Thursday, April 30, 2020

Around here - Coronavirus Update

How has your week been going?  This weekend Queensland will be lifting certain restrictions however I am concerned that every man and his dog will be out on a picnic on the weekend and that there will be crowds everywhere.  I for one, am staying put this weekend that's for sure.

Last week I mentioned that I made Tomato Sauce and Sweet Chilli Sauce from Additive Free Lifestyle blog/book and this week I have made the Pizza Sauce and BBQ Sauce and I can highly recommend them all.  I haven't taken any photos of the jars yet which I will do tomorrow.  If you make these sauces you will never buy the store bought ones again and they only take 30-45 minutes to make.  The recipes have a Thermomix and Stove top version so there are no excuses I can highly recommend them as they have so much flavour.  For the Pizza Sauce I just used whatever veggies I had in the crisper so just use up whatever you have you'll still get the flavour with all the tomatoes.  I used half fresh tomatoes and half tins as I only had about 800gms of fresh tomatoes and wanted to make both the Pizza Sauce and the BBQ Sauce so I used a can of Aldi organic tomatoes in both recipes.

Since I haven't got any photos of my cooking here's a couple of photos of Sienna with our chicken since she can't hang out with her friends.

WEEKLY CORONAVIRUS UPDATE [I have included the last two weeks as I didn't do a post last week]

On Thursday the 2nd of April, 2020 I started posting these numbers so am updating them weekly on a Thursday.  So these figures are basically 3 weeks apart.  World numbers can be seen here.

Wednesday 25-03-2020        World Wide Cases        417,348                Deaths    18,596
Thursday     02-04-2020        World Wide Cases        936,886                Deaths    47,264
Thursday     09-04-2020        World Wide Cases     1,513,243                Deaths    88,403
Thursday     16-04-2020        World Wide Cases     2,084,042                Deaths  134,669
Thursday     23-04-2020        World Wide Cases     2,663,064                Deaths  183,882
Thursday     30-04-2020        World Wide Cases     3,212,993                Deaths  227,784

Wednesday 25-03-2020        Australian Cases               2,144                Deaths not sure didn't look
Thursday     02-04-2020        Australian Cases               5,124                Deaths          24
Thursday     09-04-2020        Australian Cases               6,052                Deaths          50
Thursday     16-04-2020        Australian Cases               6,462                Deaths          63 **

Thursday     23-04-2020        Australian Cases               6,649                Deaths          74 **
Thursday     30-04-2020        Australian Cases               6,752                Deaths          91 **

** 21 of these deaths are related to the Ruby Princess Cruise that docked in Sydney in March.
** Another death from the ship however the person had flown home to America and passed away overseas.
** 17 deaths are related to two nursing homes.
Most of the cases in Australia have been linked to people returning home from overseas.

It took two months to get to over 1 million cases and then only two weeks to get to the second million cases.

Stay safe and enjoy the down time with your family and get all those odd jobs done around the house you never had time for.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Around here - Term 2 - Week 1 in Queensland

Well it certainly makes a change with the kids in school at home without doing daily drop offs and pickups.   Due to their schedules, some days they go at different times in the morning and are collected at different times in the afternoon so it could be 2 trips to school or 3-4 trips to and from school depending on the day and I'm grateful we live 2 kms from the school.

Both kids have adjusted well to online school at home although some of the lessons that might be completed in a class at school can take 3 times as long, or half the time depending on the lesson so they have both been kept busy.  It's new for the teachers and the kids and everyone is doing their best under the circumstances.  With the new ATAR system for Queensland for year 12 this year the schools have been preparing for changes for a couple of years readjusting years 11 and 12 and even year 10 and yet due to the Coronavirus they had to adjust everything from scratch in a matter of a couple of weeks including at that stage, teaching normal lessons in school at the end of Term 1.  I take my hat off to everyone doing their best to both teachers and students.

I have loved the slow mornings without the ironing of uniforms and telling someone to hurry up and brush their teeth so we can get going to school.  Not having to make school lunches in the mornings at home they make their own lunch when they are hungry.  There are lots of perks for this online schooling at home and I"m grateful that they are teenagers managing their school work as it might be a different story if I had little ones at home.  I know the way I was taught at school how to add up by "carrying the 1" is very different to how my kids were taught in primary school, so again...we are in a pretty good place.  I would love to go on a local bush walk and get into nature however all good things come to those who wait and it's about saving lives not about me getting into nature.  Here's some photos of our week and I hope you are all enjoying the slow mornings as well.

