Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's been on the Menu 3

These are some of the meals we have been having lately:-

Curried Chicken & Broccoli

Moules Mariniere…..The first time I had this dish was in Sete a Mediterranean port in France. We had motored through the French Canals in our own boat and this was the entry point chosen to enter the sea.

I feel the secret to mussels cooked in white wine is Thyme, it has that right flavour for me. I remember in Sete we also we had oysters, dozens of them au naturelle bought by a French couple named Fabienne & Coco.

Roast Lamb, parsnip and potatoes.

No Biscuits in the house….Camembert on fresh multigrain bread with a sprig of Thyme left over from the mussels.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Snake in the Grass

We went for a walk down to our little Ferny Creek on Sunday, to water the ferns as it has been very dry of late and a couple of the ferns are newly planted having been given to us by a friend.

Ian has set up a pipe that siphons water from the dam, which is great, no pumps, no electricity and reasonable hose pressure.

While I was watering I noticed him jump back with a strange look on his face…..snake in the grass…. a red bellied black, our first sighting for the year.

We see this one or another, quite often sunning themselves near the Dam. Luckily, they are a reasonably shy snake and will just glide away if you don’t threaten them. Also we have heard that they tend to keep the tiger snakes away from their territory so this is a good thing.

Hard to see the snake in the grass? Yes that is just the point!

Think we’ll keep to the mowed paths as they provide good viewing for what’s ahead.


Ian made a cake. It was a Betty Crocker Vanilla cake mix and it was delicious.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lunch at Docklands

The opportunity arose to have lunch in the new area developed as Docklands down on the waterfront in Melbourne. This area, which is so close to the actual City of Melbourne, was in the past hidden by a cluster of old sheds…..who knew the Bay was so close to Flinders Street.

The area is now affectionately known as Legoland, due to the squarish multi coloured buildings that have arisen over the past 10 years.

Before everything became so new and pristine, and grass grew where there is now concrete, a friend of ours had his eighty foot old wooden boat tied up alongside the quay The Remeere. This colourful old boat together with the old sail training vessel the Alma Doepel and the restored steam tugboat the Wattle, made for an old boatie atmosphere, a camaraderie and we joined lots of parties and memorable boating trips that were launched from that area.

Those old character boats have now gone having been replaced by sleek plastic cruisers, including Greg Normans super yacht ‘Aussie Rules” 228 feet, $70 million of pure luxury, which was tied up there in 2005.

Lunch was good, 3 Cheeses Gnocchi, Farfalle and Smoked Salmon and my wine, a wooded Chardonnay was great.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Flowering Natives Blooming Now

Seasonal native plants out in bloom at our place at the moment include

Old Man's Beard or Traveller's Joy - Clematis aristata a vigorous climber with starry white flowers shown here climbing a weeping form of Native Cypress pine.

Mint bush Prostanthera Melissifolia has strong mint scented leaves and bluish purple flowers

Vase of Prostanthera and native leaves and gum nuts

Dusty Daisy Bush Olearia phlogopappa

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris

Iris spp germanica originally from Central and southern Europe.

This elegant flower blooms in many colours with the blue ones being my personal favourites. It is a user friendly plant, easy to establish and requires minimum maintenance. It is extremely drought tolerant so it is good for areas with little summer rain and does need plenty of sunshine to bloom well.
Here it is blooming in a large clump at a friends house..... how wonderful it will be when it is fully established at ours.
Iris from the Family Iridaceae

What'sbeen on the menu 2

Here are a few of the meals we've been having.
Moussaka 70's meal made tastier by salting the egg plant to remove bitter juices before cooking.

French tagine ideal for cooking the moussaka (as seen here) or any other meal that has more crusty surface to volume.

Vegetables with Herb Nage (literally means swimming)

Shark with Vegetables in Herb Nage


Sunday, October 19, 2008


Dessert was Rhubarb Fool.

We have a quite alot of rhubarb growing and it is great to use this sweet and sour plant as part of our home grown food.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb is native to Northern Asia and, like many other plants, it was originally valued as a popular remedy for a wide range of ailments. Its flavor wasn't appreciated until the 19th century, after it was introduced to Europe, when it was discovered that the tartness of rhubarb was greatly improved with the addition of sugar.

How Green was my Valley

The valley we drive through on our way to our home, has remained free of an abundant yellow flowering pasture weed commonly known as Capeweed.

