Tuesday, 16 October 2018

BLUEBERRY, WILD OATS & BANANA MUFFINS


Dear friends, beware, these are super healthy, in fact there is no sugar to be found in them, except of course in the fresh blueberries and bananas, oh and a little in the yoghurt. These are probably the kind of muffins you would find on the menu in a Healthy cafe in trendy Byron Bay (New South Wales) or Cairns (Queensland) but there they would be served with a drizzle of maple syrup or exotic homemade ice cream beside them.

 I don't count calories as such,  but it is Mr. HRK's birthday this weekend, which means some eating out and decadent treats, so this week we are pacing ourselves in anticipation. Do you do that, if not, I assure you it comes with the advancement of maturity, ha, ha. The weird thing is that when I am cutting back on sugar which I normally don't have a lot of anyway, my body just yearns for it, and these are perfect as they can be pulsed in the food processor in a jiffy, and cooked in 15 minutes. We ate these for brunch, however they are just as delicious for breakfast with coffee, or just for a snack in between meals. I found this recipe in the "CSIRO Healthy Gut" book and it intrigued me, as this isn't the way I normally cook, but these are a refreshing change, with all very healthy ingredients,  and a cinch to make.

Let's cook:

Preheat the oven to 200 deg. C. or 180 deg. C (fan-forced). I cooked mine in well greased silicon muffin trays, however paper lined muffin cases in a 12 hole muffin tray is a practical and attractive option.

Ingredients:

Makes 12

100 g natural Greek style yoghurt, lactose free if you must
2/3 cup (60g) raw rolled oats, not the fast cooking variety
2 bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
125 g punnet fresh blueberries
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Finely grated zest of 1 orange, preferably home grown but otherwise well washed

Method:

Place all of the ingredients except the blueberries, in the bowl of your food processor and pulse to just blend. The mixture will still be fairly coarse.

Fold the blueberries in gently.

Spoon the batter evenly into the paper cases, which will just half fill them, then bake for 15 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean. They need to be well cooked on top and set on the bottom.

Cool them in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.  They will need to be left in a silicon tray for at least 10 minutes, as the base will need to cool down and firm up because of the amount of fruit in the muffin. Carefully ease out from the muffin hole and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve with a dollop of yoghurt on the side, and a very light dusting of icing sugar if you wish. They should also keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days for snacking on.

Eat these, enjoy and feel healthy and guilt free.

Thanks for dropping by,

Best wishes

Pauline











Friday, 12 October 2018

Delectable Lime Syrup Cake


Aren't you just loving that limes are in season? I picked the limes for this cake fresh from my potted lime tree. I must tell you, our young mate Dylan who lives two doors up, came to visit just before, seemed a bit tired after a full week at school, he's in Grade 7, and obviously needed some sugar because he asked me, very politely, "Pauline have you baked anything nice this week?"...... I generally have some thing baked I can give him to try, he's a very generous critic, but unfortunately this time the pantry and the freezer were bare of sweet things.

However I can't have him thinking I have slackened off,  so I mentioned that I had hosted Mahjong again on Tuesday and I baked a pretty delicious Lime Syrup and coconut cake, thinking there would be quite a few slices left over, as only four ladies were available for Mahjong.

However Mr. HRK had other ideas, as he was going out later in the afternoon and needed to take some afternoon tea.  So the rest of the cake  went with him. Well Dylan's handsome little face dropped when I told him this, he missed out, however Mr. HRK's music friends loved the cake and now they all want the recipe. I think I'll have to make another one this weekend so that Dylan can have some, and I can have a second slice. Dylan's family travelled south for a wedding last weekend, and as a consequence I think his Mum may have put them all on a diet this last week after an indulgent weekend, as she is very health conscious, which is a good thing. Penny loves to cook though so Dylan is very well fed.



