Monday, 31 May 2010

Sunday Scribblings "Mantra"

The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week is Mantra.
I don't think I really have a mantra. Sometimes if I am upset or stressed I count, in an attempt to empty my mind, is that a mantra? I count anything, fingers, guide posts, telegraph poles,corners, planes in the room, drawers, doors, tiles, what ever.
I haven't read all of the entries so I don't know if I am repeating what someone else has done here.
When things in the media and news are just too wrong and the world is heading down the wrong road I think of this.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to live or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day
You'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day
You'll join us
And the world will live as one.

John Lennon


Is that not the best lyric and song ever?
Such wonderful soul and meaning. But at this day and age I feel that at times the world is going back wards and not moving towards this nirvana that John Lennon imagined and tried to teach. Such a man was ahead of his time surely. Will the world and all its fighting over greed for money and religion ever see it.
Words so beautifully arranged that they say so much.
My theme song , is that a mantra.
Short and sweet.
Love Linda.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

2 days to winter.

G'day All, anyone, who is out there?
There are just 2 days left until winter officially starts. So no, no flower pictures to share today.
It is cool and grey and the sky is dripping its life giving load to soak my beautiful brown clay based soil here in Canberra. It has been raining on and off since last night.
I have had a cold and am now trying to wear down and tolerate the ear aches and yucky cough and sinus pain that such things leave behind for me. It is most unusual for me to be off color as I very rarely get sick. I attribute this to my many years working in jobs which put me in contact with such things. My immune system I am proud to say is quite strong, but sometimes, just sometimes, some nasty virus breaks through my defenses and lays me low, temporarily. The things that I normally complain about are muscular aches and pains, something that I live with and accept. I probably only get a cold or flu bug twice a year and the tummy bugs that seem to plague others around me usually pass me by. You could joke that I have a cast iron gullet.
So, today I have been lazy, sitting back in front of the computer doing as little as possible and resting. You might say lazy. I probably would consider that right, haha.
I changed the sheets, washed my jumpers fixed up the kitty litter tray and have tried to make my Petey a nice hot dinner to come home to. ....With a garlic fiesta. Hahaha. Nobody will go near him at work tomorrow. Roast lamb cooked slowly in red wine and lots of garlic. Garlic potato bake and a baked rice custard for dessert. Nobody, willl eb able to go near him tomorrow, hahahaa.
Tea time.
See you tomorrow for Sunday Scribblings.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sunday Scribblings "Dragons"

The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week is "Dragons".
Yes I believe in Dragons! They are real they do exist and I have seen them.
We have real live dragons here in Australia. Maybe they are the evolved cousins of the mythical dragons of medieval times. Here in Canberra there are is a colony of water dragons living in the botanical gardens.
Long long ago dragons, their ancestors, ruled the world. They flew the skies and ran the land. Even our australian plant life has evolved to regenerate itself after the fires those dragons made in their anger. Then there was the war and the olden day dragons were subdued. The clever men worked their magic and turned them all into the dragons we have here today. They were shrunk down to a managable size and made to always live near water where their firey breath would be sated. They sit on the rocks above the waterfall in the botanic gardens here in Canberra, heads raised watching for the clever men to return and scuttling away through the undergrowth when humans come within sight and hide there in safety. On cooler days they sun themselves on the rocks, but they never stray too far away from the water that soothes their parched throats and cools their sunburned skins. If you can get close enough you can see their skins are marked with red and orange patches, to remind them of their violent past. The clever men painted them to remind them of it.

Hahaha my imagination is running riot with this prompt. Love it.
No that was not an aboriginal legend.

