May 23, 2013

Arts In The Olives

Our Quiche Stall - from the left - Larissa, Moi, Nicole

This time last year I was wandering through a lovely scenic olive grove in the picturesque valley called "The Lost World".  The difference this year? Instead of having a relaxing day with my daughter on Mother's Day strolling through the grove and enjoying all the delightful craft and food offerings; I was indeed one of the food offerings!

We left the Gold Coast at 5.30am, stopped for a coffee in Canungra at 6am, reached our destination fifty minutes later.  It was a beautiful, misty, foggy drive for about the last ten kms  - just breathtaking!

How did this come about? I was asked. First I said yes, then I said no. One month before the set date for the Arts In the Olives, I was in Gundy cooking for the menfolk during the seeding period when another email came through. There was still time for me to change my mind; but only a day. Payment to secure a stall was due by the following day.

I sat alone looking through my country property window; and then I smiled. Not sure if it was the distance away from it all that made me feel romantic and dreamy; wow - a stall in a beautiful olive grove - but I seized the moment; jumped on the computer and secured my spot.

My lovely Larissa who we hadn't seen since Christmas Day decided to come up from Melbourne for Mother's Day. Nicole my younger daughter works most weekends; but she let work know well in advance she was taking off Mother's Day. I was blessed to have my two precious girls working with me side by side. Better still, Nic's terrific boyfriend Sam decided to come too. Just as well. His 'troopy' came in handy as he transported all the hardware we needed to set up. Larissa and I drove in our vehicle with all the food.

Couldn't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day with my girls!

The food? I originally wanted to have a cake stall, but someone was already doing that and the organisers didn't want to double up on any one variety.  I'd been nagged to death by some friends to have a Quiche Stall.  And so it was.

This post is pretty much a journal so that I can record the day's events for next year.  I may do another quiche stall or I could really lash out.  My friend Erica who was the booking officer for the event has a vision. She'd love to see a garden party area set all along the river with girls in olden day long flowing dresses offering table service. She wants me to be in charge and cook of course for this area designated for "High Tea". Uhuh uhuh - that's me. And I would love nothing more than to rise to that challenge. But that's next year.

How did the quiche stall go?

Larissa stepped up immediately and was brimming with confidence.
You did a great job girl - here she is serving one of the stallholders not long after we set up.

The choices and numbers;
  • 32 silverbeet, fetta & caramelized onion
  • 16 bacon, sun-dried tomato, capsicum & basil
  • 16 pumpkin, sage, caramelized onion & ricotta
  • 12 camembert cheese & asparagus (very popular)
  • 12 camembert cheese & roasted capsicum
  • 6 crustless silverbeet, fetta & onion
  • 6 crustless sun-dried tomato, fresh tomato & ricotta
  • 3 crustless bacon, sun-dried tomato,capsicum & basil
  • 3 crustless pumpkin, sage, caramelised onion & ricotta
****Quiche filling: for the six ripple edged container tray I used 6 eggs, 3/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup milk, cracked pepper, good throw of salt.  If using whole quiche dish, bake 30mins on 170degrees, remove rim and base; return to bottom shelf and bake for 10mins on baking rack on lowest shelf -setting - bottom heat only.               

  • One large Vegetarian Lasagne Bake
  • Huge Bowl Roasted Beetroot, marinated in garlic, balsamic & olive oil
  • Huge Bowl Couscous Tabouli
  • Four washed, spun-dried green oak lettuces
  • Home-made vinaigrette - (What a bloody hit your dressing was woman - do not forget it)!!
  • Three jars sweet capsicum relish - we ran out; really popular; greater quantity next time 
  • Also had a bottle of storebought sweet chilli sauce as an extra.
Next Time:
  • make some bacon, cheese & corn - nice and simple for kids (one child pulled out her capsicum cause she didn't like it)
  • contents of the lasagna; roasted pumpkin base; sauteed zucchini, fresh ricotta, spinach & garlic bechamel. Don't forget the home-made tomato sauce - a double quantity which contained onion, carrot, garlic, basil and parsley. 
Nicka's artwork and signage - brilliant my dear, brilliant!

