building, environment, home

Teflon and Non Stick Cookware

Building a new house last year, meant that I had the opportunity to purchase the latest and greatest cooktop and oven.

My new Kitchen

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….

Kooka Stove

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 new induction cooktop

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

http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-living/whats-deal-with-nonstick-cookware-are-they-safe-20160801-gqitvd

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.

http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-living/whats-deal-with-nonstick-cookware-are-they-safe-20160801-gqitvd

A very concerning revelation.

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?

old boats
building

Blogger Meet Ups

amanda Lorelle
Blogger friends meet – the Lovely Lorelle

What have you learnt from blogging?

Someone asked me this question several years ago on my blog, Something to Ponder About.

This was my answer:

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

Exchanging Ideas with Ineke

Thus, when an opportunity arises to meet another blogger, I am pretty keen. Previously, I had met Ineke when 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)!

garden flowers

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.

old boats

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.

Friends Across the Waves

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.

river view

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

transport

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.

architecture

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!

Hokey Pokey
Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

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?

walkway tree beach redcliffe australia
animals, blogging, building, environment

Walking with Kangaroos and Galahs

Getting up early to go walking in summer, brings you some delightful surprises. And let’s face it, it is SO much cooler when you live in the sub-tropics. It is also a time when the animals are more active, as they too struggle in the heat and like to rest when the sun is high.

Like this family herd of Kangaroos. You won’t see any around at noon, as they will be resting in the shadows, but go walking early morning and you will see them, enjoying the free grass shoots that emerged with the recent god given rains.

Perhaps you will join me on this walk as we take a glimpse into Australian fauna.

Photo Cred: Facebook

The gorgeous roos were making the most of the recent rains and although you cannot see them in the photo, One mum has a baby, called a joey, which we have often seen at the newly created and yet to be used, sporting fields at theend of a nearby road. The roos seem to be co-existing well with the encroaching development. Let us hope it stays that way.

“One man’s trash can be another’s treasure.”

The rain gives happiness to animals and people alike. For me, rainfall and cooler days are invigorating. After years of drought, and months of never ending bushfires, the rainfall last week of showers and the occasional thunderstorm is so glorious in all its wetness! Truly manner from heaven. The drought may not be over but the grass and plants respond.

I often think about that disconnect between feelings about rain. The folks in the Northern hemisphere have had enough of it and down here we crave it more and more. There never seems to be enough, for all of Australia, or if there is, it comes down in bucketloads, far too much for us and our fragile land to absorb.

Do you get how we feel about rain in Australia?

The ducks and swans frolick in the overflowing pond, and yes, our feet get muddy.

Yet it is this lifegiving substance the earth needs to rejuvenate, to heal, for water is the essence of life.

With blue sky as far as the eye could see in the other direction, I turned and headed back home. By the lakeside, I was greeted by the local birds. They were really happy too. Except perhaps, the baby galah!

He was probably pretty hungry by the sound of his raucous call.

Along with all the other walkers around the globe, Jo’s Monday walks inspire me to share a little of my home by the sea with others around the globe.

Have a wonderful week. I plan to do so.

A Home by the Sea Blog Logo

building

Sunday Morning Beach Walk

Hi there!

Would you like to come for a walk along the beach with my dog and me?

I like to be up early in the morning. It is a magic time down on the beach. This is the entry to the beach at Redcliffe, Australia.

As you might have suspected, it is called Redcliffe for the red colour of its cliffs. Unfortunately, they are not really visible at this point and we’re walking in the other direction today.

beach path

Let’s go!

Are you okay to negotiate the stairs?

This part of the beach is popular with shore fisherman. The gentlemen on the right had just caught a stingray after the photo was taken. He then cut off the hook and kicked the stingray back into the water with his bare foot. The ray seemed fine with its ordeal, as it swam enthusiastically away. I suppose its take away from the experience was a small breakfast of fisherman’s bait.

Some of the houses, fronting the shore, have magnificent views towards the ocean, although some are showing their age. They may be weathered and beaten by the elements but are still standing strong, much like most of the trees.

beach house view

Until that is, the Council might decide the tree must be cut down.

I am unsure of the reason for the lopping of this tree as it was massive. I recall it being a Moreton Bay Fig, which blogger Margaret mentioned just the other day. One major concern is the stability of the bank, once the roots are removed.

I love that some of the staircases are equipped for bicycles, or kayaks on wheels. Not that I would be riding down there. It looks far too steep for my skills.

A man and his Schnauzer

I continued on for another 500 metres or so.

The recent summer storms have taken a toll on this old cottonwood tree. I think the Council will try to salvage this one.

The walk along the beachfront here is special becuase there’s a fantastic feature tree further along that forms a Tree Tunnel. This is the first time I have ever seen a warning sign saying: Beware – Low Tree Branches.

