Food for thought…

Food For Thought….

Dine In

Why not order in?

I absolutely love our local cafes, restaurants and pubs. Friday night dinner at GNTP, Sunday breakfast at Myrtle House cafe or a special dinner with friends at Panino.  It’s one of the very special things about living in a small community-no matter where you go you are bound to know at least half of the people there.

I also love a house full of friends with a crowded kitchen, a table filled with food and the wine flowing! Neither of these things has been possible over the last few months and I’ve missed it so much!

I know there is a lot if chatter “locally” about the first weekend the pub is open again or how amazing the first Friday night at GNTP will be when things finally go back to normal. I don’t think anyone really knows what the new normal will look, but it will be a welcome relief from how it has been.

We’ve all just adapted as best we can and I have to say that I’m so proud of our little valley. So many businesses have been turned upside down, and still they keep going. The corporate world has terms like “pivoting” or being “agile”. Locally I think it’s called “getting shit done”,  “keeping the doors open” or “putting food on the table”.  We’re a bloody stoic lot.

So with limited seating, social distancing measures and changes to the health and safety requirements for food service, it has made it almost impossible for our small restaurants, cafes and pubs to function, but they have all adapted in their own way.

If you are planning a stay in our beautiful valley over the next few months why not change up the experience with some restaurant quality food delivery or take away options?

You can stay tucked up cozy and warm in front of the fire and I can’t be the only one thinking that the “No Designated Driver Required” option is also a huge bonus…

No Designated Driver Required

No Designated Driver Required

How does a 3-course meal delivered to your accommodation for $50 per person sound? Think shared cheese board to start, then a Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shoulder with chick peas and sweet potato, cous cous, mint yoghurt, or Pulled Chicken and Black Bean Soft Tacos with Red cabbage Slaw, corn & tomato salso, guacamole, sour cream, Jalapeno & house made pickles.

The ladies from Wollombi Catering (Sasha & Nat) who are normally booked solid with wedding at this time of year have offered some amazing option for guest staying in the Wollombi Valley.  I’ve had these ladies cater for us a number of times for us here at Valle Laguna and the feedback is always amazing! Hat’s off to you Nat & Sasha! Have a peak at their website for all of the options and place your order Order Here.

All for $50pp. Seriously!

“The clatter of crockery and endless chatter, our busy, Cafe brimming”Myrtle House Cafe

Another of our dinner options adapting to these crazy times is Myrtle House. They are open for dinner but the seating is limited so you’ll need to book early or simply order from their dinner menu and swing by to pick it up. Order here

None of this will help your waistline but I guarantee your soul will be full and your taste buds dancing…

Kylie

 

Valle Laguna Book Club March Review

Valle Laguna Book Club March Review

 

If ever we needed some escapism it’s now.

Self-isolation might be the perfect opportunity to catch up on books, but even without guest here, there are still plenty of jobs to do here at the farm. We’ve taken the opportunity to get out in the garden, and tick off the odd jobs that somehow never find their way onto the official “To Do” list.

I set my Bluetooth Speaker up outside and listen while I’m doing the odd jobs or pottering in the gardening.

This is what I’ve been reading, watching & listening to over the last few weeks.

I hope it goes a small way to relieving any anxiety, boredom or sadness you may be dealing with at the moment.

Kylie

Reading:

The Girl Who Lived by  Christopher Greyson

Psychological thriller. Twist and turns. A number of moments that are so suspenseful my heart was racing and my breath was shallow…  I didn’t pick the killer until it was revealed at the end. Normally this would be a good thing but I was a little disappointed because there weren’t enough “ah ha” moments throughout the plot to make me think “Of Couse! Why didn’t I see that coming?”  That said I still recommend reading it.

The Girl in The Painting by Tea Cooper

Tea Cooper is a local of the Wolombi Valley. Why have I not read her books before?? This book is absolutely fantastic!!!!

I particularly loved one of the main characters, Jane Piper. She’s described as a “mathematical savant” and has a somewhat quirky personality so she provides the perfect contrast to the more controlled and traditional character of Elizabeth.

I can’t really think how to describe this book so here is what Harper Collins had to say

Ranging from the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, the bucolic English countryside to the charm of Maitland Town, this compelling historical mystery in the company of an eccentric and original heroine is rich with atmosphere and detail.

A few months ago I started to read another book by Tea Cooper called The Naturalist Daughter, but I couldn’t get into it so I put it aside. I was disappointed because it’s set in the Wollombi Valley and I was keen to get an insight to what our valley looked like back then. Anyway I’ve started reading it again and I can report that I’m hooked!

Less By Andrew Sean Greer

Despite all of the hype around this book, I’ve put it aside for now. I just found the main character a bit to irritating for my headspace at the moment…I will revisit and let you know how I go. Anyone else read it?

Apps:

Calm.

