Wednesday 24 December 2014

'Tis The Day Before Christmas

and I have a couple of last minute cheat's recipes if you're still cooking. These are definitely not made from scratch but they are quick and easy using the food processor and both are very yummy...

No Bake Cheesecake...I invented a choc-orange version of this oldie from when my children were littlies and this should easily serve 12 ;)

100gms softened butter
almost a full packet of chocolate flavoured(not choc-coated) biscuits

Process the biscuits until fine and then process the butter until you have a moistened crumb that you can press into the bottom of a 10inch springform pan and put in the fridge to firm up.

Wash the processor and start again by creaming the following until smooth and then pouring onto the biscuit crumb base. Allow 5 hours to set, loosen with a knife around the edge and then release from pan...if you don't have a springform pan then line your favourite baking tin with foil so that you can lift it out when set.

250 gms softened chocolate Philadelphia cheese
500 gms softened regular Philly ^^^
one packet of orange jelly crystals dissolved in just 2/3 cup of boiling water
zest and juice of a large orange

You could decorate it with chocolate curls or candied orange slice perhaps but the best thing for me is that this freezes perfectly and is convenient to have on hand.

I had resolved not to make any mince pies this year...too fattening but my resolve wavered and I thought I'll just get a box of Mr Kipling's mince pies from the UK! Not a single box of any kind was left by Monday so I bought a jar of Robertson's fruit mince...these are the flavours of my childhood really but so strongly evoke Christmas for me.
I washed Mum's 60yr old mince pie tin and then decided to make just one large one on the tray instead...kidding myself less pastry = fewer calories!

Empty jar of fruit mince into dish and add a tablespoon or two of sherry or your favourite tipple plus a grated apple or 2 extra tablespoons of dried fruit, stir well.

Wash food processor again and make this easy

375gms plain flour
pinch of salt
180 gms cold butter
1 egg(I used a duck egg)

Process until it looks like breadcrumbs then trickle in very cold water until you have a nice dough. Roll it in a little flour and pop in a plastic bag to rest in the fridge until you are ready...30 minutes will do.
Roll out just over half and place it on your baking tray, spread with the fruit mince and top with remaining pastry. Press edges together, brush with beaten egg and make a few slits in the top for the steam to escape then bake it for around 40 minutes at 190C. Bewdy! It made 16 good sized squares of which 12 remain lol

My dear pumpkin is ripe so has been 'harvested'...the vine grew from kitchen scraps I buried to improve the food is good...we are picking so many beautiful tomatoes too...

In the carport a mother dove sits quietly on her eggs...the symbol of peace indeed...

A Christmas funny

  A Christmas Sweetheart

A Christmas poem

I see a twinkle in your eye.
So this shall be my Christmas star
And I will travel to your heart:
The manger where the real things are.
And I will find a mother there
Who holds you gently to her breast;
A father to protect your peace;
And by these things you shall be blessed.
And you will always be reborn;
And I will always see the star
And make the journey to your heart:
The manger where the real things are.

and from Joe, Twitch and I love and best wishes for a happy, joyous Christmas and may 2015 be your best year ever
thank you for all your comments and support over the year

Friday 12 December 2014

Val Laird's Free Christmas Patterns

Val Laird lives in Queensland and has a lovely blog filled with her beautifully worked stitching. Chel shared this link at the Down To Earth Forums recently and I just loved the doves...I am going to re-do the wing line on the higher dove as it is too dark. I worked the flowers etc in 3 strands of thread but only used 1 strand of a metallic gold thread to do the blanket stitch joining the two pieces together...I also lightly stuffed mine too...

As I turn 58 years of age today I've had to change the "About Me" here on my blog from mid-50s to late-50s but truthfully I don't feel a bit different :D Here I am yesterday in Perth with a very, very cheeky Father Christmas...

I'd better get on and do some housework I back later

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Easy Slow Cooker Meatballs

Very Easy Slow Cooker Meatballs

I modified a nice recipe yesterday and made these meatballs without having to brown them first

500gm minced pork and beef

2 sliced onions
4-5 whole cloves of garlic
1/2 red capsicum/pepper, chopped
a sprig each of rosemary and thyme or a teaspoon each of the dried herbs

2T tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups of beef stock
1 tin of chopped tomatoes OR 1 1/3 cups of passata(tomato puree)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the vegies on bottom of SC
Roll mince into golf ball sized meatballs and place on vegies
Mix the wet ingredients in a jug and pour over the meatballs

Cook on auto for around 4 hours, stir and serve as preferred. Nom!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Rockingham, Western Australia

As well as having beautiful beaches in Rockingham our town council has been establishing a beautiful park on land that was initially a horse racing track and then a large sports field where fairs and circuses were some-times held. I especially love the sculpture in the pond as it shows off our local marine life...the park is situated between Patterson Rd, Flinders Lane and Kent and is still called Rockingham Oval...

It's bright and sunny now as Summer approaches but I took the following photos in Winter around the council offices where there are lots of deciduous trees...I really like the contrast...

