9 June 2009

Another full week

Fairy cakes were baked last week.

We've had a few busy days here. I sent my book proposal off to New York again yesterday afternoon after doing the corrections suggested. I really love working with my agent, Abby. She has some wonderful ideas and we are working very well together. I'm not sure when the book will be out, it's at least a year away. During that time, I'll be working hard to produce the most interesting, helpful and motivational book I can, so bear with me.

Scones for Sunday's lunch.

As usual, many other things are happening in the background. Last Saturday I spoke about blogging at the Reality Bites non-fiction book festival. There were two other speakers with me - Matthew Cashmore from Lonely Planet and Sarah Stewart, who has an educational blog on midwifery. In the days before that, I was interviewed a couple of times on local radio to publicise the event. I'm not sure how I came to be spokesperson, and I did forget about one of the interviews until they rang to do it, but overall, it went over well.

Our black girls on insect patrol in the backyard on Saturday morning.

I am still working on my special project and am really pleased that my sister Tricia will be here next week for the wedding, and will help me finish it off. When I have time, I'm knitting. I have about 30 squares for my shaker style rug now and I'm just finishing off a pair of long fingerless mittens.

Hydraganea cuttings for Spring.

We have a wedding rehearsal this Saturday that I'm looking forward to. As well as the rehearsal, we'll be checking the lighting and showing Shane and Sarndra the garden that Hanno has prepared; today we expect almost 300 panolas (they're like pansies) to arrive from the wholesaler. Hanno wants to plant them along the driveway, with a few out the back beneath the lattice. The lattice at the end of the front verandah, and where the passionfruit and grapes grow at the back, will have fairy lights threaded through them. I think it will look really pretty. But today Hanno is driving into Brisbane's Foodbank to pick up supplies for our Neighbourhood Centre and I am mending, sewing and tidying the house. An acquaintance of mine told me recently that she was bored and hated retirement. I can't imagine that, there is so much to do, so many opportunities. Hanno and I are having the time of our lives and for those of you moving closer to retirement, I recommend it to you as a time of renewal, activity and generosity. Don't be afraid to change your life when you retire. There are no rules now, your days are your own, and what you spend your time on can fill you with joy and hope for the future.

Strange mushrooms growing on the wood in the chook house. Do you know what they are?

And finally today I have two recipes for the same biscuit - the Anzac. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and these biscuits have a very interesting history which you can read here. If you have a loved one deployed in a foreign land, maybe you'd like to send them some Anzacs, along with the printed history of them. I am sure any soldier would welcome an Anzac biscuit and enjoy reading about fellow soldiers from long ago. A photo of my Anzacs is here.

Recently Cath in Sydney sent me her late grandmother's Commonsense Cookery Book. Thanks to Cath, and her mum, who posted the book to me. I am very happy to have added it to my collection of cook books and I'm slowly reading my way through all the recipes. I used the Commonsense recipe for my biscuits.

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup (or maple syrup)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb (baking soda)
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • pinch salt
  1. Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together.
  2. Melt syrup and butter together.
  3. Mix bicarb with boiling water and add to melted butter and syrup.
  4. Add to dry ingredients.
  5. Place tablespoons of mixture on greased slide.
  6. Bake in slow oven 150 - 160C (300 - 320F) for 20 minutes.
CWA (Country Women's Association) ANZAC BISCUITS (as written in their book)
1 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup self raising flour. Put 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon golden syrup, 2 oz (¼ cup) butter in a saucepan and bring to boil. Then add ½ teaspoon baking soda. Pour over the dry ingredients while hot (care must be taken that it doesn't boil over), put teaspoon of the mixture on greased slides and bake in slow over for 30 minutes.

Substitute the self raising flour with 1 cup plain (all purpose) flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder and the golden syrup with maple syrup.

Cool the biscuits before storing in an airtight container.



  1. You seem so calm with a wedding on your property in a couple of weeks. Please post pictures. We had all our childrens weddings in private houses - SO much better than banquets halls not to mention about a tenth of the price !
    Hope all goes well on the big day !

  2. My husband and I have been brainstorming about food for his bike rides and runs that is portable, tasty, and calorie-dense. I'll have to try these!

  3. Although I am not retired, I thought it would be a boring prospect. But since reading your blog and several others, I have come to believe I will never have another dull moment. I have put in a garden, learned to bake bread and make my own cleaning supplies,am taking up kniting and generaly learning how to really enjoy my life. Doing for ourselves and becoming as self sufficient as possible is not only an eco friendly thing to do, but it makes so much sense. It takes energy and creativity and I am loving it because it is so fulfilling. I have to thank you for opening my eyes to that fact, and I hope the aquaintance you wrote about comes to discover self sufficiency soon. She will not have another boring moment!

  4. I too thought retirement would be boring. Although not there yet, through reading your blog and others regarding self sustainability, I now know I will never have another dull moment. I have put in a garden, learned to bake bread and make my own cleaning supplies, etc. Doing for yourself and distancing yourself from rampant consumerism puts power back in your hands. It takes energy and creativity and is so fulfilling that I will never go back to my old ways. Thank you Rhonda for showing me how.

  5. I forgot to wish you luck with the wedding, I know it will be lovely!

  6. Thanks so much for the recipe! I look forward to giving it a try :-)

  7. Fairy cakes! My mum used to make those for special occasions - sometimes with apricot jam and dusted with icing sugar - how lovely to see them again. Must make some today... :-)

    Cath in Sydney

  8. I discovered your blog a couple of days ago and I'm finding it so encouraging. Thank you! After moving to a remote area we began stock-piling to save long trips into town. We soon discovered considerable savings on groceries too. Earlier this year in Albury NSW, a large factory closed down. Within a week the local radio reported that many families affected had run out of food. It was a wake up call for us, especially in these uncertain economic times.