Valley with no Capeweed


Another View of Valley

Capeweed or Arctotheca calendula has colonised large areas of the whole of Australia and has become an ‘A’ rated noxious weed. Even if the farmers wanted to spray their land to be rid of this pest it would be practically useless as it has become pretty much resistant to the biyridylium herbicides. It is reported to be poisonous to cattle if eaten in large quantities….and in some paddocks there is pretty much nothing else to eat at the moment.


However, it has a beauty of it's own of course and the paddocks of Capeweed make a brilliant yellow show in the Spring sunshine.

Paddocks fully covered in Capeweed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cloven Hoof

We went walking in the bush looking for lyrebirds, we could hear them but unfortunately, we didn't see one. However, we found this wonderfully huge tree that must be several hundreds of years old

What's Been on the Menu

Here are some of the meals we've been having:
Beef Stroganof

Goulash with creamed Spinach Thai Chicken with Mango, avocado & corianderRare roast Beef with asparagus and roast potatoes B.L.T

Friday, October 10, 2008

Possum Families - Country Cousins

We have a resident brush tail possum we have named Mum who lives in her special possum box quite near the house. She usually produces 2 babies a year at 6 monthly intervals. When they are old enough she introduces them to us splayed out on her back until she can no longer stand their weight. Interesting watching her teach them what to eat....

Mum in the kitchen

Now she and her babies are what you would call 'cute' big brown eyes, healthy brown fur, luxurious tails and tall pointed ears.

There is another family that lives nearby (not sure where) who occasionally come over for a feed of seed and perhaps an apple or a pear, and we call this other family the 'rat face family'.

Nervous and baby

Not as cute as Mum, fur is more greyish, they have a shorter pointed nose and smaller greyish eyes. The head of this family we call Nervous, although she has settled down now she is a grandmother....she has introduced her daughter and now that daughter has introduced her kid.

Mum is very tame and will tap on the glass door if we haven't seen her out on the deck. She comes in side looking for a piece of fruit, maybe she can smell the fruit bowl. I am always somewhat relieved when she goes out again.....a possum loose in the house would be unadvisable.
The main male we have called King Kong. He is very large, muscular with scars on his nose and a wonky eye due no doubt to the battles they get themselves into. When they sit on their back legs they look like a fat wallaby.

You must be careful feeding them, more or less just shove the food straight into their mouth to avoid them trying to grasp it and whilst holding your fingers with their huge claws they then try to draw food and fingers into their mouth resulting in a nasty bite.

Funnily, we never feed them without our shoes on. Experience has taught Ian.....one night he went out barefooted and one of the possums latched onto his big toe...thought it looked like a tasty little sausage perhaps.

Young possum up a pole


In August and September the area around our place was awash with the reds, pinks and white of the our native Victorian emblem Epacris impressa or Common Heath. These together with the blooming of small wattles make a pastel picture worthy of any Impressionist painting.

This month October it is the turn of the parrot peas. It is actually quite difficult to tell them apart. I believe the more yellow flowered plant to be the grey parrot pea Dillwynia cinevascens .

The yellow and red is the smooth parrot pea Dillwynia glaberrima

Iwould like to encourage these plants onto our place but taking flora from the bush is definately
out......couldn't do it....wouldn't do it.
Some specialist nurseries sell these plants which are indigenous to this area, so a visit there is on the agenda.

Trip to Leo

Leongatha that is. It is an attractive little town and I like going there with Ian when he has to go there for work.

Left: Tulips in Leongatha Right: Tulips and Gazanias Main St Leongatha

There is a store there Henrietta's that I like. You can have a lunch, a coffee, a cake and then browse through their well stocked homewares..good prices too .

Left: Exterior Henriettas Right: Interior Henriettas

I had been wanting these French glasses since I saw them in France, where little cafes serve ordinary vin de pays in these extraordinary glasses, and had even searched the net. with the possibility of buying them online....found them here - inexpensive and Made in France not China.
They had other glasses with bees on them. The bee is an ancient emblem of French Royalty going back to the Merovingian times and even before that as a symbol of wisdom from the time before Solomon.

French Goblet wine glass and Bee glass. B for Beer maybe.

Where are we?

Callignee is situated in the foothills of the Strezlecki 's in Gippsland, Victoria.