Friday, August 28, 2009

I Don't Really Mind That I Don't Have a Gourmet Kitchen

This post was prompted by my recent wanderings through Blushing Hostess's blog, with its elegance and grace and lovely china. It has made me realise that I will never achieve that standard of culinary excellence. The boatshed kitchen contains cabinetry that is either home-made or 50 years old. The stove is second-hand and has also reached its half-century. The fridge is about ten years old and fairly compact:

I don't mind a bit of old-world charm. The stove still gets the job done. And I like the bench-tops that Warren made, and the coffee machine and knife block:

And best of all, when I'm standing in the kitchen, this is what I look out at:

So wherever you're cooking, bon appetit:

I Am So Not a Food Stylist Either

Even though my kitchen facilities are a little limited, I don't let it stop me cooking almost every day. While we were on our Queensland trip, we ate a few too many cooked breakfasts and drank a little too much sauvignon blanc. Since we got back three weeks ago I've been trying to be healthier. Luckily our great friends in England, Frank and Ro, gave us this fantastic book for Christmas. Thanks, guys:

Over the past week, I've been cooking up several dishes that are so delicious you don't realise you're being healthy. The first one I tried was Moroccan Lamb with Coriander Quinoa. I didn't have any quinoa so I used couscous. It contains digestive tonics like turmeric, ginger and apricots, and fresh coriander and parsley:

My Le Creuset casserole dish - one of my few culinary investments:

It is here that it becomes obvious that I'm not a food stylist. But who cares about presentation when it's just the two of us and the food's so good:

The next day I tried the Carrot and Sweet Potato soup which has lots of antioxidants:

This dip is particularly scrumptious - Healthy Heart Houmous, which adds sun-dried tomatoes and char-grilled capsicums to the usual chickpea mix:

The Three-Seed Muesli made such a huge amount it will last for many breakfasts. It has sunflower, sesame and hazelnut seeds and tastes delicious with vanilla yoghurt and banana:

It just goes to show you don't need a gourmet kitchen to turn out delicious, healthy food. But maybe I could work on my presentation a little.

More Souvenirs

After my previous post, I realised that I had, in fact bought more things while I was away than I had thought. I love these travel memoirs by Eric Newby - his dry style is very entertaining and the sheer breadth of his travels from climbing Mount Olympus to visiting Troy or a burial chamber in a pyramid makes me want to pack up and go right now:

This is a cute little sheer cotton voile cami from Lazybones Emporium at Bangalow

And this is one of their dress/nighties:

Nothing like a souvenir that you can wear or read.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Holiday Souvenirs

On my recent Queensland holiday, I found some souvenirs to bring back to the boatshed. The fan in this photo was bought in Chinatown in Brisbane:

I loved them so much I bought two. They're so delicate that their lives as fans are probably limited, but they make a great wall decoration:

I can't afford a real chandelier, but this great hanging decoration from Kuranda markets fills the space above the table:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thank you No Chintz

A few weeks ago I visited No Chintz in Sydney. While I couldn't afford the $100+ per metre for much of the fabric, I found the remnants basket and made some beautiful cushions. For ages I've experimented with several different cushion combinations for this seat and never been entirely happy with them. When I don't change cushions for six months, I know I've found the right ones. Hopefully these will be them. The fabric on the left is Designer's Guild:

I made this green and pink cushion over six months ago and from the minute I placed it on this chair with the vintage floral print one, they've stayed together in their cushiony perfection:

I've had these two for over five years. I made the one at the back from No Chintz remnants and the front one from the still-intact border of a threadbare vintage tablecloth:
These are also made from No Chintz remnants, the back one recently and the front one a few years ago:

Inexpensive Decorating

Over the past year while I haven't been blogging, I've managed to find some bargains such as this globe from the op shop for around $10:

I found this chair on the street a few months ago looking the worse for wear and sanded and varnished it. I think it's cedar:

A year ago I pegged up the postcards I'd bought at the Vanves flea markets in Paris. Then I started putting up other images which caught my eye:

And, voila, an inspiration wall:

I also made some bunting to provide spots of colour in the boatshed:

It has a fun, summery feel:

My Quilt

I'm finally able to show off my quilt. I hand-pieced it in 1985 and machine-sewed the panels together shortly afterwards. I then tacked this top layer together with some wadding to a piece of calico, and attempted to hand-quilt three of the panels. However, it all just became too difficult so I rolled it up and put it away for twenty years:

I must admit a couple of years ago I cheated by having someone finish off the quilting by machine. But it still wasn't finished. It needed to be edged:

So a couple of months ago, I took the strips that I had so carefully cut 24 years ago and edged the quilt with them.

It's so beautiful even after all this time. And definitely worth the wait.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Sweet Home

On the last leg of our trip, we stopped at Kiama to take a trip on a steam train for the 150th Anniversary celebrations:

The route to Gerringong was very picturesque:

Finally we arrived back at the boatshed after a month's travel during which we covered 7000km to Cairns and back. This is the best balcony view of all:


On the last night of our trip we stayed in Taree. We certainly saved the best till last - not. I can't even speak about the room - it was too depressing. It was the Best Western Caravilla and for $89 certainly represented poor value compared to many of our previous nights. Think vinyl bedhead, worn carpet and you'll get the drift:

The salubrious view from the front door (there was no balcony):

The banks of the Manning River were quite good for cooking our dinner:


Back in NSW, we were on the home stretch. We stopped at Bangalow for coffee and cake:

I popped in to the Lazybones Emporium and bought a top and two dresses:

At Yamba we stayed at the Aston Motel for $89 a night:

The next day we stopped to cook lunch at Coffs Harbour:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


On our way south to Noosa we stopped at Eumundi. The markets weren't on but I stopped at one of my favourite bookshops and bought Frommer's Paris on $90 a Day, a bargain at $8. It's five years old, but I wanted it for the walking tours of the Marais, Montmartre and Latin Quarter, which I'll hopefully be doing next year:

The streetscape of Eumundi:

At Noosa, we're staying at the Breakfree Ocean Breeze. At $124 a night it's a steal for a Hastings St location. The kitchen is massive, and one of only two we've had with a dishwasher:

I could do some serious entertaining here:

All the comforts of home:

The view outside the room:

We got another great 3 nights for the price of 2 deal with Stella Resorts. The pool looks very inviting, but the shops of Hastings Street and the beach are calling. What a dilemma!

Hervey Bay Fireworks

Some of the reasons I love Hervey Bay:
Prawns fresh off the boat with a glass of chilled white wine on the balcony:

The cafes on the marina all festive for the Blessing of the Fleet:

Nothing like a sausage sanga and fireworks to end a great day:

As we left the next day, we waved goodbye to the Shark Man of Hervey Bay. How cool is this:

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