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.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Laura Campdraft, Races and Rodeo

Last year our friends from Mossman were telling us about their trip to Laura for the annual camp draft, rodeo and races.  They loved it and we all decided that we would go in 2015.
For those that don't know where Laura is, it is about a three hour drive from our place at Julatten.  Laura is a small town with a population of about 120 and is north of Lakeland in Cook Shire, North Queensland.  It is on the only road north towards the tip of Cape York Peninsular and is the centre for the largest collection of prehistoric rock art in the world.
In order for us to get the best camp spot, our friends drove to Laura on Thursday and we did without a doubt, get the best spot.  We had a huge mango tree on one side of us that gave us beautiful shade in the afternoon and we were camped right on the race track, well,  as close as we were allowed which was about five metres from the rail!  We did have a rowdy young mob camp to the other side of us and the police were called to them Friday night at about 1pm to ask them to turn off the music but other than that the camp was perfect.  The rowdy young mob turned out to be from Mossman and one of them did come and apologise to us for the noise.  Saturday night they were as quiet as lambs!
Friday and Saturday morning is the camp draft and barrel races and Saturday afternoon is the races.  Saturday night sees the bull ride under lights and then all day Sunday is the Rodeo.
We enjoyed the weekend very much and will be back in 2016 although next year we will arrive on Wednesday and leave on Monday morning.   We both love the rodeo and it was a shame to only see half of it on Sunday.
Some photos:

The "Tardis" 

Our lunch stop was at the entrance to somebody's property.  We had a chuckle at the sign beside the tree.  Really?  Do people really use his gateway for their toilet stop?

Laura Campdraft

Our camp.  Just visible on the right is the branch of a giant mango tree.

Campsites are all along the racetrack where campers gather to watch the races if you don't feel like getting glammed up!

 


And at the end of the day......nothing better than a campfire to tell yarns around

Bull ride action

Saddle Bronc 

Young fellow cheering his mates

Well that's one way to dismount from a bucking bronc!

And there is always the inevitable cowboy that gets his hand caught in the bull ride as he comes off.







Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I know, it sounds weird but in my quest to find uses for the excess of zucchini I stumbled across this cake recipe.....a CHOCOLATE cake recipe!
The first thing that struck me was that it was low carb (sugar) and secondly it was (almost) paleo.  The frosting recipe I adapted slightly because I don't keep almond milk in the pantry.  Instead I used organic whole cream milk.  The recipe called for Stevia that can be purchased at any supermarket these days.  The sweetness of stevia comes from the leaves of the plant making it also a healthy choice.  I didn't have enough stevia for the frosting so I used coconut sugar that I absolutely love.
The cake is beautifully moist from the addition of the zucchini and so delicious.  The cake is not overly sweet so the frosting is just what the cake needs for that little hit of sweetness.  You can enjoy this cake because it is low sugar and healthy!

So here is the recipe.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
from www.lowcarbyum.com

Cake:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cacoa
1/2 cup Stevia Sweetener
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups zucchini, shredded and drained

Pecan Coconut Frosting:
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup sweetener (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method:
Stir together coconut flour, cacoa, sweetener, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Mix in eggs, coconut oil and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in zucchini.
Pour mixture into greased pan (I used a springform)
Bake at 180 degrees celsius for about 40 minutes or until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.

Frosting:
Combine milk, sweetener, egg yolk and butter in a saucepan.  Heat over medium heat.  When bubbles form, sprinkle in xantham gum. Continue heating until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans.
Spread mixture over cooled cake.



Sunday, 21 June 2015

A bountiful supply of Zucchini.

The gardener has built another vegetable garden, this one up against the cattle yards.  It is probably the best possible spot for a vegetable garden.  The cattle yards are slightly uphill from the garden so when it rains we get all the beautiful run-off of liquid manure!



Trudi has planted cucumber, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potato, pumpkin and zucchini.  All of these plants require minimum water but a lot of space.  The zucchinis are huge plants and we have three of them.  You can imagine how many zucchini's they produce!




Tomorrow morning I am going to get up early and harvest the zucchini flowers.  I will stuff them with a ricotta mixture for our lunch and will let you know how they go.  But for today I made a Beef and Zucchini Lasagne.  This recipe was once again from "Clean Living Fast Food".  You can purchase the cookbook HERE.  The zucchini takes the place of the usual lasagne sheets and it is very delicious without the calories.  So here is the recipe.

BEEF AND ZUCCHINI LASAGNE

2 tablespoons coconut oil
500g beef mince
2 large red unions, chopped
1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
6 overripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup homemade beef stock
1 bunch basil, leaves picked and chopped
4 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
BECHAMEL
50g butter
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1.5 cups almond milk (I used full cream organic cows milk)
1 egg yolk

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Melt the coconut oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat and add the mince.  Cook, breaking up any lumps with the back of a spoon, for 10 minutes or until cooked and deep golden.  Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until softened.
Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Stir in the dried herbs, tomato and beef stock.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by two-thirds.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.  Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Layer a third of the meat sauce in a 6cm deep, 22cm square baking dish.  Top with a layer of zucchini. Repeat the layers twice more making sure you finish with a layer of zucchini. Set aside.
To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Stir in the arrowroot and cook for 30 seconds.  Pour in the milk and whisk together for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens and is smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Whisk in the egg yolk until well combined.
Pour the béchamel over the zucchini in the dish and level the surface.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked and the béchamel is golden.  Rest in the dish for 5 minutes, then serve.


