Okay, settle in guys, we have a lot to get through this week…
The Ruby Announcement
Remember a few weeks ago when I said I had some news that I couldn’t wait to tell you about? It was this: “Happy Ever After” is a finalist in the Romantic Book of The Year Awards. Even though I honestly don’t believe that my little book and I have a chance of winning, to be placed in the final 3 is something I didn’t think could happen and I couldn’t be more chuffed.
It was also a thrill to see my cover as the feature pic for the article about the RUBY announcements in the publishing trade newsletter…on the same page as Trent Dalton. There you go. Speaking of which, I still haven’t read that book…
My oh my it’s been a cracker of a week weather wise here on the Sunshine Coast. Just glorious. The days have been around the low to mid 20’s and the ocean temperature is still at around 22. Now, that’s what I call winter done well.
In the interests of attempting to move more I’ve been doubling up on the walks this week and heading out at lunchtime with @adventurespaniel to wander the neighbourhood. That means podcasts and this week, in addition to catching up on Margie Nomura’s Desert Island Dishes, I’ve also been listening to Jay Rayner’s “Out To Lunch” and Giles and Esther Coren’s “Giles Coren Has No Idea” – which is pretty much them chatting about what he’s going to write in his column that week and where the ideas come from.
Although I so a 5km walk most mornings before work, my job is a sedentary one and because I work from home there is little accidental movement. As a result, I rarely get to my 10,000 steps a day. Part of my goal for July though is to average 10,000 steps over the course of the month. This week, with the help of the extra walks at lunchtime and a couple after work, I exceeded my 70k goal.
Almost Dry in July
Well, definitely much dryer than usual in July. Two weeks down and I’m not reaching for my usual glass (or more) of wine between Monday and Thursday.
Massive congratulations to my niece (and birthday twin) who was competing with NSW Country in the U18 National Schoolgirls Rugby Union Championships. After three days of competition they got pipped in the final by NSW City. Well done girls!
Of course. This week, just to mix things up, we took a different route on Friday morning and watched the sun come up over the ocean at Kawana Beach.
I knocked off 30 minutes early on Thursday so @adventurespaniel, Sarah and I could catch a sunset. As sunsets go it wasn’t a particularly spectacular one, and because it’s still school holidays the beach was mobbed, but any sunset seen is, in my opinion, a good one.
Is that a doggy grin or is that a doggy grin?
I love unexpected catch-ups so it was great to beet up with a friend and ex-colleague on Friday afternoon. Special enough, in fact, to use the last of the mandarins in another batch of these muffins.
Don’t worry, mandies were $2.50 for a huge bag at the markets yesterday so maybe the next batch will make it into the freezer.
If you’re ever on the Sunshine Coast a visit to the famous Eumundi Market in the hinterland is an absolute don’t miss must do.
It’s a really lovely town to visit away from market day as well. We were up there last Sunday for lunch at the Imperial Hotel, but while I managed a sneaky look in Berkeleow’s Books and snaffled a couple of pairs of boots at The Emporium most of the other shops were closed.
Grant and I dropped by again on Friday and spent ages in Bees And Honey learning all about, well, bees and honey. I now have plans for him to make me a little native bee house – naturally he’s not fully across those plans just yet.
We’ve been buying raw honey direct from producers since we moved up here and continue to be amazed at how much better and deeper the taste is when compared to what’s available in supermarkets.
The Imperial Hotel is a great spot for lunch (we shared a pizza between us) – especially sitting out in the beer garden on a sunny winter day. I love all the art in the pub too.
In my quest to cook my way through Nigella’s “How To Eat” I’m up to making bread. The recipe in that book, however, calls for live yeast which I haven’t yet been able to source (note to self: ask my local baker) so instead I made these dinner rolls from her “Feast” book.
I think that counts. We had them for lunch on Saturday with some lentil and vegetable soup from the freezer. If you’re interested, the recipe is here.
Saturday Night Kitchen
This week in the kitchen was French-themed in view of Le Quatorze Juillet, or Bastille Day. On the menu was a salmon pate I made with a bag of smoked salmon offcuts that the lady at the market sells. She vacuum packs the offcuts from her larger packages of home smoked salmon and trout and sells them for just a couple of dollars. It’s a perfect size for a pate like this. To make the pate I combined the salmon with about 100g of light cream cheese, the same amount of crème fraiche, a little horseradish, and the juice and zest of ½ a lemon. Normally I’d also chop up some dill but Sarah doesn’t like it. Anyways, we served this with some veggie crudites.
Our main dish was Braised Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar and Tarragon that we had with mash and green beans. It’s a creamy sauce, so absolutely only for a planned cheat night, but the vinegar and tarragon cuts through the creaminess.
I didn’t take any photos, but of course it looked just like the book said it would. Truly.
I had a go at making my own rough puff pastry for a Tarte Tatin, but we decided to save that for Sunday night. I used this recipe for the caramel and apple bit, but I used puff pastry instead of shortcrust. I didn’t try it, but Sarah and Grant seemed impressed.
Instead of our usual Sunday lunch excursion this week we went for a picnic to the Botanical Gardens not far up the road.
I’d bought a huge beetroot at the markets yesterday, added a tin of chickpeas, a splurge of tahini and a squirt of lemon juice, threw it all in the food processor and the outcome was a gorgeously pink beetroot hummus. We had some lebanese bread in the freezer so Grant cut it into pieces, sprinkled over some sumac and baked it in the oven to use as crackers for the dip.
I also made a terrine – just how pretty does it look? Also in our esky was some local cheese that we bought at the markets yesterday, some oven baked chicken wings, the leftover dinner rolls and some salad and out we went.
Although cold outside, it was a glorious blue sunny day.
Please bear with me…
I’m working on my sadly neglected author site at present and transferring across to here any travel or foodie posts. While I’ll be back-dating the post date to when they were originally posted, those of you who follow the blog by email may get additional emails. If that’s the case, I apologise, but please bear with me for another couple of weeks.
In case you missed it…
- My post about the RUBY announcement
- Something about my quest to divest myself of some excess baggage, and finally,
- I joined in with Sue and Deb for Journalling in July – Week 2
Okay, that was my week…how was yours?