Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a big world out there

I'm discovering how small this world is, or perhaps it's not so small, rather it is just that many of the people I have met in Cygnet hail from the same areas of Sydney that I used to frequent. Take Giselle & Alex from the Lotus Eaters, they used to live in Marrickville, next suburb to us in St Peters. I often liken Mary Street, Cygnet to Marrickville Road, Sydney. Full of great food experiences, excellent delis, multi-national grocers and fruit & veg shops, with people happily looking at their destination across the road but forgetting to look for cars on the way.
Simon the Baker, at Yo-Yos Bakery next door to us, used to play in a band called 'Cult 45'. "'Cult 45', you say. That rings a bell. Hang on, did you rehearse at Troy Horse studios in Redfern?". "Yeeeaaahhh???" was Simon's curious & suspicious reply. "I used to work there, I thought the name was familiar, I reckon we've met before, about 15 years ago". Well I'll be.
And speaking of Sydney's inner west music scene, Nikki, who has worked with me for the past couple of years, is married to local Cygnet poet & playwright, Gary Hemmings, who also hails from Sydney. Gary & David (husband, father of two gorgeous sprogs, altogether cool-guy) as it turns out frequented the same Sydney pubs, gigs and nights-on-the-town for about 20 years prior to moving to Cygnet, unbeknownst to either of them One night in our lounge room they start piecing it all together and reminisce over their favourite nights out, "yeah, I went to see them, and them and them..I was there too....Landsdowne, Hopetoun, Sando, Annandale.... "

Silk Swan by G G Hemmings

I loved living in Sydney and now I love living in Cygnet. There is something about this little place on the bottom edge of the map. It's full of possibilities.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Everyone's out of step except for my Johnny

Oooh, it has been a on-again-off-again love affair with this new shop of ours...dramas of my own making and some from others, just to keep me entertained.

Very expensive induction hob stove with $20 camp stove

I dutifully purchased an oven with an induction hob because it is the best thing for making chocolate etc. as it is so sensitive to temperature control. Great, cost a bit, but that's o.k. I'll be able to control the temperatures of caramels and honeycomb instead of them controlling me. Dum-dee-dum-dee-dum, something's wrong with my thermometer, buy another one, something's wrong with that one, borrow three, something's wrong with all of them...

My dad has a story and it goes like this; Johnny, not the brightest young man in town, comes back from the war and his doting mother gathers all of her friends and relations to watch as Johnny makes his triumphant return marching through the main street with his battalion and she pipes up, as proud and gloating as can be, "sure would you look at that, everyone's out of step except for my Johnny".

So, induction hobs work on magnetism. digital thermometers are magnetic, allowing them to pick up instant heat changes. Great, positive magnets are have opposite charges. Excellent, after much research I can buy a $780 induction thermometer or I can go to Bunnings and pick up a $20 gas stove thing with a $3 gas canister and bobs your uncle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Nou Swear Word

Well I'll be...
We had planned to make nougat for months, nuts at the ready, dried plums from my next door neighbour, Miellerie Blue Gum honey, local eggs (some from our chooks), excitement building, my beautiful Ferrari-red Kitchen Aid plugged in and looking brilliant, we were set. Two hours later, we had marshmallowy mess bubbling like a volcano out of the Kitchen Aid, our hands were burning with splashes of hot honey, nuts flying everywhere and the language was coming out of us at a rate of knots. Nougat will be no more, get it while you can. We're outsourcing it. I can't believe how little you get from so much effort, a bit like Shirley Valentine's description of sex, "there's a lot of pushing and shoving and you still come out with very little in the end". (sorry mum, if that's a bit rude)

Next stop nougatine, hot sugar syrup (176 degrees) added to roasted nuts and cocoa nibs, poured on to the table and Nikki and I whimpering and squealing with excitement, pain and panic as we ripped and rolled these DELICIOUS blobs of smokey nutty delight. Yummo, salted caramels move over, there's a new Sherriff in town. We'll have these with almond in milk chocolate and hazelnuts in dark. Yum-yum-diddy-yum-yum..........

It's competition season again, Tuesday will be mould spraying day, chocolate moulds sprayed with cocoa butter & food colouring, that is. Nikki, being an asthmatic, isn't allowed in. I, on the other hand, will be dressed up like a ghost buster with goggles, face mask, air compressor in hand and a cloud of cocoa butter filling the air. Plays havoc with my lungs, but my skin and hair will look and feel fantastic.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A glass o' Jansz in me handz

Display Counter

And so we have our counter, from Phoenix Creations, a couch, a shelving unit, from Southern Design Centre, a table and cushions from Cathy at Cygnet Market. It's all coming together, but now what do I fill this enormous space with????

Easter has been and gone, next year we will be making eggs from Christmas onwards though, crazy stuff.

Dark Chocolate Easter Egg

Now I am waiting for the end of the financial year to splash out on more of everything! oooh! 90 minutes and too many chocolate sites later, my eyes are agog and my glass is empty.

Must learn to concentrate on one thing at a time. Is it too late or too early for a New Year's Resolution? Or perhaps a New Financial Year's Resolution?????

Friday, April 29, 2011

Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard went to Cygneture to fetch her beloved some chocs
And when she got there, the shop was so bare and Gillian could do absolutely nothing about it.
I now know that it takes at least a week to fill up the shop with enough chocolates to stop people looking at you like you are a chameleon, masquerading as a venue for purchase.

"You are kidding me" is the most common expression, while this time that week, it was, "Wow! That's fantastic - amazing - great - how clever..." Holy cow Nikki, we've got nothing left........

For anyone out there living in the Huon area, pick up a copy of the Huon News this week for a Cygneture voucher entitling you to 5% off Cygneture purchases of $10 + and 10% off purchases of $20 or more for Mother's Day.

