Food and Drink Feed

Bright fabric

I was looking for bright fabric to use to make a gift and came upon this Kafe Fassett designed fabric in my stash.  It was called 'Artisan'.  Heaven knows why I bought it, I think it was on sale.

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I know I bought it from a quilting shop but it wasn't really suitable for quilting, would have been better to make clothing with but I didn't buy enough metreage.  I have used it to make an exchange gift for a member of my quilting group.

We were given a list of patterns we would like to have made up as our gift and were asked to select one.  This list was then mixed up and we were given another members name and were asked to make what they had selected.  I was given this pattern to make up for a member I know loves orange and bright colours, hence the search in my stash.

I have changed the pattern slightly by adding a thicker and softer interfacing.  Reason?  Well I think it could also be used to store jewelry and for that you need a bit thicker wadding and I didn't think she would use it as a sewing equipment holder and when I gave it to her she agreed.

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I just had to work out how to attach the brightly coloured clip that holds the cover together.  I bought a set of plastic clips and a tool to attach them but I just couldn't get them to work.  I had to do it a few times but I finally got there.  This is going to be a useful tool actually and the clips are very strong much stronger than I had thought.  I will be using them instead of the 'sew on' ones in future for this kind of project.

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Only three functions this week, as if that isn't enough! At our quilting group we got hit with this horrendous storm.  We could see it building up over the city in the distance and were hoping it would head south.

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It just seemed to intensify.

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Still, we were all set up on the verandahs and one of our members had stitched bunting with each of our names on them.

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Because of COVID we self catered with some of our members doing the cooking, which was delicious.

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We had a visit from one of Santa's Elves who was actually my God-son's boy Leo. ( Leo has MS so we all raise money for research into this disease.)

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Then the heavens opened and this fierce storm descended on us and we had to beat a retreat inside.  Little did we know, but only a short distance away, at the Hungry Jacks Take-away, which in right in the centre of all the shops where we all had been at some time, a car was washed away from the parking area and a women drowned. This creek also ran through the playground of a school where I taught.   It is just something you don't expect to happen at the local shopping centre and there are many other shopping centres who's car parks border creeks.  I'm afraid that this has shaken me.  I will be very careful in all storms now.




The race is on to get all the gifts sewn for the various groups I belong to.  First will be my quilting group, 25 members here.

Book marks, these take time to make but are good small gifts.  (Here is the link to the pattern.)

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Lots of Jam all ready to go.

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Drawstring bags.  All made from fabric I bought from the Embroiderers' Guilds, secondhand rose, sale table to put the jam jars in.

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I have nearly got these all finished.

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I have held on this ribbon for 30 years because I liked it so much.  Time to use it.

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And I need to put a clip on this bag.


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But I have written all the cards to go with the gifts, all 25 of them.

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I want all this finished by tomorrow.   I have another  couple of lots to finish for next weeks celebrations as well, but this is the big group and I have another week to finish the rest.

A great cake

I tasted this cake the last time I visited my friend Angela when I was in Toowoomba.  It is delicious.  So, I decided to make it for Maberly Quilters last week when I was on supper.  The great thing about it is that it is gluten free, so all my family can eat it and it is just so good.

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The recipe can be found on the CSR website but there are a couple of modifications.  Instead of 2 oranges I used 3 seedless mandarins.  These I boiled 3 times but still found them a little bitter so added extra caster sugar until they were sweet enought.  Because I didn't want to carry a big cake all the way into town I made 4 small cakes which I cooked for about 30 minutes.

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Served with a big dollop cream it is delicious.  (I can't stop saying that word.)  But be aware it is also moorish so just one slice is enough at morning tea.  Then you can have another for afternoon tea!

One step back

Two Steps forward one backwards.

The story of my life at the moment.  We had visitors, I did too much, I ended up in bed again and am still recovering.  But I am recovering.

I put together the flyer of the next Children's Class today.  I have sent it off to be  given the OK but I think this will be fine. "embroidery inspired by ethnic designs".

