I am nominating my fantastic co-host of the Friendly Friday Photography Challenge, Sandy from thesandychronicles to join in with the fun travel photo challenge of posting one travel photo without explanation, or with explanation as I think she prefers that, for ten days.
If Sandy would like to nominate another blogger, that would be fun. I like to discover new blogs, but there is no obligation to do this.
N.B. Sandy – I modify these challenges to suit me. Ten days and nominating ten bloggers is I feel too much. Especially over Christmas. But I do like to participate here and there.
There are some many benefits to eating magnesium-rich foods, and broccoli and spinach are good dietary sources.
If you have members of the family that aren’t keen on munching down on a large chunk of “little trees,” or broccoli, then this soup might tempt them to eat more than they would as a humble steamed vegetable.
Broccoli Soup Recipe
500 g broccoli (diced stalks and sprigs)
1 small potato, finely diced
Several large spinach leaves, chopped roughly (or silverbeet or rainbow chard)
1 onion, diced
Several celery stalks, sliced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cream, (for cream of broccoli soup)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen or fresh peas
pepper and salt to taste
Lemon slices as garnish
Variation: 1 small chicken breast, cooked and finely sliced
Saute the onion and celery in a pan until the onion turns transparent.
Add potato and stir
Wash broccoli and cut into sprigs and add broccoli, chopped spinach, chicken stock and onion/ celery mix to a large saucepan.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add fresh or frozen peas and simmer til broccoli and peas are cooked.
If wanting to make cream of broccoli soup, mash or process using a hand blender or victimizer-blender till smooth. Add cream and return to saucepan heating through whilst adding seasoning and lemon juice.
Or/ gently blend or stir til broccoli breaks up into small sprigs then add seasonings and lemon juice.
Garnish and serve.
Adding cooked slivers of chicken breast cooked bolster the protein content of this dish and turn it into a meal.
A nice accompaniment to Broccoli and Spinach soup would be almond or walnut bread.
The weather is getting cooler at the Home by the Sea. Could this affect the number of bubbles I see in the starter?
Sourdough Problems or Not?
Since I attended one of those slightly cringeworthy Tupperware parties of the 80’s, I always store my white flour in the fridge. I never get weevils or pantry moths in my flour due to this storage method. However, I got to thinking that this might make the sourdough more sterile, due to a lesser number of bugs. So I ask the break making veterans: Would this make a difference?
The Starter seems to have run out of steam, a little and I am looking for explanations. I do have a confession to make:
I added the morning feed quantity at the evening feeding and the following morning it was very liquidy on the top.
I may have overfed it!
I may have killed it?
I continued feeding the batch I was intending to keep and use, and left aside this ‘to be discarded if it doesn’t do anything’ batch, for a day but it didn’t seem to improve.
Not many bubbles, compared to day 2, which is seen below.
I have no idea as to whether it is still alive, or if I am flogging a dead sourdough mother.
Firstly, this is not a post about Corona, so if you want something a little juicier, you might check out some recent posts on StPA.
Truthfully though, I have to admit that I was tempted to call this Corona cake, not just because I cooked it for the first time, in these panic-ridden days, when the Corona virus is causing havoc around the world, but primarily because of the stunning way my blogger friend, Ju-Lyn presented it. There are several layers to this cake and it is decorated with blueberries like a crown – (hence the reference to ‘Corona’, which means ‘Crown’). But then, I was worried that Ju-Lyn might take offence at my referencing something like that, so I will call it- Ju-Lyn’s Mini Cakes.
Ju Lyn blogs at All Things Bright and Beautiful and very kindly shared her recipe for this delicious sounding cake with me, before it was posted on her own blog. That is a measure of her kindess. Thanks, Ju-Lyn!
I have to admit that I changed the original aesthetic slightly, as I was a little pushed for time, and I am not a big fan of butter cream icing, even though the Moth, (the “Man of the house”), just loves it. [He does better to watch his calories, you see.]
