Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happiness Is....

Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.

Alice Walker

Photo: "Happiness" by srebrina

Booking Friday/Saturday

I finally got them all out of the car - why did I have to develop such a heavy hobby lol?

Anyway, I have another 4' pile of books to find a spot for -might have to start in the bedroom because I still haven't found a home for the last lot lol. Most of this fortnight's gems are cooking related although there is a vintage Yates Garden Guide and some sundry surprises.

So this afternoon (while I am meant to be blogging or sleeping) I am voraciously consuming my books. Yah!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama! Obama! Obama!

I have just been listening to Obama's acceptance speech. I know it was preaching to the converted, I know the Convention is orchestrated.... but even so WOW!!! That man can speak! And yes I know he writes his own speeches and I did notice he didn't use any notes or prompts.

The fine detail was missing but it wasn't the time or the place for that - and the outline he provided was incredible. He hit the major issues with passion and a personal touch. He spoke of an American dream that I grew up with, and which has been lost under Bush and the 'greed is good' philosophy.

America, please vote on election day. My personal preference is obviously for Obama , but please make the time to turn up and tick a box, hit a button, pull a lever or whatever else you need to do. The politics of America affects each and every on of us on the face of the planet - if you don't want to vote for yourself, vote for me, vote for an Iraqi, vote for a Sudanese refugee, vote for those who are concerned about climate change, vote for those in your community who have lost their houses, or veterans that are returning without the necessary care and help they need.

Be a part of the process and let us have a leader that isn't dependent on hanging chads.

It's All About the Attitude

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.

Art: "Shimmy" by Deb Gillett

What A Day!

My last full day of holidays and it has been awesome :-)

I dropped into work to check the roster and ended up saying hi to the lovelies - and meeting the new faces, found that one has been fading away to a shadow without my cooking (his story). Very exciting.

I have organized my new glasses - not the ones I posted though. To be honest they were a bit 'not me' to I found some which are still funky, but a bit more "Pearly". And I got two pairs (including lenses) for less than the price of one of the frames that I had photographed.

I have collected this fortnight's books - incredible bonus books this time (again).

And then I went and got stage two done on my tattoo - yes now I have "passion" with little flowers around. And I figured that some colorful flowers would be just fine but James made them into regular little works of art as well!!

So where are the photos I hear you ask? Well they are coming (yes I left the camera at home - doh!) but I should have the books out of the car by tomorrow, I am hoping to be able to pick up the glasses on Wednesday and the foot should look clean and perfect in a few days. So photos will appear in due course on that rough time line.

Talk about ending on a blast :-) So Mountaingirl is not only dancing, but she is dancing int he rain! A perfect way to finish the day.

Photo: "Big Mamma" by ingrids

Vegetables with Chorizo

Ok so it doesn't look very posh but this is one of the best tasting things I have done in ages! It is the end of the week and I needed to use up some vegetables so this was what I came up with.

1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
3 chorizo, sliced
1 litre vegetable stock
440 g can tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
3 zucchini, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
2 large handfuls mushrooms, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Gently fry the onions in the oil. As they begin to go translucent add chorizo and cook over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes. Add carrots and cook for another 4 minutes.

Add canned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Make sure the liquid just covers the meat and vegetables.

Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook for another 10 minutes or until all f the vegetables are tender. Season to taste. Serve with toasted focaccia (see related recipe).

Rustic, wholesome and most delicious :-)

Photo Challenge - Old

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Glasses

I am getting new glasses - my current ones are .... well old, and have done their duty. Now I admit to being hopeless at making such decisions so I thought I would post two choices I am currently considering - I do have a store in Coffs to check out so will post those in due course. I know I take shocking photos but look at the glasses lol! Each pair has a front and side shot.... and yes they have labels on them - I don't have black eyes :-)

Rosemary Focaccia

My latest recipe from the BBC's Australian Good Food.

4 1/2 Cups 00 or plain flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons instant dried yeast
1/3 Cup olive oil
1 1/4 Cups warm water
1 Cup rosemary
Sea salt, to sprinkle

Mix flour, sugar, yeast and 2 teaspoons salt together in a large bowl and make a well in centre. Pour in 1/2 Cup olive oil with warm water and mix to form a dough. Turn dough onto a floured board and knead for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Transfer dough to an oiled baking tray and press out with your fingers into a rough rectangle until 1 cm thick. Set aside for 1 hour until dough rises again.

