Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Love Of Life

A little bit of a change of pace today for my blog. It is supposed to be my gardening blog day, but I have lost the motivation to garden as I have had a little bit of bad news...

I popped in to visit my Dad who is in a nursing home and noticed his friend of 30 years wasn't in his room. I mentioned this to Dad, but he said that he had a virus. I wished him well and thought nothing more of it.

I left the nursing home after lunch and headed into Mildura to finish some shopping. Coincidentally, I bumped into his daughter in the city and she said that her Dad was in fact suffering from cancer and the out come is very dim. It was such a shock. He was the healthy one, putting the bib at lunch onto my father. At first, it was thought to be a virus...

I came home and reflected on my life and how lucky I am. I am very grateful for my precious life and I think now I'll wander out into the garden and water my Capital Pears as they are a little wilted...just like me at the moment.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spinning and Walking

I am really enjoying the spin classes I am doing and I can really see the improvement in my fitness levels. I am now riding over 20 kilometres in the session which is a vast improvement when I started 18 months ago.

Peter Mills Body Business gym is a small boutique type gym but Peter is a wonderful teacher and is very generous with his time and experience. All the bikes are full each session and often there is a waiting list, which is a testament to Peter's skill of teaching.

Our riding groups on Friday and Sunday are also organized by Pete and they are always fun. Although last Friday, a little more excitement that what we had planned for when Peter had a fall and has broken two ribs. He will be sidelined for a few weeks, but no doubt he will mentor us from the sidelines.

As a training session for the Great Vic Bike ride, our group is entering the Port to Port charity race from Mildura to Echuca. I think this ride will test us out, but we all need to do some longer rides. I will report on this a bit more as we get a bit closer to the date.

Now that daylight saving has started I decided to also get up earlier and walk every morning. A friend decided she would like to walk also, so this morning we set out for a 3/4 hour walk around our Gol Gol neighbourhood area. Gol Gol is such a pretty area being right on the Murray River and at 7 a.m it is very pleasant.

Tomorrow morning I think I will take Diesel with me, as I think he could do with some extra exercise being a Labrador.

All this increased fitness activity has to help me with the big ride, we will have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hard Work Begins

David ( long suffering husband) has a week's holiday, so with garden plan in hand, we are standing out the front garden ready to tackle the next job. The first job was to build a retaining wall to form a large garden bed where there was a fall in the land.

Rather than remove the dirt and have a level surface, our garden planner Margot thought it best to work with the lay of the land and have the retaining wall garden. The wall looks great finished and certainly creates a lovely front garden feature. Can't wait to see it filled with plants.

This garden bed will be filled with a Murraya Paniculata hedge bordering the neighbours boundary, 5 ornamental Capital Pears, then roses and Nepeta "Walkers Blue" spilling over the wall. With the retaining wall finished, it was time to start putting in the watering system. When the watering system is finished all the garden will be under drippers, that will come on automatically during the night.

David took 2 days to complete this, but I was finally able to plant the Pear trees. David started to lay out the plan for the rest of the garden and put edges around some garden beds, but his week off has gone quickly.

There is a lot more infrastructure to be done before I can start planting, but the job has started and will continue for weeks to come.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cooking for Family

I enjoy cooking and I really miss that I haven't the family around these days to cook for. When they are all home I just love it. So when my sister asked me to do some cooking for my nephews 21st, I was only too glad too. Sam's 21st was in Adelaide, so I decided to make some gourmet sausage rolls, freeze them and then transport them over there. I made about 150 of them, using two different recipes.

Saucy Beef Sausage Rolls
3 sheets ready rolled puff pastry.
2 eggs.
1 onion.
1 to 2 crushed garlic.
20g butter.
750g lean beef mince.
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley.
3 tablespoons plain flour.
3 tablespoons tomato sauce.
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire and soy sauces.
2 teaspoons of ground allspice.

Preheat the oven to 200deg Cel.

Cook chopped onion and crushed garlic in butter until the onion is softened.
Mix beef mince and the softened onion with all the other ingredients till well mixed.

Cut the pastry sheets in half and lightly brush the edges with the beaten egg.
Divide mixture into six even portions. Pipe or spoons the filling down the centre of each piece of pastry. Fold the pastry over the filling, over lapping the edges and placing the join underneath. Brush the rolls with more egg, then cut each into 6 short pieces.

Cut small slashes on top of each roll and place on lightly greased baking trays and bake for 15 minutes then reduce the oven to 180 deg Cel for another 15 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Chutney Chicken Sausage Rolls

3 sheets ready rolled puff pastry.
2 eggs.
750g chicken mince.
4 finely chopped spring onions.
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs.
1 finely grated carrot.
2 Tablespoons fruit chutney ( I used fig chutney)
1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce.
1 tablespoon of grated ginger.
Sprinkle the pastry with sesame seeds after glazing and before baking.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and continue on with the method from the saucy beef sausage rolls.

Then enjoy. These different varieties are just that bit nicer for a celebration.

Then Sam had a special request for a wafer slice that I have been making for years.

Chocolate Wafer Slice.

1Packet Tisler Wafers.
250 g unsalted butter.
250g dark cooking chocolate.
1 can condensed milk.

Heat over water the unsalted butter and chocolate. When melted mix the condensed milk in and stir well till combined.

The packet of wafers has 5 sheets. Place one sheet onto a board and spoon several large spoonfuls onto the sheet and spread evenly. Continue with all the sheets ending with a top sheet. I place an oven tray on top then put weights on and into the fridge to set.

When you cut the slice, cut it on the diagonal for a nicer look.

It is very yummy.

We had a wonderful weekend in Adelaide celebrating Sam's 21st. The food survived the trip and combined well with all the other finger food served on the night. Our boys travelled from Western Australia and our daughter from Melbourne so it was a lovely family time.