Ju-Lyn’s Orange Blueberry Mini Cakes
130 g Self Raising Flour
110 g Caster Sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of one orange and a little juice
Pinch of Salt
150 g Sour Cream
40 g melted butter
50 g fresh blueberries
Few extra blueberries for cake toppers
Mix flour sugar and baking powder together in a bowl
Mix together eggs, the zest of orange and a little juice – I used a teaspoonful
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix throughly
Mix in melted butter and sour cream.
Gently fold in the blueberries
Place in muffin trays, lined with paper cases, if you wish.
Scatter a couple of extra blueberries on top of each cake.
Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes
Testing with a skewer to see if the cake is cooked.
Allow to cool and serve with a dusting of icing sugar if desired.
You can make one large cake with this mix but bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
Double the ingredients for a layer cake and ice all over with buttercream.
More Cake Recipes
I have previously posted another of Ju-lyn’s wonderful recipes for Honey Spice Cake, which is now a staple on Sunday mornings, at the Home by the Sea.
Eggs + yolks: Extra YOLKS means more fat which gives the cake ultra moistness! Add the amount of eggs called for in the recipe but add two extra egg yolks. The extra yolks add the density and moisture you’d find in a bakery cake!
Egg WHITES: Not adding the yolks to the cake makes the cake fluffy and whiter!
To clarify: Eggs + yolks: Extra YOLKS means more fat which gives the cake ultra moistness! Add the amount of eggs called for in the recipe but add two extra egg yolks. The extra yolks add the density and moisture you’d find in a bakery cake!
Milk: Add MILK, not water, when your mix calls for liquid. The milk adds density, fat and, most importantly, extra flavor to your mix. So add extra tablespoon or so of butter if you are short on milk.
Egg WHITES: Not adding the yolks to the cake makes the cake fluffy and whiter! But taking out the egg yolks removes fat so add an extra two tablespoons of butter above (or, one tablespoon of melted butter per each removed egg yolk).
Vanilla: Freshen up the cake mix with a dash of VANILLA EXTRACT! Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for enhanced flavor. I feel the cake keeps better with vanilla in it, but that could be false.
Melted Butter: Use BUTTER instead of oil. They’re both fat but butter has better flavor! Muffin recipes call for vegetable oil. Melting butter in the microwave, as this adds a richness and depth of flavor.
Sprinkle with Sugar: Sprinkling the top with SUGAR not only gives it a sweet crunchy texture to yoru cake, but the weight of the sugar prevents the cake from rising too much while it bakes.
You can even make a layer cake or one for now and one for later. Pour the cake batter into two cake pans and sprinkle the top with sugar. It’s important for your cake to rise but you don’t want it to rise too much or you will have to cut off a lot of it if you layer it.
It worked out beautifully at the Home by the Sea.
Recipe to follow shortly. As it is Ju-Lyn’s recipe, I wish to wait for her to publish it first.
There you were, sitting by the side of the lake, on a saturday night, admiring the moon reflecting on the water, the tide gently lapping a romantic lullaby in your ears.
The night was young and you got carried away in the moment, perhaps with your loved one by your side?
But did you remember to take your rubbish with you, when you left?
This sight greeted me on my walk this morning at 6am.
An almost empty can of whisky, a plastic bottle half filled with juice, and some leftover food in a single-use plastic bag.
If I knew where you lived,
I would gladly return your left belongings to your door.
Did you not realize perhaps that this lake opens out to the sea? A sea where marine animals and fish live? Someone’s else’s home?
When you finished eating your take out meal, (or take away, if you are an Australian), did you not walk directly past the bin? It takes but a second, to look and check for a nearby rubbish bin/trash can and dispose of your waste in a bin that waits there just for that sole purpose. A bin, which has been put there for your convenience. A bin which you might even pay for, with your taxes, or as part of your council rates.
Did you not see the location of the bin was a mere 10 – 20 steps behind you, depending on your height, of course?
Your thoughtless act of carelessness contributes to contamination of our waterways with plastic wastes.
Thanks to you, it will take 20 years for that one plastic bag to break down in the environment and even after that, will still pose a threat to fish and other aquatic life, entering their bodies in the form of micro-plastics.
