Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Australia Day!

Here in Brisbane we have had torrential rain most of the day today; the effects of the tropical cyclone which has been coming down the Queensland coast all week.  All the traditions of picnics in the park, camping trips and barbecues for Australia Day have been mostly rained out here!  However our extended family did manage a lovely day and a traditional aussie lunch on the verandah; complete with barbecued lamb chops, and dessert choices of pavlova or lamingtons.

Lamingtons image via Adeline and Lumiere

And if you are asking 'What are Lamingtons?' then have a read of Emily's Australia Day post on her blog Adeline and Lumiere.  Her recipe is a delicious and simple modern twist on the traditional.  

Lamingtons are basically a spongecake rolled in chocolate, and sprinkled with coconut and can be cut into smaller single serve squares of cake.  Yum!  

Lamingtons image via Adeline and Lumiere
As you know - it oftentimes does turn out that 'necessity' is indeed the mother of 'invention'.  So although there are many claims to the lamington's invention, to me the most plausible seems to be set right here in Brisbane. That the cook of Charles Wallace Baillie, Lord Lamington (governor of Queensland from 1895 to 1901), had nothing but stale sponge to serve at tea-time, to some unexpected guests.  

image via Gourmet Traveller

It would have been the late 1800's equivalent of TV show 'Surprise Chef' or 'Ready Steady Cook' where Curtis Stone or Ainsley Harriott would have to come up with something amazing from stale spongecake, cocoa powder and dessicated coconut - et voilà - the lamington was born!

Rain is coming down louder now, drumming on our tin roof, so much so I can barely hear!  Hope the weather is treating you a little more gently where you are...

Have a great Australia Day wherever you are!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lovely french glass ... in store now

When I saw this glass carafe in a market stall I just could not resist it's charms. Lovely to hold with a weighted bottom, this is a beautiful piece to add to any table.

It has lovely etched letters in the glass and from the wording it seems this is intended as a carafe for water in a cafe or restaurant, as it has advertising on the front and bottom.

The beer being advertised came from 'Brewery of Vernon' which was in operation from 1859 until 1966.  It produced two beers - the one advertised here Peterschmitt lager spéciale (special lager) and another called just Peter's.

And look at this sweet little bottle.  Can you devise a little anecdote from the clues left on the bottle?  I just love trying to guess a history behind the object.

Euphytose (fr) is available in France as an over the counter herbal remedy for mild anxiety or a mild sleep disorder.  Can you imagine M. or Mme R. Toole in their sleep deprived state, or very slightly anxious, entering la pharmacie to ask for a remedy?

And how did you go guessing what these are?  The hint was the little motif embossed in the glass of the one in the centre.

These are glass fly catchers.  They would be filled with a little water mixed with honey or meat or other fly attractant, and would be hung near an outdoor meal table to ensure that le déjeuner en plein air (lunch taken outdoors) remained insect free!

Typical of the French, even such a mundane object still has an air of elegance to it.  Don't you agree?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

A little bit of a tease

And here's a little puzzle for you this morning ... what do you think these are?  Can you guess?  If you look closely at pattern in the glass of the one in the centre you will be able to find a little hint!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Store Now ... French School Chairs

Perfect for summer entertaining...

I have twelve chairs that have come from a local village school near Vatteville, France.  They are green and ply and would make a great modern dining setting.

Measurements on these are: 82cm high, 42 cm deep, 47cm wide with the seat height at 45cms.  They are a great versatile chair for dining, kitchen or verandah.

Hmmm ... yesterday when I wrote this post, I had 12 in stock.  However, I have just been in to visit the store and there are now four left.  This number would still make a lovely kitchen set or outdoor setting on a verandah.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summer Days

Summer holidays are over for me, but far from over for the boys.  Once the heat of the day starts to pass, out come the cricket stumps and the repetitious thwack of the ball begins, followed by the inevitable discussion in passionate raised voices, of boundaries, rules and whether 'that counts' or not!

I am finding it very hard to 'wind up' again and try to get some work done!  We have just returned rested, reinvigorated and rejuvenated after a wonderful skiing holiday to Japan with friends (more on that later), and yet life here seems so strange in its usual summery goings on.

Washing mountains of woollen thermals, scarves, beanies, mittens and jumpers (sweaters) against a backdrop of a cicadas buzzing to a deafening roar; pool splashing and children's squeals; and a mower droning in the distance.  And all the while passing thoughts of "this time last week we had just finished dinner and were walking home in the snow in -17C"!

I hope you have enjoyed you break as much as I have and boy did I need it!

Over the coming days, I'll have lots more new stock in store and have lots of pics to share.  I also need to start booking my next buying trip to France, and so will share with you what I plan to be doing and seeing.  I have also had some friends just returned from Paris and others going later in the year to a rural french wedding - wouldn't that be a wonderful experience!  and have ended up with lots of ideas to share with you.

I hope that life is treating you well wherever in the world you find yourself at the moment.

All the best,

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