Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Boatshed

Finally, for those of you who have requested it, here is the article on the boatshed from Australian Country Style from December 2008.

Click on the pages for a larger version. Thank you everyone for stopping by my blog in 2009. I hope you have a great holiday, and see you in 2010.
Beth xx
Images courtesy of Australian Country Style magazine.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How Not to Cater for a Party

Well it finally happened. Last Friday I graduated after 6 years. On Saturday I had a party for 70 of my friends and family who I had made suffer throughout my study. I was highly organised. I had all my colour-coordinated plates in pink and yellow tones that I had collected over the past few years, all lined up and ready:

Then everything went wrong. There was ham and mango salsa that didn't even make it to the table . . .

Nor did the camembert and quince paste on wheatmeal biscuits that I forgot about till everyone had gone home . . .

This is only a quarter of the 8 kilograms of prawns. There were 16 dozen oysters of which barely anything was eaten . . .

There were five of these quiches (thanks, Bob, for trying to style it for me, but the bin and tea towel got into the photo somehow), and six fritattas, which hardly anyone touched . . .

Then there were three of these gigantic pizzas, of which two remained untouched:

That's because I also ordered 100 each of satay chicken sticks, spring rolls, curry puffs and fish cakes, which were quite a hit (Sorry I don't have any pictures of them). Not to mention a gigantic flourless chocolate cake, a citron tart, a triple chocolate cake and a whole lot of Madeleines:

Luckily I have many family members and friends to help eat the leftovers. The moral of this story is: Decide what you want and divide it by four and you'll probably be OK. Then you won't be left with 4 dozen oysters and 4 kilos of prawns hiding at the bottom of your fridge after everyone's gone home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Amazing New Stuff

Something quite amazing happened today. I walked into an op shop that I haven't been to for a while and found some very cool stuff. In fact I'd given up going because all I kept finding was hideous nineties bric-a-brac that was horrible the first time around. But there was this art deco mirror in the shape of a scallop shell for $15:

And this quilt for $6:

And I fell in love with this quilt for $4 which I'm sure is from the 40s. And the wheely thing - is it called a tray mobile? - I'm sure it's art deco as well. The dilemma for me was that, while I was happy to buy the quilts and the mirror, I drew the line at $40 for the tray-on-wheels. Then I got to the cash register and found out that everything was half price today. You fellow bloggers who frequent thrift shops/op shops/rummage sales etc will understand that I just had to run back through the store and grab the wheelie-tray. I apologetically told the sales lady that, while $40 was unthinkable, $20 was very doable indeed. How sweet is it?:

Here is a closeup of the fabric I fell in love with:

So I walked out of the shop with these four items for the grand total of $32. You gotta love that!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feathers, Fur or Fins

Take your pick, we've got them all here. Yesterday I photographed these delightful ducks, who we call Daisy and Donald, in front of the boatshed:

As for fins, there are plenty of fish in the basin. And furry friends are everywhere. These curious creatures appear every couple of days. The keen kangaroos (Kevin and Katie?) come to the boatshed door when they're hungry:

As does Kramer, the friendly neighbourhood dog. Just like the crazy character from Seinfeld, this laid-back labrador lands on our doorstep every night before dinner, eager for treats:

With many thanks to Megan, who provided the inspiration for this post.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

At the Bottom of Our Street

We've just spent a few days in Sydney and while I was there I got to thinking about the idea of being a tourist in your own town. So I decided to try and see the sights I was so familiar with through the eyes of a tourist. Our boat was moored at the bottom of our street, and looks quite good against the local harbourside parkland :

And against the backdrop of the city skyline:

We've just refurbished the interior so here's a peek. We had the cushions covered in a charcoal- coloured Warwick fabric and I made a curtain and cushions from some striped fabric from No Chintz:

Coming ashore at the jetty, you stumble across Bellevue, a gorgeous Victorian house. You can just make out the boat through the trees:

And here is a view of the Anzac Bridge from the shady front veranda:

Bellevue is owned by the City of Sydney and was restored a couple of years ago, but remains empty. I love the way they maintained the 'rough luxe' look by leaving the internal walls with layers of peeling paint like a palimpsest:

And close by is a secret garden, lovingly maintained by our friend Tass:

Seeing your city as a tourist certainly makes you appreciate your surroundings. I thoroughly recommend it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Making Madeleines

