Entertaining Food Homebody

A crowd pleasing Australia Day BBQ salad

January 26, 2017

Australia Day is a day to enjoy a barbecue lunch with friends and family. This year it falls on a Thursday, which is kind of random but fun. Australia Day is not just about the drinks and the barbecues though. It’s also about celebrating what it is to be Australian.

To me, being an Australian is to be open-minded and welcoming to all cultures, genders, and sexual preferences. We are a young country and in a way all of us are newcomers. No one is better than another. In light of the atrocities happening in Melbourne recently and further afield in America where there is a president ruling with prejudice, I wanted to tell another story – one of tolerance and acceptance.

People often say that they are not racists, or homophobic, or that they don’t have a problem with the burqua, and then you hear the ‘but’ as they continue on to justify their prejudice view. Australia Day should be about no ‘Buts’. It’s about recognising that every single one of us is welcome to be here and that we should all be grateful to live in this wonderful country.

Food brings all cultures together. I love seeing the Muslim communities down at the Barwon Heads river cooking their lamb on a spit (it smells amazing!) sitting under the trees and talking. I grew up with Tongan neighbors who invited us to their regular Hungis, where they would dig a hole in the ground and cook food wrapped in banana leaves and hot stones. It was amazing!

So in the theme of togetherness, multi-culturalism and food, I thought I’d share with you one of my absolute favourite summer salads at the moment, The Israeli Chopped Salad. I found it in a book given to me by a dear friend for my birthday, called Neighborhood and it is a collection of recipes from all over the world, by Hetty Mckinnon. The message of food and connectedness resonates strongly through her book too.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

3 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 1kg)

4 small Lebanese cucumbers (about 400g) trimmed

1 bunch of small radishes (300g) trimmed

1 red onion

3-4 Chinese Shallots

1 cup of flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 cup coriander

1 long green chili, deseeded and finely chopped

Juice of 1-2 lemons

160-200 ml of extra virgin olive oil

200g of sheep’s milk feta, crumbles

salt & pepper

(The key to making this salad quickly and nicely is a ‘slicer dicer’, but if you don’t have one of these a sharp knife is just as good.)

If the tomatoes and cucumber have lots of seeds, cut them out and discard. Cut the tomatoes into roughly 5 mm cubes followed by the cucumbers, radishes and red onion, making sure everything is roughly the same size. Chop the Chinese shallots, parsley, mint and coriander leaves as finely as possible. Place everything in a bowl and add in the chili.

Now it’s time to dress the salad with the lemon juice and olive oil. I encourage you to add these gradually – tasting, adding more and tasting again – until you achieve the acidity you like. Remember, this salad is designed to be very lemony.

To serve season well with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice, if you like, and scatter over the crumbled feta.

What is your favourite barbeque salad? Please share below!

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The perfect summer picnic kit

January 25, 2017

Make some memories and go for a picnic.

My love of picnics really began when I was a little girl, when visiting my Gran and Pa, who lived in Mildura. Picnics were a bit of a family tradition. We would often head to the Murray River banks and go yabby fishing, or Apex Park to bird watch and swim. The food, the paraphernalia, the family time, and of course – finding the actual picnic spot was all part of the excitement.

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Homebody Relationships Wellness

5 ways to create happy, harmonious relationships

December 16, 2016

A little while ago I promised to deliver a post on detoxing your relationships. I never found the opportunity to write that story. When I tried to write it, it just came out all wrong. I wanted it to have a positive tilt rather than simply deleting certain people from your life – which is sometimes necessary but not really the message I wanted to get across.

Whether it be your spouse, friends or siblings, they should all be harmonious relationships, but sometimes it just doesn’t work like that. Resentments build up when favors go unnoticed, honesty goes that little bit too far, or worse a form of betrayal takes place to dampen the trust. It might be that there are differences between each person that aren’t aligning or someone is taking advantage or becoming too intensely attached. There are so many reasons why relationships get complicated.

