Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Windows with a Tune

Cleaning windows
The wipers worked frantically
to no great advantage
as we were chauffeured
down the narrow streets
of a village in the Loire
in a Citroen Traction Avant

Looking out Celestine's windscreen - Loire 2010

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thursday Windows with a Tune.

So meet me tonight, just where the light shines from a window,
and as I take your hand, say that you'll be mine tonight.
(Lennon & McCartney)

Adelaide 2011

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wednesday in Italy

Look out any window
Look out any open door
(by Bruce Hornsby)

Monticchiello Tuscany 2006
Montalcino Tuscany 2006

A week of a windows theme with pictures and music

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Look Through Any Window

Last week we did the Foodie Thing based on Sue's passion of cooking - yes, I know how fortunate I am but she does have a very enthusiastic guinea pig to work with.

This week I have this concept based on the Hollies song - "Look through any window". I heard it on the radio today when I was thinking of what to post for the weekend. Does this happen to you?

Most of my weekend was spent on the bedroom renovation, remember the bathroom saga, well that's finished. Most of the undercoating is 75% done in the bedroom now. The hardest part is preparing the timber work, especially the lap-sash windows. I've sanded all the timber and now done two layers of undercoat. The walls down from the timber picture rail are also undercoated but I still need to do the ceiling next weekend - I'm excited!!!!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Champagne Friday and Home Made Pizza

Champagne Friday - there it was when I walked in the door, the customary glass of champagne to welcome the start the weekend. It was a hurried glass of champagne and dinner as well.
For those that have been following the blog this week, I hoodwinked Sue into posting this weeks dinners. It just that I'm so proud of what she can bring out of the kitchen and on to the table. I remember once when our son Mitchell said there's nothing to eat in this house. All I can find is ingredients.
That's the way its always been. No packaged dinners. no bottles of coca cola or choc coated breakfast cereals in our house - just ingredients.

We had a function to attend tonight and so dinner would need to be something quick and simple. Sue can hardly bear to order in even though tonight might have been one of those times. Order Pizza maybe!

But no!!! She had to make her own, from the crust up.

This is a simple yeast dough. Before I got RA I used to make all the bread for the family, so I could just about do this with my eyes shut.
Yup, that's it.
Ooh, yuk, this looks pretty washed out, Leon.
It's green tiger prawns, prosciutto and bocconcini on a tomato base with a little chilli. No garlic, cos we had to go out and breathe on people.
That's because these are just iPhone photos Sue!!
The finished article.
Leon made a pig of himself :-)
Hm mm I guess i did, didn't I?
 Looking forward to our weekend. It starts with a morning ride with my mates, that is unless its raining and if it is, then its straight into the bedroom renovation. Tell you more about that Sunday night.
Havagood1 all

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It was a very long day at the office. Glad to be Home.

The alarm went off at 5.30 am. Sometimes I get up to join my cobbers for a ride but mostly work gets in the way. This morning when the alarm went off, instead of jumping into the Lycra, it was the shower and off to work.
Around 5ish Sue rang me and said, "get home, you've been there nine and a half hours". "OK Sue but what's for dinner?" She wasn't saying except to say, "I'm showing you how a good Bruscetta should be".

Well let tell you, when I opened the door after over an hour on the road to get home, it had the aromas of a real Italian Restaurant, something that I didn't experience last night.

The waft of garlic and oregano welcomed me down the hallway and into the kitchen and there was a glass of wine waiting for me. How pampered am I?

yeah real pampered!
But not special bruscetta. just done properly so it tastes good. Sourdough bread toasted and rubbed with fresh garlic. Tomato chopped and given a bit of a squeeze to get rid of a bit of moisture, then a little sea salt, basil if you have any and a drizzle of olive oil. how hard is that?

This is a recipe called Greek chicken. It probably doesn't have much in common with the original recipe, because the vegetables change to suit what you have. There is always chicken thighs on the bone, garlic, oregano, red onion, potato wedges. Tonight there was also, fennel, red capsicum and a tin of tomatoes. After it cooks add feta cheese and parsley. it is always lush and moreish.
And left overs for my lunch - thanks Hun!

My Rick Stein's empty plate photo.
When the cheese and strawberries come out, its time to make coffee she tells me.
The strawberries are really delicious this year considering that it is still winter and they are all Australian.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bad Food - Bad Photos

Now I'm not one to say I told you so but, I told you so!!!!
I live in the best restaurant. Sue hates me saying that!

We picked up a pair of bedside tables for our (my) bedroom project down the road apiece. Many years ago in Frankston, we took our boys on a regular basis to an Italian restaurant. Sometimes memories should be left as just that. Why? Well coz we were totally disappointed. You have to ask yourself that after 20 years, has the restaurant gone downhill or have our expectations risen with age? You tell us.

