Monday, March 30, 2020


Gene Autry and Champion

"Hippity-hoppity hop!  Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the bunny trail. Hippity hoppin’ - Easter’s on its way..."

Cackle! Cackle! Cackle! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!  That’s the Easter Bird armed/winged with a basket full of eggs. 
Don’t panic!  There is enough chocolate and lollies of all varieties to go around!  Hey! There might even be some Easter eggs still hidden in the garden since last year...those not found during Easter 2019’s egg hunt.    

Hold on!  Don’t rush off to look just yet.  I’ve not finished my ramblings!

Everyone is in such a hurry these days.  Every action is panic-driven!  Calm down!  As you can see, I’m getting in a week early...Easter is still a week away as I write and post...but it isn’t panic that motivates me.   

I’m fully aware Easter isn’t until the end of next week, but it is sensible to sensibly plan in advance, not leaving everything until the last minute. You might need to marinate a hunk of meat.  If that is the case, it’s best to have some time up your sleeve...or on the clock.

I’ve never learned how to keep time up my sleeve, have you?

Clint, my chocolate Lindt bunny remains nestled in my fridge, which, as some of you may recall, has been his safe haven for the past few years.  There he sits, untouched by human hands; nor has he been touched by pussy, hare or bunny paws (not even his own); nor will he be!  

Clint Lindt’s future remains secure. This he knowsForever grateful for his safe haven, he gives me a smile every time I open my refrigerator door.

Even though he is a chocolate bunny, I assure you, he is no bunny.

When I was a kid I loved Gene Autry’s song “Peter Cottontail”.  To me, Gene Autry was king.  I loved his singing and his movies.  Autry was a magician of sorts.  During his many fist fights, rolling in the dirt and down mountain sides, Gene never got dirty, and not once did he lose his hat.  His trusty steed, Champion, the Wonder Horse stood loyally by his side all the while.

Not only am I showing my age, but I’m giving it away at the mention of Gene Autry!

Oh! Well!  I’m generous that way. 

One cannot run away from reality; nor hide from the passing years.  Botox, plastic surgery etc.,  don’t hide the years...each draw more attention to them, in my opinion.
No trout mouth, pumped up boobs, medicine ball butt cheeks, taut brow, plastered on eyebrows for me, thank you very much!  Take me as I am...or not at all.  Nicking Popeye’s words:  “I yam what I yam & that’s what I yam!”

Regardless of my love for Peter Cottontail’s song, in our household when my late brother and I were kids the Easter Bird was solely responsible for the delivery of our Easter eggs.  

The Easter Bird was a chick, but over the Easter weekend she was Cock of the Walk.  

My brother, Graham and I never had a shortage of Easter eggs.  And, we never went on Easter egg hunts.

The nests we built in hats overflowed with the colourful, delicious goodies.  The eggs were easy to find.  They were always placed at the end our bed, easy for the Easter bird to find. She never needed directions.  That fluffy chick was a pretty smart chick!

Who cared about overdosing on sugar?  Not us!  Being fairly normal kids always tearing around outdoors, we had energy to burn, sugar, or no sugar...all year through, not just while, and after, feasting on Easter eggs.

My Easter plan is to devour my supply of Cherry Ripes.

Before you accuse me...I’ve not panic-bought Cherry Ripes!  The yummy chocolate bars are always part of my Easter fare – always have been.  

Perhaps I’ll set a place across from me at the table for Clint...allowing him some freedom for a change. I might even open the unopened bottle of Dimple Haig that’s been sitting on a shelf for four years.  As you can tell from the above statement very rarely nowadays does liquor pass these un-pure lips of mine .

Maybe it’s time to lift Prohibition...which is just another thought upon which I can ponder. Perhaps I should open the Scotch bottle, and put a dimple in it!

Golden-suited, brown tie Clint and I can clink glasses of good cheer...“might” being the operative word.  It won’t happen. The idea is fun, though. 

Clint’s a good listener. If he could talk he’d have lots to add to the conversation.  He’s not one to interrupt me when I’m speaking, either.  Over the years he’s witnessed many comings and goings in my fridge.  Clint’s very cool....not a cool cat, but a cool bunny!

In case you’re thinking I’ve finally lost it...I haven’t.  It’s around here somewhere.  

I’ve many simple ways of amusing myself.  This is just one of those ways.

Clint is chuffed every time he sees me remove a Cherry Ripe from the fridge.
My doing so gives him that extra feeling of confidence.  However, I know he trusts me...that I will never reach for him.

There’s no cause for me to pause from my usual habits.  So Cherry Ripes it is...not Cherry Wipes!