I love this app so much!! I started using the free version a few years ago but quickly upgraded to the paid version. It has a new 10-minute mediation each day; sleep stories, guided meditations of varying lengths and so much more. The soundscapes are also very relaxing…rain falling, fire crackling, thunderstorms, or waves gently breaking on the beach.

 

Watching on Netflix:

The Goop Lab- Better than I expected.

Miss Americana- Even if you don’t listen to Taylor Swift’s music this is a MUST WATCH.

Virgin River- Romantic escapism…defiantly one for the ladies.

 

YouTube:

Yoga with Adrienne

Cole Chance Yoga

Podcasts:

The Food Medic-Dr. Hazel Wallace discusses all thing heath related, with a focus on fact verses fiction.

How I Built This with Guy Raz- Interviews with people who have built some of the worlds most successful companies.  Many set out to build big companies, others slowly evolve and a few just take off leaving even the founders baffled.

 

Calm on the Farm!

Calm on the Farm

Wow!! Who could have predicted the situation we all find ourselves in today?

It’s quiet unbelievably really. I’m not even going to try and explain the behavior of people. They are worried and scared. Scared about the virus and worried about their financial security.  I think on some level we are ALL worried, it’s just that we deal with our anxiety differently. 

I find it funny that the very things we deem to be “time wasting” or lament that we “don’t have time” to do are often the very things that we need to do to stay calm.

Horses, books, and cooking are my medicine. This week as anxiety levels everywhere hit new heights, and we went into self-imposed lockdown I retreated to my kitchen.

First up on my cooking list was chicken soup.  (Old school I know!!) You can find my recipe here. I can get 3 different meals from 1 chicken. (Chicken & Vegetable Soup, Roasted Sweet Potato & Chicken Risotto and Thai Salad with Shredded Chicken) That should just about guarantee life membership to Country Women’s Association!!!

I hope everyone is doing ok.

What are you doing to stay calm?

Cheers

Kylie

 

 

February Book Club Review

Where the Crawdads Sing. By Delia Owens

What did you think?

I think it’s an absolute “must read”. I really loved this book although I was totally conflicted by the ending. I knew the book was never going to be the typical love story with a happy ending but I still wanted more for Kya aka “Marsh Girl”.

By the time I got to the end of the book I was emotionally exhausted. 

One of my friends said she was in tears by the 3rdchapter! 

Abandoned by her entire family, and left to fend for herself Kya receives some help and support from kindly locals along the way but not nearly enough. Her relationships with other people are based somewhat on the behavior of the birds and animals that she observes in the marshland around her. 

Delia Owens has created such a vivid depiction of the North Carolina coastline, the marshlands and life in the south that I found myself referring to Google in a quest for more details about everything from birds or towns, to events of that era.  I’ve always thought that “grits” for breakfast sounded disgusting but I never really knew what they were made from. I now know that “grits” are made of boiled cornmeal. Still sounds like a terrible breakfast, but this was the staple food, and sometimes only food, that Kya ate for a large part of her childhood. 

Don’t hesitate with this one. Just read it. 5/5

My March read is another change of pace. I’m reading “So Lucky” by  Dawn O’Porter. 

Happy reading

What’s on for the weekend?

I love Wednesday. The working week is half done and the weekend is clearly on the horizon. So what have you planned for the weekend?
Autumn in the Hunter Valley is my favourite time of year. The trees have started to change colour,  the days are clear and the temperature is still pleasant enough to be outside. My weekend will certainly involve riding, probably catching up with some friends and defiantly some food & wine. I have a beautiful wood fired oven that I inherited from my Grandmother. It’s the focal point of the kitchen in winter. Cooler weather calls for slow cooked food.  
If you feel like a getaway here are a few suggestion on how to spend your time in the Wollombi Valley.
Stay with us at Valle Laguna for 2 nights, and we’ll give you the 3rd night free.
E-mail us at enquiries@vallelaguna.com.au or visit the website www.vallelaguna.com.au
We have some wonderful options for dining.
 The Great North Trading Post is popular with visitors and locals! They have great food all weekend and live music on Friday nights . www.gntp.com.au
 Mulla Villa is an original 1840 convict built sandstone Magistrate’s house and is quiet the dining experience! They are open for lunch and dinner. www.mullavilla.com.au
The Wollombi Tavern is not only your typical country but it’s the home Dr. Jurd’s Jungle Juice. No visit to the valley is complete without a little taste! www.wollombitavern.com.au
Saturday, visit the art exhibition by Guntis Janson ” Paintings from the Studio” at the Wollombi Cultural Centre, Wollombi.  Open weekends 10am to 4pm, from Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 May 2015
or 
Indulge in a little bit of wine tasting at one of the many local vineyards. www.wollombivalleywinetrail.com.au
My personal favourite are the Stonehurst Methode Champenoise and the Lemoncello liqueur from Wollombi Village Vineyard. 

Happy planning! I guarantee you’ll love our little piece of paradise.