Saturday, May 31, 2008

Simply the Best

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

Oscar Wilde

Nostaligic Satuday

"They" started to teach us to dance in early primary school with the May Pole. This was followed by the Barn Dance, Pride of Erin, the Waltz ... the list goes on.

I must admit my interest was casual at best - I mean standing on the hot bitumen quadrangle in 100 degree heat (so yes it was a bit warm out there) while I was trying desperately not to catch any boy germs wasn't an ideal way to inspire me. Oh yes, and repeat this for at least 5 years running.

High school wasn't a whole lot better - there was all the malarcky about who was dancing with who, or who wanted to be dancing with someone - all so much more important than the actual dance.

But something changed and I started taking ballroom dance lessons in Bunbury on a Thursday evening when my parents joined the same class. And then I got IT. To dance, to trip the light fantastic, to swing and swirl and ... yes I got it.

Then I started going to the odd dance out at Uduc hall (one of the little settlements out of Harvey). These were held once a month and generally catered for the over 70 crowd but there was the occasional younger set that turned up - those around 50 lol.

Anyway to be twirled around the floor on the arm of a senior gentleman who had been dancing for way more years than I had ever been alive was a real pleasure. To feel a gentle but guiding hand in the small of your back leading you, but never forcing you, was something I enjoyed immensely.

Then it all stopped again. Did I get busy, or life just took over, or, well not sure really. But I do remember with immense fondness dancing the dances of the ages.

I don't even know if they have "dances" anymore but I dance at home, and to my own rhythm and it is all good :-)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ice-cream Personality Test

Your Ice Cream Personality:

You like to think of yourself as a fairly modest person. And it's true that you don't talk yourself up... but you're also pretty happy with who you are.

You have a wild reputation, but you're not as wild as you seem. You take risks, but only measured risks.

You are a somewhat open minded person, but deep down you're fairly conservative. You don't like trying new things very much. And if you do find something new you like, you stick with it.

You are a natural multitasker. You feel alive when you're doing more than one thing at a time.

You can be a big dramatic and over the top sometimes. You are bold in every way

Many thanks to Melody at Melody's Reading Corner for this one :-)

Rain Dance

There was thunder last night - big thunder - probably lightning too. I know I heard the rain a few times as I slept because I snuggled in deeper and enjoyed the symphony before dropping back to sleep. And today it is raining again. I so very, very much love this weather :-)

Art: "Rain Princess" by Leonid Afremov


God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.

Pablo Picasso

Photo Challenge - Man Made

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

On the simplest level, reading is reading anything with words on it. I read newspapers and fiction and cook books and biographies and ... well anything I can lay my hands on.

Having said that I do try and read at least 12 "real" book each year. By "real" books I mean books that have been nominated for the Booker, Nobel or similar Prizes. I choose these because they take me outside my comfort level of things that I might choose without really thinking - I heard a good review, it is in my library or whatever. And no I don't always make my goal but it is a goal nonetheless :-)

I also have a wonderful friend that shares her choices with me - and although I love them all, they aren't books that I would have necessarily chosen for myself. At the moment I am finishing "The Women of Deh Koh" by Erike Friedl. Like the "real" books, my friend's choices challenge my mind.

Knowing that others do not necessarily share my passion for reading, I will celebrate them reading anything - comics, women's magazines, Mills and Boons. Let's face it, you have to pick up the passion somehow :-)

Booking Through Thursday

Life Lesson #437

Don't try and recharge regular batteries.

Okay it was a mistake - I didn't look at it but within 15 minutes it made the most incredible pop (kinda like a high pitched gun shot that is still reverberating around my head an hour later) and the battery began to ooze. Despite previous silly things (see the spider hole incident) I didn't touch what I assume was the battery acid. Oh and my recharger blew up too.

Sigh, you live and learn :-)

Bouganvillia Magic

Click for a better view

Our Restuarant

Nairbe and I spent last weekend planning our restaurant again and I can't help but continue thinking of all the possibilities. We have been talking about it since Christmas and, while it is still a few years off, it is so hard not to get passionate about the dream.

