It’s not a good sign when I’m bored by a drawing before I finish it…sigh.
I just made these lovely little snack pieces. The original recipe was posted here by Not Quite Nigella.
Plump up 1/2 cup of sultanas in some hot water. I also rehydrated some cranberries. Mash up two ripe bananas in a bowl and add in 3/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and about 3 teaspoons of agave syrup (for sweetness). Mix in the sultanas with this to get a wet mix. Roll into balls and roll these in more oats and coconut. Voila – healthy snacks for the working week.
Another summer of homegrown goodness, and it’s all come to its inevitable end. No more mangoes. All gone. The last few have been chopped up for one last day of snacking but the rest must be frozen for posterity. Cryogenic mango will save the day in the months to come. – the trick is to use them wisely.
Epic morning of de-hedging around the shed today, with the help of two friends. The weather was kind with an overcast sky and some light rain. The chooks over the back were clucking. There was one rather large toad which startled us a bit.
And then…just when we could see the fence through the massive bougainvillaea, we noticed Gucci. All tucked up and sleeping peacefully, right where one friend had been snipping branches. None of our sawing, clipping or heaving had disturbed his slumber…until his cover was nearly all gone of course. Then he started moving. And so did we!
It’s been a big week – spending hours battling the annoying with an especially high volume of stupid, so today I’m making it all about me.
As reward for surviving this week without putting anyone in a headlock – and in preparation for a weekend of hard yakka in the yard, today I am:
- buying a coffee and avocado toast for late brekkie – this is a luxury!
- spending my lunch hour in an art store, then buying something lovely for lunch – double luxury
- shopping after work for some nice foods for the long weekend (which besides gardening, will be spent bbqing, cricketing and sleeping ‘cos Australia Day)
What a rebel. Does everyone else live a life that includes little rewards all the time and it’s just me being mean to me? I don’t seem to do the nice things often. I don’t spend money wantonly ‘cos need it for a rainy day – don’t waste a lunch hour wandering ‘cos errands to run etc. I think most people have a list of “needs to do” and we never set it aside to do the nice things. I know for me it’s a case of “I’ll do the nice things when I’ve finished the “. And that sucks. When I was a kid I thought being a grown up meant I could do what I want when I want. And it is, but I still don’t do it. Maybe I’m the stupid one, but not today.
I scored a bag of homegrown mangos from my sis-in-law last week and when a few of them ripen at the same time, what do you do? Chop them up into bite size pieces and freeze them. Add in any other fruit you have around to make up smoothie shortcut bags you can throw into the blender at a moments notice. Make them about 1/2 to 1 cups worth and you have enough to add to a cup of liquid, add a shot of protein powder and some ice if you are sharing with another and blitz away. Easy.
For those of you who are Oreo inclined, these look lovely and might…I say, might! make it through to New Years.
Phew – busy, busy, busy. OK – just in case you hadn’t thought of it, here’s how to cheat a nice alcoholic tart…are you seeing a theme in my baking yet?
Using bought shells (having never made little tart pastries before – and you know, it’s a busy time of year etc etc) and a tin of caramel – yes, yes, I know!
BUT – if you stir up the tin of caramel with a little dollop of Kalhua (the Gingerbread flavoured one)…catch my drift???
Then you wallop a few ginger nut biscuits in a zip bag and sprinkle them over the top…. Well, I mean really, who would know besides us?
I love Christmas time – it’s rum, rum and more rum! This is a soft fudge and very sweet.
Put 1/2 cup of raisins (which count as a fruit really) into a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of rum – Bundaberg rum of course! – and warm through to get the raisins nice and boozy. Cool them down.
In a bigger saucepan, stir a can of sweetened condensed milk, a firmly packed cup of brown sugar with 120 grams of chopped up butter until the sugar dissolves. I didn’t use glucose syrup because I like grainy fudge, but if you want it smoother and creamier, add into this saucepan 2 tablespoons of glucose syrup. Once the sugar is dissolved, raise the heat to medium and stir for 10 minutes until it’s a light golden colour.
Take the large saucepan off the heat and add in 200grams of chopped up milk eating chocolate – you could do dark if you wanted. Stir the chocolate in until it’s melted in. Add in the boozy raisins (and rum!) and when it’s all combined, pour it into a lined square tin. Let it cool and set – put in the fridge if you’re in a hurry. When it’s set, slice and dice it into little pieces and enjoy.
