A Day In The A Blue Mountains.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I welcome you to take your time and browse , visiting my bush garden and discovering the wonders of my city within a national park; Blue Mountains National Park. Via my blog you will travel with me through the successes, trials and tribulations of gardening on a bush block. I share with you my patchwork & quilting, knitting, paper crafts, cooking and life in general.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Day 91/366

Blue skies and perfect weather for an annual event in the Blue Mountains: Springwood Festival.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Day 90/366

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Day 88/366

Mr Honey Pie and I have decided we need to get back on the healthy-eating-wagon.
We'd fallen off for about twelve months.
The Blood Group Diet means we eat different foods so I made scroggin/trail mix for him, and for her.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Day 87/366

Coreopsis native of North America.
Now in a love-hate relationship with Blue Mountains Residents.

Blue Mountains folklore tells us that these flowers, which now line the highways and railway lines of the Blue Mountains, grow because someone was homesick for the annual display of colour back in their home country; so scattered seeds from a train as it made its way up the mountain.

Beautiful isn't it?
This summer, maybe because of the excessively wet season, they haven't been so abundant.

Teacup Tuesday

Johnson Bros Snowhite

There's nothing fancy about this trio.

I love its simplicity.

Turquoise is probably my favourite colour.

It belongs to my Daughter.

She purchased it from my favourite shop in Springwood...Frou Frou.

I'm not sure how old it is.

I'm  linking to Artful Affirmation's Tea Cup Tuesday and Matha's Favourites Tea Cup Tuesday too.  Congratulations Martha on being published!
Why don't you stop over and visit. You will find the most amazing tea cups imaginable.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Day 82/366

Sometimes, you just have to cook.

Cooking is not my forte. 
As a child, my mother didn’t teach me to cook.  Not really.
My mother’s forte wasn't cooking either.
I'm not saying we didn't eat well.
She cooked hearty meals, like grilled lamb chops with steamed (read boiled) vegetables and potato mash, lamb stew, minestrone or baked macaroni.
Lamb was cheap when I was growing up because it wasn't really lamb...more often than not it was hogget.
Fridays was ALWAYS fish with a salad.
Later in life Mummy became a bit more adventurous. She made pizza using ready made puff pastry sheets for the base. And fried rice.
Cakes and desserts were rarely cooked.
More often than not, if we were allowed dessert it was a bowl of vanilla ice cream, or sometimes Neapolitan ice cream, with canned fruit or Aeroplane jelly.
I loathe jelly!
My Mum’s favourite dessert recipe was to become trifle which was made from chopped up supermarket-bought sponge cake, chopped jelly (made from jelly crystals), custard (made from custard powder), and a hearty sprinkling of sweet sherry.
I hated the texture of the soppy sponge cake and rarely partook of this dish.
To this day, I cannot eat trifle, and unfortunately I lumped  tiramisu with trifle.
I helped cook - and cooked - many of the family meals when I was growing up as the eldest of seven children.  
Yet, I believe all I did was prepare food and then cook it. No recipes where used or needed. There was never anything creative about our meals nor did anyone go to any trouble to make them look appealing.
Then, in my third year of high school I left the Catholic all-girls college I was attending to go to a co-educational state school because my parents could no longer afford the fees.
When choosing my subjects at my new school I had no hesitation in choosing Home Economics as an elective subject. 
In fact I jumped at it.
I'd have to admit that it wasn't my creative side that encouraged me though.
I realise now that it was my scientific approach to life which steered me towards what was just another 'science' subject.
As a young child and teenager I was very analytical and what intrigued me about these classes was the chemical reactions that took place when preparing dishes.

