A Dream Home Coming to Life: Part Nine

“The ache for home lives in all of us.

The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

I think this statement is so true don’t you?

We all ache for a place to call our own, a place we can go and be ourselves fully without ever feeling judged. I think that’s why you can tell so much about a person by the house they keep or home they’ve created for themselves.

Whether it be a small and stylish city apartment, a sprawling country estate, a big rambling farmhouse, a funky suburban duplex or a caravan/tiny house. Whether it’s perfectly furnished and styled like something found in the pages of Home Beautiful or an eclectic collection of colourful items that you’ve sourced on your world travels. Maybe it’s always clean (clearly you don’t have children haha) or maybe it’s an organized chaos.

Any way you look at it the home you keep can say so much about you. It’s almost like bearing a little piece of your soul to someone. Something, I willingly admit, is not my strong suit. I tend to keep parts of myself very much to myself and it can be a while before people really get to know me.

So much so that a lot of the women I used to work with thought it was funny that I grew up in the country, or more specifically on a farm. I had one in particular tell me I didn’t look or act like a farm girl… well not the ‘me’ they knew anyway. That was my professional, driven, competitive, fast-paced loving, attention to detail, loud, talkative self that loved bags and wore an awful lot of very high heels. A part of me yes but only a small part. Continue reading

Golden & Crunchy, The Best Gluten Free Sausage Rolls

There are some foods that have the power to evoke a flood of memories, don’t you think? Certain dishes that just remind you of home or a certain place or time in your life that you loved. Sometimes those memories aren’t just of a certain place or time, sometimes they are of a particular person and sometimes they are of the physical act of cooking.

What dishes or people do you think of when you read this?

Perhaps it’s the memory of standing on a wooden stool, learning to make your Nonna’s secret pasta sauce recipe. Maybe it’s taking that first heaping spoon full of your Gran’s pavlova piled high with strawberries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit pulp after Christmas lunch, surrounded by the whole family. Or it could be the smell of freshly baked bread or cookies that seemed to perpetually waft through your Mother’s home.

We all have powerful food memories. That’s the beauty of food and one of the reasons why I enjoy cooking and baking so much. It’s also one of the things that I truly hope to bring to life for my own children and eventually grandchildren.

For me though there are lots of dishes that have powerful memories. But there is one particularly strong one that I think will stick with me well into my final years. Something that without a doubt makes me smile every single time I make or eat a recipe like this. And that is standing in my Great Grandmother’s kitchen over the school holidays, fighting with my sister for bench space, making homemade sausage rolls.

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Continue reading

A Dream Home Coming to Life: Part Eight

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,

if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore

OK yeah so I totally just quoted Harry Potter at you but it feels rather relevant this week. I mean other than the fact that I think Harry Potter is one of the greatest book series of the last two decades, I think you can draw so many meanings from this one statement and that is a truly wonderful thing.

What do you think of when you read this?

The most obvious and literal translation would be that you can find happiness in every minute of every day should you choose to look hard enough. That even when everything is falling apart around you there is and always will be a good side, a shiny side, a silver lining; you just need to seek it out.

But I think we could also look at this quote quite literally. Flipping on a light. Yes I could choose to find the sunny side in something but I could also physically flip on a light switch and have it illuminate my world. And what is my world? My family. My passion. My life. But it is also My Home. The place where I and my husband plan on building memories. Memories of joy and love and laughter with so many people.

You might wonder why I’m getting so metaphysical on you this week but it’s because I had a little moment the other day (yeah another one!) when we did the site visit. We arrived to the house on yet again the only sun shiny day of the week (hmmph, think I’m getting a little bit over winter yet?!) and we were walking around the house admiring the work that had been done when I did something and the feeling it gave me totally caught me off guard.

The electrician has been working this week you see and now we have lines running throughout the house to all the power points and light switches. Not a massively momentous occasion I suppose you could say; but there was this moment when I walked through the front door and reached out automatically to the light switch and went to walk into the main living room.

I encountered the most bizarre sensation I think I have ever felt. I still can’t quite put it into words. It was like millions of seconds piled on top of each other and millions of emotions in each of those seconds.

It was then that I realized I would do that very simple movement most likely every day for the rest of my life and that every single time I did it I would look up into a different aspect of my life. A different moment.