Pomegranate Marinated Lamb Roast with Gremolata: Puree 1/2c unsweetened pomegranate juice, 1/4c port or dry red wine, 3tbs x-virgin olive oil, ½ large onion, chopped, 4 garlic  cloves, 1/2c chopped Italian parsley, salt and pepper. Place large, boned, netted or tied lamb leg in a zip-top plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag; massage it lightly so marinade is distributed over roast. Place in a bowl; chill overnight. Next day remove lamb from fridge; let stand at room temp, 1hr. Preheat oven 218C. Remove lamb from marinade; wipe off excess liquid. Place meat, fat side up, on rack in roasting pan; roast, 25-30mins. Lower temp to 175C; continue to cook 20-30 mins for med-rare. Remove roast from oven; carefully turn it fat-side down to redistribute its juices. Let it rest 20mins. While lamb is resting, you don’t! serving bowl, combine - ½ bunch Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped, 15-20 chopped mint leaves, 1 minced garlic clove and zest of 1 lemon. Serve gremolata alongside sliced lamb. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if the fresh fruit is available.

Marinated Beef Roast: Combine in zip-lock bag or bowl, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1tbs Worcestershire sauce, 1tbs Dijon, 1/4c balsamic, 1/2c soy sauce, 1/4c olive oil, 1tbs white sugar, 2tsp onion powder, 1tsp black pepper, 2tsp dried thyme and 2tsp dried rosemary. Add 1.5-2kg piece of blade, topside or other economical beef cuts to marinade; seal securely; marinate 2 days; 3 days max. Remove beef from fridge 1hr prior to start of cooking. Preheat oven, 240C.  Cut 4 spuds into 5cm chunks and 5 carrots into 4cm pieces. Toss vegies in marinade; spread out in baking tray; season; top with beef.  Drizzle over 1tbs olive oil; roast 20mins. Reduce heat to 180C; roast 35-40mins for med-rare. Place beef on plate; cover loosely in foil; rest 20-30mins. Return vegies to oven to brown a bit if needed. Serve beef sliced, with veg, and pan juices; or rich gravy. 

Cherry Ripe Muffins: Chop 2x52g Cherry Ripe Bars into 6 squares each. Finely chop another Cherry Ripe; set aside. Combine 125g chopped butter and 100g dark chocolate melts in a saucepan; gently heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.  Add 4 lightly beaten eggs,  1/3c caster sugar and 2tsp vanilla; stir to combine; then add 3/4c  sifted plain flour and 1-1/3tsp baking powder; mix until just combined. Spoon two thirds of the mixture into 12 x 1/3 cup capacity paper-lined muffins pans. Top each with a square of Cherry Ripe then spoon over the remaining muffin mixture. Sprinkle with reserved chopped Cherry Ripe. Bake in a moderate oven 180C for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked when tested. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes before turning out of pan to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container until required. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020


When times get tough the true colours of most shine through.  Over the past few months here in this wonderful country of ours we’ve been surrounded by more colours than a rainbow as people have, without reservation or hesitation, reached out in support of those who were affected by the devastating bushfires. The reaction to extend assistance in one way or another has been heartwarmingly uplifting. 

Selfishness was pushed aside as genuine good deeds and consideration for the welfare of others became top priorities.

That was until some self-centred, ignorant, greedy folk started the toot paper wars, immediately followed by a competition to see how many supermarket shelves they could deplete of stock.

In far too many instances it’s been “toodle-loo” to good generous actions and thoughts towards one’s kindred humans.  

Be polite, people! No throwing items at supermarket staff. They’re not the creators of this current melodrama. Furthermore, they are far more decent than those who hurl abuse and projectiles at them!

Behave! Have some dignity! Show some class!

Toss a smile.  Doing so is more beneficial than tossing a fit, or frozen goods! 

Step back! Wave a white flag in apologetic surrender!  Stop being so rude! The behaviour on display lately by too many folk here and elsewhere is disgusting.

I honestly do not understand people.  Who or what do they see when they look in their mirrors?   

It is little wonder I keep to myself, preferring my own company and that of my two furry mates.  I don’t have to put myself into isolation...isolation is my “normal” choice...and has been for years. I never get bored.  The word is so foreign to me,  I may not even know its correct it "bored" or "board"?   

Similar applies to lonely...I never get lonely.

Allow kindness be second-nature...promote kindness and thoughtfulness...let both overshadow the other unattractive traits!

Perhaps instead of whingeing about having to "self-isolate"...a lot of people should use the time to get to know understand what makes them tick!  Maybe if they began to understand themselves, they might begin to grow compassion for others!

The grass is not always greener on the other side.  Across the way from me here where I dwell there isn’t a lot of grass, green, or brown. Overshadowing grass growth, trees and shrubs rule, which is fine with me.  This block of land upon which my humble little abode sits is covered with green grass....and trees.

