THE last time I posted a 'pinning' post I was hurrying winter away and wishing for the speed...
I HAVE not travelled to Sweden, so was completely unaware cardamom, a spice I associate with Indi...
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
WHAT TO DO
Cream the butter, margarine and brown sugar. Add the eggs and milk.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cardamom and salt together and mix in, in batches.
Stir in the dates and walnuts and drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a prepared baking tray.
Bake in 180C oven for 10-15minutes, until golden.
#opshopscore // Cooking On Wheels by Arlene Strom, 1970, about $1.20 from Pilgrims Book House, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
SPRING wildflowers, a blue sky, warm sun. What better way to shake off a little lingering...
Muogamarra Nature Reserve, just north of Sydney is open to the public only six weekends of each year. Next weekend is the last weekend it'll be open in 2016. Get there early. The parking fills quickly and for early birds there's a full day of walking to enjoy with spectacular views east and west over the Pacific Ocean and inland route of the Hawkesbury River, along with close ups of beautiful spring wildflowers.
As for my month-long absence from the blog, it was unintended. I had plans to keep up a good natter while travelling through Sri Lanka and Nepal, but ditched the open laptop for a more curious wander with the camera. You can flick back over the past few weeks on Instagram, or check back here as I reflect on my travels and catch up with the life I've returned to.
Natter soon. Promise.
I CAN absolutely vouch for this op-shopped and hand knitted ensemble for bushwalking. Jeans are r...
I WENT TO… Mount Victoria and walked the Grand Canyon walk in the Blue Mountains National Park as well as explored some of the smaller walks around Mount Piddington.
There was a road trip up to Nundle to visit the Nundle Woollen Mill, with the return trip through Forest Way to Gloucester to walk in the Gondwana rainforest of Gloucester Tops in the Barrington Tops National Park.
A second road trip was to Young, stopping to explore the off junk store or op shop along the way.
I ATE… A fair amount of country pub meals, so much so that by Young I couldn't bear to face another chicken schnitzel. While there were a couple of places that came highly recommended in Young, they weren't open and a chance was taken on a rather dodgy looking, as well as empty of customers, Indian restaurant. It was a case of not judging a book by its cover. Tandoori Fish served up the best Indian banquet I've had in years - and cheap too at $50 for two entrees, two mains, breads, rice and condiments. Young's Kettle and Grain cafe, tucked away behind the Lambing Flat Museum was also a top find. The smokey, home-cooked baked beans with eggs and Parmesan was my pick of the menu.
Another notable country recommendation was The Fox Den, at Gloucester, and closer to home, Hardys Bistro in the old Killcare corner store.
I OP SHOPPED… in country op shops, though I was pretty restrained. A shirt, a handful of dress and knitting patterns, a couple of cooking pans to use over the campfire and two small, quaint wooden dolls came home with me.
I MADE… I have more than 50 Kendall Koalas packed and ready to travel to Nepal with me this month. I personally only finished three, but the wider Girl Guide community has done Kendall proud.
Aside from packing felted softies I've started on my biggest knitting challenge, to date. It's a Jenny Kee picture knit. I bought balls of seconds wool at Nundle Woolen Mill and am about 10cm into a pair of socks - the smallest pattern I could find to test my picture knitting patience. They're going to take some time. I haven't quite got the hang of pulling the yarn across the back. Any tips or tricks will be gratefully accepted.
I READ… I am headed to Sri Lanka, for a holiday, and Nepal to attend a conference in about a week's time. All my reading has been related to either of these two excursions and mostly the latter as conference papers start rolling in thick and fast.
HAS the world gone mad? Closing borders across Europe, Brexit, Trump's presidential campaign,...
HAS the world gone mad? Closing borders across Europe, Brexit, Trump's presidential campaign, Pauline Hanson, calling every criminal act a terror threat or attack (until you say it's not). I don't know about you, but unlike Sonia Kruger, I am not afraid of people who follow Islam and want to stop Muslims entering Australia, I'm afraid of the freakin' nutters who actually believe that's a good idea.
Sonia Kruger, I'm looking at you with a WTF face. I can't hide it. I welcome debate about how to stop the influence of radical and hateful ideals among often young and vulnerable individuals, but carve out Muslims from our society? Ah. No.
Pauline Hanson, I listen and my face looks like it just smelled three day old fish, and I'm guessing, Pauline, you still know what that smells like, especially with policy platforms that are way older.
Trump. My face is one of disbelief. I'm waiting for the 'boom, tish' of a circus drum kit to let on the whole thing was just a gag. It is a gag, right? No? Sheeesh.
At least where I am, the dolls house is living the diversity dream. Peppa Pig, Pedro Pony a matryoshka doll, a plastic squirrel and frog, a couple of Sylvanian Families bunnies and a Middle Eastern and African family all seem to be getting along fine.