I'm delighted to say I was the first food stall to completely sell out! Honestly I think I could have gone close to selling double the quantity to what I had. Damn lot of hard work for me cooking in the lead up but well worth the effort. I can't tell you how satisfying it felt to not only sell out, but to receive feedback from happy customers.  Truly, truly satisfied customers - wow - the compliments were out of this world. That's all I'll say. My team was absolutely beaming. What a high!

Next year lady (self-talk), if you're doing the quiche stall again, you're going to need more; more of everything including the salads - what a smash hit they were - people truly recognise quality. As for the lasagna - bloody hell - I've never seen anything disappear so quickly!!! More of those for sure. 

Unless of course you sign up for the High Tea Garden. My goodness if that happens; Arts in the Olives you'd better watch out. It'll be a bung fight to get a table - hahahaha....this gal only knows one thing - work hard, I mean bloody hard - get up at one in the morning and start baking; three mornings in a row if necessary; cause I did;
- quality, quality, quality
- use happy eggs from our very happy chookies
- prepare, prepare, prepare
- sound reliable recipes
- have those wonderful girls of yours with their beautiful smiles, generous serves and friendly manner!

Whatever I choose to do next year - my little old stall showed me one thing. For all the doubting myself  for all these years...........I can do it..........and I can do it well. 


After we closed shop, we strolled through the grove checking out the wonderful arts and crafts in other stalls.
Larissa and Sam road-testing the hand-made felt hats; they were absolutely amazing!
Unfortunately most of the workshops were booked out.
Basketry, blacksmithing, felting and oh so much more. Next year, book early girls! 
Nicka and Sam off to enjoy the remains of the day!

PS: Through My Kitchen Window News - for the two people who read this blog - hehehe......

  • I find I'm turning to my blog less and less these days. Days on end I even forget about TMKW. No, not sad. It's simply change. You see, instead of writing about all my dreams, the gonnas, the wannas, the going to's, I'm actually 'doing'. I like where I am in my life right now. The confidence is at an all time high. I feel like I can do anything - that I can do, if you know what I mean.  The cooking column is great and growing - our little hinterland paper has gone tabloid and the readership has grown considerably. It's a wonderful feeling to know I'm actually recipe testing, writing, food-styling and photographing my VERY OWN work.  It's amazing. A really supportive editor who values me no end. It's really strange seeing your work in print and knowing that people look forward to reading my contribution . 
  • On another note, as if we don't already have our hands well and truly loaded with our Gundy property and the kind-of-neglected Numinbah Valley farm; Hubby went and had another rural farm inspection in Gundy. He's put in an offer this arvo. Holey dooley. Not another frickin property!! One thing my Hubby wants written on his gravestone are these words: "He never died wondering......" Him to a tee, I'm a long way off cause in some areas I'm still 'wondering', but at least I'm out of the blocks. Perhaps that's why I'm turning to TMKW to a lesser extent these days.  Hope all is well your end. Mine's grand.  
Cheerio Mariana 


  1. Mariana that last couple of paragraphs made me smile so much. What a wonderful place to be. Right here and enjoying the now...
    Is your newspaper column by chance online? I'd love to see what you put up. Amazing and delicious, no doubt what so ever.
    Ive just had a couple of recipes accepted for a US based magazine, to be out in September. It's a pretty small thing but it's my first and I'm thrilled to bits. Just sent it all off now, (telling you this as I think you would understand :-)

    As for your quiche, why did you sell out first?...they could taste the love put in it, I'm sure of it.

  2. Awww - such a sweet comment my dear Brydie. Thank you.

    Oh wow - I'm thrilled to bits for you. Your first published recipes - how wonderfully exciting. And you soooooo deserve it. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.I'm dying to know what recipes they are - guess I'll find out in due time. Lemon Meringue oughta be among them!

    Marie the editor only went online less than a year ago; although the paper has been running for many years. She's such an eccentric lady - a real character and a person who really sticks to her guns; I like her very much. It's hard to find people of real substance these days. Anyhow, she's bumbled her way along learning the website business, so some of the publications are a little dishevelled. It's getting better all the time - online that is.

    Anyhow, here's the link to the June recipe: Sorry I can't seem to get a direct link there:

    All the best and good luck dear! Mariana xx