Monday, 15 June 2015

Cairns Ironman 70.3

All the hard training that Philip has been doing over the past six months culminated this weekend in the Ironman 70.3.  Philips team, Tri-Umphants, do the half ironman that comprises of a 1.9km swim (Tracey) 90km ride (Philip) and 20km run (Mark).  The day was wet and windy but that did not dampen the team enthusiasm.
Tracey set the pace for the team with a cracking swim of 37.35 mins, breaking last years time by almost 5 minutes.  The transition of swim to cycle was just 3 minutes so I did not have enough time to get to the bike exit to take a photo of Philip before he left!  Philip did his ride in just over 3 hours.  He had a soul-destroying head wind for a lot of the way home so his time was fantastic.  Our new team member, Mark,  who arrived from New Zealand just days before the race ran a great race in 1 hour 42 mins.  So team Tri-Umphant registered a final overall time of 5hrs 27min 38sec which brought them in at 48th position out of 213 competing teams and 26th in their category.  This was a wonderful result for the team and I am so very proud of each and every one of them.

The half ironman bike transition area......just a sea of bikes

The swim leg at Palm Cove

Tracey looking good after the swim.  Two of her children, Jasmine and James were right there to cheer her on.

Philip crossing the finish line of the bike leg

A wave for the photographer!

The team runner, Mark, crossing the line with Philip and Tracey joining him for the last 50 metres.

A triumphant Team Tri-Umphant!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Elephants

One thing that was on my bucket list when we went to Phuket back in March was to have an elephant ride. I just love them.  They seem so gentle and yet I know that they can be extremely dangerous.  I don't particularly like it when I see elephants chained to a post on the side of the road.  They just look so sad.  I have never seen them in the wild but the place that we went to for our elephant ride was probably as close as you can get to being "in the wild".  I highly recommend Kok Chang Safari.  The staff are friendly and the mahout in charge of our elephant was just so incredibly gentle.

Wikipedia:

"A mahout is a person who rides an elephant. Usually a mahout starts as a boy in the "family profession" when he is assigned an elephant early in its life.  They remain bonded to each other throughout their lives"


Our mahout talked quietly to his elephant throughout the hour long ride and I heard another mahout singing quietly to his elephant. The ride takes you along a path around a hill with the culmination being the breathtaking views across to Kata Noi at the top of the hill.

Everyone took turns at taking photos at the top of the hill

Breathtaking view!

Photo shoot for our Mahout and our elephant "Boub"

On our way back down the mountain we stopped so that I could have a kiss from an elephant!






Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A Prince in our midst

The Cairns Ironman 70.3 draws competitors from all over the world but to have a real live Prince competing is something the organisers could only have wished for in their wildest dreams.
Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain flew into Cairns today in his private Boeing 767 jet with an entourage of 40.  To tell the truth I have never heard of this particular prince but he is apparently the captain of Bahrains Endurance team of 13 elite athletes.  He is staying for 13 days in the tropical north so no doubt he will also spend some time in Port Douglas.   In the meantime, whilst he is in Cairns, he is staying at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino.  Now you all know how much we love this place as we get an upgrade almost overtime we stay there.  The staff will wait on the prince hand and foot because that's what they do!
We last stayed at the Pullman RHC on our way to Thailand.  Our upgrade that night was to the "Royal Suite", undoubtably where the good prince will be laying his head.  I took some photographs of the suite so that you could check out how the other half live!

The enormous bed in the enormous bedroom!

The very opulent marble ensuite with his and hers basin

Looking from the bedroom to the lounge area.  The office is on the left and the entrance hallway is to the right.

I would love this office in my house, particularly the view to the ocean.

From the lounge looking back to the bedroom

The Prince will receive Champagne on arrival

And will probably dine in this private dining room (there is a kitchen off to the side)

And then, the Prince will receive this handwritten note from the manager welcoming him to the Pullman.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Time for a recipe

I really love Sweet and Sour Pork but with our healthy way of eating I thought it would be off the menu for ever and a day, that is until I picked up Clean Living Fast Food cookbook.  I highly recommend this book.  Fast foods certainly do not have to be taken off the menu when they can be adjusted to a more healthy version.
You may remember the authors of this book, Luke Hines and Scott Gooding.  They were My Kitchen Rules finalists and proved that healthy food can also be very tasty.  They have put a lot of thought into the selection of fast food recipes in the cookbook and I have to tell you that everyone I have tried has been beyond delicious.
Today for lunch we made Luke and Scotts version of Sweet and Sour - "Sweet and Sour Pork Belly". The recipe is extremely easy and takes no time apart from the cooking of the pork belly.  So here is the recipe but I do recommend that you go and buy the book.  You won't regret it.