I promise you, we are back to a full range of chocolates, although honeycomb is a bit low, but Nikki will be making amends for that tomorrow. ALL DAY.

We also have my favourite chocolate up for grabs, which is the Rhubarb & Blue Gum. Yum, yum, ye-yum, yum ('tis the poet in me, trying to escape)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Open for business

So Sunday we had a little party to celebrate the kitchen and the opening of the shop. It was lovely. We are now open for business, but in a limited fashion at this stage. Our display units are pending, but we do have a couch and two lovely personalities to entertain you!!

Three weeks later: We now have three lovely personalities to entertain you. Young Nicole Fraser has joined the crew and will be in the shop on occasional weekends. Furniture still pending....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Excitement's Building

Oooohhhh! The excitement is building in my little world. We bought a couch on the weekend, we are awaiting the display counter and the kitchen is in, after a few hiccups along the way.

Let that not stop me!

We have two new additions to our shop this week with "The Silk Swan", by G. G. Hemmings, local poet and playwright, with illustrations by E. M. Lawrence. This is a numbered, limited edition book of poetry, signed by both author and illustrator and includes some very witty, warm and loving poems from the heart. I have always had a soft spot for poetry and am delighted and privileged to have the books in my shop.

I met with a local designer and creator today, Nicole, at mahlimae and previewed her original pieces of playful art for the young and the young at heart. I was thrown back 30 years at the same time as almost wishing I had another little baby to share them with!...almost...

They received the tick of approval from 3 and almost-7, followed by 3's sorrow at not being allowed to play with them and put them in her doll house and take them to bed, but she did get to cuddle them, just a little.

Now for shop times this week:
Thursday 24th & Friday 25th: Shop 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday: Salamanca only 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday: Focus on Franklin only 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We have a limited set up in the shop at this stage, but the kitchen is there and so are the chocolates, so come on by.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Unreliables Replaced

A Taste of the Huon. Ranelagh Showgrounds. Sunday 13th & Monday14th of March

We are heading to the busiest weekend of my chocolate calendar year.'Tis fierce exciting and my 'trusty side-kick', Nikki, will be 'trusty' no longer. With only 6 months notice, she's off to her sister's wedding. A wedding on the busiest weekend of MY year. It's only her only sister!!!!! Well, she's been replaced by Margie, the artist nurse, on Sunday and a combination of my mother, wannabe Elvis, and David....David...

We get to Unreliable No.2. For those of you who don't know, David goes interstate every second week. "Whatever you do, don't go the week before the Taste. It's my busiest weekend of the year" (have I said that before??)

Last week, in front of 'Unreliable No.1, "I need to go to Melbourne next week and I'll be leaving on Monday night so that I can get two full days in, but I'll be catching the early flight home on Thursday, so I'll be home by 7 o'clock". Wha???? Going away....7 o'clock???? What's early about that?????

The Unreliables.

Not to worry, I've got Margie-The-Artist to keep me healthy. And my mother to tell me whatever mothers tell their daughters...

Fun Bits: The shop & kitchen were approved by council yesterday. Yahoooeeee. So we'll be moving in ASAP.
'On the menu for the Taste (as long as I get the time to finish....)

Apple Confit Caramels
Pear Liqueur Caramels
Rhubarb & Blue Gum (an old favourite that I can make again because Gerard gave me some more rhubarb)
Blueberry & Garden Mint (the blue one)
Ginger & Cherry
Salted caramels
Hazelnut praline
Raspberry pralines
Mint discs
Plum bites
Strawberry & Gooseberry truffles
LN Chai Truffles (Lotus Eaters Chai)
Chocolate-dipped strawberries and blueberries
and lots, lots more
Also introducing Leatherwood honeycomb in white, as well as dark and the old favourite, milk.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

All's Quiet on the Southern Front

Well, not really.

Rumour has it that Cygneture is opening a shop. Yes, the rumour is true. We are moving to 7a Mary Street, next to the bakery. Very excited, happy to be basing ourselves in a pretty spot, close to home. We'll be open Thursday to Sunday, school hours of 9 -3 Thursdays & Fridays and 10 - 3 on Saturdays & Sundays. We will still go to Salamanca on Saturdays. All the old favourites will be available, with lots more to boot.

Perhaps I should take a photo tomorrow and write a new post.......

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Oh Fruits Preserve Us!

An Ocean of Christmas Chocolates

So, I am getting into the Folk Fest mood that's engulfing Cygnet and listening to Simon and Garfunkle and am being thrown back to 1989, Valerie O'Brien's house and listening to her brother's "Sounds of Silence" album.

Chocolate, 2011. We are back into production but Nikki is away until the end of the month so, not full production, but we're going well none-the-less.

Cygnet is sunny and warm and so are my ambitions for 2011. I'm in the throes of dehydrating white & red currnants, raspberries and eating all the cherries I am supposed to be brandying. Peas are on the menu every day and 2.5, who will now be known as 3, is eating them by the cup full. All is well and lovely. Next big plans are for are the Middleton Fair in February and the Taste of the Huon in March. Not so scared this year. Last year we had Janine's wedding the week before, decided to make hay while the sun shone. Did that. Sun shone too much while we were away and everything went awry. Threw everything out and had to start from scratch with 5 days to go. This year we won't be going anywhere.

We are also now the proiud owners of two wine fridges, a baby one and a mother of one that is bigger than I am! Come on sun, bring it on...oooh, maybe I shoudn't be so cocky.

My beloved Chestnut Tree is looking luscious. We have a very pretty little window in the corner of our kitchen and that frames the leaves of the branches hanging down. Beautiful. I love my house.