Let's Cook: 

LIME SYRUP CAKE

Ingredients:

125g butter, chopped
3 eggs, beaten at room temperature
3/4 cup milk at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 1/4 cups desiccated coconut

Delectable Lime syrup ingredients:

3 limes (1/2 cup lime juice)
Grated lime rind
1/2 cup white sugar

Let's cook:
Preheat oven to 180 deg. C. Lightly grease and line a 6cm deep, 22cm (base) springform cake pan with baking paper.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat or heat uncovered in the microwave on MEDIUM (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes until almost melted. Transfer to a bowl and stand for 1 minute to sightly cool. Add eggs and milk. Stir until combined.

Combine sifted flour, sugar, and coconut in a bowl. Add milk and egg mixture. Stir to combine. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Lime Syrup: 
Combine 1/2 cup lime juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring gently to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy and lightly coating the spoon. Stir in grated lime rind.

Pour hot lime syrup over hot cake. Allow cake to cool before releasing the sides of the cake pan. For decoration I then add some green zest to the top of the cake for a little freshness. Cut into slices and serve with fresh yoghurt.

 Also, I just have to say thanks to those friends who left a comment on my blog about the Beetroot Hummus, I really appreciate it. I almost didn't  post it as I thought I might have overdone it with hummus recipes, just a bit, as delicious as it is....however I wanted to have it there to access for myself anyway, but I'm glad so many people have checked it out.

Have a great weekend everyone and I hope you can find time to relax and enjoy some cake. I love this recipe so I'm looking forward to having some more. It's drizzling rain here with a couple of embedded storms coming across, which is wonderful, the first for quite a while so I can also feel a movie coming on later in the day.

Best wishes

Pauline


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Crispy Teriyaki Chicken Wings, they're delicious party food

Teriyaki marinade

Crispy Teriyaki chicken wings at a party are always delicious as finger food, and to my way of thinking they are definitely party food. I wouldn't cook them just for Mr. HRK and me now, however if the family or friends were visiting, well that is a different story. I used to cook them as a treat sometimes when the children were younger and lived at home, and as an easy meal with rice and a salad they also stretch the budget. I was planning ahead for a family party when I marinated these,  so they went into a large freezer bag until mid-September for the party. It is safe to freeze the marinated chicken wings for 6 months. They cooked beautifully on the night of the party and did the disappearing act. I was lucky to get a taste, let alone a photo. However my friends you all know what cooked chicken wings look like I'm sure, so I'm afraid you will have to use your imagination with this one.  Just take my word for it that they were finger lickin' good and so easy.

I paid $4.00 a kilo for these at Woolworths yesterday, but last week they were only $2.00 a kilo. Now that would be a bargain. At that price I am happy to prepare and cut them up myself. However if you are time poor and feeling cashed up, chicken wings already dissected can be purchased at Lenards Chicken for $10. 00 a kilo. I think they were also marinated though. That's quite a markup isn't it for only 20 minutes work, and I prefer to make my own  marinade as then I know what has gone into it. (Apologies, this was written a little while ago, I forgot that I hadn't posted it, so prices might have changed again.)

Ingredients:

2 kg chicken Wings (Approximately 21-24 wings) Or 24 if you want to count out exactly 24 wings
3/4 cup (180 ml) Teryaki sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 crushed cloves garlic
2 red cayenne chillis ( only 1 if they are a bit hotter), finely chopped, and deseeded
1 tablespoons brown sugar (I used Dark Muscovado sugar)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Cooking Notes:
*I only substituted the Dark Muscovado sugar because I had no Brown sugar (Oops, I was sure I had bought some)
*I substituted Ground ginger for the fresh stuff because we have recently dehydrated a lot of our home grown fresh ginger and it is amazingly fragrant and flavoursome

Preparation of the Wings:

Cut the chicken wings into three pieces at the joints. I thought this would be more onerous than it was. It only took me about 10 minutes all up. I removed all of the wing tips first and froze them, and then with a twist of both parts of the wing, it was easy to locate the soft part in the middle between the bones and slice through.
 

Reserve the frozen wing tips for another use such as making soups from scratch. I have frozen mine in small ziplock bags to use in my next batch of chicken stock.

