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.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Cooking Class at Candy Cafe

My friend Kate and I have been going to the Cairns Cooking School classes held at Candy Cafe in Cairns.  They have been good but not as good as the Spirit House cooking school.  Spirit House was a more hands on class with participants preparing everything from scratch.  You can read about Spirit House HERE.

The CCS classes have all the ingredients pre-prepared for you so it really is only a matter of throwing it all together.  However, the recipes we have made have been very delicious and the recipes from the class we went to this month are definitely "keepers".  A bonus is that participants are given a glass of wine while cooking each course because everybody knows that one must have a glass of wine whilst preparing meals!

Our work spaces are very well laid out with each participant having their own single burner and all the utensils needed for the recipes.


The first course was Roast Chicken, Rocket and Rockmelon Salad


Second course was Peppered Pork Cutlet with Lime Wasabi Risotto


And the last course was Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Lychee Lime and Strawberry Compote.




Thursday, 27 November 2014

Lunch Paleo Style

If you ever get a chance to visit one of the Paleo Cafe's you really must do so.  The one in Cairns is the original cafe and it is owned and operated by Marlies Hobbs.  She turned to the Paleo way of eating after the birth of her dairy-intolerant son.

Paleo itself is a new word for a way of eating that we have always embraced.  Living on a remote cattle station in the north west of Queensland, with the nearest "fast food" being more than a six hour round trip and the local supermarket an hour and a half round trip, meant that I had to, out of necessity, become a proficient cook able to use whatever was in the pantry, fridge or freezer at the time. Our diet consisted of grass feed meat, fresh fruit and vegetables.  No preservative packed food for us.  I did have a reasonable vegetable garden but had most success with herbs.  Anyway, I am once again off subject!

You may recall in an earlier post I mentioned that I had a Kale overload.  Well I found a recipe in the Paleo Cafe recipe book for a Zucchini and Kale Frittata with Capsicum Chilli Jam.  It was so very delicious and took no time to cook for lunch.  I added a few chicken wings so that I was getting protein and all in all I think it was a very well balanced meal.

Lunch Paleo Style:  Zucchini and Kale Frittata, Capsicum and Chilli Jam and Chicken Wings.


ZUCCHINI AND KALE FRITTATA

Ingredients:
½ tsp ghee
1 cup- kale leaves, stems removed and finely shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 ½ zucchinis, peeled and grated
1 spring onion, sliced
7 eggs, beaten
5 tabsp almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
2 ½ tabsp coconut flour
Salt and Pepper

Method:
Heat the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the kale and cook for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted.  Transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl with the carrot, zucchini and spring onion and mix well to combine.  Add the eggs, almond meal, baking powder, coconut flour, salt and pepper and mix well until a batter forms.

Pour the batter into a baking dish lined with greaseproof paper and cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until firm and the top is golden brown.
Mix all the ingredients together.

And pour into dish and bake for 15-20 mins.


The recipe says to serve with Chilli Capsicum Jam and I am glad I made the effort because it was super easy and so very tasty.


CHILLI CAPSICUM JAM

Ingredients:
1 large red capsicum, deseeded and sliced
½ red onion, sliced           
½ long red chilli, sliced
75ml apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 star anise
1 cardamom pod
25ml water

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring regularly.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until capsicum is soft and mixture is thick and sticky.

Chilli Capsicum Jam cooking down.




Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I've got a Christmas feeling!

Yesterday I decided it was time to make a christmas cake.  I found a great recipe on Baby Mac's blog and you can read it HERE.  Beth's Grandma Dot gave here the recipe so it has to be good right?
So far so good.  I did cut the cooking time back to two hours as I like a bit of moisture in a christmas cake but the smell is divine and it is now wrapped up in a towel and sitting in a cupboard to develop all the flavours.  In a week or so I will transfer it to another container.

