Tuesday, May 25, 2021


I’ve retained a newspaper article which I read a few weeks ago.  Disturbingly, the article’s heading is; “One in three kids don’t like to read...” 

By the way, “doesn’t” should have been applied, not “don’t”.  The blunder is understandable if the article’s content is factual.  Hopefully, the alarming article is an example of “Fake News”.

Added to the article’s dismaying contents, I also heard the ‘cancel-culture-woke bandits’ are outlawing Snow White because the prince kissed her while she slept!  Seeing she lived with seven dwarfs I suppose her reputation will no longer be snow white.  Size didn’t matter to Snowy.  Tsk! Tsk!

Sleeping Beauty’s prince woke her with a kiss, as well, so he will be in trouble...off to the sin bin with him, too.  

Red Riding Hood’s wolf will be pilloried for being secretive for years about being transgender.  

Melons of every variety will be rolling around everywhere because they weren’t chosen to be Cinderella’s carriage.  As for the Cinderella’s handsome prince, he’ll be accused of having a foot and shoe fetish! 

Things are looking pretty grim in the fairytale department. 

My heart bleeds for fairy penguins.  The dear little birds, both male and female, were unfairly stripped of their title a few years ago.  

Big Brother soon will be no more.  Big Sister, or Big Person, will be forced to take his place.  

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. 

Back to the lack of the book-reading problem...often and openly I admit I’m old-fashioned.  I refuse to succumb to digital e-books, or to audio-books.  

For me, a book is made with paper. Similar applies to newspapers. 

 I’ll bet a new e-book doesn’t smell as good as a new book does.  Half the pleasure gained in opening my Christmas and birthday presents when I was a kid was savouring the smell of the new books I received. Always, books...lots of them...were among my gifts. 

There is nothing quite like the scent of a new book. 

Book shelves lined with books are, along with the kitchen, the heart of a home.  How on earth can e-books replace the beauty, and intrigue, of a filled bookcase? 

I believe children should be introduced to books...books made with paper...from when they are very young. 

How sad it is to think today’s Aussie kids...”no longer like books, with two-thirds of all Aussie students saying they disagreed with the statement: ‘I like to talk about books with other people.’  It found 31.5 percent of them said reading was a ‘waste of time’.”

 Oh! Dear! If the above is true, it’s a tragedy.

The article’s content regarding reading habits of today’s children is lamentable. To not experience the joy and quietude of losing one’s self in a bookstore, or wandering the aisles of a library, while slowly browsing book-filled shelves would be missing out on pleasures of living. 

To not lose one’s self in reading the author’s teasing preface introducing his/her story; to not enjoy being teased and tempted by the intention of the author’s words while feeling a book’s cover between one’s fingers; to not hold a book...a hard-cover book, or paperback...is to deprive one’s self of more of life’s pleasures. 

To hold a traditional book...not a cold, digital device...in your hands is akin to holding the author’s imagination, soul and heart.

To quote Eartha Kitt...”I’m just an old-fashioned old girl with an old fashioned mind....”


Cauliflower Bites: Preheat oven 230C.  Put 1 large cauliflower, cut into bit-size florets, in bowl or plastic bag; drizzle with olive oil to barely coat; add 2tsp garlic powder, 1/4tsp salt and 1/8tsp pepper; toss to coat. Place on ungreased baking tray; bake 15mins; turn once. Check after 10min for tenderness...not soggy! Remove from oven. Add 1/2-3/4c Buffalo Wing style hot sauce, or preferred hot sauce. Toss florets in sauce; start with half sauce, adding more to taste; return to oven; cook 5mins. Serve with dip of choice e.g. ranch dressing or blue cheese dip.

Spicy Chickpeas: Place 2-1/2c drained chickpeas in sieve; rinse under running water. They should be as dry as possible before placing in 190C pre-heated oven.  Line baking tray with foil; place chickpeas on baking sheet; add 1tbs olive oil. Toss with fingers until they’re evenly coated with oil; spread out to an even layer. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 40min. until golden and crispy. Halfway through baking, shake tray to ensure they cook evenly. While chickpeas are cooking, prepare spice mixture; add to bowl 1/2tsp smoked paprika, 1/4tsp each, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, ground coriander, black pepper, oregano, 1/8th tsp each chilli powder and chipotle chilli pepper.  Cool chickpeas 5 mins; add to spice bowl; toss to evenly coat; serve immediately.