There are English church bells in the tower and we can hear them on occasion from home...

 pelicans flying back to Penguin Island in the late afternoon...

these trees are already in full foliage again now but look so awesome in Winter...

Hope you enjoy looking at my photos...all is well here and thanks to all who commented on my last post,
Love from Sue

Friday 24 October 2014

William Gardner b. 1876

William is my paternal great-father and I posted what little I knew about him almost 12 months ago in this post .
Today on a Lancaster Facebook page people were discussing the Lancaster War Memorial as there is a very sad story of 4 bros from the Butterworth family who were all killed in action in WW1. This prompted me to look for William and this is what I found...


Awards: MM
Sergeant 152411 6th Bn., King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regt.)
who died of wounds on Thursday, 08/03/1917 . Age 41 .
Son of Mrs. Jane Gardner;
Husband of Mary Ann Gardner, of 1, Albert Square, Lancaster.
BASRA MEMORIAL, Ref:: Panel 7, Iraq
Borough of Lancaster Civic Reception H M Forces Report Form shows:
William Gardner. Resided at 1 Albert Square, Lancaster. A married man. Sergeant 152411. K.O.R.L.Regt. Military Distinctions Awarded: M.M. He served for 6 months at home, and 2 years and 4 months abroad. Killed.
William Gardner. SERGT. 15241. King's Own [Royal Lancaster Regt.] 6th Bn.
Born, and enlisted in Lancaster.
Died 08/03/17. Died of Wounds. Mesopotamia.
Source: Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Gardner William Sergeant Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, awarded D C M. wounded at Baghdad, died of wounds in Mesopatamia 8 March 1917, 1917, age 40, address 1, Albert Square, Bridge Lane, Lancaster, educated at Quay school, employed at Lune Mills, he leaves a widow and seven children. His brother Private James, is serving in the same Battalion.
Source Lancaster Guardian date 24 March, 1917 page 5, photo Code ? 857, 867 .
William Gardner was born in Lancaster, one of the three sons of Mrs Jane Gardner of River Street, St. George's Quay, Lancaster. He attended St Mary's School on the Quay, and after leaving school worked at Lune Mills. He joined the 1st(Volunteer) Battalion, The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment about 1899 and, in 1900/1901, served in the South African war with No 1 Volunteer Service Company, attached 2nd Battalion, King's Own. In recognition of this he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps, and his further Volunteer/Territorial Force service, up to about 1908, brought him the award of the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.
In October 1914, William was among those who enlisted at Lancaster for the 8th (Service) Battalion, The King's Own. After a brief spell in camp at Codford, near Warminster, Wiltshire, 8th (S) King's Own moved to Boscombe, Hampshire, where it was made up to full strength, the men being billeted on the local people. Serious training then began as part of 76 Brigade, 25thDivision, and, after further moves to Romsey and Aldershot, the Battalion sailed to Boulogne, France on 27 Sept 1915, and had its baptism of fire at Ploegstreet, near Armentiers.
The Battalion then moved to St Eloi, and earned its first battle-honour at 'The Bluff' on 2/3/4 March 1916, when it held the 'post of honour' at the centre of the attack, and the men went 'over the top' for the first time. They swept across the old German front line to the base of the 'Bean' salient, and re-gained British possession of the 'International Trench'. In this action William was wounded in the right shoulder, after which he was invalided to 3rd Battalion, King's Own at Plymouth. For his bravery in the field, he received the Military Medal in the King's Birthday Honours list - (London Gazette, June 1916). 8th (S) King's Own casualties for 2/3/4 Mar 1916 were: three officers and 120 other ranks killed or missing; nine officers and 210 other ranks wounded.
Following his recovery, William volunteered to join 6th (S) Battn, King's Own, then fighting the Turks in Mesopotamia. On 8 March 1917, he died of wounds, most probably from the ill-fated attempt to cross the Dialah River on the night of 7/8 March. One officer and fourteen other ranks were killed, and one officer and twenty-four other ranks were wounded. The only man not wounded or dead was Private Jack White, a signaller who, with great presence of mind, fastened one end of his cable to the pontoon, took to the water and swam to the 'home bank' and succeeded in saving the lives of 2nd Lt. Paterson and several of the other wounded men. For his gallantry in action, Jack White was awarded the Victoria Cross.
In 1914, William Gardner was a married, family man living at 1 Albert Square, off Bridge Lane, Lancaster. He died aged 41, leaving a wife, Mary Ann, and seven children. His eldest son, Private James Gardner, was serving with 6th Battn, King's Own in Mesopotamia when his father died.
William's elder brother, T5/0454 Sergeant John Gardner, was killed in action in France & Flanders while serving with 1/5th(T.F.) King's Own on 27 Apr 1915.
William Gardner is commemorated on the Basra war memorial in Iraq, and John and William Gardner are commemorated together on the Lancaster city war memorial.