How dry powdery substances transformed goo into edible blobs, or airy sweets, smooth gravies, and fluffy cakes intrigued me.
I performed well even though I had never made boiled Christmas cake, blancmange, toffee, sponge cake, or gravy-from-scratch.
I remember clearly when, in my higher school certificate exam I knew exactly which answer to choose to the multiple choice question which asked me to choose which substance looses its thickening qualities if burned, even though our teacher had never told us.  I simply imagined what happened to toast when it burned.
I learned how to make pikelets, Yorkshire puddings, sweet poached eggs, scrambled eggs on toast and choux pastry.
I threw blancmange balls to my friends when the teacher wasn’t looking; I forgot to put the one or two tablespoons of water into my perfectly airy sponge - the water that our teacher had insisted was necessary to make a perfect sponge. 
(I got top marks for my sponge but I never told my teacher I’d forgotten to add the water.)
In my final two years of high school, I dropped Home Economics because they were not qualifying as matriculation subjects and I took up Economics instead.
I did well in that subject too but Home Economics has stood me in good stead.
As a new mother living in what I now consider to have been a remote area of Sydney, with three children aged three and under I spent many of the long lonely hours cooking.
I bottled fruit, made jams, cooked cakes, and had welcoming meals ready for my Mr Honey Pie to come home to.
My three children joined me in the kitchen many a morning and there was flour dusted from one end of the kitchen bench to the other as well as from head to toe on each child.
I think, during those days, the most utilized kitchen utensil in our home was the flour sifter…a Nally’s brand which I still have in my cupboard today but which has been superseded by a boring plastic sieve.
Over the years I made chocolate eggs at Easter, fruit cakes at Christmas, decorated cakes for birthdays, taught myself how to cook Pavlova and chutneys and made all my pastry from scratch.
Scones were turned out with ease for morning and afternoon teas; apple tea cakes, cinnamon tea cakes, pineapple upside down cakes, all were the norm for my children’s after-school afternoon teas.
Anzac biscuits, cookies, chocolates, shortbread, coconut ice and jams were made as gifts when finances were short.
Last Easter, for the first time, I tried my hand at Figolli.  They were a huge hit.
But I still don’t like cooking.
My kids say to me: Mum you should go on Master Chef.
My reply: No way, I couldn’t think of anything worse!
The truth is I’d rather be creating something out of paper, or doing patchwork, or writing.
Last weekend I made a Pavlova for my brother in law's fifty first birthday.

What I hate most about cooking this dessert is the leftover egg yolks.
My normal practise is to decant said egg yolks into a bowl, cover, store in fridge and forget.
Around the two-weeks-later-mark, I throw said egg yolks into compost bin.
This time I was determined not to follow this usual routine; maybe because I didn't want to waste fresh produce obtained from this month's Crop & Swap.
Instead I googled recipes for using up egg yolks.
The one that appealed to me the most was for making Crumb Cake.
Looks yummy...I'm yet to taste test.
Find the recipe here.  I substituted gluten free flour for the wheat flour and added half teaspoon xanthan gum.  I used raw sugar instead of white sugar and for the filling: frozen berries and canned apricot halves...because this was all I had.

In my eagerness to use up as many of the yolks as I possibly could, I made a little too much custard.
So I decided to make a Crème Broulee.  
To the excess cream and egg yolk mix I stirred in two teaspoons of sugar and quarter teaspoon vanilla bean paste, strained and poured into a ramekin. 
I stood the ramekin in a dish of water and baked it in the oven with the Crumb Cake.
I might like to add, I have NEVER made Crème Broulee before - only eaten it! Nor have I ever looked at a recipe for Crème Broulee.

The result; AMAZING. I WILL be making this again - every time I make Pavlova!
My burnt toffee topping wasn't perfect, I'll have to admit, but then using raw sugar probably didn't help!
Now, I'm too scared to look at a recipe for Crème Broulee to see how it's properly done...I might be disappointed.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Day 74/366

Banksia Serrata.

This photograph is from January.
I have spent the day in bed.
I'm suspecting food allergy as a cause.
No photography today.
So as autumn draws in here is another reminder of summer.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Friday, 9 March 2012

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Day 68/366

Three Wicked Weeds of the West.
International Women's Day,
The Longest Blog Post.

