Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Home sweet home. Last Saturday, we drove three and a half hours to go to a little niece's princess party. This was my only child that was happy to be dressed up:

You can imagine what the boys had to say about it all. And then one of them was car sick en route.

We are well into the second week of school hols down here......because we still have three terms in Tasmania. So from the birthday party in Scottsdale we went and hung out with friends on their farm outside Bridport. We went to the dairy:

It's incredible how mechanised the whole process can see the cows on the carousel being milked with electronic suction teats. Yet cow's can't be toilet trained, so there is a real juxtaposition between what else comes out while they are extracting the beautiful, white, creamy milk.

From Bridport we moved onto my mum's in Launceston. Tobes saw his first peacock which until then had just been a concept in a book and on YouTube:

It was at this point that I accidentally dropped my iPhone 3 into the loo. Suddenly I was totally incommunicado. I had been excited that one day, I would be trading up to the new iPhone 5 yet my misfortune  happened only a matter of days too early. The friendly lady at the Telstra shop assured me last Wednesday that it would probably be around six weeks before the new model was available.......she had me going. Never mind, the camera on my new iPhone 4s puts the old one to shame....finally I can do flash.

Next stop, Orford on the East Coast....the beach amidst rain showers and gale force winds:

Why don't children feel the cold? I was rugged up to within an inch of my life in a puffer, jeans and scarf....and you can see my husband's choice of beach footwear. Moments before this photo was taken  we had narrowly missed being struck by a blown over tree.

After seven nights away we drove back up the driveway. Look at what greeted us on our arrival home:

A parcel all the way from Espondeilhan, from our wonderful friends the family Pons. Merci beaucoup!  They had thought of everything that would bring the taste of the South of France to Hobart. Berlingot's from Pezenas for the children, a gorgeous Laguiole bottle opener:

And, be still my beating heart...foie gras:

I had always assumed that I would take the high moral ground on foie gras or 'fat liver' yet one taste and I was seduced......even though my conscience struggles with the way they force feed geese to make their livers grow abnormally large. So now I'm ashamed to admit that I have even tried foie gras ice cream.

Anyway, there was also a bag of candied cumquats:

Our whole family adores these and I can't say that I have ever seen these for sale in Hobart, so they've always been associated with markets in the South of France.....sigh. Seeing that I still have two trees laden with cumquats, staring at me reproachfully, I might see if I can find a recipe and try and recreate them in my kitchen here......or maybe I should just wait until I am back in a French market.

Coincidentally, we had a date that night down the road at one of our two local French Restaurants, Le Provencal:

I wore a new Marni top from the Outnet. Here I am wearing it while being hassled by Superman:

I can't tell you how much I love going to dinner at 'the Prov'. In true French style it's run by a husband and wife....she waits the tables while he is in the kitchen cooking and they live upstairs with their daughters. All that's missing to make it a truly authentic French dining experience is a dog wandering around between the table legs. Years ago, when we went for dinner when our eldest daughter was a toddler, one of the girls came down from upstairs in her pj's complete with toys and they played while we ate. It was perfect. These days though, I much prefer going out to dinner and leaving all four children at home.

This was the seafood special:

And the magret de canard avec pommes:

And I still gaze and gaze at the tromp l'oeil:

On that note, my time out is up....I'm being nagged to provide peanut butter sandwiches. Better get back out amongst it.



  1. Looks like you're managing to keep your sanity then during the school hols...? You should definitely try to make the candied cumquots - they look delish. Like your Marni top too....I remember reading someone in a magazine saying that the only people that buy Marni clothing work in Art Galleries?! My parents have a peacock and two peahens. They really are the stupidest birds, but their feathers are so lovely - the peacock sheds his once a year, then grows new ones. My Children's kindergartens have been the recipients.....on the peacock theme I have a pair of Sergio Rossi strappy heels with peacock feathers down the front, which I love (as does my 4 year old daughter who steals them and puts them in her wardrobe).

  2. I am gazing at the photograph of the tromp l'oeil in envy.... wondering if that fabulous enamel collection really exists somewhere!? Love your new Marni top, but love that Superman is admiring his reflection in the mirror even more!! x

  3. You look lovely, the food looks lovely! What a lovely surprise package of treats!

  4. So much goodness here amidst your Marni top (that outfit looks so sharp!) and the pate (it's been banned here, so we really loaded up on it in France). That sounds like a great restaurant, like going to friends who can really really cook. Never thought about the in and out of milking cows, will try and keep that out of my mind when I eat my cornies.

  5. What a lovely selection of goodies for you. I've made brandies cumquats but haven't seen them candied.

    iphone in the loo? Take off any protective covering and open up if possible. Put a layer of uncooked rice in a bowl, add phone and cover with more rice. I was sceptical when I saw this at first but know several people who have rescued their phone from overload of moisture.

    My own grandson let his iPod go swimming but unfortunately it sank to bottom of pool. It took a few days of rice treatment but it worked again and needed no attention.

  6. I killed my iPhone 3 by accidentally spraying Aeroguard under the screen (don't ask...).

    Your little holiday looked like it was wonderful. I have had brandied cumquats too - candied sounds even better.

    Take care Romy.

  7. Ah Romy. So much here, as always. But I'm chuckling at how much we both love Le Provencal. I saw Julie today and was telling her we're friends. She's a legend. J x

  8. I remember the days of the Supermen flying around the house. Good times! And they have done studies that show that you can actually make your child very uncomfortable (and possibably ill) by dressing him by an adult female's perception of the weather.
    You no longer have to worry about those poor geese - they use duck's livers these days. Guiltless!
    My grandmother used to candy Kumquats, but never wrote down her recipe. I know she first boiled the fruit to get rid of some of the bitterness in the skin - maybe 15 minutes - and threw that water away. Then put sugar and water in a pan (more sugar than water) and boiled about half an hour. She left the fruit in the syrup over night. Next day (I think she might have added a little more sugar) she heated them up again. Left them in the pan and repeated this the third day. Then she took them out and dried them on a rack before rolling them in sugar. They ended up like the candied cherries and pineapple that's used in fruit cake, except with the sparkly sugar.

  9. Hi Romy, love everything in this Post and looks like a great time away. We also spent a few days in Bridport for the first time. It was fabulous and we also had 1 child on the verge of carsickness after that windy mountain range just before reaching Scottsdale - same spot? Looks like we may be seeing each other very soon....exciting! Mel x


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