Thursday 31 January 2013

Banana Ice Cream

I remember a while ago reading somewhere that you could make a super quick ice-cream using just one ingredient - ripe bananas!

So, instead of making banana bread, which would just add some grams to my body, I decided to use the four over ripe bananas in my fruit bowl to make an healthy ice-cream instead.

Peel and slice the bananas and put in a container in the freezer during a couple of hours.

When frozen, put in the food processor and mix for a while, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl until it all becomes a smooth paste.
I added a tablespoon of honey and just to make it a little wicked I added 2 teaspoons of Baileys (Irish Cream Liqueur) as well.

When the mix was smooth, I  scraped every last bit from the mixer bowl, put in a serving dish and into the freezer again, to be served after dinner.

Before serving I poured another tot of Baileys (Irish Cream liqueur) just for good measure.
This was enough for 3 servings.

Yummy and super quick too!!
I might add one or two figs next time, as it's fig season and my tree is full of beautiful sweet figs.
What else would go well with bananas? A couple of diced walnuts might be nice too.
Anything else you could suggest?

Saturday 26 January 2013

Australia Day - 26 January 2013

Australia Day - is the national day of Australia, which is celebrated on 26th January.

This day commemorates the arrival of the first fleet of 11 ships from Great Britain at Port Jackson (now Sydney Harbour) in 1788. Captain Arthur Philip established the Colony of New South Wales, which was the first penal colony in Australia.
This date has been celebrated since 1808, although only from 1946 was the name changed to Australia Day from the original "Foundation Day", "First landing day" or "Anniversary Day".

In 1938, in New South Wales, large scale celebrations were held which included the re-enactment of the landing of the First Fleet, but the convict status of many of the passengers was not mentioned. Shortly before the celebrations, a group of Aboriginal activists arranged a "Day of Mourning" to campaign for citizenship and equal rights. The Aboriginal people feel the celebrations exclude them and their culture which was thriving for thousands of years before the arrival of the First Fleet.

The original owners of this country - the Aboriginals - and their supporters call this day "Invasion day", and in recent years there has been some pressure to change the date of Australia Day. This movement has lacked support at both Federal and State Government levels, as they consider this day to be a significant day in Australian history.

In 2004 there was a Newspoll asking if Australia Day should be moved to another day not associated with the European settlement, but 79% favoured no change, 15% favoured a change and 6% had no opinion.

This is a public holiday in every state and territory with addresses from the Governor General and Prime Minister. 

On the eve of Australia Day, the honours lists of the Order of Australia and Australian of the Year Awards (for those who made an outstanding contribution to their country or community) are announced.
Citizenship ceremonies are also celebrated all over the country, welcoming immigrants who qualified to apply for citizenship.

This year, the Australian of the Year award was given to the great lady of media - Ita Buttrose. She was instrumental in opening door to women in the media industry. She was a former editor of the "Women's Weekly" magazine, and first female editor of an Australian newspapers, The Daily Telegraph.

Ita Buttrose (photo from net)

Big cities put on beautiful firework displays, sports events, people get together with friends for a picnic in the parks.
In Perth there will be international food markets, amusement areas, barbecue zones, laser and water shows, music concerts, a movie screening of the Australian "Best feature film of 2011" of "Red Dog" in Sir James Mitchell Park in South Perth, an air show with various aerobatics displays with an helicopter flying a large Aussie flag over the Swan River at 7,30, water ski team show, culminating with a spectacular 30 minute Skyworks firework display at 8pm.
The soundtrack of the Skyworks is broadcast at Mix94.5 radio station and a delayed telecast is transmitted on Channel Seven tv at 10.30pm for those that missed the event or would like to watch it again.

Taken by me from South Perth foreshore in 2011

One of the fun events of the day is the Havainas Australia Day Thong Challenge - not the "underwear thong", but the "flip-flop" thong. 

                         Havainas thong challenge - photo from net

This event is held at 5 beaches across the country - Cottesloe in Western Australia (Perth), Glenelg in South Australia (Adelaide), Torquay in Victoria (Melbourne), Bondi in New South Wales (Sydney) and Mooloolaba in Queensland (near Brisbane).
In 2006, the first World Record was set with 863 people participating in the longest line of inflatable airbeds on the sea. In 2012, Cottesloe Beach in Perth, beat the record with 2088 people, and 2013 is tipped to be bigger still.
This is also a charitable event raising funds for the local Nippers club at each of the State's beach. From the registration fee of $25 (online) or $30 (local) registration fee, $10 go to the charity.
After the events the participants can gather around the barbecues for something to eat.

Radio Station Triple J, hosts a Top 100  music countdown (at this moment, already started and in the 70's, counting from 100 to 1) on Australia Day, giving those that stay at home some background music.

