Saturday, February 14, 2015

when life gives you apples make …apple crumble: new blog feature

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It’s that time of year again when there seems to be a bit of a glut in the garden. Tomatoes, zucchinis, cueys, apples. I had a bit of a glut of tomatoes this year though it was an early glut, a pre-Christmas glut and now I’m flat out trying to get more seedlings to hurry up and grow before the cooler autumn weather hits {which I am really, really looking forward to!}.

A lovely friend of mine has had a glut of apples on her trees over the past few weeks and so she’s kindly shared her them with me. So it was out with the peeler {though I often don’t peel the skin off apples for cooking} and on with the oven…apple crumble was in order.

 

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This apple crumble wasn’t going to be eaten here, it was going to be given away and shared.

As I was peeling the apples I started to think about how much I enjoy making food for people. It really does give me a lot of joy. I’ve always loved to cook but the sharing of the meal or cake or crumble or whatever it is I’m making with others is always the thing that brings a smile to my face. Oh, except that time when I was 16 and I made an entire, almost non-edible meal for my new aunty to be on her first dinner at our place. Oh, and the chocolate pudding that I’ve made at least 100 times before which I took to someone’s place, the first time I would be having dinner with these people who are more mutual friends of friends, and it just wouldn’t cook so we had to eat it all gluggy and half raw. Oh and the caramel mud cake that I made for my step mother which had icing on it that I couldn’t break through. The hard as a rock caramel iced cake. My Dad offered to get his chainsaw out. Let’s just say that was a memorable foodie moment of all of ours. Mmmm….not!


Back to happier cooking days. Let’s hope.

So, as I drizzled vanilla into the appley concoction bubbling away on the stove I thought about how nice it would be to have a bit of a blog feature here from time to time that focuses on the making and sharing of food. Not so much a recipe feature but more about the sharing part. I thought how lovely it would be to have the person I share the food with take some photos of the food as they style it and eat it and share with me some of their memories around food sharing in their families and their lives. A bit of a shared post all about sharing food:)

What do you reckon? 

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I’ll need a name for this regular feature so let me know if you’ve got any suggestions. I’m a little bit stumped on ideas at the moment.

So, you want to meet my first food sharer guest?

OK then, well here we go….

 

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Pete is someone close to me but who I really haven’t known for very long. He lives down the coast a little bit but happened to be in town on the day I passed on the apple crumble. He knew that I had taken quite a few photos of the crumble, some of which I shared with him via phone while I was clicking and styling away during the day. As I handed the crumble over to him,  I said to him that there was just one thing I needed. Straight away he knew what I was talking about and told me that he’d already thought about it. I, of course, assumed he had no idea what I was talking about and so I said, what do you think I was going to say? And he said, you need a photo of the crumble served up on an old plate with some fresh cream.

Mind reader or what?

 

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For someone who hasn’t known me for very long I was pretty impressed with his response. And I really loved that he wasn’t totally annoyed by the thought of taking photos {though over time he quickly got sick of my suggestions and tweaks}. He takes a pretty nice photo so when he sent them to me I had a smile on my face from ear to ear. Not only had he taken gorgeous photos but he’d also used a lovely old violets china plate to eat the crumble from.

 

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photo taken by Pete

 

Right away I wanted to know more about that plate. What food was shared on it? Where did the china come from? What were some of Pete’s food sharing memories? Were there food memories attached to this plate?

I wanted the story.

The food sharing story. 

 

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photo taken by Pete

 

The violets china belonged to Pete’s Oma and Opa.  Pete has some lovely memories of meal times being shared around  his Dutch grandparents’ dining table. Hearing about those times had me wishing I could’ve been sitting around the table where that plate once sat, listening to the conversations they would’ve had as a family eating and sharing food together. I realised that some of my favourite memories are based around the sharing of food. It’s such a basic thing that we do each day but it is filled with so many opportunities to connect with the people we love and to communicate and to share.

 

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Pete spent a lot of time with his grandparents growing up. He remembers their dining table which always had a runner down the middle of it. It was a rug kinda material and it was always on the table. His Oma had a china cabinet full of china. These pieces were often not used at meal times but more for display in the house. When Pete was given some of his Oma’s precious things in later years he decided that he wanted them to be used and enjoyed rather than stored away collecting dust. Now his kids will be able to eat from these plates, sharing food and memories together. I love that thought.

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 photo taken by Pete

 

Pete remembers eating an orange at the table after every evening meal and he remembers his Opa always sharpening their old bone handled butter knives with his steel. Those knives were always sharp.

I love how the sharing of someone else’s memories triggers my own. As soon as Pete mentioned the sharpening of the bone handled knives I was instantly taken to my Nan’s kitchen. She always cut tomatoes and things that needed a sharp edge with her favourite bone handled knife. It was {still is!} as thin as a wisp from all of the sharpening that it’s endured over the decades. It would be a quarter of it’s original width and has a wobbly blade line and I cringe at the thought of cutting with it…it’s that sharp!

I also thought of my Dad and how he loves to sharpen his bone handled knives. I can never get it in my head that they are sharp and I’ve cut myself with his knives on more than one occasion.

