JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

I am fifty something and I love my family and the life I live. I'm an optimistic person by nature and I try to find a positive for every negative. I'm not a vegetarian, but the animal I eat is. I enjoy cooking, photography and scrapbooking. Since living here I have become a gardener and take immense joy in the beauty of my garden. My husband and I feel that we are the caretakers of the land rather than land owners. We run a grass fed Droughtmaster Stud on our little piece of Paradise and the cattle are a never ending supply of photo opportunities.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Its all about the food this week.....

I've prepared and cooked some pretty interesting meals this week.  Some have been out of my comfort zone but everyone of them were so tasty and full of flavour that I just had to share.  But before I get into that I just want to point out something.
All of these recipes fall under the healthy eating  banner that include lots of nuts and grains and the use of good fats and oils.  But I just want to point out to my readers (all three of you!) that usually if the food falls under the "super food" category it is very high in calories.  Just for an example 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil is a staggering 120 calories.  Also seeds and nuts, although healthy, are extremely high in calories.
This will not worry a lot of you but for those wanting to watch their weight, MODERATION is the key with these recipes.  My husband and I fail miserably with this.  If it's in front of us we will eat it until we are almost bursting at the sides.  The way to overcome this is to plate up the meal rather than placing the dishes in front of you.
Now to the recipes.  The first one is Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb (recipe is HERE) with Maple Roasted Pumpkin and Freekeh Salad (recipe is HERE)

Remember, you will need to marinate your lamb the day before and it will definitely need the 5 hours of slow cooking.  The end result is well worth the preparation! The salad is straightforward although I didn't need to use all the dressing as it makes a large quantity.

The next recipe I want to share is Meatloaf in Smoky Tomato Sauce (the recipe is HERE).

It's very hard to take a photograph of meatloaf and make it look attractive but I can assure you that it is very full of flavour.  Do use smoked paprika because it is the flavour bomb.  I served it on a bed of pureed cauliflower but if you prefer mashed potato by all means go with that.

The next recipe was out of my comfort zone because I have not had much experience with cooking squid but as it turns out is quite easy!  This recipe is from Maggie Beers Recipe for Life cookbook.  If you don't have it I recommend you look for it at your favourite bookshop.  It is well worth it.
I had one extra squid tube so I cut it into triangles and scored it heavily in a criss cross shape.  I then tossed it in a bowl with salted rice flour and then heated up my wok with a good amount of rice bran oil and deep fried the calamari with one sliced chilli, one sliced red onion and a handful of basil leaves.  Yummm.
I also replaced the black barley with black rice as per Maggie's suggestion.  It was a lovely choice.  The whole dish was wholesome, extremely filling and very delicious.  Also, because I had half a pomegranate leftover I wacked those seeds over the salad.  

That's it for this week my friends.  Happy cooking!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

A new pool amongst other things......

Back in November last year we started discussions with a local pool builder to build an infinity edge pool.  When I look back at those original plans I am dumb struck that we have changed the plans so much!  Originally it was an "unground" pool with an adjoining rotunda on one side and a pergola on the other.  It was such a simple plan....
Now we have decided to build a mirror image of the exisiting rotunda on the other corner of the house and have the pool "above ground" at verandah height!  It is such a big change from the original idea but it is going to look fantastic.  We have also bitten the bullet and decided to heat the pool so that we can use it year round.
So this week, four months after our first discussion, the pool building has commenced.  The contractor is now up to the cement pouring stage but I guess we will be guided by the weather as to when that will happen.  When the pool is complete the builder will come in and build the rotunda and butt it right up to the pools edge.
Measuring it out

Breaking ground

Form work commences

The tiles we have chosen for the infinity edge

Ready for the cement
I've had a nice week of impromptu surprises from my husband.  First was a trip to the Combined Club in Port for sundowners.  I love sitting on the deck and watching all the reef day trippers making their way back to the Marina. I counted eight different boat companies and this is not even the tourist season!

