Monday, June 30, 2014

The feeling of being caged

I am feeling right now like a caged animal. 



It's been windy, wet and freezing cold of late. 

Being indoors most of the time is already doing all of our heads in. The kids are getting cagey. They pick on each other, and all our tempers are short. 

But that is only half of the problem. I don't get any time out of this house on my own. Pursuing my own interests. It is taking it's toll and it needs to change. But I can't see how. 

I've been teary, frustrated, angry. There's the need to get out, to break these chains. To fly.

I want to take more photos for the 'My place in time' project. I can't go too far, I have bald tyres on the back of my car. With the wet roads, it's dangerous. 

Then there's petrol money. It's all just a bit depressing.

I'm going to be selfish this week, I don't care how much it's going to cost. I don't care what Brett has to say about it. I'm off to get new tyres today, and get us all out of the house. I have to. I cannot stay bound by these walls for another day, it is not doing me any good at all.

Tomorrow, while Izzy is at kindy, Summer and I are going to Coonawarra. The other red centre of Australia. Red wine that is. There's things happening there and I want in. 
A wine tasting(not too much), some chocolate and photos of vines. 

Although the beaches have been getting a hammering with the high seas, I want to go see it for myself. The seaside always washes my cares away. So a visit to the coast is on the cards this week too. More photos. 

Sometimes I feel like I'm just being a total sad sack. Like I should just suck it up and get on with it. I know I can't stay at home feeling stuck. Time to do things on my own isn't going to happen any time soon, so I have to them with kids in tow or not do them at all, and that is not an option. I have to DO. I feel strongly about doing.

Do you ever feel your wings have been clipped? What do you do about it?

I am just being a sad sack, aren't I?!

Have you entered my $50 Big W voucher giveaway? Please do.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

International Mud Day - Radiant review and giveaway

Today, the 29th of June, is Mud Day. International Mud Day.

Mud day is an initiative to get kids out in nature, to get messy and extremely grubby. It started with a collaboration of the Bold Park primary school in Western Australia and the Panckhal orphanage in Nepal.

Izzy's kindy is celebrating ALL week. We've been told to send spare clothes, old clothes. Rubber boots too, which is a given I suppose. It's enough to give a clean freak heart palpitations. I'm no clean freak, but I am still not looking forward to the state Izzy, and her clothes will come home in. Thankfully she only has two full days next week, and thankfully, I have Radiant Colour Guard in my laundry cabinet.

Take a look at this real Radiant Return test featuring two blokes getting messy, and proof that Radiant keeps your clothes newer and brighter for longer. The videos are quite amusing, have a look at the individual tests while you are there, if you have the time! You can find  #radiantreturn on Facebook.

I was shocked at how Radiant really brightens the colours in the wash. It was like our clothes had found a new lease of life when I took them out of the machine. The smell that permeated out of the machine was awesome too.

In the theme of Mud Day I did my own experiment. I found a patch of mud and splodged this t-shirt right onto it. I left it for 30 minutes, rinsed off the mud and then chucked it in with a load of washing. As you can see, it came out squeaky clean and bright.

I have bought Radiant before, and been impressed with the results. It does cost a bit more than other brands, but is worth the money. I was excited to see it half price at Woolies, which is when I usually buy it!

I was sent Radiant Sensitive to try. It's formula is dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic and gentle of sensitive skin.

Radiant comes in two other varieties, Brilliant Whites Sharper Colours and No-Sort. All contain Colour Guard technology which is how Radiant keeps your colours newer for longer. You can check out Radiant Return website for more information.

Thanks to Radiant, I have a $50 Big W voucher to giveaway to one of you. All you need do, to be eligible, is leave a comment, answering this question. Which variety of Radiant would you most likely need in your laundry and why?

Terms and Conditions

  1. Prize is 1 x $50 Big W voucher awarded to one chosen winner.
  2. Giveaway runs from 6 am, 29th June 2014 until 6 pm, 6 July 2014.
  3. Competition is open to Australian residents only, 18 years and over.
  4. Winner will be judged on their skillful answer to the question. Chance plays no part.
  5. The winner will be emailed. If no reply has been made to that email in 3 days, another winner will be chosen.
  6. The prize is not negotiable.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Orange, coconut and cardamom biscuits

Occasionally, well often, the biscuit barrel is bare. If it happens before our next big shopping day, we bake.

