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Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Came across this good site whilst browsing for history books for my young grand daughter. She loves reading, especially history. Lots of good links and activities, and not just for kids either.

Monday, 25 February 2008


I am always cooking, and enjoy being in the kitchen. Over time, have tested quite a few recipes for gingernuts, ginger cookies, whatever you want to call them.
This recipe I made yesterday, and the biscuis are very tasty. Makes 2 trays as well, so very economical.
Why do people buy commercially made biscuits when it is so easy to make your own.


1 3/4 cups SR Flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tablespoons Crystallised Ginger, finely chopped
100g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup

Preheat over 160 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Sift the flour and ground ginger into a large bowl. Add the crystallised ginger.
Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and allow the mixture to come to the boil.
Remove from heat and add to the dry ingredients, stir to combine.
Place a tablespoon of the mixture onto the baking trays. Leave enough space between each biscuit as mixture will spread during cooking.
Bake for 15 mintues or until slightl golden.
Cook on tray for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.


Have finished reading this book, ONE MORE TIME by DAMIEN LEITH. Good sized book to read, but what a sad story. Wondered whether it was based on the author's own life experiences. The author was the winner of the Australian Idol 2006.

The story is set in Nepal, and tells the story of Sean who is on a trek to one of the base stations - Sean is Irish, and running away from his obsessions. Had a compulsive disorder and thinks that if he doesn't pray all the time for the people he loves, then something bad will happen to them.


Have had quite a few contacts regarding this family name, and the descendents from William MASKEY and Mary BIRD are far and wide.
Alma was the daughter of William Maskey and Angelina Maud FLOOD.In 2006 I came across a site on the net that had the family story of the NEEDHAM WALKERS. The person who had compiled it, Barry Walker, is the great grandson of George Needham Walker and Eliza Helen Knox.(38 pages in all).
Have since tried to find the site, but it must have been removed, so am glad that I did print out all the pages.
Anyway I am now able to share this story with other family researchers and have just today sent a CD to a contact in New Zealand.
My next family name to get further into is LIDDIATT. William Arthur LIDDIATT married Lydia Louise TACK (one of my husband's aunts). Have got a few details going back to Daniel LIDDIATT and Ann GOUGH.
I am enjoying the research side of all this, and it was wonderful to hear from another contact on my mothers DUTTON/GREIG side. This lady has now made contact with my mother, and after chatting on the phone for almot 1 1/2 hours, they are to meet up face to face.

Friday, 22 February 2008


I have found a good site (Australian) for recipes - was looking for LOW GI RECIPES as my mother is following this eating plan. You can subscribe free to their newsletter and there are good links as well.

Even found a recipe using Goji Berries - a Goji Bar (slice) that has rolled oats, almonds etc.


I have quite a few birthdays coming in March, so started yesterday. This is for my youngest brother, who went to China last November (works for the Unit of Sydney and teaches languages, and he was sent to check out the language school opportunities),
He is going back in August for a conference, so I thought that an Asian themed card would be appropriate.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


I am very impressed with this site (mentioned in previous posts), and I have had another request, this time from Portugal, for the Salman Rushdie book I entered on my list - Midnights Children. Will send this off in the mail within the next couple of days.
The BookMooch site also has a few links, one of which was an article published recently in VenusZine.
The link is

Very interesting to read and tells how the site was set up.

Another busy morning on the computer, family history again, and I have been updating my files on the RATTRAY and GILLINGHAM connections - Michael's daughter married into the Rattray family last year.
Also the LIDDIATT family, which is connected to the TACK family.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


I am already off the mark after registering on the site mentioned in my previous post.
Received an email from a person in Australia wanting one of the books I added to my list, so sent it off in the mail this afternoon.
So yes, it does work and looking forward to using the this site a lot more.

Also collected books from the library, SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts. This is the book groups set book for May. Others chosen off the shelves - DEATH AT VERSAILLES by Jane Jakeman - a murder mystery; and LEGEND by Jude Deveraux. Looks like a light romance, and a good filler between big books.
Lots of DVD's (nothing but rubbish on the television at the moment, but then what's new) -
THE DA VINCI CODE (loved the book)
A HORSEMAN RIDING BY (6 in the set and also based on a book of the same name).
COME IN SPINNER - have recently read this book, as this is a set read for our book group this year. Interested to see how close it comes to the book.
HER MAJESTY MRS BROWN - any with Judy Dench is great to watch. Watched the dvd of CHOCOLAT not so long ago, in which she starred along with Johnny Depp.
LA BOHEME - great opera by Puccini - will help the ironing get done.
AS TIME GOES BY (SERIES 3 & 4) - loved this series.

I just would like to now have an extra day in the week!!