In two weeks' time I'm graduating and for my graduation party I've promised to make Madeleines. These are the cakes from Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time, which mentally transport him back to his childhood. Because I've written about them in my thesis, I thought it would be a good idea to make some. At one stage I decided to be lazy and try and buy them. But, unbelievably, no one in Sydney sells Madeleines. So, I bought the tins and had a trial run the other day. The recipe I used is from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat:

Here is the mixture in the tins ready to go in the oven:

The finished product. The beautiful shell shapes look so elegant, and tasted good too:

Here is the recipe:

Proust's Madeleine's from 'How to Eat'by Nigella Lawson

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon clear honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup superfine sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 cup Italian 00 or all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar for serving
Mix 6 tablespoons of the butter with the honey. Beat the eggs, sugar, and salt in a bowl for about 5 minutes with a mixer until it's as thick as mayonnaise. Sprinkle in the flour; I hold a strainer above the egg and sugar mixture, put the flour in it, and shake. Fold in the flour with a wooden spoon and then add the melted butter and the honey. Mix well, but not too vigorously. Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour, then take out and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the remaining butter over the cavities in the madeleine molds and fill them with the cake mixture. Don't worry about filling the cavities; in the heat of the oven, the mixture will spread before it rises.

Bake 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden on top and golden brown around the edges. Mine seem cooked after about 7 minutes, but not all ovens are the same, so be alert from 5 minutes. Turn out and let cool on a rack, then arrange on a plate and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Now to make one hundred of them for my party - shouldn't be too difficult.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

201st Post

I had plans for marking my 200th post, but somehow it passed by without me realising. Yesterday I happened to see a copy of the 2010 Australian Country Style Calendar in a newsagent with the boatshed on the December page (my apologies to those who are waiting for me to post the story from the magazine from December 2009 - technology such as scanning is somewhat problematic down here). Seeing the calendar made me reflect on the passing of time:

Over the past year some things have changed here. A beautiful baby has grown from this:

To this:

But it still remains a place for family, friends, nature and beauty:

Thanks very much to my fellow bloggers who found me again after my year-long break from blogging. And to everyone who visits my blog, thanks for your encouragement and generosity.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Visit to Rick Stein at Mollymook

Here is the promised post on our visit to Rick Stein's restaurant. The amazing view of the Pacific Ocean from our balcony:

This is our comfortable and well-appointed room:

Here is the reception area of the restaurant. But we weren't there for the decor:

For starters we ordered the Warm Shellfish with Parsley, Chili, Olive Oil, Garlic and Lemon Juice. Simple but gorgeous:

Here is the fish and shellfish soup with Rouille and Parmesan. The idea is to take the croutons on the plate'in the foreground, spread them with the rouille and parmesan, and float them in the soup. It was sensational:
The main courses were: Escalopes of Tasmanian Salmon with a Sorrel Sauce, and Fillet of Blue Eye Trevalla, Slivers of Potato, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil. The combination of fresh local seafood and simple ingredients cooked in the French style was amazing :

The next morning we had a continental breakfast of cereal, fruit, bread and pastries. Of course the delicious banana bread and croissants were made on the premises:

Overall, we had a lovely experience with the best food I've had in Australia. I enjoyed the food more than I have in the top restaurants in Sydney.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mollymook via Cornwall

I'm so excited! Tonight we're going to dinner at Rick Stein's restaurant. No, not in Padstow, Cornwall, but a newly-opened one in Mollymook, on the south coast of NSW, at Bannisters Point resort. Here is the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, or 'Padstein' as it's come to be called:

What a beautiful part of the world:

Although Mollymook doesn't look too bad either:

I'll let you know how it goes.

Images courtesy of the restaurants' websites.

Spring cleaning

With summer just around the corner, we've been sprucing things up. There's not much to do on the boatshed, so we've shifted our focus to a nearby house. For the past four years this lounge on the veranda has had its original 60s olive and orange cushions covered by makeshift white covers. It was time for a makeover, so I got my friendly upholsterer to recover the cushions in an oatmeal fabric:

The sandy tone gives it a subtle beachy feel and goes well with white:

We replanted the garden at the front of the veranda with some traditional plants like azaleas which I think are nonetheless compatible with the natives and the Aussie icon, the water tank:

Here is the bigger picture:

I can't wait till they grow and the flowers come out:

Thanks to our gardener friend Tass for selecting just the right plants for the space
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...