The last time it happened we made chocolate biscuits, and used up the cocoa. I must buy more.

I looked for what we had, and that was three oranges in the fruit bowl. I could use the zest. I looked for an easy recipe, I always look for the easiest recipe. I found one and decided to add some extras I had in the pantry.

I like these biscuits. I like that Izzy can help by rolling the dough in balls herself, even though at least three or four biscuits worth of dough go missing in her mouth. But isn't that the best bit for kids in the biscuit making process? She would have eaten the lot if I let her.

3/4 cup Self Raising Flour
100 gr butter or marg
1/4 cup caster sugar
zest of an orange
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place all ingredients in a bowl.
Rub together with your fingers and form into a soft dough.
Roll into small balls, you should have about 24.
Place on a greased baking tray and lightly press with a fork.

Bake at 180C for 10 minutes.

Flogging this recipe at With some grace

Create Bake Make

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A sunday drive to Penola

My place in time #53  - If I had kids I would want to take them here

We've had Peppi for a little over two months. It seems longer, he has grown so much.

We took him for a drive to see the two little girls where he came from. They were very happy to see him and our girls had fun playing with them. 

We bought lunch after from the bakery, ate it in the park and the kids had a brief play in the playground. I couldn't feel my toes! It was a bitterly cold day, we didn't stick around long.

Penola was covered in knitted woolens, why I don't know. Maybe I should have asked the lady in the lolly shop. I was too busy taking photos. I did however, get my chocolate covered ginger fix and had the bag eaten in the half hour it took to get home! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Papaya Marinated steak w/ papaya salad

This may sound like a papaya overload, but it's not. There's other flavours going on, and if you didn't know the marinade had papaya in it, you wouldn't realise.

Little Summer loved the papaya raw, couldn't get enough. Izzy is my fussy, nose screwer upper and wouldn't have a bar of it. She did eat the marinated steak though.

I actually like eating the raw red papaya as my morning fruit. They are packed with vitamins and minerals. So good for you. 

I use the peels on my face. The flesh is actually really great at getting rid of dead skin and healing, I love how it improves my complexion. 

Papaya contains an enzyme called Papain that breaks down protein. So it works well as a marinade on tougher cuts of meat. I used rump steak in this instance, but I've also used the marinade with pork fillet and it was awesome. 

You'll need half a red papaya, which will cost you from $2.50 to $3. I was surprised it was so cheap, considering it is a tropical fruit. 

This recipe also uses kaffir lime leaves. If you aren't lucky enough to know someone with a tree, you can buy them in the herb section of the supermarket. It freezes really well so I doesn't go to waste. I just pull out the leaves I need, when I need.

Papaya marinade
1 kaffir lime leaf, sliced thinly
1/4 red papaya, mashed with a fork
1/2 teaspoon chinese 5 spice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon chilli oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Mix together. Pour and massage into 500 grams(or up to 1 kg) of rump steak.

Leave for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

Take steak out of marinade and grill as you normally would. Serve with salad.

Papaya and avocado salad
1 spring onion, sliced
1/4 papaya, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 capsicum, sliced
1 kaffir lime leaf, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon toasted pine nuts 

Place all in a bowl and gently toss together.

1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar

Mix all together and drizzle over salad.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Two condiments for an Indian meal

Last weekend we lobbed at my sister in laws for an Indian potluck. As usual I get ambitious and take the whole deal, meat, veggies and the condiments. 

I arrived with two tandoori chickens, mixed vegetables and the accompanying bells and whistles to any Indian feast, chutney and raita.

I'd only had real takeaway Indian food a few weeks before. What I know is, Indian food is delicious. I also know everyone left the potluck as full as googs. Some people squeezed in dessert, I don't know how they managed it. I know there was a lot of moaning and groaning after that point about how full they were. Some even stopped drinking(sacrilege, I know) because they were so full. 

I know I was the designated driver, so I wasn't drinking after the vodka, mango and ginger welcoming cocktail(traditional Indian so I was told). How could I refuse. Oh, and that glass of white wine. 

I didn't go dessert, but I know I woke up still full the next morning. Two mandarins did me for breaky.

