Hey kiddo, have you loved enough?

I’m journeying beautifully on my Noosa Camino. Every day life has given me an invitation to experience something new. I’ve melded into the places, the mental spaces. The vigour of being outdoors and creative surge have stippled routine. It has made me want to go further into the reaches of my day. To delve, accomplish, connect more with vitality, grace and the hallowed space that joins me to the sparkle in someone’s eyes. I follow Paul Coelho, author of the popular spiritual novel, The Alchemist, who wrote his first book after walking the Camino De Santiago. Coelho spotlights finding life’s pleasures in delicious crescendo when he says that God will finally ask of you only one question: Did you love enough?

I travelled with two impassioned friends one morning on the coastal track through the Noosa National Park at dawn. I could feel their happy energy and we chatted like the early morning birds.

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I cycled on my trusty bike twice this week. Once early morning with Kevin, up and over hills to Sunshine Village, alongside an egg sun cracking its yolk over the ocean which beckoned us in for a swim. Later in the week I cycled to a business meeting early evening with my favourite music flowing from my backpack into the cool night. I have great fondness for the ability of my bike and leg power to get me so easily around Noosa. I follow this Instagram, Forgottenbike, which always transports me to a world of roaming in far away places.

 

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via Forgottenbike Instagram

 

Another Instagram favourite is full-time traveller, Brooke Saward’s WorldWanderlust.

Via WorldWanderlust Instagram
Via WorldWanderlust Instagram

 

One evening the first week of June, the sun put on this performance, reluctant to let go of its love for the day, smooching dramatic colour all over the sky. Lovers gazed, mothers and fathers preparing the evening meal glanced and felt the instant grace of the job at hand, students looked out and sighed thankfully at accomplished essay word counts.

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Kevin, my faithful Camino buddy, joined me on an early morning run to the edge of one of the headlands in the National Park, called “Hell’s Gate”. The sea swirls menacingly below but on clear days turtles defy this evil wash to float and languish on the breaks. We ended the run with a swim at glorious Little Cove.

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Another day this week I led Kevin through bootcamp on the beach, which was full of power poses to build us for the day ahead. Dr David Hamilton promotes this as a great way of “wiring-in” self love. In this amazing piece, he explains how your posture can change how you feel and why you should “fake it till you make it”.

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I switched tempo to some calmer ways later in the week, stand-up paddling with dogs in the clear waterways of Weyba Creek.

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The next day some keen travellers, my parents, stepped in with us along one of the Great Walks of Queensland up in the ranges. We stopped in Montville to buy fruit at a kerbside stall with an honesty box.

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Then lunch and afternoon tea with lots of family banter and views across a pristine Winter sky.

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It is always a special kind of harmony to side-voyage with my parents. They are such great company, so wise and of course, among my greatest supporters.

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Motivational author and founder of Hay House, Louise Hay, reminded me that everything begins with self love and of her simple, charming mirror therapy, revisited in her Hay House health summit last month. “When you get out of bed, go to the mirror and say “I love you, I really, really love you” no matter what you look like first thing in the morning!” When Louise passes, and catches a glimpse of herself in a mirror, she says she finds herself fondly saying: “hey kiddo.”

I loved this article on “saying no”. “I had always been a “yes” woman. You know, that woman who wants to make everyone happy, not ruffle any feathers and above all, lend a helping hand,” says M. Shannon Hernandez.

Angela Mollard hit the spot in her piece “Turn Off, Tune In” where she advocates focusing on one task at a time above brain-cluttering multi-tasking.

Other gems in my week were:

  • The emotionally direct cards  cancer survivor, Emily McDowell designed that say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill.
  • An emailed note from my faraway sister-in-law which made me miss her wise feminine ingenuity.
  • A bunch of pastel mauve roses from my sister!
  • My son confirming his purpose by sending me this tingling quote: “If you have a dream you have a responsibility to yourself to chase it, otherwise you’re just a dreamer.”
  • This quick, healthy chocolate bark recipe which didn’t survive a day in my house!
via Pinterest mindbodygreen.com
via Pinterest mindbodygreen.com

1/3 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp. organic maple syrup
1/3 cup organic cacao powder
1/2 cup macadamia nuts

Line a plate or baking tray with baking paper, place the macadamia nuts on top. Add coconut oil to a small saucepan on low heat and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add the organic maple syrup, whisking briskly until well combined. Add the cacao powder, stirring until well combined. Pour the chocolate over the macadamias, ensuring that they are evenly coated. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to set for 20-30 minutes. Take out and break apart to serve.

