Friday, 24 November 2017

Sydney's Harbour

The hustle and bustle, car-lined streets and expense of our largest city, Sydney, is not for me but its beautiful harbour & bays, historic homes, gorgeous gardens and coastline walks made for a wonderful weekend away.

I flew down to Sydney last weekend to spend time with two of my dearest and closest friends. We explored pockets of the city together and had such fun, our laughter just like it was during our university days well over twenty years ago now. Our first day together was spent exploring the harbour. We wandered through the Botanic Gardens to Circular Quay, crossed the harbour on a ferry out to Watson's Bay and walked further on to the candy-striped Hornby Lighthouse at South Head. Takeaway fish and chips, from the famous Doyles restaurant, back on the beach, made for delicious end to that circuit. We sailed back across the harbour again windswept and happy!

While I managed to lose many of the photos from this first day, a few survived or were sent by my beautiful friends. I would have loved to have shown you some of the interesting plants growing in the Botanic Gardens, Harry's Cafe de Wheels (which I first walked past with my then new husband while on our honeymoon), and the close up shot I took of the tiles on the Opera House but they've disappeared ... perhaps they are at the bottom of the harbour! Here's just a glimpse then of the scenery and the history around a little of Sydney's Harbour:

 Our iconic & distinctive Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sandstone along Sydney Harbour foreshore.

We three close friends posing at Mrs. Macquarie's Chair.

 Camp Cove from the Watson's Bay Walk.

 The red and white stripes of the Hornby Lighthouse.

 A little bit of history above the door.

 The lighthouse keeper's little cottage. 

An historic gun emplacement atop South Head.

A long ago date on one of the gun emplacements.

 A wide and blustery entrance to a very beautiful harbour.

While we spent much of this first day exploring Sydney's beautiful harbour, we spent the second one indulging in a rather fancy high tea at a historic Sydney home. I'll show you those photos next time.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Beautiful Baked Ricotta Slice

On the weekend, I bought two tubs of discounted and delicious biodynamic ricotta, made with creamy milk from the cows that graze on the lush green grasses of "home". This fresh, soft cheese is produced by a family-owned dairy, in a little town called Millaa Millaa on the Atherton Tablelands, a shortish drive from where I grew up and from where my Mum still lives. I think what I really bought, besides two tubs of ricotta, were memories!

One of those tubs of ricotta, save for a small amount leftover, became this beautiful baked slice. It has a crumbly base, a creamy filling that's not too sweet, the sharpness of raspberries or sweet bursts of dark chocolate chips and then an extra crumble on top! All made in next to no time in a food processor. Simple!

A sublime slice!

The recipe belongs to Linda, from her inspiring blog, The Witches Kitchen. It's one of the many delicious recipes featured on her blog that really champions fresh, wholesome food. All I did was substitute raspberries for blueberries, coconut sugar for brown sugar. I also experimented with some dark chocolate chips in half of the topping. Here's how it came together in my own kitchen:

 A simple baked base of wholemeal spelt flour, coconut sugar and butter. 
All whizzed up & baked while the creamy topping is made.

Blended ricotta, yoghurt, eggs, lemon juice & coconut sugar forms the creamy topping.
Almost cheesecake!

Little dark chocolate chips & tangy frozen raspberries ...
... dotted into the creamy topping.

Sprinkle crumble (reserved mixture from the base) over the top before baking. 
Next time, I plan on adding some coconut!

Bake & leave in the tin to cool.
 Cut into squares & refrigerate in air-tight container...after you've sampled a piece!

This sublime slice is crumbly and creamy and cheesecake-y. The perfect way to use up some of that beautiful ricotta. It's lovely ... like a little slice of home!


Monday, 13 November 2017

Here & Now 17

Our days here of late have been punctuated by showers and the odd thunderstorm; all bringing beautiful rain. The soil is moist to a decent depth and the water tanks are full, ready for the hot Summer weather that I'm sure will come. For now, I am relishing these milder days, overcast skies and the lush growth and blossoming in the garden after rain. 

A little pink puffball on Bees Ruby (Armeria).

 Simple & sweet homemade shortbread.

A vintage doily sewn onto a re-purposed bag

My favourite grevillea in bloom.

Loving //  All the native flowers that are out in bloom now. Grevilleas are a favourite!

Eating //  Our own crunchy  cucumbers. So fresh!  Homemade shortbread too. So yummy!

Drinking //  Lots & lots of water!

Feeling //  Content after a day working in our garden.

Making //  Simple things like wrap skirts & little  bags with lovely fabrics & vintage linens.

Thinking //  How wonderful this cool & rainy weather is!

Dreaming //  Of  being in Sydney soon with two of my oldest & closest friends.  

Sarah, over at Say, Little Hen, hosts this lovely little link-up beginning on the 10th of each month. Whenever I see each of her new Here & Now posts, I find myself wondering how it's been a whole month since the last one. It seems time flies!

I hope the early days of your November has been a happy ones.