Recycling, Edam and Dollars

Woohoo!

Back to some more of my loves. Last week I spoke about my love for ‘Classical’ music – from Beethoven to the Beatles, and Bach to Bacharach! Now let’s look at some other wonderful interests.

I love making things from scratch.

I think it is a lost art – or almost. I hate the way we have become used to buying our food in supermarkets. We race in, grab some processed food and don’t think of the way it is made. We also don’t think of the poor farmers at the bottom of the ladder, who do all the work and get the least praise and appreciation for it.

Gradually people are becoming conscious of the additives in food, from preservatives to chemicals, not only in every day food stuffs, but in cleaning products, personal products and snacks. The manufacturers have to make sure that products – even the humble apple – must stay fresh and appealing for a long time in transit to outlets, then onto shelves for display.

I love to make everything I can.

I garden organically to grow my own fruit and vegetables. I have chickens for eggs, cows for milk and bees for honey.

meandbees

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

 

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

 

I know not everyone can do these things, due to lack of space (I have 12 acres – you may live in an apartment!!), lack of time ( I’m now retired, but belonging to the workforce takes up a great chunk of time.

In my last 18 years on my property, I have grown everything from peanuts to plums, elderberries to eggplant and much else besides.

I have made soft cheeses (haven’t yet made hard cheeses like Edam, and Cheddar – isn’t it wonderful that there is so much more to learn), yoghurt, butter, cakes, ice-cream, ghee, and more.

I recycle everything I can – I have shelves of empty glass bottles that I fill with jams, relishes, sauces and pickles. I pick up old unsold papers from the local newsagent and shred them for compost and litter in my chook ( an Australian slang word for chickens) pen. I ask anyone who has old fridges and freezers that no longer work to bring them to me and I make gardens in them. And, with all this activity, I manage to stay healthy and busy – not bored and lazy!

To top it all off – it helps me to save dollars in my budget, so I can occasionally treat myself to some useful farm clothes from the op shops as well as brand new underwear from a couple of local businesses.

Perhaps this recipe might be something you are looking for:-

Home made ice-cream.ice4

Ingredients – milk, sugar and cream.

(Flavours can be added – only limited by your imagination – try crushed honeycomb, or blueberries, or chocolate chips or simple vanilla essence or crushed up after dinner mints or ….. you get the picture!).

First – make your condensed milk.

(1 litre of full cream milk – 2 cup of white sugar – 1/2 tspn baking soda) – I don’t use the baking soda – my son is allergic to all preservatives and extras – I have to be careful to use ‘pure’ ingredients!!

Heat the milk to boiling point, then add the sugar. Stir continuously (BE PATIENT) until the mixture starts to thicken. This can take some time – 15mins or more. Watch it all the time – it can boil over very easily. Add the baking soda if desired. Continue cooking and stirring until the desired thickness. Take off the heat and allow to cool. (this can be kept in the ‘fridge for about 3 weeks.) From this recipe I made approximately 600ml – the equivalent of one tin’s worth.

Now whip the cream until light, thick and fluffy. Fold in the condensed milk (if you haven’t time to make the condensed milk – one 600ml tin will be the option) and any flavouring you desire. Freeze. Serve.

Simple, isn’t it?

Enjoy.

With Kindness

Maureen

panda2P.S. The next chapter (4) of ‘The search for the Elusive Panda’ is up on my second page (readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ) If you missed the previous chapters and would like to read them, email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com and I will send them to you. Let me know which chapters you need.

On the third page (readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs ) are the stunning original art works by Mykel. Unfortunately simple pictures don’t do the works justice. They are vibrant and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rissoles, Echidnas and Dehydrate.

Oh my! Where has this week gone? Admittedly I’ve been  busy – but it seems like only yesterday that I posted my last blog! Is it the same for everyone, or is time really going faster?

So, what have I been doing? And why would you even be interested?

At present I have a Japanese lass visiting on the http://www.workaway.au scheme. I am a host for three such sites. HelpX is another, as well as WWOOF. This has always been a great idea, in my opinion. A visitor/tourist from another country gets the opportunity to see the country in a whole different light – not just those ‘tourist hot spots’, but the real honest to goodness experience – delving into the cultures of this wonderful country.