I have only been here 6 years, but I find that most Australians show great pride in celebrating Australia Day.
Is it just a day to get together and have a couple of beers outdoors, wear the red and blue colours and wave the flag around?
I think it's more than that! They show pride in being Australian!

So, with so much to do and see an experience there sure is something that will excite you. 
I sure love the atmosphere and excitement of the day.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Grow your blog challenge 2013

On reading Africanaussie blog she had an interesting post about a "Grow your blog" party, started by Vicky at 2 Bags full blog.
This is a campaign to get more people to read a wider variety of blogs, variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes...
We could all do with a few more friends, bloggers or readers, a few more followers, a few more commentators...So I joined in, hoping to earn a few more readers and hoping to find some new blogs to follow.

For my new readers I will start by introducing myself:
Hi, my name is Sami, I live in Perth, Australia.
I was born in Mozambique, then moved to South Africa when I was 14 years old. Shortly after I got married I accompanied my husband to Germany, where he was going to work on a project.
From the originally planned 1 year we stayed almost 6, and both our children were born there. We moved back to South Africa for a short while, then another move to Portugal, and then 6 years ago, yet again another move to Australia!
I hope we are done with moving for many many years!!

I work part-time as a Practice Manager in a Medical clinic with 3 doctors and 5 other receptionists, and I love my job, although it can be quite intense and stressful at times!

Perth city, seen from Kings Park Botanic gardens

I started my blog in June 2011, as a way to record my travels, crafts, recipes...and also to link with other likewise bloggers.

Although I blog in English, I am also thinking of starting to write all my posts in duplicate with a Portuguese version as well, at the suggestion of some of my Portuguese followers... I just need more hours in the day if that is possible!!

Slowly I realized I had to follow other bloggers and through some of my first followers I started clicking on some of the blogs they followed, and from there I started following a few more blogs that were to my liking.

I have noticed most of the blogs I follow are actually related to either travel or expat bloggers.
So this will be an opportunity to make an effort and visit different types of blogs.
You can learn so much too by visiting other blogs, you see how they structure their blog, how they "beautify" it. You also learn about how other people live in other parts of the world, you learn little tips about gardening, sewing, cooking...

I have been gluten intolerant for about 2 years and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that don't take too long to cook. I enjoy cooking as long as it's nothing too complicated or takes hours...

I am on a quest to be more aware of the environment, use less chemicals on my body and also save money, and now make my own washing liquid for the washing machine, and use vinegar, baking soda and lemon for cleaning around the house, as well as making my own lovely soap
Try these recipes, they are easy, don't take long and you will feel so proud of yourself .

I enjoy crafts although I must say I am a bit of a procrastinator and haven't done much in way of crafting or painting for a while. Maybe I should follow a couple of crafting blogs so I get inspired and start painting again.

One of my paintings

I love decorating and renovations - we have renovated almost our whole house and garden by ourselves (me, hubby and son). I love to watch lifestyle shows, renovating shows, etc., which drives my husband crazy!!  
60 Minute makeovers?? No wonder I then get cranky when the bathroom renovation takes 3 months!! I have threatened to call in some of these "quick renovators" or to enroll in some of these shows, but my husband would not hear of it!!

I started an A-Z challenge a few months ago with other bloggers around the world and I am almost at the end of it, having started with an A is for for Australia and the last post in the series was T is for The Three Sisters.
You can read all my posts under the A-Z by clicking under the Australian flag button at the right.
If you would like to find other bloggers doing this challenge follow this link.

Oh, and I have 5 cats, only 2 of them are friendly and love to keep me company, the others are bit wild and scared of visitors. But I still love them to bits.

My husband and I and our 5 cats - Mommy, Baby, Twiggy, Fluffy (the orange male) and Shelley

At the moment I have 36 followers, some lovely virtual and not so virtual friends spread around the world, but it would be nice to increase my regular readers.

I have actually met a few of my followers and/or bloggers that I follow, such as the lovely Carole from Piglet in Portugal, who was one of my first followers outside my family and who helped boost my readership too.
Then there is Monica who also lives in Perth and blogs in Portuguese about her Perth experiences, Celeste, is a self published author, who also writes in Portuguese, posting poetry, articles about herbs and their benefits to your health, and she is an enthusiastic writer with over 500 posts in about 2 years.

One thing I find, is that although I have many people that read my posts every day, very few people apart from the regular 5 or 6 commentators leave comments. I don't know if the procedure is difficult or if people just can't be bothered. 
I miss that people comment and I always try to leave a comment if I visit a new blog, there is always a post that is interesting, has nice photos, is funny....
So make an effort and leave some kindness.

So hop along to 2Bagsfull . With over 420 bloggers having registered you will for sure find one or two to your liking.
I know I have already found a couple that I will start to follow from now on.
And of course I hope you "follow me" too and enjoy reading my blog.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

A - Z of Australia - T is for The Three Sisters

I had been scratching my head about what to writer under T.
I first thought about Tasmania, but since I have never been there, there         wasn´t much knowledge I could impart. Nor did I have photos!
Looking over some photos of 2011 I came across photos taken at "The Three Sisters" mountain range and thought it would be the ideal post for T.

