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, 20 February 2015

Kuramar Panorama

I bought an iPhone 6 Plus a couple of months ago and I just love it, but the thing I like the most about the phone is the camera.   One of the camera options is "Pano" and I have been practising taking photos with this option.  Here are a couple of panoramas that I took from my verandah.


For anyone that has been to our place you will notice that our pergola is now devoid of creeper.  We have had a white ant invasion and have had to treat the whole structure.  The joys of living in the tropics!

I also have an iPhone app called Camera+ that is simply amazing.  It gives me full manual control of my photographs and the images are saved in TIF format.  It is truly an exceptional app and one I advise any photography enthusiast to purchase.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Brazilian Hot Beef

Shortly after Philip and I were married in 1978 we meet a lovely couple from a neighbouring property who had migrated from Brazil.  We became firm friends and even though they moved away from the district we have still maintained our friendship.  We often had meals at each others place and I really loved how much they embraced their beef.   The Brazilians consume about four times the amount of beef per year than we do here in Australia and yet they are one of the healthiest nations on earth.  Food for thought.
When I was watching one of the cooking shows last week the chef made Brazilian Hot Beef.  It looked exactly the same as our friends use to make so I quickly jotted down the recipe and the next day I made it for lunch.  It was fantastic but of course it helps to have good quality grass fed beef as your main ingredient!  Our friends would have served this with Brazilian Rice but I served it with Broccolini, Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato. HERE is the recipe.



Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Eco Wipes

I'll let you into a secret.  I really dislike house cleaning.  But the thing I dislike more than house cleaning is not having a clean house.  The Virgo in me really likes my life to be organised and I have certain days to do certain things.  Monday bookwork, Tuesday Yoga and grocery shopping, Wednesday washing, Thursday Yoga and ironing and Friday is house cleaning.  Friday is the day I look forward to the least.
I try and find the quickest and easiest ways to clean the house and have found that disposable wipes are very good for a quick clean.  The only thing that has worried me is that they are not very eco friendly.  So when I found a post on Facebook about making your own wipes I was immediately interested.  The only thing I needed to buy was the essential oils....lavender, lemon and tea tree.     They cost $10 per bottle but as you only need a few drops of each one they will last  many months.  
I made the first mix last Friday for my cleaning day and the aroma was absolutely beautiful.  Even Philip commented on the smell.  I wiped down every surface in kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom and toilets.  My house smelt divine!  And the big win......the ants that I have had in plague proportions....have disappeared.  Apparently they dislike the smell of lemon.  Who would have guessed.
Anyway, for anyone interested, this is the mix.

2 cups distilled water (I simply boiled my rainwater)
1 cup white vinegar
5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
15 drops Lavender Essential Oil
6 wash cloths

Simply roll up the cloths and put them into a wide mouthed jar and pour over the mix.  How easy is that!  As you dirty the cloths just wash them and put them back into the jar straight from the washing machine.  Give them a go.  I'm sure you will be impressed.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Valentines Day Recap

Valentines Day has never meant all that much to Philip and I.  We don't really need a special day of the year to show each other how much we love each other, but that's just us.  Nevertheless, when we received a flyer in the mail advertising a Valentines Day special at our local tavern we were keen.


After yoga on Thursday, and over coffee, we all talked about Valentines Day and decided to book a table at the Tavern for 16.  If you are going to "do" Valentines Day what a nice way to do it....with friends.


Philip and I had already decided what we would choose from the menu for dinner.  First course Oysters Kilpatrick,  second course Crispy Skinned Salmon and for desert Philip chose the Chocolate Tart and I chose the Pannacotta.  The conversation around the table was lively as we waited for our first course to be brought out which didn't take long at all.


The oysters were fantastic....nice and plump and certainly not overcooked which can happen sometimes with Kilpatrick.  I had eaten all but one before I realised that I had not taken a photograph!

