Tag Archives: friendship

The Art and Madness of Falling in Platonic Love

3 Aug

Do you know Carolyn from Champagne Cartel?

You bloody well should. We started with a mild Facebook/blog comment here and then, which propelled swiftly into pen pals. When we finally swapped phone numbers it felt as though we’d known each other forever and now I consider her my friend.

My crazy, nutty, funny, clever and generous friend.

In fact, it a bit freaky because sometimes I wonder how it’s possible that I can have so many similarities with one person…. could we be twins?

Anyway, I asked if she’d do me a guest post, and I got something even better.

Check her out….


I have taken to falling madly in love with new friends lately. Oh, I love the old ones too, of course, they’re like those smelly old ugg boots that live in your cupboard and get dragged out in winter to schlep about the place with us – mmmmm, comfy.

But old friends have heard all my jokes. They know my stories. They are wise to my hackneyed old shtick.

But that ‘new friend’ smell just can’t be beat. New friends are full of potential. They haven’t smelt your farts yet, and they don’t know about that disgusting thing you did on Year 10 camp that you only let slip three times after way too many G&Ts.

And these days I fall totally, helplessly in love. But not in the rudey-dudey way. Just beautiful, soft, keep-your-tongue-to-yourself ladylove. And I reckon that’s even way more fun than falling in the sexy love.

Here’s how I see it:

A) Falling in platonic love with new friends: excited banter, drinking wine, compliments (I love your hair; no, I love your hair!), funny text messages, laughing, cocktails, dancing in bars, selfies, slightly self-conscious hugs, more laughter.

B) Falling in potentially sexy love: excited banter, drinking wine, flirty text messages, laughing, waxing your legs, waxing your lady garden, plucking your eyebrows, curling your lashes (like he would notice, seriously), worrying about your breath, buying condoms, sexing (including doing that thing you don’t really like all that much but do with him anyway because, you know, he’s so nice), washing sheets, worrying about whether he’s getting back with his ex or whether he’ll call or whether his mother will think you’re a whore.

I think I’ll take option A please, Larry.

And there is something delightfully refreshing about making women friends when you’re – ahem – of a certain age – don’t you think? There’s none of that bullshit competition that everyone pretends isn’t there when you’re 23. Is she prettier than me? Was he looking at her? Was she talking about me in the toilets? I’ll never have an arse like hers…

us at Kidspot... ten drinks into our bromance.

Us at Kidspot… 10 drinks into our bromance.

My latest ladylove experience has been to totally fall madly in love with my host here, the delightful Danielle Colley. I met her in Sydney at a Kidspot blogger bash, and although I already liked her cyberself a whole lot, we experienced a magical romance that night – fuelled largely by tequila and a very hot pantsuit.

But I think she’s amazing. As, clearly, do you because you’re here reading her blog even though she has let some shmo on here you’ve never heard of. And I think I’ll be her friend for a very long time – even though she does have a better arse than me.

If you made it to the bottom of this post, that means WE should be best friends too! Please come visit me at Champagne Cartel so we can hang out and I can talk about your arse.

the kind of delights you will discover with the Cartellians.



Friending, Unfriending and Biscuits with Friends

23 Jun kiki eating cookies

Spiced Sultana Porridge CookiesI made two new friends recently. People that I think are really cool.

They’re funny, and smart, and they have similar values to me. All the qualities I look for in a friend.

We don’t actually know each other, not really, but when I saw the little friend request icon on the left hand corner of my page I felt like the first girl picked for the basketball team. I felt a little bit popular.

Conversely, when someone unfriends me, it can be quite deflating, and leave me wondering what I did wrong.

I’ve been unfriended a few times. I rub people the wrong way sometimes, you know, being big mouth and all.

The friends figure rises and falls, and it’s often hard to pinpoint who’s disappeared from your scope. The one time someone I actually cared about unfriended me, I thought it was a pretty loud way to make her statement. We had had an altercation, and now she didn’t want social contact with me anymore.

