Thursday, 31 March 2011

Jocelyn's Provisions & Magnolia Interiors

We made a delicious pit stop on Saturday morning.

Jocelyn's is possibly the prettiest bakery in Brisbane - and their cakes and savoury treats are amazing.

For birthday parties at my office we always order their Sour Chocolate Roulade - it's definitely a crowd pleaser.

But I have to say I'm pretty partial to their Orange and Almond or Carrot Cakes.

Whilst Mr Tchotchke was tucking into his mid morning snack (a very fancy sausage roll) - I snuck into Magnolia Interiors in their new premises across the way.

They've got so much more room to work with in their new store and some really gorgeous displays. Mr Tchotchke commented that even though he believes we're already severely "over-cushioned," he wouldn't mind adding the above octopus cushion to our collection.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Chook Baking Dish

Okay so of course this stood out in tonight's Peters Of Kensington newsletter.

At the totally bananas price of $4 - I'm a little tempted. It's a little red hen just like our Charlotte!

And surely if I also rounded out the purchase with the Carp and Duck varieties I'd just be kitchenware obsessed and a little less chicken crazy?

Emerging Tomato Seedlings

So I planted some of my Diggers seeds exactly one week ago - and look at them today!

No action from the capsicums yet - but the tomatoes are going great guns.

I've had them in these re-used seedling trays by a window sill all week - so they've been getting a little bit of sunlight and a water spray when I remember. I haven't had too much luck leaving seedling trays outside - they seem to get fried by the sun or flooded out by the rain - it's been a full on summer here in Queensland.

So the success (so far at least - but hey I count germination as a success in itself) of these tomatoes has spurred me on to plant some of the flame lettuce seeds and add them to the window sill germination camp too - I'll let you know how they go.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Yard Work Chicken Style

So yesterday we removed a patch of lawn from our backyard to make way for our upcoming deck. Very exciting stuff - not only for us but also our chooks because it was worm central.

I know posting videos of my chickens on the internet takes me one step closer to crazy chicken lady - but you really have to see Dr Octopus in action to see how adorable she is.

So in the interests of a "before" shot - this is what our backyard looks like at the moment. The deck will be added to the right side of the house (over the dirt patch.)

And what did we do with all the good dirt we removed? Topped up the veggie patch of course!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

What is a Tchotchke anyway?

So since I've started this blog I've been made aware of the fact that maybe not everyone is as up on their Yiddish as I am.

What is a Tchotchke anyway?

Well according to Wikipedia (and when have they ever failed me?)...

Tchotchke (Typically pronounced "CHACH-kee") are small toys, gegaws, knickknacks, baubles, lagniappes, trinkets, or kitsch. The term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability, as well as tackiness, and has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City.

I have a soft spot for retro ceramic tchotchkes - these guys are a few favourites of mine.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Pink Sky at Night

Pink sky at night... chookies delight.

Although our chookies delight over pretty much anything and were far too absorbed in munching on grass this afternoon to notice the pretty pink sky...

...or our pretty pink Allamanda. It needs a good chop back but its so hard to do when it's in full flower.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sibella Court's The Stylist's Guide to NYC

I excitedly read this evening that Sibella Court is releasing The Stylist's Guide to NYC

I'm lucky enough to have visited NYC twice, but both times I've felt I've barely scratched the surface of its awesomeness.

This guide looks amazing - I'll have to make sure I get my hands on it before my next trip!

I always remember these gorgeous shots from a sneak peek inside Sibella's home from Design*Sponge

I'd bookmarked this shot because I'd loved the hydrangeas so much and wanted them for my wedding.

I adore her cluttered collection of found objects in this photo - though I do think she's on the verge of appearing on Hoarders.

Her lovely store The Society Inc is definitely on my list of places to visit next time I'm in Sydney.

Salmon & Lentils with Avocado & Chermoula Salad

The behemoth that is Masterchef is yet to grace our TV screens this year - but with a gift subscription to the magazine I've never been too far from George's grinning mug.

I'm trying to reduce my meat consumption so this salmon recipe took my fancy this week.

I got to use our food processor for the chermoula - it's still a bit of a novelty even though I use it all time to chop up our scraps for the chooks.

A perfect avocado! They're always risky :)

I had to stop myself from picking at the raw salmon.

And this was how it turned out.

To be honest - the red lentils weren't that thrilling and even though I'd put in heaps of cumin and paprika, it was still a little on the bland side. The salmon was still delish but maybe next time I'd add a little chilli to the chermoula.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Gratuitous Chicken Videos

I saw this on I Can Haz Cheeseburger and couldn't resist reposting it.

It actually reminds me of this chooky classic..

Dreaming of Anthropologie

My trip to the USA last year re-ignited my love for their store Anthropologie.

They had the most amazing stores with wonderfully merchandised homewares sections.

These are some photos I took in their Soho NYC store - I left Mr Tchotchke waiting outside for me, and I spent so long in there he came to the conclusion that a display must have fell down and trapped me because surely I couldn't have been shopping for all that time!

