Friday, 21 December 2012

Easy Christmas Recipes

It's a busy time of year, isn't it? I apologise for my blogging slackness of late - so much to do, so little time!

To let you know I'm still alive, I thought I'd just quickly post 4 easy Christmas recipes which I make each year and give to friends. I hope you find them useful, too. 

FRUIT SLICE (pictured in the centre of the plate)

250g dried fruit, finely chopped or minced (apricots, apples, prunes, cranberries, etc)
2 cups coconut
1 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
Extra coconut, crushed nuts or icing sugar (to coat the slice or balls)

  1. Mix all ingredients (coating) together, and form into small balls or a long roll.
  2. Toss in extra coconut, icing sugar or crushed nuts. 
  3. Set in refrigerator. 
  4. If you have rolled your mix, when it is firm, cut into small circles, as pictured. 
  5. In hot weather, it may be advisable to keep in the refrigerator. However, I have not needed to do this. 

Fruit slice and Easy Coconut Macaroons

 EASY COCONUT MACAROONS (pictured around the plate edge - and one on top!)

2-1/2 cups coconut
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 Tablespoons self-raising flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Put coconut, sugar and sifted flour into a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in lightly beaten egg, milk and vanilla.
  3. Mix all ingredients together well.
  4. Roll mixture into walnut-sized balls, pressing well together.
  5. Place on oven trays, lined with aluminium foil (no need to grease)
  6. Bake in moderate oven 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. (Makes about 30).


 3 egg whites
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 cup plain flour
125g (4 oz) whole unblanched almonds
  1. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add castor sugar, and beat until dissolved.
  2. Fold in sifted flour and whole almonds, combining well.
  3. Fill into a very lightly greased loaf tin (20cm x 10cm) or 2 small tins (20cm x 7cm). Bake in a moderate oven 30-40 minutes.
  4. Leave in the tin until completely cold. Wrap in aluminium foil and put aside for 1-2 days.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, cut into wafer thin slices.
  6. Place slices on oven tray, put into a slow oven 20 minutes or until slices are completely dry and crisp.


60g butter
2/3 cup golden syrup
1-3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of sodea
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cocoa
30g mixed peel
2 Tablespoons plain flour, extra
Raspberry or strawberry jam
125g dark chocolate
  1. Melt butter over low heat in medium sized saucepan
  2. Add golden syrup, bring to boil, remove from heat and leave standing for 10 minutes.
  3. Add sifted dry ingredients, milk and finely chopped peel, stir with wooden spoon until smooth, cover, stand at room temperature for 1-1/2 hours. The mixture will become thicker.
  4. After this time, turn mixture onto a surface dusted with the extra flour. Knead lightly, workin on only enough of the flour until the mix loses its stickiness.
  5. Roll out the mix to about 3mm (1/8 inch) thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters in Christmas shapes or hearts (I had to use teddy bears also!) Place on lightly greased trays, leaving a little room between each for spreading.
  6. Using the end of a wooden spoon, gentlypush an indentation into centre of the biscuit, being careful not to push right through. Fill with a dot of jam.
  7. Bake in moderate oven 8-10 minutes or until golden. Leave on trays until completely cold.
  8. Melt chocolate in microwave, 30 seconds at a time until melted enough. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a bowl or double saucepan over simmering water. 
  9. Cover the base of each biscuit with chocolate, either by dipping or spreading with a knife. Wipe off excess around the edges, and place jam-side down on trays until chocolate is firm. This should make approx. 40-70, depending on how thinly you roll out the dough.

Welcome to RusaLena, who recently began following this erratic blogger,

And a very merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

There's still a Spring in my step

The paddocks near our house are beginning to change from green to a pale browny gold colour, as we near the end of Spring in the Adelaide Hills.
View of our paddocks browning off

Our garden is still looking lovely though, and a thrill runs through me as I wander around, taking in the sights and smells of our unruly but lush (at present) garden.
Roses, lavender, viburnum,  chrysathemum, geranium, plumbago, etc. etc.

Red Geraniums
Throughout Spring I've tried unsuccessfully to capture with my little digital camera the vibrancy of the new life all around me.

David Austin's Graham Thomas rose
Nevertheless these pictures still give a little glimpse of the prodigality of the season and its Creator.

Tequila Sunrise

Purple irises with Golden Celebration rose
Mystery rose (root stock from a dead Abraham Darby, I think)
Evelyn,  another David Austin rose

The Children's Rose

Mr Lincoln rose

Roses are my favourite flowers and our garden reflects this,

but everything living, growing thing has its own glory - even the weeds that share the garden beds with the plants we want there! 
Seduction rose accompanied by select weeds!

