Monday, 31 December 2012

New Years Eve: Tim Tam Tarts and Raspberry Friands

Scrolling the Internet and looking through my cookbooks this morning I became inspired to cook up something a little special for New Years Eve.  It seems there is a fair amount of competition between friends for the best baked goods: the best brownies (Megan), the best macaroons (Laura Love), the best hummus (Big Laura, although its technically not baking), the best slap it together biscuit with your 5 year old (Heidi).  Not to be outdone this New Years I decided to get the oven tins out and see what I could come up with.  Today I found Tim Tam Tarts courtesy of the gorgeous Fat Mum Slim blog and Friands courtesy of my well used Donna Hay Modern Classics cookbook.  Two appropriate yummy sweets for a very appropriate occasion, a wine and cheese themes party!!  Being pregnant I figure there won't be much in the way of cheese I can eat as the soft varieties are out (boo!) and I'm not sure how much Andrew or baby Spad will like me having a glass of McLaren Vale Shiraz.  Guess where I plan to go as soon as this little munchkin arrives?  Watch out Vale Ale, Echidna and Foggo!  You have 6 months to prepare for my coming.  Haha!

Anyhoo, I was all excited about sharing the cooking process but it seems a certain someone has changed my camera settings and now I can't upload my photos.  I guess that means that you get the end result!

Tim Tam Tarts

(Recipe by Fat Mum Slim)

100g Tim Tams {equal to half a pack, which is 5 and a half biscuits}
15g butter, melted
100ml cream
100g chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

Process the biscuits until all nice and crumbly. Add butter and pulse until combined.
Grease 2 loose bottom 8cm tart tins (I used a cup patty pan tin as I wanted to make the mixture go further). Press the crumb mixtures into the tins, make sure you put it up the sides a little {about 1cm (or half a cm if you're doing it with the cup patty pan tin)} so it will hold the chocolate filling in later.
In a pan over low heat place the cream and bring it to almost boiling point. Remove from heat and toss in the chocolate. Mix until smooth. Cool slightly.
Add in egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until combined.
Pour into tart cases and chill for 15 minutes.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Cook for 15 minutes or until chocolate is set.
Chill completely before serving. Serve with cream or ice cream. And raspberries if you like.


(Recipe by Donna Hay, Modern Classics, Book 2)

125g butter
1 cup almond meal
1 2/3 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
3/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 egg whites
1/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place butter in a saucepan over low heat and cook until melted and a very light golden colour.  Set aside.
Place almond meal, icing sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
Grease 10 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into each tin and sprinkle the berries over top.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and springy to touch but moist in the centre.

T'was the night and the day of Christmas...

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
The only creature that was stirring was Judy, as quiet as a mouse,
Her male side-kick Andrew in bed fast asleep,
As he waltzed in 4am that morning after drinks with his peeps!

Baking was finished, and Christmas paper lay across the floor,
Christmas carols playing not so quietly through open windows and doors.
She sang as she wrapped the last of the presents,
Soaking up all that she could of 2012 Christmas essence.

Andrew awoke from his slumber feeling a little more fresh,
And off they both went for the 11:30pm Christmas sesh.
After reflection on Christ, hope, joy, peace and love,
They wished all their friends love and peace from above.

The next morning Judy and Andrew awoke and sat by the tree,
Excited about their presents, what could they be?
A helmet for his bike Andrew unwrapped,
And some body butter for Judy, and boy was she wrapped!

It was off to the Lawrence house to catch up with bro Andy,
and to spend time with the family plus nephew Liam who to me is just dandy!
So much love and giggles, giving and sharing,
Before moving onto the Spads with more gifts we came bearing.
Brunch at the Spads was awfully nice,
Pancakes, muffins and a surprise chicken with tandoori spice!
Doing the dishes for 20 took over an hour,
Andrew's 83 year old Nonna proving she still has the power!

Tired and exhausted we slumped in a heap,
Before I declared ,'I need a rest or even a sleep.'
We drove back to my parents for an afternoon kip,
At 6pm to Aunty Marlene's we merrily skipped.

More eating and drinking and partying on,
More catch ups and jokes and carrying on.
Till Charlotte declared that she had something to show,
Some scooter tricks outside she has started to grow.

