Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Sunshine Award

I have been given a Sunshine Award  by Sizzle and Zoom over at Crusin Over Sixty, a lovely lady who has the most beautiful roses in her garden.  Her photography is amazing, often capturing a little buzzy bee at work as well.  She is so kind and I am so appreciative of all her support including this award.

Now I must:
Thank the person who honoured me. Tick
Write a post about it. Tick
Answer the ten questions that follow. Tick
Pass the award on to 3 other bloggers.

  • What is your favourite colour? 
I once heard Bette Middler ask a journalist, Why can't you just ask me what my favourite colour is instead of all this cr*pola?  I thought that was great.....'Orange' was her answer by the way.  Mine however is aqua....I got married in it and my blog is aqua.  It seems to be my go to colour of choice.  But I would have to say that any colour can be easy on the eye, if it is properly styled.

  • What is your favourite animal?  I had a lovely Schnauzer called Zachary Robert, when I was growing up.  They are really popular these days, they weren't so in Australia, back in the 1980's. His second name Robert, came from his kennel name which was Bold Bob.  My parent's best friends got his sister from the litter and her kennel name was Bonny Baby.  Those dogs were great mates and we all went on many beachy type holidays together. Such great memories.  Funnily enough, one of Mr Beach Houses best friends is called Zachary Robert. Not sure what that means but I have to say he is a sweetie too.

  • What is your favourite number?  I don't have one.  I am not really superstitious and I don't gamble, so I don't see the need to have one.

  • What perfume are you wearing right now?  'Private Collection' by Estee Lauder.  Makes me feel really feminine and happy. 

  • What is something you always wear that identifies you?  I would have to say my wedding ring.  Not because I am tied to the institution of marriage or even Mr Beach House for that matter, but because it is the only thing I never a take off.  I knew it was the first and last piece of jewellery he would ever buy me, so  I made sure it was a good one.  I held out for the ring I wanted and he very kindly came to the party.  A friend of my mum's gave me that advice about holding out and I took it.  After all Marilyn did say 'Diamonds are a girl's best friend" and I'm afraid I have to agree with her.

  • What are your passion/s?  Well I have so many and they often change in order of priority.  Perhaps that means they are not passions at all.  In my twenties it was politics.  In those days I was going to be the first women PM of Australia.  I might have got there too, as I notice some of my female peers from those days are Ministers of the Crown or Senators these days.  But none of them have kiddos and that's what I wanted to do, so the politics became less important.  And that brings me too my next passion. The Beach House Brats....they drive me nuts, but I do love them so very dearly.  So if I could have them, Mr Beach House and myself on French soil, that would have to be my passion du jour, as you, dear reader already know.

  • Do you like getting or giving presents?  I think from the details of my wedding ring story you could probably tell I like receiving them.  I do like giving them too, especially if they are well received.

  • What is the latest eye shadow you are wearing?  Well I don't wear it...haven't for years.  But I have got into mineral powder, which can double as an eye shadow and lately I do find myself sloshing that around the eye regions occasionally.  The brand is Arbonne.  I do believe it is Swiss.  I got into it about two years ago.  You know it was one of those make up parties where you say you'll go, but you won't buy anything.  Well this stuff improved my skin so dramatically and I was raving on about it so much at the party, that I think each guest ended up buying some.  The hostess personally rang me to say thank you, as she had primarily held the party to get some freebies for the singles mums who were clients at a drop in centre she worked at.  I think not only did theses single mums get a whole bag of free make up based on the sales from the party, but they got free facials as well.  If only I was as good at selling my own products. 

  • What is your favourite day of the week?  It would definitely be Friday.  Even though I have the luxury of working on the days I want to, I still feel like Friday is the end of the week for me.   The kiddo activities are finished, except for soccer which Mr Beach House is primarily responsible for.  Also I only drink on weekends...technically anyway, so I love to crack open a bottle of rose with Mr BH and have a debrief about our respective weeks.

  • Are your nails painted now?  No.  I used to do a French polish on my finger nails before children, but that's nearly ten years ago.  I do toe nails in Summer, usually in hot pink, but I seemed to stop doing that near term with the second Beach House Brat, as I couldn't get down there. I just seemed never to get back into it.  I must though, as I think painted nails popping out from a sweet little summer shoe are delightful.  It's kind of like going out without your lippy on I think.  Lazy, which I am of course sometimes guilty of anyway.

Now I am passing this award on to:

The Fisherman's Cottage Deborah is a lovely English blogger who has a special  way with flowers and vintage styling in general.

Emerald Cove  Michelle is a lovely American lady who has been so supportive of me.  She is always doing lovely coastal projects that are so inspiring.

Restoration House  Kimberly has lovely taste and does some fabulous projects around her home.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Sincerely Apologise for Not Getting Back To You

On the back of a disturbing story I heard last week about blogging domain names being renewed by third parties at 12 midnight on the day of their expiry date.  Then the blog's domain name being offered back for sale, to their original owner at a ridiculous price, I thought I had better turn on my old computer to check my godaddy account, as I hadn't heard from them for a while.

