Friday, 25 January 2013

No Bake Chocolate Ripple Cake

Australia Day is approaching, and it's at this time of year, we love to proudly display anything that's remotely Australian. Now... I'm down with the snags on a barbie(1), with a bit of dead horse(2), I'm loving the lamington(3) and the vegemite sandwich (4). But, I've never tried the one dish, that I think only Aussies know about. I've trolled the web looking for similar ideas from other countries, and the closest I've come across, isn't really the same thing. So, I'm putting a big stamp of Aussie Aussie Aussie (Oi Oi Oi) on this one, and calling it ours.
"Tell me what it is!" I hear you say in anticipation.

It's the No Bake Chocolate Ripple Cake. You can actually just get the recipe off the back of the packet in Australia, but I thought I would share it with the world.


1 packet of Arnott's Chocolate Ripple Biscuits. The "cookies" you could use to replace them would need to be quite dry and crunchy. They have a crumbly texture. Oreo's wouldn't work well for example, because they need to act like a sponge to absorb the cream.
250mL of thickened cream
2 Tbls icing (confectioners) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract (or vanilla essence)

This what the biscuit looks like.


1) Beat the cream until it forms stiff peaks.

2) Spread a bit of cream onto a platter that you want to serve the cake on. Spread some cream onto the back side of a biscuit. Sandwich the top side of another biscuit onto the cream and keep going to form a log of cream filled biscuits.

3) Cover the entire thing with more cream. Loosely cover the log with al foil (aluminium foil), and place log in fridge for at least 6 hours.

4) Slice on an angle when you're ready to serve so you get a pretty(ish) stripe.

5) You can fancy it up and dust over coco powder, sprinkle on raspberries or just eat the hell out of it.

Let me know if you can think of a brand and type of biscuit from the country that you're from that would work, and I'll add it to the blog.

If you try it, let me know what you think!

(1) Sausages on a BBQ
(2) Victorian for tomato sauce (ketchup) 
(3) Recipe

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I think my duck has rickets... please help.

Over the past few days, I thought my duck had duck depression. She wasn't all flappy and lovely, she wasn't keeping herself clean and beautiful like she normally does... she wasn't even coming to greet me at the gate...

Then yesterday, she couldn't even walk at all. She laid an egg where she sat, not in her normal home.

It's tick season here, so I searched and searched for a tick, and that's no easy feat on a duck, and I couldn't find anything.

I then searched for mites in her bedding, nothing, but I sprayed anyway. I made sure she had no cuts or broken bones in her legs (as best I could) and I made sure she was eating and drinking, which she was when I put her over to her food.

Next I put her in a warmish bath and let her swim around a bit, and she has fine use of her legs in the water.

I've attached the following to help with diagnosis, although I'm fairly sure it's rickets. Other opinions would be great.


Check list was taken from here.

Please answer these brief questions below, so we can help you as soon as possible.

Age:9 months
Breed: Muscovy Duck
Sex: Female

Your Location- country, state (different areas/climates have different problems)
ANSWER: Queensland, Australia

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? - As much detail as possible please.
ANSWER: Cant use her feet, shuffling along on "elbows"?

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.
ANSWER: Slighly runny, greenish colour, stinky, but normal. No worms.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling
ANSWER: None seen

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

Condition Changes?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering
ANSWER: Drinking and eating, although I think she's lighter than normal. Breast bone feelable.

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

Agility Changes? - eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels
ANSWER: Lethargic. Not walking at all, but you can see she's trying to.

Describe your usual worming routine and products. Do you have a cycle that you use eg. every 3 months, or every six months?
ANSWER: Have never wormed the ducks

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather
ANSWER: It's been very hot here lately (temps 35C) but I've been putting ice in their fresh water every day, and they have plenty of shade, and dusty areas. She lives with two chickens, and they get along well.


I'm new to duck ownership, and this one was thrown on me. I feel horrible that I think she's missing something in her diet that's making her so sick.

I have some questions:

1) What do you think it is?
2) What are some natural/home remedies that I can do to add vitamin D and calcium in her diet.
3) Am I supposed to feed ducks differently to chickens?
4) Any links that might be of use?
5) Actually, any information at all that's useful to duck ownership.


These two pictures show her trying to walk... see how she's on her elbows and not her feet?


Monday, 21 January 2013

Good Food, Good Wine and Great Company

Yesterday, my sister-in-sortof-law and I went to the Food and Wine Expo on the Gold Coast. Belinda and I like Moscato so, we're not your average wine cognisors... being that we don't really like posh wine. We bought our tickets for $4.50, left the 6 children with the Dads and we went off to have a romping good time.

