Monthly Archives: January 2014

Australia Day – served warm with a lamb, fried haloumi, pomegranate and fig salad


Today is 26 January and it is vegemite-on-toast Australia Day. What I didn’t know until recently is that a nationally-coordinated approach to Australia Day (that being everyone doing stuff on the 26th January) really didn’t come into being until 1994. Here’s more on Australia Day if you’re interested.

How do Australians celebrate Australia Day?

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Red sky in the morning….. just beautiful

Mornings are the best time of the day. Apart from the quiet and calm, the world seems new, ready for a fresh start. I just love it. I have always been a morning person and I have seen my fair share of sunrises.

This morning’s was spectacular. There were clouds on the horizon and the first glow of the day started a deep purple, then shifted to stunning red before fading out into yellow (and behind the clouds).


Sunrise over Lake Burley Griffin

I used to gauge the weather by that expression: “Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight” – seems I grew up with mixed metaphors. Anyway, apparently red in the east in the morning is due to water/dust in the air and forecasting a storm that will come from the west (the weather always comes from west to east). The reverse is true in the evening: a red sunset means a storm is happening in the west – away from you.

There you go!

As I was by the lake, the morning sun looked so good on the Telstra Tower, I had to take a picture of that too. I confess, I digitally altered it a bit afterwards to bring out the red.


Sunrise towards Telstra Tower

Chocolate Chat – much to talk about

Chocolate Chat – Murray River Pink Salt & Caramel Drops


This 70g pack of loveliness cost $9.50 from Coles. Very expensive, so I was expecting big things.

There is a new section in my local supermarket. It is stocked with the weird and wonderful, such as products from Canada, Iran and Scotland; including Persian spun sugar and Dr Pepper soda (trust me, this is an uncommon sight in Australia). Then a few local treats, probably from small/new companies. The packaging on this chocolate caught my eye and I was sold on ‘chocolate, salt and caramel’. I did gasp when I saw the price at the checkout, but I am not a quitter when it comes to chocolate. The packaging is intriguing. Simple recycled-looking cardboard with a tag cloud of happy-lovey words that begged for the chocolate to be shared. I don’t like sharing nice sweet things, so I hoarded this until I had a night alone. Fortunately, it had two individually-wrapped blocks inside, so one I ate, the other I stashed for another time.


The ingredients list milk chocolate with 33.5% cocoa, vanilla, and Murray pink salt among others. It reeked of quality ingredients. Handmade in South Australia.


Unbelievably creamy and smooth. First bite is a slightly sharp tang of the salt, with a bit of salt crunch, then intense smooth sweetness of the caramel and milky chocolate, and then more sweet, so much sweet. I badly wanted this to be more interesting. Maybe if the caramel was a different texture to the chocolate? I dunno. I needed a glass of water after this.

Would I buy it again? Well, maybe not this flavour, I can get a salty sugar hit for a lot less. But there were others there that definitely caught my eye – was it raspberry and white chocolate? I wanted to find out some more on-line, but their listed web site is ‘under construction’ and their Facebook page has only been up since August and has no content.

One to watch.

Nachos celebration to end the heatwave


It has been officially too hot to be bothered doing anything. I dithered over making this because it involved ten minutes of stove top cooking and ten minutes of moving off the sofa.

All the ingredients for this can easily be found. When limes are cheap, I buy several and juice and zest them and keep the juice and zest in the freezer to pull out whenever I need some. Or I buy a bottle of gin and some tonic water…

My kids are not great fans of anything that has too much to fuss happening over it. But who can say no to nachos? These always go down well, as the topping are simple and not too spicy. I like making them the colour of the Mexican flag. That said, Nachos originated as a very simple dish of tortilla chips, melted cheddar cheese and jalapeño peppers. I always feel my simple version doesn’t do it credit, but hey, seems it can get much simpler. Here comes the recipe!   Continue reading

Beautiful sunrise over Lake Burley Griffin from the Arboretum


This is the sunrise on the (hopefully) last day of the week-long heatwave over the lake in Canberra from the summit of the National Arboretum. It was quite spectacular and lasted only a minute.

On the other side was the full moon setting over Mount Stromlo.


Today is going to be another scorcher, with extra thunder thrown in this afternoon.

Happy days!

Sumac butter beans with feta and rocket for a hot hot hot day

I had been thinking that my first recipe blog would be about something sweet and cakey I had baked, because that’s what I had always imagined this blog would be about. But sometimes you just have to improvise. You see, we are in the middle of a heat wave and this makes baking and cooking in general out of the question, unless you live somewhere with industrial air conditioning, which I do not.  Continue reading