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.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

A recipe to share

The cooler weather is finally here in North Queensland and I find myself cooking comfort food.  Warming hot pots and puddings are on the menu and I have been cooking things like Oxtail Stew, Osso Bucco, Chocolate Lava Cakes and today, Passionfruit and lemon steamed pudding.  This was so delicious that I thought I should share the recipe.  We have lots of passionfruit and lemons at the moment so this was just the thing to use up a few.

PASSIONFRUIT AND LEMON STEAMED PUDDING

For the Topping
75 g caster sugar
juice from 1 lemon
pulp from 2 passionfruit

For the Sponge
175g butter, very soft
1 tbsp golden syrup
175g SR Flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
pulp from 2 passionfruit
pinch salt
zest of 2 lemons

Method
For the topping, combine ingredients and divide the mixture evenly into the bottom of 6 silicon muffin cases.
For the sponge, beat all ingredients together until smooth - about a minute.  Spoon the mixture on top of the topping in the muffin cases.  Do not mix together.  Smooth the top.

Place the muffin cases into a steamer and steam for 40 minutes.

(This can be made as one large pudding and steamed for 2 hours)

Serve straight away with either cream or ice-cream.

Puddings ready to be steamed

Steaming away!

The finished puddings

The topping that went into the bottom of the muffin cases becomes the topping for these little puddings.

I am lucky enough to own a Chefs Toolbox Wok and Steamer that is perfect for this recipe.  The silicon Muffin cases are also from Chefs Toolbox.  You can purchase them here.


Friday, 29 July 2016

What have we been up to in the past couple of weeks?

Friends often ask me that question and it's always hard to answer.  If someone were to ask me what day of the week is it I would have to think about it.  Weekdays run into weekends without us sometimes even noticing and don't even go near what the date is!  We just seem to be always busy and falling to sleep at night is never a problem.  I just seem to be constantly tired.  We had a friend visit us last week and we were talking about the kilometres we have on our car's odometer......40,000 in just under two years.  He said that him and his wife have 14,000 kms in the same amount of time so it just goes to show how much travelling we do.  I do have to visit Cairns quite a lot, probably averaging once a fortnight and we go to Port Douglas on average twice a week so that would click up the kilometres as it's 160 km round trip to Cairns and 60 km round trip to Port.
So getting back to what we have been up to......
Philip has been busy dismantling the old timber cattle yards in readiness for the new ones that "should" have arrived two weeks ago.  (Don't get me started on incompetence!).  I love the look of the old timber yards but they were well and truly past their "use by date".  We had a young bull in one of the yards a couple of weeks ago and he was simply rubbing his head against the gate and the whole gate fell to the ground!  The bull took a step back as if to say "what the hell just happened!" 

The old yards

 
So we have had a contractor come in with his bobcat and remove all the old wooden posts and then we laid down many loads of gravel to make sure we now don't have to walk up to our ankles in mud!






Prior to the yard dismantling, our lovely old Eudia Tree gave it's final breath and fell to the ground.  You might remember we lost half of it earlier this year.  We thought it might recover after a heavy prune but it wasn't to be.  We love these trees as they are the host tree for the Ulysses butterflies.  Fortunately we have planted a lot more Eudia's to entice the butterflies into our garden.

The fallen tree fortunately missed the cattle yards and the machinery yard!


The soil that was removed from the yards has now been stockpiled for future use by the gardener.  We "may" have created a monster as this "may" mean more garden beds!



Last weekend we hosted a Spanish night for our friends.  Two of our friends have a farm at Millaa and are running a herd of Brangus cattle.  They are keen to learn as much as possible so Philip took them mustering the day after the party.  They had plenty of questions and hopefully Philip was able to answer them.  



Getting back to the Spanish Night, I decided that we would have a Tapas style dinner.  We started with Marinated Olives and Prawn Pate on Crostini.  Next course was Prawn wrapped Chorizo with a lemon dipping sauce and Sweet Potato and Leek mini frittatas.  Third course was Empanadas - two ways.  The fourth course was a Seafood Paella and lastly was a Spanish dessert called Crema Catalana.  We started eating around 5.30pm and I served dessert at 10 pm.  It was a lovely night with beautiful friends and we are looking forward to the next time.  Sorry....no photos.  Cameras and alcohol are not good friends ;)




 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Birthdays!

It has been a weekend of birthday celebrations.  First of all we had our great-nephew's first birthday party on Saturday.  It was a pirate theme and it was held under the magnificent shady trees in the park along the Cairns Esplanade.  Kit was too young yet to appreciate all the excitement around him but all the adults had a great time.  He is a gorgeous little fella and just this week he took his first steps and boy has he found them!  By the end of the afternoon he was so worn out from walking that he had once again reverted to crawling....

The birthday boy

Once of the guests brought along their pet Macaw.  Quite a magnificent creature

Another friend made Kit his birthday cake

Kit with his friends

Perhaps a future girlfriend?