We met up with some girlfriends for a brief time, and watched two former Master Chef contestants cook up a storm. Firstly, Courtney Roulston prepared amazing granite belt lamb, coated in dukkah on top of a bed of cous-cous with egg plant and lots of fresh herbs. She also made a couple of dressings. She was so inspirational, giving the audience plenty of doable ideas for mid week meals, and even breakfasts using cous-cous. While I have seen people cooking cous-cous on TV so many times, I haven't thought to try it myself, because it's not something I am used to cooking. Believe me, the sampler was amazing! I loved the greek yoghurt dressing for the lamb, and while I'd leave the coriander out of the cous-cous, I loved the freshness and texture of the whole dish. She presented it in the way I love best, bang it on a platter. It was really impressive.

However, Justine Schofield took "cooking" to the next level, by not cooking at all! She showed us how to make Ceviche, which is fish that is cooked in lemon juice. Belinda and I were very sceptical. In fact, we thought Ms Schofield might have been telling us whoppers. But, before our eyes, even in the short amount of time we were there, we saw the opaque Snapper slices turn white. I'm not sure if I'll give this a go, but it was really interesting to see.

Something I will do (probably many times) is make CREPES! She taught us of her recipe, which is simple as 1, 2, 3.

Justine Schofield's Crepe Recipe.

1 cup of plain flour (sifted)
2 cups of milk
3 eggs
(and a little sugar for sweet ones).

In a bowl, make a well in the centre of the flour.
Crack the eggs in, and whisk gently to bring in a small amount of flour from around the edges of your well.
Slowly add the milk and whisk until combined.
Crepe batter should be the consistency of pouring cream.
Spray a medium hot pan with non-stick spray and pour half a ladle full of batter into the centre of the pan, and very quickly swirl the mixture around until it's coated the bottom and up the skids of the pan.
WAIT and have patience. The crepe will come away at the sides, and start to turn golden at the edge. It shouldn't need much coaxing to get to it to move freely around the pan when cooked.

You can serve crepes savoury or sweet. Fill with cheese, ham spinach etc, or top with lemon and sugar, syrup and ice-cream or strawberries and chocolate sauce.

Justine told us of a family tradition, of holding a gold coin in your hand, and if you flip the crepe evenly, you'll have a prosperous and lucky year. Well, I'm pretty lucky anyway, but I volunteered to hop up on stage, and give it a go.

I did it... yeah, the only one out of the three women who tried... first time.. bam, flipped. Looks like the luck will continue!
I was really excited to meet Justine. I have series recorded her show, Everyday Gourmet and loved her on MasterChef. Just by seeing her demonstration, I feel more inspired to love the food I cook for my family, and to try new things.

Now, this brings us until about 12pm, so the rest of the afternoon will be summarised quickly, I promise.

Belinda and I lost the girls for a while, but we had such a great time.

Now, it's not like Belinda and I are uncultured, or it's not like we were really drunk, but we were really appreciated the glasses of water some of the vendors were giving us between the samples... It wasn't until we followed some posh men who tipped their water out into the provided buckets that we realised we weren't supposed to be drinking it! Belinda laughed so hard, she tipped her wine water down the front of her dress!

All in all, I loved the day, and the night, hanging out with some great people, and eating and drinking some great food.

My selection of delicious items you MUST try if you get the chance are as follows. (BY the way none of these endorsements are being paid for with merchandise or cash... but you know, if they want to flick some products my way, I will give them away in a competition).


Fehlbergs have combined the best of pickled onions, and onions on the BBQ and puts them in a little jar for you to nom on plain, or to use in cooking. I'm intending on smearing these little beauties on some bruschetta.

They also had marinated garlic, which I'm kicking myself I didn't buy.

Sirromet wines have released a range that's perfect for a hot QLD Summer. The "Love my" range comes in a "sweet lite red", a "sweet fruity white" and a "sweet sparkling rose". Sirromet Winery is located at Mt Cotton, so not too far to drive to visit and they do tours! I have two passes, and if anyone would sincerely like to go there to do a tour and tasting, let me know and the tickets are yours.

They are the type of wine I like. Easy to drink and they actually taste good.

 This Roza's Gourmet Sauces, Aioli garlic mayonnaise is amazing. In fact, the entire range was amazing. I could have spent all my money on their goodies. You can buy this is lots of locations, but on the Gold Coast, it's at Harbour Side Market (across the road from Harbour Town). If you want to try some, click here, to find a stockist near you.
This was a bit of a random buy. It's beautiful though. A pink Moscato (I think the only one that was at the expo) made by Hidden Creek on the Granite Belt.
 Apple vodka... yeah. Need I say more? The website for Keglevich is in Russian, so you know it's gotta be good. We mixed it with lemonade and it was pretty great. Belinda got a melon one, and I tried the blood orange, mixed with cranberry juice and it was delicious.

