Friday, 28 February 2014

Sharing some of my Favourite Online Shops……

I thought today I would share with you some of my favourite online shopping stores.

olive & clover- A beautifully presented online store selling womens fashion, accessories and homewares. olive & clover offer wonderful customer service as well as hand selected items from around the world that will make you weak at the knees. Keep up to date with new arrivals and styling tips on their instagram. They are currently having their summer sale and offering free shipping until end of Feb (yes…thats today…) - check website for further details. Definitely worth a look!!

Im loving this Japan Pink Tassle Necklace- found here 
(Image source-olive&clover)

Drill Hall Emporium- Need a dose of antiques??? The Drill Hall Emporium will have you drooling with all lovely unique pieces they have on offer. Based in New Norfolk in Tasmania, this is definitely on my wish list when I visit!

Flywheel- For those who have a fetish for all things stationery related…hmmm…that would be me! Flywheel is linked to the Drill Hall Emporium and also located in New Norfolk. A heavenly selection of old and new items - I also love reading the story behind both businesses!

Who can resist a letterpress card? Found here
(Image source- Flywheel) 

Sachs and Cornish- A gorgeous business based at the Paddington Antiques Market in Brisbane that offer custom made lampshades. Go online and pick your lampshade style and size, and then sift through the mouthwatering range of fabrics…..and voila…a lovely statement piece to pretty up any room, and all organised from the comfort of your own home!

(Image source- Sachs & Cornish)

The Spring Shop- OMG!!! Im in house heaven here! The Spring Shop is located in Tarragindi, Brisbane and bursting with too die for home goodies. From the ever so popluar mason drinking jars, enamel cookware, gorgeous stationery, pretty party supplies and patterned fabric tape- I love that its all so affordable, and can be posted!!! Hooray!

The Moonshine mug (found here) adds a special touch to any party!
(Image source- The Spring Shop)

Love from Marley- This is a lovely shop based here in Echuca. Selling an ecletic range of giftware- there is something here for everyone. Stocking brands such as Lark, Down to the Woods, Belle & Boo, And the Little Dog laughed, Poppies for Grace- just to name a few! Otherwise, if driving past, Love from Marley is definitely worth popping in for a look (and purchase!)- 238 Pakenham Street, Echuca, Victoria, 3564.

Plains Paddock- What better way of supporting our local farmers??? Check out this online butcher selling fresh free range dorper lamb produced on the plains of the Murray River in Southern New South Wales. Currently servicing the Melbourne area. Check website for more details on stockists and great recipes on cooking lamb!

Have you a favourite online store to share?

Happy shopping and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Delicious Berry Cheesecake

I think one thing we can all agree on, whether we live in the country or the city, is what a hot and dry summer we have had this year!
And although Im looking forward to some cooler weather, the downside is, I will miss being able to buy berries in the supermarket at a reasonable price.

The recipe below I have been baking for several years now. It's a Tessa Kiros recipe from her gorgeous cookbook Falling Cloudberries. This cheesecake is a firm family favourite and one that has been whipped up for all occasions many, many times- dinner parties, birthdays, and I think we even had it for one of the children's christenings too (I know I should remember these things, but the last few years have been a bit of a blur!).  
This is a perfect dessert for any summertime entertaining, but when the prices of berries start going up, frozen ones will work equally well. Which also means….a great dessert for the cooler months too. 

Berry Cheesecake
250g Granita (or Digestive) Biscuits, coarsely crushed
125g Unsalted butter, melted
750g Cream Cheese, best at room temperature
250g Caster Sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoon Cornflour
400g Fresh or Frozen Berries
1 teaspoon Lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 180 deg celcius. Grease a 24cm springform tin ( I also dust with a little flour too). Mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter. Using the back of a spoon or your palms, press the biscuit mix into the tin so that it covers the base and up the side. Place in freezer whilst making the cream cheese mix- I find this helps the base 'set' before you had the mixture, and not crumbly. 

Whisk the cream cheese in a bowl with 200g of the sugar- the other 50g is needed for the berry mix so be careful not to pour it all in. Beat in the eggs one by one and then the vanilla until you have a smooth thick cream. Pour over the base and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and wobbles only a little when you shake the tin.

Cool completely, then chill in fridge for a few hours.