The two brothers looking like twins in their matching coloured shirts!

Picnic in the Park

Mum, Dad and Bub

Cutting of the cake.

Saturday evening we finally got to use Philips birthday present voucher (from the family above).  It was a night aboard the Spirit of Cairns.  This is a dinner harbour cruise around Trinity Inlet.  It was a gorgeous night temperature wise and we spent most of our evening (in between courses) on the deck outside simply taking in the views.  Someone on the mainland was apparently celebrating a 50th birthday so we had quite a magnificent display of fireworks to watch. That was a real bonus and we wondered at the wealth of the people who paid for this display.  It went on for quite some time.....




Sunday was our daughter-in-law's birthday and although we couldn't be with her to help her celebrate her birthday, I made her a cake, sent her a photo of it and then we promptly devoured it, well not quite all of it!



So, it was a lovely weekend catching up with family and helping them celebrate their birthdays in different ways.



Monday, 4 July 2016

A rather busy social life....

Be warned.  This is a long post!
Philip and I have become very much the social butterflies of late, hence the lack of posts on the blog.  The fact of the matter is that we love spending time with friends and family and can never say no to any get together with them.
We have just said goodbye to Philips step sisters' family who have been with us for the last few days.  It was great to have them visit and wonderful for the kids to experience farm life.  We mustered in our heifers so that they could see the cattle up close and also to touch them.  The kids were a little hesitant but it didn't take long for them to feel comfortable around them.  Can't say the same for the heifers!  They amaze us.  When it is just Philip and I working them they are so incredibly quiet and easy to work but the minute we introduce strangers they make out that they are wild cattle! 
The highlight of the kids stay with us was getting covered in mud when they went mustering with Philip this morning.  At first it was "ewwwww.... it's in my hair" but then they could see the funny side of it. 
Yesterday we took the family down to the Yacht Club at Port Douglas for lunch.  What a yummy meal.  They are turning out first class food from their new kitchen and I totally recommend it.  Port Douglas is very busy at the moment.  I think the apartment occupancy rate is close to 100% so I'm very pleased for the locals.  However, we are too used to walking into any restaurant and getting a table without a booking.  That is not the case at the moment.  The Yacht Club, being a little bit "out of the way" is never packed so you can always get a table without a booking.
After lunch we drove over to the Daintree for a Crocodile Tour.  The Daintree River Cruise Centre is certainly the best crocodile spotting cruise on the river.  We have been on this cruise numerous times and always spot at least one salty and this cruise was no different.  The kids loved it and thumbs up to the wonderful cruise guide that we were lucky enough to have.  He answered all questions that the kids (and adults) put to him even though some of the questions were probably a bit silly!
After the river cruise we headed into the Daintree Village for coffee (adults) and ice creams (kids).  The Daintree is such a lovely place to spend an afternoon.

Isaac wearing Philips favourite hat!

Amelia.....the kids loved our two dogs!

Isaac, Jackie, Amelia and Damien

Male Salty on the banks of the Daintree River

Just some of the birdlife along the banks of the river

The family aboard the cruise

All the family with one of the baby crocs.
Last week we drove down to Townsville for the Cowboys/Manly football game.  Our accountant had season pass tickets and invited us to come and stay with him and his lovely wife.  We thoroughly enjoyed it.  Philip and Ross went to boarding school together so they go back a long way......more than 40 years!
Very good seats at Cowboy Stadium. Cowboys won!



The Bruce Highway between Cairns and Townsville was the busiest we had ever seen and we have travelled this road three times in the past 6 weeks.   Thumbs up to patient drivers especially when about 30 of us had to sit behind a very inconsiderate person driving a camper van at about 70kmh.  All he had to do was pull over!
Can you see the line up of cars behind us.  So inconsiderate.

This is him.....we are three cars back with about 30 behind us.

State of Origin number three is next week and we hosted number two. They are a terrific bunch and we loved celebrating a win with them.  Lets hope number three is also a celebration!

Half time nibblies!

All decked out in maroon and it's a win!!!!....

Two weekends ago we joined our Kuranda friends for a French Degustation Menu at the Pullman International in Cairns.  We met up for lunch at Yokozuna restaurant.  Wow.....loved the Japanese menu and will definitely go back again.  After lunch we went back to the Pullman where we had booked in for the night.  Katie and Mike provided drinks and nibblies (why do I never remember to do this....duuhh) and we sat and chattered until it was time to shower and change for dinner.  The meal was memorable.  Some courses were not as delicious as others but all in all it was a good value meal considering drinks were also included.

Yokozuna Restaurant smorgasbord

Our Table 6 

First Course

The Menu

The Beverage Menu

Main Course

Dessert

After dinner we walked off the food and wine with a walk along the waterfront.....three kilometres!  Sounds incredible,  but it was such a lovely balmy evening that we just thoroughly enjoyed it.....even though I had blisters the next day!
The view back toward the city of Cairns.  Such a pretty sight.