Saturday, 29 November 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY (AND HOLIDAY PICS)

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures ~ Henry Ward Beecher (Liberal US Congregational Minister, 1813-1887)

video

This talented artist took less than 5 minutes to finish this painting. You can find him at the Surfers Paradise Esplanade Markets, which is held every Wednesdays and Fridays (except during schoolie week, which is around the third week of November, when the esplanade shuts down to accommodate drunk and disorderly teenagers!).

PS: I am so proud of myself....this may sound like bragging and I am sure you guys out there may think this is no feat. But I am not very computer savvy when it comes to blogging so the fact that I was able to turn my pics into a video file and upload it onto bloggers, I am quite pleased with myself! It took me 20 minutes to upload these pics as opposed to 2 hours to load just 8 pics. Go figure!?!

What I did was make a slide show in PhotoShop, then I saved it as a video file on windows. Use the video icon on bloggers and upload the files. Bobs Your Uncle!! ('There you go, it's done').

NATTER: WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS!


A man with a gun goes into a bank and demands their money. Once he is given the money, he turns to a customer and asks, "Did you see me rob this bank?"

The man replied, "Yes sir, I did." The robber then shot him in temper, killing him instantly.

He then turned to a couple standing next to him and asked the man, "Did you see me rob this bank?" The man replied, "No sir, I didn't, but my wife did!"

MORAL OF THE STORY: When opportunity knocks... don't loose it!!!

Friday, 28 November 2008

RECIPE: STRAWBERRY MUFFINS


A great way to start the morning or to have for morning/afternoon tea. Serve them warm from the oven with a hot cup of coffee or tea. If you can’t get fresh strawberries, you can substitute them with fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries. The texture of these muffins is very cake like and not crumbly, like traditional muffins. As usual with all muffins, DO NOT OVERMIX and use a METAL SPOON!

Ingredients


125 g caster sugar
Grated jest from 1 large lemon
265 g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs – room temp
225 ml milk - warmed slightly in the microwave
115 g butter – melted
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
225 g fresh strawberries – these were from my garden. They may be small but very2 sweet!

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place 12 tall paper cups in a muffin pan.

In a bowl, mix together the sugar, jest, flour and baking powder.

In another bowl, using electric beaters, combine and whisk the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla for 1 min. Fold in the dry ingredients and stir in the strawberries until combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Spoon into the paper cases.


Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 mins or until done. Remove from tin and cook on a wire rack for 5 mins. Serve immediately.


QUOTE OF THE DAY (AND HOLIDAY PICS)

Four ducks on a pond,
A grass-bank beyond,
A blue sky of spring,
White clouds on the wing,
What a little thing,
To remember for years,
To remember with tears!
~ William Allingham (Irish Man of letter and Poet: 1824-1889)



Aren’t the duckies cute???

This is taken at Cascade Gardens (the holiday apartment is aptly named after it). More pictures of the Gardens to come.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

NATTER: FOOD FOR THOUGHT


In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums. And Satan said, 'You want hot fudge with that? And Man said,'Yes!' And Woman said, 'I'll have one too with chocolate chips'. And so they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthy yoghurt that woman might keep the figure that man found so fair.


And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 16.

So God said, 'Try my fresh green salad'. And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said 'I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them'.

And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter, and Man's cholesterol went through the roof.

Then God brought forth the potato; naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.

Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep-fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt.

And Man put on more pounds. God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.

Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.


And Satan created McDonalds and the $2 double cheeseburger. Then Satan said 'You want fries with that?' and Man replied, 'Yes, and super size 'em'. And Satan said, 'It is good.' And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed ......... and created quadruple by-pass surgery.

And then ............ Satan chuckled and created the New South Wales Public Health system!!!!

THE FINAL WORD ON NUTRITION

After an exhaustive review of the research literature, here's the final word on nutrition and health:

1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
6. The French eat foie-gras, full fat cheese and drink red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink whatever you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you!!!

