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

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Two more sleeps.....

Just two more sleeps until we start our journey south to our son and DIL's place for christmas.  We have been busy readying the place for our house-sitters.  Mowing, gardening, mustering, cleaning, washing.......wash, rinse, repeat....

We have had a few friends drop in for christmas drinks and I found inspiration on Instagram for this lovely antipasto christmas wreath.  The wreath is made from rosemary and I also tucked in some tarragon for a little more green.  I filled the wreath with salami, cheese, cocktail onions (red and white) and also some stuffed baby capsicum.

As we are not going to be here for christmas I didn't really feel like erecting our christmas tree this year and I found this blossom tree in the "cheap" shop that has filled the gap nicely.  I hung a couple of baubles from it and a bit of tinsel at the base and..... voilá.....I give you the christmas tree!

Julatten Ladies Christmas Lunch was a huge success this year with almost fifty ladies in attendance.  Honestly, I don't know where all these ladies come from but I am not surprised as Julatten has a population of over 1000 and yet from my house I can only see a couple of houses in the distance.  People are very spread out.  The lunch at our local Highlander Tavern was delicious.  There were numerous choices but I chose the Roast Turkey and I was not disappointed. 

The wet season seems to have finally arrived albeit slowly! But we have had over 75mm of rain in the past week so it is a great start.  We had a lovely rainbow pop up in front of us last week while we were having our sundowners.  It wasn't a full rainbow but nonetheless quite lovely.

I will try and update the blog while we are away but if I don't I wish each and every one of my readers a very merry christmas and health and happiness for the new year ahead.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Beet, Broccoli and Toasted Seed Salad

I had some beetroots and broccoli in the the fridge that needed using and I stumbled across this recipe.  It was so easy and a lovely flavour combination.  We had crumbed steak with this salad but it would be just as nice with any other protein.


200g Broccoli, stems cut in half lengthways
80g mixed seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
250g cooked beets, cut into wedges
Small bunch fresh chives, snipped

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of ½ - 1 lemon, to taste
Salt, Pepper

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
Steam or boil the broccoli for 3-4 minutes until just tender but with a little bite.
While the broccoli is cooking, toast the seeds by tipping them into a small frying pan.  Add soy sauce and cook over medium heat, tossing regularly to coat all over for about 3 minutes.  
Arrange the cooked broccoli and beet wedges on your prettiest plate, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the toasted seeds and chives.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Party Time!

The festive season has definitely come our way with numerous parties to attend.  It started last week with the yoga ladies Christmas lunch at Niramaya Resort in Port Douglas. This is always a lovely lunch where approximately 60 yoga ladies from Julatten, Mossman and Port Douglas meet with their yogis to thank them for the time they give to teach us ladies (and some gentleman) the beautiful form of yoga.  I have been attending yoga classes for ten years now and I can see the beneficial effects that it has on me.  I certainly notice the difference when I miss classes.

Eggplant Parmigiana

The barramundi main

The lunch itself was a little disappointing.  My first course was eggplant parmigiana, tasty but a very small helping and the main was barramundi with about four spinach leaves and a rather delicious sauce but once again, the size!  It was smaller than the palm of my hand.  But having said that it was lovely to catch up with friends, old and new.
The next party we went to was a house-warming/birthday/christmas all rolled into one.  This young couple have built their gorgeous home on Black Mountain Road here at Julatten.  The views from their home are magnificent....

but then again everyone here in Julatten has lovely views.  We sang happy birthday to Antonio.....

and chowed down on a delicious bar-b-que lunch before finally making our way home.

Our hosts Sam and Crystal thanking everyone for coming to their party.

The next christmas party was at Maree and Colin's house.  It is a very steep drive to their house but it is worth it when you see this splendid view from their home...

Maree and Colin had organised quite a few party games that were so much fun!  I have never laughed so much in all my life.  I had forgotten how much fun these nights can be.  We ended the night with a game of "Cards against Humanity".  On the box it says "a game for horrible people" and you truly have to have a very open mind without any inhibitions to play this game.  It can be quite crude but also lots of fun.

