Kitchen planning

I’m hoping to renovate my kitchen/dining area later this year and have been working on my “vision board” today to clarify what I really want. I know for sure that I want something beautiful as well as practical. I want a place I will love to work and be creative in, but I also want it to be a warm and inviting place for friends and family to gather. I envisage it as a place for dinner parties and laughter and gooey desserts and deep conversations. Basically, I want to be able to walk in each day and think “wow, this is great!”. (Hmm, I’m not asking much am I?)

Renovation dream
Culinary centrepiece
True heart of my home

© Leah Dowsett 2013

Aahh, Christmas

Another work week over which means we’re a few more days closer to Christmas – yay!

This is my favourite time of year – not just because my office shuts down during the two-week Christmas/New Year period and I get to visit the beach (!!) – but because of the meaning, the family time and the food!! (Warning: there may be a lot of  exclamation points in this post!!)

When I was little I loved the excitement of putting up the Christmas tree with my parents, having presents arrive from overseas from my American relatives and start to surround the base, singing along with the choir at midnight mass, and knowing that a big feast was planned for the 25th. Now I relish seeing the decorations on the streets and in the shops, humming along to a crooning Bing Crosby whilst trying to find just the right gift for everyone and pondering the true meaning of Christmas.

I’ve always been taught that to make something special you have to make an effort so for the Christmas day lunch we always use the linen, the crystal, the china and the silver. There are usually baubles and ribbon decorations as well and the table sparkles! It’s like all the love that goes into the preparation becomes tangible and really does “dwell amongst us”.

And, as a family-raised foodie, the menu is a key part of the day! (Prepare to salivate!) Each of us contributes something with our family (er, Mum…) cooking the American favourites of ham, dressing (like stuffing), pickled peaches and stuffed eggs. In more recent years I’ve taken on the role of cooking the turkey rolls in the kettle barbeque, making the gravy and a salad and bringing some bubbly. Our dear English friends that we celebrate with do the pre-meal snacks, the melon/prosciutto entree, mashed or roast potatoes and lots of sweet treats like melt-in your mouth mince pies, shortbread, rum balls (my favourite!!!) and the pièce de résistance: the steamed fruit pudding with custard and cream!! Yum!!

With all that said, I think I need to stop writing and get organised!!

So, whatever your Christmas holds, I wish you a truly wondrous season full of friends, family, food, fun and, most of all, love!

Feasting at Christmas
With friends that are family
Abundant blessings

© Leah Dowsett 2011

My French family

The parents of a dear friend of mine are visiting my parents and I from France this weekend as part of an Australia-wide tour. My friend and I made our connection as foreign exchange students in the USA and have kept in touch and been able to visit each other several times over the past 13 years. (It is always “tough” for me to go back to Paris…ha, ha!)

In keeping up our friendship we have become friends with each others’ parents as well and in doing so we have formed surrogate family bonds across the world. I love having another set of parents who think of me as fondly as I do of them, and am glad that my friend is willing to share them with me! I know my parents enjoy the cross-continent friendship too.

We have shown them around a bit and I really enjoy seeing my city through their “tourist eyes” as it deepens my appreciation of how lucky I am to live where I do. We have had wonderful weather for their visit with lots of sunshine, bright blue skies and balmy nights. I wish they didn’t have to leave so soon!

Ma famille française
So full of laughter and love
A twice-loved daughter 

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Culinary quiz night

Hi, I’m back from my blogging hiatus and going to try a new format in that I may not be posting daily and I may get a bit chatty in my posts as well as poetic.

For example, I went to a great culinary quiz night last night hosted by Cravings Magazine and in support of Growth For Tomorrow (“a Charitable Organisation setup for the primary purpose of providing practical support to orphans, abandoned and disadvantaged children and youth in Romania”). Our table came third (woo hoo!) so I get to enjoy a lazy Sunday reading fabulous magazines and a new cookbook!

Quirky food quiz night
“Name that chef” my specialty
Third place winners – whoop!

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Family trip abroad

In sweet foreign climes /

Some precious quality time /

Will soon be all mine

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Self acceptance

Surrounded by love /

I am inspired to be /

Imperfectly me

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Annual abundance

A reflective year /

Family, friends, food and fun /

Richly blessed am I

© Leah Dowsett 2011

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