December 10, 2012

Do's and To Do

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.

The Christmas party at the farm was quite the affair. Wonderful. Happy people, more importantly relaxed people, good food, great venue, good times. All the work leading up to the day was worth it.

People really appreciate the small things. The effort to set the table with beautiful Christmas themed linen, arty decorations hanging from above the undercovered area, hand-made bunting flapping in the  breeze, jaboticaba jelly instead of cranberry to go with the turkey which was stuffed with a gorgeous pistachio and bacon filling. Home-made tomato relish to accompany the rib rack of lamb cutlets. Tiramisu Terrine was a smash hit. Home-made Christmas cake went down a treat with cups of tea or coffee.

Three days after the event and I was still receiving 'thank you's'. You can't buy effort. You can buy caterer's to put on the food. You can hire tables, chairs, shelters. You can decorate with store bought bits and pieces. But people seem to love the small touches, the 'home-mades and the hand-mades', the 'make-do's' and the 'mismatched put-togethers'.  It's effort and it's love. It shows you care. And it's more appreciated than you can imagine.  I don't accept 'I have no time'. Yes you do. Plan better. Borrow. Involve people if you can't do it all. In fact you should anyway; people feel more connected and excited.

Attending a white ribbon morning fundraiser at our local Councillor's office, finally catching up with Danielle who was one the first students to take my "Eat, Live and Be Mediterranean" classes. This gorgeous gal  has done it. She ate and lived the Mediterrean way of life in Spain for a good six months. So wonderful to see you again Danielle.

Three days back in Gundy, taking out another bull along with a couple of steers. Poor Denzel the bull currently on the big property can't cope with all the girls himself. Wearing himself out poor fellow. We got the new fellow out there safe and well. Gosh cattle are hardy creatures. Off the truck at a tic treatment stop. How would you like to dive into a wash of smelly chemicals, head under? But he did and so did the little steers. Back onto the truck and a four hour trip to their new home. Off the truck without a hitch. Hubby miscalculated. It should of been in the next paddock. So between the two of us we herded them through the gate into a paddock where many cows await. Once again, without a hitch. I understand why Hubby prefers to deal with his cattle more than humans. They create much less hassle.

Time is flying. Christmas is coming. I haven't done a thing. No decorations up. No tree. No presents yet. And I'm feeling fine.

Creme Caramel
(adapted from Great Cakes & Desserts by Gabriel Gate)

400gm sugar
2tbsp water
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
peel from 1 orange
1 litre milk
6 eggs

  • Bring half the sugar, water & vinegar to boil in a small saucepan; take off heat; stir till sugar has all dissolved. Boil until the colour is a rich brown. Quickly pour into a souffle mould to coat the bottom & go part way up the sides. 
  • Place the vanilla extract, orange peel & milk in a saucepan; bring to the boil. Remove from heat. 
  • Meanwhile, using a whisk, thoroughly combine remaining sugar & eggs in a bowl. Strain boiling milk onto the eggs mixture; whisk constantly. Whisk well; strain again into prepared caramel-coated mould. 
  • Place into a large roasting tray; pour warm water one third of the way up the sides. 
  • Place into a preheated 180deg oven. Bake for approx 1 hour. It should be set & it will appear wobbly. Remove from oven; allow to cool before placing into fridge to chill. 
  • To unmould, carefully run the blade of a small knife around the sides; turn out. 
  • I served with fresh raspberries, blueberries and mangoes soaked in icing sugar & Cointreau plus a little pouring cream.  It was delicious. I'm sure you'll back me up on this one Danielle. 


  1. Hi Marina. Good to see your bunting flapping! Sure looks like you had a great time.