This last month has been such a whirl of activity and decision making. The project that Joel was on at work closed down which left us with a decision to make – he could find a new team here in Boulder or back in California. We decided instead to find a way to get home and Joel will be transferring to Australia. So the house is packed up and we are all ready to move back home to our very much missed and very much loved Australia!
The temptation to stay on in Boulder was great. This has been the most incredible place I have ever lived and I feel I could make it my home. There is the incredible ski resorts here which so many people come here for but there is so much more to this place that you don’t experience in the resorts. We have been so fortunate to have had this opportunity to live right here in Boulder, right at the foothills with incredible hikes, brilliant schools and so many affordable activities and classes for kids to do. On the last day of school I joined Essie’s class for a hike and a picnic. It was such a simple, lovely idea which was so easy to do as the school backs onto the foothills. So the two second grade classes hiked 4 miles which involved stopping for a picnic and wading through a creek. There are signs around warning about mountain lions and bears but they are so rare that no one worries about them. It was such an idealic activity that I’m sure Essie will treasure forever and sums up what I love about living in Boulder. The school takes advantage of their incredible backyard and incorporate the mountains into so much of the cirriculum and kids are encouraged to be in nature and climbing trees and playing in the school playground even if it is snowing. The relaxed approach to kids just enjoying the outdoors has been so refreshing. But we decided our move here was to have an adventure and we have certainly had that and we are looking forward to returning to Australia and being settled.
Our focus now is to enjoy as much of the summer here. Boulder has just bloomed and the grass and gardens are just growing at lightning speed. Our garden is so different now from the snow heavy garden back in May. Our apple tree is covered in teeny tiny apples and there is plenty of shady corners for the kids to hang out with the neighbour’s cat Tiger. We have been cooking so much and most days we have been baking fresh bread of some sort for lunch – tortillas, pita bread, bagels, white loaves, wholewheat loaves, breadrolls, focaccia and grissini. On the weekend we had a preliminary birthday feast for Essie’s 8th birthday. Her birthday is not for another week but we will be away as we are leaving for a holiday to the east coast tomorrow. So the dinner request was Fish Croquettes with Dill Mayonnaise (this was just suppose to be the entree but after they were demolished there was no room for the mains)and dessert was a homemade Blackberry Chip Ice Cream Pie. The ice cream was so good! It was a recipe from the Bi-Rite cookbook called “Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones” which is brilliant. I added roughly chopped chocolate to the ice cream for the last bit of churning for some texture. Bi-Rite has two cookbooks out and they are my most favourite souvenirs from San Francisco and bring back happy memories of eating their yummy ice cream in Mission Delores Park.
As with every school holiday I try to get the kids into the kitchen to cook some meals. Levi cooked one complete meal without any assistance whatsoever – grilled steaks, grilled corn, mashed potato and coleslaw. He even made the coleslaw dressing by himself. Essie has made the Watermelon and Mint Granita with Lime Syrup from Kate Bracks’ dessert book twice which we all love. But now that our kitchen is packed up the cooking will slow down considerably for a while. We will have to be creative with the limited cooking utensils we have since packing up and enjoy eating out a little more.
On the weekend we headed up north to the Greeley Stampede for the Kids Rodeo. Joel had convinced Elliott to sign up for the Mutton Bustin’ (putting 5 and 6 year olds on the back of a sheep where they hold on for dear life as the sheep bolts across the arena). I did not think Elliott would do it as I was sure he would be intimidated at the sight of all the other kids falling off the running sheep. But it made him even more excited and he couldn’t wait until his turn. He had a vest and a helmet to wear and once the sheep bolted out the gate Elliott lasted only 2 seconds before falling off. He was disappointed at his short run and really wanted another go. It seems that Elliott is a little bit of a brave cowboy.
I shared a photo of some grissini on instagram a few weeks ago and promised to share the recipe. It is an easy recipe to make although you do need to allow time for the yeasted dough to rise. The kids helped make the recipe and loved rolling out the dough into snakes. Grissini is great to pop into lunchboxes with a small container of hommus for dipping or just to have on its own. With the spices and heat from the chilli these are really tasty just as they are but would be brilliant on a antipasto platter as an appetiser.
fennel, chilli and parmesan grissini
(adapted from Annie Rigg’s book ‘Gifts from the Kitchen’)
2 3/4 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
3/4 cup – 1 cup milk, warmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
In a large mixing bowl place the flour, yeast, salt, fennel and chilli. Mix together and then make a well in the centre. Add the warmed milk, olive oil and Parmesan and mix then knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Cover the bowl and leave to rise for about one hour or until doubled in size. Then turn the dough 0ut and knead for another minute before rolling out into a large rectangle about 5mm thick. Cut stripes of dough that are about 1 cm wide and gently roll these to create rounded grissini sticks. Place these on a lined baking tray.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Leave the grissini to rest for 10 minutes and then bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden.