Sunday, December 28, 2014


This is one of my landlords' ponds on this property - my cabin sits down to the left of the picture; down behind the trees by about 200-300 yards...and my landlords' home is up to the right of the picture by about 400-500 yards...or thereabouts - just to give an idea re some of my responses to comments given below.  Click to enlarge.

Christmas has been and gone; and 2014 is almost done and dusted. 

So far I've enjoyed a very quiet, relaxed Christmas period.  Everything has gone along as I’d planned and hoped.  The best gift received has been the rain.  Since Christmas night gently rain has been falling from the sky above.  If it was coming from any other direction I’d blame the garden sprinklers for the sprinkles, but – no – it’s coming from above and beyond. 

The precipitation spraying forth from the sky is most welcome, by me, anyway. Not only is it great for the earth, the trees, gardens etc., it’s also a very good excuse for me to be totally slothful with no feelings of guilt as I've lounged about like Lady Muck!  Will someone please peel me a grape?  No - nobody there? Okay...I'll do it myself.

With the third match in the cricket test between the Aussies and India having commenced on Boxing Day (and they're still at play as I write), as well as the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which also commenced on Boxing Day (the race was completed yesterday and last night), my time has been well spent. 

And, of course, being very parochial I have to stick around here close to home so I can fly the flag!

I have never been and will never be a part of the madding hordes who descend like maniacs upon the stores, beating down the doors like wild banshees, males and females alike, to get their greedy hands on the Boxing Day/after Christmas/New Year sales.  I honestly do not understand those crowds of people who camp outside the major department stores from the early hours of Boxing Day morning, some as early as 3 am, if not before. When the stores’ doors open, in a panicked state, with the whites of their eyes glaring like LED lights, bright enough to light up a darkened sky and their nostrils flaring, they rush through the barely opened doors, desperate to beat the person beside or behind them to a bargain!   

I can’t think of anything worse to do on Boxing Day than to be a part of that kind of madness.  I don’t understand people; I don’t I want to.  I think they are the same crowd who frequent buffets/smorgasbords and pile their plates up to overflowing as if they’ve never seen food before and are fearful they may never see it again!  

I abhor greed in all its forms; it disgusts me!

2014 has raced by at a pace not dissimilar to leaves plummeting to the ground from their host trees when they become victims of gale-force winds. Unfortunately, the year has flown by without the fluidity of falling leaves.

This past year has been a very trying year on so many levels…not only here in Australia, but throughout the world.  If there are any signs that things will improve I’m yet to see them.  I hope my failure to see is because I’m not looking in the right places.

I never make New Year resolutions.  I know myself better than anyone else does; and I know myself better than I do anyone else. That being so, I know I’d break 99.9%, if not all frivolously made resolutions, so I don’t get caught up in the whirl of making them.  I guess I do have one resolution each year...that one sole resolve (it never changes) is to keep being myself; I’m the only person I can be.

In the words of Popeye:  “I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam.'

I do love spinach, too; but, as yet, I’ve not gained muscles similar to those of Popeye!  If I did, they certainly would cause a few eyes to pop!

Not knowing what lays ahead in 2015 the best we can do is be the best we can be.

I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year…a year where the “happy” lasts throughout the whole year not just on the last night of the old year, and on the first day of the new.  

My wish; my hopes - even if they seem like pipe dreams - are for 2015 to bring peace throughout the world; for humans everywhere to use their energy for doing good rather than evil. 

Why waste energy on hate; why waste energy on trying to destroy freedom?  Why waste time; and why oh, why waste lives? 

Love the ones you’re with…and love the ones you wish you were with. 

May 2015 be a great year for us all.

And, in case you’re still feeling a little peckish after Christmas…here are a couple of recipes to tempt you.

Proscuitto-Wrapped Prawns with Bourbon BBQ Sauce:  Barbecue Sauce: In a medium skillet, heat 1tbs x-virgin olive oil. Add 1 medium onion, halved and sliced finely and 1tsp chopped rosemary leaves;  cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Add 1tsp chopped garlic; cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2tbs bourbon, 1tbs brown sugar, 1tbs Dijon mustard, 1tbs apple cider vinegar, 1/2c prepared barbecue sauce, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of hot sauce (Tabasco or similar), salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a food processor, puree the barbecue sauce until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl. Prepare Prawns:  Preheat oven 204C (400F). In medium bowl, toss 24 extra-large prawns, shelled, de-veined with tails intact with 1tbs x-virgin olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Wrap each prawn in half a slice of prosciutto; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush prawns with some of the barbecue sauce; arrange them 1-inch apart. Roast the prawns, 5 minutes; turn over (the prawns, not you); brush with more sauce; roast for another 5 minutes. Don’t over-cook. Transfer to a platter; sprinkle with chopped parsley (or chives or coriander). Serve with lime wedges and remaining barbecue sauce for dipping.  The sauce can be prepared 3 days ahead; keep refrigerated.