Fish or aquatic animals, that you, yourself, might eat one day. This means you will also ingest micro plastics in to your gut. Just like this whale. Plastic didn’t do him any good.
If you are a turtle, whale, dugong, or larger marine animal, you might ingest the whole plastic bag, and who could blame you, as bags do look like jelly fish. For these creatures, the consequences are fatal.
All because you forgot or couldn’t care, to dispose of your leftover waste in a responsible manner.
According to an estimate, every year Americans use approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil just for producing plastic bottled water. Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills.
Plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose, while plastic bottles take 450 years.
Every minute, every day, more than 120,000 aluminum cans are recycled only in America. But, at the same time, every three-months, enough aluminum cans are thrown away in America that can rebuild the entire American commercial air fleet.
Aluminum cans take 80-200 years in landfills to get completely decomposed.
Building a new house last year, meant that I had the opportunity to purchase the latest and greatest cooktop and oven.
I was lucky that the builder had a 90 cm oven as standard equipment and I do love it. I do like to bake a lovely morning tea so the oven get used a lot.
The cooktop in the house design, was gas as a standard addition, and I fondly remembered the teenage days of cooking on an ancient ‘Kooka’ gas stove, in my ‘haunted’ house – highly efficient and reliable. However….
I worked out pretty quickly that gas wasn’t great for someone living in the tropics. The phrase sweating away over a hot stove, was more real than I would care to admit, when I discovered the open flame of the gas cooktop, I was cooking with in my rental accommodation, caused the ambient temperature in the kitchen on a 36 degree celsius, overly humid, day to ignite to levels bordering on purgatory.
Thus, an upgrade to induction cooking seemed like a sensible move than a gas stove.
The trouble is I had to purchase all new cookware as not all saucepans operate with the induction technology, which requires saucepans to be magnetic, to work.
I splurged a little and purchased two new non stick Induction friendly frypans, one a Raco and the second a Tefal Jamie Oliver style pan, as well as three beautiful induction freindly, non-stick saucepans, a lovely set made in France by Ingenio, with a detachable handle that could be used in the oven or cooktop, or served at the table.
So versatile, I thought.
Imagine my schock when I read that there was a problem with non-stick cookware.
A big problem….
Someone in the Estate by the Sea, where I live, had three parrots that lived inside their home. The owner was cleaning his self-cleaning oven, last week, which requires turning it to its maximum heat for an extended time in order to self clean the interior walls, of the oven.
Suddenly all three of his large parrots, including an African Grey parrot, (which can live to 200 years), developed breathing problems and died within 20 minutes of each other, ostensibly from the polytetrafluoroethylen fumes, emitted from the oven in its self-cleaning mode.
To back up his claim I did a little research:
…. the material used in most nonstick cookware, …the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating on the pans turns into toxic Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at high heat, making it dangerous both for the cook and for diners.
It was in 2004 that the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered the potential cancer-causing chemical used in the production of Teflon and filed complaints against the maker, DuPont.
At that time, a synthetic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA or C8 for short was used in the production of Teflon, however, it was phased out in the USA, in 2013 as PFAS chemicals, which includes PFOA and PFOS, had been linked to cancer and numerous other health concerns.
Despite DuPont completely eliminating the use of PFOA from use in their products, according to a spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), there is a wide range of products supplied in Australia that still include the related chemicals.
This week, I purchased a PFOA free frypan and worryingly note the Ingenio saucepans are now a discontinued product, in the larger retail stores. I shall have to ensure these saucepans are never used on high heat or should I ditch them and get stainless steel, all over again, for the Home by the Sea?
Do you use Non stick cookware, or use water resistant, stain resistant products?
There are more similarities between people from diverse cultures than there are differences. We can learn so much from each other if we keep an open mind.
Amanda Mac – Forestwood
Benefits of Writing a Blog
One of the best things about blogging is that it is not limited by geographical boundaries.
Unless you are new to The Home by the Sea , or my primary blog, S.t.P.A, you’ll more than likely know that I live down ‘under,’ at the ‘bottom end’ of the world. Down here in Australia, we can sometimes feel the tyranny of distance isolating us, from the rest of the world and a different time zone doesn’t help to foster good communications, at all.