Love every mouthful!

 

 

 

 

World’s best in African Safaris is coming to Noosa

Get ready, Noosa. The world’s best African Safari outfitter, Leora Rothschild, is bringing her class act our way. This week, Travel + Leisure announced Rothschild Safaris as the number one safari company in the world for the second year running. The magazine’s World’s Best Awards, a benchmark in travel excellence, tallies public votes annually to reveal the hotels, destinations and companies that define the very best in travel. Rothschild Safaris, comprising a powerhouse team of just 6 women at a Denver, Colorado, headquarters, responded to the thrilling news with tears, followed by glasses of champagne. home-rotating-images-girls-awards Leora Rothschild, Director and founder, is my sister and she’s decided to expand her reach by personally setting up an office in Noosa. She arrives later this year, with oodles of passion for the African continent and the intention of broadening her niche operation, offering Australians the opportunity to plan the trip of a lifetime to Africa.

Leora with guides at the exclusive Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta
Leora with guides at the exclusive Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

“Let an African show you Africa,” the Rothschild Safaris website allures. Leora grew up in South Africa and likes to oversee every booking made for the magical continent she adores, and delights in sharing with the world. She is aware that for some people it is a first time experience and she wants it to be unrivalled. “We spend time with you understanding how you personally wish to experience Africa…We firmly believe there is not one African safari that fits all.“ Leora and her team take annual trips to inspect lodges and wildlife concentrations, making sure no detail is neglected in tailor-making the perfect package.

Leora takes a light aircraft to inspect a secluded lodge
Leora takes a light aircraft into the heart of the African bush to inspect a secluded Safari lodge
Experiencing the open air bar at Tubu Tree Camp in the Okavango
Experiencing the bespoke open air bar at Tubu Tree Camp in the Okavango

I have had the privilege of accompanying Leora on 2 weeks of fact-finding in Botswana, so allow me to give you a little taster. The two of us were also catching up on years spent mostly apart, living in different towns and then countries. Together we tracked and illuminated the best of Botswana in stunning succession, but the real scoop was sharing sister time.

Chief's Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve
Connecting with my little sis at Chief’s Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve

Fifteen remarkable safari lodges later I was swooning, love-struck, breathless, at this country’s roadless, pristine wilderness of open savannas, waterways and incredible wildlife. No less notable are the people pushing to preserve the vulnerable natural wonderland and the guides presenting their country with passion and knowledge. Botswana 2011 180   Lonely Planet places Botswana third in the world’s top 10 places to see wildlife, (behind Belize and Bolivia, and ahead of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), and with about 35% of the country designated as protected areas, you are destined to see big game. Now, an African safari here has to rate as top of list for a travel experience you should have in your lifetime! Botswana 2011 096   Let me tell you how the safari experience wondrously gathers momentum. Your first sleepy, early morning game drive quickly expands into an unpredicted yearning to seek out wildlife from morning till late. I found myself part of a collective endeavour where you zealously discuss every wildlife encounter with fellow safari-goers and quench a seductive thirst for nature with each day’s sightings.

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Our vehicle halts for this journey of giraffes. We stare in raptured silence as they cross our path.

My sister and I were on a tandem ride and our magnificent landscape was a catalyst for deep acquaintance. The guides soon grasped our sisterly quest and joined in our story-sharing. They were our African brothers, adding dimension, aiding and abetting much laughter. We blazed a trail of pure happiness.

Doctor (The Doctor of the Bush) oozes charm and has an uncanny knack of tracking down exciting game
Doctor (The Doctor of the Bush) oozed charm and knowledge  at Mombo camp, dubbed “Place of Plenty”. He unearthed all we and our fellow travellers wanted to see from nature’s repertoire with uncanny precision, exclaiming “This is Mombo. It’s amazing!”  Word has it that guests literally kiss the ground on arrival, it has such a grand reputation.

