Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

From our front door to yours.

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Interesting Restaurant Part 1


We went to the Robert De Niro Restaurant at the Crown Casino the other evening, and I am afraid to say , for me, it was an underwelming experience.

It serves contempory Japanese food which I must say lives up to the reputation Chef Nobu Matshisa has created...deliciously exotic.

The Food, yes the food was great, however at the risk of sounding whiney, I do not particularly enjoy "a share the plate" sort of degustation menu where you only get one slice of albeit the most beautifully delicate flavoured raw tuna you could ever imagine. You can order a personal meal but we went with the waiter's suggestion of 6 courses and a dessert.

Below: Outside Nobu from the walk along the Yarra River.

Below: Inside the restaurant. The restaurant is in the basement and therefore has a very low ceiling...could I imagine Robert de Niro walking amongst the tables smiling at the customers....No.

and the noise, I know, I know I've been in noisy restaurants before and can shout comments to my fellow diners with the best of them.....but this took noise to a whole other level. The wall of hanging river stones was intriguing.

Below: The tables do not have a table cloth and while I am sure the wood is a wonderful and rare Japanese Fir, still it is a polymer finished surface on which the food is served. This decor has met with approval in 20 or so restaurants worldwide, so I guess it is just a quirk of mine that I like a crisp white table cloth.

Below: Raw Salmon.

See Post below for more dishes.

An interesting Restaurant. Part 2



Below: Sliced Wagyu beef with a Wasabi sauce. Magnificent.

Below: One member of our party, darling B. is 7 months pregnant and so the faultless service provided that when the main meal was a raw fish meal, she was given her own serving of a cooked fish version of the dish.

Below: Blacken Cod, the most delicious fish I have ever had.

Below: Dessert for Four. Chocolate filled buns, green tea ice cream and chocolate puddings.

Next door is this restaurant which caught my eye. I could see beautiful white table clothes and the ambiance was perhaps more to my liking. I would like to visit Bistro Guillaume below.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Climbing Roses in my Garden

Two Climbing Roses that are blooming away at our place at the moment.
Below: Climbing New Dawn

Below: Dorothy Perkins

What's for dessert

Reading the Menu

I would have liked to have photographed the whole delicious meal that followed but I was too busy chatting to my darling friend T. who was in Melbourne visiting from L.A.

Managed to photograph the dessert though...no I didn't have any...too much cream for me at the moment.

What's Been on the Menu 24

Below: Seafood linguine

Below: Ian' s speciality ...Beef curry, beans, rice, yoghurt and papadoms
Below: There are no other words for it ...it's Chicken Stew

Below: Lamb cutlets crumbed with crushed hazelnuts

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's Been on the Menu 23

Chicken coated with crushed hazelnuts.

Pork chop with apple mustard sauce and gnocchi

Sausage and Salad

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Annual trip to Casa Iberica

I like to make the journey to Casa Iberica at least once a year from where ever I may be living in Victoria.

I first found this shop in the early 1980's after returning to Australia having been living in Spain for 18 months. There was a sort of longing, a homesickness for all things Spanish so where better than the Hispanic end of Johnston Street.

This fabulous shop sure tugs at the old Spanish heart strings.....paella pans, genuine tasting chorizo, cheeses, olives, prized Spanish Jamon, olive oils, paprika and of course Polvorones. Polvorones are rich, crumbly almond cakes/biscuits that are especially popular in Spain around Christmas time....these explode into airy deliciousousness in your mouth.

Oh and I nearly forgot they sell those oil soaked little fish that are a perfect tapas.....and Portugese custard tarts and Spanish pasties and pies... Oh stop it!!!

Below... Paella pans, lots of ceramics

Really the main reason I go there is for the genuine Spanish tasting Chorizo.....once tasted never forgotten. ....and of course the Jamon.
Jamon is very big in Spain with certain pigs bred for particular tastes, the most prized being fed on acorns. Jamon is like prosciutto only more flavoursome. I state this with a risk of offending Italy's ham....but please, prosciutto has it's own particular flavour of which I am also fond.

The Spanish males make the small goods, as do they cook the paella, and each has their special recipe and way of curing the Jamon.
In the picture below it is a little hard to read the writing. There is Spanish Jamon Serrano at $60.00 or $80.00 kg and Australian at $50.00kg. Their speciality Jamon Bullota at $280.00kg seems reasonable when compared to say at Prahran Market where Great Reserve Redondo Iglesias Jamon is $610.00kg.
Jamon holds a unique place in the Spanish psyche....it can be used as a minor bribe for a favour and certainly a gift for something well done.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What's been on the Menu 22

After a visit to the fish market last week I was interested in cooking fish.

