Creativity Indian Style

As part of my challenge to be more creative, I decided I would cook something that I have never cooked before. I found a recipe for chicken cooked with spices from a cookbook called Indian Cooking for Australia by Gladys Roach.

WP ready

Here is the recipe for Masala Murghi. We enjoyed eating it and now that I have a better selection of spices I will experiment with another recipe next week :-).


Global grocery shopping

This is probably a bit ‘out there’ but I thought it might be interesting to see what other people around the world (i.e. other bloggers) get in their weekly grocery order. I thought it could have a multicultural flavour to it and we could get a comparative idea about the cost of living in different places.

shopping list

This list is recent and includes some special items for Christmas puddings and caters for some anticipated guests as well. I also get my groceries delivered and get the printed list above. I do confess to our weekly indulgence of chocolate and peanuts but I don’t smoke or drink :-).

What do you think? How does my diet compare to yours? Want to share your list? I feel quite vulnerable in a silly way, by sharing my shopping list. I would feel much more comfortable talking about the meaning of life …




Christmas Pudding

My mother-in-law taught me how to make Christmas Pudding in the way she prepared and cooked it every year for her husband and two sons. The responsibility was passed to me when she passed away in 2010. Each year I say I am not going to make it but I usually give in to howls of protests.

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The tradition of putting the coins in the puddings comes from my childhood. I have 15 x three-penny coins dating from 1921 to 1955. I also have seven six-penny coins dating from 1910 to 1963. I always clean them in boiling water and bicarb soda before mixing them in the pudding! I usually ask the coins be swapped for some chocolate money so as I can continue the tradition the next Christmas.

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Next the mixture goes in two pudding bowls and sealed with kitchen paper and foil before inserting into two pots of boiling water.

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Then they steam for four hours. I need to keep topping up the water so it does all disappear ūüôā

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Food is complicated

Yes, food is complicated¬†– or at least it can be! I am one of those people who never seem to lose their appetites and there is hardly any food that I don’t like. So no matter what I feel like, I almost always enjoy the pleasure of¬†eating! That is not a bad thing in itself, is it?

We all know there is a massive market out there:

  • Cook books
  • Cooking shows on¬†TV
  • Cooking celebrities
  • Diets –¬† a multi-million¬†$ market
  • Scientific research – you¬†know the ones I mean – research that says one day that red wine is good for us and then the next day there is evidence that it will harm us. What can we believe?

Each person¬†who has an allergy or sensitivity to food will tell you the answer they found after years of searching – and they won’t believe anything other that what works well for them. They may be quite insistent that¬†it will work for you too!

We¬†often use food to celebrate occasions such as Christmas and¬†Easter (not to mention the opportunities for alcohol as well – but that’s another story!).¬†Certain foods can be quite evocative in reminding us of a person¬†or a time in the past. In my family, the appeal of crystallised ginger and ginger beer goes back a few generations. So when I see ginger or ginger beer in the shops I think of¬†a family get-together.

Some people can eat what¬†they¬† like and never seem to gain weight. It may be true that they lead a more active life as well. But…for me,¬†if I eat too much I get fat! What an awful fact but it seems I can’t deny this is true.

How do we motivate ourselves to change our behaviours? I have tried heaps of things in the past and they may work for a while and then I slip back again. If you have some good motivations tips for a healthy diet, I would love to hear from you.

No doubt you have heard the sayings “Just for today…” I am not sure where they originate from, however I am going to adopt a new one today and it is not too difficult.

Just for today¬†I am going to stick to my eating plan (based on Weight¬†Watchers). I can’t guarantee that I will do it again tomorrow, but I will give it my best effort today!¬†

So there it is …. just before Easter too!



The saucepan dilemma

A stainless steel frying pan.

Image via Wikipedia

When I start something, there is no telling where it will lead to! Just before Christmas I reorganised my kitchen cupboards to make them more practical – less bending down etc. Some of my electrical goods that¬†I don’t use much, went into the big drawer under the gas stove. It is really deep and that limits its use.

Next I found a better place for my cooking implements Рsaucepans, fry pans, cake tins etc. While I was doing this I realised that my saucepans (fairly cheap ones when I bought them years ago) were showing some wear and tear. In my mind I could see a lovely new set of stainless steel pans gleaming in my cupboard. Next thing, I was off to the shops with a mission to buy some new ones Рgood quality stainless steel.