I haven't turned on the old computer for some months and it was to my great astonishment that a whole lot of my desire empire emails do not come through to my newer computer as the service provider promised they would, but only to the old one.

So what this has meant, is that I have missed many opportunities in the form of business offers to my small but fledgling styling business and also possible features of my blog and home in various publications.  However,  the most important thing I have missed dear reader, is the opportunity to answer all your wonderful emails and read your fabulous comments that were not posted on my blog.  So to you, I say a heart felt apology and know that I am slowly getting through all the correspondence and will answer you in due course.

For those that have stuck by  me I truly appreciate it.  The Beach House Brats will tell you I'm big on manners so to me this is  important.  I can only again say I am sorry and that from now on I will be checking both computers daily. And if you run your blog as a godaddy account, check its renewal date and make sure you get there before the vultures do. Sad that there are these kind of people out there.

I have just scrolled back through the blogs I follow to find out where I heard this story.  I am sorry again, but I could not find them.  So if you know the blogger to whom I refer to,  please post their site in the comments so others can read the full story.

Hope you are all having a great week.  These are the last of my Hunter Valley shots.  These are a some of the Pepper Creek development in Pokolbin....I hope you enjoy them. 

Today I am linked up with

Post script: After a little research, I have discovered the affected blogger is  so head over there if you want to find out the whole story.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Beautiful Produce of Rural Australia Comes To The Beach House

I know this a coastal blog about lifestyle and design on the Northern Beaches of Sydney Australia, but Sydney has just gone through it's wettest July since the thought of getting out amongst it on the coast just didn't wash with me this week past.  So on the back of your lovely responses to my story about our trip to the country last week,  I wanted to tell you what we did with all the produce we bought there.

But I need to back ground you first........Mr Beach House has now finished installing our new driveway and roof.....which I can tell you came in real handy in last week's down pour.  Mr Beach House seems to be lucky like that.  We have more rain in one week than we've had since 1959 and we just happened to replace our leaky roof last month.  Yeah!!!!  And the driveway replacement could have been scheduled for that rainy week but no, it was scheduled to start two weeks before, which it did and to say it was completed the day before the down pour began, is no under statement.  But as usual I digress,  lets just say that Mr BH has been hanging out to show off his drive way and new roof to anyone who is interested.  And for some reason, that is completely beyond me, lots of men are!!!!!  I mean it all looks better yes, but to me it looks like it has always been there so I don't see the big deal really.

Anyway, he has been suggesting we invite our good mates Darrin and Suzi over for some weeks now to see the new roof.  I love seeing these guys as well, but this is usually how the preparation for any entertaining we do at the Beach House goes.  Whilst I spend the whole day preparing the food, cleaning the house and looking after the Beach House Brats, he goes sailing. Now that's not a great deal is it?  He bids me adieu with a peck on the cheek and with promises of his early return in time to help.  Yeah right!!.....The reality is that he waltzes in five minutes before the guests are due and messes up the bathroom, I have spent loads of time, cleaning to within an inch of it's life.  The one job I can always rely on him to do though, is to sweep the deck....even if it is as the guests are walking through the gate.

So last Saturday it was situation normal.......My baby gal and I made some that was simple and the idea was, we were going to load this up with produce from River Flats Estate in Broke.

As for Mr Beach House,  at least I was prepared for what was coming I thought, so I didn't touch the bathroom and asked him to clean it as he walked through the door, but he got me again. He had showered at the yacht club, so he never went near it and I ended up giving it a quick swizzle before our guests arrived. He's so naughty!!!!

 As for River Flats Estate, they have a wonderful olive grove and all the produce is made locally so food miles are not an issue here.  And it was very good.  We had dukkah, tapenade and olives marinated in thyme.  Yummo.

The olive oil was just a lemon infused one I had in the pantry.  It's one of my secret salad ingredients which you can read about here if you like.  We also had some brie, but by the time I took this photo that was all gone.

Our friends came bearing gifts

Some lovely shell art which was incredibly generous.  This will be hanging on the deck by Spring, as I need to do some serious styling out there before the weather warms up.

The wine was superb.  I mentioned Krinklewood Vineyard in a post here and I have to say the wines we picked were fabulous.  The Krinklewood late pick Semillon is labelled as a desert wine, but we had it as an aperitif and it was delightful.  It was truly sun kissed and as I swallowed, I could just about taste every ray.....boy it was good.   I am not really a white drinker but the Verdelho was also superb I am reliably informed.  Our friends had another engagement so we didn't open the Champagne......but I can say it wont last long.

As for the vineyard at Krinklewood, if you are ever in the Hunter you have to go.  This one is in a class of its own.  The buildings have to be seen to be believed.  The owners are actually builders and nothing has been spared to give this place a beautiful rural, colonial and French inspired feel!!!!  I never miss a chance to go there and am always blown away when I do.  There are no crowds and you can drink your wine in the court yard with a cheese platter available for purchase at the cellar door. 

I just adore walking around this place drinking it all in.

The homestead is wonderful and you can see a better shot of it here

Even the peacocks have great taste. They were not purchased by the owners, but just decided to nest on the property. The organic and bio dynamic nature of the farming practises here, may have had something to do with their arrival.