Let's cook:

In a large bowl, combine the Teryaki sauce, peanut oil, ginger, garlic, chilli, sugar, sesame oil,and Chinese five spice. Add the chicken and toss with the marinade to coat all of the wing pieces.
Cover and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight in the frig.



Preheat your oven to moderately hot, 180 degrees C.

Drain the marinade from the wings and discard. Place the wings on an oiled cake cooling rack over a baking dish. I used an Alfoil baking dish to save washing up because of the amount of cooking I was doing. I think that one batch of wings was cooked directly in the alfoil baking dish and they worked out well.

Roast the chicken uncovered in the oven for about 40 minutes until cooked through and brown. Turn them once after 20 minutes if possible.

These are attractive to serve sprinkled with a few sesame seeds and a green garnish.

Have you started thinking about your Christmas menu yet? I think these wings might be on mine this year, after all they are easy party food.

Thanks for visiting,

Best wishes

Pauline














Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Beetroot Hummus, a delicious vegetarian dip



In Australia, Summer doesn't officially commence until December 1st and continues through the three hottest months of the year until the end of February. Here in North Queensland, though, it feels as if Summer has arrived, although by December 1st it will probably be much hotter, unless we receive some much needed rain. I think it's fair to say though that in my part of the world, the Barbecue season has begun, which also involves invitations to Barbecues at friend's houses. Different cultures have different ideas about what to take to a friends house when invited for a BBQ (the Aussie abbreviation for a barbecue), however here in North Queensland, we always ask what the host would like us to bring, which is generally some beer or a bottle of wine, or a salad, or a dessert, or just a dip. Beetroot Hummus isn't just a dip, it is the perfect dip to take and there is a fair chance that not many people there will have already tasted it, not one homemade from scratch anyway.

If I have time, I always make this dip from scratch, which involves buying the fresh beetroot from the Farmer's Markets, boiling them, allowing them to cool and then removing the skins, chopping them up, and whizzing them up in the food processor with the other ingredients. The flavours are earthy and sweet, and the colour is a vibrant rich pink, one of my favourite colours for lots of things. Beetroot hummus can also be made from tinned or bottled beetroot which is fine, but the natural earthiness of the beetroot is slightly camouflaged by the pickling vinegar. Take this to a BBQ or even to a dinner invitation with some flatbread, sourdough bread, chopped vegetables or even crackers, and it will be a winner. I try to keep a batch in the refrigerator as a snack in between meals if we are feeling peckish, as it is very healthy and keeps for a couple of weeks. It also freezes well. I hope you try this recipe this weekend as I know you will enjoy it.

Ingredients:

450g freshly cooked, cooled, peeled and chopped beetroot, or tinned or bottled chopped beetroot
400g freshly cooked chickpeas, or  tinned chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 2 for more of a tang)
2-3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

Place the cooled and chopped beetroot, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic in the food processor bowl and whizz up until thoroughly mixed to a paste.

Keep the motor running and slowly add the olive oil though the chute of the bowl. The mixture will thicken up and become smooth and start to develop some shape from the blades. Add a little more oil and lemon juice if it is still too thick.

Season with salt and pepper to your taste, mix again and spoon into your serving bowl.

Serve with warm sliced Turkish bread or Sourdough bread.

 I like to garnish mine with black and white sesame seeds and chopped parsley.



For more hummus recipes see:
Home made chickpea hummus
Parsley hummus

Add some pickled zucchini as well to the platter for extra pizazz.

What do you like to take to a BBQ if you are invited to one, and has your BBQ season started yet?

Hoping you have an enjoyable day in your part of the world, and keep smiling.

Best wishes,

Pauline




Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Slow Cooker Beef, Spinach and Date Tagine




Honestly, when I was precooking the combination of onion and garlic with the fragrant spices in this dish, the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and ginger, my mind drifted to our holiday a few years ago in amazing and exotic Granada in the south of Spain, just over the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco which is still on my bucket list by the way. The Moroccan style foods we ate in Granada were delicious including the tapas, and have probably given me the taste for Tagines and spicy vegetable accompaniments. Then I wandered to the famous spice markets in Istanbul, Turkey where the aroma from the piles of colourful spices are intoxicating. For my friends reading this who don't like eating dates in their food, and there are a couple, I actually think they could be left out of this dish. There is enough going on without them. 


