JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

I am fifty something and I love my family and the life I live. I'm an optimistic person by nature and I try to find a positive for every negative. I'm not a vegetarian, but the animal I eat is. I enjoy cooking, photography and scrapbooking. Since living here I have become a gardener and take immense joy in the beauty of my garden. My husband and I feel that we are the caretakers of the land rather than land owners. We run a grass fed Droughtmaster Stud on our little piece of Paradise and the cattle are a never ending supply of photo opportunities.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A week in the life of us....

It's been a busy but exciting week.  We have Marco visiting us for a week so we have been lining up the jobs that Philip finds difficult to do by himself.  First job was branding the calves.

We had some friends visit us for the branding as the daughter would like to become a jillaroo so it was good experience for her.   I think at the end of the visit we had talked her into becoming a governess/jillaroo that would probably suit her better and if she really loved the jillaroo side she could then pursue that course.  Jillarooing in the outback is extremely difficult and extremely long days with a punishing climate.

Before Marco arrived, Trudi and Philip were busy collecting manure from the paddock and spreading it around the garden.  It is a cheap fertiliser and so beneficial for the garden.

The garden is looking lovely at the moment and we have been surprised at how long the snapdragons have hung on.  They flowered all through the winter months but have been even better during spring. The colour of this one is amazing and I have filled many vases with them.

And check out the size of this sweet potato.  It is huge and would not be good eating so I will let it sprout and replant it for the next crop.

It is cane season from May through till December and from all accounts it is going to be a bumper harvest.  It means very little to me except that I always have to add fifteen minutes on to my drive down the range because it is inevitable that I will get caught behind a truck hauling cane or a cane train crossing the highway.

Philip and I enjoyed a delicious brunch at Hi-Tide Restaurant in Port Douglas last weekend.  I ordered the Croque Madame and Philip ordered the specialty omelet.  They were delicious and we intend returning to try more of the meals from their extensive menu.

That's a wrap for this week.  Take care xx.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


Today I am reviewing Jamie Olivers 20th cookbook - "5 Ingredients".  I ordered Jamie's latest cookbook from Booktopia last week and as it was coming from the UK I thought it would take a couple of weeks to arrive.  What a lovely surprise to find that it took just one week!

I am always excited when I open a new cookbook and I religiously read every single recipe in the book from front cover to back cover.  I make a mental note of the recipes and any that grab my attention are added to my menu planner.  I use the Paprika app on my phone for this.
Philip says that I have an addiction to cookbooks, and I would have to agree with him although I remind him that he benefits from my addiction!
I have purchased 100's of recipe books over the years but I do go through them every year and relinquish the ones that have no further use.  These go to Lifeline.  I remember my first ever cookbook.  It was the Australian Womens Weekly COOKBOOK given to me by my mum in 1977!  Forty Years Ago! As you can see it is a bit the worse for wear but I still refer to it for many recipes.

The Womens Weekly went on to publish many more cookbooks, and I think I purchased most of them.  I have just given away my most used.....the Birthday Cake cookbook.  I think most mum's across Australia would be familiar with that one.
But, getting back to Jamie Olivers latest, I think it is one of his very best.  Over the years I have cooked plenty of very complicated recipes, some taking days to prepare and cook, but as I am ageing I want less complication and this cookbook is just for me.
Today I made Smoky Chorizo Salmon.  Five ingredients - salmon, chorizo, basil, cherry tomatoes and olives. It was such a simple recipe and from beginning to end took me about ten minutes.  The recipe serves 2 and I wish more cookbooks would consider this option in their recipes as it is easier to multiply ingredients than it is to halve them!

Here is the recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients Cookbook.


2 x 150g salmon fillets, skin on
300g ripe cherry tomatoes
4 sprigs of fresh basil
8 black olives
30g chorizo

Put the salmon flesh side down on a large cold non-stick frying pan and place on a medium high heat.  As the pan comes up to temperature and the salmon begins to sizzle (about 3 minutes), flip it over and cook on the skin side for 5 minutes, or until very crisp and just cooked.
Meanwhile, halve the cherry tomatoes, tear up most of the basil leaves, them toss it all with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and black pepper.  Chop the olives very finely and mix with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a splash of water.
Finely slice the chorizo and add to the pan for the last 2 minutes, then toss in the dressed tomatoes for 30 seconds.  Divide between your plates, with the salmon on top.  Spoon over the dressed olives and pick over the remaining basil.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Last Day in Bali

There was a couple of things we wanted to do on our last day. We wanted to have lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and our friends wanted to visit Kuta Beach markets.  Fortunately Hard Rock Cafe was on Kuta Beach!
Kuta Beach

Our driver, Gus, picked us up from our Villas at 10.00 am and as the traffic was bearable at that time of the day we arrived at Kuta Beach at 10.30 am.  We passed by the memorial for the victims of the Sari Club bombing and were saddened by the number of names.  202 were killed on that fateful day in 2002.
The Bali Bombing Memorial
Gus dropped off at the entrance to the shopping precinct and we walked the streets purchasing odds and end before finally making our way to the markets.
These offerings to the gods are placed outside each shop each morning.  You have to be careful not to trip over them!