QUOTE OF THE DAY (AND HOLIDAY PICS)

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating ~ Luciano Pavarotti


Chiangmai Thai Restaurant
2779 Gold Coast Highway
Broadbeach (GC) QLD 4218

This is one of my favourite restaurants on the Gold Coast. Once you try their food, you can see why it's won a whole heap of awards. The food is truly authentic and the waitresses are dressed in traditional Thai costumes. Also, there are plenty of Thai artefacts. I loved the wooden carved picture on their wall. I’d like to know how they got it there!


You can’t miss the place – it’s always brightly lit in purple lighting. Come early for dinner as there are limited parking spaces. Best to book on weekends.


Top One Chinese Restaurant
Australia Fair Shopping Centre
42 Marine Parade
Southport (GC) QLD 4215

The restaurant serves yum cha for lunch everyday. I wouldn’t say it’s the best yum cha I have tasted, but it was passable. You must get there around 11 am to get the best food and to beat the crowds. My favourite were the prawn dumplings, prawn spring rolls and the BBQ pork. Sorry, but I passed on the chicken feet....but I did see some of the patrons digging into it with some gusto!!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

RECIPE: CHICKEN TOM YAM PADPRIK



When I posted a version of this PADPRIK recipe a few months ago, one of the bloggers, MamaFami brought to my attention, a variation of Padprik. She used tom yam cubes in the meal and I must say that it is a change from the version I normally make. So thank you MamaFami for introducing me to this variation. You can see her post HERE. I have slightly changed her recipe (sorry dear) and this is how I made the dish.


Ingredients – serves 5 to 6

4 large shallots
2 red chillies - seeded
3 cloves garlic
750 g chicken - cut into thin strips
½ tsp salt*
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper*
2 tsp chilli powder*
2 tsp cornflour*
1 lemon grass – bruised
3 to 4 Kaffir lime leaves
1 onion - cut into thin wedges
3 tablespoon chilli sauce
3 tablespoon tomato sauce
3 tablespoon soya sauce
2 Knorr brand tom yam cube
Vegetables – I used carrots, snow peas, baby corn and cauliflower
1 tomato - segmented
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice

Method

Marinate the chicken with the * ingredients. Set aside for ½ an hour. Pound the chillies, shallots and garlic. Blanch the carrots and cauliflower for 1 min. Make sure that it is still crunchy. Drain well and refresh under cold water. Set aside.


Heat sufficient oil in a wok and shallow fry the meat until slightly golden. Drain and set aside.

In the same wok, fry the pounded ingredients until aromatic. Crumble the tom yam cube (add a tbsp or two of water) and fry for 1 min. Add in the fried meat and mix well.

Next, add in the chilli sauce, tomato sauce and soya sauce. Add in a bit of water if you want more gravy (I added in ½ a cup). Add in the lemon grass and lime leaves. Mix well and add in ALL the vegetables.

Stir for 1 to 2 mins, add in the onion and juice, check the seasoning (remember, the dish should be sourish) and serve hot with rice.

QUOTE OF THE DAY (AND HOLIDAY PICS)

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone ~ Jim Fiebig




Ice Cream, Ice Cream Everywhere.....Don't forget to visit Norma and Frank (he's in the top picture) at Zanette's Gelati if you are ever at Surfers Paradise. They make the best ice creams in town.....in fact, the best I have ever tasted. You can find their place at:

Shop 55, Chevron Renaissance
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

PS: I will be putting my holiday snaps on my 'quote of the day' for the next couple of weeks.

AWARDS: LOADS OF THEM – AGAIN!


My heartfelt gratitude, love and kisses to my dearest ‘saheli’ (friend) Lubna of Yummy Foods for passing me these awards. I am very touched my dear. I am honoured that you believe I am worthy of receiving these awards. Once again, thank you. I have nothing to offer but for my congratulations to you on receiving the awards and my prayers that all your wishes come true and that you and your family are always in the best of health. God bless my friend.