I couldn’t decide which ones to buy as there was too much choice and some reluctance on my part, at spending that much money. All was not lost as I bought a new outfit to wear on Christmas Day – top, skirt and shoes.

I thought I had the saucepan obsession licked until I started reading ads for Boxing Day sales – saucepans up to 70% off the normal price. I rang up to see what the postage would be but there was no-one there to answer my questions (thankfully?)

You see, when I was first married we were on a very low-income and I always bought the cheapest of everything or sometimes went without. When my marriage broke up I had less income than before and often shopped at second-hand stores for most things. Later I got a good job which enabled me to take on a good mortgage. I had to watch my spending closely or I would get into debt. Now I am in a better financial position but I still find it hard to spend money. One voice is saying “treat myself, if I can’t afford it now I never will”. Another voice is saying “there is nothing wrong with the saucepans I have – they do the job”.

I wonder if I’m¬†I trying to¬†get a “buzz” through some nice shiny pots (retail therapy)? Probably, but I argue that I could give my existing pots to someone who needs them more than me!

Aren’t I a lucky girl, if¬†this is all¬†I have to concern myself with in this world on this lovely sunny day?



PS What would you do, if you were me?

Weekly photo challenge – Family

Christmas pudding from Bracknell, Berkshire.

Image via Wikipedia

I first met my new¬†mother-in-law in 2004. We immediately clicked with each other and enjoyed each others’ company. She passed away in 2008 and we do miss her and often talk about our happy times¬†with her. ūüôā

For many years, she kept her family well fed with a variety of puddingsBread Pudding, Spotted Dick and the most popular of all, the Christmas Pudding. Her two sons made her smile when they worried about who would cook the puddings after she was gone. I put my hand up at the time and we agreed she would teach me how to cook them. We didn’t get around to doing the Spotted Dick though ūüôā

The first one was the bread pudding and I was able to produce one nearly as good as her’s. The Christmas Pudding was a different matter. I joked about being her apprentice. I went to her home and she showed me, step by step, what to do. Well the last two Christmas’s were sadly, spent without her. After she died, I inherited the apron, pudding bowls, cooking scales and mixing bowls.

It was a big responsibility to have on my shoulders (but I loved it really). I guess I will never quite make the puddings as well as her’s but I am sure she is happy that the family tradition is continuing. My daughter-in-law recently asked me for the recipe and I was delighted to share it with her. I wonder if she will pass it on to her daughter-in-law, at some future time.

Sharing and continuing family traditions is one way of celebrating being a family. Traditions can build a stock-pile of happy memories. I bought the ingredients for this year’s Christmas Pudding and I will¬†keep the family¬†tradition going.

Homemade spotted dick pudding.

Image via Wikipedia

A slice of home-made bread pudding.

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If you would like the recipe you can find it at
The original recipe is getting a bit tattered, as you can see!

Recipe for Christmas Pudding



The tree-fern

“CHRISTMAS SPECIAL” – was the title in the real estate paper¬†for¬†the first house I ever bought. That was in December 1978. I found the original advertisement yesterday. I¬†saved in a folder titled “1980’s memories”. I am glad I am a bit of a hoarder as I found some gems (smithereens :-))¬†that could be useful for future blogs ūüôā

The ad went like this:


¬†BELGRAVE $2500 Deposit ($47 weekly) Lovely treed secluded block slopes to creek boundary. Small cottage, ideal for retired couple of young couple starting off –¬†$22,950

Wow! If only it was that price today. It was a lovely little home on a very big block of land. The land was covered in lovely tree ferns and camellia trees, maiden hair ferns, azaleas and much more. Belgrave is in the Dandenong Ranges within commuting distance of Melbourne.

Although the price seems very low today, the interest rates at the time got up to 17.5% and we were on a very low wage. The house was over seventy years old with wood stove and open fireplace for heating. I had one child at the time and another born while we were living there. I fell in love with it at first sight. It even had a name – “Green Glades”.

During that period I took on a real homemaker and healthy food specialist role! It was a lovely home, apart from the possums who lived and fought each other in our roof. One day a possum scratched so hard on the interior wall, it actually poked its head into our lounge room. That was pushing  the friendship a bit too far!