Charlotte entertained the crowd of uncles and aunts,
And of cousins and friends who looked on in giggles and trance.
Chasing a laser was the game for the night
before Charlotte went to bed all happy and bright.

T'was the end of Christmas and the families had fun,
Now we look forward to Christmas next year with our new daughter or son!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Rainy Day Maxi Skirt Project

I woke up this morning feeling less than well and decided that going out for any great length of time was probably not going to be an option.  With all this new found freedom I have since finishing Uni I really struggle sometimes with what to do with myself while at home.  I don't wanna be that person that knows all the day time telly shows back-to-front.  I always somehow manage to talk myself into going to the local shops, usually the local Foodland (I really quite enjoy food shopping), to buy that really important thing I didn't know I needed.  But today, it was wet outside and I was housebound and needed to do something with my boredom.
Hrmm... I know! I'll drag out that green jersey knit I have had stashed away and finally make that maxi skirt I found on pinterest! 
And so with a mix of day time telly (ok, so I gave in) and later, some Crowded House I got to work on this rainy Summers day while our chickens were enjoying splashing around in puddles outside.  Armed with scissors and a tape measure I began to mark out and cut through the yards of green fabric, carefully measuring up and stitching each piece together as per the instructions.  I am really impressed with the end result!  Easy to put together, easy to adjust as you go along, and best of all it is sooo comfy! 


Check out Crazy Little Projects website for this awesome maxi skirt pattern.

A little tip...
Because I am a newbie to the sewing gig I did a little research on working with stretch fabrics.  If anyone would like to attempt this I suggest you use a test piece of fabric and have a play around with the thread tension, and stitch width and length.  For this project I had my tension set to 2, my width set at 1.5 and my length set at 2.  All pulling and puckering was avoided.

So here's the end result.  My teeny little 14 week pregnant belly sticking out in this photo.  What have you attempted to make from scratch?  Have you any sewing or fabric tips?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

It all comes in 3s!

I promised there would be some exciting  blog posts to come.  And like everything seems to, it has all happened in threes!


Number 1.  
I've finally finished my uni degree! 5 years blood sweat and occasional tears, but I would not change a thing.  Studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences at Tabor Adelaide has helped me to grow personally, professionally and spiritually beyond belief.  I have met so many fantastic people within that time that have helped me to become who I am today.  It'll be different not walking the grounds of that old orphanage next February and sitting under the big shady tree next to the refectory waiting in anticipation for the academic year to begin.  I'll have to make an effort to pop on by to sit and chat with all the other youth workers.

Number 2.
After much anticipation, stress and a whole lot of help Andrew and I have finally moved into our very own home!  Many thanks must go to the myriad of friend and family who have offered their time, hands, strength and cooking abilities in helping us make the transition from the bottom to the top of the hill as seamless as possible. From walking in and not knowing where to begin cleaning, to our erratic power issues (not having power when it was supposed to be on and getting it switched off after we moved in), to finally getting some sort of working order, I must say the last 2 weeks have been quite an adventure!  An unwelcome tummy bug the following week after the move has meant that I really haven't had a lot of time just to sit and enjoy the place yet.  Being a hills girl originally I feel like we have moved back home.  I hope we can find some time soon to really enjoy each others presence in our new abode.  Poor Andrew has been working like a trooper each night from the moment he walks in the door until the late hours of the night putting up new towel rails, unpacking boxes, cleaning dishes and cooking dinner to look after his tired, sick and pregnant wife...  Yes, I'm pregnant!  That would take me to...

Number 3.
After what can only be described as a spiritual experience while casually washing dishes one afternoon when I was told in no uncertain terms 'you're pregnant,' followed by two weekends of crazy emotional carry on while away for our 2 year anniversary and again the next weekend for a 4WD drive trip with friends in Robe, I took the plunge on the Monday of the October long weekend and decided to do a pregnancy test.  Those two precious pink lines came up crystal clear!  'So, Andrew.  Looks like you're going to be a daddy!'  It was kind of funny.  We did what we usually do when we get excited about something, jump around the house making silly noises!  We celebrated that night with a giggly walk to the local petrol station, bought a chocolate bar and sat on the undercover seats at the back of the council chambers.  10 weeks on I am now 14 weeks pregnant.  The morning sickness is starting to eeze but the hormone induced mood swings have not.  But all is well and our little 'baby cino' is healthy; 2 arms, 2 legs, a head, body, bladder, stomach and a beating heart!  I'm not sure why I'm so surprised at this, after all it's a baby!  Ha ha!