The below baked snapper turned out a little dry but the fishcakes I made from the coral trout were OK. ( but no photos )

The snapper were not the usual hump back sort of snapper and I'm not sure the correct name of this species.

Below Coral Trout showing the amazing colours

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fare well Ma Poss

The Callignee home is no more....farewell.... goodbye....au revoir.

We were lucky enough to be able to stay there a few nights at the end and got to say a proper goodbye to the house and surroundings. Luckily, we even managed to bid Ma Poss farewell with a tasty pear to remember us by.

As I cleaned and gardened for the last time I was, as I thought, matter of fact and even quite cold hearted about leaving this land we loved. Right up until the very end that is, when the flood gates opened.

We will remember the wonderful times we have had here. I feel very privileged that a city girl such as I am, who has lived in many parts of the world, finally was able to have even this small experience of the culture of the Australian bush.

This blog TreeChangeCallignee will evolve into the next adventure Ian and I get ourselves into, but meanwhile I will continue to post snippets of our foodie interests, gardening pursuits and our life back in Melbourne.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's Been on the Menu 21

Roast Chicken with sweet corn and Salad (below)

Lamb Steak with Couscous (below)
Below: Fish with rice noodles, snap peas, fresh baby corn, with corinander, lemon grass and lime juice...note that there's no coconut milk. This indicates our efforts to eat less rich food.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What's for Dessert

Chocolate Pancakes with oranges, a dash of Cointreau and icecream

What's been on the Menu 20

Risotto with chicken and two sorts of mushrooms...ordinary fresh & shitake

Lamb Shanks with mashed carrot/parsnip and leek.

Roast Pork and Peas

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tree Dreaming

I wrote a Poem

I don't know why. It just came to me one day while I was at work sitting at my computer.

Now that the pressure is off about Callignee I was day dreaming (as you do) about the wonderful times we had there and this just poured out.

At first I thought it was just going to be something written down, but then the rhyme and rhythm sort of happened. Year 12 English at school many years ago must have lingered in this brain.

Tree Dreaming

I used to dream of trees and ferns and streams
A small house on a few acres, mainly green in my eyes
Far enough away from trouble and rush
To settle
To make friends with birds and native animals
To embrace the wilderness and the bush

It did happen and so beautiful
I was stopped in my tracks and had to sit
Amazed and admiring the stillness and hush
To breath
To appreciate the undisturbed tranquility
The gentle muted colours of the bush

I had to let it go in my mind
It is no longer there to marvel in awe at sounds not heard before
The fiery tongues came to crush
To destroy
To terrify with an urge so strong to flee
To create black of the surrounding bush

COH 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moving On

After an incredibly trying year of bushfires, house and employment moves I am happy to say that finally our house at Callignee is sold.

Even that wasn't without it's final upset of a weeks extension to the financial clause in the Contract of Sale, but now, yes it's SOLD.
It was the 2nd time it had been sold .....the first falling through after 2 long months due to the buyer being unable to get his finance. The house was also supposedly rented at one stage with the prospective tenants pulling out 3 days before they were due to move in. Meanwhile we had moved out all our furniture.

Did I say a trying year. Yes it's been quite a year.

There are many who perhaps think we should have stayed at Callignee and seen the return of the trees and bush. To have repaired the charred gardens, but for me it would have been torture as I no longer "love it" there....it's barren and cold where once it was green, bright and vibrant.

Just compare the vibracy between these two before and after photos.

The house does not have sloping walls, they are a result of the wide angle lens on my camera

See what I mean

I do realise many people were affected by the bushfires far greater than we were and my heart goes out to them. Their year would have been worse than ours and I do respect that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What's Blooming

This wonderful Moth Orchid was given to me early last year by my dear friend H. She will be pleased to see it blooming again after another cold old Melbourne winter.

It must like it's cosy spot at a north facing window.

Whats been on the Menu 19

We went to a birthday party for Sunday Lunch.
It's probably old hat... but I hadn't seen this edible photo printed onto a celebration cake before ...Great Idea.

The meal below we had last week...one of our stir fries but this time with Chinese mushrooms which makes all the difference

Below: Snacks on Grand Final day. Go Cats

Below: Platter at the lunchtime birthday restaurant.

Below: Lunch Al Fresco at Gipsy. Wonderful Food...The soup was divine (forgot to get a photo but I'm going back there on Friday just for the soup again)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I have noticed that Wisteria doesn't seem as popular around Hampton as it used to be....perhaps it's reputation of having a rampant personality has spread.

However there are still a few of these beauties around the neighbourhood.

This Japanese Wisteria with the longer racemes is growing on an old garage door and making a good impression.

The below is a relatively young Wisteria (only been there 2-3 years) but it too is making a strong impression along the verandah top. Note: This one is the Chinese Wisteria having the smaller racemes.

Where are we?

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