There was utter elation when Legadema, the most photographed leopard in Africa, made an appearance close to the baobab wherein she nurtures her own two cubs. home to the most photographed leopard in Africa, Legadema, who was intimately documented from birth for three years by award-winning filmmakers Dereck and Beverley Joubert in a gripping tale of survival, and is the subject of their 2009 book, Eye of the Leopard. The husband and wife team are Botswana’s wildlife warriors and I feel the privilege of their presence here at Mombo (and later at their co-owned Zarafa camp). The next day she enthralled us with a safari highlight: she stalked and killed an impala Safari 458 Legadema, was intimately documented from birth for three years by award-winning filmmakers Dereck and Beverley Joubert in a gripping tale of survival, and is the subject of their 2009 book, Eye of the Leopard. The husband and wife team are Botswana’s wildlife warriors and I felt the privilege of their presence here and later at their co-owned Zarafa camp.

The Jouberts have driven the world’s attention to big cats and to develop solutions to stop the decline that has seen lion numbers drop from 450 000 to 20 000 in 50 years.
The Jouberts have driven the world’s attention to big cats and to develop solutions to stop the decline that has seen lion numbers drop from 450 000 to 20 000 in 50 years.

At Shinde, on a lush palm-dotted island, we took to the tranquil water on a mokoro (dug-out canoe) after my sister insisted our guide first check it for spiders and got assurance that we would not surprise any submerged hippos! Here, the mokoro is also used for romantic proposals with ensuing private candlelit dinner and celebration.

Off we go, early morning, in the mokoro (dug-out canoe)
Off we go, early morning.

We relaxed in exquisitely decorated lodges overlooking water and open plains. Safari 263 We downloaded photos in beautiful lounges, took notes, paged through coffee table books on wildlife and took high tea.

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Sometimes we had a session in an outdoor gym followed by a deliciously cool swim.

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We both love the good life and it was laid on with lashings of luxurious moments. I inhaled her energy and exhaled joy. Safari 261     Safari 167 We slept in exquisite rooms with signatory outdoor bathrooms and always the night sounds of wildlife Safari 052   tubu & abu 217   The sun sets on the sublime Okavango camps 001 (16)

Sunset drinks is a safari ritual not to be forgone.
Sunset drinks is a safari ritual not to be forgone.

At each star-bathed bush dinner, we conversed with nature-bound souls from distant lands, ending around a pit fire coddling a nightcap, revelling in legendary wildlife encounters which take on a life of their own . Safari 411 At Abu Camp I had an intimate encounter with the African elephant which up until now had firmly trumpeted its warning on game drives. Enter a unique herd, each with its own personal history, conditioned to interact with guests. The initiative began in the 90s by one-time circus elephant trainer and iconic wildlife biologist, Randall Moore, who upon leaving the circus was determined to return displaced African elephants to the wild. His dream was fulfilled here at Abu where he pioneered elephant-back safaris in Africa. Today the operation is lead by Brett Mitchell of Wild Horizons where strong ethics dictate in handling the herd. The elephants now have the option of re-entering the wild if they show the tendency. And so I found myself atop Cathy, swaying gently, touching her hide, feeling the fan of her giant ears as she swaggered through the bush. abu day 1 013 An hour later back at the boma, I was hand-feeding her, revelling in the unique connection just made. Safari 200

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The star bed deck which may be reserved for a night under the stars to be lulled to sleep by the rumbling and low snores of the elephants below.

A jewel in the wilderness, Zarafa Camp, is located beside the Zibadianja Lagoon and source of the Savute Channel, co-owned by Dereck and Beverley Joubert and Botswana President, Ian Khama. A maximum of 8 people are accommodated in luxury spacious tents which evoke a sense of old-style safari and Beverley’s decorating touch astounds. Botswana 2011 235   My mandatory outdoor showers came to a halt when I spied the copper bath. Botswana 2011 240 Dinner was an opulent yet intimate affair at a large dining table, joined by our charming guides. Actor, Susan Sarandon has graced this very table, as has Australian singing legend, John Farnham. Botswana 2011 001 But first a mandatory Amarula on the rocks. It’s pure free flow from here on and the only punctuation is a lone hippo grunting nearby, reminding me where I am. Botswana 2011 003 The next day we took a short drive across to the fabulous Selinda Camp and en route we spotted a pride of lions, a leopard and a journey of giraffes. Later it’s a dazzle of zebras. Okavango camps 001 (14) Tubu Tree Camp and Shinde Camp are definitive bush tree houses where nature exudes its presence. A traditional bush dinner at Tubu with managers, Dan and Charmaine Myburg and their staff, was a delight. We had a traditional African dinner in the boma and staying true to tradition eat with our hands. tubu & abu 176 Our Botswana odyssey ended with a night under the stars camping with Under Canvas, which humbled me completely. We were driven to remote bushland where a sumptuous mobile tent had been erected, battery lamps shimmering. I took a warm bucket shower in the cutest little adjoining “bathroom” and marvelled at the sight of a flush toilet. Botswana 2011 186 A glowing campfire surrounded by chairs beckoned. Dinner was cooked over open flame, including freshly baked bread. Again our charismatic guides joined in and we hooted with laughter into the night sky at Robson’s tale of his first night camping in terror when lions traversed through the camp. Botswana 2011 185   Botswana 2011 209 My sister did warn me. “A trip like this is life-changing”. Someone also quoted Beverley Joubert: “If no-one goes on safaris we are cutting Africa’s revenue in half”. That should make anyone feel undeniably good about going on a safari holiday. So, is it really life-changing? Let me tell you, arriving at each destination will feel like the warmest home-coming. You will feel changed in that you will love this wondrous life more than ever, it’s people, this planet. You will feel more grateful than ever and in touch with yourself. You will have traversed in great style perhaps, but Africa, birthplace of humanity, place of much poverty and suffering, home to the planet’s most extraordinary yet threatened wildlife will also have gained something.