Yet, the blogger community with its members spread across the globe, are a wonderfully diverse group. As an Australian blogging offers me the chance to expand my perspective, to hear and share different opinions and thoughts, that I’d otherwise not have been exposed to, and to feel the rest of the world is just that little bit closer, all without leaving my desk.
Yet it is still a virtual world, isn’t it?
Meeting other Bloggers
Thus, when an opportunity arises to meet another blogger, I am pretty keen. Previously, I had met Inekewhen travelling in New Zealand, and both of us were surprised to find that, although we originated from different backgrounds, the connection we felt towards each other was surprisingly strong. A similar meeting with Lorelle, in Melbourne, confirmed blogger friends are often on a very similar wavelength.
But did I know Catherine from Cyranny’s Cove, well enough for us to click? I knew little of her life in Canada, even though I had followed her blog for some time. Cyranny was coming all this way to Australia and visiting Brisbane, so I was super keen not to miss the opportunity to chat i.r.l. to another blogger and furthermore, to someone who loves Denmark, as much as I do. In fact, that is how I discovered Cyranny’s blog – browsing the wordpress reader for posts on Denmark, (as I sometimes do)!
Cyranny’s time here was short, and we were hampered in communications by Australia’s unfortunately medieval internet networks, so it wasn’t so easy to find time to meet. Especially since I have recently moved some 30 km away from the city, to the Home by the Sea, but eventually we settled on a time and date and met for breakfast in the city.
This year, Australia has experienced an extremely hot summer and with the fallout from the recent natural disasters of bushfire and floods, I was relieved to hear Cyranny and her partner tell me they had been lucky enough not to have their travel plans disrupted and had in fact, reached the chosen destinations without major hiccups, even experiencing some “up close and personal,” encounters with our unique wildlife that some Australians have not yet had for themselves. That was fun to hear.
Meeting Cyranny ended up feeling like I was having coffee with an old friend – the conversation was easy and comfortable and we settled down to enjoy breakfast, with the added bonus of a nice outlook over the Brisbane River.
Although our writing allows us to enjoy interacting with a completely different blogger set, we do share similar enjoyment in keeping our blog, and I found it so very interesting hearing her thoughts on Australia and the fun things they both had experienced, along the way.
Brisbane’s Sights and Attractions
As it is February in Brisbane, the year’s absolute worst month for heat and humidity, we then took a very warm, but pleasant walk along the riverside walkways and through the city’s Botanic gardens.
With the humidity rising rapidly, seeking out the shady colonnades of flowering Bougainvillea vines, at South Bank, seemed like a sensible idea.
I dutifully highlighted various points of interest, along the way: including the State Parliament building, a remnant of French Renaissance sophistication in the antipodes, the two Universities, the famous “City Beach”, and more importantly on a hot summer day, the New Zealand Ice Cream stand, with the totally awesome and weirdly named ‘Hokey Pokey,’ Ice Cream flavour. If you haven’t yet discovered Hokey Pokey, you are really missing something!
Being the local, I also suggested they might like to consider a ride on the City Cats, (Public Catamarans Boats), that traverse the river that night, in order to visit Eat Street – an open air eatery upriver, at Hamilton. Eat Street comprises 180 or more stalls, all serving multi-national cuisine from modified ex-shipping containers. Along with music and twinkling lights, it is a unique experience for dinner on a hot summer night, in Brisbane and I thought might be fun for my Canadian friends.
They were also keen to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – somewhat of a mandatory obligation when you visit Brisbane, as it is one of the few places operating since 1927, where tourists can get to hold a koala and hang out with the kangaroos and wallabies. I don’t want to divulge too much more about that, as Cyranny will no doubt tell you more when she arrives back home.
I was a little sad to wave goodbye so soon to Cyranny and her partner, but they had a date, to keep, with a koala. I wish them safe travels back to their home. I do hope they know they are welcome at our Home by the Sea.
Have you met any other blogging friends? How was your experience? Did you find many commonalities?