The Kreativ Blogger Award comes with '7' tags. They are:

7 Things I Say More Often: Sweetheart (that’s what I call Mr G); Clean your room!; Sugar (when the kids are around); Shit (when the kids are not around); Bloody shit; When I was your age……; and Ya/Yup.

7 Things I Did Before: Worked four jobs; Ran a house; Read; Shopped; Had babies; Did two uni degrees; and Took Orders.

7 Things I Do Now: Still working (thank god not four jobs); still running a house; reading (though not much time for it); Shopping; Blogging; Collecting quality dinnerware; and Give orders!

PS: Thank god no more babies!

7 Things I Want to do: Win the lottery; Move to Queensland; Go on exotic holidays twice a year with money not being an issue; Own a house with land in the country with my own river and waterfall on the property; My masters in law (I am too lazy to go back to school); find the cure for obesity cos then I can eat whatever I like without repercussion (and the cure must not involve exercise!) and be smart - I am envious of all the clever people in the world!

7 Things That Attract Me About the Opposite Sex: Their eyes; smile; genuineness; must not be a slob; must not brag; a gentleman; and not adverse to housework!

7 Favourite Foods: Penang Char Kuey Teow; Ipoh Hor Fun; Sambal; Ayam Pati Ski; Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins; Banana Cake; and Chilli Crabs.

In keeping with the tradition, I would like to pass on these awards to:

Sis Ummi @ Home Sweet Home
Ms Jun @ Yummylicious
Ms Teresa @ Mexican-American Border Cooking
Ms Jan @ What do I want 2 cook today?
Ms Gert @ My Kitchen Snippets
Ms Farina @ Salt n Turmeric
Ms Zareena @ Sweet Bites 4 U
Ms Zue @ Zuraidah’s Recipe Collection
Ms Joanna @ Family First
Ms Usha @ Veg Inspiration
Ms Suhana @ Sweet and Savoury
Mamafami @ Spice n Splendour
Mr Mat Gebu @ Dapur Tanpa Sempadan
Ms Shafidah @ Somebody is Watching
Mr Rozzan @ Shared Recipes
Ms Bhawana @ Tastes of India
Ms Sripriya @ Srikar’s Kitchen
Ms Tina @ Mommy’s Kitchen
Ms Retno @ Kedai Hamburg
Ms Charming @ From My Humble Kitchen
Lemon Grass @ Salam Dua Benua
PureGlutton and
Taste of Home.


Enjoy your new awards and looking forward to reading your tags!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

NATTER: MY HOUSEHOLD ON HOLIDAYS - QUEENSLAND 2008

The beach on Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland

Helloooo everybody, I’m back……after two glorious weeks on holidays in sunny Queensland – well actually, not so sunny cos there were some serious storms whilst I was up there, didn’t I???

However, I was lucky enough to dodge the worst of the storms but even when it was raining, the temperature was still perfect. Which is not what I can say about the temp in Canberra at the moment! It is nearly the beginning of summer and when I arrived home on the weekend, the temp here was 9°C! Go figure??? And it has not stopped raining here since.


This is where I stayed in Surfers Paradise


The beach at Noosa Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland


I stayed in Surfers Paradise at the Gold Coast and also in Noosa at the Sunshine Coast. I was in heaven with all the yummy shops around. My favourite was Elkhorn Avenue in Surfers Paradise as the street houses all the designer shops. I had a tough time deciding on a Louis Vuitton or Gucci handbag – I finally opted on a Gucci bag…..always been a little partial to Gucci. I also went crazy at the Wedgewood and Villeroy and Boch factory outlets. My bank account is looking so pathetic at the moment!!!


Louis Vuitton on Elkhorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise


My favourite shop, Gucci, right at the end of the designer lane, opposite Louis Vuitton on Elkhorn Avenue


My purchase this trip.