BOOK - THE BLUE EVENING GONE by Jessica Stirling

I finished reading this book last night, and eventhough it is the sequel to The Deep Well at Noon, was able to associate with the characters. A good read, especially if you are interested in the art world.
In the latest Netguide edition, one of the sites mentioned is A free site and how it works is that BookMooch allows you to mail your unwanted tomes to other interested readers and, in return, request stuff you are keen on.
I have registered on the site, and listed the book mentioned above as one to give to someone. Also was able to add a few books to my wish list, and add other books that I wish to give away.
Most of the people are in the States, Canada and the UK at the moment, but no doubt this will change with time.
check out the site if you are interested.

Have had a very productive morning on the computer, catching up with emails, and sending off details concerning my family history research. It's always a thrill when you hear from someone out of the blue that is researching the same family names.

Received another contact from a lady in New Zealand regarding William MASKEY, who married a Mary BIRD in England 15 June 1750. The contact has advised that the story in her family is that in some way, Mary Bird is related (probably by marriage) to William WILBERFORCE.
A great offshoot of doing your family history is that it awakens your interest in history and many other issues and want to find out more information.
The Maskey line in my family ties into the ADAMS family on my mothers side.
John Linsley ADAMS married Clara Amanda MASKEY 22 Sept 1877 at Windsor New South Wales. Clara's parents were John MASKEY and Ann Sarah WOODS, and the Maskey line I have on my records also goes back to William Maskey and Mary Bird.

Monday, 18 February 2008


One of the craft ladies gave me 4 knitting magazines to browse through, and one of them is called Interweave Knits (an American publication). Very good layout, interesting articles and I have logged onto one of the websites advertised in the magazine - -
It is free to subscribe and there are about 120 free patterns that you can download once you have signed up. They have a Blog as well and well worth a visit.


My fingers and thoughts are turning to knitting and crochet - the class at our local craft group today was for a Beaded Crochet Cover. This can be used to cover your glass, wine glass etc. from the neverending insects that we share our environment with in the summer heat.
I know my limitations and decided not to do the class - my crochet is still in the basic stage, and am comfortable with a large crochet hook (4 or 4.5)doing squares for a rug.
My preference is for knitting and I am getting itchy fingers to start browsing through my patterns once again, and go through my yarn stash to see what I can make.
Our summer heat usually puts a stop to the knitting, but we have been lucky so far and the temperature has cooled down.
The Craft Group is going on a bus trip to Bundaberg next Thursday 28th, and everyone will converge on the Spotlight Store - here's hoping that there is a good selection of yarns to browse, touch and hopefully buy.
One of my favourite items to knit is Dishcloths. Knitted in cotton, I have given bundles of these to my friends to use in the kitchen. They are great to use, can be thrown in the washing machine with your towels etc. and reused again and again.
If you have a stash of these, you could use a clean one every day in the kitchen.

Lots of sites to check out for free patterns, and all you need to do is type into Google, free patterns for knitted dishcloths and choose the designs that you like.
Some patterns are also featured on peoples Blogs and here is one to check out:

the yarn I like using is LionBrand, which is 100% cotton and you can now buy this on line in Australia. Organic Cotton is also available, and I have also knitted with this yarn - very nice to use.

Before you throw those terrible supermarket cloths into your shopping basket, think again and knit some yourself.

Harking back to a recipe posted earlier - Vanilla Slice - I made this again on the weekend, and mixed chopped mango through the mixture. Yum, Yum is all I can say.
My husband just loves this slice.

Thursday, 14 February 2008


I have hit a brick wall with my Cowley family research - all to do with finding my paternal grandmother - EMILY MONICA HAMMOND.
Emily married ALFRED COWLEY at St Stephens Cathedral Brisbane Qld Australia 17th December 1919.
At that time, Alfred had stated that he was a Widower - I have yet to find out what happened to his first wife - EMMA HUGHES.
Alfred immigrated to Australia in November 1915 on the ship ORONTES (the passenger list shows his status as being Single. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces 24th July 1916, and gave his status as Married, with his next of kin as Mrs Emma Cowley (wife) - 45 Maple Street Hollinwood Lancashire. The address matches that on the marriage certificate of Alfred and Emma.

Emily was supposedly born about 1898 in Townsville Queensland - her parents being WILLIAM HAMMOND and KATE WILLIAMS.
On Emily's death certificate, her parents are shown as GEORGE HAMMOND and KATHARINE DOMMANESQ.

To add further confusion to my research, her sister ALICE HAMMET (surname could have been recorded incorretly)had on her marriage certificate, parents names WILLIAM HAMMET and KATE JOHNSON.
Alice's second marriage to HERBERT HOLDEN has her parents as WILLIAM HAMMETT and CATHERINE DAMMONS.