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The two designs look nothing alike but they are both based on the Indian 'first mark' design, which is what the Paisley and all those other designs are inspired by.

And aren't the flowers wonderful?  The garden is just blooming at the moment.

The Brazilian Cheery Tree is loaded with fruit and the jams are mounting up.

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Last Day

We are travelling home this afternoon and I must say that after the constant go, go, go I will be pleased to get on the plane.  Not that I haven't enjoyed my time here but the constant pressure of people in your face all the time is just getting to me.

I had breakfast at the tea house in the block arcade.  Only eggs on toast and a cup of tea.  I left all those delicious cakes in the cabinet.

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Some people actually had cake for breakfast!

I now need to get home and process everything I have seen and done.


A bit steep!

My daughter borrowed my kayak and little while ago and took it down the track to the beach which is opposite our house. 

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She said there were no problems getting it up and down the track.  So today I though I would try that instead of walking around the road to the barge ramp.  Bad mistake!!  The track is super steep and the local kids have set it up to ride their bikes down so they can attempt to kill themselves.

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I wanted to go to the beach this way because I knew I was going to have trouble getting in and out of the kayak and I didn't want people laughing at me.  As it was there was an old boatie who has pulled his boat up on the beach to clean the bottom.  He nearly fell off his boat laughing at me.  I just couldn't get it up the hill and in the end it took 2 of us to get it home.  I will never believe my daughter again when it comes to physical challenges.  Easy for her difficult for me.

I also have been out to lunch with my old teaching buddies.  They served the most beautiful dessert.  It was a Pavlova to share.

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This is going to be on the Christmas menu.


Labor Day Holiday

We have a holiday today so I am doing some cooking and freezing food so that if I don't feel like cooking I don't have to. I have made a big pot of broth.  As I was making it I got to thinking about it's history.   I know that it has been cooked by women in the family for 4 generations and I suppose it might go back further than that.  My Grandmother used to call it "Mutton Broth", but you can't buy mutton any more so it now has to be "Lamb Broth" .

I usually set aside a weekend to make this soup.  I start with about 1kg of neck of lamb chops and use these to make a stock and keep the meat to go through the soup.   (I slowly steam the meat off the bones and then bake the bone to make the stock.)

Next day I finely chop a variety of root vegetable. All on the large size, including onion, turnip, parsnip, swede, 2 carrots and 2 celery sticks.  I add this to the meat and 4 to 6 litres of stock, depending on how much vegetable there is.  Then I add 1/2 cup of pearl barley, salt pepper and Worstershire sauce  and cook on a very low heat for a couple of hours.  As this is a cooking day I will usually bake some fresh bread, but suddenly I am starting to have problems with gluten.   I have had to reduce the amount of yeast bread I eat.

So I bought some of that gluten free bread that tastes like cardboard.  I froze it ,buttered both sides of the bread and cut it up into croutons and baked them in the oven until golden brown.  They taste great and are just right for the soup.

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I wonder if my daughter will continue the tradition of this soup?


A trip to the gallery

I met a friend at the Art Gallery yesterday to look at the new exhibition.  What did I see? Kids, kids and more kids. 

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It is school holidays here and the Gallery of Modern Art always has great activities.

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Result lots of kids.

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At morning tea in the cafe the usually suspects came out to be fed.

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There were young girls there with their 'kids chinos'.  Keeping up that coffee culture.

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I am going to go back AFTER the holidays to have a really good look.


But, to get away from all the kids we went to the Fine Dining Restaurant for lunch.  Lunch was a work of art.  I have eaten here before and the food is amazing.  Not a lot on the plate, but I never feel that I haven't eaten enough. (We only ordered entrees and shared all the dishes)

My husband had Suckling Pig

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My friend Jane had Reef Fish.  I'm not sure what kind of seaweeds were used but they were delicious.

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I ordered a Haloumi with Corn.  Who would think you could have so many ways to serve corn.

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All the ingredients are sourced locally and I am going to have to find where I can buy that cheese.  I was told they got it from Maleny so next time I am up there I will be looking out to buy some.  (The only producer I can find is a man called Trevor Hart.)