We have the food philosophy and style organized - let's face it, if we couldn't agree on that it wasn't worth continuing. Last week (and my day-dreaming ever since) has been on the feel of the space, crockery and glass-wear opening night, marketing ... well all of that sort of stuff.

I have been playing with colors combinations in my mind ever since. And I have been thinking about names too - nothing definite on that front as yet but I have got a couple of fonts as favorites if that counts for anything.

It is so exciting to have a dream - especially one this good.


The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.

Mark Twain

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Soup Season

Okay I know I still have plenty of my barley and vegetable soup left but tonight I was in the mood for something else.

I made a dashi broth then added lemongrass, lime rind, ginger, lime juice and chilli. Once that had steeped I though in some vermicelli rice noodles, some paper thin pork slices and mushrooms.

Served piping hot it was nothing short of light and delicious.

Rhythm of the Dance

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.

Art: "Joyful Movement 3" by Chidi Okoye

Love Q - The First Date

Do you think a man should pay on the first date and if he doesn’t, what would be your impression of him?

I think that whoever asks the other person out should organize and pay for the date. So if I ask I guy out, then I pay and if he asks me, then he pays. If a guy asked me out and wasn't going to pay (or hadn't made arrangements earlier) then bye bye - that is just plain rude.

I would feel intimidated if the first date was somewhere really posh and he came loaded with flowers or other gifts. My ideal would be a coffee somewhere - so that we could both have a chat in a casual atmosphere. Now if all went well this could lead to a meal on the same day, or just an invitation to catch up again soon.

My favorite first date (that I organized) was a visit to the zoo - a great walk, lots of people so minimal danger, always something to talk about (the animals if nothing else lol), no pressure. And yes I paid lol

For this week, lets give Annz and Mountaingirl some link love.

Join Love Q

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ginger Tea to the Rescue

I finished work this morning with a tickle in my throat. I am now 'enjoying' the beginning of my first head cold of the season.

I have made a big pot of vegetable and barley soup and I am supplementing that with cups of strong ginger and honey tea. I am snuggled in my jammies and wrapped up in my dad's bathrobe/dressing gown with my favorite socks on.

Okay it may not make it go away but I am feeling very nurtured so that has got to count for something :-)

So if I can just better by tomorrow morning so I can do my cooking group the world will be complete. Or, failing that, I need to find a surgical mask on my way to work so I am not breathing on the food lol

Cooking for Kids

I spent time as a chef for a childcare centre. Now this could have been a "cook's" job but I wasn't into serving regular food (chicken nuggets and the like). I wanted kids to learn and experience new (kid friendly) flavors. The centre had a policy of providing the best for the kids - both in care and food - and happily let me go on my way.

We ate from Morrocco and Vietnam and India and Thailand and Greece and South Africa and Argentina and wherever else i could think of. I fed them fresh, homemade pasta and real homemade mayonnaise. Custard was real Italian custard that didn't involve a box or a packet.

We had apples and oranges as well as mangoes and dragonfruit and lychees and jackfruit.

I had a few hundred cds so they could listen to the music from the countries they were eating the food from. I made kits so they could learn the flags, animals, national dress and whatever else I could find.

We started a herb and vegetable garden so they could eat what they grew (a great way of getting kids to try new things) and they learned about life and death and all the bits in between.

They learned to eat with chopsticks.

Commercial birthday cakes with fluffy sponge and way too much icing became second choice to my pear cake or my apple cake or my carrot cake.

The babies/little toddlers only ate food I had prepared and pureed or mashed myself.

What a way to be :-)

Heads or Tails - tell me yours.

Never Forget to Live

Pooh Bear Tuesday

A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.

Winnie the Pooh

Photo Challenge

It is that time of the week again when the shutters are clicking, or thinking about being clicked, as we head towards Friday.