I loved these lamps - and the green troughs were full of decorative cabinet hardware!

I had to stop myself from filling our suitcases with their amazing printed bed linens

Even though they're yet to open any stores in Australia at least they do international shipping!

Although I don't think they ship sofas :( This is their gorgeous Mathlide Sofa in Butterfly Flurry.

I especially loved this Dynamic Ikat Bedding.

And how gorgeous is this Winking Wisecracker Jar? He'd keep the possums out of our kitchen!

I actually bought these measuring spoons over there - it was a little easier to justify something that wouldn't take up too much room in the suitcase.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Awkward Orchard

I stopped in at the northside nursery Eden Gardens on the weekend for a quick browse - and of course left with a boot full of plants and brain full of ideas.

I picked up a White Mulberry tree, inspired by the success to date of our Black Mulberry tree (check it out above - it is now officially way taller than me!)

I was also inspired by their fantastic citrus trees and resolved to pay mine a bit more attention.

We've had a Tahitian Lime tree languishing in the back of the veggie patch near the chicken coop - and despite punching out a small branch initially it's been attacked by grubs, grasshoppers and citrus leaf miners and hasn't shown any interest in growing for about 6-8 months.

I decided that it wasn't getting enough sun either so I took the plunge and transplanted it along the fence line in a much sunnier position amongst our other fruit trees. I hope it will be much happier here - and I didn't shock it too much by moving it.

So, now we've got from left to right...

White Mulberry, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Tahitian Lime, Dwarf Meyer Lemon, Hootie the possum guard and the star performer Black Mulberry.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Veggie Seeds in the Post

I got a package of seeds in the post today from Diggers - exciting stuff!

It'll be my first big foray into heirloom seeds - I'm especially excited about the soy beans - edamame here we come!

I'm also trying out lucerne as a green manure - you're supposed to grow it where the soil needs improving, then just as its about to flower you chop it down and mulch it back into the soil so it enriches it with nitrogen. We'll see how it goes - I want to plant it up the back of the veggie garden where the soil isn't great - but I'm afraid it won't get enough sun to really thrive there either..

And of course the Italian in me had to order three types of tomatoes as well - even though we're coming into winter..

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Nifty Threads

The sewing machine has been out this week - which always brings with it a mix of swearing and satisfaction like nothing else can.

I love new spools of thread - so full of shiny potential before they get tangled through the machine and snipped into clumps of offcuts.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Late Summer Blooms on a Rainy Day

The previous owner of our house left behind so many wonderful plants that continue to surprise me.

Over the last week these two have really come alive - I have no idea what the top one is, but the bottom is a purple flowering ginger.

I especially love how these gorgeous blooms seem to thrive on neglect - they're both in parts of the garden that we've really ignored so far.

Friday, 18 March 2011

St Patrick's Day Clover Cookies

Happy St Patrick's Day! As my first St Patrick's as a good Irish wife I figured I'd better get involved.

Luckily I could rely on Martha, her website had a plethora of Irish inspired recipes ripe for the picking. Although I was tempted by giving Soda Bread a shot (I tried it in Ireland made by a proper Irish wife - amazing) I settled on these cute Clover Cookies

It was fun turning the icing sugar green - it looked like something out of Wicked.

They all looked cute as a button going into the oven..

Except I didn't realise it was one of those cookies recipes that triples in size and they grow into huge mutant blobs. They tasted pretty good though.

Martha - you won this one.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Kaisen Sushi

Oh yummo. This was Tuesday's dinner at Kaisen Sushi. Top is Mr Tchotchke's Kaisen Bento Box, and below is my Sashimidon. The edamame and fried tofu didn't last long enough for a photo.

Kaisen Sushi is at 223 Calam rd Sunnybank Hills.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Too Corny?

Something is finally happening to our corn!

I think they're kernels! The plants are still tiny, but hey mini mutated corn is better than none.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Sticky Date Puddings with Balsamic Caramel Sauce

My go-to easy peasy dessert is Sticky Date Pudding - so when I was up for making dessert for 17 people at a BBQ on the weekend - I knew what I'd be baking.

I have to give full credit to my auntie for this one - she made these one Christmas and I was hooked - I had to have the recipe. So I give you...

Zia Lia's Sticky Date Puddings with Balsamic Caramel Sauce


185g dates, pitted
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
185g caster sugar
2 large eggs
185g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Balsamic Caramel Sauce

75 g soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


Combine dates in a pan with 300ml water, bring to a boil. Remove from hear, stir in bi carb soda and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one, beating well each time. Fold in flour with a large metal spoon, stir in date mixture and vanilla, and pour into large muffin tins.

Bake in a 160C oven for 25 mins, or until cooked when tested with a skewer.


Combine sugar and butter in a pan and stir over low heat until melted. Add cream and vinegar, bring to boil, remove from heat and serve warm.

This version of the recipe usually makes 12 muffins, but I doubled it to feed the masses.

If you've made extra - they freeze really well and are handy to have around when you need an emergency dessert. And let's face it - who hasn't had an emergency dessert situation?
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