Friday, February 26, 2010

The Bayberry

Some beautiful scenes from the work of The Bayberry Nursery & Arboretum in Amagansett to take you to the weekend. I'm going to enjoy these last, wistful days of Summer as much as I can, outside in the garden. Even though it's still warm, the trees are slowly beginning to exchange their lush green verdant coats for a lighter version, tinged with soft reds & pale golds. Autumn is letting us know she's on her way & with it comes the cooler Hills nights that send us scurrying inside for a warmer sweater. May you enjoy a wonderfully restorative weekend.

Images: The Bayberry

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miracle Worker

Here are our lovely Tuberoses & oh, I do wish we had Aromablog so I could share them with you all!! Even though most of the buds have yet to open up, the ones that have are exuding the most exquisite heady perfume throughout the house. The scent is described as complex, exotic, intoxicating, sweet & floral all at once & that they are in truckloads. Because this is the first year we've grown them in this garden, MOTH asked me to do a bit of research on whether we need to dig the bulbs & store them due to the cold climate, or just leave them dormant in the ground, like we used to do in our old garden down on the hot Adelaide Plains. Well I didn't really find the answer for him as I got somewhat side-tracked.

I've discovered that Miss Tuberose is known as the 'Mistress of the Night'. Tuberose represents sensuality. It is an alcove perfume meant for a woman without inhibitions, who's ready to use any means to seduce - crikey!! In fact this fragrance has a narcotic effect that pulls down the psychological constraints and taboos that forbid, to abandon oneself to physical passion. Now of course this has no relevance to us, with MOTH & I currently sleeping at opposite ends of the house!

Tuberose is also known to improve one’s capacity for emotional depth (could have used this with a few old boyfriends). Used during intimate moments, it's fragrance can enhance the fantasy factor (? turn MOTH into Jon Hamm) & encourage a romantic bedtime. It's also used to enhance motivation (that will please my Boss), enthusiasm, expansion, sensitivity & spontaneity. The flowers are worn at the back of the hair over a plait in southern India by women to entice their husbands with its aroma (note to self - cancel next Saturday's appt. with Mel @ Smooth Hair, I feel a plait coming on!). The mysterious aroma of tuberose uplifts our soul and brings sublime peace to our mind. All well & good but does it stop snoring??!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bed Hopping

I've spent the past 3 nights roaming the house looking for somewhere quiet to sleep as MOTH has been replaced in bed by The Snoring Monster! His good old reliable Snorer's Friend mouth guard has given him a mouth ulcer, so he can't use it for a while & it's back to the bad old pre-SF days. And because I'm feeling so sleep-deprived & preoccupied with beds & bedrooms, please indulge me today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Battle Of The Brioche

As documented here before, I'm battling with a very old, dodgy oven in an even older, dodgier kitchen. From the first day we moved in the oven has been busted, none of the settings work & it's stuck on oven bake. As soon as I turn it on, both elements heat up with the ferocity of a blast furnace. This makes for some very creative cooking, as things turn black almost immediately on the top & bottom, while remaining uncooked in the centre. However, I steadfastly refuse to pay good money to get it repaired, as MOTH keeps saying along with the entire kitchen, the oven is being attacked by his sledge hammer soon & totally demolished. Yeah, yeah.

I focus a lot of energy on this oven, not wanting to let it get the better of me. I like to cook, but some days taming the beast are easier than others. This weekend I had a shocking craving for brioche & not being flush with French Boulangerie's up here in the Hills, I thought I'd get in the zone & have a go myself. Here's the results, as best as I could do with the Linda Blair of ovens. I really like this easy recipe, so thought I'd pass it on. Even though they wouldn't have won any prizes in the looks Dept., as I didn't have the requisite fluted brioche tins, they tasted sensational.


2 teaspoons (1 sachet/7g.) dried yeast

¼ cup (60ml.) warm milk

¼ cup (55g.) caster sugar

2 cups (300g.) strong plain flour

¼ teaspoon salt

3 eggs, lightly whisked

125g. soft butter, cut into 2cm pieces

1 extra egg, lightly whisked

2 tablespoons demarera sugar

butter, extra to serve

strawberry or raspberry jam, to serve

You can use this recipe to make one large brioche also. Follow the same steps but cook in hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.


1. Combine the yeast, milk and 1 tbs of caster sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes or until frothy.

2. Combine the flour, salt and remaining sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour yeast mixture and eggs into the well and stir until just combined. Turn on to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.

3. Add 1-2 pieces of butter to the dough and knead until well incorporated. Gradually continue to add butter cubes, 2-3 at a time, and knead until well incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

4. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease 8 small brioche pans. Use your fist to knock back the dough and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Divide into 8 even portions. Cut ¼ of the dough off a portion. Roll dough into a smooth ball and place in a brioche pan. Roll reserved dough into a small ball and place on top of the dough ball. Push a bamboo skewer through the middle so they stick together. Repeat with remaining dough. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes to rise.

5. Brush each brioche with extra egg and sprinkle with the demarara sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra butter and jam, if desired.

My finished product - apologies for the deadful images, a Food Stylist/Photographer I'm not!

