Sunday, June 22, 2014

The decluttering continues...

 Someone told me recently that they thought that my Pinterest boards had gotten a little out of hand.

I disagree. For me, Pinterest is no different than ripping pages from magazines or newspapers and either pinning them onto an 'actual' pinboard or making a folder of favourite things. This is something I have done all of my life.

Recently, in my never ending quest to declutter, I came across a box (high in the cupboard) labelled: kids clothes. I knew for certain, that the contents of the box were definitely not kids clothes. I left the box in the hallway for a few days, unsure if I should open it. What could be in there? What would I do with it? It is not like me to mislabel something.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I found - the covers of nearly all of my school books and folders from High School - WHAT?! I had no idea I had saved them and shuddered when I thought of all the times that I had moved this box from house to house. What for?

This incidentally, brings me back to a quick point on decluttering. After reading many books and blogs on the subject I have been able to identify our clutter: Memory Clutter and Just In Case Clutter. This has been an amazing revelation and has made my decluttering so much easier. Also I have found that repeating the catch phase "Would I take this if I was moving?" Has been invaluable. The boxes for the thrift shop have been filling up fast.

There is no reason to keep something so useless, that is taking up valuable cupboard space.

The folders go!

But wait... I do love a good trip down memory lane... so I am grateful for the 'space saving' Internet and will share some of the folder covers here - with you.

 You see, I have always been very fond of cut and paste.

I'll post up some more photos soon.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Farm Dreaming

These photos were taken on my visit to my cousin's farm. I am missing her a lot right now and wishing, everyday, that I lived 5 minutes down the road.

F.O.O.D Week - The Producers Lunch

Prompted, once again, by the arrival of the latest Country Style Magazine, I am reminiscing about my time spent in Orange earlier this year.

The Country Style's Producers Lunch at F.O.O.D Week, has been on my 'to do' list for a while. It was the only event that my cousin and I had pre-booked. In fact, this lunch was the reason for my trip.

I couldn't have dreamed of a better way to spend a rainy Thursday.

The perfect setting, the perfect weather, the perfect food! Oh my - the food!

Complimentary sparkling and cups of warming, roasted, tomato soup greeted us on arrival. Figs picked from a nearby farm (the night before) were served with fresh mint and drizzled with this amazing caramelised verjus. It is true, that we ate a little too much of the Trunkey Creek pork belly with zucchini relish. We wondered:  

"Would we have any room left for our lunch?".

We chatted to the producers and did some more tasting, before moving in to the beautifully decorated hall. Lunch was amazing - that venison - WOW! Lunch was simple and light and fresh and very, very local.

"Seconds anyone?" 

"Yes please!"

We enjoyed the wonderful company of wonderful strangers, and I loved listening to the producers talk. What an amazing community and how passionate they all are. I certainly have renewed respect for all small producers and farmers everywhere.

At the lunch, my cousin bought me Sophie's lovely book. Each night, I would snuggle up in bed, when the rest of the house was asleep and read. I enjoyed reading more about the farmers I had either met, or heard speak at the Producers Lunch. I felt such a sense of community on this visit. Not only because of the Producers Lunch, but on hearing of how my cousin and her family, are settling into this close knit community of farmers and country folk. Even though I am from a small country town myself, my life was never lived on the land. I am in awe!

I cannot end this post before mentioning dessert.


Sadly, there were no seconds offered for this! Maybe they will serve that again next year... Because, yes, there will be a next year!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

F.O.O.D Week - Our way

This post is well over due.

It has now been a little over a month, since I returned from my trip to Orange and F.O.O.D Week, but, truly, it feels more like 6 months. This morning as I flipped through the latest Country Style Magazine over breakfast, I spotted an article on the Producers Lunch (that we attended) and thought it was about time I shared some of my photos with you.

Despite both, my cousin and I, printing out the F.O.O.D week program and highlighting, circling and dreaming of the events we wanted to attended, the reality was always going to be very different. My children had stayed in Queensland, but my cousin has her own children and household to look after.