I am so proud of my sister’s achievements. Till we meet again then, little sis. Big love. See you in Noosa!

Safari 100

 

 

 

Mombo Camp’s Honey and Mustard Dressing

1 cup of mustard of choice

500ml white wine vinegar

500 ml honey

Combine ingredients in a bottle and shake well until combined. Decant into a dish of choice and serve with salads.

 

Terrific Tuesday in Noosa

“It’s a tremendous Tuesday,” I told the bunch of kids I dropped at school this morning. “Terrific,” said one. “Terrifying”, said another. Don’t you love the energy of young ones and especially the prospect of all the possibility that lies ahead for them? This article answers perfectly the perennial question pondered by every young person: “What should I do with my life?”. It advocates embracing discomfort and uncertainty and resultant learning opportunities – a lesson for us “mature folk” who think we’re done with it and content in cushy routine. Off the couch then, and into the wild!

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Here I go into the wild on a gorgeous Noosa beach…but it’s hardly wild, the sea is like a lake!

 

One thing I try to embrace is digital and social media and this is the best piece I’ve ever read on why you should be part of the social media revolution no matter what your age. This leads me to my latest digital find: e-lending from the Noosa library where books and current issues of fabulous magazines are now on my iPad for free.

This week I spoke to my lovely sister in Denver, who always inspires me with her passion. She runs the best African Safari company in the world, as voted by Travel + Leisure last year. A few years ago I accompanied her on a spectacular trip to Botswana where I watched her in action and we bumped around in safari vehicles in utter mirth. What wonderful sister time.

My sister, Leora, safari specialist extraordinaire, checking out another luxury destination in Botswana for her clients.
My sister, Leora, safari specialist extraordinaire, checking out a luxury destination in Botswana for her clients.

 

Time spent in nature is a tonic, no doubt. Forest bathing or shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese practice developed for its health benefits, where participants engage with nature using all five senses and walk mostly in silence.  In a study, researchers found that the stress hormone, cortisol plummeted and blood pressure improved after 15 minutes. “But one of the biggest benefits may come from breathing in chemicals called phytoncides, emitted by trees and plants. Women who logged two to four hours in a forest on two consecutive days saw a nearly 40 percent surge in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells”. Read more here.

My own special dose of nature is in the form of beach runs and swims. Last night I ran with my husband under twinkling stars, senses alive and night eyes tuned. Winter is a glorious time of the year in Noosa and right now it’s still warm.

The first night of Winter.
The first night of Winter.

Soon we will need a few blankets at the ready and here they are displayed in my new bargain basket finds.

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Winter food is so comforting. Tonight I made a rosemary lamb pie with homemade pastry and my latest drink is homemade ginger beer.

Zingy Ginger Beer

2 chunks of fresh ginger peeled and chopped

juice of 2 lemons

2 tsp coconut sugar, or sugar to taste

sparkling water

Blend the four ingredients together in a blender to make a concentrate and add a dash to a glass of sparkling water according to taste. (Keep remaining concentrate in the fridge, which can keep for a few days.)

Add a sprig of mint.