She didn’t care how witty or quippy I may be.

I was dumped.

Recently, someone in my outer circle said a couple of things, a couple of times, that really got under my skin and in anger I clicked the unfriend button hovering beside her name.

I thought we’d disappear from each others news feeds and that would be it… except she called me on it. She had no idea that I’d been offended so imagined I’d had accidental ham fingers or some such.

I explained the situation, and her feelings were hurt, and I felt terrible. I hate upsetting people.

Did I overreact? Maybe, but at the time I felt justified. I had been hurt by careless words.

Then I realised how incredibly highschool this whole Facebook ‘like’ process is.

spiced Sultanas cookies and cookie monster

There was a time where I collected FB friends like bottle tops. The more the better. I didn’t care how random, how obscure, how remote the connection, I wanted to be connected. I became a voyeur of the highest order and I spent (SPEND) hours peeping in the windows of people’s lives. Not people I actually wish to talk to.

God, no.

Just watch.

From afar.

Not their real lives either, of course, just the representations of themselves. Their branding. Their shopfronts.You can sell yourself and your life however you want. We’ve all become spectacular at one liners.

Well…… not all.

I heard someone say recently that unfriending was akin to cyber bullying, but it made me think how sad it was that we see Facebook as our be all and end all to connection.

I started to think that if I didn’t want to actually speak to someone, like EVER, than perhaps collecting them as a specimen was a strange, time wasting, pastime. I could spend the five minutes wasted trawling their history by talking to someone I do wish to connect with. Someone who gives something back. Someone who fills my energy pots instead of sucks them.

I had a mega friend cull in the wake of this. I ditched over 100 people from my friend list. Some of whom, whenever they popped into my feed, annoyed me anyway.

In truth, I could probably cull 100 more.

People I met once on a night out. People from school that I wasn’t even friends with at the time, and still now we have no common interests. A friend of a friend that one time I nearly…..you get the picture.

I am addicted and appalled by Facebook in equal measures, and I feel like a disloyal lover even saying it, but perhaps now we use the term FRIEND so loosely that we forgotten the true value of a good one?

I took a batch of biscuits to the park today to catch up with someone I don’t see enough. As our kids played happily in the sun, laughing and getting dirty with each other, we talked about our lives. We discussed the truths of our lives, and not just skimmed the window dressing of our shopfronts.
That connection filled my proverbial cup, and I thought once more about friendship, and where we place our precious energy.

Call your friends. If you don’t wish to commit to a chat because talking with kids around is a freakin’ nightmare, text them. Tell them what they mean to you and help fill their energetic cup, because life empties our cups over and over and it can be hard to stay half full, instead of half empty.

spiced sultana cookiesThese biscuits have been doing the rounds of my test kitchen lately. I’ve tried different flours, no butter, Rice Bran Oil, more sugar, less sugar.

This is it. This is the perfect combo. Not too sweet, yet delicious and still in the good for you spectrum.

Spiced Sultana Cookies

Yield : about 24 good sized biscuits

What you will need :

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup puffed brown rice
  • 1 cup sultanas
  •  ½ cup chopped dates
  • 1¼ cup self raising flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice syrup or honey
  • 2 small eggs, lightly beaten
  • 130 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (for sprinkling)

What you need to do :

Preheat oven to 180C

Chuck all your dry ingredients, except the teaspoon of raw sugar and cinnamon, into a bowl and stir to combine.

Make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients and mix well.

Spoon tablespoon fulls onto baking paper on a tray. Press gently with a fork so they don’t look like rock cakes.

Combine your teaspoon of sugar and cinnamon, and lightly sprinkle each cookie with a little of the mix.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Cool and nibble with friends.

kiki eating cookieskiki eating cookies

Are you addicted to Facebook? Or biscuits, for that matter?

