a simply gorgeous birthday

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As far as I’m concerned too many long weekends are never enough, so opportunistically as the G.O.’s birthday fell on a Monday I suggested he take the day off work. Possibly influenced by his daily 160 km commute the G.O. weakened from his it’s just another day  stance and agreed, but when I lobbed the idea of a weekend away into the air he let it bounce out of the court… The weather probably be won’t be any good and we’ve just been away for your sister’s wedding and at Taylors Arm…

I, being a good missus took the G.O.’s birthday off as well to keep him company. So it came to be that we had a self-proclaimed mid-winter long weekend in Sydney. In 9 years we’ve never spent a long weekend in Sydney, and otherwise a rare sequence of days greater than 2 in our apartment only due to illness or injury.

What to do? Well, nothing in a hurry – one of the benefits of having an in-house coffee machine. Eventually Saturday started out as usual with a walk through Sydney Park, on via the local Triumph motorcycle showroom as we were sort of heading in that direction to lunch at Velvet Garage then a detour to browse along King Street, stopping at a second-hand shop to pick up the kookaburras the G.O. had been thinking about, and a spur-of-the-moment frog.

pre-birthday shopping
pre-birthday shopping

Sunday morning didn’t look like we were going anywhere at all, as our lunch plans had fallen through, until the G.O. remembered he wanted to go to the movies. We couldn’t rouse ourselves further than the local Dendy Newtown, but The Rover (“featuring Guy Pearce – an Australian dystopian crime drama film… a futuristic western that takes place in the Australia outback, ten years after a global economic collapse”) was on at 2 convenient times so we got a wriggle-on and aimed for the earlier. Slightly confronting, we agreed however it had merit if not enjoyable in the usual sense of the word.

Monday even though it wasn’t my birthday was worth celebrating just because the alarm didn’t go off at 5 am. After the G.O.’s morning still-trying-to-give-up-cigarette (and being interrogated by the apartment building’s formidable lady-caretaker putting out the bins while he -apparently a stranger- appeared to be loitering out the front rolling it… “can I help you?”), coffee, porridge with stewed apples-pears & walnuts, gift unwrapping, and birthday phone calls, the G.O. decided to proceed with his only plan for the day, a short drive to Victory Motorcycles so he could inflict another round of exquisite should-I-shouldn’t-I torture on himself.

The G.O.’s lunch suggestions were boring so we went with my brain-wave to go back in time and across the city to our old stomping ground at the West Ryde Hotel aka Mary’s. Shock horror, the same-same exterior hid a surprise; the interior had been revamped… it appeared recent but given neither of us had set foot there for quite some time it could have been done well over a decade ago.

Lunch was excellent, the G.O.’s meaty as is his preference, and we dined in the less-changed grapevine covered beer garden. With time to kill we stopped in off in Balmain-Rozelle for a stroll and something sweet to take home before setting off to our post-4 pm collection point to pick up the Baron Star Bar handlebar for his motorcycle, which the G.O. used his previous birthday IOU to order from the U.S. just a week earlier. (Note to DHL couriers, not happy you couldn’t manage to press our buzzer to deliver it in person – we were at home).

four wheels good two wheels better
four wheels good two wheels better

Neither of us felt like much dinner, so it was birthday banana bread*, very appropriate for a Coffs Harbour raised boy.

* I’m not a particularly assured cook, and assumed café offerings such as madeleines, friands and banana bread weren’t the domain of ordinary cooks. I’ve now attempted all successfully, dispelling the mystique, but none more so than this simple banana bread I resorted to a couple of weeks ago because I had bananas in the freezer, and (unusually) milk in the fridge but no eggs.

Combine 3 mashed bananas, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour, and 1 cup milk, bake in loaf tin in 180 C (356 F) oven for 40 minutes.

gorgeous birthday food
gorgeous birthday food
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21 thoughts on “a simply gorgeous birthday

    davidprosser said:
    June 26, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Belated Best Wishes to the G.O..Despite staying in Sydney it sounds like you found plenty to occupy ourselves, even if it included self torture at the Motor bike specialists. I love the look of the kookaburras, is it china, metal or wood?
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Thank you 🙂 The kooka’s are plaster. Apparently, carnival prizes originally. We have another similar set but it’s a numbers game for kooka’s so the more the merrier.

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    Marianne said:
    June 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Sounds like a perfect birthday!

