Monday, April 30, 2012

A fine day out

Well, when I say fine, I didn't mean the weather.

I, like my friend over at Kelly Green, had the good fortune last Monday to visit the gardens of interior designer, Stuart Rattle, and landscape designer, Paul Bangay as a fundraiser for a local kindergarten.  The weather was not ideal - it rained, it hailed, it shone (briefly, just before we got on the bus to go home), but what a treat it was to see those gardens at the peak of their autumn flourish.

Michael, Stuart Rattle's partner,  bounced onto the bus, dripping, and gave us a quick talk about their garden before we braved the rain and scuttled into the cosy kitchen for morning tea.  Stuart has a charming and interesting garden, in which he clearly has done much of the work. His passion is evident and Michael's knowledge of the huge variety of plants was extensive.

It was actually hailing when we got to Paul Bangay's garden, which is newer and also very interesting. There were miles of tapestry hedge...
the ubiquitous box,
pleached hornbeams,

a flourishing veggie garden,

and a lovely view.
It was generally very structured and had lots of garden rooms and over time will probably grow into the landscape a bit more.  I think I liked this spot the best
which was a bit more open and flowing and suited the country landscape, with the towering gums in the background.

All in all a wonderful day which was beautifully organised, and I have returned home inspired to get into the garden.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Dear readers, I have been neglecting you.  I have been trying to finish this post for about a week.  I think this blog is becoming a "less is more" scenario.  We just seem to bounce from one busy week to the next, without a breather in between.  Since I was last here we have had a group visiting the garden...
This was the little stall of goodies we set up
been to Singapore to participate in a big food Expo with our lamb..

had school holidays and a houseful for Easter..
Flowers ready to go up to the bedrooms
There was food to be cooked and I did the usual staples, raspberry jampestochocolate ice cream and I poached quinces and made quiches.  We ate slow cooked lamb and a wing rib of beef with yorkshire puddings..
and had a lovely paddock picnic on Sunday, using our new barbeque plate..

Of course there were toasted marshmallows
and an Easter egg hunt,
long walks
and bowls of soup.
But that all seems like ages ago.  Since then there have been bonfires
and a lovely lunch with friends from Melbourne under the oak tree....
We had some beautiful lamb and some salads, one of which is an oldie but a goodie, and I was asked for the recipe.


I think I first saw this in a school fundraising cookbook and have seen it several times since.  There are a million variations, just use your imagination.

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 cup currants
1/4 cup verjuice
1 cup cashews, toasted (or slivered almonds are good too)
1 cup sunflower seeds
A couple of handfuls of whichever fresh herbs you like (parsley, coriander and mint are good)

2/3 cup sunflower oil
2 tblsp soy sauce
3 tblsp lemon juice

The original recipe doesn't do this, but I soak the currants in the verjuice for about 15 minutes.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Drain the currants and add the verjuice to the dressing, before mixing the dressing in with the salad.  Sprinkle a few herbs over the top.