Can anyone help me - I am unable to find any record of the name DAMMONS and DOMMANESQ.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


There are many book newsletters that you can subscribe to, if you are like me, and want to keep up with the new books that are constantly being published. ( - one of the articles made mention of the book list that musician Art Garfunkel has been keeping on the books he has read over the years.
Pretty staggering when you see the number - if you are interested in checking it out, go to

All of the members in our Book Group keep a record of books they have read, and it is a good reference point. At our meeting, we always go round the table and ask each member to give us a summary of what they have read for the month - we all have never ending lists of books to read.
A rule of thumb I have passed on - if you don't like a book, give it away. Why waste your time reading something that you don't enjoy, when there are literally millions of books out there waiting to be read.

Fans of historical fiction may like to check out the Historical Novel Society at
You can subscribe to their magazine - The Historical Novels Review. The magazine has good reviews of authors and books , and a review of new novels that have been released from the period of Ancient Egypt through to the 20th century; muti-period-time-slip, children and young adult.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


One of my previous posts mentioned a recipe website that I discovered - and I cooked one of the recipes that I had printed out
SLOW COOKER CHEDDAR POLENTA. This was an easy way of cooking Polenta, made a large dish, and can be cut into individual portions and frozen (which I have done).

Servings 8 - so you could halve the quantities if you wish

7 cups hot water
2 cups polenta (not quick cooking) or coarse-ground
yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsps salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups grated cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)

Mix water, polenta, olive oil and salt in slow cooker; whisk until well blended. Add cheddar cheese and whisk again.
Cover and cook on high setting for about 2 hours, or until liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir together well (polenta should have consistency of thick cooked cereal).
If not serving right away, pour into buttered (large) dish, spreading into an even layer; cover with plastic wrap and let cool. When ready to serve, cut into rectangles and saute in nonstick skillet with olive oil or until golden or both sides.

I checked the mixture after about 1hr45 minutes and it was ready, so will depend on your slow cooker.
Whilst my husband had a Gluten free meat pie with vegies and mashed potato, I enjoyed a slice of Polenta with some homemade tomato sauce. Delicious.

I may as well keep going with a few more recipes and keep this posting all in the same vein.
Here is a nice PUMPKIN TEA BAG CAKE recipe, which comes from the ABC book - Homecooked.

1 cup (250ml) boiling water
4 tea bags
125g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
500g mixed dried fruit (any combination - I take out the cherries and substitute with dried cranberries)
1 cup cold mashed pumpkin (press out excess moisture
2 eggs - lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 cup SR Flour - sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarb of soda

Preheat the oven to 180degrees C. Line a 22cm round cake tin with baking paper.

Pour boiling water onto the tea bags. Stand until almost cold, then squeeze the bags to extract all flavours. Discard the bags.
Put the brewed tea into a saucepan with the butter, sugar, golden syrup and fruit, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Add the pumpkin and eggs, mix in well then stir in the flours, cinnamon and bicarb.
Pour into the prepred tin and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the het to 160degrees C. Cook for a further 1 - 1/2 hours, until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the tin then turn out. The cke will keep for a week in an air tight container.


Over the weekend, Saturday 2nd February, I attended a Rare Fruits meeting, and one of the items at our bi-monthly meetings, is a cooking competition. This is a good venue for people to try out different ways of cooking the rare fruits.
The competition had 2 entries this time - SOURSOP TART and a PUMPKIN PIE. Both delicious but would have to lean more to the SOURSOP TART.

Peel soursop. Put soursop in saucepan and cover with water will cooked.
Strain, then cool.
Add 1/2 tin condensed milk, 2 tablespoons passionfruit pulp.
thicken with 1 tablespoon gelatine.
Pour into tart shell
Place in fridge to set.

I have an idea of when the next newsletter is being prepared (by me) that I will put out a call for people to submit Pumpkin fruit cake recipes and see what response I get.

Today looks like being an indoors one, as the rain has been falling since early morning, so will be spending time baking, and no doubt catching up with more family research.
The garden should be relishing this rain, as on Sunday I spread around all of the fruit trees and some other plants, a dose of Organic Garden Booster (chicken pellets).
Also shifted my 3 black compost bins to the rear of the block - filled in with compost, blood and bone and dolomite, and planted pumpkin seeds. I read an article in an issue of Earth Garden magazine, where Jacki French had recommended this to someone who wanted another use for his compost bins.
So fingers crossed and see how it works. The seeds I planted were from the lady that made the pumpkin pie for the rare fruits meeting. Think they were from a Gramma variety, which is a nice dry pumpkin.

Only wish I hadn't used up all my wood ash, as pumpkins are said to like this as a feed as well.

