Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lemons in Winter

Winter is the time for lemons. They are plentiful at the markets and finally we have some on our lemon tree. When we renovated the house we planted what I like to call a citrus grove but which is in fact a large fecund lime tree, a smaller lemon tree, a cumquat tree, a grapefruit tree which produces heavy sour fruit and an orange tree which never fruits which I think the gardener planted by accident.

At the moment I have so many limes I have piled them up in a tall glass vase something like this:

They are yellow and thus impersonating lemons because they are overripe. Still look great however.

So for today, Two lemon recipes:

Lemon drink for little children


3 lemons
2 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs honey
500 ml boiling water
ice cubes


Thinly pare the rind from the lemons, leaving behind as much bitter white pith as possible. Cut into thin strips and place into a large bowl with the sugar and honey. Reserve lemons.

Pour boiling water into the bowl and stir until sugar and honey are dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Strain the liquid into a jug. Squeeze juice from reserved lemons into jug. Chill until ready to serve then serve in tumblers with ice.

Decadent lemon sauce for pasta


6 prawns deveined and shelled
200 g angelhair pasta
1 tbs butter
1 tbs grated lemon rind
2 tbs thickened cream
2 tbs white wine
tiny pinch of chilli powder (optional)
juice from one lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper


Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, cut the prawns into small pieces about 1.5 cm square and fry gently in some olive oild until they lose their translucency.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add the lemon rind, cooking gently for a minute. Add the wine and cook for a minute, then add the cream and chilli powder (if using). Add the prawn pieces and stir for a minute.

Turn the heat off, toss pasta through the sauce, add salt and pepper and serve in warmed bowls. Add a splash of lemon juice if your palate is feeling the need for an extra hit of lemon.

Happy end of financial year. I for one am pleased to see the back of it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Inspiration - Wrought Iron Chandeliers

Over the weekend I found a story on Jasper Conran's amazing renovation of a Tudor home on the Thames. The lights in his stairwell and hallway were incredible. They are wrought iron 'oak tree' chandeliers made by Charles Saunders Antiques in London. Here they are.


We tried to achieve this look at our wedding by tying ivy around a huge wrought iron hired hanging thing in the marquee.

Anthropologie has some beautiful whimsical chandeliers.

And here are some wrought iron chandeliers in action.

I love the idea of a non-utilitarian light in the bathroom.

Look at the beautiful different grey and cream textures in this room and the combination of guava and pale blue in the room below. Note how the chandelier is set at the correct (lower) height.

This wrought iron sconce against a lilac background creates a whole new point of interest in what would be just an empty corner.

This light looks assymetrical and handmade and works beautifully with the carved wooden dining table and Bhuddist monk orange curtains.


One note of caution - some furniture you can get away with knock offs, replicas and inexpensive versions. But - cheap chandeliers really do look cheap. We had one in our house when we moved in. It was a super shiny brassy colour with light bulbs showing and it hung crookedly. In hindsight maybe I could have painted it. We loathed it so much we didn't use the room for years! It's true.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Evocative Alexander McKenzie Landscapes

Alexander McKenzie is an Australian landscape artist who was born in Sydney in 1971. His work is beautiful and evocative, in a world where excellent modern landscapes are in very short supply. And up close and in real life, I can assure you that they are even better.

According to Axia Modern Art, who has a current exhibition of his work, his paintings are:
as much evocations of mood, weather and the subconscious as they are depictions of actual place. His unique and powerfully innovative visions of lakesides, gardens and sunsets are hauntingly powerful scenes that continue their subtle break away from the more literal representation of landscape, towards a presentation of the imagined. McKenzie is concerned with the emotional power of beauty and uses landscape as his vehicle for expression.

To me, his work is slightly surreal, and conveys what it might feel like to be transported to a 1790s countryside but retain one's 2009 sensibility - slightly dreamlike but with a feeling that there is something out there in that beautiful landscape which might be a bit sinister.

This painting is called Sun Striking Sandbank.

You can see his exhibition online here or at Axia in High Street, Armadale.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Technorati Code


Nurseries for Baby Ruby

My dear friend Kate who lives in Hong Kong has just had her first baby. Little Ruby is very lucky girl as she has a divine mother and father who will love her dearly.

Nursery decoration is great fun. I feel that in the first few months the look and feel of the nursery is perhaps more for the mother than the baby, as tiny babies cannot see that well but they can of course smell and hear very clearly. Leaving aside the decor aspects, there are three practical essentials in a nursery I have learned through much experience, experimentation and research. The first is a CD player, with some CDs of lullabies (at the moment we play my 2 year old son a CD of Mozart piano concertos - not for intellectual 'baby Mozart' reasons but because he loves the sound of piano tinkling) and the second is heavy curtains with no light gaps or cracks entering which is apparently a leading cause of early morning waking. Third, I am also a fan of egg shaped and circular cots, I think they give the baby a real feeling of being protected and cocooned.

Although I happen to know Ruby's nursery is a stylish black and white, here are some eclectic and multi-coloured nursery ideas for Ruby.

Here's to little Ruby. May you lead a blissful life full of adventures and love.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Metro 5 Gallery - Library Art - Victoria Reichelt

Metro 5 Gallery in High Street runs an annual young artists competition and exhibition with a not inconsiderable prize of $40,000.

Here is the amazing 'Self Portrait' by Victoria Reichelt which won the People's Choice.

The painting needs to be seen in real life (like most art, as the detail is incredible). Bear in mind, this is a painting (oil) not a photograph.

She has painted some of my favourite books including Richard Dawkins 'God Delusion' and Donna Tartt's 'Secret History'.

I fully subscribe to the the idea that you are what you read.

If one could create a bookshelf for one's life, what would it contain? I am working on my list. It should definitely have categories - childhood, pretentious French, saccharine, life changing, scientific, detective, airport, history and art \ design. This will be the subject of a later post, because I think it needs some consideration.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Watch this Space

This blog is currently under construction. Stay tuned.
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