Woodshed Brewery

The Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery. Micro brewery, refit of a historical woolshed, historical homestead and Ye olde cottages and paraphenalia, water recycling, cheese, river views, local produce. My inner inner westie /wanker from Williamsburg soul just shed (hah!) happy little tears. Ploughman’s lunch, ale and a bottle of wattleseed balsamic vinegar so I could reproduce Calpernum Station’s toffee.

The only thing that could make it better would be tiny vintage irons. Oh wait, there were tiny vintage irons.





June 2014 – Calpernum Station

Quandong cheesecake with wattle seed balsamic toffee. Local produce, research and land management. More Murray River fun times!
IMG_2382.JPG IMG_2396.JPG

Polly want a cracker? With jam?


FYI… This is a rosella.

Cooking with Clare!

This post is about to start but I had to pause because just how awesome is my name for an aspiring foodie and blogger? Hence title. Alliteration is the bomb! To be honest, in the first draft I wrote “alliteration is amazing!” (because why waste opportunities for really lame word play) but amazing just didn’t have the explosive power that I was looking for. See what I did there?! And after that splatter of words like awesome, amazing, the bomb and lame let us proceed.

Sometimes I am required to cook dinner. This happened last Friday. Around lunchtime, I removed some beef mince from the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost. When it came time to cook dinner, I ordered take away pizza. It was delicious!

Over the next four days I went to the local shops six times. This is roughly three times my usual grocery shopping trips in six months. I also went on a picnic, went to the doctors, watched some Ryan Gosling move with pine trees in it, had a blood test, wrote a proposal, drafted a quarter of a report, practiced the double bass, had a double bass lesson and went for a run. If there was an imaginary crown for living, I’d be wearing it.


This is me wearing a crown-like hat. I imagine winning looks a bit like this, only less manic. 

And then it was Tuesday. In our fridge was some truly defrosted beef mince to be cooked. “Perfect” I thought. I’ll cook tacos. My go-to signature dish. I’ll call it Clare Mex – the perfect blend of Mexican themed ingredients but available in every Australian supermarket and only taking 30 minutes to prepare. As an example, some prep for the Mexican themed dinner I made for some friends last month…


Look at all those delicious limes and cilantro and tomatoes and avocadoes!!!


To the kitchen, Clare! (I’m imagining the scene transitions in the old Batman and Robin tv show. Feel free to join in). Onions, capsicum, garlic sizzling in the saucepan. In goes the beef, kidney beans, tinned diced tomatoes, splash of tomato sauce, a spoonful of honey, the requisite spices. Basic taco mix complete. Clare: Winning at Life. 

Next the accoutrements of tacos:

  • Tacos. We don’t have any tacos. Not to worry, pack of burritoes acquired from under biscuits;
  • Carrots. Carrots grated;
  • Lettuce. Into a bowl goes all my brother’s carefully harvested, precious home-grown lettuce. 
  • Refried beans. Mouldy. Oh well.
  • Capsicum for salsa. Mouldy. Meh, I can live without.
  • Cheese. There appears to be a bag of cheese in our fridge – brie, sweet chilli and ploughman’s Mercy Valley cheese, fetta, haloumi. Not very Mexican or Tex Mex or even Clare Mex. I liberate a small portion of light, fatless cheese from beneath a mountain of cheese. It may not be enough for everyone.
  • Limes. No limes. No lime juice. This is disappointing. 
  • Corriander / Cilantro. No cilantro. Mouldy basil. 
  • Tomatoes. One half used mouldy tomato. Crap. 

Tomatoes are critical for Clare Mex. Our kitchen had insufficient accoutrements for tacos burritoes. It became clear that to complete my signature go-to dish I was going to have to go up to the shops. Again. I really didn’t want to go up to the shops.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tinned diced tomatoes. Basically the same as fresh diced tomatoes, right? You say tomato, I say tomato (Hilarious! That joke will never get old no matter how many times I use it). Whack a bit of spanish onion in it, some dried corriander leaves. Salsa on a budget, right. 

No. Just no. 

Waste not, want not. I pour Abomination Salsa into the taco burrito mix. Crap. What else can I do so I don’t have to go up to the shops?

Guacamole? The $3.48 price for an avocado has hit our usual stocks of avocado hard. No avocado. Crap.

Pumpkin? Too much chopping. Buckchoy. Hells no. Ah, sweet potato. Pumpkin’s easy chopping pal. To the oven my delightful yam!

I have burrito mix and baked sweet potato. But what is this in the cupboard? Enchilada sauce? 


Dearest Family,

I present you with baked beef enchiladas with a side of baked sweet potato and homegrown organic lettuce sprinkled in carrot. Except you Sibling, I haven’t prepared a gluten free version of this meal for you. I made you beef mince with baked sweet potato. And I gave all the lettuce to our parents. But thankyou for your excellent hard work in the garden!




And that completes Cooking with Clare, Winning at Life! 

The Bloody Soufflé Girl

To celebrate Mum’s 60th 21st birthday we had a very special lunch at the Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay in Sydney. Hats were involved.

Oysters, champagne, roast barramundi with hazelnuts and roasted heirloom (not Dutch) carrots and blood plum soufflé with early grey icecream.

No complaints here.

20140119-205505.jpg Clara should try making this one! Blood Plum for the Soufflé Girl. Speaking of bloody children, check out Jody and Ken’s amazing cooking at Garum Factory.
20140119-205529.jpg Pistachio cannoli and rhubarb icecream
20140119-205537.jpg Variations on cherry ripe
20140119-205544.jpg Buttermilk pannacotta with watermelon

What a bloody delicious day!

An example of Paris’ famous penis bread


And here are some links to other people discussing penis bread products with relish…

Vegetarian Paris

Expat Postcards from Paris

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis. Highest mountain in the British Isles. We took the cable car to a peak about half the height of Ben Nevis, watched the snow blow in and out and walked to some of the nearby lookouts. Ben Nevis occasionally grimaced from behind the cloud cover. A young Scottish BMX team were being filmed practicing their starts down the hill. Lunch was a venison burger and more importantly a hot toddy using whiskey from the local Ben Nevis distillery. This was made all the more better watching hard working people outside hiking and mountain biking up and down steep hills in the freezing cold.