Sunday, July 7, 2013

Feeling peckish?

It generally takes us Bears a while to get round to things. It's been two years since we were in Morocco, but we came back from there resolved to buy ourselves a tagine and have a go at some of those Moroccan dishes.

Well, we finally bought ourselves one for Christmas (I know, I know; we're in the second half of the year now, but I told you these blogs won't be current for a while), and once the warm days of summer were over we gave it a try. It cooks very slowly and because if its shape it refluxes moisture back into the dish. The recipes involve several steps: browning the meat in the tagine, removing it, preparing vegetables in it, then re-assembling for a long slow cook, with more things added along the way. But the results were excellent.

Australian tagine (from Myer), but Tunisian rug.

Interestingly, and unlike curries and stews, the dishes didn't seem to improve with keeping. Our first two were both chicken dishes, one with almonds and prunes, the other with quinces, which we have in the garden. Spices required, of course; we brought saffron back from Morocco, but there is a well-stocked shop in one of the smaller souks in Hobart where we can get everything else we need.

Chicken and quince.

Chicken, prunes and almonds.

The Very Observant will note that both dishes are about to be consumed in the front room, beside the fire and in front of the telly. We are not ashamed.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Boys (the girl comes later)

If you'll excuse this blog for not being exactly current, I can mine a rich seam of existing photos from the last year or so.

Grandchildren! We seem to have lots of them, more than four, somehow. Just once in a while we have to remind ourselves that we are really Very Lucky, a) to have such delightful grandchildren, and b) to have them so close to us. I know that many grandparents would be jealous. Marty is less than five minutes walk round the corner, while Angus, George and the charming Miss Annabelle are 15 minutes away in the car.

Only Angus is full time at school as yet, so we are in a busy phase as far as taking care of them is concerned. So far this year the weekly pattern has been that we have Marty for most of the day on Monday, and again on Tuesday, while Jo works her days at uni. Then on Wednesdays George comes around coffee time and stays until Hugh is finished school in the late afternoon. On Thursdays we pick up Angus from school at 3.00 and he stays until 5.30 while Hugh has a post-school staff meeting. We get the rest of the week off.

And we have fun! Tuesdays with Marty, for example, are swimming day. In first term I was taking him to lessons at a small pool in town, but more recently we have been going to the big Hobart Aquatic Centre where there is a well-equipped kid's pool and slide. It's has been wonderful to see his skills developing, and he now fearlessly plunges under the water in a wriggly underwater swim, or hurls himself down the water slide. He and I often go the wharf for fish and chips afterwards. Boys day out.

At home we spend a lot of time on the floor (ooh my knees) with all the boys, creating car and train tracks, or out in the garden digging in the soil, or flying paper planes off the front step. Crab-hunting at the beach is another of Marty's favourite occupations.

Granma is the expert car track maker. Layouts often include mountains and waterfalls!

Angus' birthday earlier this year. Marty, Angus and George at the head of the table, with some other cousins.

Angus and George had a joint "official" birthday, with a cake shop.

And then there's Miss Annabelle, a determined personality, learning fast from her big brothers. She'll need another post later (when I have some pics).

We really are very blessed.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shamed into it!

In response to overwhelming demand (and the embarrassing flow of delightful blogs from the Cornish Walker) I'm going to try to reinvigorate this old blog. Not so much "traveling" these days, but maybe someone (you know who you are) will be interested in some of our doings.

This looks like being the Year of Construction: a new bathroom, new windows and solar panels in the roof! Of these, only the bathroom has been completed, and that not fully, since we won't paint until the new window is in place, but this will give you an idea.

Nothing will disguise the fact that it's a very small bathroom, but the re-arrangement has given us a bit more usable space. After much discussion we decided to retain a bath; we hardly ever use it, but those grandchildren do get grubby.

The work was all done very efficiently by Jo and Jac's next door neighbour Marcus, and he will be back in a few weeks to fit the new windows.

There. That hardly hurt at all. All I've got to do is to be more regular. Maybe a series of pictures of sunrises?
Small, but cosy.