 Indian Pineapple Chutney
1 x 825 gram can of pineapple pieces in natural juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon sultanas
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornflour

Drain can of pineapple, keeping the juice.
Heat vegetable oil, add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add pineapple pieces, cumin and coriander. Fry for 5 minutes.
Add pineapple juice, sultanas, salt, sugar,and vinegar and heat until simmering.
Mix water with cornflour. Add to chutney until it thickens.
Place chutney in serving dish, or warm sterilised jar, and cool.

Indian Raita
1 cup  greek yoghurt
1 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
2 teaspoons chopped spring onion
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix all together. Season with salt. Place in a serving dish and chill.

Help! I'm stuck!

Create Bake Make
Flogging the blog with Grace at With Some Grace

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sweet potato pizza

I made this yummy pizza when my sister and her partner were coming for dinner, I cut this up for pre dinner nibbles. Well, they were unfashionably late and by the time they did arrive I'd put the lasagna on the table and we tucked into that. They didn't even touch it! I was a bit annoyed because it tasted bloody good!

Anyway I made it again for my lunch a few days later. I really like it.

Wholemeal pizza dough
7g(two teaspoons) dry yeast 
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon salt

Place yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl. Lightly mix with a fork and set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.

Put flour in a large bowl, with the salt. Add the yeast mix and olive oil to the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until dough comes together.

Knead for 5 minutes, then put back into the large bowl, cover with a tea towel and sit in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Knock down the dough with your fist and divide into four portions.

Roll out on a floured surface and place on an oiled tray.

Pizza topping
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 5mm thick rounds.
Olive Oil
Poppy seeds
Rosemary leaves and Rosemary flowers(if you have them)
Mixed greens - e.g. rocket, beet leaves, spinach
feta or goats cheese(optional)

Oil a baking tray, place sweet potato rounds in one layer. Loosely cover with foil and bake in a 180C oven for 10 minutes.

Brush some olive oil(I used garlic oil) on the pizza base. Lightly sprinkle poppy seeds and about 1 tablespoon of rosemary leaves.

Lay sweet potato rounds on base and then drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes at 230C.

When cooked, cut into slices and scatter mixed greens over and some cheese if using. Garnish with the rosemary flowers.

Sharing this recipe at Little Wolff blog for Little Veggie Kitchen

Monday, June 16, 2014

A note about, and from, Jake.

My place in time #18
A handwritten note from someone I love

Saturday night we went out for tea at our local community club. Brett's brother was over from the Eyre Peninsula and we were catching up. We had a great night.

I wasn't a late night, but late enough. Especially as we had a late one the night before at an Indian potluck dinner. I left so full from that, all the food was delicious. I woke up full the next morning!

While we were out at the club, Jake dropped in and left a message for me. He had brought some of Mum's lasagna with him and left it with the note on the bench.

He's been living at Mum's for the last couple of weeks after a relationship breakup.  There was a lot more involved which I won't go into here.

It doesn't matter how old you kids get, you still worry, still hurt when they hurt. I am so glad to he is much better than the state he was in when he came back two weeks ago. Physically and mentally.

My boy has aspergers. He doesn't communicate his feelings very well. They get bottled up and usually come out as anger eventually, out of frustration or anxiety.

What I would like to add here is trust your intuition as a mother. If you suspect something is wrong, something isn't as it should be, you are probably right. Don't procrastinate, act on it. I have so much guilt where Jake is concerned. There are so many times I should have yelled louder, stood firmer and stuck up for him. I am so grateful that I still get huge hugs, and hear 'I love you Mum' come from his lips. 

I am taking him to pick up the rest of his stuff today. I am feeling nervous about it, for both of us, and I am praying it all goes smoothly. I am not looking forward to it, it is going to be hard, and awkward. But has to be done.

I will be most likely be requiring wine tomorrow afternoon at around wine-thirty or before!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The thing I now know

I always knew I wanted to be just like my mum.

I now know it wasn't to have a tribe of kids. Three keep me busy enough. The worry, the guilt, the days when I could no longer stand to hear them fighting or yell out 'mum' one more time.

As Mum put it over the weekend(and now I am older, with my own kids, I totally get it), "You kids were a mob of arseholes. But I love you all and wouldn't have had it any other way."

Besides the tribe of kids, Mum had 5 under six by the time she was 24, I remember she was always cooking something. Well she had to I suppose, all we'd all starve!

