Feb-ru-ray, the first ten days but no cake

I’ve got four days left at my current job before I embark on a big change and go off to be an accountant. I’ve made three cakes to farewell others in the last 10 days and I’ll be making another one tomorrow night for one of the guys who is posting out on Wednesday. All those cakes will be in another post shortly…

Kings Beach

 

On Saturday I went up the coast. After having my farewell party the night before. I was very good and only had four drinks all night. One of those was a frozen apple pie cocktail. That was divine  Just like drinking an apple pie. So, so, so good.  Saturday was not classic beach weather but the water was nice and the waves were quite decent. An old Woodfordia friend was having a vintage garage sale on Saturday -> thus the reason for the trip up the coast. I picked up the most divine Osti shirt dress. So, so divine and just the loveliest colours. A photo may appear at some stage.

Last drinks with Chan

 

Going back to the day before, Friday. Friday marked Chan’s last day working for the company and it marked a week left for me with the company before I change jobs as well. Big things abound for the both of us this year. We’ve been desk buddies etc for the last 18mths 🙁 We met up for one last coffee at Pour Boy, the best coffee consistently in our end of town.

Taking the first box home

 

I took my first box of stuff home the other day. That’s the first time it really hit me that I’m changing jobs. Nothing says change like packing up five years of your work life and then walking out the door with an archive box filled to the brim. I’ll bring another box home tomorrow and that should be just about everything I think.

Pantone 7689

 

I’ve got my eye set on a few events later this year which mean I need to get my fitness back to a pre-uni and pre-flood level. I moved away from Asics GT 2100 series that I’ve lived in for the past x years and picked up a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 9. OMG, I enjoyed my Asics but these shoes are like playing in a whole new ballpark. They’re light, just the right bounce and by darn they are blue.

Mock Orange carpet

 

Just like almost every other house in SQLD, the  mock oranges have flowered and then of course it rained so off came all the petals. Will have to give the patio a very big clean on the weekend as those petals almost bake onto to the tiles. Fun times. People keep commenting on the scent when they visit but I smell nothing 🙁

Chocolate Nachos

 

Chan finally had dinner at Catcus Jack’s after hearing the rest of us at work rave about it for for the past few years. Chocolate Nachos, so, so, so good. One time we will go to Cactus Jack’s and have dessert first I think.

North Burleigh Beach

 

Last Sunday, I finally got my beach wish for the summer. Blue skies, great weather, open beaches, perfect water temperature and darn decent waves. I’ve tried a couple of times this summer to go to the beach but every time I’ve been thwarted by crap weather, closed beaches or last minute plan changes. The girls at work near on couldn’t believe it that I finally got my beach day.

Ladies

 

Just loved this detail on the Ladies change rooms at North Burleigh.

Strawberrry Jam

 

I picked up a tray of strawbs at the start of the month for $9. Hello strawberry jam!

Strawberry jam, testing for set.

 

Strawberry jam, cooling so I can test it for set.

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Strawberries, sugar and lemon juice waiting to become jam.

Washing Jars

 

Glass jars all washed and waiting to go in the oven before they get filled.

Walking with the walking foot

 

And one last picture for this lot. A snipped of one of the baby quilts I’m making at the moment 🙂 Just love that May Gibbs fabric.

There we have. The first ten days or so of Feb-ru-ary in photos.

The Hippeastrums say hello

 

Hippeastrums

Well I must say I hadn’t planned on it to be over two months between posts but such it is.

In that time uni has been well uni. It’s my last semester and and the two subjects I’m doing are ones that require a lot of brain wrangling.

Textbook pages a flutter

 

I had a birthday. I’m now 27. Gosh, it’s hard to think that this time ten years ago  I was busy decorating my formal dress, having fun and looking forward the two and a half months I was having going round the world instead of going to schoolies.

Tim tam pikelet stack

 

The girls at work made my desk into a “winter wonderland” aka filling my drawers and covering my desk with very finely shredded paper and then wrapping it all up in bubble wrap and presenting the above tim-tam wrapped berry and cream pikelet stack to me as my cake.


Bubble wrapped

Mum sent me a bunch of flowers to work which was very nice.

Birthday blooms from Mum

My birthday presents to myself was a tablet (Google Nexus 7) which I love and would be more handy that I imagined in the past few weeks, a pair of new shoes and nose surgery.

Nexus 7

These are my shoes. They’re silver. Oh so pretty. Oh so comfy. They Spin in silver from Ecco.

Shoes, Silver Shoes.

 

For the last couple of years I’ve pumped drugs up nose on and off in a bid to clear it. I’ve not really smelt or tasted things very well. One reason, why I’m always slightly paranoid about people’s response to the food that I make; does it taste ok? That all came to head earlier this year when I got sinus pain whilst flying. A change of nose drugs didn’t really do much so it was time to consider other options. I had a septoplasty and turbinectomy at the start of the uni mid-semester break.