Is it called a truffle if there’s no truffle in them? I wonder to myself. Oh well, these taste lovely anyway
In a saucepan, put 1/2 cup of coconut cream, 360grams of white eating chocolate and as much grated zest of limes and lemons that you can handle zesting. The recipe suggests 2 tablespoons of each, but keep going til you can do no more! Stir over a low heat until the chocolate melts then pour into a bowl, cover and get into the fridge to cool and solidify. You need to be careful with the amount of coconut cream – too much and the mixture won’t set (tip for young players :). Leave the mixture to cool for as long as possible – overnight is great.
When set – get a bowl of some kind of coconut (moist/shredded – even desiccated). Take a teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball – cover with the coconut and put on a lined tray to put back into the fridge until ready to eat.
These dark chocolate balls are chockers with raisins and cranberries soaked in port. Delish!
In a bowl, put 1/4 cup of raisins and 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries to soak in 1/2 cup of your favourite port. In a saucepan, melt a large block (200gram+) of dark eating chocolate with 1/4 cup of thickened cream. When melted, take off the heat and add in the raisin/cranberry bowl of goodies. Put in a bowl and refrigerate until set. I left overnight and had a glass of port myself :).
When the mixture is set, take a teaspoon sized amount, roll into a ball and place on a lined tray. When you’ve rolled all the balls, melt another 200gram block of milk eating chocolate in a saucepan. You can either drizzle the milk chocolate over the balls or dip them in – it’s entirely up to you. Refrigerate until you’re ready for the eating part.
This is a family tradition – probably more for Boxing Day nibbles while watching the cricket, but they are always there somewhere.
NB: You need a deep frypan (that can get up to a high heat) or an electric frypan you can control the temps on.
Put one cup of water in the heating pan with 2 cups (1 lb) of sugar. Colour with cochineal/red food dye. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then bring it to the boil (200C – or 375F in the old scale). When boiling add 2 cups (1 lb) of raw peanuts and lower the temp down to around 120C (260F) and put on the lid. Leave it to bubble away for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and take the lid off. Start stirring it all until the sugar crystallises…which can take a few minutes. Allow to cool and voila.
27 April 1997 – South Africa’s Freedom Day – and 3 years since Mandela had won the Presidency. A small group of us travelling overland through Africa took the day trip out to Robben Island. A bus met us at the jetty and we drove around the island first. We went to the quarry where the prisoners dug a schoolroom and taught each other to read. A quick stop at the old car painted with a welcome message to the All Blacks rugby team. Past the house Robert Subukwe was kept in by an act of parliament – 6 years longer than his sentence.
And then to the prison to get out and walk. The island had been handed over to the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology and they had invited back prisoners to work as guides. Our group was guided around by Lionel – who had served 7 years here as a prisoner.
In flicking through my journal from that day, he had so many stories to tell us. About their punishments for “offences”, having to pay for study, receiving one censored letter every 6 months and so on. He took us to Mandela’s cell – and we all took turns looking into the smallest of spaces – trying to imagine it holding for so long the man who was now President.
The one thing that stays strongest with me from that day was the last building we stopped in inside the prison complex.
One room where the prisoners spent their time talking. This is the place Lionel got emotional. He said the wardens had made a mistake by allowing them to be together – that the government should have split them up.
He said that it was in this room where they put their ideals into practice. In D Section – with prisoners from different backgrounds/political ideologies/races/education levels and so on – was where they learnt tolerance and their humanity could shine through. In this room they lived a micro-version of what they all hoped and dreamed for outside the prison walls.
Strange, isn’t it? The place the government sent Mandela to punish and break him, was the place where he triumphed.
You know that feeling of something missing in your life/an emptiness of real purpose that the day to day chore-fest doesn’t seem to answer? I’ve never heard it explained like this before and it makes sense.
Everyone is busy, and there never seems to be enough time in the day to do what you want to do, let alone need to do. Still most people I know spread themselves thinner to put some time and energy into “their Calcutta” – and some even spread themselves across a few causes. This is why.
Is there anything as good as potato and ham fritters with lashings of tomato sauce? Those were a Sunday evening favourite for my family – particularly during winter. Via twitter I was gifted the recipe for an holumi and zucchini version, which is way better for me, I’m sure. (Hat tip to Richard Chirgwin). But as good as they are – and they are very good – I’m not sure they eclipse the humble spud variety as our family tradition.
In a bowl grate 4-5 zucchini
1 packet of holumi cut into small squares
1 onion – diced
1 cup of breadcrumbs (I used panko crumbs)
Half cup of plain flour to bind it all together.
(If the mix is too dry – add another egg).
Shallow fry in oil (rIce bran oil has a high smoke point).
Enjoy with a salad.
There used to be a show on Aussie tv called The Cook and The Chef. Maggie Beer was the cook and Simon Bryant, the chef. On one episode he did his mocha granola and it’s to die for.