Bread, biscuits, cakes, soups, roasts, scones, even the jam! I realise now, this is why I wanted to be like mum.

I find myself now loving to cook for my family and friends. I am by no means a master chef, but I love testing out cooking new cuisines, flavours and trying new ingredients. If only my kids enjoyed eating it!

This blog from the outset has included recipes. Not fancy, flash or fantastic. Just humble, good, simple tasting food. I love to share it, love to see people enjoying it.

I dream of buying a garden, ready established, with a spacious cottage. A cottage with an open fire, where after walking around the garden patrons would sit and enjoy simple, tasty, comforting food and hospitality.

I would also just about have to win x-lotto for this to happen.

They say don't let go of your dreams, work towards them. I won't be racing towards my dream. I will dawdle along, enjoy my gardening, and cooking for family and friends, because I never know what could be around the corner.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A family weekend

I am ever so grateful for my family. 

It has been a family orientated weekend and it couldn't have come at a better time.

It was Mum's birthday yesterday. My little sister came over from Gippsland with her family, a surprise for Mum. 

Earlier in the week my son come to stay at his Nannas. Lets just say he needed to be around family.

Saturday night we had a pizza night at Mum's house. We gathered and stuffed ourselves silly, told stories that has us all in fits of laughter and I can't say anyone left without feeling happier than when we began.

I cherish these times. I am ever so thankful my girls will have these memories to look back on. The family all eating and laughing together. The time with their cousins. I wonder how life could be any better. 

Little sister couldn't resist but to cook one of Dad's chorizos near the coals

Not everyones cup of tea, but the roast pigeon with green sauce was amazeballs. 

Izzy and Summer playing with their cousins. Having a ball making tents and
jumping on the bed in Nannas spare room.
Do you get together as a family often?
How do your gatherings go?
Do you always leave happier than you arrived?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dad's hot red wine

I know for shizzle I am so over being sick this week. Sick of us all having a cold. It really does suck. What's worse is, no one gives a shit I am sick. There is no one to look after me! Except me that is. 

I know I still forgot to buy tissues. Summer and I used a full toilet roll between us on Wednesday. Summer got a hold of a full toilet roll yesterday when I wasn't looking and unravelled it all over the kitchen bench.

I know it's a public holiday on Monday(God save the Queen). I wonder when the Queen isn't Queen anymore we will stop having the Queens holiday. Will it be King Charles' birthday? The 14th of November. That would be cool. My son will have a public holiday for his birthday! But not cool because the Queen will be dead, or retired. I remember when the Queen's mother died. We were staying in a caravan park. Jake and another boy ran around the park yelling, "The Queen mothers dead, the queen mothers dead". Sigh....., memories.

Having been sick this last week, reminded me of the hot wine drink Dad used to make. He swears by it, and recommends it to treat a cold or cough. 

The only problem is I had no idea how he made it. Funnily enough the day after I reminisced about it, he asked me if I had 'done the wine'. 

Now Dad said to just boil the wine with some honey for a couple of minutes and then drink it.

However, as always, Mum puts her two bob in, and corrects him. She says to put in a tablespoon of butter and then set it alight to burn off the alcohol.

Although I do remember seeing Dad light up the wine when I was a much younger girl, after I had boiled the wine for a couple of minutes, I couldn't get a flame from it. I do remember having a taste when I was a kid, making this and drinking the cup brought back good memories of smells and tastes.

It's supposed to be drunk as a nightcap before bed. It's warming and soothing, and according to Dad, you should wake up feeling great.

1 cup red wine
1 big globby tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of butter or marg

Place all in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Let boil for a couple of minutes.

You can try light it up if you'd like. 

Tip the saucepan to the side and use a lighter at the edge or use a match. Be careful.

Serve in a heat proof glass or mug. Enjoy the warmth.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Winter flowers - firsts and lasts

The winter bulbs are just bursting into flower, the jonquils first, relishing in the colder days. I look forward to this as much as the warmer days of Spring, when the garden comes to life.

There's the hardy daisies that bob their happy heads just about all year round.

I look at my rose bushes, they are begging to be pruned. The last flowers bloom lonely, still as beautiful, on long bare canes. Just have to wait a week for green bin day, when the bin is empty I can fill it with rose prunings!


A double jonquil about to open, with a cheeky snail trying to hide.

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