The next thing my husband surprised me with was lunch at Salsa Restaurant.  This is a locals favourite and has a well deserved reputation for the food that the chefs prepare.  We feasted on Duck Liver Pate and Cerviche for entree and for mains Slow Roasted Duck and Red Claw Linguine.  I declined dessert and opted for an Espresso Martini but Philip chose the Brûlée that was to die for....yes I snuck in a couple of spoonfuls!

Watermelon and Lynchee Margarita was my chosen Aperitif 

I surprised even myself on Friday evening by throwing together some "pot luck" ingredients to make up a delicious bruschetta to go with our sundowners (just me not Philip).  I tossed together some roasted tomatoes (freezer) with a small tin of tuna, capers, herbs, red wine vinegar and a little lemon zest.  Yummo.  The bread I used was a sourdough loaf that I had made a couple of days ago. 

And before I sign off, can we please talk about this mornings sunrise.  It was fabulous and I dearly wish that I was walking along the beach to experience it's beauty.  

I love where I live.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Dinner with the Beatels

Last Saturday evening we drove to Cairns to the Reef Hotel Casino where we enjoyed Dinner with the Beatels, and yes, that is the correct spelling for this tribute band. We were joined by four friends and as Philip has become a teetotaller until the Dirt and Dust Triathlon, he was our designated driver.
We arrived at 6.45 and were shown to our VIP seats.  As soon as we were seated our drinks waiter took our order and we sat back and chatted until our drinks arrived.....20 minutes later!  I kid you not.  It was the slowest service any of us had ever experienced.  We straight away ordered the next round of drinks with the knowledge that it would once again be slow service.
It didn't take very long before first course arrived.  I ordered the beetroot soup and it was certainly a good choice.  It was full of flavour and just the right quantity.  The other choice was a vegetable tart that everyone said was quite dry.
No sooner had we finished our entree...... and.... the lights went out!  There was a severe electrical storm that passed over the Cairns region and thousands lost power.  However, the venue had a back-up power supply so it didn't interfere too much with our night.  The only problem that the venue had was re-adjusting the sound equipment for the band and they just didn't get it quite right as the instrumental overrode the vocals. Ah well..
Main was served before the Beatels made their appearance,  and there was a choice of pork or chicken.  I chose the chicken but I think Philips pork choice was much tastier.
As soon as the meal was eaten and the plates cleared from the table the Beatels took to the stage.  We all took guesses at what would be the opening song and Jane was the winner......"Love Love Me Do".  It was a great opener and I have found myself humming this song often in the past week.
The concert was fantastic and the real Ringo, George, Paul and John would have been pleased with the tribute.  We tapped, clapped and sang the night away.  Some made their way to the dance floor but it was a very tiny space and could not comfortably cater for more than just a handful of couples.
Our dessert was served during the musicians break and the fresh fruit and custard tart was exactly the right thing to serve us.  Everyone enjoyed it.
After the break the Beatels returned to the stage in Sergeant Pepper outfits.  Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of my very favourite albums and I believe it or not, I know every single song off by heart!
At the end of the night we once again guessed at the closing song and I won that guess with "Hey Jude".  Actually it was a slightly educated guess because as long as I can remember when we went to cabarets at the local pubs in the 70's that was almost always the closing song.  That was the time of night when you could have a slow dance with your boyfriend before they shunted you out the door.
It was a great night and full credit to the management at the Casino for bringing this show to Cairns all the way from Sydney.  They would certainly have been pleased with the audience participation and hopefully we will get to enjoy more of these tributes in the future.