There are other dragons that exist in our world today. They are usually thought of as the female kind. I guess there are lots of males around too, but they are more sneaky in their practices.
The female dragons of today are found in the workplace. Trying to assert their dominance over the other workers. I have found through my observations and experience with these types of dragons that if you bite them back, stand up to their games and tell them so they actually start to respect you for doing so. If you are a bit of a wimp like me you need to stew over it and plan the event and think it all out well, you have to know just how that dragon will react and allow for that. Don't back down, stay in charge, hold your head up and walk away calmly after the event.
Ah the games dragon people try to play with you. They feel they must, at all costs, dominate.
Did you know these workplace dragons are the actual decedents of mutant cross breeds dating back to medieval times. Their personalities are directly derived from the genes they still carry from long ago.
Hahahaha. Love this prompt, I am having fun here.
I can't wait to see Granny Smith's response.
Love Linda.
Watch out for those workplace dragons!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Friday Fertilizer.

Here is my Friday Fertilizer entry for this lovely autumn week.
First picture is my cat Boo, she is so pretty. Look at her lovely long fluffy tail.
I bought these lilliums at the local supermarket about a week and a half ago, they stayed closed them magically when I got up on Wednesday morning they had all sprung open over night and were filling the house with their beautiful perfume.
Pete and I went for a drive up into the mountains yesterday. This is snow country in the Kosciusko national park near Jindabyne. The Thredbo river. It was cold up there. I love this area it almost looks like it has been untouched by man....almost except for the roads, bridges, chalets and dams. Ah well I can pretend.
I love the way the bark changes and contrasts and the btwiggy branches twist, on this little eucalyptus.
The park in Cooma. Big big deciduous trees in their autumn dresses.
I am 50 years old now but I still have to scuff my feet and run them through the fallen leaves in places like this. I love it.
I planted three punnets of these little viola out in the front garden underneath the trees a few weeks ago.
There are quite a few camellia plants around this yard. Two of them are autumn flowering ones.
My cratageous plant is starting to flower. This is a special plant because it has grown from a piece given to me by one of my favorite patients at Junee hospital while I was working there. She is gone now, but this is my memory of June Herbert, a lovely lady. She was Ray Warren's sister, he is a sportsman and radio announcer here in Aust. I got to know the family well. Another sister of June's, Gwennie used to always look at me and say I am sure you must be related to us somewhere you are so like our family. Hahahaha.
The other autumn flowering camellia in the yard.
This is another memory plant. My friend Ali gave me this , it was an almost dead stick in a tiny pot. She said "I don't want this but I know you can fix this Linda". Hahahaha. I have had it for 3 years or so now.
A closer look at those beautiful liliums. Well worth the money I paid for them as they have lasted so well.
O.k. that is mine this week. Go and click on the Friday Fertilizer Logo on my side bar and visit Tootsie time and see what others have to offer for this prompt.
Bye for now.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sunday Scribblings "Recipe"