Preheat oven to 240 C or 220 C fan. With your fingers makes little dents over dough. Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt. Drizzle with remaining oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove focaccia from tray and return to oven for another 5 minutes, until bse is crispy. Cut and serve.

My notes: I used bakers flour instead of 00 or plain flour. I added olives as well as rosemary and salt to the top (I needed to use them up). The result overall was satisfactory but not the best bread I have ever made.


Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

Photo: "Leap" by Surra

Missing Wednesday Lunch

I have really enjoyed having time off work but I really do miss my Wednesday Lunches. I rang work to get numbers last night so I can pull some ideas together. One of my lovelies let me know that I wasn't allowed to take holidays anymore - they are missing Wednesday Lunches too. I asked him if I should come back with something easy because there are new lovelies I haven't met or come back with a bang.

His answer was quick and definite - something big! Which is a great answer but now I have to start thinking :-)

Oh the hardships of my life lol....

Photo Challenge Updates

The Photo Challenge rolls on with themes from far and wide. Self-portraits for "Tired" will be accepted :-)

God luck to all players - and remember we "play" for oohs and aahs not glory so new players are always welcome :-)

This week (August 29): Old
Friday 5 September: Tired
Friday 12 September: Sphere

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happiness Is....

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Art: "Burst" by Debra Flanagan

An Interesting Perspective

I went to get my eyes checked this morning and although I hadn't had one for years I figured it would be a quick and easy procedure. I was wrong.

Yes the actual checking of my prescription went quickly and easily (and after five or six years I don't need a new prescription) but while all of that was happening I casually mentioned I was diabetic. Well that changed everything - I needed a comprehensive check on the health of my eye. Now my professional who was attending me did a fabulous job - obviously she knew what she was doing and she had a great personality - but I had to have the drops. Drops that dilate the pupils. I have heard about the drops. I didn't want the drops.

I thought it was only meant to last for an hour or two. My eyes still look very similar to the picture some 8 hours later (although they are slooooooooooowly getting better). Bright light hurts. Using the computer hurts - I am wearing my sunnies to do my couple of posts. I feel a bit nauseous from the weird way things look. My head hurts a bit from the same.

Sigh.... will wait and see how they are in the morning :-) But, on the good side (and yes there is one) my eyes appear to be very healthy indeed.

Election Count-down

69 days and counting ....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


There are many people that pass through each of our lives. Some stay for a short time, others hang around. Some add to our worth, others try to make us lesser. Everyone touches us somehow.

Miss Weasley has been around forever and even now that she lives on another continent she makes me laugh, feel appreciated, she lifts me when I am down and helps me celebrate the good times. All in all Miss Weasley makes me a better person (even if she doesn't accept my new Polynesian status (in joke) lol) and my life is richer for having her in it.

Do I tell her how much I appreciate having her around? Does she know what influence she has in my life? Does she know how much her friendship means to me? I hope so ....

Sing, Sing A Song ...

Those who wish to sing always find a song.

Art: "Sing" by Paulette Insall

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vegetable and Beef Rissole Burger

Another idea based on this months Super Food Ideas although they call it "Tomato and Beef Rissoles" no idea why really when there is so many vegetables and so little tomato. In any case I changed it around so I will just include what I did

500 g lean beef mince
1 small brown onion, grated
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 small zucchini, grated
2 Tablespoon tomato chutney
15 cm slice of Turkish bread, halved horizontally
4 small slices cheese
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
Mixed green salad

Mix together the beef, onion carrot , zucchini and 1 Tablespoon tomato chutney. Form into 12 patties and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180 C, 160 C fan. Place burgers on a baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes, or until cooked.

Place 4 burgers on toasted Turkish bread. Top with cheese and melt under grill.

Top with the rest of the chutney, cucumber, tomato and lettuce.

Serves 2 with 8 burgers left for another meal :-)

Start Today

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

Maria Robinson

Art: "Ode to Matisse" by Debby Haskard-Strauss

More Strawberries

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Magic Moments

An easy one this week - I was speaking on the phone to someone who didn't believe it was me - then I laughed and I heard "It IS Pearl!!! I'd know that laugh anywhere".

It cracked me up :-)

It's not quite the first time I have heard that - years ago I went to a movie in a neighboring town - it cracked me up and I had people coming up to me for days afterwards commenting about how much I enjoyed the film. Actually I have quite a few stories like that, makes me laugh just thinking about them all :-)

Goat's Cheese and Beef Salad

From the September 2008 issue of Super Food Ideas.