Maple Bacon-Wrapped Scallops: Line baking sheet with foil. Fire up grill/broiler, or preheat oven 190C (350F). Wrap bacon around 20 uncooked sea scallops; secure with toothpicks.  Place scallops on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle some pure maple syrup onto the centre of the scallops; try not to get any onto the bacon (don’t stress if you do). Grill for 6mins on each side or until bacon is crisp; or bake 8-10 minutes in oven Don’t over-cook.

Easy-Peasy Phyllo/Fillo Turnovers: Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry on work area; lightly coat with cooking spray or melted butter; lay another sheet over top; and repeat with spray or oil; and then repeat the process one more time. Cut pastry lengthwise into thirds. Place 1 piece of Brie cheese and 1/2tspn cranberry sauce or fruit chutney about 1-inch from the bottom of one section of the pastry; fold the dough over top of the cheese and sauce to form a triangle. Continue to fold, maintaining the triangle shape until the end of the pastry is reached. Repeat with the other two strips of pastry. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pastry, cheese and sauce/chutney. Bake until the turnovers are golden, 12mins to 15mins.

Stuffed Mushrooms: Remove stems from some whole baby mushrooms; finely chop the stems for the filling.  Heat 1tbs olive oil in pan; add 1 small red capsicum/bell pepper, chopped finely, chopped mushroom stems, 1 finely chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1tsp Greek or Italian seasoning; sauté  5-8mins, until soft. Add 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped to the pan; cook until spinach has wilted and cooked down. Set aside to cool.  In bowl combine sautéed vegetables with ½ cup panko bread crumbs, 1/4c crumbled feta cheese and 1/4c grated parmesan cheese. Preheat oven 190C. Line up mushroom caps on sprayed baking sheet; season lightly with salt and pepper. Carefully stuff each cap with stuffing. Place in oven; cook approx 20-25mins until mushrooms are browned slightly.

Poinsettia Cocktail: One part champagne; one part vodka and two parts cranberry juice.  Make it as a punch if you are serving a crowd.  Make ice cubes using cranberry juice with a few frozen cranberries added to it; toss the ice cubes into the punch; or if you prefer, serve it by the glass.  

I'm joining friends for drinks and nibbles late afternoon/early evening on New Year's Eve...and then I'll return back home to see the New Year in with my two furry rascals.  I always see the New Year just seems to be the thing to do.... 

Greetings from Shama for a wonderful 2015

And from Remy during a break from his laundry duties


  1. Happy New Year - Shama - Remy - and Lee! Are you going to make those recipes for New Years? And what is Boxing day? You must be getting some nice rain there.

  2. No way, Sandie...I won't be doing any cooking for New Year's Eve...I might prepare myself a roast lunch on New Year's Day...I might...the jury is still out on that! :)

    Boxing don't know what Boxing Day is? Surely you do. Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day.

    We've had some lovely, much-needed and very welcome's been just wonderful. :)

    Happy New Year to you, too from Remy, Shama and me. Take good care and thanks for coming by. :)

    1. I do have a pile of green prawns in my freezer, they might get a look-in over New Year sometime or other, too. :)

  3. Happy New Year to the three of you.
    I will probably not see the year in, but am confident it doesn't need my assistance.
    No resolutions here either.
    We too have had blessed rain - but not consistently, and not a great deal. Much, much better than nothing though.

  4. Hi EC...yes, I agree...any rain received is good rain. It's stopped here now, but more is predicted over the next couple or so days...which is great to know.

    Happy New Year to the four of you, EC. I hope it treats you all well. Thanks for popping in. :)

  5. Peel you a grape??
    Good lord woman! By the time I delivered it to you it would be a soggy mess! Anyway, the fun of eating grapes is biting in and feeling the juicy flesh break through onto your tongue. Frozen grapes are a treat in summer.
    I agree with you about the craziness of the early boxing day crowd. Mad, all of them. Sleeping on the concrete just to be first in the store?? *shakes head*.

    All the food you have pictured there looks absolutely yummy, way too fiddly for me to be making though.
    Happy New Year to you and the furry ones.

