Saturday, 29 June 2019

Classic Carrot Cake with lots of Cream Cheese Frosting, It's a Birthday Celebration



When a friend is cooking dinner, and you discover it's also their birthday the following day, what do you take to dinner besides a bottle of wine, a birthday cake for dessert of course. Look carefully, as yes there is a delicious Carrot Cake hiding under all of the edible flowers, fruit and foliage my friends. A smorgasbord of decoration is what happens when a cake is taken to a birthday dinner party and as I start decorating the cake,  a well meaning friend also starts adding strawberries of the large variety, and before I know it, we have a very colorful and well decorated cake. It did look beautiful though through the glow of the 6 birthday candles (not in the photo), one for every decade. During all of this fun and excitement though, photographing the final result needed to be very quick and the strawberries rose up to take centre stage. Deservedly so in a way, because they are the sweetest strawberries that can be found in Mackay, purchased from a local farm truck supplied with fruit and vegetables from  Fresh As Sweet As.  Another friend at the Dinner gave me some home grown Nodding Violets, the beautiful blue flowers in the photo, and with a couple of nasturtium flowers, and some nuts adorning a Cream Cheese Frosting  we have a decorated cake.

But what about the Carrot Cake? Jenny baked this cake for me for my birthday back in February, and I have been obsessing with baking it ever since then. It is that good, and is a large cake, deliciously moist, and can feed 16 people very easily. There is real value in that.  And it is a cinch to make. I am generally the person who enjoys cooking cakes for other people for various reasons, and when someone makes me a cake as a surprise it is extremely special. So I was very happy to bake this cake for John, and he was so excited. Last night 11 people ate reasonably sized cake portions and there was still a lot left over, which the birthday boy can enjoy during the week. The main course cooked by John was also delicious, Roast Lamb purchased from the local award winning Freckle Farm  butcher, Roast vegetables, all cooked to perfection and served with a red wine jus and a shredded fresh beetroot salad. A perfect meal, and most of it from local suppliers.

I really recommend this cake to you my friends, everyone needs a delicious carrot cake in their repertoire, and with lots of leftovers.

Let's Cook Cake:

Serves 15-16 people

Ingredients:

3 cups plain flour
2 cups castor sugar
1 teaspoon salt (can be omitted)
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1 cup undrained crushed pineapple
2 cups grated carrot (approx. 2 large carrots)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups salad oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer pecans although I threw some chopped walnuts on the icing)

Method:

Grease either a 23cm square tin or  2 x 8" round tins, and line with baking parchment.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

Add the wet ingredients, then the chopped nuts.

Allow an hour for the cake to cook in the large square tin, less for the round tins, depending on your oven. Keep an eye on it as every oven is different.

Cream Cheese Frosting: (love this)

250 gram block of softened cream cheese
50 gram unsalted softened butter
2 cups sifted icing sugar

Method:

In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer and beat the cream cheese and butter together until pale.
Add the icing sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.
Spread the frosting over the cake, and sprinkle with extra chopped nuts, or edible flowers or whatever decoration you prefer. I made the cake on Thursday, iced it on Friday and then kept it stored in the refrigerator in a covered container as the weather warmed up and I couldn't risk the icing starting to melt, and running down the cake. It is a good idea to decorate with the fresh decorations just before serving.



However dear reader, it hasn't been all smooth sailing bringing this cake to fruition. I had committed to baking the cake, and then on Tuesday two days before I planned to make it, I had a kitchen accident. I hit my left little toe against the corner of the kitchen cupboard next to the stove, ouch$^&*(#, not broken I hoped, but certainly badly sprained and bruised. I have done it before in the kitchen, early in the morning when I wasn't wearing shoes, lesson learned. How can something so small be so painful?  I knew it would take.a week to completely heal and hoped that after the first couple of days I would be able to tolerate wearing a sock inside a sandal with adjustable straps. So on Thursday, with a still tender foot in a sock and a sandal, I made this cake. I opted to make the square one, with the cream cheese frosting just because I wasn't feeling like fussing with a layered cake. However, this cake also works beautifully  baked in 2 x 8 " round sandwich tins, and joined together by Lemon icing or Cream Cheese frosting. For afternoon tea I  use lemon icing, however for dessert, Cream Cheese Frosting or cream is a must.