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now (yes, I get the irony) or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

You’re not Wonder Woman, and that’s ok.

19 Apr

Wonder Woman bakes bread too

I had a little meltdown this week. It wasn’t really a private affair.

In fact, it was a little bit public.

Not public like pulled-my-undies-up-over-my head-and-wailed-in-a-supermarket type public, but public enough that a few of my friends rallied and came to my aid as they could sense that my frantic waving may actually be me drowning.

Public enough that some of those friends saw my tears because I felt squashed by the enormity of this playing grown-ups malarky.

After chatting and crying and laughing and drinking lots of tea, I feel like I’m back on top, but I’m left with a residual embarrassment that my friends now may not see me as a croissant baking (yes, I will milk it) super homemaker, juggling children, writing and chainsaws, all without breaking a sweat.

Now the truth is out there.

I am not Wonder Woman.

I would totally have a crack at wearing her outfit, but I would be nothing more than a pouchy-bellied, hairy-legged, mortal wearing a costume.

Why does this shame me?

It makes me wonder about women in general, I mean, what is up with us chicks, and dudes?
Dudes aren’t immune to this overwhelming sensation of being swallowed, surely.

The exhausting newborn phase, the frustrating toddler phase, the mind-bending child rearing business/juggling act while you work, keep the house, tend the garden, have nutritious dinners on the table not just once, but 7 times a week, and keep your sanity in check, day in and day out, is a damned hard slog and no one escapes without feeling like it’s all too hard sometimes.

I must once more applaud the solidarity of the sisterhood (sorry, lads. It’s not an exclusive club per se).
I cried out and my girls were there by my side.

On one sunny morning, on my back deck, 4 of my girls and I drank tea and talked about where we’re all at and suddenly I realised that this shit of mine is not unique.

I am not a rare species, so unusual that no one can perceive my plight.

I am not alone.

My friends were saying their relationships aren’t perfect and their children aren’t perfect. Other people’s lives aren’t as amazing as they may seem on the outside. One friend said she used to hear her neighbour yelling at her kids and wonder how you could speak to your darlings like that…. and now she feel like she has become that lady.

I sometimes feel like that lady.

I am not Wonder Woman.

Do you ever feel like that lady?

Probably, because you are not Wonder Woman either.

I mentioned on my FB page that I felt like I was not coping very well last week, and my online community poured love onto my page. How awesome is that?
Some people I’ve physically met, but others don’t know me in person, but they were there with advice and love.

Some great words of wisdom came from that. I want to share a few, you know, in case you ever feel like going for a long walk off a short pier -

If you start to feel like it’s all too hard, call a friend, and go for a cup of tea.

Take a walk in the sun, or dance to some music that you love.

Honour your feelings. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, but be kind to yourself.

Nurture yourself.

Slow down and breathe.

Have a date night.

My personal favourite was have a whiskey. Whiskey always helps.

I just really want to impress upon you, if you’re feeling blue, you’re not alone.

Tell someone you’re struggling because there is no shame in not being Wonder Woman, and sharing the struggle brings forth wonderful women…. and wonderful men.

Flogging and flashing with some great linky link ups,  With Some Grace,  Hi, Mama G, thanks for having me!

If You Build It, They Will Come…..

8 Dec


I have always harboured a deep terror of groups of women.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my girlfriends, but I’m generally more of a one-on-one kind of girl or small groups of chicks at a push…….hen’s nights, baby showers, girls-nights-out and the like positively make me quiver in my cowboy boots.

Generally speaking, I have always been much more comfortable around groups of men. With all due respect, I feel that men are much simpler creatures……what they say is what they mean, what they ask for is what they want, and beer, food and blow jobs are currency.
Gotta respect that.

I can’t put my finger on exactly why I feel this way. Possibly a left-over thing from school – isn’t everyone’s hang-ups left over from school or childhood or some such traumatic period when hormone-addled, immature brains were hard-wiring future grown-ups with issues?

