Atlas Central America

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So after a bit of a break, diminished without Burke and Cat now they have returned to WA, we gathered at Kellie's to enjoy the delights of Central America. Please forgive the photo quality and number – had to resort to my phone when the batteries in the camera ran out.

We started with Nicaraguan oysters – serviche de ostras. I am not normally a big fan of oysters, but the lime and chilli combination made these totally delicious.

We then had two different types of tamales, a shredded beef stew and a chicken and onion dish, accompanied by tortillas, rice and bbq'ed sweet corn. The tamales, while not at all bad, are probably the least successful Atlas dish ever – clearly we anglos haven't quite got the knack. The smokey chilli tomato sauce which Rachel preapred to go with them was amazing however.

For dessert, I went for a modern update on the dulche de leche theme with a dulche de leche cheesecake and Bronwen prepared us a baked sweet potato and raisin dish. All round yum.

Next stop, Korea!

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School holiday day out

Because we had enjoyed it a lot last year, Sebastian and Jude and I decided to do a day trip out to Tidbinbilla during the school holidays.

Unfortunately, as we drove out, the weather closed over us and the rain started. This did not put a damper on the space tracking station at all, so we went and spent some time there.  Unfortunately, the rain had not decided to go away, so we aborted the Tidbinbilla National Park visit, and chose to picnic at Casaurina Sands under one of the spiffy new shelters there.

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Naturally enough, the rain did not dissolve Sebastian and Jude's enthusiasm for running about, so they enjoyed some fun playing in the (fairly light) rain.

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We all took a walk down to the river, and the boys decided that we must come back in summer so they can wade around looking for frogs. Today we instead enjoyed the view of raindrops on the ferns.

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We headed back to Canberra, intending to stop at Mt Stromlo to make it a space focused day, but, having wended our way up the misty hill, discovered the visitors centre closed, so had to make do with checking out the burnt out and still standing telescopes from the warmth of the car before heading home.

Not quite the day we had planned, but still lots of fun.

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Captain Zachary’s Pirate Birthday

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For Zachary's birthday this year, we reprised the pirate theme, last seen for Sebastian's 5th birthday.

There was pirate colouring in….

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Stick the Patch on the Pirate

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Musical (deck) chairs

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A jolly feast

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And other fun times like dancing and treasure hunts and games of sneaking up on Captain Redbeard aka James.

And of course, the central feature, the cake. The same basic cake as Sebastian's chocolate pirate ship, I decided to go for a rather brighter pirate ship this time round.

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Zachary was most happy, the ritual birthday song was sung, and the candles extinguished….

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And once the cake was eaten, it was time for everyone to go home…

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Happy birthday Lucy!

Happy 40th birthday to my little sister. Thanks for all the times we went for long bike rides; picniced at the creek down the road looking for leeches and interesting bits of quartz; explored the back part of Kensington Oval during the athletics; played "Ghost Train" at the park down the road; danced and sang to Evita, The Who, Peter Paul and Mary or Leo Sayer; constructed elaborate cites with our dolls house people only to see them devastated by inevitable floods; sang Christmas carols in bed; formed a seamless team when dealing with the kids down the road or any other threat; played endless games of Monopoly, Cooper Pedy, Chinese checkers or backgammon; went on intrepid journeys through the weeds in the back garden; scavenged together for fun left overs after parents' dinner parties; had the endless fun that two sisters have as they grow up. I hope that our children can have the same kinds of fun time memories of good times with their siblings that I have.

And 40 ain't so bad…

Happy birthday!

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Ropes and Rockets

Jude and Zac get in some serious game time.

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Iron Chef Goat

Meet Tasty the Kid, the centrepiece of Iron Chef Goat. Having this Iron Chef at Nick and Catherine's hosue allowed advantage to be taken of their enormous oven to roast an entire goat as a major feature.

Being a lunchtime Iron Chef also meant that the small boys got to take advantage of outdoors play before we started on the food.

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I just wish Sebastian was as enthusiastic about the sweeping when he is at home!

The grownups hung out in the kitchen, where Nick engaged in crowd-pleasing G&T making. Yum.

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And then it was onto the first food of the day.

First up was my goats cheese and caramelised onion tart.

It was followed by Jasmin's goats' cheese, tomato and mushroom tarts. Both once again proved that goats' cheese + pastry + virtually anything else = deliciousness.

Nick then got to work carving Tasty.

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As you can see, the roasted goat looked delicious and succulent and cooked up beautifully. Nick and Catherine had stuffed it with apples wrapped in bacon which were chopped up and reduced down in the goat jus to produce a lovely sauce. As a goat virgin (that does sound disturbing) I thought that it really did taste somewhere between lamb and beef, although personally I prefer the slightly richer flavour of rosat lamb. But I would certainly not turn up my nose at goat in the future.

While Tasty was the centrepiece of the meal, there were plenty of goaty accompaniments.

Jasmin made  baked potatoes with blue goats' cheese.

Andrew knocked up this visually exciting salad with goats' cheese accompaniment.

Rachel's main course contribution was a goat tagine.

And my contribution was an interpretation of osso buco for goat. I think that it didn't quite match veal as an ingredient,, but still yumminess ensued.

At least Orwell was impressed by it all.

And then it was on to dessert. We started with a lovely platter of cheese from Jasmin (not precisely dessert, but you know what I mean) featuring a goat brie and goat curd to have with pesto.

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Andrew prepared some fabulous chocolate and goats cheese truffles which were delicious.

And then for the grand finale – the magnificent fool made with goats' milk by Rachel which was nothing short of spectactular – and fabulously tasty.

It was served with vanilla ice cream, also made by Rachel with creamy goats' milk.

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So the goat experiment was declared a success. The only disappointment was that due to illness, Steve and Shell couldn't be with us, and neither was their goat rogan josh. But goat nontheless proved versatile and delicious!

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