In this crazy little second I imagined walking into Christmas morning with my giant tree in the corner and children opening presents on the ground and wrapping strewn everywhere.
I imagined walking in with a sleepy child in my arms and attempting to keep him asleep until I got him into bed.
I imagined walking in from a hot and sweltering day on the farm or in the garden and taking solace in the fresh cool air conditioning.
Or admiring the new artwork (I’m in the process of commissioning) hanging in it’s new place above the buffet.
Or seeing my husband stretched out on the lounge with my son watching the football or cricket.

I could go on and on and on. Because in that one moment when I imagined flipping the switch on that light I quite literally flipped the switch to my life, to our future.

So it is on that note I give you this week’s update.

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The cladding is entirely finished! The house is now at Lock-Up stage!! Woohoo! Oh & check out my parents beautiful dog Chester in the foreground.

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WE HAVE LIGHT! Well electricity. That’s not live yet but still…. details, people, details.

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Won’t be long before this munchkin of mine is tall enough to look (and open) our windows.

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Oh yeah he thought this was a great game. How many lines can I get my hands on before Mum tells me off!

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The little ‘beige’ house on the hill. Don’t worry the cladding hasn’t been painted yet, this isn’t the final colour.

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It finally looks like a real house!

So there is a lot happening over the next few weeks. I know last Friday I mentioned I was worried that work would slow down and that I didn’t know what was due to happen each week. Well! We spoke to our Builder/contact at Ross Squire Homes and he thinks only 6-7 weeks longer and the house will be COMPLETE!!! Gah! I’m so happy I could burst!

Of course this means I’m now slightly stressed out as I feel there is still so much to do haha, but it is awesome none the less. So definitely be sure to check back next week as there will be lots of new updates on the happenings of our new home. Oh and don’t forget to swing by my Facebook page as I will have an exclusive walk through that you’ll only be able to see there (next week). 

Ciao for now my friends xxx

Champagne & Gumboots is one!

Can you believe it?

My little blog is turning one this week, how crazy is that? I honestly have no idea where the time has gone… truly I don’t! Somewhere in this past year I got up the guts to start this little idea I had and share my stories, recipes and life adventures with you. And what an adventure this year has been… I mean who’s life wouldn’t be with a crazy 16 month old running around destroying the place.

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It’s been a big year for us as a family too. Not only did we have the obvious birth of our son and found our ‘forever home’ but we had lots of big ‘adult’ decisions to make too regarding our income and the house we were going to build. Lots has happened, most of it good, so I am truly grateful for that.

I guess the next big question is ‘What’s next?!’.

Well A LOT is the simple answer. There are family holidays and birthday celebrations, a new home to finish building and of course the fun of decorating it and making it ‘ours’. There will be a second birthday party and talks of second babies. There will be a big family Christmas and all of the DIY, decorating, baking and fun that comes with it. There will be more collaborations with more awesome women, and new businesses to hear and talk about it. There will be a farm to build up; veggie patches to plant, orchards to cultivate, chickens to hatch and gumboots to get dirty.

There are some truly awesome things on the horizon and I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have them coming our way. What I feel even more blessed to have is you, my readers. It’s so lovely to see so many of you swing by for a visit each week and to hear how you’re getting along with my recipes and DIY. I love your feedback and encouragement with our build and I get a kick out of hearing your motherhood stories too.

So please, if you will, stay with me on this journey and let’s see where it takes us! For now though I thought I would send us down memory lane with my very first blog post and my very first self written recipe, it seems only fitting with a beautiful array of berries hitting the market shelves as we speak. So here it is…. the always delectable, can’t screw it up, No-Bake Berry Cheesecake!!

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No-Bake Lemon Berry Cheesecake

There is something about the zingy pop of lemon and sweet burst of fresh berries that really lends itself to summer lunches and balmy barbecue’s. So the minute the local berries hit the supermarket shelves I find a reason to make this cheesecake!