Jasmin bush covering a fire sprinkler

Apricot Nectar rose
Soon we will take on the challenge of keeping the garden alive through the warmer months, and I will dream of cooler weather again. But for now I will just drink in the beauty around me, and be thankful for today.

Another mystery rose
P.S. Guess who I found while I was wandering in the garden just now? Kelvin (I name all visiting koalas Kelvin) was grunting away in a tall gum tree just outside our house fence, so I just had to share him with you too. I am a blessed woman!

Kelvin poses for the camera

Monday, 19 November 2012

Eat a Pie Floater and Prosper

First, let me apologise for a lapse in posting lately. Life doesn't always allow time for the luxury of blogging, but never mind - here I am now. I would normally share a new recipe on my Kayzy's Kitchen page, but given the number of times we have eaten pie floaters recently, and before the Aussie weather gets too warm to enjoy this dish, I have decided to feature my version of the great South Australian Pie Floater here as well. I hope you will be inspired to give it a go!


The star of this dish is the soup, which is delicious on its own - and addictive! But if you want to use it as the main component of a homemade Pie Floater  (South Aussie classic), this soup will raise the floater to a higher level of culinary delight!

Curried Green Pea Soup with extras
500g frozen peas
200g cauliflower, chopped
100g Silverbeet or spinach, chopped
50g reduced fat butter or margarine (I used Devondale Light)
2-3 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups water
3 teaspoons chicken stock powder
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
salt, pepper
Optional: ½ cup evaporated milk, cream or fresh milk
  1. Boil water in a large saucepan
  2. Add peas, cauliflower and spinach to water, reduce heat and cook until tender.
  3. Remove vegetables and water from the pan to a bowl. If you have a stick blender, proceed to step 4. If not, puree the vegetables, mint and a little of the vegetable water in a food processor or blender until smooth, then proceed.
  4. Heat butter in the pan, add flour and curry powder, stir until combined. Remove pan from the heat.
  5. Gradually add vegetable water to the pan, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps forming.
  6. Return pan to the heat, add stock powder, and stir until stock boils and thickens.
  7. Reduce heat, add the vegetables and fresh mint to the pan, and blend with stick blender.
  8. Reheat the soup, test for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. If desired, add optional evaporated milk, cream or milk to the soup and reheat before serving, but I think this soup is delicious enough without this option. Serves 4-6.
    Note: Cauliflower and spinach may be omitted from this recipe without affecting the flavour, but I think their inclusion makes the soup yummier.

Pie Floater Instructions
  1. Buy (or make) meat pies – any variety will do, but plain meat pies are fine. (I will add a recipe for meat pie at a later stage.)
  2. Reheat pies in a moderate oven until hot (15 minutes).
  3. Pour a good serve of curried pea soup in a large soup or pasta bowl, allowing room for the addition of a pie.
  4. Place a pie (upside down if you are a traditionalist) on top of the soup in each bowl, and watch it sink!
  5. Swirl a splodge of tomato sauce or ketchup on top, and serve! If you are really bold, add a dash of vinegar also. I don't think this adds anything to the dish, but some pie floater officianados swear by it.
    Note: You will need a soup spoon to eat this culinary masterpiece.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Woodend Teddy Bear Show - We Love it!

Each year the critters, Martin and I look forward with great anticipation to the Woodend Teddy Bear Show enjoying the lovely opportunity of meeting fellow arctophiles and catching up with friends. The show is held in the lovely town of Woodend in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria on the last Sunday of October.

In preparation for the trip, I took photos of new critters. Here are four recent additions to the hug:

From the left: Duggie, Kenneth, Lah-Fing, Fur-Elise

and four more who wanted me to show them off!
From the left: Digger, Babette, Joh-Moh, Duffy

When do we leave, Mum?
Just before leaving I place my critters into their travelling bag. They do not like it much, but are willing to endure the confined space for a limited time.

Look, Ma - no hands

The 700 kilometre drive to Woodend is most enjoyable. We travel through rural South Australia and Victoria, and there's plenty to see. However, we had a late start this year and travelled through the night, so we didn't see much of the countryside. However, Martin is always fun to travel with, and at one point, whilst having coffee and lamingtons we drove, Martin showed me his own special way of eating lamingtons!

On Saturday afternoon we set up our display, the critters cooperating well with our desire to show them to their best advantage.

This being her first show, Fur-Elise seemed to need a little reassurance.

 The evening saw us heading off to the traditional pre-show dinner get-together and catch-up with fellow bear artists at a local restaurant. The excellence of our friend Claire's dessert and a shark sculpture were images Martin and couldn't resist capturing for posterity!

