homemade barbecue sauce

I’m finding it difficult to figure out what to type here. Maybe it’s because it’s so hot here right now I could just melt into a puddle on my doona. Maybe because I’m stressed out with this moving situation.  Maybe because I’m getting over a cold and my brain is fried at the moment.

Maybe a lot of things.

Meanwhile, I can’t believe it’s the first day of February! Holy Moly, the year is going fast already. Let’s review New Years Resolutions quickly, shall we?

1. Be Healthier. Yep, I’m eating pretty well and loving the vegies and salads that are so fun to eat at this time of year (i.e SUMMER) and I even tried making a smoothie with spinach in it, which I’ll show you soon. It was amazing, let’s just say that.

2. Hang out on the blog more. Well, you may have noticed that I changed my header. Woohoo! But also, I have about five posts ready to be posted, so watch out for that! I’m excited for the new year and the motivation it gives me to post, so we’ll see how that pans out across the year.

3. Get creative. Apart from cooking heaps over the past few days, I have a bunch of sewing projects on the back burner and so many ideas for decorating/organising my new place, so I’ll update more as that goes on!

4. Get a church and mentor… not so much activity happening in this sector as of yet but I will be checking out churches in my vicinity once I’ve settled in a bit more.

How are your resolutions going? Do you have any? If not, what summer foods do you absolutely love? These plums came from my family’s tree back home and they are beautiful. I have at least two more plum recipes that I’m going to post, so keep your eye out! Our tree always produces so much fruit, it’s so awesome.

Peach Plum Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from nomnivorous.com

This is one of those recipes you can tweak any which way you like. More peaches? More plums? I wanted more onions in mine, and maybe more tomato. But that’s by the by. This stuff is amazing, you’ll never want to buy barbecue sauce again.

Makes about 2 litres. I know, but it’s so good you can give it to your friends and they’ll beg you for more.

1.5 kilos peaches & plums, halved and pitted [can be any combination of the  two. I used about a kilo of plums and 500g of peaches, which was three big peaches and about 15 small plums]

2 medium onions [but like I said, I would have liked more

1 – 2 chillies, chopped finely [depends on heat tolerance]

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp chopped ginger

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup bourbon

1/3 cup honey

50 g tomato paste, about 1 heaping dessert spoon

3 tablespoons molasses

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon dijon mustard, whole grain or smooth

1 teaspoon salt

Place the peaches, plums, onions and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and simmer for about half an hour, until the fruit and onions are soft and can be mashed with your wooden spoon. Stir occasionally.

Add all other ingredients and simmer a further 20 minutes. Bring to boil, stirring, and then simmer another 40 minutes. Having it all cook together like this really melds the flavours together. If it’s too thick, add more bourbon or water. If it’s too thin, simmer for longer although remember it will thicken as it cools. Stir occasionally as it simmers.

Take off the heat and let cool about 20 minutes. Bottle and let cool completely, then refrigerate and send to your friends, waiting for the praise to pour in :).

almond plum tray bake

It’s the start of things! It’s the end of summer and the start of new beginnings. I’m excited. Are you excited?

I’m excited. I have a few tentative New Years resolutions. I don’t usually make them because I don’t like feeling guilty when they don’t work out. But I am putting out into the world some goals. Some things I would like to do this year, what I would like to happen in my life. At the same time, I’m going to be nice to myself if I don’t achieve my goals.

I know it’s almost February but now feels more like the time to be making goals and lists and plans. It’s the start of new things NOW. It’s almost the end of the holidays, the beginning of the academic year, the start of something new.

Here goes.

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chai spiced apple cake

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the past few days. It started at approximately 1300 hours Perth time, Wednesday the 4th of January, when I boarded the plane bound for Melbourne. I really did not want to go home.

And then it continued, as I lazed around the house and didn’t do my washing and procrastinated my huge list of things to do. I didn’t bake, I read books and trawled the internet and definitively didn’t write any blog posts.

I started quite a few in my mind but every time I went to bake something there was something in the sink, or on the sink, and I was so lazy I couldn’t be bothered with dishes, either mine or anyone else’s.

That’s a lie. I was pretty good with my own dishes. Pretty good. Not perfect. But pretty good. Easy, seeing as I wasn’t eating proper meals anyway. (Mum, pretend you didn’t read that.)

But the funk is debunked. I have gone back to work and I did two loads of washing, I ate cabbage for dinner (no, really. It’s pretty amazing. I’ll tell you about it soon) and I baked a cake.

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swedish visiting cake

Every now and again, I get this urge to declutter. I have to get rid of my stuff and recently, it’s been gnawing at me a whole lot more. It’s not just the ‘oh, I have to tidy and I don’t really use that stuff anymore’; rather, I’m feeling like I need to live a lot simpler and enjoy life the way it was meant to be.

Plus, I have way too much stuff.

So recently, I’ve been sifting through the piles of stuff that I own and sorting them into piles. Stuff I want to keep, stuff I want to keep but don’t have room for at the moment, stuff I don’t want to keep, stuff I want to form into something else, stuff I’m using and stuff I’m not using. It’s a pretty big job and it doesn’t help that a lot of my stuff is still at my parents’ house. Yay, more stuff to go through.

My sister and I are planning to have a garage sale. We both have stuff to get rid of, but not enough for a sale each. (Although going through my stuff, I’m not so sure about that…:)

I come from a family of packrats. Hoarders. My Opa kept stuff in the back room, in his two garages and the tiny shed in the backyard, all over the back yard… my mum is queen of ‘we might use it later’ which is a mindset I’ve adopted. I’m also a collector, of sorts; I like pretty things, those free postcards, business cards, ribbons… I like to remember things.