The total area of lthe tree and shrub-covered land on the opposite side of this lane is probably around 5 acres aka 2.02 hectares...thereabouts... give or take...I’ve not taken out my tape measure and measured it....

Like most birds, this old bird loves trees and shrubs.  I no longer perch on their limbs, though.  My limbs aren’t limber enough these days to allow me the luxury. The old grey mare ain’t what she used to be! 

Actually, I’ve not roosted in tree branches since I was a kid; not since we used to build tree houses. Tree houses, which were, in our wild imaginings, golden, crystal palaces; or whatever else we wished them to be on any given day, or theme of play.

A few weeks ago I felt extremely blue when I discovered the garnet in a ring I’ve worn for many had been my mother’s ring...was missing.   

My late mother received the garnet ring for her 18th birthday. Somewhere along the way, I know not where or when, the rich red stone dislodged. 

Upon discovering my loss, the surrounding air went out in sympathy with my mood.  It turned navy blue
Even though reality struck immediately, fruitlessly, I searched high and low.  I knew I’d never see the scarlet gem again.

Because I refuse to remove the ring, the blues hit each time I look at the bare setting.  The stone is irreplaceable. The ring’s updated, current state shall remain.  I shan’t blush red if others think my decision is weird. It’s mine to make.

At times, the mean reds, too, will strike when I notice the empty mounting.

My hair may have turned grey, but my grey matter remains intact...not impaired in any way. Some may disagree, but that’s okay.  I know me better than they do. 

My face has never turned purple with rage.  However, I’m sure I’m not Robinson Crusoe in saying the following.

There have been times I’ve been in a black mood. There have been times I’ve experienced the feeling of being white with anger.
I have turned bright red from sunburn, and eventually turned brown. Other times, I’ve peeled like an orange.

On the subject of oranges...when I was a kid, I loved feasting on packets of Jaffas at Saturday afternoon clarify...only one packet per attendance. Rather than rolling them down the aisles, I preferred eating the delicious treats.  My belief was...why waste the chocolate balls covered in orange-flavoured shells?  Golly! Pocket money was too precious to squander on such a foolish folly as lolly rolling! 

Presently, I’m eagerly awaiting the lemons on my little tree to ripen.  Each season it’s a prolific producer of lemons...therefore, it is not a lemon!

Garlic Lemon Prawns with Broccolini: Lightly spray rimmed baking pan with oil. Whisk together 1tbs lemon juice, 2tbs x-virgin olive oil or avocado oil, 1tsp finely chopped lemon zest, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1/4ts red pepper flakes, and 1/2tsp salt. Add 400g large, shelled, deveined, tails on, prawns to the mix. Transfer to pan; spread evenly; leave remaining liquid in the bowl. Toss 1 bunch broccolini, cut into small florets in remaining liquid; spread on the pan with the prawns.  Thinly slice half lemon; arrange slices on top of prawns/broccolini. Bake in preheated 200C oven, 6-10mins, or until prawns turn pink and opaque. Broccolini should be crisp tender. If you want it more tender, remove prawns, and cook broccolini a few additional minutes.

Jaffa Mousse: Melt 225g dark chocolate melts and 2 strips of orange rind in bowl; melt over simmering water, bowl not touching water. Set aside to cool 15mins. Remove and discard orange rind. Whip together1c thickened cream and 2tbls Grand Marnier.  Beat egg whites of 2 eggs in clean bowl until stiff peaks form; gradually add 1/4c caster sugar, beating well between each addition.  Whisk egg yolks into chocolate; and then fold in the cream. Stir 1/3rd of whites into chocolate to loosen; then fold in the remaining whites.  Spoon into serving glasses; chill until lightly set. Decorate with Candied Orange: very thinly slice 1 navel orange; blot to remove excess juice. Place onto a cooling rack over oven tray; sprinkle with 1/4c caster sugar. Bake in 140C oven, 1-1/2-2hours or until slices are dry; cool thoroughly. Dip slices into melted chocolate; allow excess to run off. Place on paper-line tray; set at room temp. Store in air-tight container. 

Acrylic painting by me...

Sunday, March 15, 2020


It’s fortunate I like – enjoy - my own company because I spend the majority of my time with me, and, of course, my two furry mates.  With the embarrassing, demeaning behaviour of some humans it’s little wonder.   

The latest example of human stupidity and greed...the panic buying of toilet ridiculous.  Toilet paper companies are joyfully yelling out, “Holy crap!” Never in their wildest dreams did they expect to be rolling in the profits they presently are.
What so many folk are unaware of...or have closed their minds to the fact...toilet paper is produced in this country, for God’s sake!!!  