Yoghurt topped Borani Banjan, ready to serve

And Borani Banjan

I served the  Beef Tagine with  Borani Banjan, which is the most delicious layered Afghan Eggplant dish. Recipe here. Laden with fresh herbs and garlic, fresh tomatoes and yoghurt, Mr. HRK really likes this one. Fortunately I had enough Japanese eggplants growing in my garden so that I could use young and fresh eggplant which is important for this dish. Otherwise I would have bought some from the Farmers markets where they are plentiful as well. I don't think the large eggplants from the supermarket are tender or young enough for this dish, unless you salt them first and are a seasoned eggplant connoisseur. We still have some fresh coriander growing as well, but it is only a matter of time before this goes to seed and then dies off with the heat. If you feel like going meat free, Borani Banjan is delicious eaten on its own with rice or couscous. Yum!

Why did I go to this much trouble? We were having our friends from Tennis over for the weekly after tennis Dinner Party which everyone takes turns with hosting. Now all of these people are good cooks, and I was in the mood for doing something a bit different and which could stretch easily to feed 9 people or even more in case a couple of extras turned up. On a good night there can be 14 to feed. A Beef Tagine came to mind, and one that I could cook a day ahead in the slow cooker. That way the flavours improve even more, and also it left me time to prepare the accompanying dishes on the day. I've cooked a few Tagines over the years, and I think this one is the tastiest yet. I based my recipe on one I found in the Australian Women's Weekly Best of Slow Cooking Cookbook which was originally for 6 serves. We enjoyed leftovers for the next couple of days, and also gave a couple of our  friends a takeaway container with leftovers.

Let's Cook:
Tonight's Tennis Dinner Menu

Beef, Spinach and Date Tagine
Borani Banjan
Couscous Salad with Fresh Mint, Coriander and Parsley
Jamie Oliver's Flatbread

Tagine Ingredients:
Serves 9-10
A 4.5 litre slow cooker

1.8kg Chuck or Beef Blade Steak chopped into chunks (It's cheaper if you chop it up yourself)

Chuck steak which Mr. HRK chopped up for me
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2  red onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 cups beef stock
600 g canned diced tomatoes
150g seeded dried dates
1 Bunch spinach, trimmed and chopped (270g after trimming)
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced preserved lemon rind
70g coarsely chopped roasted unsalted pistachios

Method:


  1. Toss the beef in the flour. Heat half of the oil and turn a large frying pan onto a high heat. Cook the beef  quickly in batches until browned on all sides being careful it doesn't stew. When browned, transfer the lot to the slow cooker bowl. You may need to add some more oil if the beef is sticking.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the same pan and a moderate heat. Cook the onion and the garlic, stirring together, until the onion has softened. During this process you will be scraping up the brownings from the base of the pan. This will give the tagine a fantastic flavour. Add the spices and stir until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir until the mixture boils.
  3. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker bowl with the rest of the stock and the tomatoes, and stir to combine. Cook in  your slow cooker on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours.
  4. Add the dates, spinach, and half the preserved lemon rind. Cook covered on high until the spinach wilts, about 10 minutes. Or this step could be added when the Tagine is reheated the following day like I did. Season to taste.

 I served this Tagine in my earthenware Moroccan Tagine pot, so here it is soaking in the bath a couple of days before I used it. If the bases are left for a long period of time without using them, the base will crack over high heat. Thankfully this has never happened to me.


When the Tagine needs to be kept hot on the day of the dinner, I place it in the base of the Tagine, cover it in foil and keep it warm in the oven at 90 degrees Celsius. Then I add the conical lid to the Tagine base and serve. If I had a gas stove, I would probably just keep it heated up on the stove top.

To serve, sprinkle the Tagine with pistachio nuts and the remaining preserved lemon rind. I bought a jar of Preserved lemons at a specialty grocery and fruit shop, and this is sliced finely on top of the Tagine. I served it with my Couscous salad and lots of fresh herbs (recipe).