Straight out of the oven..
On Saturday I made my way to Yungaburra Markets.  At 6am my friends from Mossman arrived and we were at the markets before 8am.  They are really great markets and not as commercial as I had been told.  I picked up white agapanthas that my gardener wants to use to edge a garden bed, some delicious "quince" paste, baby onions straight out of the garden and a plum pudding!
Doesn't this sound delicious.  It will be perfect on a cheese platter.

I tasted this plum pudding before I bought it and it really is good. 
We spent a few hours at the markets and wandering through the village.  We watched the bikers leave Yungaburra for their annual christmas ride.  They apparently donate a lot of money from this ride to kids in need.  On our way to Yungaburra we had decided that we would have lunch back in Mareeba at Coffee Works.  This was a good decision as we found out that we had to be out of Yungaburra by 12.30pm as the roads were going to be closed for a local triathlon.
This was my first visit to Coffee Works and it won't be my last.  The steak sandwich that I washed down with an Iced Coffee was very tasty with the steak literally melting in the mouth.  After lunch we wandered around the gift shop where I was able to pick up a few "stocking" fillers.
It really was a lovely day spent with good friends and we have all agreed that we will do it again in the new year.



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Spring Garden

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The best thing that we have ever done is employ a gardener.  In just 18 months she has transformed the garden from a rambling mess to one of beauty.  We get so much joy from wandering around the garden each afternoon doing a little wedding and watering.

Thanks to thoughtful planting by our gardener in winter, we now have a kaleidoscope of colour this spring.  Love love love the red zinnias!

The yellow day lilies, red zinnias and agapanthus
 
After a big prune in August the roses are repaying us tenfold.

The jade vine has started flowering again.  The flowers are not as long as the early spring but are still quite spectacular.

My Cottage Garden (sort of!)

The orange tree has already started producing fruit that will be ready for picking next year.

The red zinnias are a stand-out in the garden.

I have so much kale growing that I was able to add it to this flower arrangement.

Decided to bring some of the orchids inside.  I have them planted all around the garden and they are spectacular.

Friday, 14 November 2014

I've been busy!

But that should not be an excuse for not writing on my blog for over three weeks!
So, what have we been up to the past couple of weeks.  Our life is quite busy and mostly our own doing because we don't like missing out on anything!  After all......


Unfortunately though we had to drive to Julia Creek to farewell our friend Jenny Woodhouse.  We are still finding it hard to come to grips with the fact that somebody who was so loved and who gave so much love ended her life so abruptly.  The only way I can deal with this is to keep telling myself that depression is unfortunately, in a lot of cases, an incurable disease.  Goodbye Jen.  We will miss you dearly.
The trip to Julia Creek was a very quick two day turnaround as we had two birthday parties to go to on the first weekend in November.  The first party was at NuNu's in Palm Cove and the second was at Kuranda.  We had a great time as we always do with our friends.  How amazing is it that we have picked up our friendship after not seeing much of each other for more than twenty years!  
Last weekend we made our way to Cooktown for the Cooktown Races.  Gee, what a great weekend that was.  We all arrived in dribs and drabs on the Friday and stayed until Sunday.  There were eight of us all together and we had a lovely time catching up with all our news.  The races were great but we are not gamblers. Consequently our $2.50 each way bets did not bring us any great windfall!  
We had dinner at 1770 Restaurant after the races and boy oh boy, was that food good!  I would recommend it to anyone travelling to Cooktown.  We all stayed at the Seaview Motel that I also highly recommend. The owners are very friendly and there is a lovely area adjacent to the pool for enjoying a drink (or two).  
This week Philips mum has been visiting.  She won't mind me saying, because she would agree, that she is a "car dog" so we go for lots of drives while she is here.  She loves travelling!  This week I have also been in the process of moving my office to the under-utilised room downstairs.  This has not been as easy as I would have thought and entailed the employment of our local electrician to install more power points and telephone lines.  
We also had the butcher arrive earlier this week to do our christmas killer.  The meat is now hanging in the coldroom for tender-stretching before the butcher returns on Sunday to cut it all up.  This takes all morning but it is good to have a freezer of beef heading into the Christmas period.
Wheewww.  It really has been a busy time!