Next course was the Crispy Skinned Salmon, that to me was a disappointment.  The skin was certainly not crispy.  As I looked around the table a lot of us had removed the skin that was very soft.  I like my salmon to be slightly under done and to have a line of pink through the middle.  Unfortunately it was cooked for too long and was very dry.  The accompaniments, however, were delicious......Proscuitto wrapped asparagus with crispy potatoes and a delicious lemon chive sauce.  I could have had more of the sauce because it was very tasty.


Dessert was fabulous.  They looked beautiful on the plate and they did not disappoint in taste.  Philip and I, as usual, shared our desserts with each other and decided that they were a tie for flavour although I thought the chocolate coated extra large cherries and the peanut brittle on the plate beside the Chocolate Tart made it the winner.



It was a lovely night at the Highlander Tavern at Julatten but in fact good food with good company can never be bad.







Saturday, 14 February 2015

Cut Flowers

One of the greatest joys I get from my garden is wandering around and cutting flowers to bring inside. I am spoilt for choice at the moment.  Today I picked Thai Lillies, Spider Lillies, Day Lillies, Zinnias, Ixora, Rose of Sharon, the heavily scented Tuberose and some grass flowers.

So much beautiful colour
As I'm picking the flowers I am already planning how I will arrange them.  My latest "vases" have been a couple of crystal decanters.  They were given to us as wedding presents but have rarely been used. They make a great vase for a simple arrangement.

A different way to use a decanter.
I nearly always have flowers sitting on the ledge behind the sink and the zinnias look lovely in these small recycled bottles.


The Thai Lillies are a little harder to have in a vase due to their shape but this watering can makes any arrangement look great and is perfect for the lilies.


Lastly I have a big vase of flowers on the dining room table.  This time I have used the Ixora, Zinnia and Day lilies.  I have to be very careful where I place a vase with day lilies because they do drip and the resulting stain can be very hard to remove if they have been placed on bare timber.  I have placed the vase on a table runner just to be safe.


I am very lucky to have so much colour growing in my garden.







Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Giving the new Cookware a good workout!

I was invited to a Chefs Toolbox Masterclass Cooking demonstration in December.  Being an unabashed foodie I was excited! As soon as I walked in and saw the display of cookware I knew I was going to be hooked.  The demonstrator, Marie, cooked us a Risotto in the pressure cooker and then a sticky date pudding in the sauté pan.  The food was delicious but the non stick of the cookware was, for me, the winner.  I booked a party straight away.  I needed to replace my ageing cookware and this seemed a great way of doing it.  I ended up having a "virtual" party.  What this meant is that I took orders via internet and email and one very kind friend booked a follow-up party.  Because of this I was able to purchase one item for $15!  I chose the Wok with Steamer and lid.  I also purchased the sauté pan, grill pan and two different size saucepans.  From the first party I purchased a small frypan, a set of silicon spatulas and the wooden chopping board.  I am so pleased with all my purchases.  The cookware reminds me of Bessemer that was around when I was just a kid.  I believe my mother still has a Bessemer pan.  I think the non stick has probably worn off but other than that it is still in good order.
Today I cooked up Chicken with Fetta and Zucchini Noodles - recipe HERE.  The new sauté pan made it very easy and the best thing is.....no pot scrubbing after!  Chefs Toolbox recommend that you don't put the pot in the dishwasher and simply wipe over when you have finished cooking.  It works for me!
My friends party is in a couple of weeks time and I intend rounding off my collection with the stockpot and hopefully the set will last me for many years to come.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Weaning

It's that time of the year again when we begin to wean our calves from their (hopefully) pregnant mothers.  We are going to do two weanings in the next couple of months.  The first mob are the cows that we have decided to cull because of age, colour or conformation.  The calves are being weaned a little earlier because the prices that the meat works are offering for cows are at record highs.  We definitely made the right decision because the fourteen cows that we sold brought twice as much money as they did last year.  Thank goodness for small mercies!
The weaners that we have in the yards are extremely quiet.  Their mums were trucked out the day after the calves were weaned so we didn't have the usual racket of the cows calling to the calves and vice a versa.  This can cause many a sleepless night.
I took these photos yesterday and it shows how incredibly quiet they really are. They never moved a muscle while I took these photos.