Serve with flatbread to mop up all the delicious juices. We used Jamie Oliver's recipe to make these. Mr. HRK did a great job, making two separate batches, cooked on the BBQ, and flavoured with tarragon and rosemary infused olive oil. He prefers to do most of his cooking on the BBQ if he can. I think that it's a man's thing.

Flatbread dough


Home grown Tarragon and Rosemary infused olive oil



Flatbread cooking on the BBQ



If you try these recipes, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Thanks for dropping in,

Bye for now

Pauline

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Couscous Salad with Fresh Mint, Coriander, Parsley and Feta cheese


I made some healthy Couscous to accompany a Beef Tagine I was slow cooking, and then as happens in my kitchen, I thought the couscous looked rather boring and bland so I started adding ingredients from what I had and this is what I ended up with. I now had colour on the plate as well as a nutritious side dish.This salad is delicious, versatile and the  simple dressing gives it a nice zing. A dressed grain salad will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator, whereas a dressed green salad is often limp and inedible the following day. Couscous  salad can stand alone for lunch, or is a marvellous accompaniment to a spicy or Middle Eastern style dinner. Other vegetables can be added as well, such as sliced zucchini or sweet corn, after all it is basically a salad. I remembered this idea from a recipe I found here quite a while ago.

I picked this bunch of gerberas this morning from my garden which bring sunshine into the house. They really need breaking up into smaller plants, but now I can't bear to do it whilst they are flowering. I hope they make you feel happy as well.


With Summer approaching here in the Southern Hemisphere I will be making this easy Couscous meal on a regular basis. In the Northern hemisphere though, it can also be a healthy addition to accompany hot meals.

Serves 4-6.
Ingredients:
1 cup Wholemeal couscous
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup of finely chopped coriander
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
1/2 red onion, chopped very finely
1/2 cucumber chopped very finely
1/2 red capsicum, chopped very finely
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons finely crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Dressing:
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup, slightly warmed up so it is runny
Juice of 1 lemon and the zest
Good pinch of cumin.

Method:


Pour your couscous into a large heatproof bowl, add the boiling water and rest covered for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and fluff up with a fork.

Toss the finely chopped vegetables through the couscous and then add the herbs,  mixing through lightly.

To make the dressing, add the ingredients including cumin to a small glass jar, screw on the lid and give the jar a good shake. You could also use a small whisk to mix it all together. This isn't a complicated dressing so shaking it up in the jar works fine. Add a little salt and pepper to taste if you think it needs it. If this is being served with spicy foods I don't think it will need it.

Toss the dressing through the couscous and add the pine nuts.

Add the crumbled feta if you are using that. 

This is now ready to serve or store it in the refrigerator.

This will keep well, covered in the refrigerator for 5 days but it won't last that long.

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend wherever you are. I did a lot of cooking on Friday, so we are eating mostly leftovers this weekend, which just keep improving in flavour, and it makes for a nice relaxing weekend. I'll be ready to start cooking again on Monday. Do you sometimes like to have a weekend off from cooking as well?


Best wishes,

Pauline.









Monday, 24 September 2018

Butterflies and Tropical Splendour in Springtime at Cairns Botanical Gardens, FNQ

A Butterfly on a Red Pentas
Surrounded by beautiful butterflies and exquisite tropical orchids, I thought I was in Heaven, however I was in the Orchid House and the Butterfly exhibit at the Cairns Botanical Gardens, in Far North Queensland. The gardens are impressive to say the least. Coastal Cairns like most of Australia, hasn't had any rain, and yet the gardens have retained their tropical Springtime splendour. The Orchid House was our first destination within the Gardens because of my passion for Tropical orchids, and when I could bring myself to leave, we followed the well constructed paths and discovered lots more.  Are you feeling like a visit to the Tropics? Dear Friends, I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took along the way.


This butterfly was undeterred by the amateur photographer taking a close up shot.



