Thursday, October 28, 2010

Presenting.....the..... Scotch Egg! Ta da!!

The external cladding..

The internal fitout....

They crack open to reveal a surprise on the inside, just like a thunder egg.
Scotch eggs make great picnic food, and while they seem fiddly to make the first time, second time round you can knock them up just as easily as a sandwich.
They are a hardboiled egg, wrapped in spiced, ground meat, then usually floured, egged and crumbed before frying.
The ones I make are a slightly healthier version from my other favourite cookbook, Simple Food by Jill Dupleix.
The Dupleix Scotch egg is wrapped in bacon and baked instead, although I didn't have any bacon yesterday so they were just nude.
Also in Simple Food I recommend the drunken potatoes, jump-in-the-pan chicken and the banana bread. My interest in retro food is waning I'm pleased to say. It's handy having the attention span of a gnat sometimes.
Tomorrow is International Teachers' Day. I know, that's all we need, another thing to remember. Since my child's teacher is rather on the groovy side, I paid a visit to my jewellery making friend Fi.
Fi makes all manner of jewellery, mainly brooches, under the label Tree Party Designs. I'll give the teacher one of these little brooches.

I got this deer for my friend Tory, who is having a birthday today. I love it, I think she will too.

Fi also has a few little do-dads other than jewellery. I also got this colouring in book, illustrated by a Melbourne artist. The character is called Sweet Lovely Camille, and we have one of them here at Euphemia.

Fi peddles her wares at the Young Designers' Market at Southbank in Brisbane, and she's going to the next Finders Keepers Market and Mathilda's Market.  You can contact her at
Well that's it folks. I am hanging some more things on the wall tomorrow including my new set of flying seagulls. The cushion lady has also finished my cushions for the daybed, so I have to tart that up toot sweet before I pick them up.
Can't wait to have the front verandah more functional.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Return of the bargeboard
We are largely over the shock of late last week. Those lovely folks at the bank have agreed to help us out, yet again. I don't forsee us having to see them for quite some time now - touch wood!
On the weekend my husband finished what I had started, which was painting the bargeboard (think that's what it's called) to go above our front stairs.
He then performed a death defying stunt by carrying it up a ladder and screwing it in place. Did a wonderful job too.
 Do you like our beach towels drying, Bangkok style, over the railing. It's a great look isn't it!! We don't have a clothes line yet. Doing laundry for a family without a clothes line can be very tricky.
This is the bargeboard close up.

It would have probably been easier to get a new one, but we decided to fix up the original because it was more authentic ....and cheaper.
This Weldon's Fancy Dress for Children book is another gift from Euphemia. I found it when we first moved in but it was only today that I had a good look. It has beautiful illustrations inside, many of which I think I will frame and hang on the wall.

I was even thinking about colouring some of them with some water colours. Before anyone flips their lid, I've done this before, years ago when I worked in an antique print gallery. It can look very pretty, and these aren't exactly museum quality documents to start with.

I'm off to prep the dinner now. My retro food fest is showing no signs of slowing down. Tonight we are having Tuna Mornay in individual ramekins. Actually, it's salmon mornay because I can't eat tuna after seeing that documentary called Blood, Sweat and Takeaways, which shows graphically how tuna is processed. It's stomach churning.
I intend to show you what a scotch egg looks like once I cook them, but that probably won't be until Wednesday evening. Won't that be exciting!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The tale of the productive pauper
Once upon a time, a girl suddenly found herself poor as a church mouse. Having to curtail her usual activities centred around collecting pretty things, she turned instead to more productive pursuits.
She spent all day dusting, vacuuming, mopping and ironing, and when all that was done she mustered all her strength to haul heavy pieces of furniture from one side of the house to the other.
By 2pm, everything was sparkling and she felt a tremendous, new found sense of satisfaction and achievement.