So for our little family 2013 is going to look dramatically different.  Although scary, I am really looking forward to the challenges of home ownership and motherhood.  I love how everything happens in threes!

Much love to all who read this little blog.  Hope your day is wonderful.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

6 month update... Oh gosh, it really has been that long!

I should be studying right now but instead I have been scrolling through pinterest and friends blogs.  It's been ages since I've updated my little blog.  I could make the excuse of lack of time but I think I will put it down to priorities.  I'm the biggest time waster ever at the moment!

Its been an exciting 6 months.  I have become an aunty twice over.  My beautiful niece is 5 months and adorable nephew is 3 months.  Another little niece or nephew is on the way, due to greet the world in late February.  Yep, our families are changing.  It's exciting!

Andrew and I are also moving into our own house in December!  We have been renting for a few years now but finally we are able to move in.  The thought of being in our own place is exciting.  We are already talking about painting the two hideously coloured bedrooms, one minty green and the other baby pink with baby blue skirting boards.  The dark blue kitchen complete with blue lino floor, blue bench tops AND blue cupboards will have to go too.  The bathroom and toilet is also a renovators delight.  We are going to have fun with this place!  I'll post pictures when I can.

A new camera that I got for my Birthday back in July has inspired me to start taking photos again so I thought I would kick off my first post in 6 months with a photo of the day challenge, courtesy of the blog Fat Mum Slim, something starting with 'C.'  This is my very inquisitive Chicken!

I promise I'll update more often.  Heaps more exciting things to blog about in 2013, including crafty stuff, sewing projects, house rennos, cooking, holidays and heaps more!

So Ill leave you with the question:  What are your plans for 2013?

Friday, 27 April 2012

Andrew's birthday Spit

I wish I have had more time to blog this week.  There has been lots of things going on and lots more yummy smells coming from the kitchen.  Lets begin with Saturday...
I was Andrew's birthday about 2 weeks ago now.  Andrew's sister decided she would like to do a spit for his birthday.  Saturday, the day before the spit, we went to go pick up a trailer from Andrew's uncle's in-law's house (yep, this is how the family works).  We were greeted by an old Italian couple (who didn't know us from a bar of soap) with open arms.  We were invited in and asked to stay for a cup of coffee when Andrew and I noticed the vegetable garden outside.  Being keen veggie gardeners we couldn't walk past it.  Seeing how impressed we were with his garden, one very proud Tony proceeded to take us outside to show us around in the misty rain.  The veggie patch took up at least 2/3 of their huge back yard and was laden with late growing tomatoes and capsicums and some very healthy looking spinach. The other 1/3 of the garden was taken up with a massive shed kitchen for cooking (so the kitchen in the house doesn't get dirty) and another building used for wine making (yep, he makes his own wine) and salami making (even better)!  A small portion of the garden is dedicated to a proud Hills Hoist surrounded by a small patch of grass. We drove away from the house with a trailer, 4 bottles of home made wine, a bag of capsicums and a belly full of coffee, grog and waffles!  Amazing Italian hospitality!
That night Andrew and I drove into the hills to pick up the spit Andrew's friend had made form the locally owned pear orchard.  We got talking to his mate's dad who proceeded to tell stories of the things he and his son's made together and took us to see a beautiful fully restored water pump, something that you would have seen about 85 years ago.  It was a great reminder of my Grandpa, who made these things with his bare hands while he was alive.  It was a lovely stroll down memory lane!
Needless to say that obtaining the spit was a whole day out and I was exhausted by the time we got home.
While Andrew's sister and brother in-law spent the morning driving to pick up the 18kg lamb, Andrew prepared the spit.  The beast was basted with garlic, lemon, rosemary, oregano and seasoning, sewn up with the help of Andrew's uncle who drove for 20 minutes just to help baste and secured to the spit where it mesmerised Tom and Andrew for almost 4 hours.  It was their baby.  The baste was almost gone in the first hour.  I think they may have been a little excited!
Meanwhile, I had some Kiwi fruit in the fridge which I had been dying to turn into a cake so Joy and I made the Kiwi cake a reality.  Not something you would usually find in a cake but it totally worked!
Needless to say we ate like Grecian royalty that night.  Greek salad, tzaziki, amazing spit roast lamb yiros and an abundance of sweets.  No one went hungry, in fact i think we could have fed the whole street with our left overs!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A lesson learned...