Serves 4

150 g Turkish bread
2 Tablespoons olive oil
400 g rump steak, trimmed
11o g goats cheese
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
120 g baby rocket

Preheat oven to 220 C, 200 C fan. Tear bread into 3 cm chunks. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking tray. Drizzle with half the oil. Bake 10 - 15 minutes or until browned and crisp. Cool.

Spray a large frypan with oil. Place over medium heat. Cook steak for 3 - 4 minutes each side for medium or until coked to your liking. Transfer to a plate. Stand, covered for 5 minutes. Thinly slice.

Place chives on a plate. Roll cheese in chives to coat. Thinly slice. Place vinegar, mustard and remaining oil in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add tomato, rocket, bread and steak to bowl. Toss to combine. Serve.

My notes: I used feta as my goats cheese, and as I skipped the dressing and the chives, I just crumbled the feta and added it to the salad leave (from my garden), meat, tomatoes and bread. I served these with some rissoles I made form the left over roast pork - yes I know two different meats for lunch! but I have to use up the roast somehow :-)

Now Is The Time

Kiss your life. Accept it, just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you're waiting for don't pass you by.

Art: "This Moment Now" by Katrina Power

Go Australia :-/

I have awoken to the news that taxpayers have paid $17 million for each of the gold medals won by Australian athletes in Beijing. And not only is that an abomination but the sports authorities are blaming a lack of government funding on not winning more. They are currently formulating plans to increase government funding for London in 2012.

It's disgusting. Oi oi oi...

Saturday, August 23, 2008


The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.

Bennett Cerf

Photo: "Laugh ..." by

Nostalgic Saturday

When I was growing up, Friday night was fish and chip night. Yes this was the days before McDonalds and Pizza Hut. As well a my piece of fish and serve of chips I could have a drink.

Usually I chose milk (from a carton, not from the dairy like the rest of our milk lol) but every now and then I chose a soft drink called "Candy". Candy was a flourescent pink color and the can (the half sized cans - yes you had a choice of little or regular in those days - and it was steel with a ring top) was striped with hot pink, silver and musk pink lines about 2 mm wide. I can't really remember what it tasted like - I guess a sweeter (if possible) creaming soda.

Yes these were the days where for 1 cent you got three to five lollies (candies to the international reader). My 20 cents pocket money went a long way in those days (5 cents on candy, 15 cents for other things).

These were the days when Peter's Drumstick sold for a dollar - can you imagine that! No one I knew (adults or children) could imagine anyone spending a dollar on an icecream and we were sure it was the end of the Drumstick forever!

So Candy is now long gone (I don't know anyone who even remembers it), a can of soft-drink is now the smaller size - buddy bottles rule, lollies generally come pre-packaged - or at best you have three or four jars to pick from (not the 20+ that I was used to) and 5 cents doesn't feed you for a week, an icecream for a dollar is a bargain, and the Drumstick is made by multi-national Nestle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

12 Hour Pork with Cider with Apple Aioli

Another recipe from the new Australian Good Food magazine - and it is to die for - very, very highly recommended! Please don't be put off by the 11 hours - you put it on in the morning and forget it until dinner time. And it means the meat is absolutely soft and tender.

3 kg boned shoulder pork
2 teaspoons sea salt
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 Cup sherry (I used semi-sweet)
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 granny smith apples, unpeeled, halved, sliced
2 leeks, well washed, sliced
3 Cups apple cider (I used sweet but it was a real brand so it wasn't as sweet as, say, Strongbow)

Preheat oven to 240 C or 220 C fan. Score the pork skin without cutting all the way through.

Combine sea salt, garlic, chilli, sugar, sherry and oil and pound in a mortar and pestle. Rub paste over pork, pushing it between the scored fat. Place pork, skin-side up, in a large lidded casserole dish. Roast, uncovered for 20 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 120 C or 100 C fan. Add apples, leeks and cider to dish. Cover with lid and return to oven for 11 hours.

Half an hour before serving, check pork, apples and leeks aren't dry. If they are, splash over a little water and then increase temperature to 240 C or 220 C fan, remove lid and cook for another 30 minutes, until pork is lightly crisped.

Carve pork and transfer to a warm platter with leeks and apples. Top with crackling and serve with Apple Aioli.