I even downloaded some (much needed) new music onto my Ipod including Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. I tried to put a little sound byte here so you can play it, but it was too hard.
You may recall it from the episode in Mad Men when Don runs away and stays with Anna. There is a little boy at Anna's house playing the piano, and the tune he's playing is In the Hall of the Mountain King.
When I was downloading it I found it has also been 'jazzed up' and a newer version of it is on the soundtrack of Social Network, the movie.
My version however is more traditional. It's Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Op 46 In the hall of the mountain king, played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and David Parry (whoever he is?).
Look it up, it won't disappoint.
Now I'm off to dinner at Simpatico with some girlfriends. Somewhat of a last supper before we batten down the hatches and find a way to pay this bill!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Que Sera Sera....
My self indulgent pot hunting has been brought to an abrupt halt. I went over to Cottage Garden Nursery at East Brisbane this morning, but the pots weren't quite right and not really big enough. That's it. Game's over.
When I got home I went to the letterbox to check for mail and I found an invoice from our builder. We had assumed we were all square, but apparently not. It will take all our money in the bank, reserved for finishing touches, and more!
I have always said that renovating is not all beer and skittles and I endeavour to tell our journey warts and all. You've really got to have the stomach for it people. I won't lie to you, sometimes it's tough.
I called my husband to tell him the news, he went quiet and said he had to sit down, neither of which come naturally to him.
I called the bank....for more money. They haven't rang me back yet. Hell's bells!
Oh well, I'm sure the children won't mind skipping Christmas this year.

On a brighter note, I found my favourite cookbook, Fab Food Retro Classics. It was in a box of novels under my Lily Brett books.

They don't call them 'classics' for nothing. They're good. Think dinner party favourites from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Last night we had Steak Diane. On the menu for the next week is chicken cordon bleu (chicken stuffed with ham and swiss cheese), scotch eggs (too hard to explain), prawn cocktails and apricot chicken (you either love it or hate it). I'm so happy to have found it again.
Cooking is soothing for me, and cooking food like this is as good as it gets. How timely I've found it just when I need preoccupying.
The awnings are doing a great job of keeping the afternoon sun out. Who would have thunk it?

The grass has grown so much it's been mowed already.
We've hung some more paintings.

Deep breath. As Doris Day would say, 'whatever will be, will be'.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nostalgia and now
A friend of mine has just started a blog called Nostalgia and Now ( She has a massive collection of mainly 20th century doo-dads, and if anyone ever needed a shop, it's this gal.
Have a look at it. She has some great befores and afters, like this one.

And my favourite.

It's incredible what a lick of paint will do.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I've got another hot tip on some blue and white pots: Early Settler at Windsor? Worth a try, I'll check it out today or tomorrow. After that, I'm afraid people, I'm calliing off the search. I've spent a bit too much time on it, when I have more pressing matters of concern.
I forgot someone else from my black book. Soon after we moved in we had our roof replaced by a company called Peter Townsend Roofing (Tel 0411 784 970). The Townsend sign is present on many a shiny roofed house in our neck of the woods. I remember when Peter came out to do our quote, he stood on the roof and said, 'I did that roof over there, that one there, those two there......'  and so on. 
He specialises in tin!
I'll let you know how I go at Early Settler, to tell you the truth, I don't have high hopes, but you never know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Enamoured with enamel
I have a penchant for enamel homewares. They are actually a bit difficult to come by, at least any great range of them.
Today was a pupil free day so the children, my mother and I went into the city on the bus. To my great delight, The Tree of Life in the Wintergarden was closing down and there were deals to be done on their enamel ware.
I got this nifty set of three black and white cannisters for $20 from $60.
Also got these other little bits and pieces.

I thought these little bowls would be great for vibrant purple beetroot dip and lime green pesto.
The painted eggs below were $20 for 12 which is half their usual price. They've been around forever, but they're pretty.

These little girls skirts were too good to leave behind. They remind me of Wovenplay or Paper Wings.

That's it now. No more unnecessary spending. I'm on the straight and narrow until Christmas!

P.S. I went to Peter Baker Finch chasing the blue and white planters but they were too small for what I need.  The search goes on....soon to be called off I think. It's getting a bit ridiculous now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Little black book
I have had some enquiries regarding some of the people we have used. I've listed a few of them below.
Awnings, Lyle at Awnings Blinds Direct Ph 1300 799 878
Kitchen, Ken at Elken Furniture Ph 07 5426 3655
Cushion Lady, Ferunda Ph 0411 033 469
Builder, Jeff Mair at Jeff Mair Renovations Ph 0412 229 630
Painter, Craig Hudson Ph 0420 927 273
How's that? Anyone else?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Here comes the sun
The weather has cleared a little this afternoon and the sun is shining .... for now. This gives us a chance to try out our new awnings which were fitted this morning.
We love them. They're pretty and practical which is about all you can ask from your awnings.