Prep Time: 15 minutes approx.
Fridge Time: 2-3hrs Minimum
Serves: 8-12

Ingredients: –
80g Melted Butter
1 Cup crushed Sweet Plain Biscuits (I make this gluten free by using GF Arrowroot biscuits. 2 packets should do you)
1 Cup Sour Cream
500g Cream Cheese – Room Temperature
3/4 Cup Caster Sugar
1/4 Cup Boiling Water
3 Tsp Gelatin Crystals
1 Tbsp Finely Grated Lemon Rind
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Cups of Mixed Berries or Fruit of Choice
50g Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate for drizzling
1/4 Tsp of Solid Coconut Oil (Optional)

Directions:
Grease and line a 20cm Springform pan and set aside. (A layer of grease paper on the bottom of the pan with edges hanging out will make removal a piece of cake!…)
Using a food processor blitz biscuits until crumbly then slowly add melted butter. Combine until biscuits start to come together and clump. Turn out into the lined springform pan and press firmly down to create the base. Place pan in fridge until firm, or if you’re like me and are a mite impatient whack it in the freezer for 5 minutes….. DO NOT leave it in any longer, or it will get so hard you wont be able to cut it!
Note: – This amount will make a basic layer across the bottom of the pan. If you want your biscuit base to go up the sides of the cheesecake, as pictured, then you will need to double the amounts of biscuit and butter.

Now cut up your cream cheese into blocks and place into food processor, wipe it out before you do this obviously. (If you are again like me and you forgot to pull your cream cheese out to let it drop to room temperature you can zap it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is just soft.)
Blitz cream cheese until smooth. While this is blitzing go ahead and mix your gelatin crystals with the boiling water and stir vigorously until fully dissolved. Then add the sour cream, sugar, dissolved gelatin, lemon juice and lemon rind to the cream cheese and blitz for another 5 minutes or so. You really want to make sure you blitz this well. To ensure it is place a small amount of mixture between your thumb and fore finger and smoodge it around, if you can feel little crystals in the mix it’s likely the sugar or gelatin hasn’t been dissolved. (Trust me it’s not nice when the gelatin isn’t properly mixed through!)

If you haven’t already done so pull your base out of the fridge and pour your mixture onto the biscuit base, then give it a quick tap on the bench a few times to displace any air bubbles. Take 1/4 cup of your choice of fruit and sprinkle over the top, pushing slightly on the fruit to sink them down into the mix. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a minimum 2 hours. Really the longer the better! I normally aim for over night just to ensure the cheesecake is totally chilled and set.

Pull out an hour or so before serving and top with remaining fruit. Piling it high!
Then melt the chocolate over a double boiler until 3/4 of it is melted. If the chocolate is looking a little thick you can add a tiny dollop of Coconut oil to loosen it up. Now remove it from the heat and stir until it’s combined an melted fully. Take a fork and drizzle it artfully over top. You can use as little or as much as you like… but personally there is no such thing as too much chocolate!! Return to the fridge until ready to serve, this will ensure the chocolate has that lovely SNAP when you bite into it!

Now prepare to hear ooooh’s and aahhhhh’s as you serve this at your next gathering. It really is a spectacular dessert and I can’t recommend it enough. If you plan on serving it at a picnic or such plan to have it in a chiller, esky or with several ice bricks on and around it before hand. If you let the cheesecake drop in temperature too much it will start to destabilize and turn mushy.. not a big problem but it changes the consistency a fair amount.

So there we have it. This fabulously easy cheesecake really is delicious! Will you be giving it a go this weekend?

To celebrate my little blog turning one I want to hear from you, my readers!! What things would you like to see more of over this next year? Do you have a recipe you’d like me to try out or perhaps something you want to convert to gluten free and you just don’t know how! I honestly would love your feedback so please take a second to either drop me a line via email or swing by Facebook and join the conversation. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Ciao….. now I’m off to find me some birthday cake, it seems only fitting doesn’t it?😉

 

A Dream Home Coming to Life: Part Seven

Gosh I can’t believe we are already 7 weeks into our build. I suppose what’s more astounding is just how much has happened in those seven weeks. And what’s even more astounding than that is it’s only 19 more weeks until Christmas!

Christmas can you believe that? I swear it was only January like a minute ago. But here we are in the last few weeks of winter, looking forward to the warmer weather and moving into our completed house.