Back to Pete…

Pete’s grandparents had a long outside pantry between the house and side fence, about 4 metres long, which was always full to the brim of preserved food. They would pick out the dark plums  and eat them for dessert with freshly whipped cream.

He also has beautiful memories of making chicken croquets with his Opa. It was a bit of a ritual, it seems, and something Pete really treasures when he talks about it. He remembers his Opa’s old hand mincer and only very recently Pete’s mum gave him the original  mincer for his own kitchen. How special is that? There was a fairly intense process to the making of the croquets which all began with the mincing of the meat by hand. Actually, I think the croquets need a whole post to themselves and a recipe. Oh and a photo or 10 of Pete’s Opa’s gorgeous old mincer. Of course:)

So stay tuned.

 

Happy weekend!

Kim x

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Guest Nest: Jenny’s Garden

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Hey! Welcome back to The Guest Nest the very first one for 2015. Today’s Guest Nest is all about a garden. A gorgeously pretty garden nestled just outside of a sweet little country town on the far south coast. This garden is owned and loved and made by the lovely Jenny and her husband, Mick.

I happened to have the good fortune of meeting Jenny several years ago when she first opened the doors to her home wares shop in town. Being a little bit of a home wares addict, I found myself stopping into Jenny’s shop quite regularly over the years. As time went on we got to know each other a little better and I realised that I had a kindred spirit in Jenny – another lover of old stuff and the colour green and also a passionate gardener.

 

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How excited was I when the day finally arrived for me to be able to visit Jenny at her lovely home and meander through her garden? Very. Just saying.

By my side was another excited gal, my lovely friend, Tammy. We oohed and ahhed in unison for most of our time with Jenny and continually picked one another’s jaws off the ground as we spotted another and then another and then another gorgeous corner of prettiness.

 

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Jenny’s garden adventure began about 20 years ago when her and Mick and their two little girls {their big boy was all grown up by then} bought a section of the old Collins dairy farm, including their gorgeous old 1926 farm house. The house needed a lot of work so they, along with two dogs and a cat  moved into a caravan while the renovations took place  and the establishing the garden began.

There’s lots to say about the old farm house {let’s just say it’s a delight and my sticky beaking feelers were out and flittering about while I was visiting} but I’m going to save that little treat for another time slot. Sorry, but it’s all about the gorgy garden today:)

 

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The first thing about Jenny’s garden, that got my heart beat racing,was this ….

 

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Ummmm….how cute is this old stable? I have a thing for old buildings, especially stables and dairies and sheds. So while parking the car when I first arrived, outside this gorgeous little building, my head swam with thoughts about how lovely this day was going to be.

And it was indeed a lovely, lovely day.

 

 

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After a cup of tea and cake and a good old natter the three of us wandered around Jenny’s garden in absolute awe of the hard work and creativity of this clever woman. Jenny’s garden is a tapestry of colour and style and shape. So much time and planning and sweat and tears has gone into making the garden an absolute work of art. These photos honestly do not do this garden justice, it’s one of those places you really have to be in to experience the full beauty of it all.

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Most of the established trees in Jenny’s garden are around 17 years old. There are two mop top robinias which are now fully fledged shade trees after 17 years of them not being clipped  back into shape. I couldn’t believe the size of them.

 

How gorgeous is this poppy?

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Jenny bought a single plant several years ago now at a rare plants nursery for the steep price of $50. Yep, a very exy plant but it has brought her so much joy each and every Spring as the fragile, ballerina pink petals unfurl into the beauty that this flower is. Jenny, the lovely giver that she is, shared some seed heads with Tammy and I. We will both treasure these seeds forever. Won’t we, Tam? Hey, did I give you yours? lol

 

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Are you getting my drift? How gorgy is this garden?

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Since visiting Jenny’s garden I’ve become fixated on Smoke Bushes. How gorgeous are they? Have a look ….

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Gorgeous huh?

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I was dying to see what the property looked like before Jenny began her garden journey. Here are some before and afters…...

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Woah! How amazing is that change? The garden is now thick with roses and beautiful exotic trees and smoke bush and shrubs of all kinds.   

 

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The back area of Jenny’s house has undergone a major transformation as well. A beautifully paved seating area and poles with swags of roses surrounding it has been added and is a favourite place on summer afternoons to sit and sip wine and enjoy a BBQ with friends.

 

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   The veggie garden is more Mick’s domain. He’s built some wonderful rustic, metal structures for climbing veggies and he keeps Jenny’s kitchen in full supply of greens and veggies all year round.

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 gorgeous gleditzias

 

And to top of a perfect day Jenny served us up this delicious lunch with a glass of cold white wine.What a way to end a lovely garden meander.

 

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Thank you so much, Jenny for your beautiful hospitality and your amazing garden. It’s a truly majestic garden and I can’t wait to be invited back for an autumny meander…hint hint

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed Jenny’s gorgeous garden. That was the first Guest Nest of 2015. I’m looking forward to showing you the next one…think abandoned beauty. 

Enjoy the rest of you weekend.

 

Kim x