Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Birthdays, Mount Gambier and such

My two eldest children are 30 and 28 today and here am I 500 KM's away for work.
I saw them on Sunday night but it isn't the same.
So Mount Gambier is a very nice place beautiful scenery and some interesting looking shops. It is 7.30 am and I sitting in bed with my laptop and book, a cup of tea and the tv on the news. I don't start work until Midday today and really life is pretty good.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What am I up too.

Life is so busy I have to make time just to think. I have a new computer, I lease my computer and the lease was up so I have a lovely new laptop. The company sent out a nice young man who set it all up for me and loaded everything.
Work is manic, we sadly lost a long time colleague and friend. He was diagnosed with liver cancer last week and passed away on Monday. The funeral is tomorrow so we are closing up, leaving a skelton crew and going to support his wife and young daughter.
Also I am off to Mount Gambier on Monday for at least three weeks so I am getting organised for that.
Saturday and Sunday I have a leather bag workshop.
I have started the Hcg Diet. I had planned to start on Monday but that didn't happen due to issues with getting all the stuff. However by Tuesday I was stocked up and Wednesday I started the injections. My starting weight was 92 kilos (202 lbs). Which was a bit of surprise as I am usually about 95 kilos and had spent Monday anad Tuesday going nuts on KFC and icecream. Stress eater here.
Today I am into the second day of overeating and have probably eaten about as much as I do in a week and about as much fatty food as I would in a month. I can see why it will be so easy to stick to the 500 calories as I may never want to eat ice cream again (in reality not really). I had not given myself an injection before but the Hcg going in is more painful than the needle so that's all fine.
So I have to plan what to take to Mt Gambier as I will be all alone down there out of work hours. I have a cabin at the caravan park so I can cook for myself as eating out on the diet would have been hard it also means I can take whatever I like. I might take my scrumbling and finally finish the jacket. It may be a good time for UFO finishing as I won't be distacted by other things. I will also take my laptop and my winter woolies as baby it's cold down there. Greg might come with me for part of the time which would be good for him as we didn't spend much of our holiday time taking it easy. He can bring his art supplies and spend some time on that. I am going to take at least one art book. My friend Rossi showed me her adventures with Zen Doodling and I am going to explore that. Just what I need another thing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What am I stitching

I thought I should show you I am stitching in between work and obsessing about my weight and the new diet. I am stitching the fairy slipper from the December 2007 Stitch magazine. I only making one so far as it is going on my exhibition piece for the SA Embroiderers Guild. This may change without notice though. I couldn't get a photo that did it justice color wise but this gives you a bit of an idea. the back ground wool felt is actually navy blue and I overlay aqua blue throwsters waste. It is stitched with blue silk thread and then flower sequins. I'll show you the finished item soon. Have some work homework to finish first and Monday I start the pigging out portion of the new diet. My favorite coffee icecream with chocolate covered almonds and grand marnier syrup and a little bit of potato with lots of butter and sour cream followed by a huge chocolate mousse.... You get the picture.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

To Diet or not to Diet

I weighed myself this morning and didn't like it. Way heavier than I want to be. I have no self control in regard to food. I love food and it loves me because it always stays around after I eat it. My hormone doctor has recommended that I go on the HCG Diet which supposedly kick starts your metabolism. What do I have to loose (apart form 20 kilos). So I am going to do it. Greg came to the Doctor with me because he had some questions so we are both happy with the research I have done and it is time to bite the bullet and get some self control.
The HCG Diet involves an injection every day and gorging on fatty food for the first three days and then a strict diet for 40 days and then a maintenance diet. It is highly recommended for sugar addicts (Yes that is me) and people who are insulin resistant (also me). I am convinced that if I don't try these injections for the 6 weeks I will be injecting insulin every day.
So we are eating all the crap food around the place so I won't be tempted and then Monday it starts.
I won't have any trouble eating like a pig for three days but the rest of the time eating 500 calories a day could be a struggle. But I am determined to do this so wish me luck and I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to fibre work

I was supposed to go back to work today but I've got the flu which on top of the headache I had on the weekend was too much so I had a Doctors appointment today with my hormone doctor and she wrote me a sick certificate for two days to get over the dreaded lurgy.
I am going to use this opportunity to rug up and finish the fairy slipper. It will be part of the blue piece I am working on for the Embroiderers Guild Exhibition in August. I thought I had plenty of time but June is here and August will be knocking on my door before I know it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Great Ocean Road

We left Melbourne on Wednesday and drove home along the Great Ocean Rd. It was so beautiful. We are going to go back and take more time there were a lot walks and places we were past before we realized. Here is a photo of some of the Twelve Apostles. We are home again and had a great holiday. I thought I would never get Greg to go to Tasmania he enjoyed it so much we are going to go again next year. Later this year we are off to Victoria for a week with my parents. I knew he'd like holidays if I could just get him to take one.