Of course there are lots of things between now and then and not just in regards to the house. Life wise we have a special 18th Birthday to go celebrate in Esperance early September which will be fantastic plus I haven’t been to the beach in forever! We have my brother-in-law’s wedding in October in Tasmania which we have also flipped into a family holiday for ourselves because why not! We have our wedding anniversary, father’s day, more birthdays and then of course Christmas to plan! God I’m tired just thinking about it all.

In between all of this we have so many more things to organize and finalize. The house needs to be finished…. in a timely manner of course… I need to go purchase my oven (yup MY oven, not ours, not my husbands, MINE! haha I also suspect hubby will emphasize this when it needs cleaning too). We need to get quotes on which fireplace we’re going to put in and then I need to meet with my interior designer and make final decisions on all the new things I want to buy! hehe yup, I’m 100% in need of a new lounge and dining table so why not go for it.

With so much to organize still I must admit I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. I have all of my to do lists and that helps but I still feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day. I’m sure it probably has to do with a certain nearly 16 month old that is currently running us ragged. 5am starts, molars cutting, a head cold, growth spurts, big jumps in development, GAH it doesn’t end. Throw in a head cold for Mum and you’ve got a pretty full on time… especially since I can’t seem to write straight so I apologize now if I don’t make an awful lot of sense.

The big thing I guess is just to remember to breathe and relax. Just like it is with building. I can’t make the builders work faster, I can’t change whether something gets messed up or set back. All I can do is take a deep breath and marvel at the little things in my life.

On that note here is this week’s build update where some not so little things happened…. Continue reading

A Dream Home Coming to Life: Part Six

Each week I drive up our new driveway and as I round the last corner I always get butterflies in my stomach. This fantastic feeling of anticipation is such a rush that I think this is what I truly missed about building.

I’m that person if you haven’t already figured it out. The one that raves about building a house. That tells you how much fun it will be, what a kick it is to see your dream or plan in your head come to life quite literally in front of you. The one that convinces you it is totally, 100% worth it. Unlike a lot of other people though I won’t bullshit you. Yes it’s hard work. Yes there will be delays and setbacks (especially if you’re building in the country) and Yes you will wish you hadn’t done this or changed that once you see it in real life. That’s the reality of building though.

What most people don’t or can’t tell you is the feeling you get. Whether it’s because they don’t think about it much or perhaps they don’t understand what it is they’re actually feeling. Maybe the house design or location is all wrong and they’re settling or making do (something I do not suggest with this sort of investment) and maybe they’re only building because their partner wants to and they’re actually in love with another house. Who knows.

More likely I think people can’t articulate the feeling. Hell I could be all wrong here and it turns out that I’m a really weird person who is just really really into this sort of stuff. I mean I am a TV renovation/building show addict (yes I know I’m revealing all my vices to you lately). But I honestly think people (and this applies to all aspects of life) don’t take the time to truly feel the importance of a moment.  Continue reading

My Heavenly Baileys & Oreo No Bake Cheesecake

Whenever I’m invited to a family gathering or get together of some sort and I’m asked to bring a plate I automatically go to dessert…. I honestly swear I’m not really that addicted to desserts and chocolate. No wait, No, I need to be strong. I’ve already admitted to being a chocolate addict in a previous post so there’ll be no backsliding here, my sponsor would kill me (ie. my husband!!) hehe.

Sometimes though when it comes to crunch time (you see what I did there…??) I end up a bit blank and I generally find myself falling back on to some of my classic recipes like my Lemon Berry Cheesecake. This is a gorgeous cheesecake, one of my favourites but it really is more of a summer dessert and the weather here lately has been swinging between torrential rain and freezing cold.

This left me drawing a complete blank. I didn’t even have the urge to resort to flicking through my Nigella Lawson collection for inspiration. So there I sat, at my computer, staring at a google search bar wondering what on earth I was going to cook.

Now in complete sincerity I can say I don’t think I’ve ever had this problem before. It’s normally the opposite way around with my baking wish list measuring as long as my arm, so here I sat twiddling my thumbs (well chasing a toddler around the house) but still, mentally twiddling my thumbs.

Suddenly like a bolt of lightning I was thinking all things cookies and cream… yuuummmm am I right? and I just new I had to do something involving these flavours and eventually I found myself thinking Cookies and Cream cheesecake!  Continue reading