Here’s what I do…
Dry ingredients in a bowl
5 cups of oats
1/4 cup of dark cocoa
Add the wet(ish) ingredients
8 shots of espresso
2 tbls of grated palm sugar
The seeds from 2 vanilla beans
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of orange juice
2 tbls honey
Mix it all together so it’s all a bit moist.
Spread out on a tray and add almonds and some coconut on top. Into a low oven (80 degrees) for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and let the tray cool completely in the oven before putting in a container lined with baking paper.
It’s supposed to make up to 10 breakfasts but it lasts me longer. It’s delish with soy milk.
This is the link to the streamed lecture Mr Suzuki gave last month in Sydney. Brilliant. The people I know listen to this man, debate what he says and tend to rate his opinion highly. The POLITICIANS DON’T. Idiots.
What I need is a retreat, fully catered, in a 5-star resort complete with free bar and complimentary massages, that is designed to support me in ripping out recipes from all my cooking magazines.
I need emotional encouragement to tear out pages and choose which side of the page to display. I need professional advice on whether to scan and print, or keep everything electronic. And what about indexes/contents pages? What about them!?!?
I need examples of organisation systems – display folders sorted by season, by magazine title, by ingredient… I need counselling through all these life-impacting decisions. Because they’ll live with me for the rest of my life.
Basically, I need someone else to do all this for me – is there a consultant I can buy for a week?
I distinctly remember parking the car this morning, putting my hair up, taking off my rings to put on some handcream, putting on my sunnies, then grabbing my bags, locking the car and heading off to work.
Nothing felt ‘wrong’ to me throughout the day – which goes to show I’m mental/tired/distracted/dim/getting old/only human…
Got back to my car at 6pm – and there on the floor next to the driver’s door are my two rings. I spent the drive home repeating “I cannot believe that…I CANNOT believe that”. I’m very grateful they were still there. And I’ll never forget them like that again*.
Nice and quiet here today. I love this suburb. Lots of people out walking but all for the same reason – enjoying a peaceful morning. It’s overcast and grey and there is a bit of drizzle around… the garden is giggling.
I’m old school when it comes to roses. If it doesn’t smell like a rose, I don’t see the point. Mr Lincoln, Freesia, Gold Bunny, Honey Dijon, Double Delight are some of my roses that all have a strong fragrance.
I break my own rule when it comes to my favourite rose. It’s called Julia’s Rose. It buds up a deep brown colour and when it opens it fades to the colour of parchment. My parents had it growing in the garden I grew up with and although it doesn’t have a scent, I love it because of its unusual colour. Parchment. What a delicious word to describe a flower. This is my favourite rose.
An interesting list – I have a few of these and have in mind a BIG clean out in the coming weeks.
Originally posted on Thought Catalog:
1. The phone numbers of people that never, ever call you or text you first, and often don’t even respond when you text them.
2. Mean or uncomfortable exchanges with people — either in your text or internet history — that you occasionally go over and re-read because they make you feel angry and terrible all over again.
3. Subscriptions to online stores that you can’t afford, and which send you tons of emails and texts about the sales you should not be spending money on.
Quick recipe for using up ripe bananas.
Heat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius/moderate.
Cream 60g butter and beat in 1/2 cup caster sugar gradually. In a bowl, mash up 2 bananas and stir in one egg. Slowly add this to the butter mix.
Sift 2 cups of self raising flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and slowly add this to the butter/banana mix and continue to beat it in.
The batter will be quite dry, so add 3 tablespoons of yoghurt. This mix gets poured into a greased loaf pan. You can sprinkle chopped walnuts on top (any kind of nut would work, I suppose).
Bake for 50 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy.
* I had 4 bananas to use so I baked a double batch to get a mother loaf and 6 babies.
This is an interesting (and short) read via Mashable giving three ideas on managing your time (and the things/people) who impact on it. Although, not sure about the deferring the daughter’s whereabouts to someone else, the idea of what my time is worth vs who should do my to do list is food for thought.
What a shame the weekend is only two days long. Saturdays for errands and some chores. Sunday for the rest of the chores and as much of the good stuff you can cram into a few hours. Add in at least one catch up with family and/or friends and the time for doing hobbies is seriously compromised.
There needs to be a third day. A day of unwinding from the chores and the errands. A day for a movie. A day for some art. A day for reading, while lying on the lawn in the dappled shade filtered by a tree. A day to nibble from a small plate of antipasto and sup on some fruity wine. But instead, we have to go to work. It just doesn’t seem right, does it?