Oatmeal-Blueberry Banana Bread: Preheat oven 190C; grease 8x8 square baking pan. Combine 2-1/4c rolled oats, 1tsp baking powder, 1tsp cinnamon, and1/4tsp salt. In another bowl, whisk together 1c mashed banana, ¾ c milk (almond, if preferred) 1 large egg, and 1tsp vanilla; add to dry ingredients; mix until combined. Fold in 1/2c blueberries, 1/2c sliced strawberries and 1/2c raspberries; pour into baking pan. Bake 35-40mins. Cool 15mins; slice; serve warm, or cool. 





Tuesday, May 11, 2021




Shucks!  They were shucking good times, even though I was fodder for the sandflies which flew around in frenzied joy when they saw me coming, and even though I suffered skinned knuckles and cut fingers the end results were always worth it, or so I kept telling myself.  Much convincing was needed at first.  Not wanting to suffer any more mishaps than could be avoided, after much on-the-job practice, I learnt, the hard way...by trial and error...blood, sweat and tears notwithstanding.

How to shuck oysters causing as little harm as possible was the hard lesson being taught by our Nana who coached my brother, Graham and me in the art of shucking oysters without spilling too much blood.  Shucks!  What a battle...however, in the long run, the feeds we had of fresh, fat, juicy oysters after the mayhem were well worth the trouble.

The delectable molluscs, also helped ease the annoying itching from the sandfly bites covering my body and scalp, if only temporarily during the time spent devouring the delicious oysters.

To successfully and safely shuck an oyster, without stabbing yourself, takes patience and diligent care.  Elusive patience was the hardest to achieve, I think, as we wandered ankle to knee-deep in the waters surrounding the rocks bearing the oysters.

Often when I was a little kid, along with my brother, mother and grandmother, I’d hop aboard a bus, and off we’d go to Tin Can Bay, the small coastal town approximately 53 kms north-east of Gympie.  

The road to and fro the Bay in the Thrifty Fifties was pretty rough and ready, as was Tin Can Bay’s accommodation.  Electricity was a luxury.  The rental shacks in which we stayed mostly had corrugated iron, or fibro outer walls.  Hurricane lamps and candles supplied lighting; of necessity, not necessarily of choice.  Out in the yard to keep the dreaded mozzies and sandies at bay at the Bay were 44-gallon drums filled with smoldering cow manure.  The “aroma” filled the night air, smothering all else.

So precious were our oyster knives they could very well have been coated in gold.  The wooden-handled little weapons showed me no mercy. Nevertheless, my brother and I were told to guard them with our lives because they had belonged to our late grandfather.

When I lived and worked back in Gympie from 1998 to 2002 prior to coming here to the mountain, often on my day off...Sunday...I'd visit Tin Can Bay to enjoy a tranquil breakfast at the small yacht club as I soaked in the calming ambience of the area.  

These days, feeding the friendly dolphins, regular visitors to the nearby waters, is a popular pastime.

The last time I had a good feed of oysters straight out of the salty ocean waters, off the rocks, was when I managed the humble resort on Newry Island.  The resort no longer exists, but both Newry and Outer Newry Islands remain standing. 

I was at the water’s edge one day, minding my own business, when, under an azure sky, out of the blue from across in the channel between the two islands, a couple arrived by yacht.

To my surprise, as they drew nearer to me in their tender, they called out my name.

Proving once again, a small world it truly is, they were originally from Tewantin.  They owned a hardware store in Tewantin. Their daughter, years before, had been one of our waitresses at “The Laguna Belle”, the restaurant my now late ex-husband and I then managed.  “The Laguna Belle”, which I written about previously, was dockside on the Noosa River at Noosaville during the week; on Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday lunch times, we cruised to the upper reaches of the Noosa River.

While moored off Keswick Island, fellow yachties suggested the Tewantin couple...”must visit Newry Island...a woman named ‘Lee George’ ran the resort thereon.” 

The couple immediately recognised my name.  The rest, as they say, was ‘history’. 