Of course, it is a win/win situation. The host gets a little help, often in the garden or such, and the visitor gets bed and food for that help. I also love learning about my visitor’s country and culture,too.

So… that being said – here is a favourite recipe of mine :- Rissoles. Saw what? My Japanese visitor was confused! What an earth are they!!? (P.S. – an Australian name for meat patties).

Rissoles.

rissole300gm beef mince, 1 finely chopped onion ( or a clove of garlic), 1 tin of diced tomatoes, Finely diced carrot, cabbage and zucchini.

Mix all together. Add an egg and enough breadcrumbs to bind the mixture into a fairly dry mix. Grab handfuls and form into a ball. Flatten out and roll in extra breadcrumbs. Fry in oil (or your choice). turning once or twice until cooked through and golden brown.

Depending on the size of the patties, you can make them into meatballs and serve over spaghetti, with an extra tin of diced tomatoes as a sauce. Or flatten them out and make them the size of a hamburger patty. Otherwise, serve with gravy, tomato sauce, extra vegetables and chips/boiled potatoes. It’s an ideal way to ‘hide’ vegetables for the  children!

We enjoyed the meal!

I often take my visitors for a drive, and we can go to various places to see Australian native plants and animals.

Close by my place is a remnant of the rain forest that used to be in the area before the white population decimated so much of the fauna and flora. In ‘Wingham Brush’ (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/…/Wingham-Brush-Nature-Reserve) we have a colony of fruit bats, goannas, brush turkeys, echidnas echidnaas well as trees such as fig trees and stinging trees. It is quite an education to walk through this reserve and see what the white settler was faced with when he arrived. The aboriginals of the area lived in this with respect and ease, but the White settlers were horrified by the lack of their luxuries and cut into the landscape with careless abandonment.

Koalas are now a rare sight, although kangaroos have become something of a pest as we laid out banquets for them to survive on. (Kangaroos had been kept under control by the cycles of drought and plenty that Australia experiences – and they only breed when conditions are right. The western type agriculture practices gave them abundance all  the time, so they bred in greater numbers).

The only thing left to mention is the education that we should give our visitors.

The Australian sun is hot, and we can easily dehydrate, so always be aware and take water wherever you go. The sea here if ocean – and often dangerous, so take care in the sea. If you go travelling by yourself, be aware that this is a large country and has many d from snowy mountains to tropical paradise, from urban jungles to desert sands. If you get lost in the cities it is easy to get help, but if you get lost in the ‘Outback’, the best advice is to stay with your vehicle, have plenty of water when you travel and always always let someone know your travel plans before you go adventuring!

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. Next week I will be posting the first chapter of my new middle school age chapter book. At this point the working title is ‘In search of the Elusive Panda’. This may change in the future. Hope you follow along and enjoy the story. Six chapters have already been written, so next week is the start!panda2

Radishes, Eastern and Dahlias.

Did you know that after the atomic bomb hit Japan and there was so much destruction, the first things that were grown – on a hospital window sill – were radishes?

This gave hope to the devastated people.

War is so terrible – innocent people get hurt with horrific wounds, let alone be killed. I saw the effects in Cambodia, and yet – still – somewhere on the planet, there is war. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are, peace is hard to maintain. It makes me sad.

I live on the Eastern side of Australia, and even here, there are crimes, anger and violence within homes and communities. Seems to be that humans can’t learn – and the urge to violence is in all of us. If we can’t get along with our family or friends or near community, how an earth can there ever be peace on Earth?

What with guns used indiscriminately and cruelties against women, the world, for all its beauty, is an uncomfortable place to be at times. I have just about finished a novel about domestic violence – so much in the news at present – and it wasn’t an easy book to write. It is called ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ and should be available soon. Book cover by Francessca Wingfield. OrdealbyIa

OK – enough! Lets\’s talk about other things.

