photography

Friendly Friday Challenge – Postcards from the Past

Using Canva as a template, I had some fun with Sandy’s prompt for Friendly Friday, this week.

I actually wanted to cartoonize the photograph of Nyhaven, Denmark, so it looks like a digital illustration, but as that involved a Canva pro subscription, I opted for something less, this time.

Using the postcard template is a fun way to re-live past travel memories.

In case you were wondering, yes my newly purchased cap with Danmark embroidered on it that I had purchased at a souvenir shop near the H.C. Anderson exhibit in Odense, did blow off and land in the canal. It was never seen again and yet, I still have one today.

On my return home to Australia, I managed to find a similar cap in a store and had the words Danmark embroidered on it, complete with Dannebrog. (Dannebrog is the Danish flag).

I will be back next week at Something to Ponder About with a new photo challenge prompt.

Melbourne Cup party
blogging, writing

Chocolate Orange Cake for Su’s Virtual Afternoon Tea

I do enjoy drinking a lovely cuppa at mid-morning. To savour that cuppa with other enthusiastic bloggers at Su’s Virtual Tea Party, is an extra treat.

tea cake and sandwiches

The Thirteenth day of November in the calamitous year of 2020, is auspicious, but I am not superstitious. I do wonder how many extra lotto tickets will be sold today.

Having once worked in a Newsagency, I can vouch for the increase in sales on days like these.

Meanwhile November has been busy. There always seems to be something happening at the Home by the Sea.

Melbourne cup day without the racing crowds continued in our neighbourhood and one of our wonderful neighbours dressed up as a bookie running a sweep or two.

Melbourne Cup party

I have been joining in with Qi Gong exercise every day that I can through the week, however turned awkwardly this morning and have pulled a muscle in my back. Ouch…. Getting old sucks. Really.

Schnauzer November News

The dogs have not been forgotten and had a fantastic run at the fenced off leash area and the doggie beach. First time off leash for the pup and she loved running with the chocolate labradors and then having a hydrobath afterwards. They rested well afterwards.

The doggies were spoilt a bit with early Christmas presents from Pupsnaps anti – anxiety beds. Since these arrived, several of my friends have had theirs delivered. Pupsnaps must be so pleased with the business from the Schnauzers. The dogs almost need to recieve a commission.

The Koala Rescue group have been making Christmas garlands, complete with koalas. We threaded up all of these one weekend. I hope they sell well at the markets as the funds all go towards running the Rescue operation.

At least one koala is killed or wounded every night in breeding season. Staggering statistics.

So finally, here is what I am eating for Su’s Virtual Tea – A Chocolate Orange cake.

chocolate orange cakechocolate orange cake slice

Feel like making it yourself? Here you will find the Cake recipe.

Join me at Su’s Virtual Afternoon Tea

A Home by the Sea
chocolate orange cake
food, health

Weekly Cake Recipe Rich Chocolate Orange Cake

One Cake A Week

Do Chocolate Cakes in your house disappear all too quickly?

Then your household will love this Chocolate Orange cake. It has the flavour of Chocolate with a hint of orange juice goodness. Better than chocolate!

Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 125g butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 3/4 cups Self Raising Flour (equivalent to plain flour with 3 teaspoons of Baking powder added)
  • 1 1/3 cup castor or fine white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Method

  1. Preheat Oven 180 Celsius or 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and flour a 20 cm/8 inch bundt or round cake pan.
  3. Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer adding wet ingredients last.
  4. Beat on low speed until all ingredients are combined.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes or until the cake mixture changes colour and is smooth.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
  7. Leave stand for 5 minutes before turning out.
  8. Dust generously with icing sugar before serving.
  9. Optional: Ice with Choc Orange frosting, if desired.

Chocolate Orange Frosting

  • 60 grams or 4 tablespoons soft Butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated Orange rind
  • 1 1/2 cup Icing Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa

To Make Frosting:

  1. Beat butter and rind in small mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add icing sugar and milk gradually.
  3. Divide frosting mixture in half, stir sifted cocoa into one half and mix well.
  4. Top cake with spoonfuls of orange and chocolate iceing.
  5. Swirl icing with knife to give a marbled effect.