Everyone brought along a plate of finger food for this party and it is a wonderful way to entertain as their is no stress on the host/hostess.  The food was fantastic and we all came away with very full bellies.  Thanks guys for a wonderful night!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Camping at Cooktown Crossing

No, Cooktown Crossing is not at Cooktown (as I thought for a long time!).  It is a causeway crossing on the Mitchell River and it used to be the old road that took you to Cooktown.  It is a lovely camping spot. 
We decided to go camping for a couple of reasons even though we had so much else on our plate.  Number one reason was to make sure that the wiring of the camper to our new vehicle  was working properly and number two reason was to try out our kayaking skills on still water.  
Cooktown Crossing is only about an hour north west of us.  You head towards Cooktown and once you are past Mt Carbine you look for the sign on the left that says Karma Waters/Konaparinga.  From here it is only a short distance to the crossing.  We didn't get away until after lunch on Wednesday and made it there in plenty of time to set up camp and assemble the inflatable kayak.
There are a number of lovely camping spots along the river and being mid-week we thought we would have the place to ourselves and have the pick of the camps but it wasn't to be.  There were two other camps already set up when we arrived.  However we were happy with our camp that had easy access to the waters edge for our kayak.

Our form of camping is humorously known as "glamping" , and it really is an easy way to camp.  Our slide-on has all the basics that you would find in any home.  Toilet, Shower, Sink, Fridge, Stove and Queen size bed!  The awning on the side gives us a comfortable area to set up our table, chairs and the little Weber Q.
The first night we rustled up a meal of steak and fried onions on toasted bread.  It wasn't the fanciest meal I have ever eaten but gosh it was delicious! An early night for us as we wanted to get up early and put the kayak to the test.
The kayak was our Christmas present to each other.  We had talked about it for such a long time but having room for it was always the problem.  Now we don't have that problem with all the additional storage that we had built into the new vehicle.  We always knew we had to have an inflatable and also knew that we would have to spend the dollars to get a good quality kayak.  After all we didn't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a deflated kayak due to poor quality material!
We were very happy with the one we purchased.  It is very stable in the water with the addition of a good quality floor.  It took us a little while to get used to using the paddles. I have never kayaked and Philip has limited experience so there were a few terse words when we kept going in the wrong direction.  We are still not great at moving in a straight line but by the end of the first day we had certainly improved.  We paddled as far as we could but the very low water level kept us within a few kilometres of our campsite.

The serenity that I felt as we paddled slowly and quietly along the river is hard to describe.  All my senses - sight, sound, smell seemed to be in over-drive.  It was just so beautiful and my heart is already beating harder just thinking of the next time that we will be kayaking. We are very lucky that we live in an area where we have have many watercourses just screaming to be kayaked on!  The thing however that we have to be aware of is the ever present danger of crocodiles (salt and fresh) that live in these waters.  The saltwater crocodile is being spotted in places that you would never expect them to be.  I was talking to a friend recently who has lived in this area all his life and he said that as a kid growing up it was just a fact that crocodiles north of the Daintree River were left alone but anything that moved to the south of the Daintree was removed.  Now we have saltwater crocodiles spotted as far south as Rockhampton!  
Our camping ended all to soon....just two nights, but we will return again in the new year.  We thought we might try Karma Waters that is a camping area on the same watercourse, but it is paid camping.  Everyone we talk to says is it is worth it. 

Philip and I load books onto our iPhones before we go camping.  

Friday, 9 December 2016

A night at Sea Temple Port Douglas

Since Philip came home nine days ago we have....

  • Driven to Cairns to pick up his new Bicycle (an early birthday present from me)
  • Handed over our old Toyota to its new owner
  • Attended a house warming/birthday party
  • Spent a night at Sea Temple Port Douglas
  • Enjoyed a yoga lunch at Niramaya Resort in Port Douglas
  • Camped at Cooktown Crossing for a couple of nights
  • And tonight we are going to a friends place for Christmas drinks and nibbles
Is it any wonder we feel tired?  New Years resolution.....SLOW DOWN!

I have taken quite a few photos over the past nine days but today I want to tell you about Sea Temple. Here goes...