Never go off to a meeting and  leave a clean freak in charge of a meal you have prepared when there are text books all over the lounge room.  Result:  one very burned spiced creamy tomato chicken.  On the plus side at least the house looks clean.  Can't help but be a little disappointed though.
Oh well.  Will just have to try this one again later.
Another great looking recipe courtesy of  Fig & Cherry that will have to be attempted another day.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A fresh and welcome distraction

Everything is better than study at the moment...
While trying to write my paper on youth work and CBT I had a knock at the door.  Standing in front of me was a very blue Irish lady with two very blue bags in tow.  My first thought was, no thanks, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I'm a bit of a push over like that.  She introduced herself as being a representative for Aussie Farmers Direct.  I have an uncle who is a farmer and I know how much the big supermarkets screw him over so they can sell milk for $1 per litre.  She got my interest and i was hooked.
As I'm sure many of you are aware the big foodies Coles and Woolies do their best to put smaller companies out of business.  I have seen a Woolworths petrol station planted strategically next to a independent petrol station.  Out of sheer desperation the owner of the independent has put a sign out the front urging consumers of petrol and gas not to support "Woolies the bullies."  Anyone who has driven North along Marion road will know exactly what I am talking about.  It breaks my heart every time I see it.  In the meantime, until people choose to go local or independent, Woolworths and Coles will continue to consume the entire world until it reaches breaking point.  Selling petrol, products and food at reduced prices is by no means sustainable nor is it particularly ethical!  I could go on...
Anyway, as a result of a normally intrusive door knocking technique I will now be getting fresh fruit and veggies, dairy products and  meats delivered.  It is a little pricier than buying from the supermarkets but I figure it will save me from buying stuff I really don't need.  No longer will I be tempted to impulse buy...that is until I need flour, toilet paper or spices!  I'm heaps excited to be supporting a cause that I have for so long believed in.  Go you Aussie Farmers!  May all those years of battle become a healthy partnership with a company that actually has your best interests at heart!
It really feels just like the old days where we used to have the milkman come to deliver milk right to our door.  I have such fond memories of seeing the pegs sitting on the letterbox each week communicating to the milkman how many litres we required.  These days, the pegs may have been replaced by a web ordering service but the great feeling you get when you wake up to find your milk on the doorstep will still be the same.  I can't wait to put my blue cooler bag out for the very first night!
There are no contracts, no entry or exit fees.  I figured 'why not give it a red hot go?'  If it doesnt suit me I am not obligated to stay on the delivery round.
So, if a lovely Irish lady dressed in blue comes to your door promoting fresh local produce, invite her in for a cuppa and a chat.  What a welcome distraction from study the last 20 minutes have been!