You may remember when I first moved to ‘Burb Vegas, I was experiencing deep feelings of isolation.

I spent hours in the park trying to pick-up friends, and if I needed any social interaction I needed to drive across the city to my old ‘hood……not that I’m averse to getting out and about but with two kids in tow, often by the time you get there, it’s time to head home for someone’s nap or other routine related fun-ness.

After a beautiful stint home to my fam, I decided what I needed was to build a Village.
Somewhere where I had support.
Somewhere where I had a place to chat and vent and cry and laugh…..and most, most importantly, drink tea.

I needed to get me some friends. Stat.

I thought, in case you were up at night worried about me, that I’d let you know where my hankering for a Village now stands.

I have one.

I have a lovely one.

A chance meeting in a supermarket with an old friend, led to a catch up here and there. She knew some people, I met some people, and we all started to meet casually on a Thursday morning.

It’s not a mother’s group, per se, but we are all mothers. We don’t talk soley about our husbands and children, but they certainly feature because we’re women.
A group of beautiful, interesting, strong, funny women.
It seems I may be over my fear.

I read recently an article about how an hour with your girlfriends is equivalent to an hour with a therapist, but cheaper and with more giggles.
I’d have to agree.
It’s not that I need to see a therapist – well, I could probably do with a little stint, let’s be honest – but there is something about the way women connect through sharing stories that allows a feeling of ‘thank Christ, it’s not just me’.

We vent.

We use each other as sounding boards.

We share the weight of our lives.

Guys connect through doing stuff.
Not necessarily guy stuff, but they don’t talk the way women do, as a general rule. They mostly stick to ‘dude’ topics………I know it’s a broad sexist statement, but I swear, it’s the truth.

After an hour with my friend, I know how she’s feeling about her life, her relationships, her work, her stuff.
Mister H will often come home with a mere snippet of information about the person he’s spent time with.

How many times have you had a conversation with a guy where he’ll drop something juicy, and you ask for more info and he looks all blank.

“What? He found out his wife is having an affair? Who with??”

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask”


“What? He lost his job with no warning and was given 10 minutes to leave the building? Why?”

“I don’t know. He didn’t say.”


Did he ask details? No. Probing questions? Of course not.

Naturally, if a guy WANTS to talk feelings, his guy friends listen and may even offer advice but they don’t do it like we ladies do.

A cup of tea and I’ll tell you all my feelings, a glass of wine and I’ll spill all my beans. A whole bottle?
(New York accent) Forget about it.
Not everyone is like me, of course. I am a sharer.

Anyway,I digress…… I have a Village now.

One of my Villagers has started training me in boxing. We bash each other around a park and I love it.

Another has offered to jump on board with Holsby TV because she wants a creative outlet.

I received a mega bag of hand-me-downs for the first time in my children’s existence. I love hand-me-downs.

Recently, I dropped D Man to the another Villager while I went to tell the Fuzz about the crazy shit that happened to me this week.

Someone else pops around with her kids in the witching hour so we can kill that crazy bit of time before the dinner/bath/bed vortex.

I have people to give my cooking failures to and we break down where it all went wrong.

I am a part of something. A Community.

As this community feeling grows, and our friendships strengthen, I have come to understand something very important.
It does take a Village to rise a child, but more importantly, it takes a Village to keep a mother sane.

Rekindling Old Friendships and a Snapper Named Steve

12 Nov

I was driving along in my car recently and someone I hadn’t thought of in a long time popped into my head.

This wasn’t just any old ‘someone’, but someone who was once so close to me that he and I used to call each other brother and sister. We did this not because we are related by blood, but because trying to explain our relationship to people was too hard.

We were more than friends.

We were even more than best friends.

We were BFFs…… we thought.

I don’t know exactly where it went pear shaped, there was no singular event, but I do remember the time in our lives, and it was complicated for the both of us, to say the least. We were living together, but our lives were very separate. We were both engrossed in our own stuff and I guess we needed some space.