Watch your head as you walk underneath.

It is low.

I had to bend my head down and my husband says I am part ‘Hobbit’.

At this point, we decided to turn back to our starting destination exiting back through the tree ‘cave.’

The perfect frame for the distant container ship on the horizon. The water between Redcliffe and Moreton Island forms a major shipping lane to the port of Brisbane.

We took a detour on the way back inorder to check out a nice cafe we spotted on the way up. After all, isn’t it a tradition of Jo’s Walks that the walk ends with cake?

Captain Cook and Whitby Abbey

history

History buffs might want to pay attention to this part of the walk. The smaller rock to the left is a piece of the ruins of the Abbey at Whitby, England. Whitby was the home of Captain James Cook, the first Englishman to chart the East Coast of Australia. The larger rock commemorates Captain Cook’s Journey past this point, way back, in 1770.

From this point, maintaining a southerly direction will find you at a Sunday Market adjacent to a long cafe and shopping street complete with modern pier and jetty, where you will find many more fisherman.

Here is what it looked like in years gone by:

Redcliffe History

The town’s name originates from “Red Cliff Point” named by the explorer Matthew Flinders, referring to the red cliffs at Woody Point.Redcliffe was originally the site of the first penal colony in Queensland. It was discarded when the colony moved further inland and slowly it evolved as a small seaside retreat north of Brisbane until the construction of the Hornibrook bridge which linked Brighton, an outer Brisbane suburb, to the Redcliffe peninsula.

http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/redcliffe-qld

Now, I am hungry. Where IS that cake?

Catch you next time at

brisbane bridge over river
building, home

Wait there’s more to come

Our little estate by the sea is set to grow and thrive. The developers have not just built houses. They want to build a community.

The development will also include a shopping and dining precinct.

I am looking forward to it. No fixed date yet, but it will include cafes, a fresh food and small market and a ancillary health suites. Good for those wanting to retire by the sea.

Some people are concerned about the high density that more development may bring. To me, it is part of living in an attractive part of the world. Near services, close to a major capital hub, or at least within commuting distance, and a waterfront lifestyle.

For many that is paradise. And of course, it represents profits for the developer, who commenced the original part of this peninsular development about fifty years ago.

Any development always represents a tussle between losing the natural environment and the needs of a growing population, and an economy that pushes and supports progress and profits. How to balance the two?

Not easy.

There is a community group that is opposing the increase in height from 5 stories to 7 stories for mid to high density townhomes and apartments.

Am I concerned? Normally I would be, and if it was right on my doorstep, yes I would absolutely be against it? But really they are arguing about air space. The air between five and seven stories!

In New York, air space about floor level has a price, and can be transferred, bought and sold, just like any real estate lot! Can you believe that?

As far as environmental concerns go, the debate between five and seven stories is not so relevant, but it does set a worrying precedent.

What are your thoughts on development? Pros? Cons?

path under tree beach redcliffe at sunrise
building

Change and the New You Challenge

Day 18 – Spend time with those you love

Does I need a prompt for this? Absolutely not.

It is the most precious time for me. My family. My children. My dog. There is only one of each of us, in one moment, in one space. Make life special.

Approach each second with loving kindness.

Day 19 – Celebrate how far we’ve come

Definitely some positivity in this prompt.

Look back but only to see how far you have come, how much you have grown.

Almost one year ago, we embarked on a new path in life. A year of new chapters and starts and of course,a few hiccups along the way.

I have never felt like making a #seachange has ever been a mistake. Perhaps others might disagree.

For me staying ‘put’ would equate to to stagnatation. In stagnation, disappointment and regret thrive and life ebbs away til the only thing left is routine or despair.

Be brave. You have almost nothing to lose if you embrace some change in your life.

If you do not have the luxury of changing your environment:

Change perspective

Change attitude

Change preferences

Change thoughts

Change your life

white lilly flower
blogging, building, home

30-day New You New Year challenge

I’ve been working my way through this challenge mostly every day, but sometimes every second day. After all, life does get in the way of blogging challenges at times, doesn’t it?

Day 14 – Done
Day 15 – disconnect from the phone
Gosh so many of us seem to spend inordinate amount of hours on the phone. Either in scrolling social media, doing work, reading emails, reading books, scanning pictures or social media.
It’s endless and the phone seems to take more and more of our valuable communication time. I have even seen older people are scrolling through phones at coffee shops, bus stations or on trains. Even my 90 year old mother in law sends texts and uses an ipad.
Can a human race no longer tolerate boredom or sitting with nothing to do?

That valuable time to imagine, to dwell and to think.

Have we completely are we on the way to completely eliminating that from Society because we must be occupied 100% of the time?

 Today I thought of it about that and read the prompt.  I managed to disconnect my phone, no strike that, didn’t manage but chose to disconnect from the phone for about 8 hours at work. 

