June 28, 2009

Off To The Show We Go!

It's been a hectic week. I came home from being away two days before the show. I entered my preserves the day I got back along with my daughter's photographic entries as they were due that day. I walked away without the usual excitement and anticipation that I usually get as the show approaches. I'm not too sure what is going on with me, but I simply didn't feel that chirpy.

The day before the show all the baking and fresh produce were due. The day came and went and I ended up making my usual carrot cake, one batch of muffins and a cherry cake. Every year the Country Women's Association put out a recipe that has to made according to their instructions and this year was the cherry cake. Last year was a pumpkin and date cake and my dear son was the winner! He decided to take on his mum and he won. Gosh that brings back fond memories. That was so much fun. Happily I got second but I was delighted to be pipped by The Borb. Since he has been working full-time this year (relentlessly saving for his overseas trip), he was too tired to make the cherry cake so it was up to me to hopefully nab a ribbon this year.

I was really happy with the cake when I took it out of the oven. However after I upturned it and peeled away the paper, the baking paper had literally taken a small chunk from the side of the cake in one corner. Oh dear. Never mind. I still entered it as taste does count and I have to say it tasted absolutely delicious. I didn't get upset or anything. In years gone by I probably would have raced to produce another one but quite frankly I am over all that stress and pursuit of perfection. It is what it is.
With two hours left before entries were due, I decided that was it for me. No scones, no chocolate cake, no biscuits this year. I just didn't feel like it.

In the last two hours I quickly dashed out to the citrus trees and collected the entries for oranges, mandarins and lemons when hubby came home. He went around the yard and collected a "variety of produce from one garden" to put into that class. His custard apple looked spectacular sitting proudly among the other fruits in the box.

Off to the grounds we went and we dropped off all our stuff.

The Results.

Sweet Orange Marmalade

This is the one I wanted! Really wanted. I didn't have my usual cumquat marmalade in this year so as defending champ in the marmalade section, this one meant the most to me. For some reason the marmalade class draws the highest number of entries, so I am elated with my sweet Orange Marmalade for bringing home the bacon. Phew.

Brandied Lime Marmalade

I made Brandied Lime Marmalade after Linda at Bellavista brought this recipe to my attention. I am happy to say that it received a High Achievement, so I hope you are as pleased as I am Linda. Two ribbons in the one class; that is special.

Strawberry and Apple Jam

I am really fond of my Strawberry And Apple Jam, so I was delighted to see it amongst the placegetters.

Tomato Relish

It looks like changing the two cups of malt vinegar to one cup malt and one cup white vinegar worked. My Tomato Relish had a lovely reddish colour and not the usual dark brown. The chunks of tomato and onion were evenly cut and it tasted gorgeous. I'm glad the judge thought so too.

Lilly Pilly Jelly

I didn't have much Lilly Pilly Jelly left. I put my remaining two small jars in the fridge and it seemed to change the structure of the jelly as it was much runnier than previously. I decided to reboil the jelly so this I did as gently as possible. Unfortunately it didn't tighten up that much but worse still there were heaps of tiny air bubbles throughout the jelly. I bottled it and almost didn't bother to enter but last minute I changed my mind. I was shocked to see it get a ribbon.

I entered five preserves and I came away with five prizes. How could I not be pleased?

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake usually attracts quite a few entries and this year was no different. I love this cake with a scattering of walnuts and sultanas. This cake is firm and yet so soft and moist inside.

Cherry Cake cooked the CWA's way.

Well now that is a surprise! Considering the cake was flawed with losing one of it's corners I was delighted to see it gain a second place. This cake section had the highest number of entries so I felt very lucky to get that result.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Muffins

Another surprise. My goodness it has been a successful day indeed. All I wanted was a good result in my marmalade and jam entries really. I thought anything else would be a bonus. I hope it doesn't appear too indulgent or selfish on my part posting these results. Since I made it clear quite a few posts ago that I would be making these for the show, I felt it fitting to share the outcomes with you. I would love to celebrate with you. Make yourself a cup of tea and please help yourself to a muffin.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Muffins
adapted from The Australian's Women Weekly

300gm self raising flour
150gm caster sugar
140gm white chocolate Bits
75g chopped raw, unsalted macadamias
60g melted butter
180ml milk
1 egg, beaten

Grease your muffin pan. Sift dry ingredients into large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake in moderately hot oven for about fifteen minutes.

I should quickly mention hubby did rather well too. For his efforts in the fresh produce section, he came home with two seconds and two thirds.

I have saved the best for last. My daughter's photography surpassed all our expectations. We were absolutely blown away as she took out places in every category she entered, in one class she took first, second and third. There is a limit of three entries per class and in three classes she entered the maximum limit. Overall she put in thirteen photographs and she won ten prizes. Four firsts, two seconds and four thirds. Amazing!!!

And she sold one for fifty dollars.

And she won the grand champion ribbon in photography.

And she won the overall pavillion champion in visual arts.

And she received a beautiful clock trophy for Champion Fine Arts Exhibitor.

And she was awarded vouchers to enlarge or produce prints to the value of seven hundred dollars.

Oh my goodness. I still cannot fathom her success. I am an insanely proud mother and I am totally thrilled for her. It has been a very, very, very good day.

Here are some of Nicole's entries.

At eighteen years of age she has an exciting and promising future. Thanks for bearing with this overbearing mother and as they say at the end of the show; that's all folks.