There’s space, and then there’s SPACE, because as I was driving along I realised that this man – that I once called my brother – did not know that I was married to a red-head, with whom I was set up on blind date.

He would think that was funny.

He did not know that I had a son with beautiful, deep grey eyes and a cheeky smile, and neither did he know that I had a daughter, named after my great-grandmother.

I had no idea where he lived, or even if he lived, and I was suddenly filled with profound sadness at this thought. As soon as I stopped driving I called his phone, hoping he had the same number.

I got voicemail, of course, what an anti-climax, and I left a message just saying I was thinking about him, and maybe we could talk if he wanted to.

I left it in his court, but at the very least I wanted him to know that he was in my thoughts.

I didn’t hear anything for a few days, and then I got a text. Maybe he wasn’t ready to talk, just yet.

Maybe he needed to see if we still had rapport?

After a few tentative texts back and forth, I invited him over for lunch, and I’m so thrilled that I did because it was just like old times.

Friendship is a funny thing, isn’t it?

How someone, with whom you were once invincible, suddenly doesn’t fit, and then perhaps down the line you do fit again. Or you fit differently but it’s still nice.

It isn’t the first time my river meandered away from someone who was my left bank and then, with time, moved back towards them, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but sometimes you just need to take a step towards someone….make the first move towards rekindling. It’s not about pride, or swallowing it, it’s about saying ‘Life is too damned short, I wonder what my old friend is up to?’

I strongly urge you to call someone today, someone you let slip away, and just tell them you’re thinking of them. You don’t need lunch or a grand gesture.

It feels really nice.

I wanted to BBQ a whole fish this Spring, and this lunch seemed the perfect occasion.

Meet Steve.

He was a 2 kilo snapper, and he was delicious.

I was hoping to BBQ a fish that I had never cooked before but when I was at the fishmonger, Steve was winking at me and I couldn’t resist his fishy goodness.

Yield : 1 BBQ’d fish

You will need :

  • one fish, cleaned and scaled
  • 3 cloves garlic, skin removed
  • juice and zest of 1 lime, retain husks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 birdseye chili, deseeded if you prefer
  • 50ml olive oil
  •  handful of coriander root and leaves

What you need to do :

  • Score your fish deeply in the sides to allow for the marinade to penetrate.
  • In a mortar and pestle (or small food processor) add everything except the olive oil and pound until it forms a paste. Add your oil and stir to combine.
  • Rub mixture all over your fish, and put empty lime husks inside. Refrigerate for at least 40 minutes for let the flavours infuse.
  • Our fish BBQ cage thing was too small to accommodate Steve so we got a little creative and sandwiched him between two cake racks. He didn’t know the difference and it just kept him over the heat instead on directly on it.
  • We did a little lid up, and then a little lid down action, cooking each side for about 20 minutes. He was pretty fat, so you’ll need to adjust according to the fatness of your fishy.

I really think that BBQing anything makes it yummier, and Steve was no exception. I served him with a soba noodle salad, but you could eat this with rice and Asian greens, or stir fry, or even potato salad if it takes your fancy.

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.


Brotherly Love

23 Oct

When the divine Zanni, from Heart Mama, was expecting her new baby to join them any second, she wrote to her daughter Elka about the impending changes. Her letter got me to thinking about siblings, and in particular, my children.

In some families siblings are best friends, and in others they are like distant ships passing in the night.
Can you encourage friendships to grow?

Five month old Kiki lies on the floor, her eyes training on D Man’s every move. She is transfixed by the golden haired boy; her big brother. He runs back and forth in her line of vision, delighting in the fact that she turns her head to watch him, over and over again. She gazes at him adoringly, startling every now and then at his squeals, and he basks in her attention. Their giggles are like fairy laughter in my ears as I observe these first independent interactions of my first-born son, and new-ish daughter.