Another link from Russell Dunkeld at the Lancaster FB Page

Sergeant 454 King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) 1st/5th Bn.
who died on Tuesday, 27/04/1915 Age 37
Son of Jane Gardner, of 5, River St., George's Quay, Lancaster;
Husband of Alice Gardner, of 4, Ross Place, Cheapside, Lancaster.
YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ref: Panel 12. , Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Borough of Lancaster Civic Reception H M Forces Report Form shows:
John Gardner. Resided at 3 Ross Yd., Cheapside. [Lancaster]. A married man. Sgt.454. 5th Bn. K.O.R.L. He served for 9 weeks abroad. Left Eng. Feb 1915. Killed.
John Gardner. SERGT . 454. King's Own [Royal Lancaster Regt.] 1/5th Bn.
Born and enlisted in Lancaster.
Died 27/04/15. Killed in Action. France & Flanders.
Source: Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Gardner John Sergeant 5th Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment killed in action age 37, educated at St Mary's school, employed by Lune Valley Engineering and White Cross Mills, played football for Marsh Hornets and Vale of Lune. His wife is a daughter of Mrs Bonsall of Lodge Street, and several members of her family are serving. He was the son of Mrs Gardner of River street. His brother Private William Gardner sailed for France last week

This photo of William and Mary Ann's wedding, I think the 3 Gardner bros are standing, their sister Elizabeth is on the left, Mary Ann and then her sister, Cissie Garner...this photo must have been taken in the late 1890s...

The Garden of Remembrance in Lancaster where the brothers are honoured...

"Lancaster's War Memorial stands in a small Garden of Remembrance on the east side of the Town Hall.  It was designed by Thomas Mawson and Sons and it commemorates the dead of the two world wars and other conflicts.  The ten bronze panels at the rear record the names of 1,010 Lancastrians who fell in the First World War.  The panels were dedicated on 3rd December 1924.  The plinth in front of the statue carries the names of a further 300 who fell in 1939-45."

Further information is available at this link

Lancaster Military Heritage Group

Dad's cousin Marion has just sent me these photos...Mary Ann and William with who I presume is their first born child James/Jim...

and these are their three daughters, Margaret, Elizabeth/Betty and Annie...Auntie Betty will be 101 yrs old in August...such a poignant photo, their clothing is so poor and yet they look strong and quite happy and remained close all their lives...

Thank you Marion, Annie's third and youngest daughter/child.

Monday 6 October 2014

I'm Still Here!

Apologies to any-one concerned about me...I have been very busy but also feeling a little down so I didn't feel like writing at all. I've just taken some photos of the garden to share with you all. I planted lots of herbs and vegetables when we first moved in and they are doing so well now...

I have around 20 tomato plants, some already in fruit...

I made a shelf to stop Twitch eating are parsley, thyme, coriander, strawberries, celery, lettuce, basil, silverbeet, rosemary and more tomatoes

The view from the front door, every-one works hard in their gardens here and it's ever-changing and quite lovely. I have geraniums closest to the door, then sage, silverbeet, potatoes, chillies, celery, kale, sweet potato, tomatoes galore and a pumpkin vine growing up the still-bare frangipani tree!

I've had this ficus in the pot for 13 years now and have shaped it like a giant lollypop...

...look who's moved in...a pair of honey-eaters...the eggs are the size of my thumbnail!

It was very wet and cold yesterday but Twitch had to go outside anyway...he sheltered under the table and 3 Indian doves came in to join him...I love that they realise he's not dangerous to them...can you see the one on the BBQ?

Today is bright and sunny and this is the view over the side fence...the huge bottlebrush tree is humming with bees, the parrots snip off the flowers and let them fall so there is a carpet of red blossoms underneath...there are cream and pink climbing roses on the fence..

and lastly some-one very, very special exploring the shed!

Priscilla has some appointments lined up soon so will update her blog when we know a little more. She and the family have moved out to Cornwall in Ontario to a lovely bungalow with a great garden for the children...she's close to her Mum, Donna and Terry now as well as a very supportive group of friends...Liam turned 1 yr old in July...

Bye bye for now
Love from Sue

Saturday 9 August 2014

Flower Power

It may be mid-Winter but the sun is bright and flowers are everywhere, yesterday Deb treated me to lunch and we sat outdoors looking over into Warnbro Sound, it was beautiful.

Here are some of the flowers that are colouring our gardens in the complex where we live now...

One of our neighbour's pawpaws look almost ready...she has 4 trees all grown from the seeds of a pawpaw she bought to eat...

and the fog yesterday that almost kept me at home...

Dad is in the wars again with a torn tendon, arthritis and bursitis all in the same shoulder and my cousin Andrew has just broken his leg helping a friend round up some sheep in the UK...hoping for a speedy recovery for them both!

A baby photo to finish off, Twitch was about 4-5 months old in this pic, he'll be 3 yrs old at the end of October...can you see his left-hand whiskers? He jumped up on the coffee table during a black-out and singed them on a candle! Some rabbits!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, lots of knitting and watching footy on the telly is lined up for me!
Love from Sue