    Hey – never thought about putting bananas in the freezer! I’ve thrown away so many over-ripe ones. I might just try your banana cake 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      I enjoyed it, and it wasn’t even my birthday 😉
      It was the first time I’d frozen bananas. I tried it because I’d heard mention of people freezing bananas for smoothies. I just wrapped them in foil, and defrosted them briefly in the skins in the microwave. The recipe is more a loaf – a bit dense for cake – and is better with butter and/or toasted in a sandwich press.

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    roughseasinthemed said:
    June 26, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I’ve made banana bread. It was ok. West Ryde didn’t look too v friendly. But I’m pleased you made a birth weekend out of it. Ours went ok, could have done with staying there, but I don’t have to rush back in a hurry so a couple of weeks may be coming up 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 27, 2014 at 5:47 am

      It occurred to me as I was making the banana bread that the ingredients could easily be adapted to vegan/dairy or gluten free. Handy.
      We would have loved to have been at TA – as is usually the case with my birthday falling near on or near a shutdown weekend. But we did make the best of it and yes, West Ryde Hotel-Mary’s location and exterior is quite unattractive but much nicer inside… disconcertingly so since the reno.
      I hope you get to enjoy a couple of weeks of summer in Spain.

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    mybrightlife said:
    June 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Banana bread toast? Sounds very strange but of course it will be delicious – like toasted hot cross buns! Going to give it a try. Sounds like you guys had some lovely quality time…life’s too short not to! Good on you..

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 27, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      I’m not sure whether to be amazed or envious at the seeming absence of what is ubiquitous to cafes in Australia – toasted banana bread, or pear & raspberry, or mango… when you do try it, I like it with a smear of butter and a shake of cinnamon. I’ve been offered jam but that is simply over-kill.
      I love being away but not going away or returning from being away, so it was pleasant to simply enjoy what is local and the time & energy saved by not travelling.

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        mybrightlife said:
        June 28, 2014 at 1:51 am

        I am always surprised by the lovely time we have when we manage to settle into time at home…but I get so restless….

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    Glenda said:
    June 28, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Hi Ella, sounds like a lovely time. I always freeze bananas for smoothies. Frozen bananas make better smoothies than fresh ones.

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 28, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Thank you. I haven’t tried the smoothies but freezing bananas is handy regardless 🙂

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    dadirri7 said:
    June 28, 2014 at 6:08 am

    yes, best wishes to the G.O. … it sounds like an excellent long-weekend, lazy, involving lots of food, and visits to tempting places … I remember those kookas from my childhood, they used to have shiny bits … I wonder if these still do?

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 28, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Possibly the kooka’s once had shiny bits but these guys are a bit ‘old & interesting’ and flakey. Regardless, we rescued them from the shop. We have a single kooka of similar era that has a sort of pearly frosted finish. It seems you can’t have too many kooka’s. The G.O. says they remind him of my family who like to congregate in numbers…

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        dadirri7 said:
        June 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

        ha ha! yes it was the pearly finish I was remembering, a country show speciality 🙂

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    diannegray said:
    June 28, 2014 at 6:32 am

    I love banana bread but have never attempted it. I’m certainly trying out your recipe 😀

    Happy belated birthday to the G.O. and best of luck with the giving-up-cigarettes part! 😉

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 28, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Banana bread is now the G.O.’s smoko of choice, and his co-workers’ apparently… good for me as it’s quicker than Snap bicycles.
      Thank you 🙂 there’s been some progress… the G.O. has gotten off the packaged ciggies all together, and supplements the e-cig with a few ‘rollies’.

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    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    June 29, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I’m glad the Gorgeous One had such a great birthday weekend! I’ve always wondered what the inside of that Victory Motorcycles shop looked like! Lovely to meet up, although I’m sorry we weren’t at our best – we both came home and collapsed after the trip to the butchers, and now I seem to have lost my voice… 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Victory is quite interesting to browse through, and you can also debate the merits of the new Indian motorcycles. I’m pleased you went home after the butcher’s and didn’t dally. I had half of one of your lemons in my hot water this morning – they are so big half was enough. You should try it for your voice.

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    Kourtney Heintz said:
    June 30, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Staycations are wonderful when you live in a city. So often you don’t get to take advantage of the things around you because you’re too busy working. Sounds like the perfect bday. 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      June 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Ah yes, a staycation, that makes it sound much sexier that can’t-be-bothered…

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        Kourtney Heintz said:
        July 14, 2014 at 2:02 am

        Yup it sounds so cool right? Like yeah, I opted to take advantage of my city. 🙂

        Like

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