Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas spice granola

A generously spiced granola mix for Christmas, full of healthy goodness.

Dry mix;
4 cups rolled oats, preferably organic. That also goes for all the following ingredients as well.
1 cup of coconut flakes
1 cup approx., mixed nut and seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts…)

Wet mix;
1/3 cup of coconut oil
½ cup of honey. I don’t bother with raw honey here, seeing as it will be cooked anyway
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
¼ cup of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 -2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground
½ teaspoon of sea salt

After cooking;
1 cup approx, mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries…)

1. Preheat oven to 315F convection (if you don’t have convection oven, 325F regular oven) In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut & nuts. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine oil, honey, & cocoa powder and spices. Bring to a gentle boil & remove immediately from heat. Stir in vanilla.

3. Drizzle syrup over oat mixture; mix well.

4. Bake 12min, stir, 12min again. Depending on your oven, it may take a little more or less time. Granola is done when it’s fairly dry.

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Mix in dried fruit.

* Best made in dry weather! Rainy weather may give you damp granola.


NYC fabric sourcing


Friday, August 21, 2015

Almond cookies / bikkies

I made these recently and my sister in law said they were 'the best cookies she'd ever eaten!' So I thought I'd better share the recipe. It's a health-ified version of the Peanut Butter Crinkles my Mum used to make when I was a kid, from an Australian Womens Weekly cook book. I used almond butter this time, but you can try any other nut butter. I have tried to make the measurements trans-continent friendly! It's not a recipe that requires precise measurements, so USA or Australian cup measure is fine.  I prefer to use nut butters that are purely ground nuts, but shh! This time I actually made these to use up the almond butter with sugar and salt added that would not have been great in other things. You can also try them with a handful of choc chips thrown in, peanut butter and chocolate - a very USA combo!  Or, use tahini as the nut butter and roll the tops in sesame seeds before baking. Call them cookies or bikkies, depending on which side of the Pacific Ocean you are.


125g butter at room temperature (USA 4.4 oz or 2 small sticks)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt (not necessary if your butter and/or nut butter are already salted. Adds a nice sweet/salty flavour)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup almond butter
1& 1/4 cups wholemeal flour /whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda (USA baking soda)
1/3 cup chopped almonds


1. preheat oven to 180C or 350F and prepare tray

2.  cream together the butter, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. stir in almond butter.

3. sift flour, salt and soda into the mixture and stir to combine. add chopped almonds and stir again.

4. shape tablespoonfuls of dough into a slightly flattened cookie shape. press twice with a fork for a crinkle top.

5. bake 15min and cool on the tray.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

You got to know your chilli!

Traveling between Australia and Texas USA, the word 'chilli' with various spellings, can be a little confusing.

CHILLI (or chili)
In Australia, a chilli is the little red fruit that burns your tongue. Most commonly you can buy birds eye chilli, red or green.  In Texas you can order a whole bowl of Chili as a meal, because it's short for Chili Con Carne, usually just called Chili.

In the USA the hot little red fruit is called a Chilli Pepper and a plethora of varieties are available. habanero, poblano and most commonly, the jalapeno, if you are brave, eat jalapenos whole and stuffed. I'm still building up my chilli pepper tolerance for this one. And of course, an American 'pepper' without the chilli is what an Aussie would call a capsicum. In Australia, if you are talking about Chilli Peppers, you mean the band.

Chile on a USA menu, means a salsa made from green chilli peppers. I recommend it on your burger. In Australia, Chile is the South American country where I assume, they eat a lot of chilli peppers.

If you'd like to try a little Mexican flavour, click here for an Aussie Chilli Con Carne recipe.
A Gourmet Traveler recipe, not my own. But I've tried it and can say it's good.

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Do you speak Aussie?

Just for fun, a couple of blokes explaining how to speak Aussie.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lost in translation

Here's my translation guide on West Texan English, for Australians. 

Y'all - Plural you, a contraction of 'you all', widely accepted and to be used at every possible opportunity, and you may hear 'all y'all' which would in Australian English be 'all of youse'. 'Who all' is an interesting variation which makes the word 'who' plural.  Eg. Who all was there?

Itty Bitty - A small object.

Fixer-upper - A house that requires 'fixing up'. Also known in Australia as a renovator's dream.

Fixin' - This word has a number of applications not heard in Australia;
1) planning to. Eg. We are fixin' to go to the store.
2) side dishes. Eg. Turkey with fixins.
3) ingredients. Eg. Salad fixins.
4) making something with above mentioned fixins. Eg fixin' supper.

Pocket book - Can be used to describe a woman's handbag. Or a pocket sized book-wallet hybrid. This was a new one to me, and a little confusing!

Hunky dory - Everything will be alright. Or, Bob's your uncle. I do have an Australian Aunt who says hunky dory, but thought I'd include this one just for fun.

Do-hicky - Thingamy-bob.

We watched Crocodile Dundee recently and were reminded why it's a classic. I can relate to our friend Mick Dundee here. Enjoy the clip! And please share any fun Southern or Texan words I've missed.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WHERE is Lubbock?

Lubbock is in West Texas, or The Wild West.  If Italy is a boot, imagine Texas as a frying pan (or skillet, if you are from 'round here) and Lubbock is at the base of the pan handle.  It's about five hours to Dallas, six hours to Austin, or nine hours to Houston.  It's a long way to anywhere, so road trips are a regular event, mostly you just get in your car (because everyone has one) and drive straight ahead until you get somewhere.   City streets mostly run North-South and East-West, in numerical and alphabetical order. So very organised!  And in West Texas there's not much to interrupt the road planning; no hills, no forests, just flat dry plains that stretch to the horizon in every direction and a vast blue sky above.  The flatness of the land also allows generous Texas-sized urban sprawl. Why build up, when you can keep building out?

The international borders might be clear cut, but the cultural borders are less so.  It's a long way to the Mexican border, but Spanish is clearly a second local language. Queso anyone?

Are you an Aussie in Texas, or an Texan in Australia? Send me a holler, in the comments below.

The following photos are from the 'hilly' area of Crosbyton, just outside Lubbock.

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