I made Sweet Chilli Sauce yesterday from Additive Free Lifestyle blog.

Home made Sweet Chilli Sauce.  The top two jars will go into the fridge and the bottom 3 will go into the pantry.  The kids think it smells and tastes more "sweet and sour" however we all agree we love it.

Sienna made some Anzac biscuits this morning.

This photo is an old photo taken on Anzac Day 2017.

A photo of my front hallway with pretty light.  I took it out out of focus on purpose because there are a lot of things in the hallway that need to get put away.  A High Pressure Cleaner, a large bird cage, a chair, shopping bags to go in the car to name a few.

I made another half batch of this Tomato Sauce from Additive Free Lifestyle blog and haven't bought a bottle of tomato sauce from the shops in over a year.  You cannot beat the flavours in this recipe.

Our menu plan for the week.

The beautiful sunset earlier in the week.

Banana smoothie for breakfast.

I can highly recommend Tracey & Jo's Everyday Cookbook as a standard everyday recipe book for the family.  There are no fancy ingredients, and simple Thermomix instructions along with the stove top traditional method of cooking with each recipe.

Given we are all in ISO get someone to buy you this book online for Mother's Day as it's kid friendly as well with teenagers preparing dinner for the family.  There's a list of what's in the book in the above link.  Also all those store bought condiments you may buy like gravy mixes, KFC-ish spice mixes etc. tomato sauce, pizza sauce, mayo, etc. there are recipes for all of these in the cookbook and I can highly recommend it to any family.   Just a reminder Australia Post are running a bit slow at the moment and it took over 2 weeks to get a standard Easter Card from Melbourne so be patient during these times however you will love the book.  It's a good old fashioned family cookbook without the additives and preservatives that you would be buying from the supermarket.

I can highly recommend you read this post and listen to the 7 podcasts about these additives and preservatives and what they do to your health.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Around here

This week I made a sourdough loaf which took 2 days in the making and in my opinion way too much fussing over and once it was finally baked I felt $8 for a loaf of soursough is totally worth it.  I have another recipe which I will use next time which is a mix the night before and bake the next day which is more my style.  The sourdough loaf I will make next time will be Celia's recipe from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.  Celia has heaps of tutorials on how to make bread.

This week Queensland schools go back however it is only essential workers children that will be going to school for supervision.  The kids will be doing on-line learning at school whilst my kids will be doing their on-line learning at home.  There are no classes in school that will be taught by teachers so kids at home and kids at school will be both learning the same way  being on-line.  It will be a very interesting Term 2 that's for sure for many families.

The weather is finally feeling like Autumn this week even though on Friday it was 30 degrees, it is much cooler in the mornings and the change in weather I spent 24 hrs sneezing from the cool change.  I hope everyone has a good week and good luck to all the school kids with their Term 2 learning.

I love this salmon and corn salsa dinner.

 Home made basil pesto I made using the basil from our veggie box a couple of weeks ago.

Sourdough ready to go into the oven.

Fresh baked sourdough.

Nice and soft inside and crunchy outside.

This weeks small fruit & veggie box.

Extra small fruit box this week.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Around Here - Coronavirus Update

As this blog is a way to record our lives throughout the years I'm updating the Coronavirus numbers weekly.  I am very grateful that I live in Australia and what our Government has done during this difficult time.  Sadly there has been 134,669 people who have lost their lives to this pandemic.

Each day you wake up and think is this real, are we really going through this, however staying at home in your own little bubble is the only way at the moment.  I feel uncomfortable going to the supermarket and each week that escalates as to how you shop, how many people are allowed in the store, who you walk past in the shop etc.  I am going once a week and I don't look forward to going and if I run out of anything during the week I just wait until the next week and make do.  Thankfully I am getting my beautiful fruit and veggies delivered to my door from Spray Free Farmacy and I'm loving the fresh produce and at the same time helping a Mum & Dad family business and local farmers at the same time.  This was my last delivery, how good do those veggies look.  I immediately made a Zucchini Slice and Pesto.


On Thursday the 2nd of April, 2020 I started posting these numbers so am updating them weekly on a Thursday.  So these figures are basically 3 weeks apart.  World figures can be seen here.

