Tuesday, April 25, 2006



Today is celebrated by all Australian & New Zealanders to honour the brave men who died at Gallipoli in 1915.

This morning I made ANZAC biscuits for two new friends who have their birthdays today. One of them is Patricia, whose husband, Jason, is an exchange teacher at a high school just outside of Tartu. I gave Patricia her cookies when we met in the afternoon for afternoon tea. She is looking forward to going home to Philadelphia in early June, but is going to miss all the new friends that her family have made here.

The other friend is Nico, who is the head chef at the Wilde Pub & Restaurant. We were invited to share a glass of champagne & birthday 'kringle' cake when we returned from a trip to a local hardware store. It is also Erik's birthday on Thursday, so we plan to light the BBQ that evening. And then we have a party on Saturday afternoon to look forward to as we celebrate the birthday of Robert, the new owner of the Wilde Pub.

It is also 'Student Days' for Tartu University students, so our language teacher didn't give us any homework on Monday, but I expect we might get some tomorrow. There will also be a late night concert in the park across the road on Thursday evening. We received a polite note in our letter box apologising for any inconvenience the concert may cause. [Still no rain.]

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Spring has sprung!

Finally, the snow has all gone, but not the small hill that sits on the tennis court side-lines. What is worrying (to me) is that we've had very litte rain. The air is very, very dusty from all the dirt left in the streets. The town's street sweepers have been busy, but a good downpour is what we need desperately.

I remember how frequently the school vacation week in April was usually so wet, that even one year the bees couldn't pollinate the apple blossoms. I think the trees & plants would like a good drink also. My crocuses & snowbells are blooming now, & the daffodils should be coming up soon.

Easter was this weekend just gone. On Good Friday I made Hot Cross Buns in the morning. I had mixed the dough up the night before & let it prove overnight. I under-estimated how much the buns would rise again & they really needed a bigger pan. But they were still delicious. I made a carrot cake on Saturday morning & in the afternoon helped Svetlana decorate some eggs for Sunday. When Jim & Svetlana, our closest neighbours since December, dropped in on Sunday morning I served the carrot cake up. Erik's mother sent us 10 chocolate 'baby bilbies' by mail which arrived on Saturday. Jim & Svetlana were given 2 bilbies so that there wouldn't be any fights over who received the extra 2 bilbies. Our plush Easter bilbies were sitting in a basket bowl with the small chocolate bilbies & a medium sized 'Made in France' chocolate egg for each family member.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


This is NOT a Food Blog!

Just setting some parameters here - I am not going to blog about food, but I might still talk about food sometimes. Let's face facts, we all like to eat at least 2 times a day.

Son #1 asked recently "Why do you have your laptop in the kitchen instead of upstairs?"

So I explained that I can utilize my time better if I don't have to go up & down the stairs & I can still monitor what's going on in the kitchen. When the sun is shining our kitchen is a warm & cheerful place to be. I would just like to see the renovations completed this year, so I can unpack my kitchen boxes. Well, here's hoping!

Anyway, last week I had to come up with something for dinner. There were leftovers but not enough to feed 4 people. I had an assortment of fresh vegetables & a small amount of mashed potato, so I decided to try out a recipe I found on a food blog web-site. It was for 'potato short-crust pastry' & I decided to make a vegetable pie. I've always liked the ready-rolled puff pastry I could buy in Sydney, but making pastry always seemed to take too much time. This pastry recipe mixed up quickly.

We eat more spuds now than we ever did in MA, USA. For those that don't know, Estonian potatoes have so much more flavour to them than the big American potatoes. Back then I prefered to buy the smaller 'new' potatoes.

While I waited for the crust to be blind baked, I fried some onions & garlic cloves, a small leek, 2 small red & green capsicums & threw in some leftover sweet corn kernels. Then I spread the fried vegies in the shell. I then beat a few eggs together & poured that over to bind it together. On the top I scattered some feta cheese squares & grated some Wesleydale cheese that Erik brought back from the UK.

Son #2 complained that there was no meat in it, so next time I'll add some ham, or bacon. He didn't like the capsicums, or the leeks, either. Son #2 said it was OK. Erik said it was very good, but then he'll eat anything I put in front of him (as long as it isn't liver). I rather thought it made a great vegetarian dish.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Ambassadors to Estonia

Last year in March, close to St. Partick's Day, we were invited to a "Meet the Irish Ambassador" function at the Wilde Pub & Restaurant. We had a great time & I met Verena. We had many similar tastes, were close in age, & she was very keen to learn how to tat. Then she & her husband, Tim, (a Fulbright professor) returned to their home in the USA in July. We still keep in touch via e-mail, & it is great that she's still tatting away.

Well, this year is our chance to meet the ambassador from the UK. We've been invited to the official opening of a new manufacturing plant here in Tartu. The founder of the UK parent company, Alec, & his wife, Pauline, are living near us, & Erik has been helping provide IT support, here & in the UK. This has given him several trips to the UK, but he's also been able to bring back some goodies & books for us.

Well, there was lots of food to eat, wine to drink, a decorated cake for dessert & also coffee. When we left we were given a gift to take home. This was a souvenir mug from Oxford filled with Cadbury chocolates, a pen & some other stuff that I haven't looked at yet. I met & talked with a few interesting people also.

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