This is their earliest play developing, and they are so happy to just be near each other.

My son, D Man, often looks to me with his little arms outstretched -

‘Hold, Baby?’

We set them up so they’re safe and supported and gently put Kiki in his arms, and he just sniffs her and kisses her head…..then he gets bored and he pushes her away so she face plants on the couch and he reaches for a plastic dinosaur with one hand and picks his nose with the other…..but the first part is no less beautiful.


To continue reading, pop over to Heart Mama

Lessons From A Rat……looking back while looking forward.

7 Sep

6 months ago, on a sunny morning in the park I was lamenting to my friends that I felt like I needed a project. They suggested I start a blog.

Who on Earth would want to read what I have to say? I queried.

You’d be surprised, they answered.

A little seed was sown and that very afternoon Keeping Up With The Holsbys was born.
And I love it.

Suddenly, my little project has opened a world of possibilities and introduced me to many friends around the world. I have a cyber village with a tribe of people who care about my family and I, and who make me think and who inspire me every day.

I’m not an overnight sensation, nor do I have a movie deal, but right now, I have what I need. A voice. An outlet……Besides, I’m not yet buff enough to play myself in the movie, so I need a little bit of time.
There have been massive personal ups and downs in this half-year, a new gorgeous baby girl, my baby boy is more like a little man, friends come and friends gone, and life keeps marching on to some wacky old tune.

I’m enjoying chronicling my journey, and I love that you love to share it with me.

I wanted to re-post my very first post today, for two reasons. One to remind myself how far I’ve come in the last 6 months, but also, because I really liked this post and it was read by pretty much family only because I had no peeps then!

I’m sure by now, you’re all familiar with ratty. He makes many appearances throughout, and he truly is the fifth family member.

I really love that rat.

Lessons From A Rat

My almost-two-year old son’s best friend is a rat.

He’s funny looking – Ratty, not my progeny -, rather smelly (could be referring to either but still Ratty, irrespective of regular washing) and due to an unfortunate incident with my favourite Clinique lipstick recently, oddly, pinky, stained down one side of his cafe latte coloured fur……but all of this aside, D Man loves him unconditionally.

Whether he saw him 10 minutes ago, or two hours ago, his little, often grubby, face lights up when he sees him and with true, heart exploding love he embraces his friend and kisses his smelly, and possibly soggy snout. He has no expectations of Ratty, just love.

Pure and simple.

He doesn’t care where Rat has been, or what he’s been up to, or which of the other furry friends he’s been cavorting with in D Man’s absence – He’s just thrilled to bits at seeing his best friend again.

Perhaps there is something to be learned from the simplicity of this friendship?

The nature of friendship is something I’ve pondered greatly over the last two years since I’ve had D Man and my life has been turned upside down in a brown-banana -smears-and -stinky -nappy- flavoured manner, but it’s also something I’ve discussed at length with others of late.

Friendship appears, at times, to have an almost tidal nature. It waxes and wanes in a luna fashion. We are drawn apart and come back together, sometimes in a crashing wave we’re thrown back together, other times with a gentle surge we’re guided back towards our old friend.

The fact is, lives take different paths and yet sometimes we cling, in my case with the dishpan hands Mrs Palmolive warned us about, to the memory of a friendship that was and grieve it’s passing.

Where once there was Martinis, high heels and lipstick smears at dawn, there is now in it’s stead coffees in a park teeming with children and snippets of broken conversation as you try to gossip whilst keeping one eye on your child as they kamikaze off a jungle gym. Sensible Birkenstocks have replaced the heels and suncream and vegemite smears are the new make-up. I, and my life, have definitely, infinitely changed…..but what about my friends that have not?

Now please don’t get me wrong here, a few of my child free friends have embraced my little stinker as if he’s of their own loins, and slowly, one-by-one many of my old buddies are sprouting babes of their own (I was by no means a young mother but still a trail blazer in this field, if none other). I have found many new fabulous friends within a circle of mamas since ‘the change’ but many single peeps have fallen by the wayside.

