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Round about 2 months ago, The Boy and I celebrated our 12th anniversary together. To celebrate, I wanted to commemorate our years together with a little surprise.

So I secretly planned a surprise weekend in the CBD starting with dinner at Brooks Melbourne followed by a stay at a hotel. To throw suspicions away from my love, I let him know about dinner plans.

I secretly packed our getaway bag overnight and as he left for work, I went into a flurry of activity to pack essential toiletry items. This, I lugged into work to the amusement of my colleagues.

Knowing that he wouldn’t have the slightest clue about the surprise weekend and knowing full well that he wouldn’t have planned his own romantic getaway (he just isn’t the romantic type), I was confident that I would be able to pull the thing off.

After dinner, I revealed to him that we wouldn’t be going home and gave him instructions to our hotel. It was so cute seeing the incredulous look on his face. I love throwing surprises πŸ™‚

The next day, we had breakfast at our favourite CBD cafe, The Hardware Societe before taking a lazy walk back to the hotel. From there we were going to enjoy a lovely Afternoon High Tea at the Langham.

What neither of us had planned on was a visit to the NGV. As an unplanned treat, The Boy (grumbling all the while) decided to take me to view Monet’s Garden Exhibition (ends 8 Sept 2013). He hadn’t a clue what he was getting himself into and only had my exclaims of delight of “Lilies! The Bridge! The Bridge” to go with before taking us in. 


However, once we spent a good couple of hours in there, he came out with completely different thoughts and feelings. I was too hopelessly lost and in love with the works and story of Claude Monet. I tend to get a little too emotional at times and got caught up with the love Monet had for his wives and garden (bet he bought his love flowers :P).

The Boy, on the other hand was inspired to recreate what he saw in the gallery onto a plate.

So here you go our dear readers, this is our gift to you as we share our journey through life with you. This is The Boy’s ode to Claude Monet and his beautiful garden. 

Enjoy Monet’s Garden!

Playground Series: Monet’s Garden


  • 1kg of ripened Tomatoes (stalks removed)
  • 1 tsp of Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt Flakes
  • 3-4 Semi-Dried Black Olives (available in a jar from fine food stores)
  • Edible Gold Leaf
  • Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe)
  • Baby Cabbage Leaves (trimmed into a circular shape & blanched)
  • Nasturtium Leaves
  • Baby Amaranth Red Garnet
  • Borage Flowers
  • Coriander Flowers


  1. Puree tomatoes with thyme leaves and sea salt in a food processor. Place tomato puree in a double layer cheesecloth or muslin cloth and suspend it over a tall container or bowl.
  2. Place in refrigerator to filter overnight (8-12 hours). Avoid applying pressure over the puree or you'll end up with a cloudy liquid.
  3. To prepare the black olive 'soil', you can either dehydrate pitted black olives in a dehydrator at 65 degrees Celsius for 24 hours or use my "short-cut" method.
  4. Finely chop or grind the dehydrated/toasted black olives until you achieve a soil-like texture.
  5. To plate up, gently pour the tomato water into a serving bowl or deep plate.
  6. Place nasturtium leaves topped with a small amount of tobiko onto your 'pond' to represent water lilies.
  7. Decorate with borage flowers, coriander flowers, baby amaranth red garnets and a baby cabbage leaf. Place tiny flakes of edible gold leaf over your pond to give it a shimmering effect.
  8. Decorate the edges of the plate with the black olive 'soil', baby cabbage leaves, baby amaranth red garnets, coriander flowers and flakes of edible gold leaf.


Balance of the tomato water can be made into jelly, base for a gazpacho, or even served warm as tomato 'tea'. The possibilities are endless.


Some people get inspired to lead better lives, others to see things with different ‘lenses’ on.

The Boy sees things from another level and always seems to translate things back to food. Which works for me really well ><


What do you think? Have you been to the Monet exhibition or to Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France?


I would love to pay homage to the man and visit his garden. Perhaps on our next grand scheme of adventures, The Boy and I might be lucky enough to visit Giverny.


Until then, we will only have our experiences and visits to the exhibition to go by.

What inspires you in life?