I'VE spent a glorious weekend outdoors. I've made so many plans in my head of things I want ...
THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: And here's what you can do with all those scavenged pieces of broken driftwood or pieces of fallen gum you've picked up from the bush track.
#flashback: This time last year I was just pretty pleased to be home.
WHAT is better, on a winter's day, than a sweet smelling, good-for-you hot drink? Turmeric ch...
1 teaspoon fresh grated giner
1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric, or half a teaspoon of ground dry turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
half teaspoon of clove
half teaspoon of nutmeg
half teaspoon of ground black peppercorns
a teeny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1-2 cups of water
honey or sugar to sweeten. I choose honey because I think it smells and tastes nicer
WHAT TO DO
Put all the ingredients, except for the honey into a small stove top saucepan or pot. I'd love to try this in a billy over a campfire. I think it would be amazing.
Simmer gently until you can smell it and it has coloured the water. If you like your tea strong, you'll brew it longer. I do. If you like a weak tea, or herbal teas, you may like it brewed for less time.
Strain your brew through a tea strainer and into a warmed mug. Add your choice of milk: soy, almond, skim, full cream.
I HAVE a problem. Well many really, but let's just focus on just one or two...
I HAVE a problem. Well many really, but let's just focus on just one or two here. I love denim and I love jackets, particularly denim ones, or ones that look good with denim. That's problem No.1.
Problem No.2 is that my rigorous exercise routine is not what it once was and a vintage 12 - with 71cm waist - is a little bit of a struggle to squeeze into. Let's be clear. We're talking a little bit of a struggle, but if I don't start working on it, it's gunna be a whole lot more of a struggle, if you catch my drift.
Anyhoot, these jeans and jackets have been taking up space in the wardrobe and it's time to let them go, be happy with the healthy body I have - with a little more hustle and a lot less gristle - and make myself a little holiday cash on the side. If you're like me, and love denim, you can bid online at eBay. Please click on the photos above to be redirected to the auction.
KENDALL Koala loves to travel. She packs light carrying only a fresh supply of gum leaves and, fo...
KENDALL Koala loves to travel. She packs light carrying only a fresh supply of gum leaves and, for rugged environments, her gumboots.
She's happy enough travelling solo but what she'd really like is a bunch of travelling companions. She'll be travelling to Nepal in August and would like many, many koala friends to join her there.
FOR a moment there it didn't look like we were going to have a winter. Yet, as I sit here l...
I WENT TO… Swansea. Yes, that funny little seaside town folks of my vintage will know from their summer holiday excursions up and down the east coast. Swansea was a classic place to pullover and have a cuppa from the thermos, stretch the legs and go to the loo before the final trek into Sydney or, in my case, before heading home to the Hunter.
This month's visit was to hunt for fossil remnants that pock the rock platforms at Swansea Heads. If you live close by, it's a lovely day trip. Pick a low tide to explore the rock platforms. The fossils, the beach combing and peering into the marine habitats among the rocks makes for a nice school holiday adventure for families - especially families who've already been to see Finding Dory and want a closer look at marine environments close to home.
I ATE… The dining options at Swansea are very different to what I remember from those school holiday trips to visit grandparents south of Sydney. Almost all our family road trips involved cold, home-cooked chicken drumsticks, triangles of buttered white bread, a Thermos of tea and container of biscuits. My sister and I spent our early childhood in central Queensland. At that time fast food outlets were not a common sight along Queensland's major roads but by the time we moved to NSW, where McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC littered the Pacific Highway, we were onto it. It must have been a blow to our organised, efficient and thrifty mum to have two kids whining in the back seat for greasy fast food when she'd gone to the trouble to pack a roadworthy picnic.
Now when travelling, I'm on the lookout for where locals gather and where I can smell the coffee. Seed Cafe, on the main drag of Swansea is both those things. A simple breakfast of poached eggs, sourdough toast and a side of avocado also came with a side of fresh, beautifully dressed greens. Simple, delicious, perfectly done and presented. And the coffee was good - no more Thermos' of tea for me.
I OP SHOPPED… I've added a few cosy woolen tops and vests to the wardrobe but my favourite finds have been a stash of vintage cook books and a German china toy tea set.
I MADE… I have been making felt softie koalas and need more makers to join me. They'll raise funds for Girl Guide programs across the Asia Pacific. The free pattern download is here.
I READ… I read Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel. I picked it up from a secondhand book sale for less that $1 and only picked it up because I recognised the du Maurier name. As I was reading, I was thinking it was the kind of piece ripe for a period drama. Turns out in 1952 it was made into a film but a remake is due. It's light, easy reading, where you want to return to the story because you have to know what happens. No spoilers, but you'll never be entirely sure.
I also finished Kelly Doust's Precious Things. Similar to My Cousin Rachel, a story of lives touched by a beautiful and intricate piece of textile will have you returning to the page to learn what happens next.