Even on holidays I was waking up at 6.00 am but I actually enjoyed it - it gave me a chance to have breakfast by the pool and read my books before the sun was up. I actually found some old Mills and Boons and it made great reading. I can't remember the last time I read those books....actually I do...20 years ago!!! I was really glad that I found some Janet Dailey books at the Carrara Markets. She used to be my fav M&B author. I also watched a few movies (the wonders of having a portable DVD player).

My holiday reading and movies

My favourite Thai Restaurant - they have won numerous awards and the food is divine! Within walking distance from our apartment, which helped.

Make sure you visit Norma and Frank Bailey of Zanette's Gelati at the Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre in Surfers Paradise. They make the best ever Italian ice creams, truly! My favourites - Macadamia, Pistachio and Ferraro Roche, yum, yum.

Anyway, am I pleased to be back? Yes and no. I definitely do not miss work. In fact I am dreading going back to work; having to catch up on 3 weeks of work. One consolation - Christmas holidays are coming in less than a month's time! Yipee.

My total journey these holidays was 3007 kms.... Oh yeah and I drove all the way!!! It's a sixteen hour drive from Canberra to Surfers Paradise and I drove in one go on the way back to Canberra. I also had my first ever puncture since I have been driving a car. On the way up, I broke journey in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales and spent a day there. I took over 600 pictures (no joking) and it was so difficult to decide what pictures to put up on my blog. It is going to take me forever just to sort out them out. So, I hope you enjoyed the snippets of my happy shots from my holidays!

PS: I would have put more pictures up but as it took me 2.5 hours just to load these few pictures on the blog, I am afraid that my patience is running quite thin. We are not amused!!!

Monday, 10 November 2008

GARDENING: AIR PURIFYING INDOOR PLANTS


Indoor plants are an essential element to any office setting and in my opinion, homes. They can add warmth, colour, texture, and they also purify the air.

A recent study by the University of Technology Sydney found that pot plants could remove common pollutants. Three large pot plants per room (that’s floor-standing sized plants) are enough to clean the air to the point where contaminants are negligible.

In 1989 a scientific study for NASA found that a number of popular indoor plants, including Dracaena and Spathiphyllum, were effective in purifying the air. Air pollutants can be a bi-product of the material in office furniture and building materials, and from air-conditioning.


Certain plants, more than others, can absorb the poisons and toxins in the air. These include Dracaena deremensis; the bamboo palm Chamaedorea microspadix, which is attractive looking, and the sculptured Dracaena marginata.


Another good indoor plant is the Sansevieria trifasciata, or mother in law's tongue. It needs little water, is very hardy, and does well in low light.

The peace lily Spathiphyllum is one of the plants that probably performs the best in low light conditions. Leave it in a room without any windows and it will survive on artificial light.


Aglaonema is a beautiful plant that also does well in low light and is in the top10 most popular plants that remove toxins from the air. Different varieties include ‘Silver Queen’ and ‘Silver King’ - so named because of the silver mottling in the leaves.


Yuccas are an in-vogue plant at the moment. In fact many plants with angles are popular. Look out for Yucca elephantipes which looks good in a pot, but try a combination of three different sizes in the same pot. These plants look especially good in boardrooms and reception areas.

Happy gardening.

QUOTE OF THE DAY


Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul - Linda Solegato

ANNOUNCEMENT: ANNUAL WALKABOUT

I am off on my two week annual 'walkabout'. I will answer your e-mails or comments upon my return. Ciao.....

Sunday, 9 November 2008

AWARDS: LOADS OF THEM!











My dear friend Lubna has bestowed me with these load of awards. Thank you my friend, I am very very touched. Also, congratulations on receiving the awards too.

I would like to pass on these awards to all my fellow blogger friends on my BLOG LIST. Sorry I am busy at the moment. I'll personally contact you when I get back from my holidays.

Once again, thank you Lubna.