Interested?  Check out the Aussie Farmers Direct website here

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Brave 1

Easter.  It's symbolic of death and new life.  Death of an old way of life and a resurrection into a new direction of life.  Although I am a proud Christian I don't believe that it is just Christians that benefit from this concept.  We all have choices and our choices impact our attitudes, decisions and our actions.
I don't want to say too much at the moment because its not place to do so but I have been journeying with someone who was sexually abused as a child.  She is not alone in this.  Take 5 people you know under the age of 18.  According to statistics one of those children is likely to have been the victim of sexual abuse.  That means that most of us would probably know someone that has been a victim.  For many, telling others about their experience is out of the question and they live their lives suffering in silence.  It can slowly eat away at them from the inside out and can impact their ability to function normally, manifesting in various psychological disorders.
For my friend, her suffering went for long enough.  We have seen her take something terrible and make the decision to turn it around and use it in a positive way.  She counts herself as a survivor, no longer letting this negatively impact on her life.  Now, she is ready to use her experience to help others.  A death to letting her experience eat away at her and a rebirth to changing the way her experience effects her life and attitude.
Through the past 12 months she has relived the trauma she experienced as a child and has recognised that even after 20 + years there is still no support for those children.  She has started a campaign to set up a Bravehearts foundation in South Australia.  Bravehearts aim to educate, empower and protect young people against sexual abuse through prevention and early intervention.  Not only do they have National crisis hot line (1800 BRAVE 1), they also provide preventative education in schools and specialist counselling for those at risk or have been a victim of sexual assault.  Braveheats is the go-to place for victims and their families and can guide them through the process of reporting and seeking help.  Can you see the value in this?
I don't usually get so fired up about these things but I know of at least 4 people that have survived sexual abuse.  I look at my friends kids, my pregnant sister in laws, the young person I mentor and the young people I work with and want them to be able to feel and be safe.  I urge anyone who has been through this hell, knows someone who has been through sexual abuse or wants to see children grow up in a safe environment to get on board with this cause.
If you want to find out more or make a donation (specify SA) please go to
If you have been the victim of sexual assault please call 1800 BRAVE 1 (1800 272 831) Monday to Friday 9am-4pm.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hot Cross Bun Goodness...

I've been wanting to make these since Easter last year!  I was inspired by Fig & Cherry's review of the Bron Marshall recipe for Hot Cross Buns.  Today was the day that I finally pulled out the box of white bread mix from the pantry and kneaded my way to hot cross bun bliss.  I made a few little tweaks here and there and adapted it to what i had in my pantry.  I have to say I am mighty impressed with the result!

Hot Cross Buns
  • 1¼ cups of warm water
  • ½ cup of soft brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of dry active yeast
  • 4 cups of strong white flour
  • 2 tablespoons of milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of dried currants
  • ½ cup of saltanas
  • 50 grams / 2 oz of butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of extra flour
  • 1/3 cup of water
Add the warm water to a medium sized bowl and stir in the brown sugar until dissolved.
Sprinkle the yeast granules over the top and put aside.
Melt the butter and set aside.
In a large bowl or electric mixer sift the flour, milk powder, spices and salt and then add the dried fruits.
When the yeast mix is frothy add to the flour and fruit and pour in the melted butter. Mix to combine and knead by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook for about 8 minutes or until lovely and smooth.
Cover and set aside to at least double in size (2 hours or more).
Cut and shape 15 buns (I like to weigh mine for even sized buns!) and place in a warm lined or greased baking tin.
Place the buns in a warm place to continue rising for at least another hour, a little longer if possible.
Preheat the oven to 200°C, 390°F or gas mark 5½.
Gently brush the tops a little beaten egg wash.
Mix the remaining flour with enough water to make a firm ‘pipe-ible’ paste.
Using a piping bag or a small plastic bag with the point cut off, pipe the paste in lines across the buns to form the crosses.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottoms.
Makes 16.

Hot cross buns are one of my favourite things.  I may have to make a few batches before we go away at Easter!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Lent Challenge

In addition to my lent challenge of reading the daily lectionary I have also decided to give up my two main addictions: coke and chocolate.  My decision was not based on what is going to benefit my health the most but rather to keep my attention toward the one that truely sustains me.  Its been almost 3 and so far so good.  It so happens though that giving up both may actually have some health benefits (who knew!)

10 Reasons to give up coke
  1. The sugar content.  10 teaspoons of sugar in 1 can is A LOT!
  2. Diabetes.  Having gone up to the APY lands I  have seen the extent of what the extra calories can do to your health.  If only I took a photo of the fridge in the store with the warnings for diabetics and its redirection towards the diet drinks
  3. Kidney and liver damage.  Again another thing I have seen in the APY lands.
  4. Dental health.  After visiting the dentist 3 times in one week and getting 1 major filling done, its really enough to put anyone off!  The acid in Coke eats away at tooth enamel
  5. Increased risk of osteoporosis.  Again this is related to the acid in Coke.
  6. Increased blood pressure.  I have a family history of this.
  7. Causes dehydration.  Ever said to yourself on a hot day, 'a Coke would be good about now.'?  Well take note of how thirsty you are next time after you have had one.
  8. Causes cell damage.  I have actually heard somewhere that it will make you look older.
  9. Toxins contained in the drink. These can be broken down in the body and turned into carcinogens which are cancer causing.
  10. Its unethical!  I really dont want to support dodgy work environments, poor pay or slave/child labour.