We would do, what we could do.

We talked constantly about food: cooking, recipes, nostalgic food, cooking tips, growing food, seasonal food, old fashioned food, coffee, new food trends, wine, farmers, Queensland foods, cold climate foods, producers and on and on and on...

This is not unusual for us. However, this week it seemed totally OK to talk about food non-stop - after all - it was F.O.O.D Week!

With all of the kids dropped off at school and daycare, our first stop, on our first day, was Byng Street. A ham, avocado and brie baguette with coffee, was the perfect way to start our day and our week. Sitting in the courtyard, in the gorgeous morning sunshine, it was only our full schedule that got us up and on our way. Another time, we might sit there for hours.

These are the very last of the persimmons on Karen's tree at the farm. She had not picked them, so we could do it together when I had arrived. However, the birds had got there before me, and this was all that was left. I didn't get to eat any of the the ones ripening the on the kitchen window ledge either. They were gobbled up by quiet a different creature; a gorgeous 7 year old girl.

On the way to daycare drop off, my cousin stopped to give her two little girls a play in the park, but that was not the only reason for the stop. Medlars!

Being Queenslanders, this fruit is completely foreign to us both. However, between us we have been learning about it and had much discussion of medlars over the week I was there. Karen told me, you either love them or hate them. When we asked a local jam maker about them at the Producers Lunch, she through up her hands in disgust - she clearly hated them! Wouldn't even touch them.

Oh my, foraging for medlars, I felt like I was on an episode of The River Cottage.

Ferment had some very exciting things happening behind it's doors most nights, however, most nights, by 6pm, we were back on the farm, bathing and feeding the little ones. Next time.

On a rainy day, a country drive. With my cousin's littlest two girls in the back eating easter eggs. Sheep, old houses, cows, goats, deer, vineyards, tractors, orchards and rolling green hills. Gorgeous. I do love a country drive on a rainy day.

On my last day, while we were driving around touring the farm paddocks, my cousin's neighbour waved us over. She was ripping out her old tomatoes and "Did we want any?"

Of course we did.

What an afternoon. Her vegetable patch was a dream, complete with ancient trees, a small orchard  and a sweet chicken coop surrounded by old fashioned rose bushes. Beyond, by the house, there were more roses and rows of french lavender. With soft scents on the breeze and in dappled shade, we filled baskets and baskets of tomatoes - green and red - that were later eaten for our dinner.

The Agrestic Grocer.  I love this place. We had a wonderful lunch here. Lazy and lingering. What a wonderful atmosphere and wonderful philosophy. I wish this was my corner shop.

Downtown in Summer Street to run errands, once done, a quick stop in the Essential Ingredient for my cookware fix. We were greeted with a champagne glass of elderflower cordial as we arrived and were sorry that we had just missed Belinda Jeffery's book signing. After making a mental list of my kitchenware must-haves we headed out to The Agrestic Grocer for lunch. It would soon be time to collect the children from school.

The night markets in Robertson Park were always going to be a bit 'iffy' for us.

We had been excited that the event had been cancelled on the previous Friday night, due to rain - it meant that we could go together. But by the time Friday came around we were a little over eating... really?...yes, it's true. We also knew, that six kids would be coming along with us.

We went, in the end, with just my cousin's four little girls, there were a few up's and down's on the night, but I am so glad that we went. The atmosphere was amazing, as most night markets are. The buzz of the crowd, the live music. We saw familiar faces and found familiar products, new discoveries from the last few days.

A morning in Manildra. Ham and cheese toasties and coffee at the 'the shop' and an hour or so in this gorgeous old house/garage sale/bric brac shop. Purchases were made: some china teacups and some enamel for me and two chairs for my cousin. One chair, a ridiculously long early, Australian bench seat got jammed into the van. I love my cousins just-do-it-attitude.

"Yes, of course it will fit!". And it did. 

I will write about the Producers Lunch later. It was a great day and deserves a post of it's own. Right now, there is washing and housework to attend to and a lime slice to make.


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