Canberra Zoo

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I visited the Canberra Zoo with some of my family to celebrate my great nephew’s 3rd birthday. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time, especially the three year old. I was able to see several familiar Australian animals but a good selection of foreigners as well! Above is a snow leopard and below are the lions we could hear roaring from all over the park.

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The wallabies and fairy penguins were cute as always.dsc_3367fairypenguinssc

The fur of the dingoes was surprisingly soft and a beautiful colour

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The giraffe was the favourite of the birthday boy and one of the animals we were able to see up really close.

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There is also a reptile area and aquarium.

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‘New’ Parliament House

When I lived in Canberra, the current Parliament House was being built. I remember touring the old parliament house as a student and as a teacher. I remember when designs were submitted for a new parliament house and when construction began. The photo below is taken from the new looking over the old towards the War Memorial and Mt Ainslie, site of cross country runs when I was in highschool.

from parliament house

Parliament house is now 26 years old and its modern design is very different to the old parliament house opened in 1927 and the Canadian houses of parliament rebuilt and opened in 1926. Today I walked around inside for the first time. It is an amazing building filled with beautiful wood, stone and architectural features.

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Above is the members hall featuring marble pillars designed to look like gum trees.

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The colours in the senate and house of representatives are the traditional red and green also seen in Britain and Canada but the Australian red is more of a red-ochre and the green a grey-green seen in the plants and rock of the Australian bush.

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I didn’t take a photo of the outside but you can see several views on the education site here.

Colours of Australia

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I’m in Australia visiting my family and enjoying sights and sounds I haven’t seen for a while. Three kookaburras posed briefly for me.

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The sky is still blue; the grass is green but the tones are a little different. And of course gum trees are everywhere.

Girls’ Getaway

I just returned from two delightful days in a cabin by a lake in the Laurentian Mountains, Quebec. It was a girls’ getaway with three wonderful friends of mine. Three of us drove from Ottawa to meet the fourth who had rented what we thought was a rustic hunting cabin by a lake.

Hunting cabin Heather Telford

Not so rustic after all.

Inside the cabin Heather Telford

The cabin was perfect for the four of us and was filled with all sorts of cottage charm. The dock caught the sun most of the day and our view was beautiful.

View from the dock Heather Telford

We swam, talked, ate and relaxed. A loon and a heron dropped by and I waited with camera in hand for it to take flight. It was far more patient than I.

Waiting for the heron Heather Telford

Late afternoon on our second day the clouds rolled in and it poured. We began to think we might be forced to stay an extra night. That would not have been hard to take. The storm turned out to be a teaser for what was to come later in the evening; soon the lake was calm again and we were overwhelmed by the double rainbow right in front of us.

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Farm fresh goodness

We have now received four boxes from Mike’s Garden Harvest as part of our CSA membership. It is fun to see what is in each new box and I love having food delivered to my door! One of our boxes included some little carrots which were so tasty and fresh I didn’t want to cook them. Instead we grated them into a Carrot & Cumin salad which went nicely with a Thai Pork Green Curry.carrot & cumin salad

With a large bunch of chubby spring onions to enjoy I made several Farm Fresh Omelettes using the following ingredients and method. For one omelette:

  1. Chop coursely four spring onions and six swiss chard leaves.
  2. Saute spring onions and chard in skillet with vegetable oil until onions begin to turn gold and chard withers.
  3. Beat two eggs with a fork, add a tablespoon of milk or water.
  4. Pour eggs over onions and chard.
  5. While eggs cook sprinkle chopped fresh chives, oregano and thyme plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper over the top.
  6. When base of omelette is lightly browned top with grated cheese and sliced grape tomatoes.
  7. Brown the top of the omelette under the broiler.

OmeletteWe have a few herbs growing in our own garden so when some basil turned up in the mystery box I combined it with some of our own and made Marcella Hazan’s

Simple Tomato Sauce  for 450g (1lb) pasta
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves peeled and sliced very thinly
300g tinned Italian peeled plum tomatoes
Salt & Black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves torn by hand into small pieces

  1. Put oil and garlic in a saucepan and turn to medium
  2. When garlic turns pale gold, add tomatoes and turn heat to very low. Cook uncovered until oil floats free of tomatoes, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add salt and grindings of pepper and cook another 2-3 minnutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the torn basil leaves.

This week’s box included more than enough green beans for our family of five so I chose Jamie Oliver’s Good Old French Bean Salad to have with sausages one night.

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Desserts from the mystery box

Our second box from Mike’s garden harvest was delivered on Canada day and included a treat in celebration of the day. We have been promised vegetables but in the box was a little punnet of strawberries and a bunch of rhubarb. Andrew turned them into two delicious desserts, a Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp with an almond meal topping based on this Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe and a Sticky Rhubarb and Ginger cake. Both were delicious. I also made a Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp with the second bunch of rhubarb using a very similar recipe.

Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp

The remainder of the box was made up of more salad greens, radishes, and onions so we kept making salads with fresh, tasty ingredients. Andrew used some of the lambs quarters from the first box in Lentil Burgers which we all enjoyed, even the serious meat lovers.