10 Reasons to give up chocolate
  1.  Again with the sugar.  Even dark chocolate contains a fair amount.
  2. Palm oil.  Its not good for you and its production means that rainforrests are being culled to make way for the plantations.
  3. Many cocoa plantations use slave/child labour to havrvest their crop.  Conditions are dodgy and pay is barely enough to feed the child or their family.
  4. Dental health
  5. Diabetes.  We have so many processed foods that contribute to this health problem
  6. It can become addictive 
  7. ....
Ok, so maybe it's not so easy to find really good legitimate reasons to give up chocolate.  I have noticed that i have lost a little weight but that is not enough to make me give up chocolate forever. Infact a lot of what I have been reading is all pro chocolate!  My  advice to those wanting to give up chocolate and coke:  GIve up the Coke, be ethical about chocolate consumption.
What I've given up isn't the focus, it's what I've gained.  Denying myself of the luxuries  keeps me focused on God and His amazing work.  This has been an incredible journey so far.

Coffee Syrup

Tonight my brother and his wife are coming over for tea.  I sat down with Andrew and worked out a rough menu.  Mains: Roast Sammy (the ex-cow from Andrew's parent's place at Mylor) with veggies.  Dessert: a Jamie Oliver Banoffe pie.  We have some beautiful overripe bananas just waiting to be turned into something delicious!
The banoffe pie recipe calls for something called Camp Coffee.  I wasn't real sure what Camp Coffee was but I can imagine that it would be some sort of coffee syrup.  I started thinking about walking down to the local shopping centre to get some Bickford's Coffee Syrup.  Then I started thinking about all the coffee we have in our cupboards.  'Surely I could make my own,' I thought.  So I went to work and found a recipe for Coffee Syrup.  I'll let you know how the banoffe pie turns out later.

Coffee Syrup

3/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cup Coffee (I used a generous amount of ground coffee in my plunger)

Heat the coffee and sugar on a medium to high heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Turn the temperature down and simmer until the mixture reduces and becomes syrupy.  Keep checking  to ensure you get the perfect consistency.  How thick you want the syrup is up to you.  For me it was about 25 minutes.  The mixture should yield about 1 cup of syrup.  Store in a clean jar or container in the fridge.  Use in iced coffee, on ice cream or whatever recipe you choose to make that includes a coffee syrup.

Excuse me while I make myself a iced coffee...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

I've had a butternut pumpkin sitting in the crisper in the fridge for the last two weeks.  I figured it was about time that it found a home in some sort of cooking.  Scrolling through recipes I found a great recipe for pumpkin muffins.  Lots of sweet pumpkin recipes call for canned pumpkin.  Not that I've actually been looking but I have never found canned pumpkin in the stores.  Anyway, not to be defeated by the fact that my pantry doesn't posses canned pumpkin I found a great way to make the most of my beautiful butternut and made my own and more than likely better version of the canned stuff. 

So if you do want to attempt this recipe and don't have the canned pumpkin this is how I made it.

Pumpkin Puree
Set the temperature on you oven to 150 degrees.  Cut 1/2 of a butternut pumpkin into pieces with the skin still attached.  Place pumpkin in a baking tray with 1/4 inch of water.  Bake in the oven for at least and hour or until pumpkin is soft.  Remove skin (this should be easy to do) and puree with a stick mixer.

Another hurdle I came across was that I have never heard of pumpkin pie spice.  I googled again and found the recipe here.  All it involved is cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.  Most stuff I guess you would find tucked away in your pantry so save yourself the expense!

Ok, now we can get to the fun part.