Perhaps one day the tide of our friendship will come back in, but I know that ultimately the only thing guaranteed in life is there will be change, and if that change is brought about by little people, who raise their chubby little hands to you, snuggle into your neck and sigh ‘wee wee’, then change should be embraced and casualties will always be remembered fondly, through slightly foggy Martini shaped glasses.

Big Energy for Little Kickers – Pepita, Cranberry Anzac Slice

28 Aug

Little Kickers has fast become D Man and my favourite activity of the week.
He is surely less than amazing at it – I think he struggles with his concentration. I can really notice that, although he’s the same size as the others, he’s indeed one of the youngest and therefore the most likely to vague out (gets that from his dear ol’ Ma), but you know what?
I get filled with great joy watching him and his little mates trip over and bumble around in their red and white uniforms.
Every single goal may as well be the World Cup to us proud folks on the sidelines.

The dudes who run the class are seriously the most patient men on Earth. They don’t use strong voices, lose their cool, or kick anyone ever.
It’s a miracle, really, as some of them give them a run for their money……D Man included.

D Man’s new soccer buddy is Eli. The second they met it was instant friendship, which rocks because Eli’s mum is pretty cool and we shoot the breeze while the lads hang out.
Eli’s mum taught me the joys of peanut butter and grated carrot sandwiches…..where the hell have I been on that one?
They’re good. Give it a crack if it’s not already in your repertoire.

As good as that combo may be, it’s not as good as this combo of traditional Anzac flavours made even better by my jazz hands….not even close.
I was accused recently of writing ‘healthy’ at the beginning of my baking titles to trick y’all into baking more and fattening up, presumably. I totally resemble that accusation.
Well, this ain’t healthy…….but, it does have heaps of healthy things in it. Oats are low G.I. and awesome for energy, and pepitas and cranberries are great for you and tasty to boot.

Yield: 24 

You will need :

  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 160g butter, chopped
  • 2.5 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seed)

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 3cm-deep, 19cm x 29cm (base) slice pan with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at long ends.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, pepitas, cranberries and coconut in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Place butter and syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until smooth. Combine bicarbonate of soda and boiling water in a jug. Remove butter mixture from heat. Stir in bicarbonate of soda mixture. Add to flour mixture. Stir to combine.

Transfer to prepared pan. Using the back of a spoon, press mixture evenly into pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan. Cut into squares. Serve.

This was the perfect post football snack. D Man loved it. Eli didn’t rate it. Eli’s mum was stoked because she got to finish his as well as hers.
I’d call that a result.
Here are the chaps in action. Cute or what?

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Besties and Beasties.

9 Aug

Losing Our Wilsons….A Farewell Yum Cha.

18 Jul yum cha!!!

Recently, my dear friend, G. Peorge (AKA Mrs Wilson) said ‘Sometimes, you meet someone and you just have a connection’.

I hoped for a minute she was referring to our relationship, which had blossomed from neighbours to dear friends….alas, no. She was referring to D Man and herself.
They used to live downstairs in our building B.B. (before ‘burbs) and Mrs W and I became firm friends whiling away Friday afternoons with a ‘play date’ accompanied by cheese and wine, as play dates ought to be. Our sons played together and became each others’ first real friends, they’re names being amongst each lads first words.
We progressed to dinner parties, and baby sitting, and sleepovers and our friendship grew. Our family’s have grown close over the last two years, but the love between her and D Man is truly a beautiful thing. He worships her. He talks about her all day, and I think he may even love her just a tiny bit more than I do.

Occasionally people come into your life and they just feel like they’ve been there forever….and you hope they’ll stay forever. You don’t need to have known them for a long time, but you know that they’ll remain a solid in your life from now on.

That’s the Wilsons.