Apple Aioli

1 whole garlic bulb
200 ml mild olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 medium granny smith apples, unpeeled, cored
3 egg yolks
Juice 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt

Slice top off garlic bulb, drizzle with a little oil and wrap in foil. Place apples in a small baking tray, add garlic and roast with pork at 120 C or 110 C fan for 45 minutes. Once apples and garlic are soft and collapsed, remove and cool.

Meanwhile whisk egg yolks, lemon juice and sea salt for 1 minute. Add oil in a thin stream, whisking quickly until emulsified. Continue whisking in oil until a thick mayonnaise forms.

Mash apple flesh, squeeze out garlic and stir through mayonnaise. Season to taste and serve with pork.

My notes: I forgot to buy leeks so I left them out and I don't believe the dish suffered at all. I got my butcher to score the skin for me - so much easier. I also used a smaller roasting pan so I didn't need so much cider. The first photo is taken when I added the apples to the dish. The second photo has enough meat for three meals (but I did eat all the salad). For health reasons I didn't serve the crackling (or the fat) but it did look fantastic! I made the mayonnaise in the food processor - so much easier :-)

Friday Fill-Ins #86

1. Dancing to the sound of falling rain while naked makes my spirits soar.

2. The last time I had fresh asparagus I nearly danced for joy - in the street.

3. When I drive I look for photo opportunities.

4. I saw a cow standing alone in a field.

5. Give me peace, give me health, give me enough.

6. Next week I am looking forward to walking further each day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to eating my 11-hour roast pork with apple aioli, tomorrow my plans include baking bread (foccacia) and getting a sour-dough starter going and Sunday, I want to make salads!

It's All About the Attitude

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.

St Frances de Sales

Photo: "Forget-me-not" by Hendrik Will

New (To Me) Website

The ABC has released a new arts website - Pool.

"Pool is a social media project developed by ABC Radio National. It's a place to share your creative work with the Pool community and ABC producers - upload music, photos, videos, documentaries, interviews, animations and more. It's a collaborative space where audiences become makers."

The biggest advantage of Pool (to me) is that you can choose your licensing options - from free for others to share and change right through to "all rights reserved" - and artists can choose to vary this by each movie, sound, picture or whatever they upload. That means those downloading the items know exactly what they are permitted to do with the items.

From memory it has only been up for about a week so it is worth keeping an eye on as the range grows and develops.

Photo: "Fire" by Strobey

Photo Challenge - Red

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Hear You

The first duty of love is to listen.

Paul Tillich

Photo: "Listen" by escapism

Grilled Chicken with Corn and Avocado Salsa

I am working my way through the new BBC magazine "Australian Good Food" and this is one recipe I especially (with my small variations) I really wanted to share. I have made it to serve 2 + (or at least two meals for me plus extra salsa for salad plates).

1 chicken breast (with tenderloin) divided and butterflied (to get three pieces)
1 Tablespoon olive oil +
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 large or 2 regular garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2 small oregano sprigs
1 corn cob
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 small avocado, diced
2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Place chicken in a ceramic bowl with oil, lime juice, garlic and oregano. Toss to combine, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, turning often. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan on medium. Add corn cob and cook for 5 minutes turning often, until just turning golden on all sides. Remove and cool.

Remove kernels from cob and place in a bowl with the onion, tomatoes, avocado, parsley and lemon juice.

Heat a non-stick grill on medium. Remove chicken from marinade, saving garlic and oregano, and season. Cook chicken, with garlic and oregano for 5 - 6 minutes (or until cooked).

Serve chicken with salsa spooned over.

Note: The recipe also indicates that this could be served in a warm burrito.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Election Count-down

76 days and counting ....


Nothing like some salad and Turkish bread to get the day kicking :-)

Maya Says

Do the best you can with what you've got. When you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

Photo "Best Friends by sigpras

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Things to remember:
1) The worth of character;
2) The improvement of talent;
3) The influence of example;
4) The joy of origination;
5) The dignity of simplicity;
6) The success of perseverance

Marshall Field

Photo: "Memory Upgrade" by ZeNeece

Photo Challenge Updates

It's theme time again - and what a mixed bag we are looking at.

This Friday (22 August): Red
Friday 29 August: Old
5 September: Tired

Happy clicking :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Asparagus Days ... the return

Life continues to get better - I jut found the first new season asparagus (dance dance dance). Okay a little early (by about 10 days) but as I have been counting down the days for the past three weeks, you won't get complaints from me :-)

Oh the joy! Oh the anticipation! Oh the absolute delight!

It's All About the Attitude

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Photo: "Laugh" by PeeMpek