So dear friends, are you like me and have really hurt your foot or suffered another injury, just before you plan to do some serious cooking? I know it's cliche, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going, particularly in the kitchen don't you think, or do you just cancel if necessary?

Best wishes

Pauline



Thursday, 27 June 2019

Green Cabbage Sauerkraut, another batch for Winter




In the Queensland Tropics and warmer climates, Sauerkraut needs to be fermented in Winter, as the fermentation process doesn't activate well in the heat.  The cabbage becomes soft and not as crisp as it should be, and the fermentation process which should noticeably begin at least on the 3rd day after the process begins, can take longer and be slow and not as effective. During a successful fermentation, it is so exciting to see the brine which the cabbage is immersed in begin to bubble up and rise to the top of the bottle or crock that I am using to ferment my sauerkraut. There has been  a lot of discussion on social media lately about making sauerkraut, probably because it is Winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and everybody has their own way of doing it.  It is great to see that so many of us have become interested in perfecting this process in our own kitchens, as the health benefits to our gut are enormous, and it also tastes great with a lot of the meats that we eat. It is also a lot more economical than buying it from the supermarket.

One chopped cabbage, room for another one. The carrot has given this batch the orange colour.
I took a couple of shortcuts during this latest batch and was experimenting as I used a large Fermenting crock which our lovely friends Paul and Jenny lent me, and two whole chopped cabbages still didn't completely fill it. That's a lot of cabbage. Instead  of all that slicing and chopping by hand, I used the food processor to chop the cabbage, and this was much less time consuming, and less dangerous. For the previous batches I have made, I used the largest glass Moccona coffee jars which I found at the Tip Shop, which had worked beautifully but in smaller batches.

This glass crock easily takes two whole green chopped cabbages, and even more if you have it, however it is important leave some room at the top of the vessel for the brine to fill when it bubbles up and ferments.

Still chopping.


This is the box that the Sauerkraut crock lives in when not in use. It is a Mortier Pilon Sauerkraut Crock, in case you are interested.

This is my standard recipe that I use now for making basic Sauerkraut and I don't deviate from it. This amount of salt results in a very active fermentation, and just the right Sauerkraut flavour. The health benefits contained in this beautiful bottle of goodness are enormous.The salt needs to be very good sea salt or rock salt though, Saxa iodised salt just doesn't cut it. I tend to use Himalayan Rock salt most of the time.

Measure 1 tablespoon of salt to 800 g. of cabbage, and add 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds. All cabbages are a different weight, and the amount I use depends on what container I am using for the batch of sauerkraut. I always weigh the cabbage, and then use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 800 g of cabbage. We like the flavour of caraway seeds so I add 1tablespoon of Caraway seeds to each batch, and throw in a sprinkle of mustard seeds for good measure. Other seeds that you like the flavour of can be substituted though. I also like to add a grated carrot to mine for extra flavour and colour, but this is optional. If you grow nasturtiums, why not add a few leaves as well, for extra interest.and they also act as mould inhibitors in your sauerkraut, but aren't essential.

Green Cabbage Sauerkraut recipe

Ingredients:

1 small white or red cabbage, rinsed, cored and cut into small wedges which will fit in the chute of your food processor (approx. 800g cabbage)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Sprinkle of Mustard seeds
1 tablespoons Himalayan Salt Flakes (Depending on weight of cabbage, see note above)
(You can also substitute the caraway seeds  or add to the caraway seeds with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds or white peppercorns if you prefer those flavours or just happen to have those  spices on hand. They will be fermented in the process.) Besides adding  amazing  flavour  to your  ferment, the spices act as mould inhibitors or at least slow it down.
1 grated carrot (optional)




Method:

I shredded the cabbage in my food processor which saves so much time, or if you want to replicate the way sauerkraut has been made during previous European generations, you can either slice it finely or grate it by hand.

Place the cabbage in a large glass bowl and add the caraway seeds and the salt and toss the seeds and the salt through the cabbage with clean hands. I also added a sprinkle of mustard seeds as they are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories such as selenium and magnesium.

 Let this powerful brew sit for 30 minutes to activate the juices.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into your crock or large glass jars, allowing at least an inch or 3cm at the top of each mixture for juices and expansion because I assure you it will rise  to  the  top of the jar. It's alive.