Here is a lovely salad recipe, using radishes, from Coles free magazine – February 2017 Page 4 – feel free to go and look at all the free magazines at you leisure. img257

( http://www.coles.com.au/magazine#view=catalogue2&saleId=15442&page=4 )

The other thing that happened this week was our local country town show. Country shows in Australia are the event to show off our produce, stock and horses. imagesaSo there are judging for cows and calves/ sheep and goats. Even poultry. In the pavilion, we have knitting, crotchet, quilling, quilting and dressmaking. We also have flowers such as Dahlias,downloaddroses, lilies and plants of all kinds. Everything is judged and gets a ribbon.

The schools also enter displays.

clownSide-show alley is alive and well, and stalls sell all sorts of things.

 

Tractors, mowers and machinery are all on show. We have a rodeo one nightdownloadf, and a demolition derby on the next.downloadb

 

 

 

 

Great fun for all ages and on top of that gives the next year’s entries something to dream about.

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. – Here is a lovely picture book for children about a concert or show. “Ben Brolga’s BenfrontBand’ is about Australian birds that dance, and they form a band, giving a concert to all there friends in the bush. It is FREE if you email me for it. My email is maureenlarter@gmail.com

This is also shown on my next page.

 

 

Recipes, Electricity and Dinner.

As an elderly (No – not possible – where has the time gone?  I am still 30 inside my head), single lady living on a pension, I strive to live comfortably on a budget.

To do this, I put necessary bill money away automatically.  These are things such as elecelectricity, phone, my stock feed and Internet bills. A little every fortnight is not missed, but a large bill coming in on the three month cycle can be a huge hit in one go, so this is a preferable scheme.

I try, also, to cook my meals from fresh produce – either out of the garden, or the specials of the fortnight. (I only shop once a fortnight).

I garden, I preserve my produce, I knit to make my own garments for Winter, I teach piano and violin for a little pocket money and I write children’s books and novels, to keep my brain active. It makes for a busy life – but I am never bored. It means I have many interests and projects to do.

In this blog, I like the idea of sharing my knowledge of all the above activities. So I often have gardening tips, recipes for all sorts of goodies and books to sell.

One of my favourite dinner recipes, easy, quick and tasty, is:-best-ever-spaghetti-sauce_large

Spaghetti with yummy sauce.

1 tin diced tomatoes, one onion (chopped), 1 zucchini (with skin, chopped) 1 rasher of bacon (chopped) 3 mushrooms (chopped) and a handful of spaghetti (or so).

Boil the spaghetti in water in a saucepan till soft but not sticky. While spaghetti is cooking, heat a small dribble of oil in a frying pan. Add bacon and onion. Fry gently till just coloured. Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Stir through the bacon/onion mixture. Finally add the diced tomatoes. By the time this is all heated through, the spaghetti should be ready. Drain it and place on plate, top with the sauce. If desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

If you are vegetarian, leave out the bacon. You can add other vegetables if you desire, but make sure they are chopped or grated so they mix in and cook at the same rate as the rest. This usually makes enough for two or three meals – so adjust the spaghetti accordingly. The extras can be frozen for later meals.

Keeping good food on the table and looking after the environment around me is a wonderful way to keep young, healthy and active in the community. I have traveled to China and Cambodiapaddy – and the people are lovely. If I can impart some of my knowledge I will be a happy human.

While I think of it – are there any recipes, projects or gardening tips you would like to know?

Do you have any questions?

Please leave a comment and I will try to add in any answers I am able to give.

With kindness

Maureen

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

 

Some of my garden guides – for a temperate area – cost is $10 for each booklet – or $30 for the lot (plus postage). Contact me on maureenlarter@gmail.com if you are interested.

Rest, Effects and Decorating.

Finally we all get a rest from the heat of Summer. This year has been dry and hot, and as I age I’ve felt it more than previous years. With Autumn came the rain, and a better temperature. My garden thanked the Nature Gods and the plants that had almost expired, re- hydrated and lifted their leaves to the heavens.

plantI find the effects of rain amazing. I water diligently in the heat, and the plants wilt – along comes the water from the sky, and they rejoice. The grass becomes green overnight and the flowers perk up and buds and new leaves form.

Now I whinge about the wet! And I worry I haven’t got my seeds in soon enough, and that I’ll need to mow more now the grass is finally growing.

