Thursday, August 30, 2007


Moussaka is one of the many dishes I like. Apparently it's made in many Mediterranean countries, each with a slight variation. I've always related to it as Greek. However, despite the variations, the main ingredients remain the same- a vegetable, usually aubergine, minced lamb (or beef) and a custard-like topping which can be a Bechamel sauce, sour cream or plain yogurt flavoured with cheese, and egg beaten into the mixture to give the characteristic texture. It's also a dish which makes aubergines tastier.

Before ovenI made one the other night for dinner which had no minced meat in it, it was a"Vegetable Moussaka". It tasted great, the combination of herbs, vegetables, lentils and white sauce was just delish!

Now it's cooked!
Here is the recipe:

Vegetable Moussaka

3 medium aubergines/eggplants, cut into 5mm slices
2 Tbsp olive oil, extra
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 carrot, diced
400g canned diced tomatoes
400g canned lentils, drained
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
2 Tbsp breadcrumbs

Cheese Sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp plain flour
2 cups milk
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks

1. Cook aubergine slices in a large frypan until lightly browned. Meanwhile, heat extra olive oil in a saucepan, add onion, garlic, celery and carrot.
2. Cook stirring for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste and dried herbs. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
3. For white sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring continuously, until sauce is thick and smooth. Add cheese and stir until melted through.
4. Remove from heat and add egg yolks. Line a greased 23cmx15cm baking dish with 1/3 of the aubergines, top with half the vegetables, then half the remaining aubergines, followed by vegetables, then remaining aubergines. Top with white sauce and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in oven at 180C for 40 minutes. Serves 8.For those who might be curious about the book "Ottoline and the Yellow Cat", here are some of the illustrated pages which I was raving about. It has a sense of humour as well. Click on pictures to view larger if you want to have a read. Or simply go to for more.

Make sure you have a great weekend, my dear friends and here are some blushing pinkiest flowers to lift your spirit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Source of Joy

I get a lot of joy from many things, I remember a Sunday School song I learnt as a child- "Count your blessings, name them one by one........" I really count myself blessed. I get joy from my honey, from watching the kids grow, from picking roses and flowers from the garden, from drinking tea, from decorating my home.......... but these are nothing if I have not the main source of joy to keep giving me a reason for having joy.I've been serving the Lord for 18 years now and have taken up the call of Jesus to reach out and win souls and be fruitful. So I get a lot of joy from seeing someone come to know the Lord and grow strong in Him. However, if people don't continue, I inevitably feel sad and concerned. I've been reminded time and time again to not let the source of my joy hinge on people and circumstances, but God Himself should be the real source of my joy, He loved me so much that He sent His own Son Jesus to die on the cross for me, who am I that He should care for me, but I'm glad He does care.Some of my favourite quotes:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"-- Jim Elliot
"To see a treasure in one soul, that far outshines the brightest gold"--Twila Paris

What or who is your source of joy? In this world scarred by terrorism and we're bombarded with bad news in the papers everyday, do you have a reason for joy?
P.S. Oh! By the way, I really enjoyed reading this children's book by Chris Riddell called "Ottoline and the Yellow Cat"(featured in one of the pictures below, hehe!). One of my daughters borrowed it from the library, and I can't believe I was reading it. The illustrations are awesome, I think I'm captivated by the author's creativity and the attention he paid to details. I've always been in awe of details in drawings, it's not unusual for anyone to find me sitting there for ages poring over all the fine details in the illustrations, but of course the kind of pictures is important as well, and no doubt this book has all the right ingredients for my attention.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Strawberry Delight

Strawberries here have been extremely cheap, sweet, flavoursome and juicy, and I find myself going back to the fruit and vegies shop for more. The kids love them in their lunch boxes, they taste superb on their own and are really good for you.However, I was inspired to make something nice with them today, just to make life more interesting! So I looked up my good old Margaret Fulton Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery and found this recipe which is tried and true in our household. It looks and tastes great, and yet simple to make. I love having it with a cup of Chai Latte for afternoon tea, mmmmm! You can temporarily forget about calculating the calories for this one.Below is the recipe, hope you will get time to make one, have a lovely weekend, my dear blogging friends!Continental Strawberry Shortcake

Shortcake Pastry:
2 cups plain flour;
pinch of salt;
185g (6 oz) butter, melted;
5 tbsp icing sugar, sifted;
2 eggyolks;
few drops vanilla.

2 punnets (500g/1 lb) strawberries;
1 cup whipped cream;
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted (optional, or use less, like 2 tsp);
few drops vanilla.

(1) Sift flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in centre. Place remaining pastry ingredients in well and mix to a dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.

(2) Divide dough in half and roll or pat out to two rounds, about 23mm(9inch) in diameter and 5mm (1/4 inch) thick. Place rounds on baking dish lined with baking/ greaseproof paper. Prick all over with a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees C (375F) for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is a pale biscuit colour. Do not allow to brown. Remove from oven and while pastry is warm, cut one round into 8 segments. Cool pastry.

