Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. -Maya Angelou

Friday, December 31, 2010

Laugh More Live Longer

 Laugh More- Live Longer  so says  the Campervan and Motorhome Club, of which we have just become members. An apt slogan to adopt on the eve of 2011 as thousands of wrinkly wanderers like ourselves laugh their way around  Aussie on The Big Lap.  Well who wouldn't be laughing with the promise of  pristine beaches, towering canyons,spectacular waterfalls and  all that outback topped with a really big sky.Who doesn't want to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, be dwarfed by Uluru or ride a camel along Cable beach at sunset...........we are going to have to live longer so we can enjoy it all!
This is my last blog of 2010 and what a  year it has been. Marrying my soul mate, Tommy, on the cliffs at Schoenies in Port Elizabeth,after a memorable Christmas spent with friends and family . Honeymooning at Coral Bay in Western Australia and swimming with Manta Rays. Another honeymoon in Kenya  at Watamu with my precious sister Kathy and family. Starting the Soul Food Kitchen back in South Africa, a school reunion and connecting with  friends 40 years on, but most of all a year of decisions, decisions, decisions.
One of the biggest to move back to Oz,  sell  our permanent homes and to embrace a new nomadic lifestyle.The most important thing I have learnt this year is that my vision for my life is only limited by my lack of imagination. I must stop imagining of what I think is possible but rather what I want to be possible. Life is infinitely larger and more glorious than we can ever imagine and the possibilities are endless.If I could make one resolution for the New year it would be to be fully present in any given moment, to savour  and find enchantment in the simple. Wordsworth said it well...........     
 And I have felt, 
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated  thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

 We are loving this cool, calm forest at Quininup and will stay here a while longer. We go for long walks along paths that follow what used to be the old railway line. The bird life is amazing. We are fast becoming "twitchers" and now know where to find the Kookaburra and beautifully coloured Western Rosella Parrot . Yesterday we had a wonderful experience as we walked past a huge clump of bramble . Out of the corner of our eye we saw a flash of iridescent cobalt blue and came upon a flock of Fairy Wrens ,tiny birds of the most exquisite colour. As the setting sun caught their plumage they flitted through the bush like sapphires.Is this the fabled bluebird of happiness I wonder? It works for me!

To you who have followed me so far on my travels I wish you love, joy, the gift of friendship, good food, great wine,and a fresh adventure for every day of 2011,and remember" Life can only be understood backwards; but it has to be lived forwards"Soren Kirkegaard.
Catch yer later................................

Soul Food Kitchen

Cardamom  Ice Cream

This must be one of the most requested recipes from the Soul Food Kitchen. Its magic after a curry but great any time of the day or night whenever the craving for ice cream beckons!

I tin of Ideal Milk
1 tin  of full cream condensed milk
250 ml tub of thick cream
10 green cardamom pods.

Bring ideal milk to the boil with the green cardamom pods. Remove from heat and cool, (overnight is good to infuse the flavour of the cardamom but not essential.) Strain. Whip cream and fold in cool ideal milk and condensed milk. Put into ice cream maker or freeze in a container in  your fridge. Take it out 10 mins before you want to serve it so it can soften slightly. Delicious served with a fresh mango coulis.
Warning this can become addictive, do not eat whilst operating machinery or driving, causes extreme feelings of well being and subsequent lassitude.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in Oz

The first stop in our round Aussie adventure is  Quininup,  a peaceful park in the middle of  beautiful forests of tall Jarrah,Marri and Karri trees on the banks of Lake Karri. This is the heart of the Western Australia's timber industry, in its heyday supplying the world with jarrah, an exceptional hard wood, for ship's masts, mining supports and  pavers.

It is also  filled with "ups". Manjimup, Nanup, Jerramunup ,Beedelup, Dingup, Wigarup to name a few.   Sounds like someone had a severe case of hiccups when naming this area!  As I write this the "28's" (Western ring necked parrots) are taking turns sliding down the awning of the van hoping for some seed, the magpies are serenading me for some bacon rind and Sweetpea the tame roo is waiting for her weetbix.

This is my first Christmas in Oz but some things never change.  Its animals, not people I'm feeding this Christmas!

We left Perth a week ago after filling a 40ft container with twenty years of the accumulated belongings of two houses, and bidding an apprehensive farewell to our comfort zones.The van was groaning by the time we had filled it with enough food and drink to last us a few weeks and everything else we thought we would need on the road . Photos of our kids, favorite coffee mugs, books, music, pictures, linen, clothing, computers, printers, fans, patio sets, fishing tackle, craft projects, and  of course "must have" kitchen equipment.
After numerous attempts at trying to pack everything in we finally had to admit defeat and cull everything that was not VITAL (aka everything)  and take another trip down to the storage depot.  The staff watched nervously as we hammered the doors closed for the umpteenth time and breathed a collective sigh of relief when we left. 

We repacked again......this meant everything as before but packed tighter. The shower stall  proved to be an excellent storage compartment . Who needs to shower inside anyway when you have a hosepipe outside.

 It is taking time to come to terms with the enormity of our change of lifestyle. Time is rapidly losing its meaning as one day merges into another and we have no fixed timetable or agenda. We are "being" not "doing" and after a lifetime of the protestant work ethic the guilt in having so much fun does tend to have a nasty way of sneaking up.........but its not putting up too much of a fight!

The difficulty is to remain focused as there are so many exciting things to do and see and I would rather be outside than sitting at the computer writing. We have made friends with a lovely couple of nomads. Neville and Carol gave us such a warm welcome when we arrived we felt we had known them forever. They have been on the road for three years and haven't looked back once. We have learnt so much from them already and their enthusiasm is contagious. Most afternoons we get together for "Happy Hour" a misnomer as after a few coldies and some good stories time ceases to matter..........it makes a difference when the journey home is so easy........turn around and there you are......just don't trip over the roo.

We get up to the magpies warbling outside, some of them are incredible mimics , one barks like a dog and wolf whistles. Their young cry like babies and make a helluva racket if you don't feed them .They are so tame and all line up in the morning for their breakfast Some of the roos have been hand reared and Sweetpea my favorite with her baby "joey" is a regular visitor. The bird life here is incredible with large flocks of 28's, multi coloured parrots, and in the evening Kookaburras though we cant see them laugh manically in the trees. Tommy has got the "Marron" bug and puts his nets out in the evening in a local dam. These are black fresh water crayfish with a sweet succulent flesh and we had a feast the other night with our neighbours. Done to a beautiful red turn with garlic butter on the barbie. Delicious

The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas

On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
12 firefighters grilling
11 snags a-sizzling
10 Magpies warbling
  9 Roos a-jumping
  8 Marron in a trap
  7 Koalas climbing
 6 Crownies chilling
  5 Opals black
  4 pink Galahs
  3 cricket stumps
  2 Cockatoos
 And Oprah with a Kookuburra in a gum tree

A Blessed and Peaceful Christmas to you all.
May 2011 be filled with everything you wish for and more

Soul Food Kitchen

When you are on the road you often crave something sweet........my friend Carol has the perfect recipe!

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 Tablespoons Self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
A small spash of vanilla
4 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons oil
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. add the egg and mix throughly. pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add chocolate chips and vanilla, mix again.
put mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little and tip onto a plate if you are being posh.
EAT!!! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous)
And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!