To make the berry topping- mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of cold water until it is smooth. Pour into a saucepan to heat up, then add the berries, lemon zest and the remaining sugar- the amount of sugar may depend on the sweetness of the berries. Cook for a couple of minutes, addend more water if it gets too thick. Combine and then remove from heat before berries collapse. Set aside to cool completely.

Spoon berry mix onto of cheesecake. Remove ring from tin. Serve with Ice cream, cream….or both!

This post is dedicated to the lovely Yvette from The Stylist Splash who recently asked me to be a guest blogger on her beautiful blog. It was my first guest post so I was incredibly excited to be working with Yvette and also so very chuffed. 

For those who missed my post last week about Yvette, you can read more here. Make sure you pop over and visit  The Stylist Splash for a daily dose of lovely lifestyle topics. 

I would also like to welcome all the new readers to my blog…. A very big Thank You for popping by. Its always nice to know that someone is reading my blog and all comments are so greatly appreciative too!!! 

Have a lovely day…..

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Nothing beats the Breakfast Muffin!

Im a big breakfast fan, but often fall into the old routine trap of eating the same thing every day for six months. Or worse still, I feed the kids and then a few hours later having got caught up in 'other stuff' realise I havent had anything except my habitual morning coffee. 

The children have a mix of fruit or toast or both…but some mornings even they struggle to eat a substantial breakfast (so easily distracted by thoughts of play!). Thats when its time to whip up some muffins. And when I say whip up, I do mean that- they are quick and easy to make and with some imagination you can basically add whatever you have fruit wise lying around and jazz it up with pantry staples. We usually make some form of a banana muffin (like these)- such a great way of using up fruit thats on its way out!

This is a recipe adapted from here. Ive used the mixture as a base for the muffin mix, then added in sultanas and finely chopped almonds for some extra goodness. Be careful not to add too much as you dont want a dry mix.

The mini muffins were baked at 180 deg celcius for about 12-15 minutes- keep checking them as you dont want then to overcook and dry out. I also baked some larger size muffins which took about 20 minutes. 

Best served at our house- straight off the cooling tray, outside where the kids can crumb all they like!!!, and with a cup of cold milk to wash it all down. Our batch of 24 lasted 10 minutes!!!!

No more excuses for not having a relatively healthy breakfast……..happy days……

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

8/52 Weekly Stills

1. Our gorgeous old kelpie, Gus x
2. Our big girl had her first full day at pre-school this week….happy days!
3. Think these guys will be perfect for this recipe…..
4. Cuddles under the Morton bay Fig Tree… heart melts x

Monday, 24 February 2014

Orange & Olive Oil Cake with a sprinkle of Pine Nuts

Happy Monday to all x This is a lovely recipe to kickstart the week ahead. Found in Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros  - a favourite cookbook of mine filled with beautiful photos and delicious recipes (Yes, in case you havent noticed, Im a big Tessa fan!!!). Simple flavours, tasty, moist, and it has a beautiful rustic look about it. Great for the kids for morning or afternoon tea snacks. It also keeps for 4-5 days ……thats on the off chance it lasts longer then a day!

 Orange & Olive Oil Cake with Pine nuts
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
200ml olive oil
400g Plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
finely grated rind of one orange
250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
handful of pine nuts

Preheat Oven to 180 deg celcius. Grease a 25cm spring form tin with olive oil and then dust with flour. Whip egg yolks with the vanilla until they bulk up and start to look foamy. Whisk in caster and brown sugars, then add the olive oil in small portions, mixing well with each addition. Add the flour, baking powder, orange rind and juice. Beat well until you have a smooth batter. Whip egg whites until soft peaks, then gently fold into the cake mixture. Pour into cake tin and sprinkle pine nuts on top. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until top is golden and skewer comes out clean. 
Serve 'as is' or with a dollop of yoghurt.

* Slivered Almonds could be substituted instead of pine nuts if you would prefer, but the pine nuts go really well with the olive oil.

Have you are busy week lined up???

Friday, 21 February 2014

Our Visit to the Yabby farm

I have so many happy and wonderful memories about growing up on a sheep and cattle station in the Riverina. Looking back now, we were so sheltered from the rest of the world, and fun was created not by hanging out at the local Mall or takeaway shop, but rather outside in a paddock- either helping Dad mustering on horseback or motorbikes, in the shearing shed, cattle work or playing down by the creek in our beloved tree house.  I will admit I was occasionally envious of our town friends who would hang down at the local pool on the weekends, but I also knew how lucky I was growing up where we did and what an unique experience it was. 