But firstly let me apologise for my bad photos - I had to sneak out the iPhone and not feel embarrassed.

We really have had some good memories with our two young boys in the 80s and 90s.

Possibly Bruscetta!!!

I really hate the way Leon talks about my cooking. while it is, of course, very flattering, I am a home cook. That's it.      But, tonight was a disappointment.
Started with a tomato bruscetta. Or so they said. Fridge cold pieces of tomato bullets, no garlic flavour. In fact no flavour at all. Sad. Not hard. Italian restaurant for buddhas sake!
My flounder looked good, tasted ordinary. Had been frozen.
Leon's steak was dry and stringy he said.
The company was good though. And when we got home, Leon made delicious coffee.

OK, a bad photo but it meets the standard of the meal. My steak had a nice flavour but it was a little past med/rare and the veggies were a little bit like "Light and Easy". (Leon)
At 3.30 pm tomorrow at my desk at work, I'll be ringing Sue and asking what is for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Love Living in this Restaurant

When Leon first talked about doing this thing, a weeks food, I said, yeah sure, no problem.
I thought it would be one of his weekly Sunday night blogs, but, no...not Leon's way.
Anyhow, this is it, for better or worse. 

Felt like red meat tonight. So lamb back-straps. They are the loin without the bone. Pretty expensive, but huge meat eating kids here at the moment. sad to tell the truth. One is in Berlin, one is in Goa, India. Still, eating here is cheap right now!

The lamb was marinated for about 20 minutes in rosemary leaves, garlic, honey, salt and red wine.
Dried it off. Heated a pan till smoking then put the lamb in. Two minutes each side, then added marinade, cooked till liquid reduced by about half - then off heat, lid on and rest it for ten minutes. Pink and good. That's why the full description. Tell me if it's too much. I know it's not a cooking blog.

Served on a cauliflower puree (anyone want the recipe let me know:) ) crispy potatoes and sauteed brussel sprouts. (Leon's favs)

Don't often do dessert during the week, but I saw an interesting way to serve poached pears and thought I would have a play before I inflicted it on guests.
Nice, but next time will be heaps better in presentation.

Hey Nadage are you there?! This one's for you. Please note the "caramelised" edge to the tart. It caramelised more than I expected while I was somewhere else, doing something else. As you do, if you are human.

Anyhow, that's Tuesday done and dusted.

Its me here now - Leon, remember me. Gosh, I think she's taking over now. Melbourne our Home looks like becoming Sue's cooking blog if I'm not careful. Do me a favour - let your readers know about Sue's cooking prowess, it might encourage her to do more.
So who's a proud husband then?

We are out tomorrow night at a family Italian restaurant down the road a piece so we'll give you a review but I know I'll be sadly disappointed not eating at home.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sue's Kitchen at Home this Week

People tell me how fortunate I am with Sue's cooking and I am, but you need to know that cooking is her passion, sometimes her relaxation and its not often that she doesn't feel like creating in the kitchen.

So this week we are going to bring you what comes out of the kitchen at home. Having said that, we will be out Wednesday night so we'll bring you a restaurant experience.

Most days I ring from work in the afternoon and the conversation goes from what was in the mail, have you heard from the boys (both are overseas) to what's for dinner. No bills in the mail, Sue has heard from the boys and it doesn't matter what's for dinner because I'm never disappointed.

I'll let Sue tell you what was Monday's night meal in front of the telly while watching Australia's Master Chef.
Over to you Sue.
Easy peasy Monday night. Nothing easier than risotto.
So, Leon loves mushrooms and I love quail.
Mushroom risotto with local fresh mushrooms and reconstituted porcini. I used the liquid from the porcini along with chicken stock in the risotto.
The quail were butterflied so not too many bones, and were marinated in paprika and garlic.(Thanks supermarket). I cooked them for about 3 minutes each side on a very hot char grill.
All good. 30 minutes go to wo.

Try that out Jamie

This is what I call my Rick Stein photo coz I like watching his DVDs. He prepares and cooks a meal and to show how everyone has enjoyed the meal, he shows an empty plate.
Can you see how much I enjoyed Sue's Monday night's dinner?
OK - the Cook doesn't wash so I have go now and clean-up....
Anyone for coffee and port?

I wonder what Tuesday's dinner will be?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bathroom Saga turns to Bedroom Saga!

Before I begin this post, I need to tell you that I changed for some unknown and stupid reason to Google+.
It was a nightmare. I thought it might help to meet new readers but all it did was stop our old friends commenting. Hope all is now back to normal now.
Familiarity can feel comforting - true?