Our local IGA supermarket up here on the hill has run out of said rolls, as well as paper towels.  Probably tissues and sanitary wipes are wiped out, too. I wouldn’t know...I don’t buy, or use the latter two products.

Over the years, I’ve been the butt of amusement for some because I’ve always kept a useful quantity of toilet paper on hand.  I aim to please.

Years ago, when living up north in Ingham, my brother during one of his visits rather descriptively, leaving little to the imagination, pointed out I had more toilet paper than Coles and Woolworths combined. I pooh-hooed his derision, letting him have his fun. 

I’ve not panicked-purchased toilet paper during this current explosion of over-zealousness, nor will I.  Never have I in the past, so I’m not going to start now!

When looking in the mirror this morning I noted I’m still a human.  I’ve not morphed into a sheep; nor am I a goat. I still have an ounce or two of commonsense left. I have never followed the herd. 

What goes on in the minds of some people...if anything worthwhile does?  Their behaviour is disgusting, and they’re too dense to realise it. 

Greed, ignorance, disrespect and nastiness are horrible traits. Far too much is on display lately.

I’ve never panic-bought anything, ever, even when in the midst of cyclones. I’ve always kept a back-up stock of toilet paper on hand.  I certainly did when I lived on islands, managing the resorts thereon, during cyclones, and under clear blue skies. 
When ordering and maintaining provisions to not only feed and service guests needs, but staff, too, every avenue, angle and butt had to be covered. Running out of the necessities of comfortable living was never an option. 

Being on an island surrounded by water one couldn’t shoot off to the corner store, or to the nearest supermarket to grab a pound of butter, a loaf of bread, or a pack of toilet paper. Planning ahead was an integral part of life.

When I was living back on the mainland, working long hours within the hospitality industry, starting early morning through until late into the night, my practice of making sure I had stocks of essentials continued. 

To this day my fridge, freezer and cupboards are always well-stocked. At all times, I have a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Most importantly, I always ensure I have a healthy supply of cat food and meat for my two furry roomies.  Running, or rather, driving - if I had to run I’d never be going anywhere - to the supermarket every second day is not my idea of fun, even though I do enjoy chatting and joking with the friendly IGA staff. 

Many times in the past I’ve written my late brother and I were raised in a humble home, where money was scarce, but food, and basic essentials never were.  Our cupboards were never bare.

Because of the brainless behaviour of some within society, in this country and elsewhere, I felt embarrassed and guilty when I bought toilet paper the other day, even though I always buy the product every time I shop. Nothing about what I bought was out of my normal shop. 
I found myself joking about my purchase because I didn’t want to be thought to be a panic-buyer! 

Furthermore, the first thing I do - always have done - when I arrive home is wash my hands before I unpack my purchases.  It’s commonsense to do so.

Commonsense appears to be going out of fashion, doesn’t it? 

The stupidity virus has become a pandemic!

Spend a penny...sure...but don’t go spending all your dollars on toilet paper!

Potato Roll: Preheat oven 180C. Cut 6 potatoes into 3mm thick slices. Evenly sprinkle lined baking tray with 1c grated Parmesan; place potato, overlapping, vertically and horizontally on cheese, until pan is filled with potatoes. Sprinkle 1c Parmesan over potatoes; season; bake 30mins until golden, flexible and slightly crispy. In skillet heat 2tbs olive oil over med-heat; add 1 diced onion, about 15mins. Add 455g beef mince; break up; add 410g drained diced tomatoes, 3tbs chopped parsley, 1tsp paprika season; cook until beef is browned and cooked through; remove from heat.  In a pan heat 2tbs olive oil; add 6c spinach; cook until wilted; add salt and 2 minced garlic cloves; remove from heat. In bowl combine spinach with 1c ricotta; set aside. Evenly spread spinach over cooked potato sheet; evenly spread beef over spinach; sprinkle 1c shredded mozzarella over beef. Take one end of potato sheet, holding the baking paper, and begin rolling upward, making sure ingredients are not coming out the ends.  Once completely rolled, place roll on the baking paper; bake 15mins. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish; slice; serve immediately.

Chicken Rolls: Combine 500g chicken mince, 35g taco seasoning, 1/2c shredded tasty cheese, 1/4c  cold water and 1tbs finely chopped parsley in bowl; mix well.  Cut 2 thawed puff pastry sheets in half.  Place 1/4 of mince into a sausage shape along one edge of each pastry strip.  Brush other edge of pastry with egg wash; roll up with seam underneath.  Cut each log into 8 rolls, about 3cm long, without cutting all the way through. Place onto lined baking tray; brush with egg wash.  Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in 220C oven, 15mins; cut rolls all the way through, and cook a further 5mins until golden.