Press down gently on the cabbage in the crock or glass jar with a wooden implement similar to a mortar which will fit through the mouth of the jar, forcing the briney juices to the top of the cabbage. I very gently used my granite mortar as Mr. HRK is making me a wooden one, and the juices from the cabbage rose to the top as expected. This process is so fulfilling, to see the shredded cabbage condense together, and the brine rise to the top to cover the cabbage. This is essential, and if this doesn't happen you need to add a little purified water, however if the cabbage has been correctly salted you will have enough brine.



The cabbage then needs to be weighed down so that the juices stay at the top and the fermenting process can begin. I use the trimmed core of the cabbage to weigh down the shredded cabbage and help the juices rise above it. A thick cabbage leaf can also be placed on top and pressed down leaving space above it for the juices to rise, and they do as you can see in the photos below. In the crock, I then place the weight that is provided on top of the cabbage leaves and the process begins. In large bottles, the core of the cabbage and the cabbage leaves are enough to fit the top of the bottle snugly. weigh down the cabbage and allow the juices to sit at the top.







Seal your crock or bottle loosely and keep at room temperature for 3 days. I open mine each morning to check that it is fermenting and to release the carbon dioxide, and you will see the bubbles moving. I also push the cabbage down each day forcing more juices to the top and ensuring the vegetables stay submerged.The longer you leave it to ferment, the more sour and distinctive the flavour will be.

If you feel that your ferment really is drying out, it is important to only use filtered water to top it up as the chlorine in tap water will kill the bacteria needed for fermentation.

Your crock of sauerkraut can then be bottled and moved to the frig after 3 days, or a week at the most,  where it will keep for several months, and the flavour will develop during this period however it can be eaten within a week, or even earlier if you are desperate to try it. Have 10 large warm sterilised jars ready to bottle your sauerkraut, for 2 cabbages worth of sauerkraut. When adding the sauerkraut mixture to each bottle, press it down, forcing the juices to the top of the bottle. The cabbage will absorb  more of the liquid when refrigerated.

I also bottle up the fermented cabbage leaves  in some brine, and often use them in my Beef, Sauerkraut, and Mango Chutney Goulash, delicious and very nutritious.



The photo below is from a previous batch where I used just a large  Balls jar to ferment a small batch. It worked ok as well.



 The level of the cabbage moves up to the top of the jar as the cabbage ferments, and is weighed down by cabbage leaves.

Making sauerkraut has been firmly embedded in European and American cultures for centuries because of the food preservation advantages and the health benefits, however it is interesting that we are only just starting to really embrace it in our own kitchens in Australia. It is so inexpensive to make at home as cabbages are also cheap at this time of year. The jars of sauerkraut available to buy in the shops are very expensive and often say that they use a starting culture to activate them, I'm not sure what that is but it's not necessary in my kitchen.

If you would like to experiment more, these are some other sauerkrauts I have made, and I especially like the spicy one.

Spicy Kraut link:

Purple Sauerkraut link:

Chopped Vegetable Ferment in Lovely Layers link:

I would love to hear from you with any other fermenting tips and tricks you may have.

Have fun in your kitchen,

Best wishes
Pauline.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Our Bee and Butterfly Friendly Tropical garden, some Exciting News, and a Delicious Quiche Recipe for you


Salvia, a perennial plant, loved by bees
We have been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, this time of the year in the
Tropics is beautiful one day, perfect the next. The mornings and evenings have turned quite cold here for us, 7 degrees minimum, but the days are sunny and clear. It is so relaxing and energising to be outside that I took some photos yesterday which I hope you will enjoy.  We have been focusing on planting annuals and perennials that our European and  visiting Native bees will be attracted to, and some herbs and vegetables,  and it is all coming together nicely. The birds and the butterflies are benefiting as well.


Basil is a mainstay in our garden, I can't have enough of it, and now that we have a beehive of busy European bees, I have let some of the bushes flower and go to seed, as the bees love the flower nectar. The native bees fly in from their hives to feast as well. Basil bushes look attractive in flower, however the bushes can become straggly, so they will need to be pruned back after flowering or just replaced if they become very woody. I haven't had much luck with sweet basil plants lately, however the Thai basil is very hardy, and is very flavoursome for making pesto. I'll be giving the sweet basil a try again soon though.