Friday, June 4, 2010


What is Dukkah that is the question. It is a Middle Eastern nut and spice mix.
It is so delicious and not hard to make

I often buy it but I do like to make it as well. Some people just whack it all into a pan together and that works but I like to get out my big cast iron pan and take some time. I like all the ingredients to be as fresh as I can get them. The starting point is nuts - almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios or any other nut, the choice is up to you. Also a mixture of nuts is very tasty. I would probably not mix hazelnuts with to many other nuts but that is just my personal preference.
To start I will give you my favorite mixture. This is not a process to walk away from.
1/2 cup slivered almonds. Put these into a hot dry pan and stir or toss over heat until they start to brown,tip them out of the pan into a metal bowl. They will keep browning after you take them off the heat so be careful.
1/2 cup sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon pine nuts. Into the same pan toss or stir until they start to color then tip them into the bowl with the nuts.
Next step is the spices I do them all the separately and put them into a separate bowl from the nuts and seeds. They cook at different rates and it is so easy to have burnt bits of spice. Not a good thing
1 heaped tablespoon coriander seeds - toss in the hot pan until you can smell them and they might start to pop.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds - same as the coriander
1 tablespoon black peppercorns - same as the coriander.
1 or 2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed spice - Don't heat these
Toss all the spices with the salt and cinnamon together and allow to cool. Put into a mortar and pound until the mixture is crushed. Or pulse in a food processor to a coarse consistency; do not allow the mixture to become a paste. I like to chop the nuts and seeds with a knife or really carefully pulse in the food processor. It is so easy to end up with a paste. Mix the two together and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 month.

If you like things a bit more spicy then add some dried chili or substitute some garam masala or a Moroccan spice mix. Also a bit more salt some times is required.

This mixture is really popular here in Australia with bread dipped into oil and vinegar. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a good mix and lemon infused olive oil and strawberry balsamic is just excellent.
If you google Dukkah there are literally thousands of recipes and ideas for using it I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My travelling pantry - things we Ate

While we were in Tasmania we stayed in some great accommodation. Deliberately I booked us into accommodation with kitchens for three reasons
1. Too keep the cost down
2. I like my own cooking.
3. We like to eat a lot of vegetables and this can be in short supply.

So before leaving home I packed up a 50 litre plastic tub with some essentials. I also have a 2 sided cooler bag one that holds two bottles and a bigger one on the other side.
1. stainless steel frypan and steamer - I don't cook in teflon
2. A good knife
3. Roll of foil, gladwrap, bakepaper and a pack of zip lock bags.
4. 250 ml size screw top plastic container of caster sugar.
5. Cocoa
6. Plunger for coffee
7. Tea bags and Coffee grounds caff and decaff.
8. Flour
9. Some cooler bricks and some plastic containers.
To this as we traveled I added the oil, the vinegar, the dukkah and other stuff
So one night we had Fresh Salmon with Almond Dukkah Crust.
If I had been home I wouldn't have used this combination but as we traveled around I just kept buying food stuffs that appealed to me.
So in the traveling pantry I had a bottle of Lemon infused Olive oil, a packet of Almond Dukkah and a bottle of Strawberry Balsamic vinegar. All really delicious on their own but not a combination I would normally use. I just tried it out confident that Greg will eat just about anything.
I had 2 skin on portions of lovely fresh Tasmanian Salmon. In a frying pan I heated the lemon infused olive oil until really hot and put the salmon in skin side UP. Fried until crisp and browned, then turned over and repeated on the skin side with a knob of butter (about 1 tablespoon). Then I mixed a some of the dukkah with some of the olive oil plastered it all over the top and browned it under the grill. After it is cooked put in on a warm plate and drizzle with the Strawberry Balsamic vinegar.
We had it with creamy mash potato with fresh herbs mixed through and steamed broccolini.

The next day with lunch I mixed a little of the oil with the vinegar and we had soem toasted bread dipped in this mixture and then dipped in the leftover dukkah. YUM

I also took my Microwave Cup Cake Recipe I must confess the basic recipe is not mine but the adjustments are

Microwave Cup Cake

6 Tablespoons SR Flour (or 4 Tablespoons flour and 2 cocoa)
4 tablespoons sugar or brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 egg
Teaspoon vanilla
Optional 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, frozen berries or choc chips

Mix egg, milk, vanilla and oil add flour and sugar. Add walnuts berries or choc chips.
Grease 2 coffee mugs divide mixture evenly between mugs. Microwave 3 to 4 minutes on high.
Allow to cool slightly then tip out and eat or eat it straight out of the cup.

Optional –
- Put some cooked apples underneath cake.

- ½ mashed banana through mixture.

- Substitute 1 tablespoon maple syrup for 1 tablespoon milk. Fold through 2 tablespoon chopped pecans.

- Instead of milk use orange or lemon juice and add some grated rind.

- Substitute 1 tablespoon of milk for rum and add 1 tablespoon chopped raisins.

- Grease mug and then cover bottom of cup with teaspoon of your favourite jam. Then put the cake mix on the top.

While at the Salamanca Market I bought some pineapple quinces and cooked those A La Maggie Beer I didn't make it into a pie we just had this with custard.

Back On the Mainland

Well here we are back on the Mainland. Our last 2 days in Tasmania we left Hamilton and drove down to Geeveston, went to the Tahune Air Walk which Greg did but I only got to the first deck and my fear of heights got the better of me and I went back. We had a leisurely drive back through Cygnet and up the coast. Truly one of the most beautiful parts of the world I have ever seen, to Kingston spent the night.
Monday we drove back to Devonport, had a cuppa with Rossi and Alan and then down to the Ferry.
We caught the ferry back last night it was a lot rougher than when we went over but not unbearable.
We are having a night here in Melbourne with Greg's niece and her family and then home again. We loved Tasmania and we are already planning another trip but I am ready for home and my own bed. We will decide tomorrow if we are going to go along the Great Ocean Road as was our plan or just head for home.