Day 3 of 30 days of Creativity

For today’s post I chose to do some cooking! I made a date and walnut loaf. The recipe follows:

1 cup chopped pitted dates

I cup of boiling water

I cup of chopped walnuts

I 1/4 cups of plain flour

3/4 cup of rolled oats

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar.

Directions: Mix the chopped dates with the cup of boiling water and add maple syrup.

Mix all the dry ingredients together and add the date mix when it has cooled a little (about 15 minutes)

Stir the date mixture into the other ingredients and then place in a loaf tin.

Cook in oven heated to 175C for about 45 minutes.

Lovely served in slices with butter.

Day 7 of 7 photos in 7 days

Last Thursday I suggested our U3A Course participants take on a creative challenge of their choice, to do something creative each day for 7 days. I couldn’t convince them to do the 30 day challenge though. We meet again in the morning and I am looking forward to finding out what they have been up to.

My 7th photo is shot of our morning tea tomorrow: Mini blueberry muffins!

A Creativity Challenge

Do you fancy joining me in a 30 Day Creativity Challenge?

First, let’s jump ahead to the back story – next year (late March) I will be leading a small group of seniors (through our local University of the Third Age) in a course titled, Unleashing Your Creative Spirit. I thought it would be good to get my creativity muscles toned in the lead up to it.

If you are interested in joining me in the Challenge you can read about it in the following website and documents:

Inspired by Melissa Harfiel’s Tips for Undertaking a Daily Creativity Challenge: click HERE

Have a read of the documents and see if it appeals to you. The Writing Prompts documents is about 8 pages so you may want to just keep an electronic copy handy.

Day One of the Challenge will be on Monday 9 December for me but you can start when you are ready. We can share our activities on our blogs using the 30 Day Creativity Challenge tag.

If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment in the space provided below.

The awkward raw prawn

Christmas 2011 026 (Copy)

I have been known to have some culinary disasters in my time. It seems to happen when I am trying my hardest to put on a good show for my guests. And it usually involves something we didn’t really need on the menu – a last-minute addition.

A week before Christmas we went to the seafood shop down the road to buy some fresh fish for dinner. I noticed they had some frozen, peeled prawns and I thought they could be added to our Christmas lunch.

We had guests at our place on Boxing Day (we went to my son and daughter-in-law’s place on Christmas Day). I pre-cooked the turkey and had a nice piece of ham to go with it.

That morning I got the prawns out of the freezer but hadn’t given much thought as to how I was going to serve them. I decided that a lime and chili dressing would be nice. I made sure the prawns were at the right temperature (not still frozen but safely defrosted).

I mixed the dressing and added it to the prawns and put them in a bowl on the table. I put some on my plate. When I ate one I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I had a panicky feeling that maybe they were raw!

I decided to confess my fears but my guests assured me they were fine. After dinner I checked online about eating raw prawns – it seemed that I would live to tell the tale!

PS the photo is from a Christmas Dinner a few years ago – those prawns WERE cooked!

Cath’s Christmas Pudding Recipe

Before my mother-in-law passed away I agreed to continue the family tradition by using her recipe to cook the Christmas puddings she made each year for her two sons. I have all the ingredients ready to make the pudding this weekend.

Here are the ingredients:

8 ounces of flour

8 ounces of suet (I use butter)

8 ounces of dark brown sugar

8 ounces of bread crumbs (white bread).

2 and 1/4 of dried fruit (sultanas, seedless raisins and currants

1 ounce of crushed almonds

Juice of one lemon

I apple

1 carrot

3 large or 4 small eggs

1 heaped tablespoon of thick marmalade

1 heaped tablespoon of mixed spice and a pinch of bicarb soda

Alcohol or milk if necessary (for the cook?)


Mix all the fruit together and rinse it under running water for a few minutes. Add the grated apple, grated carrot and marmalade. Pour on alcohol of choice (brandy, sherry or fruit juice if preferred) and leave overnight. Then next day cream butter and sugar until soft and fluffy then beat in sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Fold in the fruit mixture and prepared breadcrumbs. Add the crushed almonds. Sift the spice, bicarb soda and flour and fold into the fruit mixture until the right consistency in reached.

Pour the mixture into two prepared pudding bowls and cover them with kitchen paper and tin foil. Place the bowls in large pots of water to steam for about four hours. Remember to keep topping up the water as it evaporates. They can be kept in the fridge once cooked and then reheat for a further two hours on Christmas Day. Serve with custard, cream and/or ice-cream.

Here are my puddings in the bowls and saucepans last Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚

Keeping the creativity going …

I have been making a special effort to cook something different each week that I have never cooked before.

Tonight I am cooking RICE PORK LARB – click HERE for original recipe and instructions


1.5 cups of jasmine rice, rinsed

I tablespoon of peanut oil

I tablespoon of chopped lemon-grass (I will have to see if my neighbour has some or I will be using a lemon!)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

500g of pork mince

I red onion (I hope a brown one will do!), halved, thinly sliced

1/2 small pineapple, chopped

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 teaspoons of caster sugar (ordinary sugar will have to do!)

1 tablespoon of light, soy sauce

2 limes, juiced

12 small cos lettuce leaves (I only have iceberg lettuce)

1/3 cup of roasted peanuts, chopped


1. Cook rice following absorption method on packet. Remove from heat. Cover and stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat a wok (I don’t have one :-() over medium heat. Add oil, lemon-grass and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add pork and cook, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add a 1/2 cup of cold water. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir in onion and pineapple. Set aside to cool.

3. Place fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and 1/3 cup of lime juice in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add sauce mixture and pork mixture to rice. Stir to combine. Arrange lettuce on a platter. Spoon over rice mixture and sprinkle with peanuts before serving.

*** It was very nice ๐Ÿ™‚

pork dish 001 (Copy)