Do you remember this resilient old fashioned plant, the Coleus, which probably grew in your Grandmother's, Mother's or Aunt's garden? I think it is making a comeback and I don't know why it fell out of fashion from a lot of gardens in the first place as it is so colourful and the bees love the flowers. Frank the owner of our favourite local nursery, Country Garden's Mackay, recommended we grow it to attract the bees and they love it. It is a cinch to grow anywhere, takes very easily from cuttings, and is heat tolerant. I'm not sure how it would tolerate frost though as we don't get frost here. If you know anyone who is growing a Coleus plant, ask them if you can have a cutting or slip, plant it in the ground, and it should grow. Gardeners love to share. It needs to be pruned into shape regularly though as it grows quickly.



This pretty pink flower is a Buddleia. It is the first time we have grown it,  and we remember it growing like a weed in England, however Frank assures us it will be be a Bee magnet in our garden without any risk of it spreading like a weed, as it does overseas.



In this section of our sunny garden, the Buddleia, the purple Salvia, and the red salvia all invite the bees and the butterflies to visit. The large leafy caladiums provide a colourful contrast and the sunbirds love playing on their leaves after a heavy dew or a shower of rain as the water clings to the leaves and forms mini swimming pools for them to play in. Sorry I don't have a photo of the birds frolicking in the sun, you will just have to take my word for it. In the bottom righthand corner, are the last of the May flowering Chrysanthemums,  and some of my purple ground orchids flower all year round.

Our decorative and functional Garden wall.


The Garden Wall showcasing potted petunias is Mr. HRK's masterpiece and design. We also have lots of lilac and pink Pentas growing along the base of it.  The Pentas is a very hardy tropical plant, that the butterflies love, I am never without it.The bees fly around the Pentas but they are more drawn to the nearby basil and salvia at the moment. Orange, red and yellow Celosias in the square pot  at the end of the Garden Seat, also designed and constructed by Mr. HRK, make another nice show but don't seem to attract the insects. They just look pretty and self germinate very easily.


Our backyard Golden Penda, a tropical rainforest tree, is in flower at the moment and our bees think they have gone to Heaven. We watch them fly back to the hive covered in beautiful Golden pollen. The local Lorikeets haven't visited the tree this time so the bees can feed off the flowers uninterrupted. Whilst it's enjoyable to see the beautiful Lorikeets in the tree, they are aggressive feeders and the flowers and the leaves litter the ground after a Lorikeet feeding frenzy. The flowers also make a nice floral bouquet, if you can reach them.



Here is the Brazilian Red Cloak bush which makes a colourful addition to the backyard rainforest section of our garden, flowering in June. Whilst I don't think it is a Bee magnet, it provides a lot of beautiful red colour. Like all perennials, it responds to a good pruning after flowering.



Comfrey, or the Knitbone plant, is a perennial herb which has a long history of being used as a poultice for healing and for other medicinal uses. It's strong root system also adds valuable nutrients to the soil. I chop up the leaves and add them straight to the garden as a compost or add them to the compost heap to accelerate the composting process.  Once you have it in your garden, you will never be without it. As an added bonus, the insects love the pretty lavendar flowers.

Mr. HRK and I visited the local Riverside city markets in Mackay last Wednesday and came home with some vegetable and herb seedlings from a local grower who germinates his own and they always produce excellent plants. We don't have a large vegetable garden now, but we grow what we enjoy eating and what suits our climatic conditions.It is always a pleasure to pick some organic produce in season that we have grown ourselves.Yesterday we planted spring onions and climbing beans, and I repotted my mint and added a fresh plant to the mix and placed it in a sunnier position. In Summer it will be moved back into a protected spot. Mint is such a wonderful addition to so many dishes and drinks. We grow a lot of herbs, which I am adding to our food on a daily basis, and they also save us a lot of money.



A plate of radishes picked straight from our garden yesterday. I buy Mrs. Fothergill's seedling strips and plant those, and they have never failed. It's a fast crop and the radishes aren't as spicy as those purchased from the supermarket. Delicious and fresh.

I also thought I would share with you one of my favourite quiche recipes, because if you have been outside gardening all morning like me, something quick, easy and nutritious is the way to go.

Quick and Easy Spinach Quiche in a dish


I have just quickly made this quiche for lunch. It took no time at all and is delicious. This one is a cinch to make. If you have fresh spinach or silverbeet on hand, by all means use that, however, defrosted spinach from the freezer is easy to use and always on hand. This is perfect for a quick and easy weekend meal and serves 4. Take out the spinach a few hours in advance if possible to defrost, or use your microwave.