On International Women's Day we remember the achievements made by women for women since the early part of the last century.
It seems appropriate that I should finish reading Fall of Giants just yesterday, a book that highlights womankind's struggles(and other struggles) before and during The First World War.  During that time, women in the United Kingdom won their right to vote, but how many of us know that only women who were over thirty years of age could actually vote, or, if they owned property; over twenty one years age.

Japanese Honeysuckle.


Morning Glory.

Since my bout of illness over Christmas and the new year my energy levels have remained low.  
My daily walks have suffered as a result and I can count my walking ventures since Christmas on one hand.
I have been having new treatments on my upper thoracic spine for some months now.
A Bowen Therapist moved into our area last year and I was prompted to visit her after noticing her new sign as I walked past her premises on my daily walks; when I was still capable of enjoying them.
Bowen Therapy helped initially and then things came to a standstill.
Kris then suggested introducing TRE or Trauma Release Exercises.
My first session of TRE went to plan but by the time I'd turned up for my second session I'd begun displaying symptoms of the influenza that would strike me down over the holidays.
My next session was delayed for many weeks and I've now had about four sessions of TRE with Kris.
Once again, initially, the results relieved a lot of the discomfort I've been feeling and now the altered sensations I've suffered from for decades have been transformed into pain.
I see this as progress.  With the pain I've also experienced a lot of stiffness in the affected area and I know that walking helps relieve this pain and stiffness.
So after the over night deluge I took a risk and donned by hooded rain jacket, pulled on two pairs of socks and zipped up my leather boots to go for a walk.
There is an enjoyable walk along a fire trail directly opposite our driveway which I avoid doing solo.  
There is a steep incline at both ends of the trail with road ballast gravel used to stop erosion but on which I've had a tumble down before.
There are many waterways carousing across the track and after heavy rain may mean turning back the way one came.

So I took a walk along the streets, pocketed Mr Honey Pie's point and shoot camera to see what I could find.
I'm not very happy with the shots taken today; there's lots I need to learn about the camera before there's any improvement in the photographs I take with it.  So be warned.  Most of the shots in today's post have been heavily edited!

Those of you visiting from the north of the equator might be surprised to find that some of your most loved flowers are considered weeds in Australia.
On my walk I encountered Honeysuckle.  I must admit; this is my most favourite weed.
It triggers some of my happiest childhood memories and if I could find an non-invasive variety I would include it in my mostly-native garden.
I love its fragrance and as children we would draw the stamens out at the base of the flower and suck up the nectar that would collect on the anthers.
Honeysuckle and Morning Glory grow over native vegetation and block out light.
Lantana is the weed I dislike the most.  It forms an impenetrable thicket and deprives native flora of scantly available nutrients.
Here is a link on weeds in the Blue Mountains which you may find useful or just plain interesting depending from which part of the world you're visiting.

Many of the streets in our village are named after native trees.

All this moisture and lack of sunlight has encouraged the growth of a variety of fungi.

Waterfalls have been created where waterfalls did not exist before.

Seventy five percent of our state is awash.

The past summer would have to be the wettest and coldest in my memory.

The long wet has caused plagues of some most undesirable creatures.
Inner Sydney has seen a plague of cockroaches and blood sucking leeches.  In fact most of the east coast is experiencing the leech plague.
Wagga Wagga is going through a most unusual phenomena which you can see pictures of here.
Mosquitoes and midges (sandflies) are other pesky creatures to be thriving beautifully in this unseasonable weather. 
Sales of clove bud oil I'm guessing have hit record highs as householders attempt to control growths of mould and mildew on everything from furniture to clothing.   

Lucky for me, not a drop of rain fell while I was out walking.  The wind picked up a bit and drew back some of the cloud, just enough to reveal a smidgen of blue.
Probably nothing more than a short respite before the next onslaught.

Comments Welcome

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