Long time between posts. It's been a busy week with Easter commitments. Firstly, on the renovation progress, we have Gravel (also known as aggregate). 


They've built a platform in roughly the shape of the extension, and will start digging the basement room (Mr AV's office) late this week. There's not going to be much exciting progress for the next 4-5 weeks, as the basement needs to be done first, then the main floor slab will be poured. After that we should see the walls go up pretty quickly. 

Some of my attractive food styling. The magazines will be knocking on my door

Lots of social engagements with my children's School and Kindergarten took up the latter part of the week and kept me busy including an Easter bonnet parade, Easter craft and egg hunt. Good Friday was a lovely, quiet day at home that started with Croissants and Strawberry Jam. I then spent 4 hours in the garden with my three enthusiastic, but unskilled helpers. The garden, despite being fairly small at the moment, has been rather neglected from the incessant heat over the past two months - it's just not fun to garden when it's 30 plus C every day. I did a huge tidy up weeding and pruning like a woman possessed, but it still has a long way to go and currently looks disappointingly messy.

Saturday we had lunch with my in-laws at their house, and I was in charge of dessert. I decided to make a Pavlova, and used my thermomix to do it. I followed a recipe from a fantastic cookbook lent to me by lovely client and blog reader L. (I need to get the books back to you L!), and it looked perfect when I turned the oven off on Friday night and left it in the oven to dry out overnight. Sadly, when I retrieved it the next morning it looked like this.


flat Pav

The culprit is my crappy oven. Lets just say that a $500 oven will challenge your cooking abilities. Unfortunately the oven that came with the existing kitchen didn't work, so I bought the cheapest one that I could find as a temporary (2.5 year) stand in, which was at Bunnings (Hardware store). It's ok, but clearly it's not up to a Pavlova - it trapped the moisture in and made the Pav soggy.

crushed meringue

+ cream and berries and zest

= Eton Mess

So, I did what you have to do in these situation, and turned it into Eton Mess  - crush up the meringue and combine it with whipped cream, berries and lime zest (I add the zest to cut through the sweetness) at the last minute. Yum. 


Sunday we went up to my Dad's house for Lunch. Stirling often feels like another world away up in the hills... as we went up the freeway, the mist descended and it started to rain. The temperature dropped to around 15 degrees. It really felt very Autumnal. Leaves were starting to turn, and the smell of damp, mossy earth after such a long parched Summer filled the air.

Maple on one of the paths


the barn

I really felt like there was a hole without my Mum there too. At Christmas there were so many people for lunch and the children were so excited that there was a lot of distraction, but a smaller lunch made her absence felt. It was a difficult day for me. But the children had a lovely time, with a clued Easter Egg hunt that had them running all over the garden searching for the chocolate eggs.

E's version of camouflage 

And this is the week of a ban on chocolate for the children.... we have discovered that our 2 year old has the very same chocaholic tendencies as his father. Being woken four times in the night on both Saturday and Sunday night by a semi asleep toddler demanding chocolate suggests he's really developed a taste for it..... 

Hope you had a lovely Easter. xx

20 comments:

  1. I love your parents garden and that is so sad about missing your Mummy.

    Awful.

    My kid was pushing me into the kitchen and saying "chocolate"! so I had to hide it.

    Good work with the pav resusitation x

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    1. The pav ended up being a triumph and was very tasty.

      The 2 year old also was caught climbing up a stool he had fetched to get to the top shelf where I'd put the chocolate. It was serious addict-like behaviour!!
      Thank you re mum, was a hard weekend. xx

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  2. Oh that lunch must have been hard. The first Easter, the first Christmas, they leave such a horrible awareness of something rather large missing. I do feel for you Heidi. On a brighter note, it is wonderful that you have other family around and are now close enough to the hills to pop up to see their gorgeousness whenever you like. xx

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    1. Thank you Virginia. I'm so glad we moved home to be closer to family, and it's always nice to go for a mini break in Stirling, especially as it feels worlds away, rather than a 15 minute drive. Hope you had a good Easter xx

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  3. Haha! Your youngest child's chocolate addiction made me chuckle. My youngest is a total chocolate fiend too, will do almost anything for it! By 9:30 on Easter morning he was a feral sugared-up beast!

    Well done on salvaging the Pav. Eton Mess is so yummy... We prefer it to a Pav I our house.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I can't imagine how hard it must be.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very hard to moderate the chocolate intake of the children.... both sets of grandparent's gave large quantities, plus of course there was a reasonable amount from the Easter Bunny.... he kept asking to sleep with his chocolate rabbit and promised me that he wouldn't eat it! Thanks for your kind words re mum. xx

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  4. Sorry to hear the pav didn't work, but very resourceful Heidi with the eton mess! No rush with the books we are heading off to Spain in a couple of weeks so will catch up after that if that is ok. Anniversaries and those special times that mean "family" are some of the hardest when we have lost someone we love so much. I think that is how grief goes - one minute we are managing with our feelings just at the back of our mind then the next thing we are faced with those feelings right in our face again! It certainly is hard grieving for someone we love. Thoughts are with you xx

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi L, I think you're right.... it takes a long time to rearrange the way your family interacts when someone is gone. Mum was always the chief organiser/ cook ot family gatherings, so I really notice that she is not there fussing over the children, and all of us.
      Spain! How exciting! I'll look forward to hearing all about it upon your return. I am trying very hard not to mess up your recipe books.... I tend to splatter mine with all sorts of things, so I've been keeping yours on the other side of the kitchen and running over to read the recipe as needed so that there's no danger of food stains!! I've made a couple of other things that were also very good as well so thank you again! xx

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  5. Must have been so hard without your Mum - family times seem to really reinforce loss. I am sorry.

