Saturday 30 September 2017

Our Saturday Morning

and I'm still on a high after watching my grandson(16) and his lovely Mum sky-diving.

They jumped in tandem with a very experienced team member and floated down 15,000ft, J was thrilled to tell me he had steered for a period of time and they'd taken a photo as they flew over their home.
Here are a few of my photos...a perfect Spring morning, they landed on the beach in this small drop zone(that's the Kwinana Grain Terminal in the background)

the beach is beside a park dedicated to sub-mariners lost at sea, Dad is reading the plaque...

Monique getting her harness on

  and J. being shown how to land safely

Once they'd watched the first group land and got their harnesses on they went by mini-bus to a small airfield 30 minutes drive away and then flew back to the beach. We watched as the tiny specks opened their chutes and floated towards he comes...

Her face says it all...

packing up the parachutes after the jump...

Monique is still on a high...

It was a brilliant morning, I took many photos of my grandson too but as he is still a minor I do not want to show his lovely face on the internet.
I think they'll be saving to jump again ;)

Hope you're weekend is going well, it's pizza night here and the Australian Rules Football Grand Final is on TV at the moment,
Love from Sue

Thursday 21 September 2017

Zucchini Gratin/Bake

Oops I forgot to take a photo before we scoffed the lot but it was so much better than the title suggests. Imagine if you will, my Pyrex pie plate(10inches diam), lightly buttered and then layered with thin slices of zucchini, red onion coated in sour cream and topped with good cheddar cheese. Got it?

This makes 3-4 side servings

1 medium-large zucchini, thinly sliced
half a red onion, thinly sliced
1T butter(not margarine please)
1/2 cup sour cream or cream
1 cup grated cheese...make it a good, tasty cheese as this is the main flavour
1/2t chopped garlic

Start by layering about half of the zucchini and onion then sprinkle with a little grated cheese
Finish with the rest of the vegs(not the garlic)
Warm up the butter, garlic and sour cream in the may not look like enough but pour it over the dish and use your spatula to get every last morsel out
Gently shake the dish to distribute the cream
Top with plenty of grated cheese, bake for about 35-40 mins at 180C and enjoy.
We had some lamb chops and sweet potato with ours and it was lovely.

In Arles we had ratatouille twice in restaurants and I noted that they cook it for much longer than I do at home. So I tried cooking it while we were still there and once it was very tender(2hrs) I fried off some (300-400gms)beef mince and added that leaving it all to cook for at least another 30 good with pasta or mashed potatoes. I am cooking it again here today using

1 large, finely chopped eggplant
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
half a teaspoon of garlic
3 large tomatoes, chopped
3T tomato paste and around a cup of water
2t mixed herbs
salt, pepper and 1t of sugar

and you can add sliced mushrooms, olives, chopped greens to suit what you have on hand. Zucchini is generally added too but I used mine in the gratin.

Saute the onion and capsicum then the tomato paste and add everything else.
Simmer for as long as you can, checking the water and stirring from time to time.

And because I didn't take a pic of the Zucchini Gratin last night here is my duck in peppercorn sauce served with chips and salad at a restaurant in Nice...and no I didn't eat all the chips!! Want to see what Joe had?

Joe had these huge prawns they call 'gambas' served with a stuffed tomato and salad...

Now I'm really hungry...hope I've whet your appetite too and that you will try the zucchini recipe

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Life Is A Carousel

Ain't that the truth? Round and round we go, up and down and some of us learn from our mistakes but others take a little longer ;)
Growing up in an English seaside town in the 50s and 60s I had an early introduction to the Merry-Go-Round or carousel~ours were all of hand-made horses though. Mostly white with flowing manes of wool there was  always one or two black stallions with an evil gleam in their eyes.

The French love carousels too and every town seems to have one. The one in Arles next to the tourist bureau dates back to 1900 and has a delightful selection of animals and carriages...

a very large teacup with traditional dancers painted on the side...

two horses and a pig enjoying their ride together...

this donkey looks so tired...his head nods but he's not happy...

mono-plane of Louis Bleriot who was the first to fly over the English Channel...that would have been really big news back in 1900...

and le taureau...the bull; being so close to Spain and the Camargue the bull has an important role in Arles...bull-fighting these days involves removing a ribbon or trinket from his horns and they are not killed(merely terrified instead). The meat is very common in restaurants and butchers' shops and the symbol of the bull is found all around the town...

The carousel in St Remy de Provence was covered the day we visited...can you see the blue and whites stripes under the tree?

Then a stunning discovery in Avignon...a two storey carousel...who knew such things existed?

Fancy that?

Thank you for all the lovely comments yesterday, I plan to show more of the Van Gogh sites as well as where we stayed and the town itself in coming days. Plus some foodie pics...stay tuned!

Love from Sue

Our photo of the carousel at the foot of Montmartre in Paris 2008

PS Head over to Kylie's lovely blog for this fantastic pull-apart bread recipe

Monday 18 September 2017

Back From Our Holiday

Hallo every-one, it's been very quiet on this blog as we have been to Arles in the south of France for a very special, once in a life-time holiday. Arles is in Western Provence and is studded with Roman architecture, Medieval churches and houses and was the home of Vincent Van Gogh for over a year...he did over 200 paintings around the town in some-what of a frenzy and it was here that he cut off part of his ear-lobe!

You can follow a trail of where he painted and they have these plaques and information for you, another artist is painting the same view of the avenue at Alyscamps...

Now things are settling down here at home I will share some of the wonderful times with you...firstly of course though we'll talk about the amazing market that stretches for over 2 kilometres on both sides of the main road twice a week. It seems everything under the sun is available to buy here from fruit and veg to fish and cheese, sausages and salamis, hot roast chicken whose fat drips on to tiny potatoes for an unbelievable treat,  cakes and pastries, fresh bread and hot paella, olives and honey, vintage goods, hats and shoes, books and all manner of things...

dried lavender in sachets for your drawers...lavender is the basis of a huge perfume industry in Provence...

glorious local pottery...

fresh organic bread...

this is our shopping from one such market day...

I was particularly delighted with the huge variety and flavour of the heirloom tomatoes available, green, yellow, striped, long and thin or as big as my hand...

So without further ado I will introduce to you the first of my Tigerella seedlings to 'hatch'; this variety should be fruiting in 10 weeks which is amazing, the flavour is meant to be wonderful...I ordered the seeds on-line from Diggers while I was still in France...I am so eager to have these wonderful fruits in my garden and I have also planted some Hungarian Heart seeds too. In Provence we ate delicious tomato based sauces flavoured with local herbs and I used them in a ratatouille dishes in our rented apartment.

I've also planted lettuce seedlings this week as the weather is warming up and it will soon be Summer.

I hope you are keeping well, I need to catch up with all your blogs which is always fun

Au revoir!