My parents often had two or three families working and living on the property. Main reason was to keep our local primary school open- the most students it had was 12, the least was 9! It was almost a small community out there and we really did entertain ourselves. 

One of our favourite activities was Yabbying. The Columbo Creek ran through our property but we also had quite a few dams to choose from and they were much easier to catch from. We would take our esky of old smelly offcuts of meat, fishing twine and nets down to the dam bank. A stick would be tied to the string at one end and an old piece of meat at the other. Then throw- as far as we could. After letting it float down to the bottom of the dam, the smell would radiate through to our little friends. We would then sit quietly, staring at the string, waiting for it to move. Occasionally giving the string a gentle tug to see if there was any pressure. If you thought you had something, you very slowly and cautiously pulled the string up towards you and get your net ready for the big swing and catch! A move that required some skill but with practice even the smaller of our kiddie crew could do! The next issue was picking them up before they scurried back into the water or bit your finger off! You learnt that skill rather quickly!

Once we had our bucketful of Yabbies we would head home to cook them up. I actually don't remember too much of the cooking process- that was left to the grown ups. It was the country folks version of prawns though!

So when I heard that there was a Yabby Farm just out of town,  I thought it would be fun to relive a bit of this childhood memory and something fun to show the kids. We didn't actually get to go yabbying, but we were shown around the farm by Chris, and we came home with a kilo of freshly cooked yabbies.

The Yabby Men are local suppliers to two restaurants (Oscar W's and The Star Bar) in town and open to the public on the weekends.

Chris suggested two simple ways to eat the shelled yabbies. First, in a simple green salad with a balsamic dressing. Second, on the BBQ, sauté the yabby meat in some garlic butter, just until meat has warmed through.

Im looking forward to when the kids are older and we can actually go out yabbying properly. I think it will make for a rather fun day!

The Yabby Men
Where- 144 Old Deniliquin Rd, Moama
Ph. 03 54809983

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Catching Up with Yvette from The Stylist Splash…

Today I would like to introduce you to Yvette Wilson who is the colourful and talented writer behind one of my favourite blogs- The Stylist Splash!

The Stylist Splash is a lifestyle blog where Yvette shares lots of great ideas and her finds on food, styling and decorating tips, interior design news, fashion, home living, kids stuff, just to name a few. I love how every day she has something new to read. Yvette has a real flair for styling and colour. Her photos are always a visual treat! You may have come across her in Adore Home Magazine, Inside Out magazine, Sunday Style magazine, Interiors Addicts Seven Vignettes and she even won a styling competition for Kiki K. I think this is definitely a blog to watch as Yvette's talents are discovered by all. 

So, some questions for Yvette…..

1. How would you define your style? 
I would define my style as contemporary with pops of colour 

2. Can you tell us what is currently inspiring you?
Muuto wall dots and big rustic dining room tables with coloured chairs. 
Inspiration from The Block (Channel 9).  I am coveting all of them at present.

3. What is your favourite colour and colour combinations?
Fave colours are yellow and pink.  I adore yellow and grey together.  White, taupe and duck egg blue and currently loving coral, navy and gold together. 

4.Name three things you couldn't live without at the moment? 
Three things I could not live without would be my iPhone, lipgloss and my running shoes.

5. Your favourite room at home? and why?
My favourite room at home would be my home office space.  I can hide away in there away from the hustle and bustle and no one is allowed to touch anything so it always stays the way I left it.

6. Your ultimate job?
My ultimate job would be to own a little coffee gift shop and only run it in school hours. 

7. A quick summary of your blog "The Stylist Splash'?
My blog The Stylist Splash is a place where I share all the lovely things I come across in the world of design,interiors, kid style, cooking and lifestyle and just a place I can be creative and share what I love.