Lastly, I bought Chris a port. It's called Moonshine Madness by Heritage Wines. It's a coffee chocolate liqueur port made with a fortified wine base, and I must say, not the most epic drink for a 35 degree day, but it'll go down very nicely in Winter time. I'm all about planning for the future.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Facebook Drama, Equality In Marriage and a *bit* of a rant.

Press Play Same Love- The quotes used throughout are from this song.

I would like to think that I surround myself with tolerant and understanding people. People who want fairness and equality. People who believe in a goodness and people who at least try not to hurt others.

Recently, on Facebook (doesn't most drama start there now days?) a "friend" reposted something that I had, a nice quote by a man, and used the terms "cock sucker", "how gay" and "fag". The man is a famous man, and isn't homosexual, but even if he was, using the type of words that she used, is really unacceptable. Using it in that context, "Gay is synonymous with the lesser". I deleted her, and her husband. I don't want to be associated with people like that.

However, it has got me thinking, about the "breeding out hate" thoughts that I have. I figured that most people in my generation, are more accepting that those in my parents or grandparents. The older generations have an excuse whether they fear the difference or the unknown I can understand that they don't know how to accept people who are homosexual. But today, there is no excuse. You don't have to be gay to fight for this. "It's human rights for everybody"... "Fight for humans who have had their rights stolen".

"It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion, gender to skin colour". We'll look back at this inequality and be ashamed it didn't stop sooner. Change is inevitable, I truly believe that.

The woman I have now deleted, has three beautiful children. It pains me to think "some kids would rather die than be who they are". Stop it. Change it. Do what's right. Stop the prejudice, change the mindset, and enforce the laws. Allow gay people to marry. Not just in civil union, but really be man and man, or wife and wife. I was not married in a church, and I'm not suggesting that the Church must allow homosexual people to be married within their religions. They are their own governing body, but they should not rule what the rest of the population must abide by.

The arguments are clear. They are everywhere in pop culture. People, and I dare say the majority of reasonable people want this to happen.

I think the first step in the right direction is to change the laws. After all, the movement to free the slaves was a majority movement, but wasn't until the law changed that it must be accepted by all. It was the same as woman's rights. Laws must change before they can be enforced.

The next thing to change is the mind set of people. Using "that's gay" means that being gay is a negative thing. Being yourself, while not harming others, can not be a bad thing. Expressing love, can not be a bad thing. Pull your kids up when they say it, explain to them why they shouldn't be using that terminology. I'd rather my kids not speak at all or drop the f bomb than use derogatory language. Children follow our lead, so be the best example you can be.

Sign petitions, rally, make a difference, get the message out to your politicians wherever you live in this world. Stop it, change it, do what's right.

Australian Marriage Equality-  A quick link to email your local politician. I did, and I got a personalised response. I now know that I am supporting a man who believes in what I think is important and is willing to fight for it.

Marriage Equality USA- State by state laws and updates as well as what's happening in the media and rallies.

Same Sex Marriage in Canada- Keep up to date

Equal Marriage Rights UK- Email your MP feature as well as up to date news and events as well as a good structured legal case.

And just to leave it on a light note, another friend of mine posted a sign with this on fb. It turns out, there are many images on the internet with this little funny in it, but I do love an ecardlol.

Here is a write up on the economic value of weddings, and what it would mean to Australia in dollars.

Friday, 11 January 2013

You're Such A Home Owner

You know you're a home owner when...

Going to the hardware store is the most fun outing on the weekend.

You have a list of things you'd like to do to the house, that probably will never get done (kitchen renovation anyone?)

You know different types of grasses by sight.

You know the difference between duck egg and powder blue.

When driving around, you say things like, "that house has nice street appeal".

Window coverings are no longer psychedelic sheets.

You have so many insurances it's unbelievable- and what's more unbelievable is the amount of time you've spent shopping around for the best price.

You care about the condition of your roof, and know what pointing is.

You want feature walls- but can't decide if they are going to date too quickly.

You have a Pinterest board dedicated to housey type design.

You know how to spell mortgage- and how many years you have left on yours.

You know the date you signed the contract, and the date you moved in.

You want to store things in the roof, knowing that you'll probably not see them for years and years.

What else are you guilty of, now you're a home owner?

Friday, 4 January 2013

Technological Malfunction

Since moving into our new home, almost everything has broken down... including our laptop hence the reason for my absence.

Love you all still.