Iron Chef Pear

As the weather turns cooler, the theme ingredient for Iron Chef tries to stay seasonal. And so it was we gathered on ANZAC Day at Jasmin's house for Iron Chef Pear.

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To start ourselves off, we had poached pears with pate and toasts with balsamic pear and goats cheese. Yum.

The centre piece of the main course was tea smoked duck with vegetables and pears, carefully smoked by Rachel to complete luciousness.

The first of the accompaniments, by Andrew, was a curried cashew salad with pear and grapes. Delicious – particularly the cashews which we are sure we could have all eaten mountains of alone.

Steve and Shell provided beautifully roast pork with whole poached pears and a pear and witlof salad. Pear does work just as well as apple as a pork accompaniment.

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There were also the fabulous pear, cheese and proscuitto filos made by Jasmin. The fennel seeds added a fabulous touch.

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Catherine and Nick provided the most spectacular looking dish for the day, the gorgonzola cheese cake with red wine poached pears on top. It tasted pretty amazing as well.

The ham, poached pear and blue cheese pizza I made also went down rather well – a version with mozzarella was made for and appreciated by the small boys.

And then it was time for dessert…

Jasmin's pear and ginger cake,.eaten with buttersctoch sauce…more interesting that sticky date….

My pear tarts, with a touch of marzipan were also a success.

Rachel made some pear sorbet and icecream, which were enthusiastically embraced by all, particularly the boys.

And Jasmin made some jelly shots with peach liquor, which the small boys were not allowed.

There was also a fabulous cheese platter – more gorgonzola with pears and walnuts, but it was getting too dark by then. But it was clearly agreed by all that pear was a winner ingredient.

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Fire engines!

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Small boys do love a fire engine, so when I noticed that it was the Fire Engine museum at Manuka's open day, we had to visit.

There were very old, and very new fire engines and there was particular interest in the very old shiny helmets and the very new hazardous chemical truck.

We learnt about the evolution from wooden ladders to aluminuim ladders to fibreglass and saw the old hard cart that two firemen used to run to a fire.

And best of all, we got to get inside of most of the fire engines!

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Happy birthday Rachel!

Happy birthday to our fabulous friend and godmother-equivalent Rachel – knitter of socks and hat, producer of lemon curd, designer and producer of extraordinary birthday cakes. We are privileged to have you in our lives. Happy birthday!!

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Wiiiiiiiiiii! 6 years old

For Jude's 6th birthday it was time to celebrate all things Ninetendo, but, in particular, the Wii. The plus side – we couldn't quite end up with the 17 children we had last year!

We did start the party off with a few of the usual formalities…

Tug of war


Followed by Boy V Shark


Oscar got in the killing blow

There were, of course, a few tears along the way…

…but the Wii play did manage to really engross everyone., even those waiting their turn.


It was hot dogs for dinner…


then time for some running about in the dark with glow sticks.


Then for the grand finale and the magnificent Yellow Toad cake made, as usual for Jude, by Rachel.


Then some more Wii, before we waved everyone a happy farewell, and collapsed.

Thank you Rachel, thank you Mario.

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Jude the Archeologist

…with his able assistant Sebastian…

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Mad Birthday

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So one gets wiser and feels the need to celebrate that fact in fabulous style.

Time for Mad Men styling, cocktails and friends late into the night.


50ml Rye Whiskey
25ml Red Vermouth
Orange zest

Pour the whiskey, the vermouth and the bitters into an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir until the mixture is chilled and blended, then strain into a frosted martini glass. Garnish with orange zest.


50ml Gin
Dry Vermouth
1 Green Olive or Lemon Zest

Add a couple of drops of vermouth into a mixing glass filled with ice, stir gently and strain out excess liquid. Add more ice, the gin and stir again. Wait until the mixing glass has frosted, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with either a strip of lemon zest or a green olive. This drink can also be served over ice in a rocks glass.

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Elvis comes to visit

Elvis, Jude's class canary came to visit us for the weekend. He chirped about and was a source of endless fascination for Zachary. Tweet!


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