Friday, 23 May 2008


My crochet interest hasn't waned, and yesterday I completed my third small rug.
Decided to get on Google and look at more patterns. Say no more - there are great sites to download free patterns, and I also checked out a few of the crochet blogs.

Found a great one set up by a lady who is really into recycling.
Her site is and there are great ideas, plus links to other topics.

Her crochet bag patterns made from plastic shopping bags look wonderful.


I chose this book for our Book Group selection this year, because as usual, you real the "blurb" about the book and think "that could be an interesting story".
The story starts out in 1629 when a young musician arrives in Denmark to join the orchestra in the court of King Christian IV.
From what I have read so far, there are many stories that appear to be woven into each other, and no doubt this will surface towards the end of the book.
But I must say, it hasn't grabbed me - that is, not a book that once you start reading you don't want to put down.
So I will plod on, and see if my interest gets awakened further.

I received in the mail yesterday, the latest publications from the Historical Novels Society. These publications are just wonderful, and my mother enjoys reading them when she comes for a visit. She always has a big list of books to get from her library when she goes home.

One of the articles in Solander is about the lure of Scottish romance. Diana Gabaldon comes into this category - her character Jamie is portrayed as a real hunk and everyone I know that has read this series, thinks along the same lines.
Another author mentioned in the article is Lois Greiman, whose book Bewitching the Highlander appeared iin 2007; also Karen Ranney - The Scottish Companion.
Will get onto the bookmooch site and browse for these authors.

An article also on Historical Fiction blogs - haven't ventured into these as yet, but that will change today, and there are quite a few that sound interesting.

My book group ladies will be interested as well, as whenever we read a historical novel, all of us try and picture the historical period and who was in power at the time etc.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Artificial colours in food

It was heartening to read another health newsletter recently, that reported that on 10th April in the UK, it was a day of celebration as UK food regulators finally admitted that artificial colours should be banned.
However, Australian regulators don't see it that way.

The colours to be banned in the UK are:
Tartrazine (102)
Quinoline yellow (104)
Sunset yellow (110_
Carmoisine (122)
Ponceau 4R (124)
Allura Red (129)

So it appears that the regulators are listening in the UK -
the article states that the Daily Mail launched a "Ban the Additives" campaign in Sept 2007 to encourage manufacturers and supermarkets to remove nasty additives from their recipes. The Food Commission has set up a website listing more than 1000 products containing the targeted additives. The campaign has gained support from all the major supermarkets who are working to remove artificial colours from own brand products. Giant confectionery firms who have agreed to reduce additive use include Marks UK, Cadbury Trebor Bassett, and Nestle Rowntree..

Wouldn't it be nice to see something positive like this happen in Australia.

This is just one of the articles in the newsletter - fed up with food additives.

My shopping is very basic these days, as very few items are purchased that have "numbers" listed on the packet. I bake my own bread, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, and we eat a very balanced diet. Our vegie garden is being planted out for the winter months, and the fruit trees are progressing nicely.
We are lucky to have neighbours who share their crops, and presently have a great supply of mandarins and other citrus fruits (organically grown as well).


In the latest newsletter for the Rare Fruits Council (Wide Bay branch) I included an article on the artifical sweetener, Aspartame, and the terrible health effects of it.
Today I have caught up with my emails, and there was my regular newsletter from The Food Coach website. The Article of the week is How a simple diet diary revealed aspartame poisoning.
It would appear that a researcher conducted a 2 year 8 month experiment on the effects of aspartame on rats. She fed some of them the relative equivalent of two thirds the aspartame contained in a cane of diet soft drink
(see this incredible study).
The photos of the diseased and genetically altered rates that accompany her article are terrifically shocking. How did something so toxic find its way into out diets:
Aspartame is simply the most dangerous substance that is added to food, if you called processed food "food".
I am constantly shaking my head when I see the so called food that some people consume, and then they also have a can of soft drink in the other hand. What's the saying - Rubbish in, Rubbish out. In this case, the long term health benefits are disastrous.
Maybe in years to come, there will be a class action against the food manufacturers, for the so called "preservatives" and other ingredients they are adding to our food.


Besides getting on hooked on crochet, I have been catching up on reading, especially some of the books that I have received through Bookmooch.
3 books by Elizabeth Lowell have been particularly good, and I have found that whereas Nora Roberts stories tend to be very predictable after a while, this author brings interesting elements into her stories.
So far I have read - Jade Island, Amber Beach and Midnight in Ruby Bayou; in each of these stories, you get a good insight into the gems themselves. I am waiting to receive Pearl Cove, which I believe has a bit of Australia in it.
Would definitely recommend this author.

Saturday, 10 May 2008


I am in the process of editing the next newsletter for the Group, and find myself being not so daunted as what I was in the early stages.
A few of the members are now providing me with articles to include in the newsletter, which is a big help.
This time around, one of the members is going to conduct soilPH tests for any members who want to bring along a soil sample of their property etc.
As the meeting is being held on the Saturday following the Fraser Coast show, there will be an opportunity to taste the fruit that was displayed on the Rare Fruits Stand for the 2 day show event. Always popular tasting the various fruits.

Have included in the newsletter, the winning recipe from the cooking competition at our last meeting. It was delicious.


4 cups grated cassava
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs beaten
2 tbsp melted butter
1 can of coconut cream

Mix all ingredients and bake in oven at 180C. When halfway cooked, remove from the oven and spread with the topping.
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup coconur cream puree

Mix and pour on top of cake. Put back in the oven and bake a little bit more until the topping is golden brown.

I just have a few queries which I will bring up at the meeting:

How long do you bake in the oven before putting on the topping;
do you cook the cassava before grating it;
what size can of coconut cream.


I have just completed a baby rug for the new grandson, and knitted the rug, just in garter stitch (stripes). Finished with a crochet edge. Very good effect and pleased with the result.
So much in fact that I did a small crochet afghan, just to get started. Surprised at how quickly crochet comes together, and I have now started a second afghan.