During their visit to Newry Island, they collected a bounty of oysters from Outer Newry Island, which was on the opposite side of the channel to my island home. 

After a few hours shucking the oysters, a feast was enjoyed that evening.

Some remained au naturel (the oysters, that is); others joined the Kilpatrick clan, and others chose to stay in the half shell to be cooked on the barbecue plate. 

 I’ll never forget the banquet.

 Shucks!  In an oyster shell...it was one of the best...even if no pearls were found...no wisdom, either....


Grilled Oysters: Mix 1/2c butter, melted, 2 grated garlic cloves, 2tbs lemon juice, 1tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/4c grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste, and 2tbs chopped parsley. Place 12 oysters on preheated 180C grill (if more oysters used, adjust ingredients accordingly).  Cook oysters until juice starts to bubble; spoon 1tbs mixture onto each oyster. Grab 1/2c more of the cheese; sprinkle over top; cook until cheese is golden brown.  Sprinkle with parsley; serve with extra melted butter, lemon wedges, hot sauce and warmed baguette.

Oysters Rockefeller: Preheat oven 200C. Heat pan over med-heat; add 1/4c butter; add 1 small shallot, minced; sauté 3-4mins; add 1 minced garlic clove; sauté 1min; stir often; add 2c chopped fresh spinach and 2tbs Vermouth; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2mins; add 1/4c grated Parmesan, and 2 slices cooked, crumbled bacon (optional).  Melt 1tbs butter; mix it with 1/2c Panko breadcrumbs.  Place half shell oyster on baking tray; top oysters with spinach mix; sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Bake 8-10mins; serve with lemon wedges.

Oysters Kilpatrick: In small pan heat 6tbs Worcestershire sauce, 1tsp oyster sauce, 3tbs balsamic and a dash or two of Tabasco; remove from heat. Heat 1tbs olive oil in pan; fry 4 chopped bacon rashers; drain. Line baking tray with scrunched up foil; place 12 half shell oysters on foil (it keeps them upright). Top with sauce; sprinkle the bacon on top; grill about 1min. Cover serving plate with thick coating of salt; place oysters on top. 


Wednesday, May 05, 2021





In Australia, Sunday, 9th May is Mother's Day.


No matter how many times my brother and I tried to pull the wool over our mother’s eyes...and those of our grandmother...we failed miserably every time! 

As I’ve written previously, my brother and I were raised by two persuasive women, with no father on the scene.  Both women were always a step or two, sometimes many more, ahead of us, proving they were smarter than we were. 

It took my brother and me a long while to come to the realisation both ladies were cleverer, more street, and home-smart than we were. However, until the light bulb moment hit each of us, Graham and I kept pushing their buttons, just in case we had the fun, good fortune of striking it lucky.  One should never give up hope must have been our mantra.  Our endless, fruitless efforts caused both Mum and Nana much amusement, I imagine. 

It’s been 47 years since I said farewell to my mother, who passed away too soon at the age of 54.  45 years have passed since I bid a sad “Goodbye” to my grandmother who was 81 years of age. The verbal farewells may have been uttered many years ago, but not a day...barely an hour...goes by I don’t think of my mother and my Nana.  Myriad memories remain – the good, the bad; the happy, the sad. 

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche succinctly summed up family relationships when he said: “Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying repetitive pattern, like bad wallpaper”.

No family is perfect.  Harsh words can be exchanged; misunderstandings occur. Paraphrasing, our Nana very often told us to...”Never let the sun go down on your anger”....

Often Mum was an easy target because, like the many fish she caught, frequently, she took the bait.  In the games, my brother was the angler, the prime, innocuous antagonist.  He learned his fishing skills from Mum, and enjoyed stirring the waters. Upon the realisation she’d been wound up, or in, our mother would give a huff and a puff, toss her auburn hair with a haughty flick, as her blue eyes twinkled, and a smile eventually teasing at the corner of her mouth.  Project successful!

I never tired of going through my mother’s jewellery box.  It was a wooden, approximately 30cm square, with sliding top, Red Cross first aid box...of 1940’s vintage.  To me the box was filled with mystery and glamour.

My mother’s jewellery wasn’t of the expensive kind, matching that of royalty, but it was an intriguing, beautiful assortment of costume jewellery.  The bright, colourful array of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, etc...captured my childish imagination and interest.  I was forever fascinated by the box’s contents.