Take eleventy billion zucchini and grate them. Sweat down a humungous bunch of spinach in a saucepan with a little butter and soy sauce. Add in some mushies and soften these too. Slice up as much ham as you like and add it to a large pie dish with the zucchini, spinach and mushrooms all mixed up. Whisk up some eggs with a good dose of pepper (I used 8 – this is a HUGE quiche). Pour the eggs over the dish and flatten it out. Then add some grated cheese over the top. The dish goes into the oven (sans lid) at 160 degrees until the eggs are cooked and the top is golden brown. Allow to cool, then slice and freeze for “tired night” dinners with some salad or wrap up for picnic lunches at the cricket
The Ashes at the Gabba is a HUGE deal and the preparation for the “catering” our group organises for each day is taken extremely seriously. Limes cut for the drinks. Nibblies for elevenses and threesies. Salads and/or rolls for lunch. It’s serious Masterchef picnicking stuff.
Tonight’s effort (guinea pigging work mates tomorrow) is a roasted pumpkin and feta pastry.
How it goes:
Thaw 2-3 pieces of puff pastry.
Oven to 180-200 Celsius.
Slice and dice the pumpkin (I used a half of one) and spread it on an oiled (or baking paper lined) tray. Season it with the herbs and spices of your choice. I love harissa flavourings – but turmeric and garlic go well also. Whatever you like really. Roast for 20 minutes and then get it out to cool a bit.
Whisk up three eggs and 100mls each of light sour cream and milk (you could also use cream if you’re feeling decadent).
Oil two muffin trays. Slice each pastry sheet into 9 squares (for a big muffin tray) or 16 squares (for a small muffin tray) and line each with a square of pastry. (I got 12 large and 24 small out of this recipe). ** Don’t forget to oil the tray!! These suckers are difficult to get back out.
Fill each pastry with some spiced pumpkin. Spoon the egg mix over each. Don’t overfill. Crumble some feta over the top. I used a whole packet (250g).
These go into the oven for another 20 minutes or until golden. Let them cool in the tray before getting out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Because the egg mixture ran over a bit, I ended up using a cake tester to loosen the edges of each to get them out of the pan.
The Refugee Council of Australia has produced election guides outlining the refugee and asylum policies of the major parties as well as the minor party candidates for the Senate. Summaries of the policy platforms for the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal-National Coalition and The Australian Greens and a summary of the minor party candidates for the Senate can be accessed from their website.
How much does the inability to get to sleep suck? Heaps! It sucks heaps. It’s nearly 1:30 and I have to be up in 4 and a half hours to go to work. My mind isn’t whirring. No big to-do list being compiled as I lie here. Just me asking myself why I’m not sleeping? Stupid. Now I’m getting angry and my jaw is clenching. Teeth grinding and a headache will be the morning result. Sigh. Something is going to have to give and it will be something other than me. It’s gonna be a long week.
There’s something a little disconcerting when the line at Bunnings warehouse is longer for a $2 sausage sizzle than it is to buy a badge or a wristband from our boys in uniform. The fact the armed services need to raise money to support the health and wellbeing of returned soldiers is insulting enough.
Stamen’s website allows you to type in a place and it renders a map of it in watercolour. Fantastic for scrapbooks of travel, framed on your home’s “Wall of Life”, or part of your travel journal all marked up with where you have been – or want to go!
Go here – http://maps.stamen.com
This Tumblr site makes me smile. Whimsy and fun all together. This is what art is about for me.
This is very tasty and very easy to make.
Flatten this mix into an oiled & papered slice pan (small square) and bake on 160 Celsius for 10-15 minutes til it has a little colour. It’ll be baked again with the topping, so better to go a little under here. Leave this out of the oven to cool while you make the topping.
Melt another 80gm butter in a small saucepan with 3 big dollops of honey – go more if you like the taste. Let this simmer for 3 minutes then stir through 1 cup of sliced almonds so they’re all soaked and covered in the gooey goodness.
Pour the topping over the base slice and pop back in the oven for another 15 minutes until golden.
I love this site – it’s a drop of the bigger picture every time I see it. When your life seems consumed with spinning your wheels doing all the “haves to do” – a reminder of the important stuff is a gift.
“Every page was once a blank page, just as every word that appears on it now was not always there, but instead reflects the final result of countless large and small deliberations. All the elements of good writing depend on the writer’s skill in choosing one word instead of another. And what grabs and keeps our interest has everything to do with those choices.”
I’ve spent my day doing “what if’s…..”
What if I followed this old wives tale and used a pair of tongs with half a kitchen sponge rubber-banded to each side and dipped it in strong tea solution to clean my blinds? (A: it worked)
What if I just planted some bat plant seeds without researching if that’s how you propagate bat plants to see I they will pop up?