  6. Best wishes for 2015. Food looks great - do you deliver?

  7. Hahahaha, River....

    The term "peel me a grape" comes from an old Mae West movie called "I'm No Angel"... West's character tossed it sarcastically to another character in the film. It became an oft-used term by.a friend of mine and me...jokingly...a number of years ago at different times when we were being silly...which was often. :)

    On the subject of peeling, I rarely peel anything...I think the only things I peel are onions and bananas...all else is eaten skin and all...the best way.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks those crazy shoppers are crazy!

    I'll be putting together a cheese and antipasto platter to take with me when I go for drinks at my landlords' home late afternoon/early evening on New Year's Eve...but that's as much as I'll be doing. We all live on the same 3 acre block of cabin is down one end, and their home up the other...separated by avocado trees, conifers, Japanese maples, Sapotes and God knows what else, and a large waterlily-covered pond....which is great, because I can't see their home, nor can they see my cabin.

    It won't be a late night up there, but I will see the New Year in...I always do.

    I hope you have a safe and Happy New Year...and I hope 2015 is very kind (and generous in every way) to you and Angel. Best wishes from up here on the mountain. Thanks for popping in. :)

    1. Surprisingly, I did know where "peel me a grape" came from. The things that pop out from the recesses of my memory astonish me.

  8. an order, giving a time...and we shall see! Miracles have been known to happen; but, in this case, I doubt one will. :)

    I hope all is well with you and yours, Cosmo...have a very Happy New Year and a safe one...and may all your hopes and dreams be fulfilled in 2015.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  9. It's not new year until midnight on the 31st!

  10. Fair dinkum, Adullamite! I didn't know that!

    Actually, I thought the new year was a fraction of a second after midnight on the 31st of December...silly me! :)

  11. Oh that food looks good. Pass me a scallop please. I agree totally on the Boxing Day shopping. You won't find me in those crowds.
    Now I have some filo pastry and some brie in the fridge and there must be some pickle around here somewhere. That's lunch sorted then. :)

  12. Glad to be of assistance, AJ! lol

    Those scallops do sound and look good. I might just have to do some for myself...when I buy some scallops, that is!

    Thanks for calling by, AJ. :)

  13. We've had enough rain to give us a green lawn again. Sooooo nice ! No plans here for New Year yet..... Not really into NY eve parties. Happy New Year to you too Lee.
    Ps. Curried prawns springs to mind for those prawns you have in the freezer. NOW my mouth is watering !

  14. Because I am not a procrastinator, I don't wait until Christmas to get depressed. I start the minute I turn the page on the calendar to November. I don't understand the greed, or the self-imposed responsibility to feed that greed. Don't people realize "it's" coming, same date every year. The last minute rush, and their love of crowds, is more of a mental illness than my depression!!!

    My thoughts regarding New Year's Eve is scheduled to post this week and I'd be honored if you would make a point to read it and leave a comment. I welcome sane people and my readers all fall into that category.

  15. I stole your recipe - hope you don't mind! See Auntie Anne

  16. G'day Helsie...Garlic prawns -the authentic way...the Spanish way done in olive oil, loads of garlic and crunchy bread for mopping up the garlic oil is what I have in mind; but I do have enough green prawns frozen to do them a couple of different different times, of course!

    It appears I'm not alone in my dislike of New Year's Eve parties...all of us of similar dispositions should get together and party! :)

    Same here re the grass,'s so green and lush already. My landlord will have to jump on his ride-on soon before it becomes a jungle! I love it!

    Happy New Year, Helsie...and thanks for coming by. :)

  17. Depression doesn't pick a special date or time, lotta isn't picky or particular about when it chooses to visit. And, so very often, it overstays it's welcome.

    The thing that also gets me about the panicking crowds...sales are on all year round nowadays in stores and on why the mad rush at this time of the year, I will never understand. I don't want to understand! It's herd mentality.

    I most definitely will read your New Year thoughts; and look forward to doing so. Thanks for popping in. :)

  18. Hey there AJ...I read your post re your looks and sounds very tasty indeed! I don't mind that you stole the recipe - I stole it, too! :)

    Post me a slice of pie, please and I shan't dob you in!! :)

  19. It is raining as we speak. Sorry!

    And I don't do Boxing Day sales or smorgasbords either. If I want to pile food on my plate I can do it at home. Couldn't think of anything worse.

    Here's wishing you, Shama and Remy a very happy 2015 also. Where the hell did the last year go?

  20. G'day Wendy. It's fine here today...a lovely clear morning, but more rain is predicted over the next few days. And I won't mind it revisiting us at all. I love it.

    I've seen some terrible behaviour at buffets, Wendy...when I catering for the public! Horror stories!!

    I have no idea where 2014 went...but wherever it went to, it sure went in a hurry!