Pumpkin Muffins.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see above link)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (I didn't have any brown sugar so I used 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup golden syrup)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (see recipe above)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (1/3 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar left for 5 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Sift flour and baking soda into a large bowl.  Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Make a well in the centre and add the rest of the ingredients and fold in until just combined.  Place into 18 greased muffin tins.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Always important to taste test!
Guaranteed you will never look at pumpkins the same way again!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday- Day 1 of my Lenten challenge

Ash Wednesday.  Its the beginning of what we know as the season of lent.  People give up or take on all sorts of things.  Fasting from food, chocolate, sugar, taking photos, etc.  I have also done this in the past also.  As I sat around yesterday contemplating what I was going to do or give up this Lenten season it suddenly occurred to me that I should look to the Bible for inspiration.  Who would have thought!  It seems a key feature of Lent is the 40 days Jesus spent out in the desert with the devil.  What better way to prepare yourself for that time than to immerse yourself in scripture.  I start my Lenten journey reflecting on the 2012 Lectionary readings.
I sat in the hammock with Bible in hand and open this morning to Isaiah 58:1-12, true fasting.  One particular part of that reading grabbed my attention.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

I reflected on this quite a bit.  How was I going to take this and use it in a practical way today?  My head immediately went to scenarios I could play out today.  maybe I could go to the local shopping centre and donate to guy standing selling the Big Issue outside Foodland or go for a walk and possibly bump into someone who needs money for a bus ticket.  I put $2 in my pocket with the intention of stepping out of the house and making a small change but the urge to study was too strong and I ended up with my head in books and diaries sorting out my life and readings for the next 6 months.
About 3pm I got a phone call from my brother.  He was stuck on the Southern expressway with a flat tyre and no tools to fix it with.  As any good sister would do I jumped at the chance to 'rescue' my little bro from hours of sitting alongside a busy freeway waiting for someone to stop and help.  There it was, my mission for the day fulfilled.  We changed that tyre together with the speed of the pit crew during the Clipsil 500 in Adelaide.  Although it was a great opportunity to help someone in need I couldn't help but feel I may have cheated the mission.

Fregon Family Photo: Andrew, Tjilpi Robin, Jonathan, Antjala and Judy
It wasn't until I sat down with Andrew over dinner that I now realise how serious I'm prepared to take this.  I got a call when I was half way through my homemade chickpea and zuchini patty from Jonathan, a friend whom I have made a number of trips to the APY lands with.  Tjilpi Robin, the traditional Aboriginal elder we stay with is sick, very sick.  Diabetes, liver problems, ear infections, heart disease run rife in these small, remote Aboriginal townships.  As I sit here typing Tjilpi is being rushed to a hospital in Adelaide with serious liver problems.  According to Jonathan Tjilpi may be on his way out and may only have day left.  I've called the hospital but they are unaware of anyone coming in from the lands and said to call back in an hour when they may know more.  Until then I sit praying and awating more news and  anxious to be with Tjilpi when he gets here.  While people waiting in emergency look on and make their judgements about our Anangu friend, thinking about all the stereotypical things that may have brought him to this point and why they should be treated before him, I can't help but cry when I think about might possibly be.  I don't want him to be alone.  Tonight my heart breaks as I reflect on the reality of this reading.  Please pray with me for Tjilpi and his family.

Amazing Fig and Almond Jam

When I first acquired my container full of figs my first thought went to fig jam.  How can it not?  My mum had always turned her figs into jam and it was always yummy.  Always trying to better my mums amazing cooking I started to think about what it is I liked about hers.  The thick chunky texture was always a winner with me but it was too sweet.  I remembered having breakfast at Nonno and Nonna's house one morning and the delightful taste of the Beerenberg Fig and Almond jam I had on my toast.  It wasn't just the figs I liked.  It was also the citrusy taste it had as well.  It cut through the sweetness just nicely.  I started to do some on line research when I remembered our backpacker friends from Canada raving about Maggie Beer's Burnt Fig Jam.  Taking all the elements I loved about these three ideas I put together my own recipe.  I hope you enjoy.
From this...