I write things down and put them on my walls… I have a lot of paper related products lying around that need to go. Where, I’m not sure. They’ll probably end up in the recycling bin. Or possibly the fireplace, not sure yet.

With the help of Love and Trash, Courtney at be more with less, the bloggers at SuperForest and a whole bunch of other influences (including Jesus and some of his followers) I am on a journey to live simply so that others may simply live. On that note, let’s talk about cake.

This is a simple cake. It comes together in about ten minutes, takes about half an hour to bake and is simply delicious. It’s called a Swedish Visiting Cake and so in another, yet somehow related train of thought it immediately brings to mind not only visitors, but visiting – getting to know your neighbours, connecting with real people instead of a computer screen.

And yes, I’m aware that you’re reading this off a computer screen.

The point is that by learning to live without, others can live with. And you don’t even notice the difference, except that you’re happier, more content with yourself and with the world. Surprising, isn’t it?

So make the cake. Bring it to a neighbour’s house and share it over stories, stories that remind you that each person you encounter is the star of their own story, just as you are the star of your own.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Adapted from Baking: from my home to yours

zest of one lemon

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp salt

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/scrapings from one vanilla bean/two teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour*

125g butter, melted and cooled

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and butter your pan. Traditionally this is made in a cast-iron skillet. I don’t have one so I made it in a springform tin – I suggest using a nine-incher, as my ten-incher cake turned out a little thin. Not that I’m complaining…

Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until incredibly lemony and you can just help yourself licking your fingers. Or not. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the salt and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.

Fold in the flour, then the butter. Pour into your pan and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake about half an hour.

Share with strangers.

*The first time I made it, I made it with spelt flour and it was amazing. I think you could also do this with a mix of almond flour and perhaps another type of flour for the gluten-free among us. Just a thought.

it’s all up to you

I have been struggling recently with getting motivated to do stuff. I have wonderful aspirations all the time, but they only get set in motion some of the time, because I’m lazy and I leave things to the last minute.

However, I’m working on changing that, and I’m also working on being ok with that. It’s a bit oxymoronic (maybe just take out the oxy part of that word… : ) But, as Dan Parsons so eloquently puts it, it’s all up to you, firestarter. And I can start fires, I can do anything if I put my mind to it. It’s all up to me.

To journal. To contemplate. To cook. To garden. To be a better me, to write poems and make them live in other people’s lives, to create habits and to break habits, to do something. Anything.

of lists and things

I love lists. I make to do lists, things I have to buy lists, people to call lists. I have a list of music I would like to acquire, books I want to read, books I want to own. Movies I have to see. This here is a list of list topics.

What I would do if I won the lottery.

Cars I would like to own and/or drive.

Places I want to visit. Places I want to live.

I make lists of the pros and cons of almost every major decision I make. It doesn’t always determine the outcome, but it helps.

Annoying habits of customers (I’m a waitress/check-out chick. ‘Nuff said.)

Cafes I want to go to.

Breakfast places.

Things I want to cook. Gadgets/kitchen appliances/utensils I want.

Socks I love/want.

What I want to do with my life.

Who I want to be.

Habits I’d like to cultivate. Habits I’d like to kick.

Ways I want to make the world a better place.

Ways of worship in everyday life.

How to live with other people and not want to kill them (or have them want to kill you… anyone got any ideas? Because I’m terrified.)

Songs I would sing on Australian Idol if I could sing.

Reality TV shows it’d be fun to be on.

Guilty little pleasures (watching reality tv, anyone?)

Painting projects.

Party ideas to bring people together.

Playlists I want to make/listen to.

Now the problem with all this is, I can’t just sit around making lists all my life. No matter how much fun it is to play around with stationary (stationary I’d love to play around with. People I want to write to. Reasons why snail mail is better than electronic) I have to actually do these things if I’m ever going to be that person I want to be, to have those habits, to listen to that music. And so.

I raise a toast to getting off your bum, out from in front of the computer screen, and into real life. Happy Monday.

yesterday’s gone

I’ve realised recently that you have to grab things while you can. Do it when you think of it, because you can’t go back in time and change something, and usually, if you’re feeling restless, there’s an easy solution. JUST DO SOMETHING. Simple as that.
And yeah, there have been so many times when I’ve wanted to have done something but because i’ve been lazy in the past, it hasn’t happened. I do tend to be a lazy person, which is part of the reason for this blog – it’s to get me doing stuff, to keep me accountable. I know I don’t have an audience to keep me accountable, but the fact that this is public helps, for sure.
So thank-you, nonexistent audience. And hey, if you do exist and you take offence to me not believing in you, by all means, comment. Even if it’s just to tell me I’m a self-deluded idiot. All criticism is good criticism. I think.
I’m still new to this by the way. I don’t have my blog completely set up and I don’t know how to do half the things I’d like to do, but hey. I’m learning. It’s ok to still be learning. If I waited till I felt like I was ready to do this stuff, I’d be waiting years, probably. I think I needed to start the blog to motivate myself into even beginning to figure out how it all works.
Yesterday’s Gone by Bernard Fanning. Like I said, I can’t figure everything out at the moment. If I could, I’d have uploaded the song. As it is, you’ll have to find it for yourself. Sorry!