January 9, 2014

Daring to Dream...


Intense and exciting discussion with my daughter yesterday. Wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and feeling renewed from her recent travels, she's in the job market.

I've noticed how much she says she enjoyed frequenting little teahouses in England and how often she said she thought of me over there when sipping tea from quaint enticing little cottages. Not to mention some beautiful china pieces she brought home. Hmmmm.

I came right out and asked her yesterday. Would you like to start a 'teahouse' with me in the valley? Her eyes lit up. She does. We spent hours chatting away with all the possibilities. She jumped right on the net and started looking for quaint Queenslander-style houses. They're around! They exist. We just need to find THE one.

We'd be open for the weekend only - I'd cook during the week. She'd be waitress, decorator, helper. Her boyfriend (also in the job market) can be barista and general maintenance guy. He used to make coffee at Max Brenner. We'd use one of the rooms as a gallery with Nicka's work. She can go ballistic with making greeting cards, postcards, calendars, framed pics......and so on. As for my menu - I won't even begin. Haha.

Inception stage at the moment.....we do need Hubby's approval.  When we're feeling slightly more armed with info - we'll pounce on him. Cross your fingers for us please...........x


January 2, 2014

Precious Pressie


How lucky do I feel?

My precious daughter brought home this precious tea set from Whitby in England. Sounds like it activated the stress scale quite a bit with having to make it home in one piece.

Make it home in one piece it did. It was the grand finale pressie for me on xmas day. As I lifted the lid off the beautifully packaged gold box, a piece of immaculate history stared back at me.

It's in extraordinary condition; I couldn't find a blemish. I'm told it was made sometime during the Edwardian Era making it over 100 years old.

I hold it, steadily, very steadily, and I imagine it was made before WW1 started, before the sinking of the Titanic and I wonder if this cups kind were served on the Titanic. Who knows?

And so a new chapter begins here with me in Australia. Will it ever be used - hmmm - I'm weary at this stage, but hopefully I'll muster the courage to use sip from it one day. I must!

Feeling fortunate.
Thank you darling daughter.
Love Mother x





December 13, 2013

A Christmas Filled with Meaning and Mousse.


Here's the link to my recipe - December issue in the paper - it's delicious.
White Chocolate Mousse & Rum 'n Raisin Chocolate Mousse

I probably won't blog again before Christmas. Like everyone, not enough done, lots to do, time is short.

So if you flit by, I'd like to wish you a - not a 'merry' christmas really - but a thoughtful one, with loads of appreciation and gratitude for the people you love and who love you.

A Christmas with laughs and memories, of people both present and passed. And pets too. We always bring up our long ago gone to doggy heaven "Rosie".

We all have 'heirloom' decorations that each of us has to put on the tree ourselves. I put up a cross for my Dad and a 'wreath' decoration for all the pets we've had. I'm so glad I started that tradition - it makes everyone feel connected.

I made a Christmas Day Menu for my lot and emailing it to them has left a smile on my face. I hadn't done that before - I hope it gets their juices flowing and makes them look forward to Christmas even more. And makes them gasp at all their mother does!! Truth is, I do more than is even listed and pictured too - but I love it and I don't get into a tizz with the pressure of it all. Wish I could say that's always been the case, but, sadly - it has got to me a few times. Happy to report, those days are over!!

And yes, mousse is on the menu!

I hope you have a meaningful Christmas.
Mariana x





December 9, 2013

Crazy or Angel...

This ham was the star of the show at our recent Friends of Numinbah Valley Xmas Party.
My glaze included fresh orange juice, brown sugar, mustard and the big secret!
My home-made orange & cumquat marmalade - Yummo!


Also made a huge Vegetarian Lasagne

Roasted Beetroot in dressing

Pan seared & roasted Mini Lamb Leg served with Roasted Capsicum Relish
on a bed of green lettuce with my tangy vinaigrette

What a great day -
happy, laughing faces, wonderful food, playing Bocce on the freshly mown grass.

People surrounded the dessert table ready and waiting to dive in - so -
 unfortunately no pics of  my

Home-made Mango Cheesecake

Rum 'n Raisin Mousse with freshly whipped cream & grated chocolate

Choc-Marble Sponge Cake brushed with Tia Maria Liqueur

Christmas Cake

Date & Walnut Loaf.







Let's not forget the MOT(Men Out There) 
High Tea at my friend Erica's House. 

What a brilliant day! Our councillor attended, Erica provided the magnificent venue 
and yours truly cooked absolutely everything -from scratch - holey moley!

All my vintage china - happy to be used. 







STAR OF THE HIGH TEA TABLE

I was just too busy to get around and take photos of everything. Sigh..
Someone called me 'crazy'
Another called me 'angel'. 


Happy Singing in the Hills.

WHAT A WEEK OF
TWO FUNCTIONS, 
PREPARATION, 
TRANSPORTATION,
 PLANNING,
 COOKING,
 SETTING UP 
AND HOSTING
 - took it out of me, but I did it!

Just in case you're wondering - I did it all for free. 
And everyone felt the love. 
Can't ask for anymore than that. 
The End. 



November 24, 2013

Swerve, Slide 'n Meringue


How silly can I be. I know that one of the cooking "no no's" in humid weather is to make meringue.

Still, I went ahead but this time I made an Italian Meringue - I had to take something to an afternoon tea and I rather fancied making my Lemon Meringue Slice.

I took instruction from the lovely Brydie with her Lemon Meringue Pie, well, at least for the Italian Meringue topping. I made my own base and filling and then set about with the meringue.

If it wasn't for the moisture in the air, I think it'd be pretty darn perfect.  It still did a 'slider' in the car as my friend Sue negotiated the corners with me yelling at her 'take it easy'. No matter. Upon arrival I asked the hostess for a knife and 'slid' the meringue squares that decided to go for a wander back onto their lemony foundations.  All good. Rave reviews.

So I reckon she's a keeper. Certainly appears to be far more stable than the regular meringue. Thanks Brydie for the Italian Meringue Recipe. I'm sure in ideal weather conditions it's bang on.