The Beatels

Saturday, 17 February 2018


We have just arrived home after spending a week at Noosa for a wedding.  We haven't had the pleasure of staying at Noosa for many years so we were surprised at how fast it has grown!  Hastings Street, where we stayed at Bella Casa Apartments, is extremely busy - especially on weekends. But thank goodness weekdays were much quieter.
We spent many hours walking the National Park path that meanders around the headland between Noosa Main Beach and Sunshine Beach, and lazing on the beach or bobbing around in the ocean.  One day we drove to the Maleny/Montville area and another day we made the two hour journey to our sons place at Gundiah.
My mum joined us for the week and it was very special to be able to enjoy her company.  Mum is 81 in a couple of months and is still quite active.  Good work Mum!  We all met up at the Brisbane Airport where we picked up a hire car.  Mum arrived by bus from Toowoomba and returned the same way.  It's a really great service.
The wedding we were invited too was the youngest son of our very dear friends Lynn and Jack.  It was a beautiful wedding held in a very romantic place.  The wedding ceremony was laid back and so refreshing.  Words spoken were spoken from the heart and we truly felt the love between the bride and groom.  The only thing that probably spoilt it a tiny little bit for the bride was that it was such a windy day and her beautiful blonde curly hair was almost straight by the end of the ceremony!
The wedding was a canapé wedding at the famous Bistro C restaurant in the heart of Hastings Street. We ate, danced and drank the night away.  I don't think I've enjoyed myself more at a wedding.  I certainly have never danced so much!
Here are a few photos from the week.

Meet and Greet at The Beach Club

Lynn and Jack congratulating the happy pair and welcoming Kelly to the family

Saturday, 3 February 2018

We always seem to be busy.....

I don't know how we manage it but we always seem to have everything happen at the same time.  Take for example our week two weeks ago.  We drove to Cairns on Monday to drop our camper in to have a new hot water system installed.  We drove back to Cairns on Tuesday to pick the camper up.  We drove back to Cairns on the Thursday to have the Toyota serviced and then on Friday we trucked cattle (see my last post).  Why we organise these things to happen all in the same week is beyond me!
Anyway it gave us opportunities to go to the movies to see Pitch Perfect 3 and The Post and to have a couple of really nice lunches.  Our favourite place for lunch at the moment is Ozmosis at Edge Hill.
We both ordered refreshing and energising smoothies to start and then Philip had a Chicken Ceasar Salad while I ordered the Turkey Club Sandwich.  The meal was delicious and very fresh.

Last Monday was Philips 62nd birthday so I invited a few friends and family to help us celebrate.  My hubby certainly did celebrate and had the pain the next day just to prove it!  I didn't get any photos from the lunch but here is the menu....

We continue to eat as healthy as we possibly can and my weekly trips to the Mossman Markets give us a bountiful supply of fresh vegetables.  I love wandering through the markets to see what is in season and then plan in my head, the meals that we will eat the following week.
I enjoy trying new recipes and I found a Pineapple Fried "Rice" recipe this week that sounded interesting.  I have lots of pineapples growing in the garden at the moment and I also had a bag of cauliflower "rice" in the freezer so it was a perfect way to use the produce.  We had some fish fillets in the freezer so I crumbed them and served them with the "rice".  It was very healthy and delicious.

We are heading to Noosa next week for a wedding so I have been trying to get a little colour on my body before hitting the ocean.  I find that if I do that I don't have to endure sunburn, and besides it's nice to have a little tanning on the body.  Of course when I set up my chair on the lawn my faithful lab, Hudson, comes right up beside me and makes himself at home.  He turned 11 in December and it looks like he will be around for a long time yet.

When we built our Queenslander back in 2006 we didn't really think too much about the maintenance involved in owning a timber home.  My goodness me.  It never stops.  Last weekend we spent a whole day guerning down the verandah railings.  This weekend we are attacking the slats around the bottom of the house.  I guernied the slats this morning and now Philip has started on the painting.  It is a joint effort that we hope to complete over the following weeks.  

That's a wrap for this week my friends.  Hopefully next post will be all about Noosa!

