Small gestures can have big impacts

 

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Well, it’s been four months since I started my blog and as anyone who has been down this path will tell you – it ain’t easy!

For me the hardest part is dealing with the frustration (and at times disappointment) that comes from having a head full of ideas for my blog but lacking the time and (if I’m honest) confidence to turn them into something I can share with my readers.

So much so, that for the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about closing my blog down and walking away from it.

Sounds a bit dramatic, I know, but I have a habit of starting what I think are really good ideas at the time, then losing patience with them before they can fully bloom . . .

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Star fruit upside down cake

Star fruit upside down cake

Looking for the perfect treat for your guests next time you invite them over for morning tea? Try serving up a star fruit upside down cake.

At least a couple of times a week, I try to go for a walk in the afternoons. Partly because I need the exercise, and partly because I live near a river and it’s relaxing to walk along the bank and enjoy the view.

I usually take my two English staffies with me (they enjoy getting out of the backyard), and occasionally my teenage kids join us.

I follow a footpath which runs along its eastern bank, flanked by houses, then under a bridge and up alongside the town’s high school. The high school hasn’t always been a high school though.

For a long time, it was a TAFE College where adults could study a variety of courses designed to help them find a job, change their job, or start their own business.

I was a teenager myself when it first kicked off and it was a roaring success. It had all sorts of subjects on offer and in its heyday, had a lot of really cool infrastructure in place.

One of these was an orchard.

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Orange cordial

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Making cordials at home is almost a lost art but creating your own refreshing blend is surprisingly easy.

It’s certainly the time of year for citrus here in the Wet Tropics and I think everyone would agree it has been a bumper crop.

Every tree I see, whether it be orange, mandarin, lemon, lime, grapefruit or lemonade, is dripping with fruit.

With such a bounty, it’s hard to ensure as little as possible goes to waste. . .

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Homegrown basil pesto

Homegrown basil pesto

Once you’ve tasted the flavour of homegrown basil pesto, you’ll never buy the bland, mass-produced supermarket stuff again.

Sweet basil is one of the few Mediterranean-style herbs that grow well in the tropics and using it to make traditional Italian pesto is a fantastic way to enjoy its spicy flavour.

Basil is one herb you just have to grow in your garden.

In Northern Australia, very few European herbs can be grown in the ground. Most only just manage to survive in a pot through the cooler months.

Basil is an exception.

It grows vigorously and as long as you can keep the grasshoppers and grubs away from it, bountiful crops are pretty much guaranteed . . .

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Mandarin and chicken salad

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North Queenslanders love their mandarins and this delicious citrus fruit is one of the most popular backyard trees grown up this way. While they are usually just peeled and eaten as a snack, adding them to an Asian-style salad is a great way to bring some zing to your dinner table . . .

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Foray into fungi

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The world of edible wild mushrooms is not for the faint-hearted. Mistakes can land you in hospital – or worse – but with thorough research it is possible to enjoy some fine fungi at your dinner table . . .

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Wonderful winter

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As June begins, so does winter here in the southern hemisphere and for those of us who live in the tropics, it is the beginning of the busiest time of year in the vegetable patch. Ask someone who lives here in Far North Queensland and chances are, they will tell you it’s the best time of the year . . .

 

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