    I hope you and your loved ones have a very good, happy and safe 2015. Thanks for dropping by. :)

  21. hmmm I was typing and something strange happened soI don't know if this will be a repeat!
    Love your kitties! I hope 2015 is a great year for you!
    I am not the fastest reader but I usually do at least 1 book a week and I didn't do that this year :( But I do read some larger books thru the year so maybe those count as more than one lol.

  22. Hey DesLily. Shama, my female kitty-cat, the tabby is curled up here on my desk beside my keyboard as I type. It's been her regular spot all through the Christmas period...if I'm here at my computer, so is she. Remy has taken up residence on the sofa...of course! I put clean, freshly-laundered throw-covers on the sofa on Christmas morning and he's been sleeping on them every day since!! He believes I did it for him. I laundered them because of I guess I did it for him as well. Who am I to argue with cat logic?

    Yes...the larger books count as more than one...that's our story so let's stick to it! Thanks for coming by, DesLily...take good care. :)

  23. I had to come and see - so tell me - how did you get to be so lucky. THAT IS BEAUTIFUL - like Heaven on earth. I want to come visit!

  24. I answered an ad, Sandie! :)

    You only want to escape from the madding crowd you've invited over for New Year's Eve! Follow my instructions in the email I've just sent you! lol

  25. I hope 2015 proves to be a very happy year for you and your kitties.

  26. Thank you, Jerry...same back to you and Arlynda and your kitty-cats as well. I hope it's kind to us all. :)

  27. Happy new year! My resolution is for more bacon-wrapped and prosciutto-wrapped food!

  28. Now that sounds like a very sensible resolution, Dexter and one very difficult to break!

    Happy New Year to you and St. Pauli Girl have a wonderful 2015 from beginning to end! Thanks for coming by. :)

  29. I think you may have found me out with that Tassie whiskey!

    Hope you have a good New Year and an even better 2015!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  30. Oh I could sit by that pond and eat all your recipes and be in heaven. You reminded me of a recipe I made once it was bacon wrapped water chestnuts which is what I thought your scallops were till I scrolled down.I'll have to look for that recipe. Happy New Year and I too hope things improve the world over

  31. I won't tell anyone, lips are sealed! :)

    I will have a good 2015...2014 has taught me that much. I'm fed up with all the negatives..time for the positives!

    Thanks for coming by...and you, too, my friend, have a wonderful 2015! :)

  32. Hey there Linda...thanks so much for calling by...I wish you the very best for 2015...never fear...good will win in the end. It always will because it's all powerful; and we can sit by the pond and nod...knowing we knew that all along. :)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  33. When I turned on the television this morning, the first thing on was fireworks from Sydney as the new year had already begun. I think your new year resolution is the best one I have encountered. I love the description of the shoppers. I had to go out the 26th and I hated it but we were out of essentials like dog food, cat litter and bread. I found no one shoving me out of the way at either place. LOL Peace be with you and wishing you the best year every.

  34. Have a happy new year.

  35. I hope you have a very Happy New Year, Lady Di...may all your dreams come true. :)

  36. Thanks, Lady Lilith...and Happy New Year back to you. :)

  37. The shrimps! Oh, my heart. I'm drooling. :)
    Looks like you had a festive celebration. Happy New Year!

  38. That champagne cocktail sounds good! And I wish I could get together with you for nibbles but you are a zillion miles away! Happy New Year, my friend.

  39. G'day SuperLux. I did have a good New Year's Eve...too good, I think! lol I didn't get to bed until 3 am. 2014 and 2015's red wine quota was reached. Happy New Year to you and thanks for dropping by. :)

  40. Hey there Lynn...We'd have a lot of fun, that's for sure! We'll use our imagination and pretend. I sure didn't imagine my celebration on New Year's Eve...I had a very late night/early morning and spent the first day of 2015 being exceedingly lazy...but it was all fun.

    A Happy New Year back to you, Lynn...I hope it's a good one for us all in every way. Thanks for coming in and I look forward to our continued friendship...even if from afar. :)

  41. Happy New Year!

    I waited until I was sure it was after 12.

  42. Hahahahaha! So I see Mr.'s actually the 2nd of January, 2015 sure did wait long enough! It's almost time to wish me a Happy New Year for 2016! :)

  43. Remy is Mandrake's twin! And the hopes and wishes are noble ones. I don't get it - I believe the majority of us have them, but it never happens on a global level.

  44. Hi there RK...Remy and Shama's mother did put it about a bit...she's only a year older than they are, but I don't think she made it to the US! :)

    Happy New Year to you...and I look forward to continuing our blogging friendship throughout 2015. :)