and I love northern New South Wales (really? who knew?) and we love the Tweed Regional Gallery.  An extra wing was opened in March 2014 to house the Margaret Olley Centre.  Along with this extra gallery, they extended the cafe. Yay! - 'cos it used to be tiny folks.  Now it is a big open space with fabulous views over the Tweed Valley and Mount Warning.  

We head down there regularly, and enjoy a spot of lunch as well as the latest exhibitions.  I have to tell you that they are a tiny bit odd about alcohol in NSW.  For years, this cafe has been licensed but would you have known it?  Oh no; they hid the booze away and had no wine lists around.  You felt like you were in Prohibition times in America, with gangsters and guns:=)  At least you can see the bottles in the fridge now, and there is a wine list on the menu.  

grilled barramundi and fried potatoes $24.50      

This dish was a nice take on fish and chips.  Firm and golden potatoes with a nutty flavour, a bit of salsa, a pretty flower and you are good to go.  The fish was well cooked, and the potatoes were my fave!  There were beetroot sprouts on the plate.  Never had those before.  They were cute and they tasted fine.  Thank god they weren't that other kind that chokes you on the way down.

Brillo Pad (regular readers may remember the nephew) had another special of the day - grilled halloumi with watermelon salad and pomegranate dressing.  This was a lick the plate job!  Oh yes he did!  And he pointed out the beetroot sprouts to me as he grows them (clever boy).  He loved the tangy dressing, and said the cheese and watermelon was a great combo, with great textures and contrast in flavours.  Well, that's what it boiled down to; I may have tidied up the prose.

       grilled halloumi and watermelon salad $19.50 on Specials board               

Mr P. had the Angus beef burger with chips.  He likes to tuck into a burger now and then; well quite often actually.  This one went down well.  His verdict?  Fabulous chips - crunchy outside, fluffy inside.  Burger? - okay, but not enough relish.  The burger comes out on a board which neither of us like (think of the germs!) and so difficult to eat from. They kindly gave him a plate as well so he could transfer his food to it.  Relief all round.  
Gallery beef burger  $19.90      

Drinks you ask?  Well yes we did, thanks for asking.  I had iced mocha, which was not bad.  It was cold and creamy but it didn't knock my socks off.  I think I have been spoiled by the amazing iced drinks at Mockingbird Cafe, Kingscliff.

iced mocha $7  

No photos but Mr P. had a vanilla milkshake ($7), and Blondie had a pot of peppermint tea ($4).  (I think she was a bit under the weather, 'cos no lunch for her).  Milkshakes are never cold enough for Mr P.  He likes them in metal containers which this was not = sad disappointment.  Sis and the nephew shared a piece of pecan tart; this was apparently warmed through and wonderful.

apple slice 

Because the nephew ordered the special, he also got the apple slice for an extra dollar. Due to some mix up, sis also ordered the pecan tart.  Mm, a mix up you say? :=).  They loved the tart but were not fussed on the slice, so they took it "to go".  We were a bit confused about the $25 special, which included any main meal and the cake of the day. As most of the meals are under $20, we didn't see how that was a "special" as you could easily be paying more than a regular main and a cake - very odd these NSWelshers.

the glorious view from the café deck   

The family verdict? - a beautiful place to be with amazing views. The food is tasty and filling, but on the expensive side.  Service has never been a priority here sad to say though it was adequate. And I really dislike the current trend for ordering at the counter; it seems a bit too casual to me.  Cutlery and paper napkins sit in a wooden box on the table. Perhaps not quite what you would expect in a gallery like this. This is cafe food in a glorious environment however ; oh and don't forget the art!

2 Mistral Road, Murwillumbah NSW
Ph: 02 6672 5088
Open Wed - Sun
9 am to 5 pm

Tweed River Art Gallery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Buttered Eggs - courtesy of Mrs. Charles Darwin (deceased)

creamy, buttery buttered eggs   

I love eggs; who doesn't?  Well vegans I guess.  I was just reading that you can use apple sauce instead of eggs in recipes.  Maybe not when you are scrambling them though :=)  I love brunch dishes too so when I got hold of Mrs. Charles Darwin's Recipe Book, I just couldn't go past this lovely little recipe for buttered eggs.  No worries about cholesterol in the Darwin household my friends.

So basically you take as many eggs as you want, add to cream and butter, and heat over a double boiler till you have a deliciously soft, creamy, luscious eggy delight which you pour over your buttered toast.  Yep, more butter.  Are you still worrying about cholesterol?

Serves 2 generously


5 eggs

for each egg - use 5g. of butter and 1 tbs of cream so I used 25g. butter and 5 tbs of cream

salt and pepper to taste

2 slices of toast per person


Whisk those lovely eggs till well mixed

Add the salt and pepper and whisk in

Grab a double boiler (or a bowl over a pan of simmering water)

Tip in the butter and cream

Heat very gently till the butter is melted and the mixture is bubbling sweetly round the edges

Pour in your whisked eggs and keep stirring till you have a lovely, smooth consistency - or if you really have to, till it gets well done and rubbery:=)

Spoon over the buttered toast and throw on a handful of chopped herbs if you have them

easy on the bank balance - just a few ingredients    

ready for action  

whisk the eggs

tip the eggs into the warmed butter and cream   

take it off the heat just before it starts to set too firmly  

very delectable  


Maybe 2 eggs per person is plenty!  They're very rich, and even Mr P. was getting full. 

You may need to take the bowl/pan off the simmering water every so often so the eggy mix doesn't get too hot.  Just take it off, let it cool while stirring then put back over the water.  Make sure not to let it get too rubbery; it will keep cooking once you lift it off the water

I really enjoyed flipping through Emma's recipes.  They would have had access to their own animals for meat, eggs and milk; thus we see instructions like - "cut up the pig's head and cut off ears, tongue and cheeks".  Her husband Charles (yes he of  'Origin of Species' fame) had a poor digestive system so the recipes had to be for wholesome, family food.  

Emma had a busy houseful of children and servants, so feeding them all well would have been quite a task.  I love her handwritten recipes throughout the book, and the botanical illustrations. Recipes come under headings such as Dairy, Fish, Meat, Puddings etc. There are also sections on Preserves and even a cold cream recipe - as in beauty cream made with spermaceti which is a fatty substance found in the head of a whale.  Mm, don't think I will try that one:=)

A really enjoyable read if you are at all interested in food history.  

Emma Darwin née Wedgwood
  (artist George Richmond-public domain)

     can't you guess?  it's a bowl of eggs!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My Sunday Photo 24 January 2016

yep that's me snapping away  

A few days ago I went out to lunch with an old mate from work. We catch up about once a month, and head off to an art gallery and then lunch.  This is me in The Chelsea Bistro, taking a photo of the ceiling lights.  I'm not actually sitting in the corner and there are only 3 lights.  I was in fact facing the other way into a mirror!  I like the way this one turned out.  And lunch wasn't bad either.