    I had a child that snuck so much chocolate pre-bed Sunday night that she was sick! Needless to say it is all locked away in the "lolly cupboard" for rationing only.

    Take care.

    xx

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    1. My sister had a sick 2 year old on her hands too. They don't seem to have a natural off button do they?! And there's nothing like the easy clean up of chocolate when it's come back up! Hope your Monday was a little less of a sugary high xx

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  6. Your eton mess looks rather good and I love croissants so much that even that plate looks yummy, especially the jam blob!

    At least the works are coming along nicely - slowly but surely.

    The countryside does look beautiful.

    I am sorry to hear about missing your mum...
    I was actually thinking your pics looked quite solemn and quiet and I think it must have come through. It is just one of those things that are quite tough and not much can be said or done but the passing of time. My first xmas without my father was probably one of the worst times - not in a crazy dramatic way but hard anyway. Thoughts are you with you x

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    1. Ha! You're kind about my lack of food styling. I felt it was a plus that I'd actually thought to take a photo... I tend to forget and then am scratching around for images to attach to a post.
      That's interesting you thought the photos were solemn. It's very peaceful in the garden up there, and is a reflective place I suppose. It was also reasonably gloomy most of the day, so that probably did match my mood as well. xx

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  7. Love Eton mess! And I tend to have the same difficulty with my meringues, so... (Although even with a poor oven I've started having more success drying the meringue out slower... Lower temperature and longer drying time) my boys are chocoholics too - take after their mother. Bisous!

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    1. I'm not sure a lower temp would make the meringue work in my oven, although I may give it a try. It's so bad that water drips out of the bottom of the door when I'm slow cooking something!! Hope you had a lovely Easter Liene, with plenty of chocolate! xx

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  8. oh your father's house is just gorgeous..I know I've said it before and do I see a gravel a driveway ?.

    Who knows if Autumn will ever come to Sydney but it has become slightly cooler, I've had enough of humidity an dheat for one year though being near the sea I do get the breezes( when they come)

    I know what you mean about missing your mother.. me too

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    1. Yes, very long windy gravel driveway. We always think it's like Mandalay in "Rebecca" with the long windy drive approaching the house... there are also a lot of Rhododendrons in the garden to make it even closer to the book. No Mrs Danvers though, thank goodness!
      Agree with you re the heat. It seems each hemisphere has had an extreme for the past 6 months - the Northern wish for Spring, and we in the Southern are wishing for Autumn and cooler weather.
      Sorry about your mum. I think these family times make it all the harder don't they. xx

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  9. Aggregate....already! Your reno seems to be going swimmingly.....mine always seem to drag and throw up monumental obstacles, but then again I am a self taught novice! We went easy on the chocolate this easter especially as I'm 5 weeks without sugar yet am desperately craving it more now than when I started....bought myself a teeny, tiny bar of sugar free dark chocolate sweetened with stevia (apparently maltitol which is more commonly used is horrendously toxic) and when I was coerced into giving the children a taste (cruel to have to share) they declared it was just like Lindt! Sorry Easter felt so empty without your mum, I'm always a tad twitchy at Easter anyway as it has such overwhelmingly sad overtones of death and loss yet of course Jesus was resurrected....my five year old hasn't been concentrating at school and keeps telling us that Jesus died so that everybody can come back to life, it seemed a shame to correct him. Hope it has passed and you have regained your equilibrium. Heard from 'Gourmet Traveller' yet?! Rx

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    1. We're only 2 weeks in, so give it time and I'm sure I'll be complaining about something. It's supposed to take 8 months, but every now and again my builder says something about Christmas and I start saying "la la la, I can't hear you". Better not be anytime close to Christmas!!
      That's interesting you're craving sugar more now than at first... I found the first week the hardest, then was ok after that. You did well to only eat one of those little bars of chocolate. If I start, I can't stop (so I don't start!).
      I find Easter difficult to discuss with the children too, not as simple as celebrating the birth of a baby. Last year I had one of those interesting conversations around the dinner table after the children came home from school, having had a talk from the school chaplain about what Easter was really about - they had interpreted the talk in a very strange way. My husband was away for the night so I had the great pleasure of trying to explain the whole thing on my own without freaking them out.
      No calls from Gourmet Traveller yet.... and I am expecting a phone call from Vogue Living any day now when they discover the photo I once put up featuring a stray child's sock in the corner of the frame! xx

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  10. E looks very cute! First's after the death of a loved on are the worst!

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  11. Don't worry about splattering anything on the books. Always plenty of stains on mine. Just put a mark on any you like so I can try them out on my return!!

    ReplyDelete

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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