Last Sunday we were returning from having coffee at our friend's home with the great coffee machine - you know him as Coffee Snob. As we were driving home, we discovered that the old furniture warehouse had changed hands and name. I said to Sue, "Do want to check it out". At the same time I thought, every time we've popped in, well in most cases - we've bought something.

This visit was was to prove the theory correct. Sitting there at the back of the warehouse was a full bed (we thought a bed-head only would be nice) and it was just what we had in mind.
Although we purchased it last Sunday, it was only delivered this weekend.
So guess what - now that the bathroom is finished, I have a bedroom project. We can't have a light and breezy style bed in a dark and old style bedroom. Our bedroom was in a sort of peach colour with a dusty green woodwork. There was a wallpaper frieze just under the picture rail - all very charming and of the era I'm told! So, time for a change I'm also told. I'm sure it would have been easier to have painted the bed to match the room, but oh nooooooooo!
Sue wanted a new look. Here we go again, from bathroom saga to bedroom saga. I'm sure it will be inspirational (or boring) for many more future posts at "Melbourne Our Home" - the title is very appropriate I guess with all this make-over!!!

The bed that started a bedroom renovation.
Inspiration from a magazine. We have a bid on eBay for some bedside chest of drawers just like the ones pictured here. It finishes in 3 hours time. The bed is solid timber like this one and the colours of the room will be vivid white timber with Antique (warmish cream) white walls and the ceiling in white/white.
The original colour still on the door. I started on the sanding this weekend which is now finished ready to undercoat.
I kind of liked the initial distressed look on the door surround but I was out voted (again).....
Started the first undercoat to see how it will look later. It will certainly lighten up the room.
So what do you think - not a bad weekends effort, hey!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday night I walked in to the kitchen. There on the bench were these meringues.

Cooking as most of you know is one of Sue's delights, passion and possibly a form of relaxation for her.
Mine is eating - didn't Meryl Streep say something like that when she played Julia Childs in Julie and Julia?

The beginning of a divine desert.
Sue delicately adds home made blood orange curd
Then a great dollop of whipped cream from a good old Aussie cow.
Then on went the fancy pants strawberry.
Then on went the icing sugar - I eat better at home than most restaurants.
Well that's my opinion.
I hear something happening in the kitchen and there's some sliced mushrooms on the bench - I wonder what she's cooking up now! A pie I'm told with last night's leftovers of beef cheek, some brussells (I love Brussell Sprouts) with mash. Good old comfort food on a Melbourne winter's Friday night. AND of course it's time to open the Champagne................


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Wednesday In Italy

On the hilltop village
with only 300 others.
We spent a week
in Monticchiello - Tuscany
Not far away was
and just over the next hill
Tuscany seems to have
its own colour pallet of greens and ochre.

From our 2006 "once in a lifetime trip"
Back in 2014 for the L'Eroica cycling event.
Can't wait.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


It's a well known fact that Melbourne is the coffee snob capital of Australia, 
if not the world. 

France doesn't know how to make coffee, but they do make great bread. Italy, well not bad for Espresso but the US - don't even let me start on that!!!! Their coffee houses are just an extension of their fast food outlets - would you like to upsize that?????
Sorry to upset any American readers but we have admitted to being Coffee Snobs earlier.

It was Sunday arvo when Sue and I felt like a coffee so we rang our good friends Denise and Darren.
Darren would reign supreme as Melbourne's biggest coffee snob however our friend Ellen comes a close second. I've seen Ellen almost get into fist fights about bad coffee.

Darren has his own machine and grinds the beans to suit his addiction. Now I'm not one to cause trouble but, it's a little over the top to spend as much on a coffee machine as you would spend on a good second hand car. OMG he makes great coffee so when in the area, a quick phone call to Darren ensures one of the best coffees in Melbourne.

Sue and I love our  long Macchiato. 

Do you know, we have not had an instant coffee since - I can't remember when. If offered one I usually request a glass of water instead. I'm sure that qualifies me as a "Coffee Snob"..........................

Just as an added note - Darren and I also enjoy the perfect Pinot Noir - not sure if we've found it yet but we keep trying.

If you would like to know more about the types of coffee - try Wikipedia for a concise list - we have them all in Melbourne and heaps of Cafe's that can make them for you.

Post written with tongue in cheek while having a coffee (not instant) with Sue after dinner.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Roosters and Feather Dusters

It was a bit of a struggle to post this weekend with no inspiration coming to the fore. I started pottering on the Internet, as you do on a lazy Sunday. I found this research website called TROVE over the weekend and started typing in family names - well talk about "Roosters and Feather Dusters" stuff. I found some sporting results and a few skeletons in the closet.

