Olivia & Christopher’s Dream – Setting the Scene

Recently we enjoyed one of the most amazing weekends ever!

Our son, Christopher, married the love of his life, Olivia, at the beautiful Wandin Park Estate on the outskirts of Melbourne.

While everyone held their breath, hoping that there wouldn’t be another COVID outbreak resulting in yet another lock-down here in Victoria, as each day passed, we knew that finally their special day was to be.

Olivia and Christopher had planned and organised everything for their wedding.  Much time was spent working on all the details as well as creating and making the decorations, creating those special touches that would make this day uniquely their day.  Olivia dried rose petals to be used as confetti and made the cones for guests to help themselves. She made the most beautiful dream catchers to be hung throughout the venue, and the little string ball lights to be placed on the tables and barrels.  Christopher worked on ensuring that everything would go to plan, with timelines, spreadsheets, and a little surprise for Olivia (but that’s for the final post in this series…)

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Thick, creamy, delicious Tzatziki

Some years ago, my sister, Jan, loaned me a book to read – she thought that I might enjoy it.  The memoir of man who moved to Greece to write a novel, and stayed for 20 plus years.  I enjoyed the book so much that I bought it, and am always bringing it off the shelf, particularly for Tom’s recipe for Tzatziki!

The book, The Summer of my Greek Tavérna, a memoir by Tom Stone, published in 2002 is a wonderful read and has a selection of recipes at the end.  Jan had tried the Tzatziki recipe and told me how great it was – she was right, it is amazing, and always so popular when it’s served as a dip, or an accompaniment with a platter of kofta.  It’s deliciously thick, creamy and has a little bite from the garlic and white pepper!

 

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I’ve adapted the recipe a little over time, but is still very similar to the one published.

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Cook or Cure!

After an amazing Christmas break with our family, we returned home feeling relaxed, refreshed and looking forward to an additional mini break at home.

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Unfortunately that feeling vanished very soon!  Gary discovered that I hadn’t closed the freezer door properly prior to our departure and everything had begun to defrost!

First job, stock take, make a list of everything that could be salvaged, dispose of what couldn’t, and then work out what to do with a freezer full of meat, seafood and poultry!

Idea’s began to form as I worked through it all, most would have to be cooked and then could be re-frozen.  I realised that I could also, smoke and cure a little as well.

I had duck marylands, I would do Confit Duck and then freeze ready for use.  There was one duck breast, it would be cured, airdried and then sliced/diced and frozen.

 

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Warm Salad of Sumac Marinated Lamb Backstrap with Chats & Green Beans

This is a firm favourite in our home, and perfect for this time of year.  In fact if you head to one of our local farmers’ markets, I am sure that you’ll be able to pick up most of the fresh ingredients, including the lamb, directly from the people who grow them.  You know me, I love to support local, to have a chat to the people who grow the food that we eat, and then to bring the produce home, cook it and eat it.

I discovered this recipe in one of my French cooking magazines, Cuisine Actuelle, some time ago, and then promptly forgot about it.   Flicking through my lamb scrap book recently, I was delighted to rediscover the recipe.

Here, beautiful lean lamb backstrap (from Forge Creek Lamb) is coated in a simple blend of olive oil, sumac and crushed garlic (fresh from our garden) and then set aside to marinate for a couple of hours before being cooked in a hot pan.  Once rested, the lamb is sliced to reveal the succulent, rose coloured centre, ready to become the star of the show in this delicious salad.

As usual, I just can’t help myself, and have adjusted the recipe to suit our tastes, including the addition of olives and capers.  I also swap the cherry tomatoes out for slow roasted Roma tomatoes if I feel like it.

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In the garden – November 2020

This was November in our garden!

The espaliered fruit trees needed trimming, the weeds were taking over, beds in the vegetable garden needed to be dressed and prepared for planting, and the list goes on!

Fortunately the flowers were not so discerning and provided happiness both in the garden and in vases indoors.

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