Mum and Nana instilled in my brother and me, both from early ages forward, the love of reading, and of books.  They also introduced us to the wonderful world of music...in all its forms, from classical through to modern; to appreciate singers...from opera through to pop, ballads and the like; and all forms of dance; they taught us the appreciation of art, and, of course, films.  

They encouraged our interests in many varied aspects of life.

Nana, in particular, was also a wonderful story-teller.  Her tales never failed to hold the attention of my brother and me. We could never get our fill of her wealth of stories, all of which, no matter often repeated, we listened to in awe. 

Nana and Mum scolded us when we erred in our ways, but they never struck us.  The threat was often threatened, but never carried through.  The verbal warning was enough for us to pull our heads in.

 So many memories...memories I shall treasure more than the treasures in the jewellery box as long as I’m on this mortal coil.

Happy Mother’s Day!  Hold your loved ones close.  Make memories; cherish those memories in your heart forever more.  Have a sleep-in, Mum!  Allow someone else prepare a leisurely Mum’s Day brunch for you.  After an enjoyable brunch, sit back, and allow them to clean up the mess!


Bacon-Sausage Casserole: Slice 1x60cm day or so old baguette into 2cm thick slices; place in a baking dish. Whisk 7 eggs and 1.5c milk together. Pour 2/3 of the egg mixture over bread. Turn the bread to make sure both sides of every piece is soaked in egg mixture. Set aside to soak while you cook 300g roughly-chopped bacon and 500g sausages, removed from their cases (either quality beef or pork).   Heat skillet over high heat; add bacon; cook until very lightly cooked; remove and drain on paper towels.  Pour off excess fat from pan; add sausage meat; cook, breaking it up as you go, until lightly browned. Remove from skillet; drain on paper towels.  Cook 300g potatoes, diced into 1.2cm cubes in water for 2 mins).  Preheat oven 180C.   Have 1c grated tasty cheddar on hand.  Heat skillet over high heat; add bacon.  By now, most of the egg mixture should be soaked up by the bread. Stand the bread upright in the baking dish. Distribute half the potato between the bread, then top with half the sausage, half the bacon and half the cheese. Repeat with remaining potato, sausage, bacon and cheese (finish with cheese). Pour remaining egg mixture over everything. Cover loosely with foil; bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and drizzle 1tbs melted butter over the bread. Bake for a further 10 minutes until the bread is golden.

Asparagus-Brie Puffs with Thyme Honey: Preheat oven 190C. Line baking tray. Toss 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed in 1tbs x-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  On floured surface roll out 2 thawed sheets of puff pastry; cut into 8 squares. Cut 240g brie into 8 pieces; place a piece on each square; add asparagus spears to each square. Take 2 corners of pastry; wrap up and over filling. Transfer to baking tray. Brush each pastry with beaten egg; bake 20-25mins, or until golden.  In small saucepan, over low heat, melt 1/4c honey, 2tsp butter and 1tbs fresh thyme leaves. Serve pastries warm, drizzled with thyme honey.

Mum’s Crust-less Quiche Lorraine: In 8-inch oven-proof non-stick pan, heat 1tsp x-virgin olive oil on med-heat. Add 3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped and 1thinly-sliced shallot; cook 6mins.  Whisk 6 large eggs, 1/4c milk, salt and pepper; stir in 1c shredded Gruyère cheese; add to pan; cook 3mins, stirring occasionally to form curds, and allow runny egg to flow to bottom of pan. Bake at 190C for 8mins, or until top is set. Serve with green salad.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes: Whisk together 1-1/2c plain flour, 2tsp baking powder, 1/2tsp bicarb soda, 1/2tsp salt and 1/4c sugar. In another bowl, whisk 3/4c milk, 1c ricotta, 3 large eggs, 1tsp vanilla, zest from 1 lemon and 1/4c fresh lemon juice. Combine wet and dry ingredients; mix until just combined, leaving it a bit lumpy. Coat pan with butter, or spray. Pour 1/3c of batter for each pancake; cook 2-3mins per side. Serve with maple syrup, berries, lemon slices, or dotted with butter.