This Friday's theme: Man-Made
Friday 6 June - Natural
Friday 13 June - Spiritual

Thanks to all who are Mr Linky-ing their posts - and all those who play. If you know of someone new who wants to join in, don't forget to welcome them with open arms :-)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Never Forget

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

John Wayne

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Booking Sunday

As well as my books, for an extra $10 each I got two bookcases :-) Gotta love this world - my little piles of books have progressively been breeding across the lounge room and the need for book cases is becoming more apparent so I asked for book cases and the universe did provide! So now I just need to find the rest of them lol

Random Mountain Shots

Magic Moments

So many to choose from this week but I narrow them down to three and will settle on the general them of food.

MM1: We didn't cook this Wednesday so I ran a nutrition group instead. It ran for over an hour and aside my little blurb at the beginning, the rest was filled with questions from our young people - these lovelies really do care about what they are eating :-)

MM2: I catered our Biggest Morning Tea function on Thursday - I certainly don't eat cakes and the like but I really do enjoy cooking them - and I had a crowd ready to eat so it was a match made in heaven.

MM3: I cooked dinner on Friday night - for a crowd of 5 and something fancier than I would make for myself. Apart from one recipe I saw in a magazine I made the rest up as I went along. So not only did I chop and stir and all the other bits that go with cooking but I had three little helpers that wanted to learn and be a part of it all too.

All three made me smile on the outside, and gave me a warm fuzzy glow on the inside. Go good to be alive.

Farewell to the Mountain

Nairbe and family are moving from the mountain in the next few months and so will end that chapter (the mountain, not the friendships) of my life.

The mountain has been my special place, my escape from the world, my place to heal. I thought I would be more distressed at the loss of access to the space and, while I am a little saddened, that is about it. Could it be that I don't need to go somewhere to heal and be nurtured anymore because I am healed and nurtured?

Could it be that I now go there for fun and friendship? For laughter and deep conversations? And that I can do anywhere. I was Mountaingirl long before I found the mountain, and I will be Mountaingirl long after I stop visiting.


Send someone a note that reads "Congratulations." Regardless of who he is, he'll think he's done something the past week to deserve it.”

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dinner Tonight

I haven't cooked wildly and lavishly in forever and as I appear to be in a cooking mood this week I though I would share what I am making for dinner tonight (I did have to work around the tastes of three juniors but I think it will suffice).
  • Lamb, feta and mint wrapped in filo
  • Oven baked chicken with olives and lemon (yes there is a bit of a Greek thing happening here)
  • Smashed potatoes with rosemary and sea salt
  • Eggplant rolls stuffed with ricotta (probably a bit more Italian than Greek)
  • Steamed green beans
  • Spicy roasted pumpkin
Now this is only in my head at the moment - although I gone to the grocery store so the shopping is presently strewn through the kitchen) - so I will take photos and write out the recipes once I have actually "invented" them lol.

Oh and I have a cheese and nibbly platter for sometime today/tonight - got 7 great cheeses plus olives and dips and pate and stuff and stuff.

I love to cook, I have people to who love to eat for and it is my last night on the mountain (for this time anyway) - what more could a girl ask for?

Such is Life

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Mark Twain

Photo Challenge - Taste

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm Not Called Mountaingirl for Nothing!

I have two wonderful sleeps on the mountain - and the house to myself for the afternoon (with computer use as a bonus pleasure).

I did notice as I sat down to read my magazine that the fireplace is perfectly set out for a fire - paper in the actual fireplace with kindling through to logs lined up on the hearth. Sigh, if that wasn't a hint :-)

The came the phone call - yes I was welcome to use the computer as well as light a fire if I got cold. I responded calmly that a doona on my knees would keep me lovely and warm. There was a small pause and then "it would be nice to come home to a warm house". A girl has gotta laugh!

