Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What They Wore!

I love this!!!

Miss James @ Bleubird Vintage is a daily read of mine. Her blog rocks. Anyway, her most recent post is an adorable look at her family and their style. So cute! Makes me want a sweet little family of my own! (Are you taking notes husband???) ;) Anyway, view the whole post and the rest of the pics here.

If you haven't read her blog before, you really need to go check it out. It's super-duper.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Callum Hann's Chicken Stock

I have a not-so-secret guilty pleasure. I LOVE cooking. And I'm fanatical about from-scratch cooking in particular. Sure, I use the occasional jar pasta sauce as readily as the next cook when I'm in a hurry, but nothing beats spending a few hours in the kitchen, cooking up a delicious meal from scratch. Which is why I can't believe it's taken me this long to make one of the most basic from-scratch ingredients.


Callum Hann posted this recipe on his blog last month and I've been waiting till I had a few hours up my sleeve. It's not hard to make, just a little time consuming because of all the simmering. But, by the smell of it, soooo worth it!

Without actually copying and pasting his recipe here, I'm going to run you through this in picture form. Apologies for what may be the very worst, blurriest pictures I've ever posted!! I've got to get into the habit of pulling out my proper camera instead of using my iPhone. It's pretty shameful.

First, throw a whole chicken and some wings in a big pot and cover them with water. Callum suggests 6, I used 4 because I am apparently bad at counting when I'm grocery shopping.

Once that's just starting bubble, but not yet boil, give the surface a quick skim and then chuck in these babies:

That's half a carrot, half a celery, half a brown onion, some thyme (from my herb garden!), some parsley, 4 garlic cloves, a bay leaf and 6 black peppercorns.

Now you just lower the heat and... wait! I simmered it for about 90 minutes, but Callum's recipe seems to be fairly flexible.

This is my pot of stock simmering away. Almost as soon as you throw in the vegetables and herbs, it starts to smell freaking amazing. By the end of the 90 minutes of simmering, the kitchen smells so warm and inviting!

I cooled it in the fridge overnight, and just skimmed the globs of fat off the surface this morning (gross! Trust me, you don't want a picture of that!!) Then I stored it in 1-cup serves in small plastic containers, and threw them in the freezer. I got 16 cups out of it.

You should make it.

Also, you should check out Callum's Kitchen! For those who have been living under a rock (ie didn't watch Australian Master Chef Season 2), Callum came runner-up and has some fantastic things to share. He shares some amazing recipes, and is a master at macarons... something that I'm still trying to become brave enough to attempt!!

Want Bunny!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

4 Stories... Swimming!

Encouraged by this post at Freckled Nest, I've found the perfect excuse to  prattle on a bit. This week is insane, so here's to clearing my mind and focusing on something a little less serious than my week so far. As the title suggests today I am going to share 4 stories, about swimming. And about me.

1. Technical Difficulties... I loved swimming as a kid. I learnt the basic ability of keeping my head above water and paddling, and that was nice. But then came the compulsory school swimming lessons. It took me 3 Summers to pass level 4. The level where you learn freestyle. My ears seemed to be incredibly susceptible to filling with water, in quite the uncomfortable fashion. Ear-plugs didn't work for me, but I finally discovered that blu-tac is the ultimate when it comes to plugging your ears against water. And just like that, I passed level 4. I still hated swimming lessons though.

2. The Fear, Part 1... When I was 12, my best friend and I were playing with a ball in my backyard. We threw it a bit hard, and it sailed over the pool fence and landed smack in the pool. Now, let me paint you a picture. It was Winter. The pool was green and faintly murky. I was wearing big heavy denim overalls and knee-high gumboots. Can you see where this is going...? I leaned over to snatch the ball, and my somewhat cheeky friend (ridden with guilt over this incident for the rest of our days as high schoolers!) gave me a little push, and in I toppled. I don't actually remember what happened between that moment and getting pulled out of the water on the other side. I went into shock before I even hit the water, and blacked out. Yep

3. Face to face! I always loved being in the water on our family trips to the river. I was always super curious about marine life. I'd go out there as deep as I could with my little butterfly net, and I'd come back with tiny fish, baby prawns, star fish, and on one particularly exciting trip my sisters and I found a handful of these long, thin seahorse-like creatures, clinging to wayward bits of seaweed. One Summer evening, I was on the shore, eating dinner with my family, and we noticed a pod of dolphins out in front of us. Without thinking, I raced to the water, splashing to catch the dolphins' attention, hoping to get them to come in closer. It wasn't something I was expecting to happen, but suddenly one dolphin changed direction and started heading straight towards me. As it got closer, I realised just how big the thing was, and I... panicked! I fled out of the water as quickly as I could.

4. The Fear, Part 2... Remember story #2? Shortly after that ordeal, I had a bit of a fear of sticking my head under the water. It didn't last long, but by the time Summer came around, I realised that compulsory swimming lessons would be starting up again at school. The week before the lessons were due to start, I quietly asked to see my PE teacher in her office after class. As soon as we got there, I opened my mouth and burst into tears! Between sobs, I told her about 'the incident', and cried that I was now too afraid to swim. I'm here to admit right now, that was an act. I wasn't scared. I just freaking hated swimming lessons. My teacher, bless her, was incredibly understanding and excused me until I was ready. So for the rest of that school term, while my fellow students were in swimming lessons, I was sent to regularly scheduled appointments with the school counsellor to deal with my 'fear'. At the end of term, she suggested that I give it a go once again, get in the water with my class mates. This is where it got kind of embarrassing. Everybody watched nervously as I clambered down the pool steps and paddled a bit. The teacher called out "Try putting your head under water, Klara!" and, as my well-meaning classmates cheered me on, I 'faced my fear'.

And so ends installment #1 of 4 Stories!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nuclear Soup

Is it just me, or does tonight's dinner look more toxic-sludge than broccoli & leek soup?! Either way, it was tasty.

Today has been a very welcome Saturday. While I was supposed to have a quiet one and recover from a cold I thought I could feel coming on yesterday, I had an extended brunch with the besties, watched my sisters kick butt at their basketball semi-final, visited a fun little pet shop, and gardened. To top the day off I smashed my foot into a door frame as I walked past it. I don't know why I'm so clumsy, but it's always been a sad fact of life. Anyway, my toe is very grumpily reminding me of this afternoon's clumsiness and has even chosen to represent its crankiness with a show of bright purple. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feeling Crummy...

My moods are pretty crazy - when I'm truly happy, I'm insane. I need to keep a notebook with me just to scribble down everything that's lifting my mood. When I re-read it a few minutes after writing it, the buzz tends to last. When I'm feeling like crap, my world ends. I stop functioning correctly. I fall into this pit of anger, or sadness, or fear... whatever emotion that's getting me down overwhelms me.

Today, it was angry. It happened around midday, and as my mind spun and I felt the waves of it building up in my chest, I went into some kind of daze. I stood up, walked out of the office and went to the shops to do some errands, but I didn't even realise where I was, or the fact that I'd told nobody where I was going, until after I'd bought a bag of bread rolls from the bakery. Then I had to make the clumsy phone call to the office, apologising profusely for disappearing without a word. Weird. I'm still angry, but for now I want to be.