Ingredients:

4 eggs
100ml creme fraiche
100g grated Parmesan cheese or other flavoursome cheese
2 spring onions, diced
150g of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (1/2 a packet)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg




Method:

Preheat your oven to 170 deg. C and lightly grease an ovenproof dish or use separate ramekins.
Whisk together the eggs and creme fraiche in a medium size bowl.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and season with a little salt and white pepper.
Pour the mixture into your baking dish and cook in the oven for about 25 minutes. If you are using ramekins, bake for 10 minutes less.




Serve with a fresh salad for a light nutritious lunch.

Now for our exciting news. Last Saturday, we became Grandparents again, to beautiful little twins, a boy and a girl named Finn and Evie.  Being twins, they were born a few weeks early but thankfully healthy, however this week has been one of daily updates on their progress, lots of phonecalls from family and friends, and planning our visit to meet them. It's been busy. Premature twins require a lot of careful and tender care, however hopefully they will be able to go home tomorrow, after starting to gain some weight and overcoming a little jaundice. Our little Grandson Hugo, is so excited about his new brother and sister. We are ecstatic, and relieved that everyone is well.

I wish I was a better knitter, so that I could be making lots of warm items of clothing for our little darlings as they live in a cold Winter climate. That just might be my next challenge.

Best wishes

Pauline





Saturday, 8 June 2019

How to make Aussie Campfire Damper in a Camp Oven, simple and rustic




The weather in the Tropics started cooling down recently, so we went camping in the Great Outdoors. To make a damper in a Camp Oven, there first needs to be  a roaring, crackling evening campfire, which then burns down overnight to a bed of glowing, red hot coals. This can take all night, although someone might need to add a little more wood to the fire around three o'clock in the morning, so that it doesn't burn out. That would be a travesty, as we were depending on those perfect hot coals to provide the setting to make a bread damper for morning tea.

We're home now after an enjoyable camping holiday at Blencoe Falls and Murray Falls in Far North Queensland, followed by a road trip to Cairns and Cooktown.  One of the highlights of the trip for me was breaking in their new cast iron Camp Oven with Shannon and Dan and experimenting with making  a campfire Damper. Mr. HRK and I have both made damper  a long time ago when he was in the School Army Cadets and I was in the Girl Guides, the technique is still much the same, not that I can remember much about way back then LOL. When we camp, we enjoy the luxury of very comfortable and warm beds, great sleeping bags, comfortable chairs, a good if quite antique BBQ stove and a great tent. We also have a very good car frig so we can take a lot of food with us, which often includes pre-prepared frozen meals which only require reheating in a pot. Breakfasts are cooked from scratch, after all an Aussie brekkie of bacon, eggs, tomato, toast and perhaps sausages are a must. 

This is the view of the river beside our campsite, very easy to enjoy.




We set ourselves a challenge to cook a perfect damper by the end of the camping trip. We had four days and made four dampers and were very happy with all of them really, but the last one was as close to perfect as we could get.

When you work damper too much, all of the air is pushed out, and the damper becomes dense.The perfect damper is golden and crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and dripping with melted butter and golden syrup. However you might prefer honey, maple syrup, or your favourite jam. The first two were made with 1 cup of plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder, as I had run out of SR flour,  however they didn't rise as much as I hoped. We purchased some self raising flour at the very good IGA supermarket in Cardwell, on the way to Murray Falls,  and that made all the difference. I don't think the baking powder, which was fresh by the way, was dispersed through the plain flour enough to act as a rising agent. It needed to be sifted through. So from now on, Self Raising flour it is.

Damper Ingredients:

2 cups SR Flour
Pinch of salt
Water

Let's make Damper:
  • In a bowl, add 2 cups of self-raising flour and a pinch of salt
  • Slowly add water from the jug and mix gently with a wooden spoon until the ingredients start to combine and form a dough
  • The dough now needs to be mixed together, not kneaded. Using your hands, yes your clean hands, cup the ingredients in your hands, and slowly work the dough until you get a nice round damper shape.

Shannon and I are making the damper in our outdoor and very happy camp kitchen.

Mix. Don't knead.


  • Place the damper onto a lightly floured trivet covered with foil and put the lid on the camp oven.

Time to put the damper in the oven!

Cook for about 20-25 minutes in hot coals, not a fire.



(Heat beads could also be used if you needed to. If using heat beads, a rough estimate would be to use around 10 heat beads on the bottom and 14 on the top of a 9QT camp oven. )

Our first damper is ready to eat and it's pretty good. It could have been slightly browner though.