The markets are like all the others we have seen around the world.  You dare not look at the wares because the minute you do you are pounced on to buy.  "Missus, missus....You Like.....You buy....Good Price"
I was pleased to leave the markets but not after buying a lovely white linen table runner and placemats.  The set cost me about $20 AU that was quite the bargain.
After the markets we walked the short distance the Hard Rock Cafe.  This has become a bit of a tradition for Philip and I and it is interesting to see the slight menu differences around the world.  Today I ordered the satay's that are a typical Balinese dish but are not on a Hard Rock Cafe "set" menu.  Hard Rock Cafe takes pride in including dishes from the country where they are located.
This particular Hard Rock Cafe was situated right on Kuta Beach and probably because of the location it was the most expensive meal we had eaten!

It has become a tradition to order the onion rings at Hard Rock Cafe.  They are always delicious.

Kuta Beach

That's what I call loaded.  Seatbelts are obviously not compulsory
After lunch it was back to the villas to packs our suitcases to ready ourselves for our return flights back to Australia. We had asked for a late check-out as our friends flight left at 10.30pm and our
flight was at 1.20am!  Such a ridiculous hour to travel.
Our flight home went without a hitch and surprisingly I slept for almost the whole 4.5 hour flight.
Bali was interesting and it was so nice to feel the love for my birthday week celebration.  Would we go back?  Maybe.... but not to Seminyak.  Perhaps to Candi Dasa.  We'll see.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Bali Day 6

The men and women were going two different directions today.  The men wanted to check out the Enfield motorbike shop and the women wanted to sip cocktails by the ocean, and three of us had massages booked for the afternoon.  As it was our last night in Seminyak, we also booked a table at Char Char Restaurant on the recommendation of our driver, Gus.  And so the day was planned.
We (the girls) travelled by taxi to Canggu Beach where our young friend rents a room (including bathroom toilet and kitchenette) for the princely sum of $250 per month.  She works in the mining industry, based in Darwin, on a two weeks on two weeks off roster, so on her weeks off she flies to Bali.  It is a very cheap flight from Darwin to Bali.
Our first stop was at her unit and I must say for the price she is paying it is very good.  The units overlook a pandanus plantation that gives the place a rural feel and yet the units are quite close to the ocean.

View from the unit

Our friends unit is upstairs
Next stop for us was at Canggu Beach. This beach is so much nicer than Seminyak and I can understand why the young crowd has migrated to this area.   There didn't appear to be any of the locals, trying to sell you there wares, like there is at Seminyak and it's not nearly as crowded.  It is a nice area.

After we had wandered around, looking very much the tourists, we made our way to one of the local restaurants to order our Brunch and of course, the obligatory cocktails.  Espresso Martini's all around!

Lunch was very delicious and so much cheaper than Seminyak, that really isn't expensive either.  In fact all our meals have been very well priced in Bali.  I ordered Lamb Quesadilla's that were very tasty with just the right amount of heat.

After lunch it was back to the villas for our afternoon massages.  Pure bliss.  It was my second massage and after my massage my masseur ran me a bath that was filled with essential oils and left me to soak it up.  It was fabulous.
We all met up later in the evening to walk the short distance to Char Char Restaurant.  It is a fairly new addition to the Seminyak restaurant district and certainly lived up to its reputation.  Before our meal, we were escorted to a tiered seating area where we ordered cocktails.  The area looks straight onto the road and is a perfect "people watching" spot.

Surprise, surprise the meal was once again delicious.  No photos of the meal but most of us ordered seafood dishes.  Some of the choices around the table were Peppered Crab, Soft Shell Crab, Whole fish with spicy dressing.  All were very good choices.
After the meal we walked back to the Villas and sat around drinking the last of the alcohol that we had purchased duty free.  We were all rather tiddily by the end of the evening but it was an enjoyable end to the last night in Bali.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Bali Day 5

Gee the days are flying by, as it always does on holidays.  Our friends wanted to show us today where they normally stay when they come to Bali.  After a slight delay with our driver we were on our way by 9.30 am to head to the seaside town on the east coast of Bali called Candi Dasa (The "Ca" is pronounced "Ch").
The place is a divers delight but snorkelling would also be easy here.  We very much enjoyed Candi Dasa and if we come back to Bali this is where we would stay.  There are many beautiful villas dotting the shoreline and most sleep up to 12 and come with your own driver and chef.