Another tick for a previous recipe mentioned - VANILLA SLICE.
I had put a few slices in the freezer so see how it would go. No problem, still tasted delicious after 2 weeks in the freezer.
Have a thought of next time I make this, of folding through a quantity of Black Sapote puree (Chocolate pudding fruit). There are a few containers of this in my freezer, from my first crop.
This fruit also goes well in chocolate cakes and muffins.

Would like to hear from anyone who has a good pumpkin fruit cake recipe!

Friday, 1 February 2008


After reading an article in the magazine (Dec 2007-Feb 2008), I wanted to post the gist of it to make people aware of how the Government bureauocracy works, and the powers to be treat us as idiots.
This is frome the article -
" An age where a Prime Minister thinks he can quick fix a drought by draining wetlands (well, the water's just going to waste there, isn't it?) and the Treasurer brings in a bill (an amendment to the Small Business Act - but there's nothing small about the businesses it applies to), that will make anyone who complains about a company's business (such as one that drains the wetlands, builds a factory that pollutes, or fails to fix your phone for 46 days) will be liable for the loss of that company's business.......tens of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars - if they complain.

Got a problem? No worries. Just don't let anyone complain about it, and it's fixed.

I'm not sure if it's more terrifying or a comfort to read some of the suggested quick fix solutions for global warming....if some scientsts are suggesting nightmare quick fixes at least others are pointing out the side effects.
Though, come to think of it, if they're criticising company plans and that may cut the company's share price or profits, they'll have to shut up pretty quickly - in Australia anyhow."

No doubt this bill was brought in by the previous political party and don't seem to recall hearing much about this through the media!!!!


Success after so long - in my previous post, I mentioned that I was trying to find out more about these people. Well I managed to find a post from a lady who had posted to a message board I think - took the punt on the email address, and I was lucky.
The lady in question is related to William Bock and she was trying to find out further details on Alice. Maybe I can start filling in a few blanks.
Perserverance pays off eventually.

Further inputting of details on the Genes Reunited site has also thrown up more contacts, and I will need to spend a few days updating records and taking print outs of other family member trees. This site is well worth subscribing to.

Whilst searching for recipes the other day, I came across a good site, which I have sent to a few of my friends - - numerous recipe categories and you are sure to find something to try out. A friend of mine has sent me an email, as she was having trouble making gluten free pasta and asked my advice. So I got onto good old Google and typed in gluten free pasta recipes and the above site was one of the many featured. The site allows you to email a recipe to whoever. Found a few Crock Pot recipes, which I am always on the look out for, plus many others.
One I came across was for a Lemon Butter, and I remembered the recipe that I have been making for years, and have passed onto to my mother and sister, who always use it.
Its done in the microwave and very easy.


2 eggs
1 cup castor sugar
Juice and rind of 2 lemons
1 tbsp custard powder
60g melted butter.

Beat eggs well, add sugar and beat until creamy.
Add lemon juice and rind, custard powder and melted butter.
Mix thoroughly.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes, reduce microwave to medium high and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasinally.
Allow to cool - Makes one jar.

Something else homemade you may like to try is LAVENDER FABRIC RINSE.

Read this in either a Grass Roots magazine, or Earth Garden and have been making it for a few months. This is good if you have lots of lavender flowers -

I have been using a tall pasta sauce jar, but if you have an empty vinegar container, that would also work. All you do is pick your lavender flowers, and pack into the container. Cover with vinegar, and leave to sit in a sunny spot for about 2 weeks - turning the container upside down a couple of times a day.
After 2 weeks, empty the flowers out of the container and you have a lovely lavender rinse to use in your washing machine.
Don't waste money on the commercial fabric conditioners. Most manufacturers these days recommend not using them.

I am reading THE GLASS PALACE by Amitav Ghosh, and enjoying the style of writing and all about Burma. The reading group read a book set in Burma last year called THE PIANO TUNER by Daniel Mason, which opened our eyes to the culture of that country. One of the ladies had visited Rangoon and the surrounding countryside and was captivated by the people.

Both books though show up the English colonials for what they were - destroyers of ancient civilisations, power hungry and corrupt.

The Glass Palace is a book that I would like to buy for myself, as when I finish reading this, will have to return to a friend.
One of the many interesting facts described in the book is about TEAK

Did you know that Teak is a relative of mint, (tectona grandis), born of the same genus of flowering plant, but of a distaff branch, presided over by that most soothing of herbs, verbena.
It counts amont its close kin many other fragrant and familiar herbs - sage, savoury, thyme, lavender, rosemary and most remarkably holy basil, with its many descendants, green and purple, smmoth-leaved and coarse, pungent and frangrant, bitter and sweet.

"The mint leaf was the size of Rajkumar's thumb while the other would have covered an elephant's footprint; one was a weed that served to flavour soup while the other came from a tree that had felled dynasties, caused invasions, created fortunes, brought a new way of life into being."