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.
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.
Above is the members hall featuring marble pillars designed to look like gum trees.
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.
I didn’t take a photo of the outside but you can see several views on the education site here.
Late afternoon sun catches a little turtle wearing pond weed.
King Parrot, one of several I’ve seen in the back yard in Canberra.
A rainbow lorikeet which would have been perfectly camouflaged if he’d turned his back to me.
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.
The sky is still blue; the grass is green but the tones are a little different. And of course gum trees are everywhere.
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.
Not so rustic after all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Chop coursely four spring onions and six swiss chard leaves.
- Saute spring onions and chard in skillet with vegetable oil until onions begin to turn gold and chard withers.
- Beat two eggs with a fork, add a tablespoon of milk or water.
- Pour eggs over onions and chard.
- While eggs cook sprinkle chopped fresh chives, oregano and thyme plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper over the top.
- When base of omelette is lightly browned top with grated cheese and sliced grape tomatoes.
- Brown the top of the omelette under the broiler.
We 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
- Put oil and garlic in a saucepan and turn to medium
- When garlic turns pale gold, add tomatoes and turn heat to very low. Cook uncovered until oil floats free of tomatoes, about 20 minutes.
- Add salt and grindings of pepper and cook another 2-3 minnutes, stirring from time to time.
- 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.
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.
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.
A few months ago we signed up with a Community Supported Agriculture venture and this week received our first box of produce, grown just down the road from us. Our vegetables come from Mike’s Garden Harvest and Mike, himself delivered our box on Wednesday night. Receiving a box of herbs and vegetables each week reminds me of the mystery box challenge from MasterChef.
This week’s box contained salad greens, lambs quarters, spring onions and radishes. We made several salads with the greens including a Broccoli, Arugula & Blueberry Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing, only I substituted the arugula for salad greens and I don’t even know what a Meyer lemon is so we had plain old ordinary lemon. It was still good. (click on the salad name to see the recipe)
I also sautéed some of the radishes in a brown butter and lemon sauce. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked radishes before; usually I cut them in patterns to serve with salad. They looked pretty bubbling away in the pan as there were purple and pink ones.
Andrew used some of the lamb’s quarters in place of spinach in a Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry.
I did the same thing and replaced the spinach with lamb’s quarters when I made Sun-dried Tomato Spinach Rice Pilaf. By the end of the week we still had some vegetables left, all still looking green and fresh. I can’t promise that I will blog about our mystery box every week but I will do my best to write about the contents and our recipes as often as I can.