Fig Jam

2kg Figs
1kg Dark brown Sugar
Juice from 2 small lemons
Rind from one small lemon
1/3 cup of roasted almonds chopped 

Soak the figs overnight in the sugar.  The next day boil the figs and sugar together.  Break up the figs with a spoon.  Continue to boil for at least an hour until you get the consistency you desire, stirring occasionally (test the consistency by placing a spoonful on a small plate and letting it cool.  Its easy to tell that way how thick it will be when finished).  Add the lemon rind, juice and almonds making sure it passes the taste test as you go.  Place hot jam into hot sterilised jars.
To this!
I suggest serving on crusty bread with a dollop of cream.  Yum!!

A week of bottles and jars

Wow! Its really has been a crazy week!  It started with a very boring last Wednesday.  Too much day time tv over the uni holidays was starting to send me a little crazy.  I decided to go up the the church where my mum runs Friendship Centre, a place where people (mostly over the age of 60) get together mid week, chat, do crafts and eat waay to much afternoon tea.  After being told I wasn't doing my little craft project the right way, being given a 2 hour tutorial on how to do it correctly and eating buttered scones to my hearts content people eventually started to pitter off and go home.  Thankful for my little lesson I said goodbye to my new 70-something friend only to notice someone had dropped off a few bags of plums.  I decided to take a bag of overripe plums home with me. On the way home I dropped into see Nonno and Nonna to give them a hand with preparation for sauce making for Saturday morning.  They had the copper boiler out and were trying to connect up the gas bottle but to no avail.  While Andrew went off gallivanting the suburbs of Adelaide for the right connection, Andrew's beautiful pregnant sister, Claire, other gorgeous sister Joy and I began picking all the ripe figs from the beautiful fig tree canope in Nonno's backyard.  All inspired by the fruit I had just acquired I went home and started to create.  By Friday I had stewed the plums and made burnt fig and almond jam.  Both ended up becoming a screaming success!  I will post my fig jam recipe later.
My Breakfast: Stewed plums with yoghurt and muesli

Figs all ready to go
My friend Sarah has become interested in the authentic Italian sauce making experience and had been invited to come and join in on the process early Saturday morning.  Joy had organised a room full of tomatoes that would be made into sauce and divided among the family members.  4:30am the sauce production began and people made their way over to Nonno and Nonna's house bleary eyed and not so bushy tailed to help out.  Step one, put the tomatoes in the copper.  Step two, put the boiled tomatoes through the mincer to get rid of any seeds and skin.  Step three, repeat step two to get the most from the tomatoes.  Step four, pour the freshly made sauce into long neck bottles.  Step five, cap bottles filled with sauce.  Step six, boil sauce bottles for maximum longevity.  Step seven, take a seat around the table in the back yard while Nonno cooks you sausages at 10:30am.  By 11am it was all over.  Andrew and I went home with 20 bottles of freshly made sauce.  People have asked me if the real Italian sauce making experience is anything like it is in Looking for Alibrandi.  I can't tell you because I haven't seen it but according to Sarah, it is.
Not sure how to flip the photo the right way but you get the idea
It doesn't stop there.  Andrew and I came home that afternoon and decided it was time to bottle our home brew apple cider too! 
Filling up bottles with home brew cider
At the end of the weekend we had 6 jars of fig and almond jam, 1 large container of stewed plums, 20 long necks of sauce and 40 odd bottles of apple cider!
Yes it has been quite a weekend!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


A soulful take on Coldplay's Paradise.  I can't help but feel moved every time I listen to it.  The Piano Guys, the people behind this amazing video are a self funded and take music covers to a whole new level.  Brilliant!

My little indulgence

Good Morning world.  Blogging is a passion of mine I haven't indulged in for quite a long time.  The time has come to turn over a new leaf and make time once again for a little reflection.
My name is Judy.  I live with my husband, Andrew, budgie and two chickens in the foot hills of Adelaide, South Australia. I love our veggie garden, lying around in the hammock, my friends and family, going to the beach, body boarding, camping and travel and being creative.  Unfortunately, a little thing called Uni has taken over my life and limits how much of these things I actually get to do. As a follower of Jesus I seek to live a life of love, humility, equality and justice.
Ok, so why Judalicious Fling?  Judalicious is a nickname given to me by my gorgeous sister-in-law.  Fling was my way of expressing my passion for life and its various idiosyncrasies.
Through this blog I hope I may be able to give you a snippet of what life is like though the eyes of this little individual.
Love to all