Aren’t humans contrary!

I can’t believe that I went from sitting at the edge of a stream, fanning myself and wondering whether I could breathe, to looking at the possibility of donning a cardigan or hoodie! All in the space of twenty four hours.

While I think of it – I haven’t given out a recipe for a while – here is a delicious cake/bread to be served warm or cold, with butter or not – great picnic fare.

Barabrith:-

250g mixed dried fruit of choice

125g raw sugarbread

250g SR flour

1 egg

½ tspn mixed spice

1 cup cold tea.

  1. Soak fruit overnight in the tea with the added sugar.
  2. Next morning, preheat oven to 180-200°C.
  3. Add egg, flour and spice to the fruit mixture. Mix well.
  4. Place in 2 greased loaf tins or one large square cake tin.
  5. Bake for approx 45 mins.
  6. Serve cool, sliced with butter. Serves 8-12.

Enjoy! It can be decorated with a sprinkle of icing sugar, or a lemon icing goes well too. I prefer to eat it warm – nothing except a pat of butter – YUM!!

These days, I love to cook – it is better to know what I put in the food I eat. Maybe, the escalating of weight and disease can be attributed to the preservatives and other things that the manufacturers put in our food to give it a long shelf life. Of course, that is only my opinion, and there are many influences in our 21st Century lifestyle that contribute to our health. One day, maybe, the dream of a long and healthy life will be the norm. (As an aside, it probably should be pointed out, that a check on our population would not go astray either!)

With Kindness

Maureen

Here is a little children’s picture book celebrating the changes in life, and the beauty around us. ($20 Australian plus postage)Candy Cow Front

If you would like a copy to read to the children in your life, be they sons, daughters, grandchildren or nephews and nieces, please feel free to contact me on maureenlarter@gmail.com

 

Rooms, English and Dodos

In 1989 I went to China. It was an enlightening experience.

Unfortunately, a world shattering event happened while I was there.

Anyone old enough to remember, can still see the image of a student standing in front of a tank in the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

When my family and I were finally allowed out of China, I always declared I would go back – it was, and still is, a fascinating country.

In 2006 I got my wish. In a small room of a small apartment in Qiqihar, North China (Heilongjiang province), I lived and breathed my dream for nearly 5 months. While there I taught many students the English language. I worked sixty hour weeks and spent a lot of time in old buses travelling to schools in rural areas.China3 (45) A different China than I had seen as a tourist seventeen years earlier, but wonderful all the same.

I came home and settled back into my Australian life. Suddenly it was 2016 and ten years had magically past. I decided I needed to travel again.

This time I volunteered to teach English in Cambodia, so the journey of life took me into Asia once again.

Now, home again, as I have mentioned before, I am working on a very ambitious project for the Asian market. ‘Learning basic English‘ is now underway, with ‘nouns’ being the first. Engfrontcover

 

There will be five books in the series, each having a book for the students, and a manual for the teacher. Hopefully with an audio book involved, too.

 

 

Australia is still sweltering in a hot summer, but there is still gardening that can be done.  The plants don’t take long to burn and shrivel – soon as dead as a dodo – so … don’t forget to water the plants – they need a good drink either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon so they can make good use of the water during the sunless night.

My Zucchini plants are going great – and have been giving me so many zucchinis (courgettes) that I have to dig out my recipes to use them as much as I can. I often grate them into meat balls, slice them up for stir fries, roast them with cheese topping for dinner, but here’s another thing that can be done:-

Rice and Zucchini Slice.

½ cup brown rice

1 carrot, grated

1 zucchini, grated

1 small can corn kernels, drain, wash

¼ cup chopped chives

1 cup cheese, grated

extra grated cheese for top

¾ cup SR flourzucslice

4 eggs

½ cup milk.

¼ cup sweet chilli sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200°. Grease and prepare a slice tin
  2. Cook rice to instructions on packet. Allow to cool.
  3. Combine rice, carrot, zucchini, corn, chives, cheese and flour in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs, chilli sauce and milk together in a jug.
  5. Add to rice mixture and mix well.
  6. Spread in tin, sprinkle with extra cheese, then bake for approx 35mins, until cooked through and lightly browned.
  7. Stand in pan for 20mins then slice and serve hot or cold. Serves 8.