  1. What a fantastic post!!! you are not boasting or being big headed or anything like that Marianna, it is just so wonderful to hear what you and Larissa have achieved and Peter of course. Her photo's look incredible! What a talent. And all those awards you received of course you would be proud.
    I can't wait to try those muffins.
    A BIG congratulations to all of you.
    My friend Annette said to me at work today - I was making something from the through my kitchen window blog and it was so delicious. I'm afraid I forgot what she had cooked, but it makes me laugh when my friends refer to you as the through my kitchen window blog instead of marianna. Anyway - thanks for great reading.

  2. What a talented family you are! A million congratulations, dear, you really deserve it. Your daughter's pictures look wonderful - you've certainly passed on the creativity gene.

  3. Well you guys did it again ......I always remember that photo that I took of you all lined up covered in ribbons and it always made me smile as Frank's dad was just blown away by it.
    Congratulations to you all and Nicky wow is all I can say what a photographer!!!

  4. Oh you three, how very sweet of you to leave those lovely remarks.

    Kylie - Mitch was saying next year you should send me up some of your lovely cards to enter in the cardmaking section. I can definitely see a ribbon(s) coming your way if you were to do that. Thanks for all your kind words. Tell your friend Annette to say "hello" to me next time she visits. I'd love to know what she made. So pleased you dropped by sweetie.

    Thanks Debora - I do hope you check out some of my preserves as I recall you mentioning you were very fond of jams and marmalades. I think that is a very English thing that thankfully has been passed onto us aussies. I shall pass on your encouraging comments to Nicole.

    Stormy - The only thing missing is all of us running next door to show you guys. You always made us feel so special and it was never put on; you really meant it! That kind of genuiness is hard to find; so it's times like these we really miss you. For some reason your Dad comes to mind - I know how very fond he is of his jams. Hope both he and your mum are doing well. I shall tell Nikka what you said.

  5. I think this may be my favourite blog of yours, Mother.
    I am utterly blown away with how well you did. Have you ever entered and won something for EVERY entry? Seriously mum.. wow!
    I'm so glad you put in the pictures so I could see it too. It's a sad year to have missed it. :(

    How did Nic react when she saw how well she'd done? Were there lots of people oggling over her photos like there have been in previous years? That second picture you put in looks quite amazing. Which one sold?

    A thousand questions..
    Wonderful post. Thank you.

  6. Wow Mariana! How talented you and your family are! Awesome results all 'round, and seriously, if you can't brag on your own blog, what's the point of having one? Your daughter's photos just about take my breath away... and make me want to give up taking my own LOL.

  7. wow wow wow wow WOW. Well I'm impressed, you have certainly done well and well deserved too. So they taste as good as they look in the photos!...hence forth I will be "a pool of drool" while reading your posts, knowing that they do taste perfect as well:-) I am so pleased for you. I must say you are a talented family. The photographs look stunning. Thats one talented girl you have there and you have every right to be proud. Even Hubbys produce looked wonderful. Oh the joy of fresh food :-)

    I am pleased that you won a placing with the Brandy Lime Marmalade. Go for the bright green fruits next year and knock em dead :-)

    I have guest coming this weekend with teenage daughters so may just knock up a batch of those muffins for morning tea....Thank you.

    Well done Champ **************************

  8. So much talent! Those photos are really striking. And we all know how much work goes into those preserves and baked goodies - appreciation for a job well done is surely something to share with friends.
    Congratulations to you all!

  9. Hi Mariana
    You have a very busy Girl,
    Where do you get the time?

  10. Thanks Ris. Glad you enjoyed the post and yes it would have been lovely to have you there.
    It's funny how when something has a ribbon on it, everyone naturally pays more attention to it. So to answer your question yes we saw some people thoroughly checking out Nikka's works. Pa agrees with you and also likes that one the best. I didn't post the picture of the little girl because it was in a poorly lit position in the pavillion and I couldn't get a good pic of it. That was one of my favs. Chickie sold. To a child I believe who nagged their parent to death to buy it. How funny is that?

    So nice of you to drop by Julie and many thanks for the appraisal. If you need a budding photographer, she is looking for work! I think she would prefer to work in Newcastle (England) but hey beggars can't be choosers.

    Maybe I ought to be sending you the Brandied Lime Marmalade ribbon Linda. After all if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have made it. Your reaction is overwhelming and I feel very touched. Thank you. BTW next time I shall definitely try it with greener limes. Don't know how I will feel it beating the orange marmalade but only one way to find out. You're on.

    Oh how very sweet of you Chelsea. It's nice to see you recognise the effort it takes to make these things. And an effort it can be! Nicole will be pleased with your kind words. Thank you.

    Thanks jorgen - I guess it is a case of wanting to do something and then just going for it. One can always find time if the willingness is there.

    PS; ATTENTION DEBORA FROM LICKEDSPOON. - I'm sorry my dear but I cannot access your comment section. I have tried several times to leave a comment but a block comes up saying that "Internet cannot access this site.....operation aborted". I am completely annoyed and frustrated because I love dropping in to see what you are up to and of course lettting you know! Sorry. Will keep trying - lovely historical doors BTW and I loved your list. x Mariana.

  11. Many congratulations on your success and your daughter's success. I really enjoy your blog, the stories, the recipes and pictures of your family and country side.


  12. So pleasing to hear that Diane - it makes blogging worthwhile. Thanks.

  13. YAY for your daughter! Just 18 and she's already developed such a great talent?!?! She's going to triumph and be very successful, wish her the best of lucks from me!
    That apple and strawberry jam sounds yummy! What a great baking rampage you went on!

  14. Oh how sweet of you, thanks Marta. She ought to be a talent; however lots of hard work and dedication will be required to be a success. Time will tell how much of that she is prepared to put in. My strawberry and apple jam is just about one of my favourites. I love it. So nice you dropped by.