Wednesday 25-03-2020        World Wide Cases        417,348                Deaths    18,596
Thursday     02-04-2020        World Wide Cases        936,886                Deaths    47,264
Thursday     09-04-2020        World Wide Cases     1,513,243                Deaths    88,403
Thursday     16-04-2020        World Wide Cases     2,084,042                Deaths  134,669

Wednesday 25-03-2020        Australian Cases               2,144                Deaths not sure didn't look
Thursday     02-04-2020        Australian Cases               5,124                Deaths          24
Thursday     09-04-2020        Australian Cases               6,052                Deaths          50
Thursday     16-04-2020        Australian Cases               6,462                Deaths          63 **

** 19 of these deaths are related to the Ruby Princess Cruise that docked in Sydney in March.
** Another death from the ship however the person had flown home to America and passed away overseas.

Most of the cases in Australia have been linked to people returning home from overseas.

It took two months to get to over 1 million cases and then only two weeks to get to the second million cases.

Stay safe and enjoy the down time with your family and get all those odd jobs done around the house you never had time for.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Around here

Easter is now over and it was indeed very different to our normal family gatherings.  On Saturday I thought it was Sunday and on Sunday I thought it was Monday.  We chilled out at home and did a big clean up of our entertainment area by moving the table, chairs, BBQ and Pizza Oven and seats and put them on the grass and then used the high pressure hose to clean the pavers.  After it was cleaned and dry everything else got wiped down from the all the dust and put back and now it looks great.

Living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia we have a very unique style of housing architecture with timber houses on stilts.  From the 1960's to 1970's Frank and Eunice Corley drove the suburban streets of Queensland in their pink Cadillac, taking photographs of houses and selling them to home owners.  They are thought to have taken over a quarter of a million photographs of houses from Bundaberg to Beenleigh.  Around two-thirds of the photographs were sold to householders, and the remaining 61,000 images were donated to the State Library in 1995.  The photos were sold as individual black and white prints for 99 cents or a personalised calendar for $1.50.  His Leica camera would take a roll of 36 pictures so he had to stop and change the film often.

The State Library of Queensland has put these images online at the "Corley Explorer" and the photos are listed by suburb.  The idea of the website is if you know anything about the house that you lived in or your Grandparents house you can fill in the details about the property, who lived there, who built it and any details you know about it.  What an amazing source of history of housing in Queensland.  There are some brick and stucco houses as well however, the typical "Queenlander" home was built of timber and on stilts with batons around the base allowing air flow in our tropical weather.  There were no built in wardrobes in these houses so people had to have stand alone wardrobes more than likely a silky oak wardrobe.

This is an example of the stories people have added to the photos.  In this article in the Brisbane Times there is a video you can watch about how these photos came to be donated.  The video is 4.5 minutes long and apart from the story of Frank and Eunice Corley the filming of this story is stunning.  The funny thing is that Doug Spowart is the guy in the video and he is responsible for the photos being preserved.   When I was 17 years old and bought my first SLR camera, a Canon AE1 film camera my best friend and I did our very first photography course with him including processing film in the dark room.  He and his Mother, Ruby Spowart had a studio at South Brisbane.

Here's some photos of our week.

Back yard evening moods.

Pretty pink flowers in the backyard.

Our cucumber plant.

I made some more Turkish bread this time using Nigella Seeds and Sesame Seeds 10 out of 10.

The kids made pasta for dinner on the weekend.

Home made fettucini.

Spaghetti Bolognese with home made pasta.

Eater treats for the kids.

Our new way of life for Term 2 in Queensland.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Around here - Easter 2020

Well it's a very quiet Easter that's for sure with a Zoom call to my sisters this morning instead of catching up for our traditional Hot Cross Buns morning tea.

Last night the kids and I watched the movie "Lion" with Nicole Kidman and David Wenham.  It was a really good movie with lots of emotions and some of the scenes were a little confronting with Saroo who was 5 years old getting lost and living on the street until he was sent to an adoption agency where an Australian couple in Tasmania [played by Nicole and David] adopted him.  It's based on a true story and it had a great ending so I thought it was a really good movie. 

This is the story about the real Saroo below.

These are the brothers in the movie Guddu and little Saroo.

This is the real Saroo and his real mother.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Around here

This new way of life not being able to see your family and friends and go out into nature for a bush walk during the school holidays is tough to get used to.  Not seeing my family at Easter is strange and sad although there is not much you can do about it as we have to protect lives.   Here in Australia these "stay at home" orders seem to be working.