I thought I’d refer to an expert to give us some advice on this topic. Kate James is a career, business and personal coach whom I have seen over the years. She is brilliantly smart, warm and lovely and offers a perfect insight on how to create happy relationships. Oh and if you need a coach, Kate is your girl. She rocks!

Kate has kindly allowed me to reproduce an article I read on her blog. Read on for more.

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Homebody Housekeeping

De-clutter in three easy steps

December 12, 2016

When it comes to a de-clutter, I’m a big fan. There are two types of people in this world: hoarders and purgers. Which are you? I’m a chronic chucker. I chuck things out sometimes because it’s easier than mending them or putting them away. Then I get in so much trouble from my husband, who is a constant ‘keeper’ of things and won’t let me throw anything out.

My dear friend Brooke Howden, happens to be a de-cluttering professional. She tells us how we can strike a harmonious balance between doing the once a year clean and the on-going maintenance. Read on to garner her delightfully refreshing advice.

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A Christmas gift giving guide

December 4, 2016
Christmas gift guide

Christmas Photo: made by mary; www.madebymary.se

My top five online Christmas stores

Christmas can be mayhem if you follow the crowds. Why leave the serenity of the coast or the country to enter the city crush and chaos of the super-malls when you can have it all delivered to your doorstep?

Yes it’s nice to touch-and-feel the products, hear the Christmas carols on the overhead speakers, but in all fairness  how often do you have to hear ‘Deck the Halls’ without going insane?

There’s also the etiquette around gift giving at Christmas. It can be treacherous,  and every family has different traditions and expectations.

So I’ve pulled together a list of ‘water-tight tips’ for gift giving and online shopping,  so we can avoid the ‘awkies’ this Christmas.

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Top 5 farm gates on the Bellarine

December 2, 2016

Pick and taste your way around the Bellarine this summer.

Farm gates are one of my favourite things. The Bellarine and surrounds are brimming with them, and they are generally kid friendly, sometimes dog friendly. and always offer the reward of touching and often tasting the food straight from the maker before you buy.

There are so many to choose from and a full list can be found via the Bellarine Taste Trail or the Otway Taste trail, but my personal favourites are listed below.

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Entertaining Homebody

Silly Season Drinks planning

November 23, 2016

Drinks are arguably the most important part of entertaining at home – apart from the fabulous company of course! It’s easy enough to grab some beer and wine and throw it in an esky, but let’s step it up a little this season shall we?

Go from average to amazing with some easy tips for getting your bar situation set for a sizzling soiree.

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Homebody Wellness

The secret to maintaining creative inspiration

November 19, 2016

And why I haven’t felt creative in a while.

I realise I haven’t posted a blog for a while and I’ve really missed it.

Having a creative pursuit and starting a blog was always something I wanted to do. It is a passion. Then I became run down with illnesses that I couldn’t shake. The kids got sick with never ending colds and then I started a part-time ‘real job’ in marketing. Suddenly my energy levels and motivation to blog completely evaporated.  It meant that this blog business had to be put on the back-burner.

Family and health come first, but  I have found it harder than I expected to strike that delicate balance between the practical realities of life and pursuing my creative passions.

It got me thinking. How do creative types maintain the flow?

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Entertaining Homebody

Get your place party ready – Barbeque bliss

October 12, 2016

It’s time to dust off the barbeque and get the alfresco dining festivities happening once again. Whether it’s last minute dinner after the kid’s cricket match, a barbeque on a Saturday afternoon with the neighbours, or a Cup Day soiree, you want your barbeque game to be boast-worthy. Become the grilling champ with this simple bbq action plan.

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The enchanting flower farm on the Bellarine

September 6, 2016
Mannerim Stables _ outside

Mannerim Stables Co.

Spring has sprung and what better way to celebrate than by taking a country drive out to the beautiful Mannerim Stables Flower Farm in Marcus Hill. Just twenty minutes drive from Geelong and a ninety minutes from Melbourne, this enchanting property will fill your heart with a gleeful sense of happiness, and you won’t want to leave!

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