When we visited Sydney in 2011, one of the must see visits was to the Blue mountains. They are about 100km from Sydney via the Great Western Highway, and if you don´t have a car you can still visit by taking a 2 hour train trip, or joining a bus tour.

Near the town of Katoomba in the Jamison Valley, are the Three Sisters, formed by erosion in a sandstone mountain range. Their names are Meehni with an height of 922mt, Wimlah with 918mt and Gunnedoo with 906 mt.

The legend goes that the three sisters lived in this valley with the Katoomba tribe and they fell in love with 3 men from another tribe with whom marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers unhappy with this law  forcefully captured the sisters. A tribal battle ensued and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder who was then killed in the battle and no one else was able to turn them back.
The Three Sisters and the Elder at the entrance to the Scenic World where you can take the cable car

This legend was later discredited and had apparently been fabricated in the 1920´s to 1930´s to add interest to a local landmark.

The character of the mountain range changes through the day depending on sunlight, turning them into many colours. At night the Three Sisters are lit until 11pm looking spectacular against the dark background of the night sky.

There is a lookout at 300mt above the Jamison valley - Echo Point - where you can have a good view of the Three Sisters and the never ending tree and fern covered valley.

Echo Point Lookout, where you have an endless view over the Jamison valley. The 3 Sisters are to the left.

The Three Sisters, seen from the Echo Point lookout

The Three Sisters at night (photo from the net)

The majestic Three Sisters

If you are fit, enjoy walking and are adventurous, why not climb down the Giant Staircase?
From the Echo Point lookout, walk past the Visitors centre towards the Three Sisters until the Bridge and to the top of the Giant Staircase. There are 900 steps to negotiate with handrail (a 300mt descent) and there are lookouts set into the cliff for a stop and photo opportunities.
At the base of the staircase the walking trail on the valley floor wanders through the fern forest under the cliff and the Katoomba falls. Keep walking until you reach the Scenic Railway. This time you go up through the valley to Scenic World and can then catch a bus to Katoomba Railway station and Echo Point. Be there before the last train at 4,50pm, otherwise you will have to climb up the staircase again!
I'm afraid I didn't try this one, so can't give you advice on it! But be sure to carry water and wear proper walking shoes. The hike will take about 3 hours.

The Giant Stairway, Katoomba. Photo Courtesy of Harry Phillips 12 April 1935
Old photo of the Three Sisters Giant Staircase (photo from net)

If you aren't fit or into hiking, but would still like to feel the thrill of going down the mountain then head to to Scenic World not far away from the "Echo Point" lookout.
After making a choice of "travel vehicle" and buying your tickets, you have the option of going down to the valley with the Skyway, Cableway or Scenic railway.

Scenic railway - a thrilling experience, sitting in a railcar, with a 52° incline, hurtling through a tunnel, emerging into the rainforest.
The rail cars carry 84 passengers and depart every 10 minutes.
(From 14th January this is undergoing a revamp).
Myself, husband and a friend in the Scenic railway
All aboard ready to descend
Once you disembark you can walk via the Scenic Walkway through 2,4km of forest. This boardwalk over the Jamison Valley allows people to explore the mining history of the area, visit a miner's hut, learn about the flora and the birds. 
You can choose between a 10 min. walk to a hour long walk, and have a rest on benches located along the route.

My husband walking along the elevated Walkway through the cool forest
When you reach the other side, you can go back up with the Cableway.
The Scenic Cableway takes you on a 545mt journey overlooking the Three Sisters, and other mountain points and the Katoomba Falls. This is the steepest and largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere and carries 84 passengers.
The only drawback was that the passengers were so squashed that unless you were standing by the windows you wouldn't be able to see very much or take photos which didn't include some of the passengers faces.
These were the options we chose, costing $21 each person.
You can also take the Scenic Skyway,which is suspended 270mt above the forest, on a 720mt journey between cliff tops with a 360° view, and gaze through the glass floor at the views of the Three Sisters, the Jamison valley, Katoomba Falls...and back again!
(We didn't use this option either).

On the return trip we used the Scenic cablecar

From the valley looking up
Following our thrill rides we had a coffee and cake at one of Katooba's cafes and drove around having a look at the town. We came across a park - Lilianfels Park - where we saw some lovely bronze statues which are a wonderful contribution to Australian history. 
The statues are of 5 bronze figures: 2 convicts, 2 Aboriginals and Red Coat Trooper - a memorial opened in 2007, to honour the Road Builders of Australia.
The Road Builders of Australia Memorial, in Katoomb

You can read other A-Z posts from other bloggers by following this link:
Have fun!