I am back. Back for the weekly Sunday Scribblings prompt after a few weeks away. .....Procrastinating on ...what ever.
I've really been taking too much time wrapped up in face book and playing farm ville in there, but we won't dwell on that will we.
I do have quite a collection of favourites tucked away in my little black A5 folder. I have been collecting them ever since I was first married, and probably before that as well. I have always loved cooking. I was the best sponge cake maker, and loved to cook them when I was just 9 years old. I was very proud of my sponge making skills back then. Thanks Mum.
My favorite one back then was the sponge cake recipe on the side of the Fielder's cornflour box. I have since graduated onto a few others proven to work for me.
I have often heard people say they can't make sponge cakes, but I reckon it is just a matter of finding the recipe that works for you and use it. I have found that the ones made with cornflour and no flour in them work best for me. Plus following a few tips regarding sponge cakes helps too. They are not that hard.
Sponge cake tips.
1.Wash your bowl and utensils in hot soapy water before you start, because any grease or oil on them will stop the egg whites whipping up properly.
2.Have your eggs at room temperature, sometimes I cheat by putting them in lukewarm water for a while if they are cold.
3. Use eggs that are a few days old, not straight from the nest, as the real fresh ones won't whip as well, also eggs that are not too old as they won't whip either.
4. If the recipe says to separate the egg yolks from the whites don't get any of the yolk in the whites.
5.Make sure you sift the cornflour and raising agent 3 times so they are mixed properly and aerated well.
6. Grease and flour the tin or grease and line it with grease proof paper to stop the mixture sticking and the cake easy to remove.
7.My old neighbour Nanny Fox told me that swans eggs make the best sponges ever and that 1 swan egg = 8 hen eggs (Never tried it though). Duck eggs are good too but I think they make a bit tougher cake. 2 hens eggs = 1 duck egg.
8. Always follow the the destructions. Hahaha.
9. When mixing in the dry ingredients use a metal knife to fold them in, not plastic or wood because the mixture will collapse a bit. You want as much air to stay in there as possible.
10. When you have the uncooked mixture in the tin give it a gentle tap on the bench top to even it out and bring any big air bubbles up to the surface.
11. When you fold in the dry ingredients be gentle but make sure they are mixed in evenly and there is no dry ingredient left in air bubbles not mixed through properly.
12. Use fresh ingredients, especially the raising agents.
13. When you take the cooked cake out of the oven it should be just beginning to shrink back from the edges of the tin and if you can hear it crackling it is probably not cooked in the middle.
14. Wrap it lightly with a clean tea towel as it cools because this will help to stop it shrinking as much, cornflour sponges do that, but they will look alright again when you fill and decorate them and the shrinkage is not so noticeable then.
15. In the honey roll recipe that follows, note that the eggs are not separated, I have cheated with the other recipes doing them this way and mixing the yolk and white together at the same time and it works, but do time the mixing if you try it this way. You still have to be careful folding in the flours gently by hand though.
16. Be gentle and don't open the oven before time or go banging around the oven or the cake will go flat.
17. Use caster sugar as it dissolves quicker in the egg mixture.

O.K. that is all I can think of at the moment for the tips section.
here are the 3 recipes that work best for me.

My favorite honey roll sponge. I got this one from my old neighbour years ago when I lived out in the back blocks at Urana. This is a good one because you don't need to separate the eggs.
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (preferably caster sugar if you have it)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cornflour
1/2 teaspoon each of mixed spice and cinnamon
1 and a half teaspoons baking powder.
1 teaspoon honey.
Beat eggs for 2 minutes on high speed.
Add sugar and salt then continue to beat on high for a further 8 minutes.
Turn mixer to low then add honey, then the carefully sifted dry ingredients.
Pour into greased and grease proof paper lined Swiss roll tin, spread it out evenly.
Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
Have a clean dry tea towel waiting on the bench for when the cake is cooked.
Cool in tin for 2 0r 3 mins so you can handle it, don't let it get cold or it will crack when you try to roll it, then turn out onto tea towel and carefully peel off the paper. Trimming off about a cm or so along the edges of the cake now will help to stop it cracking when you roll it and you get to sample the trimmings. Yum.
Roll up the cake inside the tea towel and let it cool down wrapped up inside .
When it is cold carefully unwrap cake and fill with whipped cream. Make sure the cake is cold or the cream will melt. Don't need to unroll it completely to do this as it increases the risk of it cracking. Yummmmmmmm!


This was also from a neighbor, it was her family recipe so I always remember it as being her
AUNTY TIB's Sponge.
Expect this one to shrink when you take it out of the oven so keep it out of the cold draughts by draping a clean tea towel over it as it cools.

4 large eggs
3/4 cup cornflour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon custard powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
pinch salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Separate egg yolks from whites.
Whip whites until soft peaks form. Mixer up high.
Add salt and,sugar gradually. ( I do this in about 4 parts, making sure the sugar is dissolved into the whites before adding the next lot of sugar.)
Add yolks one at a time and beat in well.
Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients with a knife then lightly whisk through to make sure it is all mixed trough evenly.
Place in 2 tins or one larger greased and lined tin.
Cook in moderate oven 25 to 30 minutes.