Sunday morning found us back at St Ambrose Hall, and before we knew it, the doors opened and the  fun began.

We had a great day, and I especially want to thank our dear friends Claire and John Evans for helping to make it so, and of course my kind and patient husband Martin, without whose help and encouragement I would not be able to continue in this lovely craft.

Many talented bear artists were at the show. Below are just a few:

Lena Burghart:  KP Bears - with Pat Morris's bears on right
Karen Alderson: Karen's Bears

Sue Bartlett: Adorable Bears
Merilyn Pursell:  Bearwildered Bears

Gunnies Collectibles (Robyn Gan)

Benson Bears (Linda Benson)
Scruff and Sandi
I am pleased to say that two of my critters, Sandi and Scruff - close friends who till now have been inseparable - were adopted by two human friends who live close to each other, so Sandi and Scruff will be able to keep in touch.

If you would like to know about any of my critters, you will find their details on my For Adoption page, and I'd be pleased to provide any additional information if you email me at

This post wouldn't be complete without welcoming Lyn, who recently began following this blog. I do hope you will enjoy your visits, Lyn.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Kenneth the Koala - Part 3 (It's Big!)

In our last post you may have read of Kenneth's misadventure with Tusca the dog, and how it (and Tusca) shook the little koala's confidence considerably. Well, a few days passed by, and with Nana Kayzy's reassurances and numbers of kind and encouraging messages from sympathetic bear and human friends, Kenneth recovered his equilibrium quite well.

In fact, on the next scheduled bushwalk day, Nana Kayzy was surprised to find him waiting near her backpack when she came to collect it.

“Nana, I'm ready to try again,” Kenneth said (almost bravely). “I come from a line of big and brave koalas, so maybe it'll rub off on me if I just have a go!”

Nana Kayzy clapped her hands. “Bravo, Kenneth! 'Once more unto the breach, dear friends . . . ' no, maybe not. How about 'Onward, forward, shout aloud, Hosanna!'?” And so saying, she collected her backpack and Kenneth, and headed off to join Sharyn, Nyah and Tusca again – this time with a song in her heart and faith that all would be well.

Add caption
They tumbled out of the car at Evans Road. An early Spring shower followed by sunshine had freshened everything – grass, flowers, trees, and even the road sparkled and shone with new life. However, the first thing Kenneth noticed was an intoxicating smell. “Mmmm, what's that lovely smell, Nana?”

Nana tried to think like a koala, and as she did this her nostrils filled with the heady aroma of freshly washed gum leaves. “You're smelling the gum leaves, Kenneth – good, isn't it?”

“Ooh, yes,” replied Kenneth dreamily.

They were walking along the bush road, Kenneth in his safe backpack position, when he spied a very young gum tree on the edge of the road. Bubbling up inside him came that 'big' feeling again, and he cried, “I want to climb that tree!”

Everyone stopped in their tracks. Before he could change his mind, Nana Kayzy quickly lifted him on to the ground, and stood back to watch.

Without hesitation, Kenneth waddled up to the baby tree, savouring the delicious perfume of those inviting leaves, and went into action.

“Yay for Kenneth the brave!” cried Nana, so proud of her darling.

The tree may have been tiny, but the event was huge for Kenneth.

He had found his bigness in a big way, and that's not all! For the first time Kenneth tasted those delicious gum leaves straight from the tree – ah, bliss!

After this, nothing could stop Kenneth.

Further along the track he found a bigger tree and climbed that, sampling the delights of its leaves and the joy of conquering the dizzy heights of its branches, swinging upside down and laughing with the pleasure of it all. Kenneth had fully embraced the bigness of the gift of life itself.

The final joy of the day came when they reached the big rock that had caused such trouble on their last walk. Tusca trotted over to the rock, jumped up, and sat down, looking apologetically at Kenneth. Without a word, Kenneth made his way over to Tusca and climbed up on the rock. Then the two just sat together in companionable silence as if they'd been friends for years, resting and pondering beary and doggy things.

As if it was necessary to celebrate the occasion even further, the call of a yellow-tailed black cockatoo rang out in the bush, and this beautiful bird paused long enough for Nana to record his fleeting visit.


When she turned around to check on Kenneth, Nana saw him lying at Tusca's feet, relaxing in the warmth of the rock while Tusca sat guarding her new friend.

What a BIG day! The words of a poet from long ago came to Nana Kayzy as she smiled at the unlikely pair on the rock. “This is the day that the Lord has made – we will rejoice and be glad in it!”


Kenneth is so brave and big now, he is ready for adoption.
If you are interested, please go to my For Adoption page.