So the fire is roaring and I am laughing - at me this time. I took photos of my perfect firelighting techniques so I could write some wildly witty post to got with it but ... well I can't download the photos - its not my computer so you will have to take a generic shot instead and just believe that I have a roaring fire beside me ha ha ha.

The Colors of My Heart

I got this from Abz and surprisingly it didn't come back and say it was black (referring tomy Love Q for today).

Your Heart is Blue and Orange

Your heart is bright and brilliant.

You are knowledgeable, wise, and confident.

You bring dynamism and sparkle to relationships.

You know how to keep your partner hanging on your every word.

Sigh .... And Giggle

In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind.

Nora Ephron

Sculpture by Joanna Mallin-Davies

Bowraville Folk Museum

I spent a few hours in the Museum yesterday - didn't even begin to see everything but had a ball! My visit was definitely enhanced by having a tour guide that added personal histories or explanations of various items.

For those unfamiliar with this treasure trove, it is nestled in the town of Bowraville on the New South Wales Mid North Coast. There is over 1000 m2 devoted to maintaining the folk history of the Nambucca Valley. Folk history is the preservation of day to day life - kitchens, clothes, photos, work, tools, entertainment and the church. All of it is run by volunteers.

The oldest item I found was from the mid-1800's, the newest a computer from the early 1980's. I will set myself the challenge to verify this over future visits :-)

And all of this for the princely entry fee of $2.20 (yes you read that properly - two dollars and twenty cents).

I took over 50 photos yesterday, which I will use progressively as time goes on but here are three to start with. I can't call them favorites as such because at this point everything is my favorite but I had to start somewhere.

The Museum has a large collection of the milk bottles used in the Valley. The one with the red label was the one used by the Bowraville dairy.

There is a huge display of photos and portraits of the settlers of the Valley. Some of them look stern, some beautiful but none of them could have had it easy by our standards.

Hey, its a book - and a big, beautiful old book. My sort of heaven :-) Apparently the candlestick was black when it was donated but one of the members took it home and faithfully began polishing until it shined.

Love Q #4

Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

No. It is all very lovely to think that those lovely memories will keep you warm and your heart and eyelids fluttering as the years go by but I think that is crap ... I mean so terribly wrong.

You can spend the rest of your life repeating the last memories (which let's face it, the relationship didn't last so the last memories are never good - death, argument, betrayal, whatever) or pining for something that gets more unreal as the years pass.

Imagine you had the most perfect piece of food ever (chocolate, fruit, whatever works for you) - for the rest of your life while things might be great, you know that they aren't as good as they could be because you have tasted perfection.

If you only get one shot at love, and you can see the future and know it isn't going to last, then avoid the whole thing completely.


For this week, we are linking to Mae and JM. And the home of Love Q is at Short Sweet Love Poems.

Australia's Biggest Morning Tea

This morning we are having our part of Australia's Biggest Morning Tea with money raised to go to cancer research.

I said I would cater but I know of at least one lovely person who is bringing something along (yah) but anyway, my list of yummies are:

Sausage Rolls (homemade of course)
Mini Quiche's
A chocolate and strawberry cake
Chocolate Carmel Slice
Lime Butter Cake
Apple Strudel
Fairy Cakes
Chocolate Brownies
and (I think maybe) a selection of sandwiches.

Photos and recipes will be up on Yummy Tucker early next week - I am going away for a day or two as soon as the morning tea is over :-)

Photo Challenge Update

Oh I am having a hard time with taste - I hope y'all having more luck than I at getting an okay shot lol.

Anyway, onwards and upwards :-)

Yes, tomorrow 23 May we are posting "Taste"
Friday 30 May is "Man-Made"
Friday 6 June is "Natural

The pop-up problem is still being worked out but as it conculsively ISN'T the linked to Mr Linkey, he will be back tomorrow so don't forget to swing by and add your name to the list.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Words Get In The Way

If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.