SWEET AND SOUR PORK BELLY
1kg pork belly, rind scored
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground chilli
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large green capsicum, finely chopped (I used red)
350g fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 lime, zest finely grated, juiced
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.  Set a wire rack over a foil-lined baking tray.  Rest the pork, rind facing up, on the prepared rack.  Combine the salt and chilli, then push the mixture into the scored rind.  Rub the coconut oil all over the pork, pushing it into the scored rind.  Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees celsius and bake for 1 hour or until the pork is tender and the rind is crisp.  Rest for 5 minutes, then cut the pork into 3cm pieces.

Meanwhile, combine all the remaining ingredients in a large heat-proof bowl.  Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Stand at room temperature while the pork cooks to allow the flavours to develop.  Stir occasionally.

Add the hot chopped pork to the capsicum mixture in the bowl.  Toss gently to coat and serve immediately.  ENJOY!

The pineapple capsicum mixture marinating beautifully

The finished meal that I served with brown rice



Sunday, 7 June 2015

Coral Coast Triathlon 2015

Philip has been training hard for this coming week of triathlon events.  Today was the Coral Coast Triathon in Port Douglas.  Philip and his team mate Tracey elected to do the 5150 Triathlon with distances of 1.5km swim, 10km run and 40km cycle.  Philip did the cycle and Tracey was to do the swim and run.  Unfortunately the weather in Port Douglas today was overcast and very windy. So windy in fact that the race director cancelled the swim leg declaring it too dangerous for swimmers and I have to say I agree with him.  The usually calm waters off Four Mile Beach had white capped waves breaking onto the beach, albeit small waves, but something very uncommon in this neck of the woods.  So the triathlon turned into a 1.5 km run, 40km ride and 10km run.
The race got under way at 7.30 am on Four Mile Beach.  With over 700 competitors spread over three different triathlon distances the runners set off in waves.  Both Tracey and Philip had a good race and were pleased with their personal best times.  It is certainly a great warm up race for the lead up to next weeks Ironman 70.3 in Cairns.  

Before the race


First lap of the course for Philip



Tracey crossing the finishing line!


Friday, 5 June 2015

Monthly Photo Club Challenge

Photo Club tomorrow and as usual for me it is a mad rush to get photos ready for the monthly challenges.  This month the challenges are:


  • Macro/Close-up
  • Events from Carnivale
  • Sunrise/Sunset
  • Aussie Slang - must provide quote
I decided on this photo for the Macro/Close-up.  I'm not really sure what sort of spider it is but I'm sure some one at photo club will know what it is.  It had built its web on the leaf of one of our fruit trees.  



This one is the belly dancers that were one of the Street Performing acts.  I had so much fun photographing them because they seem to really enjoy what they do.  I asked about classes and I am putting some thought into joining them.



This Sunrise photo was taken at Caleewa in April.  No doubt about it, the sunrise and sunsets photos are some of the most beautiful.  I guess it is the wide open space.  Dorothea MacKellar's "My Country" always comes to mind when I watch the sunrises and sunsets....... "I love her far horizons"



As soon as I saw the challenge "Aussie Slang" I thought of "On Ya Bike".  Mostly because I knew it would be easy to get Philip to hop on his bike for me to photograph.



So these are my submissions for the month of June.  All members get to vote for their favourites and honestly it is so difficult.  There are so many great photographers in our group!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Port Douglas Carnivale

My camera club became "Official Photographers" of Carnivale for 2015.  What a challenge but also a tremendous recognition of just how good our club photographers really are.  We had to cover as many Carnivale events as possible over the ten days that the festival runs.  I was in Townsville for the first weekend of Carnivale so didn't get to photograph all the beach events but looking at the photos from the other club photographers, well, I want to be there next year!  
When we arrived back from Townsville we loaded up the camper,  or "Tardis" as we have nicknamed it, and on Monday last week we booked into the Tropic Breeze Caravan Park for the week.  It was the best thing I could have done.  Not only was I within walking distance of most events to be photographed, but I also had somewhere to go and "veg out" in between events.  Of course not having to drive up and down the range was also a bonus.  Philip drove down for a couple of nights to help with the "housekeeping" of the Tardis.....emptying the grey water tank.......emptying the toilet cassette...... refilling the water tank.
I rostered myself on for just about every event at Carnivale (plus a few more) and I am so pleased that I did.  I was lucky enough to have our photography club mentor all to myself at a couple of functions and the knowledge I received from him was invaluable.  A lot of the photography was people shots so I really had to step out of my comfort zone to ask people if they would mind being photographed for Carnivale.  I think I only received one rejection.  Most folks love having their photo taken.
I am home now, tired and weary, but very grateful for the opportunity that our club had of being official photographers for Port Douglas Carnival 2015.

Street entertainment by Alessandra

Modele 15 - a fashion parade like no other

Belly Dancing at Port Village

The Today Show crew where filming at Carnivale

Radiant Life Festival.

Hoola Hoop workshop at Radiant Life Festival

Chandon Lunch at the fabulous Zinc Restaurant

Owner of Zinc Restaurant - Marco Piat

Seafood Extravaganza at the Marina