8. Have you a favourite designer/s that you seek inspiration from?
I have a few favourite designers.  I love Rachel Castle from Castle and Things.  Her colour and mantra to life are happy and bright and I always admire her work.  I love the work produced by Lovestar, those vases are to die for.  The Brown Trading Company for its bright, colourful homewards and gorgeous cushions

9. Favourite holiday destination? 
My favourite holiday destination is Noosa.  I love the relaxed, warm environment and the fact that we really have some beautiful beaches and resorts right here in Australia.

Below are a handful of Yvette's images - a mixture of her recipes, vignette's and home styling

So be sure to pop over and visit Yvette at The Stylist Splash…..
it always brightens up my day, and Im sure it will do the same to yours!

Monday, 17 February 2014

7/52 Weekly Stills

1 & 2. Two of my favourite old buildings in Echuca. I love the colours and the signage, especially the old Echuca Coffee Palace. Oh, the stories these buildings could tell!
3. Who doesn't like the old windmill 'Motel' sign???
4. Seeking inspiration- just a few of my many cook books……
5. Our St Valentine's Day dessert. Recipe here.
6. Our Pomegrante tree is riddled with fruit. Im so excited although still have no idea if they are real or ornamental???? The suspense is killing me. We also had some much needed rain over the weekend so the garden is looking so much happier, and lawns desperately need a cut!
7. A little girl enjoying every mouthful of an ice cream that was melting faster then it was consumed!
8. A trip to the Yabby Farm to purchase these little fellows.

Hope you had a good week! Kx

Friday, 14 February 2014

Celebrating Happy Valentines Day- Peach Berry Tart

Ive never been one to get caught up in the whirlwind of Valentine's Day. Im not a "twelve long stemmed  red roses" kind of girl (boring) and Im happy to wait until my birthday or Christmas for a special piece of jewellery (yes, silly I know). You probably all think Im rather weird!

My idea of the perfect Valentine's day is spending it with my number one Valentine- my wonderful husband- and also our three little Valentines. I love the idea of the children helping me to bake a cake (a surprise for Daddy), then sitting together around the table enjoying it (them taking a mess naturally) and teaching them what the day symbolises to us as a family. That is, a day where we really appreciate how lucky we are to have each other and our loved ones close by. They are still very young, so Im sure their excitement is purely over who gets to lick the spoon and bowl- but, as they get older Im sure they will understand.

This year we are in for a treat. We are having a date night- woohoo! We have tickets to the Riverboat Music Festival here in Echuca. Down by the river, picnic blanket, some dinner and wine, and an evening of live music. Cant wait! I originally had big plans of packing a delicious hamper, but have since heard that there will be some great food down there available. So, Im giving myself the night off!

But I can't not have something special on the bench for later, so here is a Peach Berry Tart we made yesterday with a Valentines Twist (i.e. the heart shaped tin!). I love the rustic golden look of the pastry and the sweet flavours of the fruit. Definitely worth trying this weekend- and don't worry if you don't have Peaches or berries, it can easily be adapted to suit most other fruits.

Peach Berry Tart

225g Plain Flour
1 Tablespoon Caster sugar
110g chilled butter, cut into small squares
icy water to mix

Fruit Filling-
90g caster sugar
2 heaped Tablespoons cornflour
700g sliced and peeled peaches
100g fresh blueberries
100g fresh strawberries

extra sugar for sprinkling

Make the pastry by sifting the flour and sugar together into a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add water slowly until mixture comes together. Put mix onto a floured bench and knead together. Form a disc and then wrap in cling wrap and put in fridge for 20 minutes.

Lightly butter and flour a 23cm round tart or cake tin. I used my heart shaped cake tin so feel free to experiment. Roll out pastry onto a lightly floured surface to a size that is larger than the size of your tin- allow plenty for overhang! Place pastry into tin. Don't trim excess- just leave it hang. Place in fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 230 deg celcius. Mix the sugar and cornflour together and sprinkle over the peaches. toss through- careful not to overwork- the peaches might lose shape. Allow to sit for 5 minutes (no longer) then toss through berries gently. Place fruit mix into the pastry tin and fold excess pastry back over the fruit filling. Brush the outer pastry with some water and sprinkle over the extra sugar.

Place in oven and bake for 15-20 mins- keep an eye on it! Then turn down temperature to 180 deg celcius and bake for another 30-40 mins.

Serve warm or cold with custard, cream, or ice cream.

Enjoy your Valentines Day…..
Hope you have something fun planned xxx