Last time I was there I had this amazing dessert.  It almost looked too beautiful to eat but when I did it was delicious.  There was Zabaglione custard under all that chocolate.

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This is not a cheap place to eat but for a special occasion just wonderful.



Now that I am back in my own home, from which I do not intend to move till they carry me out, I am getting the kitchen organised again.  It is tiny in comparison to my old kitchen and there isn't a lot of storage space.  This means I have to be super organised.  My Kitchen Aid mixer is still with my daughter but I intend to rescue it and bring it home, in the mean time I have a small hand held beater that is getting a work out.

old kitchen

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I do not like the glass cook top because it is constant work to keep clean so will eventually replace it with a gas version,  but the oven is wonderful.  The best oven I have ever had.  My biggest struggle I have with the kitchen is keeping my husband out of the space.  He leaves his stuff all over the place.  He likes to cook his own breakfast and as he likes his toast burnt, the smoke alarm is always going off!

New kitchen

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With all the upheaval over the past few years I lost my love of cooking but now it has returned, when there isn't a lot of people to cook for.  I have a couple of neighbours who are on their own so they are being given meals because I cook too much.   They are very happy about that.  I am trying to make smaller quantities though, but with cakes there isn't a lot of smaller cake tins.  A cake that takes 1 cup of flour is best when there are only 2 of you or you live on your own.  Then I remembered the ice-cream tray my mother used back in the 1960's and I think she probably got it in the 1950's.  I finally found one in an Opp shop.  Just right.

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This little Sultana butter cake does us for about 3 days morning tea.

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  • 60 g butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sultanas


  • Cream butter and sugar (with beater)
  • add egg and vanilla and mix well
  • Using a metal spoon add 1l2 the flour and milk
  • fold in
  • Add the remaining flour and milk
  • fold in the sultanas.
  • Cook in a moderate over (180 c) for 30 mins.


Instead of sultanas you could use the juice of an orange or a lemon or lime plus some of the rind.  Make a like flavoured icing to top.  Or you could use 2 table spoons of cocoa and make a chocolate butter icing. Or you could experiment with what you add.

There is a problem with tin trays rusting, everything rusts on an island.  When I was teaching catering we always put our dried tins in the oven after we had turned it off and it was still warm.  No rust.  (That other tin I used for an apple cake.  I will share that recipe later.)

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Xmas Biscuit Making

Oh I am glad I cooked a batch of biscuits in advance and that I changed the recipe so that the kids would like it. 

I made a basic biscuit recipe.

125g butter

1/2 cup Caster sugar - butter and sugar were creamed by beating with a hand held mixer

1 egg - added to mixture and beaten well

2 cups Self Raising Flour + 1/2 teaspoon each of Cinnamon, Mixed Spice & ground Ginger sifted together and then added to the other ingredients until the dough is stiff.

(We used extra flour on the board, rolling pin and cutters.)

The girls said the texture was just like play dough so they were able to knead and roll it without any problems.  Also the biscuits were not overpowering in taste.  In fact just right to eat.  The traditional ginger bread recipe is sticky and hard to handle even for an adult.

We started by making the icing.  1 egg white, beaten to stiff peaks and then add 1 cup of sifted icing sugar.  Seeing the egg white go from clear to thick white produced lots of OH's.  I then divided it into 3 dishes for light pink, dark pink and green.  Making the green from blue and yellow was very exciting as was getting red dye all over their fingers.  We then decorated the cooked biscuits while the oven heated up.


Biscuit 4

Biscuit 2



We then started rolling and cutting the biscuit mixture.  We started small and then ended with big biscuits with their initials and some for Mummy and Daddy.


As the girls are only 3 and 4 years of age I was surprised that they didn't lose interest.  We were making and decorating biscuits for a good 3 hours.


It was a busy but wonderful way to spend the day with the girls.  Of course quite a few of the biscuits were eaten straight away and I'm not sure if the last batch will be decorated .