Hellooo! Wow, I haven’t been here for ages. The school holidays are over and I dragged myself back, kicking and screaming, to work yesterday.
I spent most of last week with my boys, 3 lovely lady friends and their kids in beautiful Trentham. With tongues firmly planted in cheeks, we refer to ourselves as the GMC (Groovy Mothers Club), and our 8 children have known each other since they were babies. Coming together as a big clan for 5 days was noisy, nurturing and bloody fantastic.
Although we had one big burst of glorious sunshine (on our last day), it rained virtually non-stop; so the days were spent doing a helluva lot of crafting – twig bows n’ arrows, dream-catchers, little air-dry clay pots, cardboard swords and shields, blanket forts and home-made lanterns for the obligatory spooky twilight stroll to the local cemetery.
We all love our food, and the menu was excellent: baked breakfast oatmeal, dried fruit salad with honeyed nuts, home-baked sourdough, brownies, cookies, börek, pizzas, chilli relish, lasagne and Janet’s pièce de résistance, loved by all the adults and kids – Taiwanese rice and chicken in banana leaves (that’s me, gleefully serving it up below).
We spent an afternoon at the charming RedBeard Bakery, where the baker generously showed the kids around his kitchen, and allowed them to peer into the huge 19th century woodfired Scotch oven. Such a beautiful place and it’s for sale. Someone buy it, quick!
The kids were rapt to discover an abandoned mine whilst bushwalking, and almost every morning we were greeted by a couple of grazing kangaroos, rosellas and fat cockatoos.
When the children collapsed into bed; there was wine, long chats into the night, a game of Cards against humanity, and did I mention the wine?
Thanks ladies. I’m finding it hard to muster up the care-factor at work after such a gorgeous week. *sniff*.

Trentham holidayTaiwanese chicken

35 thoughts on “Tree-mendous

  1. Welcome back! What an amazing sounding week for you and your boys, and so wonderfully enriching in all fronts. All those indoor projects made a week of rain sound positively welcome 🙂 Can we all come along next time?! Not surprised that you’ve come back with at least a few great recipes stuffed up your sleeve – looking forward to hearing more.

    • Thanks df! Yes, my sleeves are positively over-stuffed at the moment! If only there were more than 3 meals in 1 day. I was also lucky enough to get 2 beautiful (and enormous) hardcover cookbooks for my birthday recently. Both are already filled with sticky tabs. No time for experimenting with my own recipes at the moment – too busy learning from the experts!

  2. Looks like an amazing time was had by all — especially the GMC! Great to see that there was lots of activities to keep the kids occupied. Looking forward to your posts with recipes. Will you post on those Tiwanese rice and chicken rolls? The girls will be impressed by your dream catchers!

    • Thanks Barb. You’ll love the Taiwanese chicken dish. The original recipe calls for lotus leaves, but my friend Janet subbed them for banana leaves and they worked beautifully. The rice preparation took quite a while, but it was so worth it. They’re full of shitake mushrooms and all the kids happily tucked into them. The dream catchers were a fun activity. My youngest has his hanging on his bed at home and he swears it is working well! Recipe post coming soon…

  3. Saskia, I don’t know where to start!
    I was here a couple of days ago trying to catch up on your wonderful posts. I felt so ashamed for missing so many and I have apologized so many times it is almost meaningless but I just want to say that I love your blog, your writing style and your recipes so much . Even if I disappear for a while (not because I want to but because I have to :() I will always be back because I truly enjoy your little corner of the web.
    That being said, can I please please please come with you ladies next time? What’s two more kids added to the lot 🙂
    All your pictures are breath taking (as they always are) but the picture of the sun beams coming through the trees had me enchanted for a long time.
    P.S. thank you kindly for the shout out, I am humbled by your kindness

    • Sawsan, absolutely no need to apologise. I really appreciate knowing you visit this little corner of the web occasionally, and we all disappear for a while. Life gets in the way of blogging! You should be so proud of what you’ve accomplished with your blog. I’m amazed it’s not a full-time job. Your baked oatmeal is on high rotation in this house. I make it at least once a week. We all love it, and it was the perfect vacation brekkie on a cold, rainy day. Thanks for the photo compliment. I stepped outside with my coffee one morning to face those beautiful sunbeams breaking through the gum trees. Such a splendid way to start the day!