Saturday, 20 January 2018


Yesterday we sent the last of our cattle (except two steers that will be for the freezer) to our son at Gundiah.  It is with both sadness and happiness that we did this.  Sadness because we love our cattle but happiness that they are going to a good place and that we will get to see them again.  Can't say that about any other cattle that we have sold.
I freely admit that I dislike working with cattle in the yards and Philip only called upon me as a last resort.  However, the "last resort" was happening more often so I am happy that is now finished.  What I will miss though is the morning walk when I could say hello to the cows and their caves, and get to know their individual traits.  Some of our cattle are "pat quiet" others look at you with disdain. One thing is for sure though that they are all quiet cattle and by that I mean that there is no vice in any of them.  You can walk through them in the cattle yards and they just quietly move out of the way.
So, yesterday our morning started at 5.30 am. when Philip mustered the cattle into the yards and we drafted off the calves from the cows.  By 7.00 am our "cross loading" body truck had arrived and by 7.30 am we had our first load ready for the the B-Doubles waiting on the bitumen pad 100 metres from our gate.
For those of you that don't know what cross loading is I will try to explain.
The B-Double trucks cannot enter our property because they are too long so we get the truck drivers to wait at the bitumen pad while we load a body truck that then transports the cattle to the waiting trucks.  The body truck reverses up to the B-Double and the cattle then move, via a ramp, from one truck to another.  As we had six decks of cattle to be loaded it was twelve trips for the body truck that carried a half deck.
It poured rain yesterday while we were loading the cattle, that seemed like a fitting way to say goodbye to the cattle.  They now have a journey of almost 1600 km that will take about 36 hours to complete.  We gave the cattle plenty of room to move around on the trucks so that when the truck drivers have to stop for a log book break the cattle will be able to lie down.  It's the best we could do.

Cross Loading

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The week that was.....

We've had a busy week catching up with friends.  First at Palm Cove where our great friends and hosts cooked up a delicious meal for the seven of us.  Love, love, loved the salads that Kate made to compliment the bbq lamp chops, sausages and chicken.  And lets not forget that curry.  To die for.  It was such a beautiful balmy night sitting on the verandah at our friends Palm Cove apartment.  As usual, the conversation (and drinks) flowed easily. We stayed the night and next morning......ham and eggs.  What else!  Thanks guys!

The three amigos

Anyone for a bbq?

Sunday evening we were invited to our gardeners house.  Her parents were coming for a visit and she really wanted us to meet them as they are ex westerners (from the Hughenden area).  Boy, did we hit it off.  We had so many friends in common, it was quite amazing.  Trude's husband was home after doing a four week stint at his FIFO job in PNG.  He didn't get to have christmas with his family so Trudi cooked up a beautiful ham with all the vegetables and trimmings.  It was another fantastic meal.  After dinner we took our chairs downstairs and sat around the bonfire that the kids had built. Another memorable night.
Dinner at Trudi's place

There is nothing more relaxing than sitting around a bonfire.

Saturday morning I rose quite early to get down to the Mossman Farmers Markets to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.  I made a resolution at the start of the year that I would do this and also to eat from the freezer more often.  By that I mean eating some of the frozen meals that I religiously place in the freezer to eat when we are short of time.  Of course, they don't get eaten!  I have enough frozen meals to feed us for at least a month.....
This lady was selling "red avocados" that I googled and they are in fact Mamey Sapote.  I bought two and will make them into a healthy dessert. 
A lot of the produce comes from the Atherton Tablelands at this time of the year.  
Last night we were back in Cairns for dinner at our friend Jane's home to check out her renovation.  What a great job the builders have done and kudos to Jane for her fantastic taste in furnishings.  It is a lovely home with a "heart".  We all took along a food contribution and started with a cheese ball, and crackers followed by garlic prawns with crusty bread.  For the main meal we feasted on Stuffed Mushrooms, Asparagus Spears with soft friend Egg, Potato Bake, Steak and Sausages.  To round out the meal Jane had made a lovely lemon tart.  We were as "full as googs" as we said goodnight to our friends.

Dressed to kill

Today we are watering the garden.  It is very dry for this time of the year, but then again January can be a horrible month as we await the start of the monsoon season.  I went around the garden and picked a few flowers before we started watering.  The garden is looking lovely at this time of the year.

Next week we are going to be extremely busy as we send all our cattle to our son at Gundiah.  We are starting to "wind down" as we head towards retirement.  Bring it on!