On Thursday the 2nd of April I posted these numbers so I have added the numbers as of today 9th April, 2020 one week on.

Wednesday 25-03-2020       World Wide Cases    417,348                Deaths 18,596
Thursday    02-04-2020        World Wide Cases    936,886                Deaths 47,264
Thursday    09-04-2020        World Wide Cases 1,513,243                Deaths 88,403

Wednesday 25-03-2020       Australian Cases     2,144                Deaths not sure didn't look
Thursday    02-04-2020        Australian Cases     5,124                Deaths 24
Thursday    09-04-2020        Australian Cases     6,052                Deaths 50 **

** I think 15 of these deaths are related to the Ruby Princess Cruise, a few days ago it was at 12.

So in one week approximately 576,357 people contacted Coronavirus and another 41,139 people have died.  This is the Coronavirus World Stats that you can click on any time.

If we look at the numbers for the last 2 weeks it's 1,095,895 people have contracted Coronavirus and another 69,807 people have died.  These are just numbers however for every 1 number that equates to 1 family who has lost someone and I can imagine in places like Italy and Spain that could mean more than 1 family member.  It's simply heartbreaking and the message is clear "STAY AT HOME".  It's the only way for now and listening to the Government announcements who get advice from the Health Authorities is so important.  The world will continue on again however for now it's all on PAUSE and it's understandable why it has to be.  Here's a few photos from our week.

Our menu for the week.

Home made Hot Cross Buns see this post for the recipe.

A symbol we have all come to recognize in 2020.

A special address by the Queen.

Getting to know the rules and keeping updated as things change.

There's not going to be much driving for my son this year as the supermarket is 2 kms away and that's the only place we are going once a week.

Stay at home, stay inside......this is life all around the world in 2020.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Around here - Hot Cross Buns

I decided this morning I would make Hot Cross Buns using Laura's recipe.  Laura has a blog called "The Kiwi Country Girl" and lives on a farm with her husband and two kids and various animals in New Zealand hence the name of her blog.

During this time of isolation lots of people have been getting into making bread that have never baked before as they have time on their hands to try a new skill.  Laura has been doing "cook alongs" on her Instagram Stories and has saved some of these to her "Highlights" so you can view them in your own time.  She has "Hot Cross Buns", "Bagels" and "White Bread" all in her highlights if you want to go check it out.

As we all know with bread making it takes a considerable amount of time from start to finish with doing a bit of this, then waiting, doing another bit of that and waiting.  Sourdough can take up to 24 hours, some over night no knead breads can take 12 hours, my turkish bread the other day start to finish took one and a half hours and the Rosemary & Oregano took three and a half hours, so you see it's an activity you can do when you are stuck at home.  First of all you have to work out what time you want to eat your bread and work backwards and allowing for resting time.  We make these fluffy bread rolls which take two and a half hours so if we want them for lunch I have to start around 9.00 am.   Getting back to the original post about making Hot Cross Buns, Laura says these take 2 hours and 35 minutes to make [I would allow 3 hours as you may need 60 or 90 minutes for your dough to rise depending on the temperature].  So in summary, that's Prep Time 30 minutes, Cook time 25 minutes and Rising time 1 hours and 40 minutes or a bit longer for the rise.

Laura's recipe has all of these things listed so you can print it out however here's a summary.  At the start you get three things ready in separate bowls so this takes about 15 minutes:-

1.    The yeast component mix and then let that sit.
2.    The flour, spices and dried fruit.
3.    The butter, egg, vanilla mix.

After that, you bring everything together and knead with your dough hook on your mix master, kitchen aid or your Thermomix knead for 7-8 minutes or by hand for approximately 10 minutes.

Next is the rise part which again I had mine on a chair in the backyard for an hour.

I didn't take a picture after it had risen however it only took one hour and the dough was right up to the gladwrap at the top of the bowl.

Next you punch your dough down and divide into 10 equal portions, then round them with your hands [see Laura's Hot Cross Bun Highlights for this] and pop them on a tray for another rise of 40 minutes.

Back out into the backyard sun to rise for 40 minutes,   I had to be careful with this tray as the clingwrap wouldn't stick to the tray like it does to my glass bowl above and I didn't want any ants or insects to get to my dough so I was checking on it from time to time. 

After 40 minutes they had risen again and I brought them back inside.

In the meantime the oven is turned on to 180 degrees and you make the mixture for the crosses as per the recipe and also get the sugar mix ready for after they are cooked.  All the ingredients and details what to do are carefully written in Laura's printable recipe mentioned above.