  4. Well that sounds like a delightful way to spend the school holidays, even though it was a bit soggy. It’s gorgeous up here this time of year, so glad you enjoyed it! And the nice buns at Red Beard 🙂

    • Amelia you are one lucky lady living up there. That area is one of my favourite parts of Victoria. I think I’d become a bread junkie if I lived within cooee of RedBeard. Those buns looked magnificent.

  5. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING. Can I come next time, and disguise myself as one of the kids?! What can be more perfect than a weekend of eating fantastic food AND crafting?! Those kids are very lucky indeed. I gather you got to enjoy some wine as a reward though……….

    • Aw thanks Sandra! Love a compliment in caps. They are indeed an amazing bunch of ladies (and kids). You’re the master of disguise when it comes to mirrors so I reckon you’d blend in seamlessly as a kid. I’m thinking painted-on freckles…

  6. What a wonderful week you had! And your children learned a valuable lesson, too. Sunny days are great but aren’t necessary to have a good time. A twilight stroll through a cemetery? You’ve got to be the coolest Mum ever! Way to go!

  7. It rained in Apollo Bay too! I took my grand daughter there for the school hols, yes we spent a lot of time crafting, cooking, making blanket cubbies. Thankfully there was just me and the other half. I was so exhausted by the kids bedtime it was all I could do to just blob in front of the TV. Glad you haven’t abandoned us!

    • Ahhh, we love Apollo Bay. We’re there every year for the Festival. I know what it feels like to be stuck there in the rain though – so cruel with those tantalising beaches at arm’s reach. Sometimes a bit of enforced indoor time is good though isn’t it. Nothing more fun than blanket cubbies!

  8. Hahaa… I’ve heard SO much about Cards Against Humanity in recent months. I still haven’t played it, though a friend of mine has a printable set that she made a while ago. Hm. Am I horrible enough?! 😉 Anyway, sounds like you’ve had a wonderful break! Love the photos, particularly the kids in the bakery and you with the fragrant leaf-wrapped rice. So lovely. Sorry that you’re back at work now… me too, as Aaron and I had a week off for my 30th at the end of September. Sad that it’s over (both my 20’s and the holiday, sniff!). Hugs xxx

    • Cards against humanity is hilarious! So non-PC. I first read about it on Loobylu but found we couldn’t buy it here. Pretty generous of the creators to make it available as a free download for the rest of the world (god it took ages cutting out all the little cards though)! Hope you had a lovely holiday too. The post-vacation snap back to reality is always so cruel. The leaf-wrapped rice dish was amazing – my friend Janet is a great cook. I love trying out other folk’s meals!

  9. What a wonderful time! I wondered where you’ve been. 🙂 Don’t you just love to create such a wonderful memory for the little ones, all the while enjoying the heck out of yourself too! Your country is so beautiful Saskia. Imagine the rice and chicken wrapped in banana leaves were delicious! Love the bottom photograph… Welcome back!

    • Thanks for the lovely comment! You’re right, our boys are just at the age where these types of experiences will be embedded in their memories. My clearest childhood recollections are of holidays. Our country is beautiful, I must agree with you there! Mind you, yours is pretty damn gorgeous too! Haven’t been to the States for years, but we’re saving our pennies…

  10. Too bad you did not have more sunny days but you seemed to have made the most of the get together and all had a grand time. Cool that the kids got to tour the bakery and the baker’s kitchen and his huge 19th century woodfired Scotch oven. How many loaves of bread could he bake at one time?

    • We did indeed have a grand time Norma! The Bakery is gorgeous. Depending on the type and size of loaf, they can bake between 150 and 250 loaves of bread at a time! You can see their beautiful extra-long bread paddles at the top of the photo. They have some interesting info about their Scotch oven on their website.

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