Candi Dasa

Candi Dasa main street.  Such a difference to the streets we have been driving around!
Once again, leaving Seminyak, the traffic was horrible.  There really does not seem any rhyme nor reason to the traffic flow.  White lines on the road are ignored and I honestly don't know why there are not more accidents.
The streets of Denpassar
It was a very pleasant change to finally leave the traffic behind and head into the more rural parts of Bali. The little island is becoming very commercialised and overpopulated and I have to wonder if the rural areas are going to be gobbled up in the next few decades.  We passed rice paddies where it is usual to see the women work the fields while the men just seem to oversee the operation.  We passed many roadside stalls selling everything from fruit and vegetables to hand carved wood.  There are also lots of Warungs (small family run restaurant) where it seems most people eat.
Rural Bali
We asked our driver, who is Hindu, what the religious percentages were in Bali.  He thought 80% Hindu, 10% Christian and 10% Muslim.  We passed a Hindu Ceremony but we couldn't work out what our driver was calling it.
Hindu Ceremony
By the time we arrived at Candi Dasa it was lunch so we went into a lovely restaurant by the name of Vincent's and placed our order.  Our friends had eaten here before and the food, once again, was delicious.  Boy, am I going to have to walk off the kilo's when I get home!
 Crab Ravioli (Phillips entree)

Sirloin Steak (Philips main)

Lunch at Vincent's 
After lunch it was back into the car for the return trip to Seminyak where we met up with more friends.  Tonights dinner was Italian but I decided to not go as I wanted to get an early night to try and shake off the head cold that I had picked up.
It must have been a great night however, as when Philip arrived home, slightly inebriated, he told me that he had eaten the best "Terracotta" ever!!  Perhaps it is a new dish.... a cross between a Tirimisu and Panacotta. 😂

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bali Day 4

Today was a day of rest.....sort of.  We all had different things we wanted to do.  I had a massage booked for the afternoon and our friends wanted to hire a scooter and zip around the shops.  Very courageous of them!  But first Philip and I decided that we needed to have a morning on the beach, after all, isn't that why most people come to Bali?  It was about a 20 minute walk from our villa but the walk felt very good.  Once we arrived on Seminyak beach we hired lounge chairs and umbrella and set ourselves up for a relaxing time.  However that was not to be as you are constantly harassed by the locals trying to sell you their trashy mass produced products.  We dived into the ocean quite a few times just to be rid of them before finally packing up and heading back to the peace and calm of our villa.
We joined up with our friends for lunch at Kilo Kitchen and made plans to meet at 4.00 pm to head to Single Fin Bar at Ulawatu.  We should have left much earlier because the place was jam packed with Generation Z.  Those born after 1990.  As our group are all Baby Boomers you can imagine how out of place we were!
Still, the reason we were there was to watch the amazing sunset over Ulawatu and amazing it was.  It was terribly difficult to get photos, you know, because of the crowd, but I did manage to push my way in for a couple of photos.
As for the friend that recommended this place to us, you are no longer our friend.  Haahaaahaa!

Bali Day 3

We started our day nice and early with a trip to Ubud on the agenda.  We had organised a car and driver the day before on a recommendation by a friend and it was a good idea. Our drivers name was Gus and he was a bit of a character.  He certainly knew his was around Bali and took us on many "short cuts" .  Some alleyways were barely wide enough for a car and it was quite tricky when you met a car coming the opposite direction.
Street Scene
We had a few destinations in mind at Ubud.....the gold and silver, woodwork, and artwork shops.  First stop was the gold and silver factory.  There was so much to choose from that it was almost overwhelming.  I finally settled on a lovely fish that had been cleverly shaped from a mother of pearl shell with lots of silver embellishment only to find that the price was $2,500 AU!!!  I didn't buy it.
Next stop was the art gallery.  Gosh, once again, the number of paintings was enormous.  Rooms, many many rooms were chock full of wonderful art.  Our friends chose an abstract and we chose an interesting mixed media buddha oil painting that I hope will look lovely on the wall in our bedroom.
Not as much to chose from at the woodwork shop but we found it interesting to watch the men sitting outside the shop carving intricate pieces.
Inside the art gallery

By this time we were looking forward to lunch so our driver found us a traditional Balinese restaurant overlooking the rice paddies.  The meals were delicious and cheap.  I chose the sate sticks and I loved the presentation on the charcoal burner.
Lunch overlooking the rice paddies

After lunch it was time to visit the monkeys, of which I am not a great fan.  They are quite aggressive and there were lots of uniformed men standing around, with large sticks in their hands, to fend off any that came too close.

Our last visit was to the place where you can taste the infamous Luwak coffee, or cat poop coffee.  I couldn't bring myself to try it but the men did.  Here is a description of the coffee from Wikipedia:

The luak, that's a small catlike animal, gorges after dark on the most ripe coffee beans, the best of our crop. It digests the fruit and expels the beans, which our farm people collect, wash, and roast, a real delicacy. Something about the natural fermentation that occurs in the luak's stomach seems to make the difference. For Javanese, this is the best of all coffees—our Kopi luak.
After our coffee tasting it was back into the car for our return journey to Seminyak.  As it was quite late we made our way to Kilo Restaurant to enjoy the meal that was included in our accomodation package.  We chose to share the pork spare ribs and they were the most tender I have ever eaten.  

It had been a long day and we were, once again, in bed quite early vowing that tomorrow would be a day of rest.
Our humble abode.  Namaste