What if I planted a seed in each leftover Nespresso coffee pod to see if they’ll germinate?
There are some extraordinary people who have spent their lives fighting for the preservation of the natural world – Dian Fossey, Ron and Valerie Taylor, Steve Irwin, Rick O’Barry, the Cousteau family, Trevor Long and David Suzuki, to name a few.
They have a lot in common. Tenacity. Drive. Determination. An ability to gather supporters around them – who either volunteer or work alongside them or fund their efforts. An ability to make enemies – dangerous ones at that when it comes to the “business” of poaching. They inspire the rest of us – particularly children. It’s a rare person indeed who has earned the respect and holds the attention of teenagers.
Standing tall amongst them is Sir David Attenborough.
One month after heart surgery to fit a pace maker, Sir David made good on his promised tour to Australia. An evening spent listening to him speak about his life – prompted by questions from Ray Martin. How he got into the role we love him for, what are his favourite moments, what was scary, how has the work of nature documentaries developed and improved over the years. So much to hear about and only 2 hours to hear it in.
Some lovely stories, stunning footage and an audience rapt to listen to it all. I spent the evening next to my nephew, who didn’t miss a word – and who didn’t miss his Xbox either. To see and hear a living legend was a treat well worth the money, time and the late bedtime on a school night.
1 – Go into the kitchen to make a coffee – nespresso machine needs more water
2 – Filter water tap is behind the trays drying from last nights cooking
3 – Go to put away trays – realise they don’t sit well in the cupboard
4 – get out old dish-rack saved for such an occasion
5 – go into garage and hacksaw the dish-rack into two pieces – take off jumper as get hot
6 – set up trays in half of dish-rack to sit better in the cupboard
7 – set up bread boards in other cupboard using other half of sawed dish-rack
8 – go back to garage to clean up
9 – go into bedroom to put jumper away – see dirt tracked over the rug
10 – got to kitchen to get hand roller to run over the rug to save getting out the vacuum
11 – realise didn’t feed the fish yet – Artie and Sith doing cartwheels when I walked past
12 – feed Artie and Sith
13 – put back hand roller in kitchen drawer
14 – fill up water tank for nespresso
15 – make coffee
I can go months without reading novels. There are times when work is so much “input” that when I get home I can’t face concentrating on yet another thing. It hurts my head.
For the first time this year, I’ve felt like reading and I’ve gone back to one of my all time favourites – Patrick O’Brian’s brilliant series about the life of Captain Jack Aubrey and his particular friend Doctor Stephen Maturin. I love period fiction and this is one of the very best. There are twenty books in the series – with snippets taken from a few of them to make up the movie “Master and Commander” starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany as the lead characters. I still think they should do another one – do you hear me there, Russ?!
There’s something magic about delving into another world described in such a way that the times and the people become familiar, comfortable and safe. I’m with them every step of the way, I laugh at their jokes and fear for their lives.
I can’t imagine not being able to read. It seems like every new film released prompts another round of the old book vs movie conversation. And more and more, I’m finding acquaintances that have never read the books modern films are based on – or even heard of the original film a modern one is “remaking”. Considering the popularity of recent films like the Life of Pi, Les Miserables and The Great Gatsby, it’s a shock that some have never come across the written story first, and don’t seem prompted to read the book afterwards either. Movies show a story, sure, but to hear it fully you have to go back to the original storyteller and sit at their table.
Even if I only reread the books I’ve loved – I’d have enough to keep me going for years. It makes me sad there are kids out there that may never get the thrill of sitting quietly, for hours on end, alone and thoroughly absorbed in the tale of another time, place and people they’ll never meet otherwise.
Tonight the Queensland Reds hosted the British and Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium. The Lions are put together from the best of the 5 nations and they haven’t toured here for 12 years. It’s a special occasion that tens of thousands make an effort to come watch. Tonight the stadium was a sell out.
There was also a lot to prove for the Reds players with a great chance to impress for Wallabies selection – assuming the kiwi coach of the Wallabies likes you of course.
Unfortunately, the weather closed down the opportunity for consistent running rugby – with constant drizzle, the tactics sent the ball up and under more often than not and the handling mistakes increased from both sides.
Although the Reds scored 2 tries to one, we lost 22-12 with missed kicks and penalties. The atmosphere was fabulous though. The Lions fans are here to party and my God can they drink!
Is there anything worse than being awake when you want to be asleep – need to be asleep? Every tick of the clock means a second less time before I have to be up in the morning. It’s already the morning here – a quarter to 2 to be exact and all I can manage is the weary thought that with each passing minute staring at the ceiling, that’s a minute more demanding the day is going to be.