I also got some fabric today and took it over to the cushion lady who is now back from China. It's for the daybed on the front verandah and the floral is for our revamped kitchen stools.

It's all moving along very nicely, although the well is drying up. We'll have to watch our pennies for a while.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Heaven on Earth
If I had a lazy weekend, today was it's antithesis. I got so much done it was crazy. The pouring rain has still been keeping us inside. This morning I decided to dust a shelf in the kitchen, which led to me dusting all the shelves, washing everything that was on them and dusting the kitchen lights.
Just like Patricia Field (the costumer designer for Sex in the City) never likes to repeat an outfit, nor do I see the point in repeating a shelf  'installation'.
Here are my new kitchen shelves. If you look carefully, you'll see they are different to the others.

We also hung a lot of paintings. Sorry a lot of my photos haven't turned out very well because of the light (or lack of) today. I love how this worked out.

The horse painting, Carnival, was above our piano but we've moved it to the dining room and hung three smaller paintings underneath. The smaller painters are by my husband's father. I've just put them into some simple white frames from Target ($9 each) and they've come up trumps.

We've got quite a few of John's paintings. I took some photos of the others but they didn't turn out. I'll try photographing them again soon.
We hung our old plans of the house from 1904 in the hallway. They are beautifully hand coloured.

We also took a trip to Bunnings today. I'm not usually a fan, I think it's a big shed of landfill, but today I found some gold. I got a stick-on mirror for our w-i-r, two great front door mats.

Front door mat $30.

Back door mat $20. I've been studying door mats, yes studying, them for a few months now and I was very happy with these two.
Also at Bunnings, we picked up a much appreciated toilet roll holder for the ensuite.

See, there's absolutely no need for anyone to be using their imagination on my blog.
Now I'm off back to the kitchen to crumb some pork schnitzel, and whip up a sauteed red cabbage side bit with some creamy mashed potatoes.

Then after dinner, as if this day couldn't get any better, we're watching season 3, disc  1 of Mad Men, while sipping on a long cold glass of wine. Aaah! Heaven.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bumper crop
What's with this rain, and now the howling wind? I know it's just because this year I packed up our Winter clothes early, and Mother Nature is getting a laugh at me having to sift through the storage bags constantly for warmer clothes.
Despite the cool temperatures the jacarandas seem to be pressing on with their dramatic purple displays regardless. We have two jacarandas at the front of our house and they are turning on quite the show. They are even sprinkling some of their lavender petals over our new grass to secure the extra points for pretty. They are gorgeous old girls, about 45 years old as far as we know.
That's the back of our old house you can see behind the trees actually.
I have heard that the jacaranda trees at the University of Queensland were planted to remind students that when they see the purple flowers in September/October it's time to start studying for their end of year exams. Although, I'm not sure if this is true or not.
I had big plans for the wet weekend; moving furniture, hanging paintings, cleaning out cupboards (I know, already), dusting lights. Unfortunately, my plans fell flat due to a lack of interest and motivation.
On the upside, I helped my husband do some weeding today. It was ten minutes or more before I lost interest in that too. I also picked some ripe yellow cherry tomatoes off the bush. The poor little thing is going to kill itself if it doesn't slow down production. We've had an absolutely bumper crop.

I love poking around $2 shops and cheap department stores like Big W and Target. The perils for our world of over consumption aside, you can pick up some real gems. Like these cereal/noodle/pasta bowls for only $2 each from K Mart. I got the black and white ones and the green and white stripe. They are extremely well used.

I'm off to compose my weekly 'To Do' list. Firstly, I transfer the 23 jobs I didn't get done last week, to this week's list.
Here's hoping for a more productive day tomorrow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This is great weather, if you're a duck. It's been pouring rain for days. We haven't managed to do much in the past week.
I'm still looking for my pots for the front and back doors. I had no idea these would be so difficult to find. Maybe they haven't been around since the 90s? If anyone comes across pots that look like these, however vaguely, please let me know. Preferably in South East Queensland.

I realise that these ones pictured are all a bit special, but it gives you the idea. Bear in the ginger jars....but pot planters instead. Need four, but would be happy with two.