Butterflies love Pentas. It's as simple as that.

Red Pentas flowers, loved by the butterflies
This Cochlic Stema Adoratissimum plant from the Orchid House, pictured below was just stunning, so stunning that I took three photos of it. If you live in Cairns, you too can grow this one.

A Cochlic stema adoratissimum









Yellow orchids always make a beautiful show.





A delicate yellow Aggregatum orchid below.






This purple soft cane dendrobium hanging modestly from  a branch was so impressive. One of my aims in life is to grow one to this size. Just beautiful.


A glorious display of Phalaenopsis.

Beautiful Begonias

Most orchid lovers have a Vanda or two in their collection. The purple one looks like one of mine, which unfortunately isn't in flower.






This trailing Button orchid is growing as an epiphyte on a tree with the neighbouring Tillandsias. Then I find the tranquility of the waterlillies in a glistening oasis in the Orchid House.





On venturing out into the gardens we found these red Brazilian beauties.

ACANTHACEAE. Megaskepasma erythrochlamys. Brazilian Red Cloak
One of the benefits for me from visiting Botanical Gardens, apart from enjoying the surrounding beauty of the plants, is also being able to identify and name  plants in my own garden. The Brazilian Red Cloak grows well in the rainforest section of our garden, despite often needing a hard prune back. My Mum who always lived in Rockhampton where I grew up, gave me a cutting of this many years ago however she didn't know what it was called, and neither did we. It was a bit spindly in her back yard garden in Rocky, however it has thrived at our place in Mackay in the more tropical environment. Obviously it thrives in Cairns and makes quite a show. It would do any backyard in a tropical habitat proud. It's full name is: ACANTHACEAE. Megaskepasma erythrochlamys or Brazilian Red Cloak from Venezuela, South America.

It's time to give the fabulous Friends of the Cairns Botanical Gardens a plug.

We were there on a Thursday, and the Friends had an impressive table, full of plants for sale, just near the kiosk. These had come out of a nursery of plants propagated by the Friends themselves and were selling for $8.00 each. We bought a few for ourselves which we are thrilled with, and also bought a couple for Shannon and Dan's new garden in Cairns. If you fancy any of the plants that you see in the Gardens for your home garden, within reason of course,  the Friends welcome meeting you and will walk back to their nursery and most probably have the plant you want. This is such an economical way of buying new plants  such as the Brazilian Cloak, which often aren't available through the commercial nurseries. We left feeling like very happy shoppers with a box full of plants.

Bromeliads

A massed variety of Bromeliads make quite a show, and whilst I couldn't take photos of all of them, this one stood out in the crowd. It is named Queen Mary which is rather nice and originates in Cost Rica. I presume it was discovered a long time ago. However  beware, these can become a very large plant.



I am always attracted to purple flowers in a garden, as are often the birds and the bees. The Petrea Mayensis beckoned me in to take a photo and reminded me of the beautiful Purple Salvia in my garden. This plant could be a must have for my garden one day if I can find a large enough spot for it to grow in.



I love these rich pink Medinillas, and different varieties are growing everywhere amongst the tropical foliage. I bought two varieties from the Cairns Friends during a previous visit to Cairns.



Pretty pink Torch Ginger

Heliconias


Ornamental Gingers are everywhere

Peace Lillies
White Peace Lillies or Spathophyllum lining a shaded pathway are quintessential to Botanical gardens and I love the serenity they project. These were all beautifully healthy and well cared for.

If I had stopped to take photos of all the beautiful plants in the Gardens I would still be there, and Mr. HRK long gone, ha, ha. However I left motivated, and enthused to revisit my garden at home and to just enjoy the pleasure that creating something special in the garden brings. I hoped you enjoyed some of the photos, and if you can, visit these glorious gardens at any time of the year,  you won't be disappointed.

The main reason for visiting Cairns was to celebrate our daughter's engagement to a wonderful young man, with an Engagement and Housewarming party. I've been alluding to that for a few weeks now. We had a wonderful time, and the food catering was a success. More about that later.

Thanks for stopping by,

Pauline