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Times like these… A Family Affair

Our family is flung across the globe but we are always lucky enough to renew ties quite regularly. This year, Gran and Grandpa faithfully trekked from South Africa to Australia to visit their two married sons and families, which includes five grandchildren (ranging from 18 months to 22 years old). At one point my home accommodated this jolly lot and the place pulsed with shrieking toddlers darting in and out of a tent and rugged young men playing guitar and story-telling with the great zest and rapid-fire of youth. A big slice of life! We closed the gap on a year, in one long weekend of togetherness. It was lively and full. We cooked, we ate greatly, drank fabulous wine, swapped fantastic tales, played scrabble and poured over detailed family trees, while blustery Autumn weather made us cosier.

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Taking a stroll through the Noosa hinterland

During this time a dear family friend left this world and we delved into memories that held us thickly.

This is what you do when you live far apart. You cram it in. You cultivate madly. We beamed at old home movies of us at the family holiday cottage on Transkei’s Wild Coast.  We watched one grandson perform gigs at local restaurants through Gran and Gramps eyes, and another compete in a tennis tournament. These two beloved people did the school run to fetch a young grandson and surprise him with sweet treats. My house oozed with Gran’s signature baking and cooking. Grandpa got busy with handyman jobs to leave reminders of his stay.

 

Taking in the view across Noosa from the Tinbeerwah lookout.
Taking in the view across Noosa from the Tinbeerwah lookout.

 

On the back deck, Gran and Grandpa even joined a youthful gathering of their grandsons’ friends who strummed guitar under the stars and shared dessert. One friend became a temporary resident, nourished by Gran’s food and kind words while he nursed a broken heart.

Times like these go a long way to filling the gaps we must jump that distance creates. It’s times like these that we have and we cherish.

Indulgent Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart (perfect for family gatherings and mending broken hearts!)

1 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of icing sugar
1/3 cup (80ml)of cocoa powder
125g chilled butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup (80ml) golden syrup
100g butter, extra
200g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix the flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder and chilled butter in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll pastry till 3mm thick. Line a 22cm round fluted tart tin with removable base with the pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. or until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Combine the condensed milk, golden syrup and half the extra butter in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, for 6 or 7 minutes or until golden and caramel thickens. Remove from heat and pour into the pastry case. Smooth the surface with a knife.

Place the chocolate and remaining extra butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water and stir for a few minutes or until chocolate melts and is glossy. Pour over the caramel and smooth. Rest for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt.DSC_0139

 

A Noosa Easter, Anzacs and A case of the Blahs

I’m emerging from a patch of blah, where inspiration has been sorely lacking. Work has been a treadmill, beach runs a fatty-boom-boom grind, and deciding what to make for dinner…well, bewilderment. I admit, I’ve been a bit sh***y too. Then Pinterest popped this at me.

 

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And I smiled with relief to get to this stage of the blah virus and remember clearly that it would pass as it does, like a head-dulling cold. And this is just how it is on planet earth. Energy levels wax and wane, emotions flip, hormones shriek (just ask a woman) and sometimes you can’t avoid carrying a sack of potatoes on your back that simply cannot be turned into a one-pot dinner. Such is the awesome theatre of life. So feeling the Noosa sun crack me open once again was a joy. And it felt good to breath in and out with intention. Could an action like this be the most important two minutes you take in life?

 

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Peace and calm at Lake Weyba

 

Easter in Noosa this month was holiday heaven. Superb weather pleased an influx of visitors who sipped coffees, dined decadently and stocked up on sunscreen and fragrance at our pharmacy. Get a taste of Noosa in Autumn here in the Noosa Style magazine.

Me? I worked, entertained friends and family, enjoyed a 5-star breakfast put on by a friend at the lake and relished a girls’ night out with my sister-in-law at the movies. We especially loved Cameron Diaz in The Other Woman, and that at 41 she embraces ageing as a blessing and a privilege, and loves carbs! Read more about her and her latest book, The Body Book.

 

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Cameron Diaz says she has stopped using Botox. “I’d rather see my face aging than a face that doesn’t belong to me at all.” (photo via Marie Claire)

 

Another great movie star, Jack Nicholson, turned 77 this month. Mental Floss celebrated by sharing 13 of his greatest insights.

When it comes to great coffee, one of my favourite places is the speciality coffee roaster and cafe, Little Cove Coffee in Noosaville, opposite the Noosa River, where beans are roasted on site. “Some start life in Africa, others in South America, but all end up close to our heart.”