I am making #onecakeaweek at the Home by the Sea. Join me in collating a recipe blog list by leaving your link in the comments below.

More HbtS Cake Recipes. There is plenty to choose from.

A Home by the Sea
blogging

A Historic Third Term for A Female Leader

During a fierce thunderstorm and amidst a global pandemic, a female political leader, has made a mark on history winning a historic third term as the state’s leader in the election.

And her words I particularly like – she is keen to get back to work as soon as possible.

“There’s nothing more important than the dignity of work.”

Anastacia Palaszczuk

.

Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszcuk after winning the 2020 Election

My wonderful daughter strongly believes and supports female representation in politics. For many years, female suffrage was not tenable to the authorities. Some women died for the right to vote. My daughter takes her constitiutional right very seriously. She requested a political sign for our garden. After all, we make up a little more than half the population, she reasons.

Women’s Right to Vote

New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in, but not to stand for, parliamentary elections in 1893.

The colony of South Australia allowed women to vote and stand for election in 1894. In Sweden, conditional women’s suffrage was granted during the age of liberty between 1718 and 1772. But it wasn’t until the year 1919 that equality was achieved, where women’s votes were valued the same as a man’s.

Wikipedia

Equity in something my countrymen and women feel strongly about but might hardly be aware that they do. Generally speaking Australia does not have many traditions, we can all our own, but for Australian society is mostly classless and everyone here is entitled, to use the vernacular: a ‘fair go’. Australia has developed, comparatively speaking a more egalitarian and economically mobile society, perhaps stemming somewhat from a lack of historic tribal associations. (generally speaking)

However, this is not to dismiss the extreme prejudice and terrible injustices wrought against the indigenous folk of Australia and the White Australia Policy. This racist policy of preferencing white migrants was a mid-twentieth century policy based on the irrational fear of becoming populated by migrants from Asia.

There will always be bad eggs in any society, just as there will be good eggs. I do believe that the worst of any prejudice is behind our country and trust my daughter will grow old in a country where each individual is taken for his or herself, with open-mindedness and in good faith.

“A cynical sneer gains no ground.”

environment

Storm Season

Behind every dark cloud, the sky is blue

In this neck of the subtropical woods, it is the season for thunderstorms. Cells build in the Brisbane Valley and head southeast, sometimes bringing hail but always damaging winds.

The lightning can be spectacular but frightening if you are driving or caught outside.

Our dogs are fine but some dogs become so fearful they panic at the sound of thunder and run away.

Threatening clouds but no hail yet

There is even such a thing as thunderstorm asthma. Usually this occurs in the southern part of Australia, such as Victoria. Thunderstorm asthma caused 10 deaths and 300 hospital admissions last year in the one storm event.

Coming tonight, the storms put a bit of a kybosh on Halloween festivities. Our estate has bee

n quite enthusiastic at Halloween decorating this year so I am half expecting a skeleton, Halloween entity or witch to come flying over the fence for real.

Credit: Pinterest edited with Picsart

From the Home by the Sea.

food

Making Cinnamon Buns with Dry Yeast

kanelsnegle at last

I have always been reluctant to use yeast in the kitchen. I have had bad experiences with dry yeast sachets.

Either I heat the yeast granules far too much in my anxiety to make the dough rise, or the resulting dish tastes of something that I really can’t describe. It’s not an awful flavour but a slight kind of aftertaste. It is not sweet. I am not sure if this is yeast or something else.

Photo Credit: by PurplePumpernickel

However, when Ju-Lyn posted a Recipe for Cinnamon Rolls, I desperately wanted to make them.

Cinnamon Pastries in Scandinavia

The taste of cinnamon scrolls takes me back to Denmark and Finland, but generally all of Scandinavia. In Denmark, you see these rolls and pastries everywhere, from 7/11 stores (which surprisingly are some of the best), to small cafes and even gas stations kiosks. They are both ubiquitous and synonymous with Scandinavian traditions. Whether they be soft sweet bread or the flaky Danish style pastry, cinnamon is the main theme.