Gosh, I’m still in recovery and if it wasn’t for those who I’ve spoken to who’ve had the the surgery previously I would seriously be questioning why I undertook it. Imagine a tap on your nose that you can’t turn off and splurts out rubbish down your nasal passage and your throat all day long.   I work in the medical field, I’ve seen, read and heard enough gory surgical tales that 99.9% of it is water off my back. Facial surgery though is that .1% that makes me go argh. I do though get a kick out of the fact though that I can now say I’ve legally used cocaine.  Yep, it’s commonly used during nasal surgery as a local anesthetic.

Roses from work in a Figgjo Flint Lotte jug

Work sent me these lovely pink roses (I can sort of smell them) and no, they didn’t see the irony in sending me roses as they came from head office and not my office. We got a laugh out of it though. I also finally picked up the Figgjo Flint Lotte water jug that I’ve had my eye on for some time.

 

Bed time

Now it’s time to have a little nap before I venture off to uni this afternoon. I’m not using four pillows anymore but am down to two pillows. The blanket came from the farm, the pillow and sæng cover are from Ikea, love those dots.

And here is another photo from the garden to sign off with. I’m so happy it’s finally raining! Not only to settle the dust so it doesn’t irritate my nose but to water the garden and to give the tank a good fill. Not sure about you but my water tank has been empty for almost two months. A Pale-headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus) enjoying the Grevillea.

Lorikeet

Country Bakery Slices

After leaving Millmerran it was onto Goondiwindi where I had my first country bakery slice of the trip. The best thing about country bakery slices? The price. $2.50 in Goondiwindi, $2.20 in Narrabri, $2.30 in Gunnedah, $2.70 in Glen Innes. You’re hard pressed getting change from $5 if you want slice in Brisbane regardless if it is from an old school bakery or a cafe. The next best thing about country bakery slices? The variety! and the interpations of classic slices that leave your head spinning in a good way from the sugar overload. Oh I spent some time pondering the choices!

My go to slice is caramel slice. Some people judge a bakery by the quality of the vanilla slice. I judge it by the caramel slice. I’ve had a lot of caramel slice over the years and the two key criteria for a caramel slice is a base with some crunch and flavour in it (desiccated coconut is good here) and the caramel needs to be just the right colour and taste. Not cooked enough and it tastes like sugar and nothing else on the other end of the caramel scale if the caramel is burnt then it just tastes darn awful. In saying all that I don’t recall ever making caramel slice, probably because I know very well that if I was to make caramel slice, it wouldn’t last very long in the container as it would be down my gob pretty quickly.

In Goodniwindi I was tempted by the caramel slice, I was also tempted by the apple slice but then I saw the holy grail. Peppermint slice! Oh sweet peppermint essence. I don’t see many peppermint slices round the bakery traps any  more and I would much rather see peppermint slices than cherry ripe slices.

This was the peppermint slice in Gundy. Just look at it! It’s on a mud cake base!!! The peppermint filling is tinted green!! All up a pretty good slice as I felt sick and overloaded on peppermint at the end of the slice.

Goondiwindi Slice

The next two slices came from Watson’s Kitchen in Narrabri. I thought this slice was a lemon meringue slice (how good would that be?), it was actually an egg custard slice with a cream icing. I wasn’t sold on this slice but for $2.20 I wasn’t complaining.

Narrabri Slice

The next slice to come from Watson’s was the beauty below. Oh hello caramel slice! On the caramel slice score ladder this was given an 8.6/10. It had a good thick layer of chocolate. The caramel was just right in flavour but the caramel should have been thicker. The base was a pretty good base but could have done with more coconut in it. On the score ladder if the caramel was 5mm thicker it would have jumped to a 9.5/

Narrabri Slice

 

The next slice was in Gunnedah. I didn’t take a photo. The caramel slice  in Gunnedah didn’t deserve a photo.  The caramel was very burnt, so much so that I thought it might have meant to be a burnt treacle caramel slice. It received a 2/10. It was only redeemed by the nice base it had – nice and crunchy. I was tempted to get another slice from a different bakery on main street in Gunnedah but decided not to increase the sugar levels too much.

The last slice of the trip was in Glen Innes at Smeatons Bakery.  I didn’t like the look of the caramel slice and was in a bit of a dilemma over getting peppermint slice again or getting their Mars bar slice.  As you can see from below I got the peppermint slice and it was pure traditional peppermint slice – yum, yum, yum. I would have liked the base a little thinner and a bit more peppermint filling but it was still yum, yum, yum. Now, let me tell you about their Mars bar slice. I kid you not the slice measured at least 8cm tall! It was a Mars bar slice on steroids, it wasn’t the usual Mars bar slice, it had a  chocolate cake base!!! Yes, it was a chocolate mud cake base, topped with Mars bar rice bubble goodness and topped with a layer of chocolate. Next time I’m going through Glen Innes I’ll be trying the Mars bar slice.

