29 September 2013

A truly beautiful moment...

White primroses at dusk...
The early evening light created gorgeous ombre shading...
The wonderfulness of nature...
It was a truly beautiful moment...

The secret to having it all is
believing you already do...







28 September 2013

Decadent Chocolate Mousse...


Super rich and decadent is the only way to describe this mousse...
It was so delicious...but next time I would serve  in a different way...


To counteract the richness, 
I would layer the mousse alternately in tall parfait glass 
with fresh strawberries and raspberries.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream,
 and grated chocolate.
Or if you want to get super fancy for a special occasion:
Make a chocolate crafted topper.
Oh my, my mind is in overdrive...
What a fab idea for a Christmas dessert...
top with a Christmas themed topper made from white or dark chocolate!



 A tree would look fabulous....
Here's a free outline...


Or how about an angel, a bell, a star or snowflake....



All you have to do to is put print the image, 
place under wax paper, 
melt chocolate and pipe the outline, 
solid fill with chocolate (like colouring in!), 
or do squiggly lines to fill for a filigree look.

Oh my!  I have completely gone off track here...
back to that delicious chocolate mousse.
Here's the recipe:
Combine in a pot... 
227 grams chopped dark chocolate (60% cacao)
5 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder.
Stir over hot water until melted.
Set aside.
In another bowl whisk 2 egg yolks with 1/2 tablespoon caster sugar until pale and add to the chocolate mixture. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Whip the two egg whites with 1/2 Tablespoon caster sugar until soft peaks form.
Use a spatula to fold the whites into the chocolate mixture.
Then whip one cup heavy cream until thick, 
Fold into chocolate mixture with spatula...
Spoon into individual serving dishes.
Or as suggested:  layer between layers of fresh or stewed fruit.
Refrigerate until firm - at least 2 hours.

Printable recipe at:



26 September 2013

Lillies and French Country...

Fabulous white Belladonna lilies with orange toned throats...
Photographed in the morning sunlight...
The sunlight shows the gorgeous colours 
of soft lemon coloured buds...
Lilies and shabby chic...
or do you call it French country style?
There is nothing like the addition of fresh flowers to any vignette...
Just adds something special I think.
Patterns on metal vase...
and a white stick heart...
Metal flower with a delicate pearl centre on a simple corked bottle...
My heart jumps with pure shabby delight!
What joy beautiful things can bring to your day...



22 September 2013

The Queens Gardens...

The Queens Gardens are in Nelson, New Zealand...
There was not a whole lot flowering as it is still early spring,
 But I did find the most beautiful tree peony. 
It was a delicious bright pink... 
The blooms were absolutely enormous. 

Tree peonies come in a huge array of colours.
They are extremely hardy and thrive best in a part sun/part shade 
and even a full shade site.
It's best to keep an open situation around them 
as air movement around the plant helps keep it healthy...
Tree Peonies prefer a fertile soil which is neutral to slightly alkaline.
They hate wet feet so well drained soil is a must.
Now this is something I would love to have in Mia Bella Gardens...
And right now it's top of the list of must haves for my garden!
 Here's some more pictures of the Queens gardens...
The ducks were happily cruising the lake... 


Isn't this guy soooo handsome?
Look at those stunning emerald green feathers!
And I discovered this wonderful gnarled old tree.
I also wanted to share with you some photos of my new treasures...
Of course I went shopping...
and I was gifted some special family heirlooms from my grandmothers estate.
 New pieces for the home included this lovely wooden heart garland...

The hearts are so sweet...
 And I am loving the detail
 on this burnished metal filigree ball!
 And of course a new heart for the collection was needed...
 in gorgeous white washed metal.
and these stunning heirlooms, I remember from my childhood.
Don't you love it when your Momma has a clean out?
 This crucifix is small but heavy,  
and it made from brass...
Very special as it belonged to my grandmother.

19 September 2013

The Wishing Pool...

On my recent adventure to Nelson in the South Island of New Zealand
I had the pleasure of staying a few nights at the Rutherford Hotel.
This hotel is an oldie, but I love it.  

 In the beautiful foyer is a gorgeous Wishing Pool.
You throw in a coin and make a wish.
All the coins are collected up 
and donated to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the blind.
 The money is used to help the blind and visually impaired people in the Nelson City region. 


 The pool has fountains of hand crafted metal copper flowers...


 And it is tiled with little aqua coloured tiles...


Don't you love the aged metal?
You don't have to stay at the hotel to visit the wishing pool, you can call  into the hotel Cafe for a latte' or cuppa, and pop into the foyer to visit!

9 September 2013

Peanut Butter and Orange bird Feeders...




The orange tree at Mia Bella Gardens is bulging at the seams!
In fact all the citrus trees are loaded with fruit...
And every season...
we eat it, bake with it, Juice it, gift it, 
and share it with the birds...


And that's what this post is all about...
Nutty orange bird feeders!
They are pretty simple to make...
In a bowl combine:
softened peanut butter, rolled oats, crushed cornflakes
or whatever you have on hand:
chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, wild bird seed.
Basically the more dry ingredients you use, the more peanut butter you need.
I also added some of the diced pulp of the scooped out oranges,
and some of the juice too,
mainly because the waxeye birds I am making these for...
 LOVE oranges!


Then all you do is stuff the scooped out orange skins with the mixture...


And there you have it.  


This would be a great activity for the kids....
Kids love mixing messy stuff!
Messy play was always a favourite of my children when they were little,
so keep this one in mind as a perfect activity 
to break the boredom of the summer holidays.


Once you have created these bird delicious treats,
 pop them out on your feeding table...
or you could attach string to the orange skins before filling
with the mixture so you can hang in the branches of a tree.


Believe me - it will not be long and the neighbourhood birds 
will be converging on these with complete delight!
These wee cuties are called 'waxeyes'
 or for those of you who are interested in the tech stuff:
 The Silvereye or Waxeye (zosterops lateralis) is a very small omnivorous 
passerine bird of the south-west Pacific.
It is found in Australia and New Zealand.


My little feathered friends just went crazy over these Nutty Orange feeders....
I get the feeling I'll be making another batch next week,
 and the next week,
and the next week....