Edward Hopper

Happy Days

Every time I see a Jamie Oliver book for sale through "my" Ebay seller charliejodesigns I put a $10.00 bid on - just to get things started. I quite enjoy his food although he is annoying so it is no real imperative to actually own one but I have never turned down a recipe book lol

The silly thing about young Jamie's books is that they go for the same price as new ones (and then add postage on) even though all of his books are still in print - yes I have been monitoring this generally with other sellers too for three years now.

Well, the planets have aligned and I have been successful with my lowly $10.00 bid. Okay I don't get it until Booking Sunday but who can wait that long to share the joy (and amazement) lol

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pooh Bear Tuesday

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

Winnie the Pooh

Life Is ...

Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.

Photo from Dohiyi Mir

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Challenge - Magic Moments

On Sunday nights the Coodabeen Champions list their "Magic Moments of the Week". Running sorta parallel, at work each night we ask our young people for the "high point of their day" as part of their wind down process. So why not for us too.

Each Sunday I will post my "Magic Moment/High Point" of the previous week and you are most welcome to join me. By Magic Moment I personally define it as any moment that made me stop and smile - a celebration of the little things - you can define it as anything you want.

So, to start things off, my magic moment was waking up to the twins snuggling in with me on Saturday morning - talking excitedly of their dreams of the night before, the excitement of the day ahead, and lots of cuddles. And then we went into the house and colored in and drew pictures.

Art from Multicurious

Museum Magic

Being such a hip and cool babe, it is obvious that I would be a museum nut :-) Well apparently I am not alone!

This week Radio National (home of all that is hip and cool no matter what triple J says) is celebrating the museum.

Check out their page and submit your favorite museum memory, or nominate your local museum (actually unless it is the Bowraville Folk Museum - best in the world - don't bother lol) and all of the other bits they are encouraging us to do!

Gotta love a museum :-)

It's A Small World

Even the internet is getting very small!

For the previous post I was looking for a photo of couscous and Graham's Paddock came up in the search results. The photo wasn't the one I wanted but I did notice that he had a section on "Snow in WA" so I have just gone back for a quick squiz. As a blow-me-out-of-the-water co-incidence, this is the guy that was featured on the tv show "The Collectors" on Friday night for his collection of belly button fluff (yes he has the Guiness record to attest to its size).

What does this mean, nothing I am sure but it isn't often you "bump" into people on the net so I thought I would share the moment!

Food Fads

I was listening to an interview on By Design with Colin Bannerman on his book "Seed Cake and Honey Prawns: fashion and fad in Australian food" and I have begun to think whether I am a trend follower or not. Now I could not possibly considered 'trendy' in any other category so this might be my last chance.

I know when I am planning meals for my cooking groups my general criteria for consideration are time, ease, cost, cooking techniques, ingredients and practicality. I also know that I try to come up with recipes that are familiar using ingredients that are familiar (Seafood Marinara instead of Calamari Fettucini using squid ink pasta for example). Many of these dishes I would regard as 'normal' with just a touch of 'trendy'. Others like risotto I just regard as basic and 'normal' although for some others it is still trendy.

At home I swing between the quick and easy (roasted vegetable paninis or tagliatelli with sage butter sauce with a green salad from the garden) and the new or new-to-me. I also love to read and gain inspiration from old (pre 1950) cook books.

If a specific flavor is in my mouth (lime is the flavor of the moment) then I cook around that flavor.

If I find a new ingredient or theme (cous cous, sun dried tomatoes, Moroccan are very 'old' examples; strozzapreti and annatto seed are my new ones) I am more likely to research the region of origin and recipes using the ingredient and then make something simple before I really launch into my own recipes, or my own interpretation of the ingredient.

And, although it is social death in all of the trendiest places to eat, I do still use sundrieds or cous cous periodically.

So I am not sure that makes me trendy. Actually I think that makes me more confused than anything else. Sigh ... missed out again lol

Maya Says ...

everything has rhythm. everything dances.

Maya Angelou

Art: "The Golden Rhythm: Garden of Love" from JT Art World