As you know, Philip recently flew south to help our son and daughter-in-law with a few jobs while son is recovering from an accident.  For a thank-you, Marco and Susie organised a night for us at Sea Temple Port Douglas.  It is a place that I have had a yearning to stay at after we had a yoga Christmas lunch there a few years ago.
We arrived early, you know, because you have to make the most of these things!  We upgraded our room to a "swim-out" as soon as we arrived because (a) the room we had booked wasn't ready and (b) well, why not!  So pleased we did.  The two-bedroom apartment was luxury plus and you stepped right from the outside patio into the sparkling pool. 
Just relaxing by the pool

Our apartment
 The pool is enormous.  It winds around all the swim-out apartments (of which there are many) and when you get tired of floating around the circle you can make you way back to the swim-up bar for a refreshing mocktail (who am I trying to kid, of course it was a cocktail that I partook!). 

Martini Espresso -mmmmmm!
 There are loads of floating lounges in the pool.  You just had to grab one as it floated past your door.

The enormous pool

Pre-dinner drinks

Ready for dinner
We had made reservations in the restaurant as soon as we arrived and as you all know, I am a foodie so I was quite excited by the menu that was handed to us.  Philip and I both ordered the duck for the main and I ordered scallops for entree while Philip chose the coral trout filled soft shell crab.  
Our entrees where fabulous.  Photos?  Completely forgot!  Our mains, unfortunately, were not that great. The duck was very tough and disappointing.  I can forgive undercooking duck as most of the chefs seem to want to do these days, but not to the detriment of tenderness.  This duck breast should have been cooked longer and it would have been a totally different story.  We ended our meal with Irish Coffees. I chose Kahlua instead of whiskey and it was a pleasant end to our meal.
Breakfast the next morning was included with our room.  No surprises here.  Buffets seem to be the same whoever you go.  We checked out early as I wanted to go to yoga and Philip wanted to do some laps in the local pool.
It was a beautiful day/evening at Sea Temple Port Douglas and I can't thank our children enough for the lovely gesture.  It is certainly not something you do every day!
"Trying" to take a selfie. We are hopeless!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A week in review.

It's been quite a hectic week with Philip being away but thankfully he is home now so it takes the pressure off somewhat.  It's all been about keeping the garden adequately watered lately.  Where is the rain?  We have not had a single storm so far and that is very unusual for this time of the year.  The whole month of November we only recorded a measly 20mm and that was over three falls.  Today as I look out the window it once again looks promising.  Who knows.
The garden is at it's best at this time of the year with lots of flowers blossoming.  Can you guess my favourite flower colour......

Yep. Pinks, purples, mauves and shades in between just make my heart sing.  And of course there is nothing nicer than a bowl of flowers sitting in front of you while you eat your meal.....

and I am thoroughly enjoying a glass full of Jamie Olivers Chocolate Porridge for breakfast.  I am not a lover of milk and this recipe has no dairy apart from the spoonful of yoghurt that I seem to be able tolerate.

I haven't had to muster the stock for quite awhile but with Philip being away I had to don my work gear and head out on a very foggy morning to move the cattle. It is not a difficult task on this little block of land, as the cattle hear the sound of the buggy and come to meet you knowing full well that they are going to a new paddock with fresh grass.  

They have been devouring the lick blocks that we put out for them.  It is another sign that we need the rain to oxygenate the soil.

Last Saturday evening I was invited to a friends birthday party that was held at Ochre Restaurant in Cairns.  It's always lovely to catch up with friends and this was no exception.

I finally got around to making my Christmas cake that I will take with us when we visit family at Christmas.  It is a great recipe that can be found HERE.

I photographed something unusual last week.  One of the cows was licking Milly the Donkey all over her body.  Milly was just standing there and loving it.  She has certainly integrated with the herd and as we have not had any losses attributed to dingoes since we have had her we have to say that she is doing a mighty job.

To close off this post I thought I would add a picture of the garden before we chop back all the gardenias at the back of the garden against the house.  Some of the gardenias are thriving whilst others are dying so we are going to re-charge the soil and prune them all back to knee height.  We will then give them a good dose of fertiliser and see how it goes.  I'm expecting an explosion of flowers next year!