Images: 1,7,8 Millie Images: 2,3,4,5,6 + recipe: Notebook

Monday, February 22, 2010

Miranda & Me

Hi Miranda

Your man-fan MOTH here. Happened to notice you were launching your new organic skincare range KORA in DJ's last week. I presume this is predominantly for the female market. Now look Miranda, I'd like to become your new global Business Advisor & should start by pointing out to you that there are approximately as many males as females out there. Let me tell you that most of us blokes reckon you're just red hot & you could cool us down by launching the M.K. Beer Collection!!! So ditch the skin stuff & get your stunning self into malt & hops. For you NOT to do this would be grossly un-Australian for a great Aussie chick like yourself!

Miranda, I've been giving this new direction for your/our business empire much thought while slaving away this weekend in the Bathroom-From-Hell reno. I've found the perfect way you can avoid financial ruin in that over-crowded skincare s*#t fight. BEER IS THE ANSWER! No bloke could knock back a cold ale after a hard day at the coalface that's marketed with the slogan :


Of course, if you were pictured in your Victoria's Secret gear on the bottle label this would be a financial advantage to all parties concerned (including your Business Advisor, yours truly). You could also include samples of the skincare range in each beer carton to keep everyone's Missus happy & this would result in more beer sales & help run out the KORA stock!! A truly masterful stroke of marketing genius if I don't say so myself.

I'll close now because Millie's due back any minute from her Advanced Mindreading class & I need to lodge this proposal for your urgent consideration. I am contacting my corporate legal team to prepare the paperwork for our partnership & the plans for the M.K. Brewery are ready for submission to the local Authorities just as soon as you give me the nod love. Please keep my proposal confidential for at least 7 days before consulting your legal team, Orlando & firing your current Business Advisor. During which time we can meet over a few different beer styles (sorry, no Noni juice adaptation) & arrive at the perfect M.K. beer formula to quench the thirsts of millions.

Please call me any time on 1800-HAVEIGOTADEALFORU (My Millie-proof phone).
Love MOTH.

P.S. What about incorporating a Victoria's Secret store in the Brewery retail complex? Another of my brilliant ideas - geez I'm good!

Image: KORA

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Gypsy In My Garden

I have the perfect spot in our garden for one of these sweet gypsy caravans - down on our small meadow under the shady branches of the big old Oak. With the laurel hedge all along the side to act as natural wind break & these superb mild Summer days still upon us, it would the best way to wile away a weekend. Jeanne Bayol & Jean Marie Marechal produce these beauties in their home town of St. Remy de Provence at the foot of the glorious Alpilles mountains. A place that is also home to our dear friend & fellow traveller Vicki Archer.

I've had such a fun week here at The Hedge. I've laughed & laughed at your wonderful, witty comments. None more so than those of that most stylish & chic of blogger's Jane from My Pear Tree House, who likened herself to a drug dealer driving around Melbourne in her first car, a slinky black Celica!! And for those of you who finally came out of the Days of Our Lives closet, I'm glad that this little blog was able to facilitate that moment of liberation for you! Mystic Millie has looked onto her crystal ball & has only seen the happiest of weekends for you all.

Images: Les-Verdines

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Little Red Car

I think it's a pretty well-known fact that I love cars & it makes being the mother of 5 sons a lot easier. When all I got were one-word grunts to probing questions from the Little Darlings, I always found if I steered the conversation toward cars, I would get instant interest & the words would positively tumble from their mouths. Then I could sneakily pop in a question like 'Gee, doesn't my car sound great at 2000rpm, but I bet at 3000rpm it would be awesome!', 'Oh yeah Mum, it's wicked, you should have heard it on Peacock Road (the local hoon drag-strip) last night!', 'And how would you know about that son, after you've received a life ban from driving it any further than the local're busted!'

My first car was this little red 4-door Holden (GM) Torana, it was 1973 & I was 17. Its very small 1750cc. engine was totally gutless. My Dad came with me the day I bought it to ensure I wasn't ripped off. We went to my future Brother-In-Law's older brother's Used Car lot. Dad thought that because we were almost related we should give him my business, but as we soon found out, being a relative doesn't suddenly turn a rogue into a choirboy, we got well & truly done over! By the time I'd driven it home the one mile from the lot, we'd determined that it ran better on only 3 cylinders rather than the 4 it left the factory with & Dad made the necessary 'adjustments' in our driveway.

That little car was OK, but what I really, really, really wanted was this.

A Jensen Interceptor, that most awesome of all '70's icons. It just oozed style, with its 7.2 litre, 440 cubic inch, V8 engine, not to mention the deep Wilton carpets & six-hide cream leather seats - oh la la!

However, if I would have been lucky enough to score a Jensen over the dodgy Torana, I would have needed these to drive in..........

........this to throw into the cassette player

......and this

......Patti B's. big fringe & ringlet curls

...... a gorgeous Prue Acton coat to toss ever so nonchalantly over the back seat

...... a pair of tight, tight white boots to slip into if the platforms became too awkward

.......& a pair of flared, hipster jeans to finish off the look perfectly.

Any great memories of your first car or, what you really, really coveted?

Images: 2-6 Great Escapes Cars 7: W 8: Discogs 9: Good Lifer 10: Virgin Media 11: Museum Victoria 12: Flickr 13: The Fashion Police

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