There has been laughter and tears, wine and tea, and a hell of a lot of food. Those Wilsons sure can cook, and eat…… Oh, and the desserts…….We love the Wilsons.
But, if there’s one thing you can bank on in this life (aside from death and taxes), it’s change, and in a move that is going to be fabulous for them, we’re losing our Wilsons.

They’re moving south of the border.

You may remember back on my Winter To Do List, I vowed to challenge myself with home made Yum Cha. What better way to send off dear ones than with a labour of love type meal?

None of these elements on their own are particularly difficult. A little time consuming, sure, but not hard. All of them together?? Wouldn’t want to be in a hurry. I’ll admit I started a few days early and I froze them as I went. The prawn ones I made on the morning of the extravaganza as I don’t dig on frozen seafood.
You will note that I have used how gee wrappers which are actually made of wheat. At Yum Cha, many of the dumpling are in a rice kind of wrapper…..I tried to find it ready made, and they don’t do it. It’s not actually rice as such, it’s a little pancake made from potato starch and rice flour and I sure as shit wasn’t making 50 of those……yes, I’m trying something new, no, I’m not busting my ass to do so!!!!

You will need soy sauce and Chinese chilli sauce for serving to make it authentic yum cha. I also did Chinese Broccoli (and maybe I bought some egg tarts, but I’m not telling)

Here’s how I pulled off the Yum Cha Extravaganza…..

Pork and Coriander Dumplings

Yield : 25 dumplings

You will need :

  • 300g pork mince
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ketcap manis (Indonesian sweet soy)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 1 egg white
  • 25 gow gee wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

dipping sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

Place the mince, shallots, sauces, coriander and egg white into a bowl and mix well to combine. Place a heaped teaspoon in the middle of each wrapper.
Brush the edge with a little water  and fold to enclose the filling. Pinch the edges any way you think is styley.

At this point I stuck them in the freezer……

To cook, you add your oil to a fry pan that has a lid. Pop your dumplings into the oil and fry until the bottoms are browned.
Add 1/2 cm water to your pan and pop the lid on for a further 3-5minutes, depending if they were frozen or no.
To make dipping sauce, put all ingredients into a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Prawn and Bamboo Shoot Dumplings

Yield: 25

You will need :

  • 300g prawn, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 egg white
  • 25 gow gee wrappers

Place prawns, onions, bamboo shoots, oyster sauce, wine, sesame oil and egg white into a bowl and mix well. Make the same as the prok dumplings. You can change the shape if you’re talented enough!!!
To cook, place a saucepan quarter filled  with water on to boil. Place your dumplings into a steamer (I put them on a little baking paper for the anti-stick factor) and cover with a lid.
Steam for 3 minutes.

Steamed Pork Buns

Yield : 10

You will need :

For bun dough

  • 1/2 package dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoons sesame seed oil

For pork filling

  • 250g Char Siu pork (Chinese BBQ pork), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup coriander, finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves, garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon sugarPreparation:
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add 1/2 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly. Cover with cloth. Let rise 1 hour, until bubbles appear.
Dissolve sugar and vegetable oil in 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir well. Cool until lukewarm. Pour into yeast mixture. Add remaining flour.
Knead dough on lightly floured board until smooth. Put into extra large, greased bowl in a warm place. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.
In the meantime, in a pan cook your garlic and ginger in a little peanut oil. Add finely chopped pork, sauces and sugar. Toss in your coriander and stir until well combined. In a tiny amount of water, mix cornflour into a thin paste and add to mix. cook for two minutes and remove from heat.
Take out dough and knead 2 minutes. Roll into roll 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut into 10 pieces.
Flatten each piece with palm of hand. Roll with rolling pin into 3 inch circles.

So, with this meal, we fare thee well. I think we Holsbys will have a Wilson shaped hole left in our lives, but we now have a Wilson shaped house to go and stay at in Melbourne. Or as we like to call it, Mexico.


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