 

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On Friday we took time to pay tribute to the Anzac soldiers from the First World War, with three words, Lest We Forget. These three poignant words are renowned across most countries to show our remembrance of those who have fought, and those who have died fighting for freedom. It means that we will never forget.
Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Anzac biscuits are very popular in Australia and New Zealand. It is claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. The following recipe is courtesy of Renee Walter, a friend who is passionate about baking and who set herself a 365-day baking challenge this year “as I have an addiction to baking books”. Follow Renee’s baking challenge here.
Renee’s Anzac Biscuits With a Twist
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 170 deg Celcius. Place the flour, oats, sugar, nuts, chocolate chips and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted. Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup. It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on trays for a short while before carefully transferring to cooling racks to crisp up.
Photo via Renee's Cakes
Photo via Renee’s Cakes
Enjoy!

 

 

The Gift of Time & The Land of Aus

Today we clean up Australia. We live in a land where people offer their gift of time most freely and this is a day where you will see the doctor, the politician, the retiree, the young family, the tradesman and entrepreneur side-by-side, filling bags with litter. Keeping our land lovely. In Australia gifts of time are valued as being more than twice as valuable as monetary donations. Funny thing is, when you give this gift, the well-being you receive back is copious. There’s an instant tie to others and the land you cherish. So there we are, all yakking, spinning a warm yarn and working towards sharing a cold one later together around the barbie.

Volunteering ties us to each other and our land
artwork courtesy of http://www.racheltribout.com/

Australia ranked second in the 5-year World Giving Index with score and participation in giving behaviours out of 160 nations surveyed for helping a stranger, donating money and volunteering time. It’s wonderful how this culture of care starts at school with our young ones. Every morning I see the Principal at St Andrews Anglican College in Peregian Beach setting the tone for connection by making himself personally available at the school entrance to greet his students. By Year 9 he has every student enrolled in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program which includes a stint of volunteering in the community.

It’s good to see local businesses also doing their bit. Staff at Laguna Realty phone elderly and house bound clients every day, ensuring they are safe and well. At my pharmacy we connect with the elderly and the public daily, aware of what a potent tonic a smile and a few kind words can be. Our customers also brighten our day.

A customer entertaining us with a practical joke.
A customer entertaining us with a practical joke.

Last month Oprah took the magic a little further by starting a campaign to “just say hello”. “Did you know one word has the power to make you live longer?”

A Noosa cafe where we can all happily connect over cappuccino, served with shavings of fine Belgian couverture chocolate, is the newly extended Sweet Tempered Chocolateria, run by couple Dylan and Kate Taskar. Five years ago they left Margaret River after falling in love with Noosa and spying opportunity. Last month they expanded into a new street front premises, on Lanyana Way, where the stylish cafe now resides and a cabinet of fine chocolate temptations.

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Chocolate connoisseurs, Kate and Dylan Tasker
Chocolate connoisseurs, Kate and Dylan Tasker

Besides being a land of giving folk, Australia is also one of the most multicultural countries on earth. Almost one in four Australian residents were born outside of Australia. So it is no surprise that South African born Brett Holmes of Peregian Beach is the Queensland winner of Australia’s Best Home Cooked Dish for the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival 2014. He will be one of six competing in the May festival’s national Grand Final. The dish was originally served to Indian workers in the Durban cane fields. Brett’s winning dish is a curry, served in a half loaf of white bread, and is now in vogue with dedicated outlets in Sydney and London.

Brett Holmes cooking Bunny Chow
Brett Holmes cooking Bunny Chow

Brett’s Chicken Bunny Chow

1 loaf of white bread, unsliced
A:
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 cup oil
1 onion chopped

B:
1 and 1/2 tablespoon Raja’s curry Powder
1 and 1/2 tablespoons Garam Masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon hot ground pepper
2 teaspoon turmeric

C:
Chicken thigh fillets (4-5 fillets)
2 tomatoes chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 teaspoon freshly finely chopped ginger
6 curry leaves
2 potatoes chopped in cubes
plain yogurt

Fry all ingredients listed under A until onion is cooked
Add all ingredients listed under B and cook until spices start to stick to bottom of the pot
Add tomatoes and stir
Add meat, ginger, garlic and curry leaves
Simmer until meat is tender (approximately 30 minutes)
Add little water and potato cubes and simmer until meat and potato is cooked
Cut the bread in half, hollow out each half and fill with curry.
Place bread that was removed back on top of curry with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Enjoy!