So our week started out well, drinkies with good mates who spilled the beans about their latest trip to Italy, all washed down with some brilliant wine and a few laughs.  I also hope you  have a fabulous start to the week dear reader.  The Beach House has been very sleepy for the last three weeks and I can gladly say that Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France, means we can all get some sleep around here.  I will miss the passing French scenery though.  I do believe, the Tour de France beaming into our living room each night, from my beloved France is the best thing about July in Sydney.
Today I am linked up with
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Simple and Elegant Blue and White

Hello dear readers
Just a quick bouquet du jour to say thanks to all 200 hundred of my followers, old and new and to all the lovely comments you send my way.  Your kindness is much appreciated and I am so thankful for you.

I think blogging has improved my marriage and my happiness in general and you guys are so much a part of that.  Call it therapy, call it an outlet, but I am having so much fun here and writing  it all down really helps.  And to have interaction with you, makes it even more enjoyable. 

And another thing, I am now trying for a year in France, instead of 4 months. The reason???  Blogging of course... I found a great new blog called  Design Mom.  This Mommy has moved herself, her husband and her kids (4 I think) to Normandy for a year and she has inspired me to go for a longer period.  I ran it by Mr Beach House last night and he just said '2014'. Woooaaa, what a result!!!! I used to be the girl that made things happen, but that all went on hold when the Beach House Brats came along.  2014 is a little too far away for me, but it's a start.  If he's open to a year, the possibilities are unlimited......  Anyone want to buy a boat building business??

And what do you think of these sweet little flowers, 'Early Cheer' I am reliably informed?  They are in high season here in Sydney and their perfume is lovely. It is wafting around the Beach House on this grey old Winters day. The little milk vase, I picked up recently at a garage sale.  In fact I got 4 of them for $2.  I'll have to get the milk shake maker out.

Thanks again for supporting my blog in all the ways you do.
Happy weekend All
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm Getting My Cooking Mojo Back

Yes it's finally happened, it's here....... I really want to cook again.  I'm resurrecting old recipes, amending new ones and having a great time doing it.  Don't know if it's because it's high Winter and it's a great time for food, or because we went to the Hunter Valley last weekend and had some wonderful foodie experiences, or even because  my youngest is about to turn three and I just have a little more time........  but who cares why!!!! I just know it is back and for that I am very grateful.

For me it has to be fresh, quick and very tasty.  I love recipes with no more than six ingredients give or take, especially if it's mid week.  However, I'm not prepared to compromise of the fabulous factor.  This poached Salmon and Risoni Salad can be served warm or cold, so transfers well between the seasons.

Now I am well known around these parts for my salads, or at least I used to be.  Often when I am attending a Bar B Q with friends or family, they will ask me to bring the salad.  No matter if it's the 'pear walnut and rocket' one or the' lentils, avocado and tomato' one.  I have several secret ingredients which go into every salad I make.  The first one is Danish feta.... it has a velvety texture, similar to goats cheese and is quite salty, which adds another level of flavour.

The other secret is the vinaigrette, which is just 2 parts extra virgin olive oil to one part white vinegar, with Dijon mustard, the amount of which depends on the amount of dressing you are making. I usually make a small bottle of dressing at a time so I add 1 teaspoon of mustard to that and shake well so it emulsifies.
Another secret is that I often drizzle with lemon infused extra virgin olive oil.  So the salad is always very well dressed and has no risk of being dry.  Hence the sheen in these photos.

The recipe below started out as the Poached Salmon and Risoni Salad by Bill Granger, but when  I first made it, I thought it was a little bland.  So I basically added my secret ingredients as outlined above and it improved it greatly.

This recipe is also very cost effective as one piece of Salmon can feed up to four people as a luncheon meal or two hearty eaters for dinner.  So here's the recipe.

Poached Salmon and Risoni Salad
One medium sized piece of Atlantic Salmon
3 Dried Bay Leaves
200 grams of Risoni cooked according to packet instructions
One bunch of continental parsley chopped
One bunch of Dill chopped... (I didn't have this, as I forgot to buy it)
Three handfuls of baby spinach
One good handful of Danish Feta ( I love Mayers Brand) and a little extra for sprinkling
Lemon infused olive oil for drizzling (Optional)
Juice of half a lemon
One cup of frozen peas
Vinaigrette for dressing as described above

Place the salmon and bay leaves in a fry pan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil and turn off.  Let the salmon rest in the water until the salad is prepared. If you would rather have your salmon well cooked and not rare  in the middle ( as I do) let it bubble away for about a minute before turning it off.

Cook the pasta and throw the frozen peas in at the last minute, bring  the water to the boil again and drain immediately.

Remove the salmon from the pan and flake

Combine all the ingredients and toss, reserving a little feta and parsley to sprinkle on the top to enhance presentation.

Drizzle with the lemon infused olive oil if desired.

Serve and enjoy.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, this salad tastes even better if you prepare it whilst watching the Tour de France highlights drinking  a glass of rose.  And how appropriate that the best shot I took of the TV was the one which had a spectator madly waving the French flag as the leaders flew by.....I just know it's a sign that I need to get there ASAP.
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