I used to always make this one until I got this next recipe. Now this one is the one I always use for birthday cakes. Filled with strawberry jam and cream and topped with more cream and strawberries. Or passion fruit icing. Yum.

This recipe is from my Lady Flo Bjelke Peterson cook book. Flo was the wife of the Queensland premier Sir Joe and was known for her no nonsense attitude and country women's cooking skill.
This recipe is a sweeter one than the other two.

Light Sponge Cake.

4 eggs separated
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 and 1/4 cups cornflour.
125grams butter
Beat egg whites until light and fluffy.
Add sugar salt and yolks, bet well.
Fold in sifted flour and baking powder
Add cooled melted butter and stir gently until all mixed together.
(A wire whisk works well to do this job)
Divide mixture evenly in to 18cm round sandwich tins.
Bake in moderate oven for10 to 15 minutes or until the cake leaves the sides of the tins.

There you go, go play if you feel so inclined. These work.
No pictures to share, just my recommendation.
Being a simple girl I took the prompt literally. Recipe.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

What Ya Doin'?

It is Friday Fertilizer time over at Tootsie Time's place.
Oh Tootsie look! I actually have your logo on my site at last. Dear Hairy son helped me put it there. Go click on the 'Friday Fertilizer logo to see what others have contributed this week to the prompt.
Well I have not got much to contribute this week but that vase of flowers in the first picture are the Nerine and Fever few flowers I picked yesterday from my yard with this prompt in mind. They are pretty aren't they. I am a bit envious when I look around the blogs and see all the spring wonder discoveries from the northern hemisphere gardens that this prompt displays. But autumn is lovely too, so is winter, so is summer. So..... What ever your season. Cheers!
Tonight I am sitting here all by my lonesome. Dear hairy son has gone to Goulburn with band member friends to share their music. Dear hubby has gone to fare well drinks for a workmate. I was wondering just what I should do to enjoy my spare time. Ah yes, show off in here what I have been doing with my blogger friends. An honorable pastime.
Anyway..... The picture above this is a porcelain doll my Mum gave me when she moved up to Queensland. He was dressed in a pale blue baby outfit that I decided was out dated so I went out and found him some new clothes. I think he is even cuter now in little boy clothes. He is sitting on one of my lounge chairs, his official resting place. Cute isn't he.
My coffee table. That big wooden dish was made by a friend of mine, John Painting, a talented woodworker. It is made from a yellow gum burl and is a coolamon. A coolamon is a sort of wooden dish that the aboriginal women carried with them on food gathering expeditions to carry seeds and fruits.This one is a modern, less functional one than its original cousins, but still of like shape and base material.
There is a small town just outside of Wagga Wagga, my birthplace, that is called Coolamon. Trivia.
I made this. It is on a little occasional table in my lounge room.
I made this too. It is sort of my untrained version of a quilted doily. I made it to go underneath the coolamon. I just finished it the other day, after it sitting around and waiting for me for quite some time, ever since I purchased the fabric from last years quilting show here in Canberra.
This afternoon I have been scribbling again. This one is in black texta. I do not pretend to be an artist but I like to think of myself as a creative person. It is scribbled on the back of an envelope.
And more scribblings, same envelope...other side. In black pen. I try to transfer some of these scribblings to my pottery pieces. I did one a while ago if you can remember, on a vase. If you could psycho analyse these...OMG.
Out the window. My side yard and the view towards Woden town centre. You can see the tall buildings in the distance if you enlarge this. I live in a nice leafy suburb, the trees have colored up for autumn even more since I took this picture a few days ago. Pretty. I made that shelter for my plants...with help.... hoping to protect my precious charges from the frosts that will soon plague us here. The front rolls down. We have one very mild frost already. I might have to add some shade cloth to protect it further.
It is my elder sister's birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday Ellie Pellie Palmtree. I think I am the only one who ever called her that, a pet childhood name.
Oh well. That is about all. Now I will go and have a look and comment on what others are up to here in puter land.
Love Linda.