Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Making of B2

Things are progressing here with our renovation.

We have called it B2- when we bought this house there was a 2 room bungalow in the back yard.

It was right in the middle of the backyard- making most of the backyard space unusable.

We took down this bungalow (B1) to build the new building (B2) on the left hand side of the property to create a large open yard.

Some of B1 has been saved to re-use in B2.

I will show you later just how.

I never wanted B2 to look as if it was an add-on to the original house in the same style.

I want it to have it's own unique character.

A celebration of the new.

But I want it to have ties to the old.

It feels to me like the unfurling of an artwork.

Years of thoughts in my head of how I wanted this space to be.

How I wanted it to look.

How I wanted it to feel.

The colours.

The textures.

Mr Girlfriend has let me have total creative control.

It feels like my most exciting creative project for years.

But daunting too.

What if I get it wrong?

Yesterday some tiles I had ordered from the UK arrived.

I unwrapped them and cried.

Happy overwhelmed tears.

It felt like this little package represented so much more.

There are 7 tiles, one for each person on the family.

Each with a beautiful & powerful message.

They will get set randomly- well random in the sense that i will place them carefully in amongst the other white subway tiles- on the wall in the 2 bathrooms.

It is these little details for me within the large structure that are to me what make it home.

We have so much beautiful art that is lying in wait.

Some of our most treasured pieces - some needing repair before they are hung, but in my mind I already have worked out exactly where each piece will hang.

These tiles were another part of the art puzzle. To be cemented into the walls of the house. So so exciting.

We are a long way from being finished but it is really beginning to show it's beautiful face.

The rear most part of the building is a music studio.

Music, for all of us in our family is an integral part of our being.  My kids all play instruments.

And the studio has become one of the most exciting parts of the building project.

It is the part of the building you can see on the far right.

I have been collecting LP covers to wallpaper a feature wall in that space.  So much fun.

The kids are beside themselves with excitement about that space.  I can already see how much love that space is going to get.

I am so very lucky to have the most wonderful crew of tradesmen at the heart of this project.   They did some work for me when we first bought this house & we have been talking since of this project.

They are an absolute delight to have around.  Never too busy to talk to my kids.  Happy to indulge my eccentric ideas and make adjustments here & there as we change our minds about little details.

A continuing project....... more later.

(NOTE: The pork takes 6 hours so you will want to prepare this in the morning or the day before and set aside & re-warm)
Have you caught the mexican craze yet?
It seems everyone is cooking 'new' Mexican.
I can't say  I am unhappy about this.
To me it is a bit like what has happened to our knowledge of Thai food for example.  It has shifted from being nothing much more than Green curry to a deeper understanding of what is on offer- a broader appreciation of the flavours.
So much freshness, lots of flavours, lots of regional variations, crunch, texture. Just super yummy really.
You can totally mix up your ingredients to have whatever you like inside, fish, coleslaw, chicken, pork, mince....there really aren't any rules at my house.
What is NOT to love about a meal where everyone pops what they fancy in and leaves out the bits they are not keen on!

Recently after wanting to for a LONG time I made my own tortillas.
NEVER ever will we buy them from the shop again.
The flavour that makes them unique is the MASA HARINA- this is Corn flour that has been treated with Lime. it is the most wonderfully fragrant & silky flour. just gorgeous. My understanding is that the lime helps the corn become more easily digestible.
whatever it is- they are SOOOOO different form the shop bought ones there is NO COMPARISON. They have the loveliest texture when bite into them and they don't fall apart as you wrap your goodies inside. 

They really are very easy to make. If you don't have a Tortilla press you could easily make it with a rolling pin or old wine bottle. 
In Melbourne you will find a great array of equipment & ingredients (including the tortilla press & Masa Harina I use in this recipe) for cooking great Mexican food at Casa Iberica & Oasis Bakery

For the pulled pork:

  • 1 pork shoulder ( i prefer the bone still in for better flavour
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 6 cloves garlic (don't be shy!)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • S & P
For the coleslaw:
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 carrots, finely julienned or grated
  • 3 whole corn, chargrilled and kernels removed
  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • S & P
  • 2 tablespoons low fat plain Greek style yoghurt ( i use this over the more traditional Mayo- i prefer its zingyness and it is lower in fat)
For the tortillas (this will make about 18):
  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

For the pulled pork~
Heat the oven to 150C.

Place the shoulder into a large roasting tray.

In a a mortar and pestle grind the garlic & oregano with some salt to aid the grinding.

Add a little olive oil & the cumin powder to make a paste. Rub the paste well over the shoulder. 

Cover well with alfoil and roast for 6 hours.

Remove from oven and shred with a fork.  The meat will fall away rom the bone.  Place into a large dish and pour over the remaining cooking liquor on top. Set aside.

For the coleslaw:
In a large mixing bowl add the cabbage, carrots, corn & fresh coriander. 
In a small bowl mix the other ingredients to make the dressing.  Mix well and pour over the vegetables.  Get your hands in and mix through well. Set aside.

For the tortilla:
In a large bowl add the Masa Harina and the water.  Mix until amalgamated. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Open you press and line the bottom with silicon baking paper (if using a rolling pin you will need to do this also or the tortillas will stick.)

Grab a small amount of dough- enough to make a ball that fits easily in the cup of your hand- and place in the middle of the press.

Place another piece of baking paper on top.

Press down VERY firmly.  Remove carefully.

Place on a small piece of baking paper and stack them up with a piece between each ( I save these for next time & keep them with my press to reduce waste).

Heat a small non stick pan and heat to medium high to high.  Place a tortilla in the DRY pan and cook each side for about 30 seconds each- thye will be just lightly brown.  Wrap in a clean tea towel until all cooked. (you can freeze ones you don't use).

Now place all ingredients at the tabel and assemble your tacos!

We also served some of my fave Black Bean & Corn salad and of course an array of chili sauces including Chipotle yoghurt
So so good!

As I mentioned above- I am collecting LP covers for wallpaper in the music studio. Some of all my all time fave record covers are the Herb Alpert covers. Do you know them?
So so good! 



    Okay. Maybe not. But omigod I love pulled pork and home-made tortillas.

  2. Also, thanks for the tip about Oasis! Nice and local to me. I had no idea it existed. Ace!

  3. Great seeing other people's renos, here is my recent post about our studio back yard build.

    I know what you mean about the little things..... I'm looking forward to that bit.

    Thanks for the chicken chowder recipe too, made it last night, yum!

  4. Alli @ ducks on the dam10 April 2013 at 19:32

    Those tiles rock. I want some. Please tell me where they are from!!!!!! We have an unfinished kitchen and second bathroom (4 years in to our owner build). Love them xxxx

  5. Just wondering if you could tell me where you got the tortilla press from? We only eat them homemade now so I think I can justify one but I have no idea where to find them! I haven't tried corn ones before so will definitely give that a go. thanks!


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