The first thing my daughter wanted to do on our return to Denmark was to eat a Cinnamon ‘snail’ or ‘Kanelsnegle.’ This is the kind of flaky pastry that is thin and wound round and round similar to the shape of a snail’s shell.

A cinnamon bun in Finland

Eating various kinds of cinnamon pastries is some kind of birthright in Denmark, and I have it. No question. I enjoyed a huge cinnamon bun in Helsinki one year. I didn’t eat anything else until dinner that day.

Cooking with Yeast

It is not that I have not cooked with yeast before. I have. I used to make my own bread but that was using baker’s fresh compressed yeast and it was brilliant. A never-fail kind of yeast that was guaranteed to make bread products rise beautifully. Not so the sad results of my experiences with the dried variety of yeast.

Nevertheless after 38 years, I decided it was too time to try again or hang up the dried yeast forever. And Cinnamon buns was the perfect tester. Ju-Lyn’s Cinnamon bun photographs looked perfect and the texture was soft and bouncy.

Furthermore, Cinnamon is so good for you. Packed with Antioxidants, cinnamon may lower blood sugar as well as assist in managing heart disease and inflammation in the body.

The Result of Cooking Cinnamon Buns with Dry Yeast

This was the moment of truth. Would they be hard as rocks or soft and bouncy?

I can reveal that I was over the moon with the result.

No aftertaste and a nice even texture on the rolls. They rose as the recipe suggested and Ju-Lyn’s clear recipe tips helped enormously. One minor adjustment would be to substitute water instead of milk but that is only personal preference.

Here they are:

If I can convince you to make them or at least experiment and you would like the recipe, you can find it at the blog: purplepumpernickel.

You can make cakes with cinnamon too.

#onecakeaweek at the Home by the Sea.

Sunrise

Also linking to the Virtual Tea Party, hosted by Su at zimmerbitch.

blogging

Gardening with Alkaline Soils in Coastal Areas

Having a home by the sea has many advantages, however, one disadvantage, is the poor quality of the soils for gardens and the difficulty in growing plants that thrive in coastal areas.

Coastal soils are often sandy and have poor water retention ability but might also be heavy, salty and highly alkaline. This means their PH level is about 7 or above, which makes growing plants quite tricky.

Flower bud

If I wanted to grow Azaleas, Camellias, Magnolias or my favourite flowering shrub: Gardenias, for example, the coastal soils would need organic and chemical* help.

*Please note growing azaleas, camellias, magnolia and gardenias will require a specific fertilizer or may wither or develop yellowing leaves, without the right conditions.

As some of my garden had already been established, adding large quantities of peat moss, compost or organic matter wasn’t going to be a viable option, so in order to change the PH of the soil, I needed to look at other options.

It’s always best to test the soil’s pH level and follow instructions to the “T” when using anything to change soil pH.

If your soil is highly alkaline, adding sulphur, peat moss, sawdust, or aluminium sulfate can help neutralize it.

Adjust soil pH slowly, over time, avoiding any quick fixes. You can simply add plants suitable for alkaline soil. Read more about Plants For Alkaline Soils

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/plants-for-alkaline-soil.htm

Damage to Plants from High Ph Levels

The first warning sign that the plants in my garden were suffering from a high Ph level was leaves turning yellow with a green midvein, evident firstly with the alkaline sensitive Gardenias and later, the Murraya, or Mock Orange, and some of the small Cupheas bordering the garden.

My next step in remediation was to stabilize the Gardenia, in situ, with an appropriate chemical fertilizer suitable for the sensitive likes of those plants and plant out more alkaline-tolerant species, as well as add organic matter where possible.

Lots of blue colour in this garden. Westringia (a native Coastal Rosemary), Juniper, Strelitzia and of course, Lavender. All plants that thrive in coastal areas.

Within a few weeks of applying the fertilizer, the Gardenias and Magnolia had shiny new green growth. I applied a general fertilizer to the Murraya and the Cupheas and although slower, they are responding with new buds.