(3) Reserve 8 unhulled strawberries for decoration. Hull and slice remainder. Whip cream with icing sugar (if using) and vanilla. Mix with strawberry slices. Place whole pastry round on a serving plate and cover with strawberry and cream mixture. Smooth over and arrange 8 pastry segments on top. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with unhulled strawberries. I dust the strawberries with icing sugar too to give them that "snowed on" look. Enjoy!

Out in the garden, the roses are not ready to flower yet, but other plants are definitely starting to bring Spring to this side of the globe.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nice Matters Award

A big thank you goes to Angela Louise over at Che lsea Blue Whispers for awarding me with the Nice Matters Award. I feel honoured. I've enjoyed her beautiful blog filled with things I also enjoy doing-- gardening, baking, decorating and craft, all the nice things in life, as I call them. Here are some roses from my garden (photo taken in Oct last year) to express my appreciation to her. I would also like to award some other fantastic bloggers, here goes my list:

Aina @ Modern Country
Dawn @ A Charmed Life
Jen @ The Cottage Nest and
Kimberly @ Niesz Vintage Home...and fabrics

Happy blogging, everyone!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sign of Spring

Here are some lil' hints of the approach of Spring in my garden today. It's still pretty chilly and wintery at the moment, but the rain we had may have made spring come sooner as I see wild flowers popping their heads out on the roadside. (Everlastings with all shades of pink are one of my favourites around the metro area) They are quite a distraction for drivers like me, I'll need to stop and take pictures one of these days. Here is a link for you to see some West Australian wild flowers:

This one in my own garden with gorgeous red bells is Perennial Penstemon Red. This pink one is Diascia Barberae (Dutchmans Breeches), what a name! My white Penstemon Snow Storm is budding too and white bells should appear soon.

Friday, August 10, 2007

An Apple a Day

We all know apples are good for us, they are not only delicious, but also very versatile for cooking and baking. Apple Pie, Apple Crumble, Apple High Crumble Pie, Apple Strudel, Apple Streusel, Apple Cake, Stewed Apple, Apple Scrolls, just to name a few, and the list goes on. When it comes to baking with apples, my thought immediately goes to Granny Smith, the good old perfect apple for cooking. However, you can actually just about use any apples-- Pink Lady, Lady William, Sundowner, Golden Delicious, Royal Gala, Fuji, Hi Early, Jonathan.........., they all taste good cooked.It's wet wet wet out there today, I'm so glad the Interschool Cross Country Carnival has been cancelled, or I'd be out to support my daughters who've been selected to run. So instead I decided to stay home and do some baking with my apples in the fridge. I love having hot Apple Pie or Apple Crumble with whipped cream in winter, the two complement each other so well and the taste is divine. Many (including hubby) like to add ice-cream, but I think the sweetness of the ice-cream destroys the real taste of the dessert. Here's an Apple Crumble. I don't use "crunchies" like oats and muesli on top as my children don't like having to do jaw exercise with their sweet. I simply use butter rubbed into plain flour with cinammon and brown sugar added to it . I have friends who like glazed (crystalised) ginger, so I add that to the apples specially for them. Now I really like that too myself and I often do half of the apple crumble with chopped glazed ginger randomly tossed in and half without for hubby and children. And don't forget to make some kind of obscure mark so you can know which half is which after it's been baked too! (Unless of course if you bake them in seperate baking dishes)Apple Strudel is definitely one of my favourites when it comes to apple desserts. Here is a Homestyle Apple Strudel made with puff pastry(you can use filo pastry sheets too), diced cooked apples, whipped cream and custard sprinkled with icing sugar on top. It's light(lighter in taste than the one with raisin and cinnamon), it's not eaten hot, it's not even very sweet, but believe me, it really does satisfy the sweet tooth in you. As you can imagine, we'll be "appled" out today, and probably tomorrow, if there's any leftovers!I've just been to the market and I think we'll have Baked Filleted Fish with butter, small amount of diced bacon, grated cheese, salt and pepper, chopped spring onions, crushed garlic, some chopped tomatoes, and the best thing of all on baked fish--- roasted almond flakes/slivers! You can have anything you like as side dish with this. Salad, vegies, sourdough bread, rice, pasta salad, anything! Mmm! No photos yet, just use your imagination please......

One more thing, I was going to use strawberries to garnish the Apple Strudel, but managed to forget to get them at the store. Never mind. But did you know that apples are actually part of the Rose family, so there you go, dried roses instead of strawberries.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How does your garden grow........?

Pansies and Panolas are blooming in my garden at the moment. They are a lovely sight.

Did you know Panolas are apparently the only true cross between pansies and violas, which means that they have the larger flowers of pansies and the free flowering characteristics of violas? I'm fascinated by all the different colours and patterns on them especially at the garden centres (plant nurseries), I've only chosen a few of the colour schemes, there are unbelievably many to choose from.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The hills are alive........

We've been up north for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday, we went out for dinner and then back to her house for dessert and "cuppas". It was very enjoyable. My family and I did a cross-stick poem using letters of her first, second, third and last names and presented it in front of all the relatives. We sure had fun! On the way there and back, I got busy snapping pictures from the car and I couldn't help it, I got more than 100 of them. We didn't stop, but I managed to get good ones while the car was "flying" past. Here are a teeny-tiny portion of them.