BULLANT SIMS - Great Uncle
I of course knew that my passion for cycling came from my father but I really didn't hear much about his actual racing. I also knew about his uncle, Ernie Sims who was a boxer. He fought under the name of BULLANT SIMS. He was 5'5" tall and was a bantamweight. From all accounts he had some success locally and nationally. Ernie had three brothers, John my grandfather, Leslie and George. Having grown up in the suburbs of Collingwood, Fitzroy and Carlton, they all probably knew how to defend themselves. The area was full of workers cottages and slum accommodation in those days.

Poor quality I know but I like the headline best!
My Father's big success on the bike.
I've posted several times on this blog about my father Jack, I'm extremely proud of him and he's been a good mate as we both have matured, probably at the same rate, truth beknown. Dad's been a very humble man, not the sort to "pump up his own tyres" in cycling talk. I thought I would type in his name and this newspaper article came up with his success in a bike race before the war. In discussion only tonight with my weekly phone call I asked Jack to recall the race. He said he finished the race with grease laden hands because he lost the chain on his 2 speed sprocket and had to stop to put the chain back on. I can actually remember seeing this old two speed sprocket in the tool box as a young child.
The Fastest Time of the day was from the scratch bunch and won by Ken Stewart who over the years was a good friend of Dad's. Ken has passed away like many of the other riders of the day so I guess my Dad is still winning the race of life.

Lionel Davey - my uncle
Then from my mother's side there was Lionel Davey, my Uncle whom I do remember a little. I think he and his wife had thirteen children. Although his parents came from Bendigo before moving to Melbourne, somehow Lionel found his way to Queensland and took up motorcycle speedway racing and actually gained some International fame in Great Britain before returning to Australia. Family folklore says he raced  in Queensland under the name of Percival Davey for some reason. Being so young, naturally I never saw him race but he was a good friend of Fred Tracey, the owner of Tracey's Speedway in Maribynong and we would often be invited to attend the Speedway Meetings.

And finally my maternal Grandfather, Percival Davey.
It seems that my Grandfather on Mum's side was a nice bloke but possibly a bit of a rogue. I found some newspaper cuttings that tell of him being in court on three occasions. One was for selling underweight bread when he was a baker. The second was when he was the proprietor of a hotel in Sydney - the charge was for a member of the public drinking at his hotel after hours. The third cutting I found was the court case of his divorce from his wife. I believe he finished up as a band leader and died at Lorne on the Great Ocean Road.
I never met him.

So much for sporting success and skeleton's in the closet.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


Not my photo - lifted from images
On Wednesday I posted a picture inviting readers to guess where it was taken - not some French scene but it was in the Melbourne inner suburbs - here's another photo I stole from the Internet of the same building.

As a young fella, I would look across Studley Park, Kew and see the Abbotsford Convent across the river Yarra. My Father grew up with his brother, sister and parents in the parklands. No, they weren't homeless. My grandfather was a Caretaker and this allowed him to live at the Caretaker's house within the extensive parklands of Studley Park. It had commanding views across the park to the Melbourne CBD which was not more than 4 kms away as the crow flies.
After my father married my mother, they moved into their own home and on the occasional weekend, I would spend time with my grandparents, John and Tillie. We had the biggest backyard to play in. 640 acres of natural bushland, parks and sporting fields to be exact.

In the upper right hand corner of this photo was where my grandparents home was situated prior to it being destroyed by fire. As a child, we discovered sections carved into the sloping banks that ran down to the river. My grandfather told me that they were shallow caves where native Australians lived before European settlement.
The Yarra River runs 12 kms through the parklands which are the largest so close to the Melbourne CBD.
The upper horseshoe bend houses the Abbotsford Convent while the other horseshoe bend of the river was where my grandparents home was located. The area that is to the left is full of little worker's cottages and laneways. Once the homes of the poor and the workers, today it is highly sought after by the Trendy who want to be close to the city.
As I walked to the Convent to keep my appointment, I could not help but feel that I was visiting some of the many places of religion in France. Maybe it was the Cloisters.
The Cloister at the Abbotsford Convent.
I think this is a painting by Australian artist Arthur Boyd of the Convent.
The hallways of the Convent are paved with tessellated tiles and you can smell the oak and cedar in the walls and stairways.

We've passed the depths of winter and signs of an early spring can be seen with blossom  on the trees of the Convent.
A very tranquil place indeed.
Spring might be a good time to take Sue to have a look at the Abbotsford Convent as my visit was all to brief due to the need to get back to the office.