    Well I've got all the ingredients for the Anzac biscuits in 'our own convenience shop' ;) I might bake a batch today!

    Best wishes with your book!


  9. Hi Rhonda,

    I made Anzacs this weekend too. My Mum's Commonsense Cookery Book is still being used by my 87 year old Dad who is learning new cooking skill now that Mum is no longer with us. In the back of this book there is a page where Mum and Dad wrote the savings they squirreled away each week for the deposit on their very first car back in the 1950s. It took them so long to save it up that when they went in to purchase it the deposit had gone up, so it took them a few more months. A little different from today's young couples.

    Blessings Gail

  10. Rhonda..I can see you had a full week..lots of excitement in the air!
    Hubby and I are retired and not a boring moment in sight..just wondering if we will ever have the time to do everything we want to!
    Fairy cakes..they are so pretty. Love your 'rustic looking scones', I like to see a scone with character. grin

  11. I just thought I'd share that I finally figured out how to make gluten free anzac bisciuts by substituting quinoa flakes for the rolled oats. (And using gluten free flour of course.) Just as yummy as the rolled oats ones. I'm eating one right now in fact!

  12. Rhonda, great to hear how the book is coming and I agree with Lizzie who said she couldn't believe how calmly you prepare for the wedding.

    I have a question for whenever you get to it. I've wondered several times why the clay pots are hanging from the stakes in your garden. Until My curiosity is satisfied I'll speculate.

    Best wishes on your upcoming events!

  13. Hello Rhonda,

    just wanna say "HI!" from Holland.
    I love to read your stories and try to use some of your tips and trucs.
    Recently I signed myself up as a follower of your blog. Hope you don't mind?

    Best wishes from Mama Monique

  14. From what I have read of your lovely blog, you are very against preservatives and additives in your food - prefering whole foods and things to be cooked from scratch. I do all (and I mean every little bit) of my baking and home cooking from scratch as I have a little girl who not only has a peanut allergy but is sensitive to certain preservatives and additives. I was wondering whether you realise that both coconut (used in many home baked goods) and bread improver (for bread baking) contain additives which have been shown to affect behaviour in children (and goodness knows what they do to us!) I now leave out the bread improver when I bake but for a while I was saddened that I couldn't bake biccies such as Anzacs because of the coconut. But I recently made the discovery that I could substitute wheat bran instead and my Anzacs still taste just as good! I havn't had the chance to experiment with other biscuits or treats yet but thought you and your readers might like to know of my discovery.

  15. Rhonda
    The mushrooms look like buttons but you can try to take a sample to a local conservatory if you want definite identification. A friend of mine does that when he forages and has learned a great deal that way.

    And thanks for the recipes. My husband will love to taste these again.

  16. You are certainly having a busy week. I like the look of those buns and scones and thanks for the Anzac recipes.
    I should think wedding preparations might take over from blog updating soon.... though, as others have said, it all sounds very calm over your way at the moment.
    Wishing you all a lovely happy time with your family before, during and after the big day - from here in England, on a rather grey summer's day

  17. I am envious of the amount of time you are able to dedicate to your home and wish I was able to do the same. I find myself a long way from retirement, just starting out in fact. We just bought our first home and with a little baby we often find ourselves stretched for time, money and patience. We are trying to learn so much and you've been a great inspiration and help; I would like to thank you. I find my simple hopes and dreams lost on many from my generation and it is comforting to find a niche in which my goals are commonplace. I wish you the best with that backyard wedding, they are the most lovely sort. When you find yourself with a free moment I would like to ask for that fairy cake recipe, I've never seen or heard of them before but they look delectable.

  18. All those photos of baked goods are making my mouth water!

  19. I think your mushrooms might be puff balls? I don't think they're edible though

  20. Oh my! those fairy cakes look adorable and delicious! I want to make them with my little girls, but can't seem to find them anywhere. Perhaps one day you'll have a chance to post some instructions? yum!

  21. Your mushrooms belong to the phylum Basidiomycota but I can't tell you any more than that really, after a term of studying such things! That vast majority are utterly harmless, but having grown up in Britain where we're taught not to touch anything that looks like a 'toadstall' as one touch can kill, I'd advise you to get rid of them good and proper, without touching.

    I've learned some other interesting stuff lately that jumped to mind when I read your replies:

    Rinelle: oats apparently aren't glutenous themselves, but rather, they are usually compromised by volunteer glutenous crops (wheat is everywhere!). You can apparently find oats sold as gluten free because they've been grown in restricted environments.

    Peanut allergies are not allergies to peanuts, but rather alflatoxins that commonly infect them. The aflatoxin (among the most carcinogenic substances known to humans) are produced by another fungus that, as I said, is common on peanuts, but often appears on other grains and tree nuts also. It's BAD news for any of us, but some are highly allergic, hence "peanut allergy". I was very surprised but fascinated when I learned a bit about this. Amazing.

  22. the wedding is going to be beautiful...
    i hope you take pic of your squares for your blanket..I need to get more yarn to continue with mine...Meanwhile iam doing scarves..
    have a great weekend..

  23. THe fairy cakes look so yummy! My Mum makes these and adds jelly to the sides - we call them butterfly cakes.


Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.


Blogger Template by pipdig