To keep this post related to the eat, dream and read theme of my blog – just remember – dreams are there to aim you through life. Some are easily achievable, and some you never manage to gain – but a positive attitude, and sheer hard work makes the journey – whatever the outcome – worth every moment. And the beauty of life? You never know what tomorrow may bring – so live each day with the utmost gratitude and joy.

with kindness

Maureen

P.S. – one of my children’s picture book deals with love and change – something we all Candy Cow Fronthope to experience in our life: ‘Candy Cow and the Caterpillar’ _ part of my ‘Alphabet Animals of Australia’ series. This book is illustrated by Patsy Seager. I hope to be able to tell you more about her next time.

getBook.at/CC

Next week, I have a guest blogger – author Wanda Luthman. She will be introducing one of her picture books for children. See you then.

 

Roll, Easy and Daisies.

 This year, summer has been really hot. (I live in Australia) We had 42°C last week – three days in a row. I feel for the other side of the world where the snow was thick and the temperatures extremely cold. Is it global warming, or a wobble in our Earth’s axis that might be to blame? Whatever the reason – everyone – please keep safe.hot

The promise of more hot weather to come, has meant that cooking is off the menu – if you know what I mean! Salads are the way to go. Cold drinks are important to keep you hydrated. Water is the best option – so make it easy on yourself and have some water always at hand.

Flavouring the water with fresh fruit is always a treat and gives variety and a sweet burst of energy – you don’t need added sugar to achieve it.

Try crushed, fresh strawberries, or slices of lemon, lime or orange – or a combination of all three – with a little passion-fruit added for zing! and of course, add a little ice if you wish.water

When it comes time to eat, add a small dash of protein, a nice refreshing salad, and a fresh roll.

To make a salad, good quality ingredients are always the best. They can be anything you like to put together, from potatoes, eggs,capsicum and mayonnaise, to cold pasta or rice with a sprinkle of corn, peas, cooked bread, prawns and cold, crispy bacon with a herb, garlic and olive oil dressing. A green salad can include lettuce, beetroot leaves, baby spinach, diced cucumber, sliced carrots, halved or sliced tomatoes, or any raw vegetable you desire, with a lemon juice, olive oil  red wine vinegar and salt dressing. Play with the combinations!

You can even make home-made rolls that are fresher than bought ones – and much tastier. Knowing the ingredients also means you are not ingesting anything chemical that may or may not be in commercial mixes.

Bread Rolls:-

img21Bread Rolls.jpg

If you must go out – remember to cover up, use sun screen and wear a hat. Australia has a summer-running promotion with advertisements on the television – Slip, slap, slop (Slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen).sunscreen

After all – the Australian sun (gosh – that’s the same sun you get, too!) can burn and there is a high incidence of sun cancers in this country. Skin cancer and melanomas are deadly! We don’t want you pushing up daisies anytime in the near future if you can help it!daisies

Remember to be careful in the snow, too. There are people who are suffering there, just as much as in our heat. Be kind, don’t be judgmental – and care for your selves and your fellow man. Go out of your way to help another person. If we all did that, the world would be a better place.

With Kindness

Maureen

meprofile

Maureen Larter

P.S. – a lovely story about Australia, health and the weather is ‘Cassie Crocodile catches a cold’Cassiefront – ( getBook.at/CCCCe ) written by me and illustrated by Annie Gabriel. www.facebook.com/AnnieGabrielArt

Annie Gabriel is an illustrator, textile artist and book artist, who comes from a background of art and primary education. From ab early age, she was constantly drawing and painting. One of her first inspirations was a book called ‘The Little Brown Mouse”. The little girl in the story painted her friend, the mouse, and so Annie began painting mice, too. As they say – the rest is history!

Annie

Annie Gabriel

These days, Annie makes ‘one-off’ books for her grandchildren, and teaches them about art when they visit. Inspiration can strike at any time, and any place, and the stories from Maureen Larter are always a pleasure to create.