Growing Lavender in Coastal Areas

Lavender plants are a sound choice for coastal areas as they relish well-drained sandy soils and don’t mind wind. The ones I planted thrived in soil that had an upper layer of very sandy alkaline loam with an underlying, also alkaline, clay. They are especially beautiful now, in full bloom. No fertilizer needed, or signs of alkaline damage, so far.

Lavender plants make spectacular borders and vary in height: Lavender dentata, for example, grows to a height of 60 cm and can be pruned to a ball shape lightly after flowering.

Growing Your Own Lavender Plants

Lavender blossoms make excellent cut flowers,or can be used in dried flowers arrangements or potpourri. After flowering, I remove the lavender flowers from the stems and pot up the trimmed down leaf tips and place them in potting mix after first dipping the ends in rooting powder and then seal them with a plastic bag for several months. After that, you should have some established new Lavender plants.

It’s really a plant that keep on giving.

Lavender is known for its therapeutic properties.

Growing Olive Trees in Coastal Areas

Contrary to popular belief, Olive trees do not really have troublesome root systems, and as they do like coastal conditions they can also tolerate alkaline soil, well, provided it is free draining. A great choice for a coastal garden particularly with their grey-green foliage.

Olive trees take about 7 years to produce fruit. Sadly, we had to leave a beautiful olive tree at our former location, when we moved to the ‘Home by the sea,’ one that was close to flowering and producing olives.

The tree was about five years old and about 3 metres tall. It was not in a position of full sun, but we do live in the sub-tropics, so the sun is stronger here. Olive trees seem resilient to pests, so are a great choice for coastal and Mediterranean-style climates.

Plants suitable for Alkaline soils:

Some other plants that cope well in Alkaline soil types are listed below.

Herbs/Vegetables for Alkaline Soils

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Potato – my plants are thriving. Just pop them in and watch them grow.
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Celery

Parsley can be used as an edible border plant as it is a splash of greenery and handy for use in making Tabouli or salads in the kitchen. It is a herb that does like alkaline soils.

parsley in the garden
My Sweet potato and Rosemary plants – the Mock orange in the right hand corner of the photos still has some alkalinity damaged yellow leaves

Shrubs and Trees for Alkaline Soils

  • Viburnum
  • Cotoneaster
  • Mock Orange
  • Honeysuckle
  • Spiraea
  • Hydrangea
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Olive Trees – as long as the soil is free draining.

Enjoy creating a Coastal Garden

Sunrise
blogging

Which Way Photo Challenge

I have been following San for a while over at Alive and Trekking so joined in with the Which Way Challenge at her blog.

After all, there are plenty of roads I have been on, some of them the same ones San has travelled.

The photo,(or collage), I have chosen to share was rather memorable.

Trollstigen in Norway – the Troll’s staircase a road over the mountains to Geiranger, is a special location and I was were lucky enough to see it before the weather closed in.

The Orange deck is the vantage point where I stood, in 2014.

Photo Credit – http://www.fjordnorway.com/top-attractions/trollstigen

A tree can create a tunnel. This is the way I will take today.

environment

DIY Freshener for the Home

Why buy spray cans and fresheners for the home and bathroom. It really is cheaper to make your own and far better for the environment as well.

Not only can you avoid using harsh chemicals but you have a lovely natural fragrance from the essential oils, which are easily purchased in bulk.

Here at the home by the sea, I do like to care for our environment, even if it is a small contribution on my own home turf.

Toilet Freshener

10 Homemade Recipes for Beauty Products: DIY Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray 2

 INGREDIENTS:

  1. 15 drops bergamot essential oil
  2. 10 drops lavender essential oil
  3. 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
  4. 2 Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol (eg. Isocol is fine)
  5. 4 oz. distilled water
  6. 1 teaspoon of vegetable based glycerine
  7. A manual spray bottle to store it in

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill a small spray bottle with water and rubbing alcohol.

 2. Add essential oils and glycerine then replace top and swirl gently to combine.

To use:

Before you leave the bathroom, give the bottle a shake then spritz the water around three or four times.

That’s it!

[Source and photo credit: http://www.freebiefindingmom.com/10-homemade-recipes-for-beauty-products-diy-poo-pourri-toilet-spray/]

A Home by the Sea