The second Delicious Damper we cooked was left in the pot longer, and was crispier on the outside and quite fluffy inside. It was all eaten. This quantity was enough for the four of us for morning tea,



Hot Damper delicious with Golden Syrup
Mr.HRK loves camping and is having a wonderful time in his camp chair beside the beautiful creek eating hot damper, smothered with Golden Syrup.



Now the real fun begins. The men decided that perhaps the coals needed to be hotter with a little flame as well and that we should leave the damper in the pot a bit longer to crisp up more. I was filled with scepticism, however it was soon forgotten as we went swimming in the beautifully clear but chilly creek open to the public which flows from Murray Falls. I could smell the damper before I saw it and knew it was charred on the outside, which can be how damper turns out in the best scenario. I think this charred damper reminded Mr. HRK of his school cadet damper days, and not to be deterred he scraped off the burnt bits, and surprisingly the inside dough tasted amazing. 

Slightly burnt but still delicious
So we had four attempts at making damper, all with slightly different results, but all delicious. We made another one after the burnt offering the day before and it was as good as it would get. Everyone agreed that a camp oven, on a bed of hot coals, with hot coals scatted over the lid and cooked for 25-30 minutes, yields the best results. Just increase the ingredients to feed a crowd of campers. Damper definitely needs to be eaten hot on the day of baking.

Beautiful Blencoe Falls

Blencoe Falls, in the Girringun National Park,  is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Australia, plunging 90 metres to the waterhole below, and then cascading a further 230 m to the bottom of Blencoe Gorge. It is located off the Bruce Highway, 110km south-east of Mount Garnet, and 90km north-west of Cardwell. We turned of at Cardwell in North Queensland and drove for two hours up the Kirrama Range Road through lush tropical rainforests, where we saw lots of small waterfalls escaping from the forest and an echnida on the road.

This is the view from the Kirrama Range lookout to the Coral Sea, overlooking lush sugarcane fields and farmland. 


Blencoe Falls, a wonderful sight following tropical rain









It's time for a picnic lunch of wraps, ham and salad, overlooking the Falls.

Enjoying the view and the serenity


Below in the tree is a possum who visited our campsite each night. Of course he was hoping to be fed but we didn't oblige.  He was quite tame and would wander around the table where we were sitting playing cards and brush up against our legs. So cute, but not cuddly.

Majestic Murray Falls in Girramay National Park

Murray Falls, located about 30 minutes by car North of Cardwell, look carefully for the sign, is a cascade waterfall on the Murray River. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Wet Tropics, on the Cassowary Coast. This was our second camping spot, and we loved it. The swimming in the clear mountain river below was chilly but invigorating and relaxing.




The river flows over naturally sculpted granite, which become very slippery. Trees and native plants  can be seen growing out of the granite.


Mesmerising.



The walk up to the Murray Falls Lookout is very easy on an established walking path. Signs implore everyone not to climb over the railings onto the rocks or enter the water. Quite a few people have lost their lives attempting to climb over the rocks to swim around Murray Falls


Did I mention the Cassowary Coast in the Wet Tropics where we were? Look for the blue in the photo below and you will see the Cassowary, a large flightless bird native to New Guinea and the North Queensland Wet Tropics. Yes we saw one. It is an icon but a sadly endangered species. We don't have many good photos of this very large native Australian bird as to get too close is to risk your life. He visited our campsite at Murray Falls each morning at Breakfast time and again for Dinner, hoping to be fed. To feed them is to risk a fine of $3,000.00 and also to risk your life as their large claws are lethal. Thankfully when we waved our arms at him and  told him to leave he left without too much resistance. I found our car was a good refuge when he came too close. However he is a beautifully coloured bird and it is still a thrill to see them in the wild. A tourist at the campsite next to us was holding a burger bun and thought she could have a game with him, however the Cassowary saw the bun and her as purely a food source and it very nearly ended badly. Dan to the rescue, and he rushed over and shooed the Cassowary away, after the very frightened young lady had already thrown the bun at the big bird.





Here I am contemplating the tranquillity and beauty beside the  clear creek running off Blencoe Falls.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our camping escape into the Wet Tropics as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. Have you ever seen a Cassowary in the wild and do you enjoy camping?

Thanks for dropping by,

Pauline