Glen Innes Slice

Five days, five slices, four photos, a whole lot of sugar.

 

A trip to the farm

I went to The Farm on Sunday and  I came back with a boot load of delicious goods and plenty of splinters in my hands (one day, I will actually remember to wear gloves whilst sorting through the macadamia leaves seeking out the nuts). I returned with oranges (Navels and Valencias), mandarins, bush (macadamia) nuts, a pumpkin and some flowers.

I was a little late picking up the bush nuts this year, mostly due to Uni commitments and also in part I guess to not wanting to go to The Farm as I wasn’t sure what my emotions  would be, particularly as a lot of my memories of Grandad in the recent years have been around macadamia harvesting process. I got three boxes full of bush nuts. I husked the two smaller boxes this afternoon and have the large box to go. I should end up with a bit more than a milk crate worth of bush nuts in their shells. Then they will go into the deep freeze for a couple of  months before I start shelling them. Whilst the bush nuts waited for me, the mandarin tree didn’t and I only got a very small box of mandarins. I won’t have enough mandarins to make any more mandarin jam 🙁 🙁 I’ll have to be conservative with the mandarin jam till next year. I did however get plenty of oranges 🙂 which means there will be plenty of orange cakes, eating oranges and who knows what else.  I’ve already got a bottle of orange extract steeping in the cupboard and I’m most certainly getting my daily vitamin C intake at the moment 🙂

Semester 1, finished.

My life from the last post until this past Tuesday has looked like this.

Books, paper, pens etc covering the study desk kitchen table. It’s been a tough semester as I’ve juggled the renovations, upheavals at work, another death in the family and life whilst doing my two subjects. It’s been fun 🙂 and now I have just two subjects to go 😀

However, I had my last exam for the semester on Tuesday 🙂 🙂 🙂 and it also meant that the group of us four girls who all started together last year is now down to two, as S finished mid-year. The four of us grouped together again on Tuesday after the exam for a  lunch celebration at Vapiano.

I had a Caprese pizza, it was 210 times delish. It was at least three times as good as the spinach and ricotta pizza I had at  Giardinetto’s on Friday night with the girls ladies (when I was the youngest by almost 20 years, I don’t think girls is the correct word) from work.

Keeping on the food theme, a random assortment of food photos from my phone.

Mushroom risotto. I ♥ mushroom risotto.

 

Vegetable minestrone soup with a good dash of Pimentón Dulce. So so so so good.

 

Possibly one of my favourite quick dinners. Spaghetti with carrot and zucchini. You cook the spaghetti and just before the spaghetti is cooked, you add in the zucchini and carrot which has been julienned with a  julienne peeler. Once the they are all cooked, drain, drizzle with a some olive oil and top with a good crack of pepper and some ricotta (props if you “make” it yourself). Eat.

How cute is this Siamese mushroom I got in my Food Connect box the other week?

 

To finish it off. Some avocados of the ornamental variety…. I spotted these at WAC yesterday and just had to take a photo.

The goings-on

Well.

Hanging out with Nemo lots of Clownfish  at Reef HQ.

I went up to Townsville last week for work and I had planned on putting a few posts up on the nights that I didn’t catch up with dear Townsville friends but that didn’t happen did it! I was so tired on those other nights that I managed a little bit of study (yep, took just near 5kg of uni books with me) and then it was straight to bed. So here I am a week since I got home from Townsville and I’m finally sitting down to type.

Apart from uni work, the other reason for the radio silence has been this.

The house is getting painted at the moment and repairs are about to start to the ceilings in this room and the kitchen. Once that is all done then the floor sander will start and then when he done it will be the laying of new carpets in the bedrooms. My vacuum cleaner is getting quite a work out and I’m forever dusting it seems. The house is going to look a treat when it is all done.

Back to Townsville though. Townsville was lovely.

I was staying in the Sugar Shaker so the views were very nice.

Looking towards Castle Hill and work.

I had a dip a few times in the roof top pool, I always had it to myself which was also quite nice.

I was picked up from work on Friday by Sam and then it was back to her house for a weekend of lazy fun in the ‘ville. BBQ next door on Friday night, Reef HQ and Herveys Range on Saturday with girls night out at Cactus Jacks on Saturday night, markets on Sunday and then flying back to Brisbane on the same plane as Bob Katter on Sunday.

Sam at Reef HQ.

Nemo.

The Seahorses were very cute.

These upside down jellyfish were very pretty as well.

As was this fish.

The chocolate nachos as Cactus Jack’s were as always fantastic.  They are soooooo good.

Thumbs up from Townsville.