In early 1980¬†the opportunity arose¬†to go to the Northern Territory (Numbulwar) for a 12 month stint. We decided to rent out our little cottage during that time. We were only away a short time when we received an urgent message to call the real estate agent. It was bad news – there had been a fire. Some sparks from the open fire landed on the carpet and set it alight. It is amazing the house wasn’t burnt to a cinder.

We made the hard decision to put the house on the market. It sold very quickly and we were sad, yet relieved we didn’t have to worry about it anymore. The house is still there – I’m told it has been renovated in recent years. This house still appears in my dreams¬†today – in varying states of repair. It has etched itself in my mind forever.

Some places are like that, aren’t they?

cheers for now


What new skills would I like to learn in 2012?

Emmitsburg, MD, March 10, 2003 -- EENET - one ...

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I reflected on this topic and my head was spinning! Probably because the ideas that I came up with were nothing new. I have spent a few decades trying to improve myself. This involves being brave enough to keep learning practical and technical things. I have a thirst for new knowledge and leap at the opportunity to gain it.

Other ideas included:

  • self-acceptance – isn’t it ironic that including this in my list means I am not self-accepting ūüôā
  • learning to deal with difficult people – this doesn’t mean I have to turn myself inside out to accomodate them. It means I find a way of relating that doesn’t minimise who I am. I have the tendency to see it as my responsibility to change to enable smooth relationships with others. I want to stop doing that and find a better way or relating.
  • I would like to become better at being in the present – mindfulness, better focus and less concern about the past of the future.
  • My listening skills could improve as well – the previous point would help to bring this about

On the more practical side of things, I would like to learn how to:

  • improving my writing skills – I am enrolled to do a course next year
  • expand the range and quality of cooking that I do
  • improve my capacity¬†in the computer tasks I do at work

So, that is my list. What would you include on yours? I would be interested to know ūüôā







An ordinary life…

enjoying the moment

I want to write today but can’t think of anything profound to say. So, I decided I will write about my ordinary day today.

I had the alarm set for 7.30am to make sure I was ready for my 8.30am dentist appointment. I woke early so got up early and put the heater and the kettle on.

I had my usual breakfast of weetbix, bran,¬†mango and greek yogurt with milk, plus¬†two cups of long black coffee. I was showered¬†and ready to leave home at 8.00am. I drove my Hyundai Getz into town and arrived early at the dentist, filled in the forms and waited to be called. Like most of us, I don’t really like going to the dentist ūüôā however I am pleased to report my teeth are in good shape after a clean and polish.

I came back home for a short break before setting off to do the weekly shopping. It was quiet and peaceful at the shops – just the way I like it. I managed to avoid getting caught in the rain. I lashed out and bought some bananas today – I got 8 bananas for $10! We haven’t had any for ages because they are so expensive due to a shortage due to floods and cyclones that damaged crops.

I came home once again – I stopped to check my mail and said hello to my next door neighbour. The mail wasn’t very interesting but no bills – so that’s good. Once I had unpacked¬†the shopping and put everything away I prepared some lunch for my partner and me – sandwiches with some lovely fresh bread.

After lunch I spent some time on my computer. I prepared a flyer to send to some of my networks to promote my new website that can be found at and then I sent it out by email. It felt good to get that done. I much prefer to communicate via the computer these days than face to face networking.

Afterwards I added a few more recipes to my blog. I have some from the 1930’s and I am going to put my Mum’s favourite recipes and some of my economical ones from when money was short. That was fun to get that started. It is partly to learn more about how my blog site can be used – there is so much to learn.

My next task was to make some pumpkin soup. Looking at the recipes inspired me into action. I cooked it in the pressure cooker as it is much quicker. I added some herbs from the garden and some sweet potato. It turned out lovely. I would love to add some cream but I will resist!

That brings my day up to NOW where I am writing my blog. Once my blog is done¬†I love to read other people’s’ in the Post A Day tags. I can spend ages doing that. I feel like I have come to know lots of people all over the world. Amazing, isn’t it?

A little later I will become a couch potato and watch the news etc on TV. I am so pleased to hear that Washington has gone some way to resolve the financial problems. A lot of people have been very worried about it and the potential instability in the world as a result.

At some point I will prepare an evening meal and relax and enjoy myself. I will probably pop back to my blog a few times to see if anyone has read it and left me some comments. I hope so – it makes my ordinary life much more interesting.

thanks for reading about my day