It is not so hard to disconnect from the phone for more than that length of time, at work. However, I am still working on a screen.

When i have a social engagement the phone is away in my bag and ignored.

I do not check the phone while I am out with lunch with friends or having a coffee with a mate. Do you?

blogging, building, home

Join me for Tea – Spice Cake

Tomorrow it will be six weeks since I moved into the Home by the sea and I haven’t really cooked a lot since then. Besides working and unpacking, and showing visitors around my new home, I haven’t found time to do any leisure baking. By that I mean more than what is required to sustain life!

I travel a long way to work so I often get back home late in order to avoid the peak hour traffic jams. On those nights, the MotH [Man of the House], improvises or uses the spouse-approved, (and proven), C.Y.O. method. Read: (cook your own).

First cake in the New Home

Having a quiet morning this week, meant I was ready to bake something and Ju-Lyn, over at All Things Bright and Beautiful, provided the final piece of motivation I needed to get me started, posting her Honey Spice cake recipe, (which she had adapted from Anita Bean).

I was determined to try it this morning. The MotH loves having a morning tea with freshly baked treats to the point that morning tea, with him, has become something of an art form.

Sitting together over a cuppa gives us a good chance to talk in a way that we don’t do, for the rest of our busy day – he is often at the hardware, Hi-fi shop, or pet store and I am busy pottering about getting the house in order, if I am not at work.

So back to the delicious cake. It was a throw-it-all together kind of recipe – they are really the best kind, aren’t they? No stress and it cooked beautifully in my new Westinghouse oven. [smile]

I was a little short of ground almond for this recipe, so I topped the measure up with a little extra flour. The recipe adapted beautifully.

With a light dusting of vanilla or icing sugar on top, to serve, this Spice Cake is light and tasty and just the perfect accompaniment for tea.

Ju-lyn had topped the cake with lemon icing, whereas I added a dollop of home made lemon butter, on the side, for a decadent indulgence.

As the recipe worked so well, I was thinking I could even be a little adventurous and add walnuts, next time. Or even try a gluten free version for my diet conscious son.

Will you try it?

Morning Tea Spice Cake Recipe

Adapted from Ju-Lyn’s Honey Cake which was adapted from Instagram @anitabean1

Ingredients

  • 165g self-raising flour
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g runny honey
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 eggs (mine were 700 grams each)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • glace icing (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Line a 20cm baking tin, I used one with a hole in the middle.
  3. Mix all the ingredients until well combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth surface with spatula.
  5. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave the tin to cool for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  7. Dust top with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of cream, or lemon butter.

I have got to go have another piece now. Join me for morning tea at the Home by the Sea. I will begin posting weekly morning tea recipes.

Will you join in – posting a recipe? #joinmefortea

building

It’s All Happening at the Home by the Sea

The workers have really ramped up the action a notch.

This is happening just outside our backyard, right now.

Perhaps the tradies are getting a bonus to finish before Christmas? the MotH asks.

Tradies or Tradesmen?

I’m not sure if other countries call workmen on construction sites:-‘tradesmen.’

We don’t either.

In Australia we always like to shorten things, especially names, so tradesmen and not called tradesmen, but “Tradies.”

If someone says they will, “See ya in the arvo,” or “See you thissarvy”– they don’t mean they will meet you in some seedy bar in town, they mean they will see you after lunch, in the afternoon. If I was to say to a friend, see you in the afternoon, I would almost sound British!

But I digress.

Tradies might be Electricians, Carpenters, affectionately also called ‘Chippies,’ Plumbers, Crane drivers, Tiler’s, Glaziers, Concreters or anyone that performs a trade and often this is related to construction.

These guys and girls, do a certain amount of study at a vocational college but most of their training is practical, on the job. It is usually an apprenticeship of three or four years. They are often very fit, strong and heavily tanned young men and their language is often colourful.

So whatever you do, when you visit Australia and the Home by the Sea, don’t ask for few ‘chippies’ with your meal! See you later on thisarvy!

P.S. There goes on view to the East!

animals, building

A Natural Visitor

There is a new visitor to the Little Home by the Sea. And his name is Billy!

We have decided. And he can’t disagree too vocally.

Isn’t he cute?

This little green tree frog has made our yard his home and is eating the annoying moths that we seem to have in our patio area. (Not the MOTH, of course).

Frogs are indicative of the health of the environment, so I feel this is a good indicator for our new estate, where wildlife would be greatly disturbed by the earthworks.

This is a good sign for our nearby wildlife corridor.

Did you know that you should always have wet hands if you try to touch or pick up a frog?

Otherwise, your touch can burn their skin.

Last night I swear I even saw a Joey in our street but it ran like a cat and no hopping was evident, so perhaps it was just a feral cat.

I will be watching for it, tonight!