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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Slow Cooked Shoulder of Pork

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Slow cooked pork

I saw this recipe on Justine Schofield’s website and just had to share because I am forever in search of the perfect Pork roast.

2.5kg Free-range pork shoulder (1/2 pork shoulder, skin scored)

60 ml vegetable oil

1 tbs. caraway seeds
1tbs. fennel seeds
1/2 tbs. French 4 spice
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 4
2 onions, peeled cut into 4
4 cloves garlic, bruised
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup white wine
200ml water

Apple sauce, to serve
The day before cooking, place the pork on a wire rack over the sink. Pour boiling water all over the pork skin to allow the pores to open. Pat really dry with paper toweling and place uncovered in the fridge overnight.

An hour before cooking, remove pork from the fridge and pre heat the oven to 210C.

Arrange the apples onions and garlic in a large heavy based roasting tin.

In a small frying pan gently toast the caraway and fennel seeds. Add to a pestle and mortar with the four spice, salt and pound until you can distinctively smell the aromas. Rub this all over the pork and deep into the scored skin. Place on top of the apple and onions. Drizzle with the oil and add the wine and water to the bottom of the tin.

Cook in the oven for 1 hour to initially crisp the skin. Now turn the oven down to 125C and semi-cover the meat with three layers of foil. Cook for six hours or until the meat is falling from the bone.

Once cooked remove from the oven and place on another tray, covered to keep warm.

For the gravy; Strain all the pan juices into a jug and place in the freezer for an hour to allow the fat to rise to the service. Once chilled, skim all the fat away. Keep the onions, apple and garlic that have been strained and put in a small saucepan with the clarified juices. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce by 1/4.

Turn the grill on. To ensure the crackling is extra crispy place under the grill for a few minutes. Remove from the oven and pull apart the tender pork meat and cut crackling into bite size pieces. Serve with the gravy and optionally some of your favourite apple sauce.

Recipe and photograph from

American Rustic Lighting from Beacon

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Being in the midst of deciding on fixtures for a house we are building I came across the new American Rustic range from Beacon Lighting for Winter 2013.
These are gorgeous and a pleasant departure form the slick modern designs that sometimes dominate the marketplace. It’s nice to see a retailer with an eye on the American traditional trends as well as the European ones.





Lighting available in Australia from

Outdoor Living in Winter

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I must admit I have impatiently waited for Winter this year in Australia and couldn’t wait to rug up but one thing I will miss about the warmer months is being able sit outdoors under the alfresco area.
I have seriously been contemplating putting in an outdoor heater/fire but I am in desperate need of some  inspiration, so allow me to indulge by posting pics of outdoor areas with built in fires that are a bit swoon worthy and you don’t have to have a large space to put one in either, there are some very nice fire pits that would look great in a courtyard .

Picture source – Houzz

Coastal Homewares

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Ralph Luaren design

Ralph Lauren Design

As I sit here and write this post, outside is torrential rain and wind so not the most inspirational weather to be talking about coastal homewares but why not?

Whitewashed wicker lantern

Whitewashed wicker lantern

A beach or coastal theme is extremely popular in Australia because of our huge stretches of coast line and our love of living outdoors in the warmer weather.

You don’t need to over do it on beachy accessories, just a few different pieces around your home can give it a coastal feel.

white punched metal urn

White punched metal candle holder

Blues and pale greens and white can also be used anywhere to lighten up the room to make it more airy, if you have children and are cringing at the thought of white furniture, use it in accessories like cushions, curtains and decor.

Monterey melamine dinner setting

Monterey melamine dinner set

Your table is also an easy way to bring a coastal element to a room. Table runners and dinner settings can both be used to great effect.

Coastal twig table runner

Coastal twig table runner

Using white in accessories is one way of bringing the beach inside, a white lantern or a grouping of white candles.

l_shaynna blaze classic ivory trilogy

Shaynna Blaze flameless candles




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I just love Marion Grasby and here is one of her recipes that is perfect for Winter. You could substitute the polenta for mashed potatoes if you wanted to but I would keep it as is, yummo!

Marion's Kitchen


4 lamb shanks
¼ cup plain flour
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
4 tomatoes, diced
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
olive oil for frying
sea salt and pepper

1 cup milk 1 cup instant polenta
1/ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
50g butter
1 tsp sea salt


Lightly coat lamb shanks in flour. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish with a lid and sear the shanks until brown all over (you may need to do this in batches). Set shanks aside.

Put the same dish back on the head and add onion, carrots, garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary and thyme leaves. Sauté until vegetables are soft – scraping up any of the brown bits from the shanks at the bottom of the pan. Pour in the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Then mix in the stock, tomatoes, sugar and bay leaves.

Nestle the shanks into the bubbling mixture. Pour over an extra cup of chicken stock or water if needed so that the shanks are almost covered with liquid. Put the lid on and simmer for about 3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the polenta just before serving – place milk and 2 cups of water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer then gradually add polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until polenta is smooth and creamy. Stir through parmesan, butter and salt.

To serve, carefully remove shanks from casserole dish and keep warm. Place dish on high heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Place a dollop of polenta on a serving plate, top with a shank and spoon over the sauce. Serve with extra parmesan.


Recipe and image from

Pottery Barn, West Elm and Williams Sonoma Open in Australia

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Pottery Barn Lighting

You may have read my excited post months ago on Pottery Barn opening up in Sydney on May 2 this year.

As a huge fan of the store and being in the midst of building a house my wish list was long and varied and had items ranging from furniture to pendant lighting as well as a multitude of other lovelies, so I held off buying many things thinking I would save the overseas freight charges and purchase it from the online Australian store once it opened.

Imagine my disappointment when the Australian website launched and the offering was well…small to put it mildly. The Australian Pottery Barn and West Elm range available online is significantly pared down compared to what is still on offer to many other countries, but not to worry I told myself, the things that aren’t available through the Australian website here I will just order from the U.S. site… WRONG.  The ability to order from the U.S. sites have already been disabled for Australian shoppers.

pottery barn bathroom

Now I am not one to usually vent in this fashion on the blog but after many years in high volume retail before starting my own online business I cant help but see the missed opportunity here and that Australian consumers that have awaited these brands opening here will be bitterly disappointed at the online offering.

There may be a physical store that has a much larger range but that is no use to the thousands of potential customers that don’t reside in the Sydney metro area and with more stores due to open in other cities by the end of the year all I can hope is that they significantly increase their  online offering.

This is only my two cents worth and should probably come under the heading ‘First World Problems’ but I am writing this from the point of view of a customer who does most of my shopping online. So for now until I will have to make a new wish list, insert sigh.