Spicy Cauliflower

I love cauliflower and I’m always looking for new ways to use it.  Here is a spicy version that is great as a side dish.



  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 clove of garlic – crushed
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or a fresh red chilli – chopped finely) or to taste – you’re in control of the heat!
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper corns to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Throw the salt, pepper corns, garlic, ground coriander seed and chilli or chilli flakes into a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste.  Add olive oil and stir.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets.  Add the florets to boiling water and boil until just tender or ‘al dente’.  It is very important not to over cook the cauliflower at this stage.
  3. DSC00463Heat the spice paste and olive oil in a deep sided pan.
  4. Drain the cauliflower and add to the pan.  Saute until there is a bit of colour on the cauliflower.
  5. DSC00464Remove from the pan and serve as a side to any roast or grilled meat.

I served my cauliflower with a lovely medium rare steak and sauted silverbeet. Yumm!!!


Try it if you enjoy something different…

Do you like experimenting with spices?

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Mental Health Day

Today I let my son have a day off school – I call it a ‘mental health day’.  He is slightly off-colour, he has a slightly runny nose, a bit of a cough, a sore ankle and finger from rugby, but nothing serious enough to warrant a day off school.  But the last 2 weeks have been very busy, including the weekends, and he is tired, the poor little boy.


It all came to a head last night – he came home from rugby practice in a fragile mood – hungry, tired, irritable and cheeky– Tuesdays are a looong day for him.  It starts early – out of the house at 7am to get to school early for band practice before school starts.  He gets home at about 4pm, has a short break and some afternoon tea and then has to try and do some homework (reluctantly) before heading off to rugby practice from 6 – 7:30pm.  Home again by 7:50pm, dinner and shower and into bed by 9pm or thereabouts.  As I said, a looong day!

Last night, he was so tired and hungry that he just could not speak to anyone in a civil tone.  Every enquiry or comment was greeted with a sharp, sarcastic, annoyed rejoinder.  Our natural rebuke to this behaviour led to sulky tears.  He had clearly reached the end of his tether.  So this morning when he was awoken to go to school and didn’t want to get out of bed I decided to let him stay at home for the day.

I think that he needs the quiet time at home to de-stress and relax.  He is physically and mentally and emotionally drained and needs to re-group.  I consider that reason enough to let him have the day off school.  He is a good student and won’t suffer for missing out on one day.


So far, he has spent a couple of hours watching tv and is now inventing things using string and lego.  Later, I will ask him to complete a homework task, but already he is in much better mood and is once again the reasonable, pleasant, good-natured boy that he usually is.


What do you think – is a ‘mental health day’ now and again a good idea?

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Autumn Colours

Okay – Post No.2 – I’m trying out a new theme ……..

It’s a brilliant, sparkling autumn day in Sydney.  We’ve been having unseasonably warm weather this month, but I’m not complaining.  The days have been cool to start, warming up to a lovely sunny midday and then cooling again to a mild evening.

I wanted to celebrate the last of the colour in my garden.


Isn’t the pure purpleness of the Tibouchina just gorgeous!!

Sweet Intoxication

This is a rose called Sweet Intoxication.  It really lives up to it’s name – the perfume is sweet and rich and reminiscent of turkish delight.


I’m hoping these pansies/violas will stay around and continue to brighten my courtyard when winter sets in.

Iceberg rose

Nothing beats the beauty of a white Iceberg rose!!

Arum lily

Although, the perfection of this Arum Lily comes close ….


If only this lovely Camellia flower lasted longer before fading ….


More Camellias …


Love the vibrancy of  the colours of the Kumquats!!

Rosemary flowers

Even the Rosemary is beautiful !!


But, alas, this is the future … soon the garden will be covered in the fallen leaves of the neighbouring Liquid Amber tree.

Do you love flowers or foliage in your garden?


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Lamb and Barley Soup

Well, this is my first ever post and I’m experimenting …. more like winging it …

I thought that I’d start out with the recipe for a delicious Lamb and Barley soup that I made just the other day.  It’s a great warming dish to have on a cold autumn or winters day.



  • Approx 600g Lamb – all fat removed and diced to bite size chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 2 medium carrots – chopped
  • 1 large swede – diced
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup of pearl barley
  • 2 medium onions – diced
  • 2 cups chopped celery – I use the celery tops
  • 1 small silver beet – chopped
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat some olive oil in a deep heavy based pot.  Throw in the onion, garlic and celery and saute for a few minutes.  
  2. Add the lamb and brown the meat a little.


  1. Add all other ingredients (except the silverbeet).
  2. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours until the meat is soft.  Add more water if required.
  3. Add the chopped silver beet and bring back to the boil for 3 minutes until silver beet is soft.
  4. Add seasoning to taste.

I used a pressure cooker to make my soup, but the old-fashioned ‘cook it slowly’ method works just as well.

Note:  It’s important to cut off as much fat from the lamb as possible else the soup will be very oily as lamb tends to be a fatty meat.

ENJOY!!!!  My family and I did ….

Do you enjoy soups? Or, do you prefer hearty stews?

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