Sunday, 8 February 2015

A week-end summary

Yesterday it started to rain.....heavy rain.  There have been places in the tropics that have measured over 250mm.  Here at "Kuramar" we have had about 120mm.  Beautiful, lovely soaking rain that has filled all the dams.  I found a new word on Facebook a couple of weeks ago....pluviophile.  It means a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.  I am most definitely a pluviophile and living here in Australia, one of the driest continents on earth, I would think that most Aussies are pluviophiles.
Raining Cats and Dogs!
Yesterday was the first photography group meeting for the year.  One of our members has a fabulous home at Rocky Point so we held our meeting there.  This month was mostly theory.  Our club mentor talked about the use of filters for certain situations and it was an interesting talk and I took a lot away from the meeting.

This morning we sat outside on the verandah and ate our breakfast to the wonderful sound of rain falling on the roof but by 9.30 am it had cleared enough for us to go to the Sheraton Mirage Country Club for a swim.

The garden is loving all this rain.
We love it there as it is usually quiet and we have the pool to ourselves, but not today.  There are five swim lanes and there was five of us there.  Not crowded by any stretch of the imagination but still not the quietness we usually enjoy!
After our swim we had coffee and muffin at a new coffee shop in Port.....Betty's Bohemian Beach Cafe.  It is a lovely little cafe and one that we will certainly re-visit.  We were home by midday and have now had lunch and are ready to sit down and watch a movie.  A perfect way to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon.






















Thursday, 5 February 2015

This and That

Gee it's been hot.  I know it is the middle of summer but usually we have the rain to cool things down a little.  This has not been happening as often as we would like but we have had grass growing rain. When you drive through a paddock the grass is higher than the quad bike!  The dams are not full yet as there has not been any of the really large falls of rain that would normally fill the dams.  I was talking to an older farmer the other day and he says the same thing as Philip.  The seasons are going back to what they used to be.  The "wet season" was always February/March not December/January as we have come to expect over the past few years.
I have been a bit slack on the photo-taking also.  Since I bought the iPhone 6 Plus I have been using it for most of my photography.  The photos are really good and with the addition of a little app called Genius+ I also have the capability of complete manual control of my iPhone camera.  To get back my photography mojo I have joined a Flickr group that my DIL administers.  It is called "52 weeks with Camera Chick" and the idea is to submit your best photo every week for 52 weeks.  I have already submitted my first photo for Week 5.  What do you think?


I have been picking the spider lilies and bringing them inside to admire.  To me they are a fascinating plant with their large "spider-like" stamen.  I have also been picking the zinnias.  They continue to flower and I really would have thought that they would be finished by now but they are even self-germinating in our very fertile garden.....thanks again to my wonderful gardener!


There have been some amazing sunsets lately and the most glorious of all was just a few days ago.  Guess what?  I MISSED IT!  I was making Rosella Jam and completely missed it!  I was so disappointed that Philip and I have decided that we will endeavour to sit outside and enjoy every sunset from now on.  The locals call it "Sundowners" when you sit outside with a drink and nibbles and watch the sun go down.  So there you go.  You may just get some amazing sunset photos over the next few weeks.......or not...


We have changed our eating habits over the past six months or so.  We now eat our main meal for lunch and dinner is only a snack.  Philip has found that it helps his digestion and the amazing thing is that we have both lost weight without trying.  I guess it's because it is almost a "fast".   For lunch today I tried a new recipe by the New Zealand cook Annabel Langbein.  I wish one of the TV channels would broadcast her cooking shows.  I love her style of cooking and have several of her cookbooks.  This one was called "Sensational Spinach Pie" and it was delicious.  I served it with some smoked salmon and a salad on the side.  Yummy but not the lowest in calories!   Here is the link to the recipe.


Well that's a wrap for "This and That".  Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A bit belated.

I wrote a post early in December 2014 about the Photo Club awards night.  Belatedly, I have received a photo of Philip and I that was taken by one of our tutors.  We don't have many photos of the two of us as I am usually behind the camera but I thought this one was quite nice.