Make your crosses on the buns and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.......I was very annoyed with myself because I didn't check them at 20 minutes like I would normally do so they got very brown and after my mornings work I was disappointed I had over cooked them by 5 minutes.

It was due to the fact that the oven was really hot and ready when I put them in...lesson learned so set your timer for 15 minutes and 20 minutes.  Anyway enough about that, I baked them and when they came out I put the sugar mix on with a pastry brush and they are AMAZING.  

The dough is a perfect texture so soft and I'm really happy with the recipe.  This is a flashback to 2013 when James made Hot Cross Buns.

I can highly recommend you make Laura's recipe even if you think it's complicated, it's not...just give yourself 3 hours and do other things in between.  You will love how easy they are to make and totally beats the store bought ones with preservatives and additives.

NOTES:  Apart from over cooking them for 5 minutes I also made the mistake of "mixing" my ingredients in the Thermomix for 15 seconds which basically chopped the sultanas into specs so just go straight to kneading.  My daughter was happy because she doesn't like sultanas, and I was like, what are the brown specs in my dough about until I realized I had chopped the sultanas up.  So if you have a Thermomix go straight to the knead setting once all your mixture is in and the kneading will mix everything together leaving the sultanas whole.  We don't like mixed peel so it was just sultanas.

These recipes are the ultimate in slow cooking and as we all have a slow lifestyle now due to isolation now is a good time as any to try out new recipes since it's school holidays in Queensland and not home schooling online.  Let me know if you make these you will be so proud of yourself.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Around here

The days all seem to roll into one at the moment.  I know our Government whether you like one party or the other are doing an amazing job adapting to the health crisis and the financially crisis.  They are turning systems that have been in place on their head and all in the matter of days or a week to do what is best for our country.  They are changing legislation to Award Wages that have been in place for some 30 years to adapt them so that it suits the current environment for workers for the next 6 months.  Everything that is being done will be in place for 6 months.  Honestly the task is massive let alone the dollars and the health of our nation.  They are implementing financial packages through current systems rather than reinventing the wheel.  They are adjusting a few days later a better system and then a few days later addressing other things like child care, unemployment, rental tenancies, mortgages, household electricity, rates, water etc. are all being addressed.  The task on both fronts in monumental for any Government.

I have been following the Coronavirus Worldometer daily and it's frightening to see the numbers.  We are somewhat lucky in Australia in that we are further away from the rest of the world and also a couple of weeks behind so we have a little bit of time to sort things out.  Anyone returning home to our country is now put up in a city hotel compliments of the Australian Government for 14 days of quarantine.  As much as people are finding that difficult [so is the rest of the world staying home by the way] it reduces the risk of infection.  The previous order was to self quarantine for 14 days however if someone landed in Sydney and lived on the central coast or anywhere else for that matter they would have to catch a bus, train, taxi, uber in order to get home to do 14 days of quarantine all the time if infected and not showing symptoms basically passing it onto many other people.  I think this was a very good move and wished it could have started a couple of weeks ago.

This is the numbers with 8 days in between:-

Wednesday 25-03-2020       World Wide Cases 417,348                Deaths 18,596
Thursday    02-04-2020        World Wide Cases 936,886                Deaths 47,264

Wednesday 25-03-2020        Australian Cases     2,144                Deaths not sure didn't look
Thursday    02-04-2020        Australian Cases     5,124                Deaths 24

I'm not sure what the number of deaths were on the 25th March in Australia as I only recorded the number of cases.  We are doing okay however 1 person dying is 1 person too many and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a family member.  The numbers world wide are staggering and we are not at the peak yet.  The above numbers are at the time I looked on the website during that day.  Stay home and stay safe everyone.

On a brighter note here are some pictures from our week for you.

The kids are home for Week 10 of Term 1 followed by 2 weeks of school holidays and then online learning for the time being.

Lemon Turmeric one pot wonder.

Weekly batch of home made yoghurt.

Afternoon shadows inside the house.

Sunday breakfast made by the kids of hash brown, bacon and eggs.

My 14 year old daughter wanted Lasagne for her Birthday Dinner however as we had all the family over we got pizza's instead to make it easy because it was a school night and lots of people.   On Saturday she made Lasagne all by herself so I put up our hand made Birthday Bunting to make it special.

She made the lasagne and I put together the salad.