Friday, 21 June 2013

Weekly Recipe: Flathead with potato gratin

This, my friends, is flathead with potato gratin. Simple and tasty.

For the fish, mix olive oil (inflused with lemon), coriander and parsley together. Coat flathead tail fillets with this and marinate in the fridge for about half an hour. Then grill.

For the salad, combine a chopped avocado and a copped tomato with torn basil and dress with lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar.

And for the gratin, thinly slice potato and place a layer at the base of a dish. Then thinly slice onion and place a layer of this over the potato. Add pepper, salt and garlic. Repeat. Keep going until you've reached the top of the dish, then pour on milk and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the potato is cooked.

Bon appetite.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

I have a bathtub!

So when I left the last bathroom update, the plasterboard had gone in. Next was the floor underlay.

Then the cornices.

The waterproofing was a particular stinky stage of proceedings.

And then the window frame, doors and fittings started going in.

We chose this point to go away to Queensland for five days and when we returned there were tiles. The rest of the fittings went in and over a couple of days everything was finished off.

So now we have a functional bathroom that just requires painting (by us). I'm a happy lady.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Weekly Recipe: Lamb Shank Tagine With Quince

Still in slow food mood, so here is a recipe for lamb shank tagine, mashed together from a few different Moroccan tagine recipes. First, catch your lamb shanks - frenched is good. Brown them in butter in the bottom of the tagine (or heavy-based saucepan), then remove to a plate.

Then reduce the heat and cook one chopped onion until soft. Add in a teaspoon of ground ginger, a pinch of saffron threads, a teaspoon of ground coriander and a cinnamon stick and heat until fragrant, then return the lamb and add two cups of water. Cayenne pepper and coriander would also be good in here. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 1 1/2 hours.

Next I added in a quartered quince (which I had previously peeled, cored, boiled and frozen, but if you are using fresh quince, sautee in a little butter first) and a small eggplant, chopped. A spoonful of honey was drizzled over the top and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Then simmer for a further 30 minutes.

I wish that I could Blog the smell! Mmm.

Unfortunately, I cooked the tagine for too long and burned the bottom a little, so there was a bit of a smokey flavour. Don't do this.

I served the tagine with couscous and a fantastic preserved lemon and tomato salad that I've been making for years. It is about 750 g of peeled tomatoes (to peel them, slit the base with a knife, dunk in boiling water and then in cold water - the skin will become loose and easy to slip off) which are meant to be seeded, but of course I never do that. Also add in half a red onion, in wedges, strips of preserved lemon skin from one lemon (I made this batch of lemons a couple of years ago), olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, flat-leaf parsley and coriander and let it all sit for at least half an hour to let the flavours combine.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Chez ma mère

We have just returned from five days visiting my parents in Queensland. Since we don't visit all that often, one of the fascinating things is exploring their house to hunt out my mother's latest creations.

My mother, Pat from Patapan Art, is retired and therefore has a lot of time to dedicate to exploring different artistic techniques. I have Blogged about her before, when she had work in an exhibition at the Brisbane Institute of Art and she Blogs frequently about what she is working on at the moment. We spent time going through her current folio and pieces that have been filed away and looking at half-finished works, but poking around to find the artworks, old and new, that she has on display was great too.

A quick tour of the house.

Quilts and handmade cushions in the entrance way.

Tapestries scattered throughout the living room and into the bedroom.

A beautiful Japanese quilt on the bed and acrylic paintings on the walls.

Birds in the art room.

An embroidery in the spare room.

A paper quilt of bugs hanging in the toilet.

A bag on the back of a chair.

Paintings scattered in the corners.

A knitted doll, complete with clothing options (all of which, of course, Miss 2 wanted to dress the doll in at the same time) and felt hares that had multiplied like... rabbits.

The wonderful thing about my mother having the time to explore so many different crafts is that she can then merge the techniques together. It means her house is a joy to visit, that each artwork is interesting and you never know what she is going to create next.

Do visit her Blog to see more of her artwork.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Loving the love

This month I made up two custom order canvases for a little boy, one with animals and one with planes and trains.

I was over the moon to read the feedback on FB and see an in-use picture:

"We've only had these for a couple of days and already my 18 m.o. has them filled. He was never this prolific an artist until he saw me peg his first drawing up there. Now he won't stop!"

I'm loving the love :-)