Friday, 21 January 2011

Home improvements

This week we have had the daddy bear at home.

Its been fifty thousand shades of awesome.

We didn't go away on an expensive trip to anywhere.

We have stayed home all week.

Continuing our slow summer holiday.

While the weather has terrorised other parts of Australia we have been soooo lucky & enjoyed sunshine and not too hotness.

Me & hotness are NOT friends.  25 degrees is my ABSOLUTE limit.

So.....while we enjoyed the wether we started on a project we have been dreaming of well before we bought our house.


The daddy bear did a course last year taught by a fabulously eccentric Greek man with fabulous knowledge.

So this week we began our own.

What follows is the picture diary of this week.

I am sure you can see the sense of family that this project has given us.

We are building so much more than an oven......

We also managed to get a treehouse made this week too.  The big kids love it.  Its the old fashioned sort.  You know....the sort that is totally unsafe. 

No sides.....that sort of unsafe.  Just a wooden platform nailed to a tree.  Like most of us built when we were young.

That was before as a society we got so obsessed about what is 'right' and what is 'safe' that we have forgotten to let our children take risks and as parents we risk sending them out into the big wide world as people who have never experienced that feeling of pride that we felt at getting through something that felt tricky but we powered on to succeed. 

Imagine missing out on the experience of trying something scary and somehow gaining the courage within to give it a go only to discover we really had it in us all the time. 

Check out the pulley system they invented to get up......

We have somehow forgotten to acknowledge that children are sometimes better than us at knowing what they are capable of......... 

Foodwise this week has seen a bit of a curry fest......

Last night was another fave of mine & now the kids too. 


What you will need:

  • 1kg firm fleshed fish  (ask your fishmonger for the best variety)
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • lemon rind ( cut into large strips) 
  • about 20 fresh curry leaves (dried if not available)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 dried chilli (or more to taste)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • S & P
  • 1 can of coconut cream
NOTE: If you haven't used fresh curry leaves before I definitely suggest they are an ingredient worth sourcing.  They offer a beautiful fragrant addition to your curries and really are the magic ingredient along with the nuttiness of the fenugreek that create the MAGIC in this recipe.

Here's a pic of what curry leaves look like if you are unfamiliar:

In a dry pan roast the cumin, coriander and paprika and grind in a spice grinder. (You can skip this step by using pre-ground spices.)

Blitz the onion, garlic & ginger.

Fry in a couple of tablespoons of oil until brown and you can see the oil separate from the paste.

Add the fenugreek seeds, cloves, curry leaves, ground spices & lemon peel and cook through for a couple of minutes. Or until melt in your mouth fragrant!

Now add the coconut milk and cook through for about 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Add the fish about 10 minutes before you intend to serve.  This makes sure you do not overcook the fish.

Serve with fragrant jasmine rice & a good garnish of fresh coriander.  A squeeze of lemon juice is optional but always delish.

And I HAVE to serve loads of Lime Pickle on the side because I LOVE IT!!!!! 

My listening pleasure this week is the magnificent CAT POWER as I am ever so excited about going to see her live tonight! 



  1. then backyard looks like alot of fun

  2. You live your life like a page from the book of my fantasy!

  3. Gus and Archie for chief helpers extraordinaires, I see. Great work, men - and woman, of course!!! Can I swing to the treehouse too?? Jomaxxxx

  4. Hmmmm recipe looks good - maybe I'll try it tonite. Wood oven looks amazing.... Vickixxx

  5. Woo! Cool post! I completely agree with letting them find their own limits, and also pushing past them. That looks like a brilliant treehouse, and I am totally jealous of your wood oven...

    And totally, TOTALLY jealous of you going to see Cat Power!! Hope it is FAB!

  6. Wow.. beats making mud pies ..

    I bet the little ones were in heaven.. it will be wonderful for them to reap the rewards of their hard labour ... YUMMM..

    Fabbo blogs by the way ...PLEASE keep them coming as I get all excited when I see you in my inbox XXX

  7. Love to see all the blokes working in the back yard, complete with obligatory blue singlet. Looking forward to a few crusty, smoky pizzas, bread, lamb roasts etc etc - topped with the olives next to the new oven.
    speaking of challenges, we spent the weekend building some mighty retaining walls at the beachhouse - at first scary (landslide anyone???) and then do - able, and finally excellent - stand back and raise your beer to a job well done.

    Loving your work, Greg

  8. Great job boys and girls! We have been lucky enough to have a very inexpensive beach camping holiday for two weeks, no tv, computer or electronics. Every meal cooked on a bbq or gas bottle AND some very unsafe BUT very fun play! Great to be able to show the kids some simple pleasures from childhoods gone by!

  9. I love how Archie puts his safety glasses in his mouth. Looks like a real pro!

    Re. safety and kids...have you read any of the free range parenting stuff? Really interesting...all about letting kids take risks (you know, the exact same ones we did!)...


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