Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The super exciting things!

Advanced apologies for the lack of laughs in this one friends.

I am currently swallowing razor blades and leaking fluids from places they really shouldn't be (in the head region people, keep it clean, please!)... and it's not just part of some wannabe Houdini-esque show of strength and awesomeness, but instead, yes, the dreaded head cold.

It's raining, which is fabulous(!!), but also stressing me out mega-time as I'm supposed to catch a flight tomorrow and I'm envisioning ST having to dink both my suitcase and I (I'm thinking I'll strap it onto my head with some occy straps, but I'm open to suggestions) on the motorbike, through 40 kilometres of mud to reach the highway, where I'll probably have to flag some hopefully-not-an-axe-murderer down to hitch a ride to the airport 330km away... The unfortunate part of this is that I'm really not joking. It's possibly either this, or missing the flight. Ohhhh, the serenity.

But I digress! My reason for this unfunny post today is simply to update what's been happening in the worlds of both Bessie and Burragan recently. Those of you who follow the Facebook page would already be all over it, but I know I have some keen readers who haven't entered the dark, inescapable forest that is Facebook, so this one is for you!

These last few weeks I've been counting down some "Super Exciting Things"... there were three of them, to be precise.

SUPER EXCITING THING #1: Bessie at Burragan was blogged on one of Australia's biggest blogging websites, Mamamia!

They have more than 53,000 Facebook followers and were just awarded the Mumbrella award for Media Brand of the Year 2013. They're kind of a big deal.
The girls over at Mamamia have been sooooo lovely to me. I kind of wanna email myself to them for the day and feel the camaraderie of old when I used to work in a busy, fabulous, female environment... as in, one where I can actually reach out and tangibly touch people (aaghhh, holy inappropriateness, again!)rather than just read their words via the interwebs. Anyway, they were keen to re-blog my Trip To Town story on their site. And so they did!

Check it out here: Real Life Farmer Wants a Wife

It's now been shared on Facebook 930 times!! Holy craziness!

SUPER EXCITING THING #2: Bessie at Burragan was blogged in PRINT! I looooove print. It reminds me of my days as an intern at a large regional newspaper... and the wonder of first time I was published in a magazine. While the instantaneousness of blogging online is so, so, cool... what a treasure to have something in print! The gorgeous team over at The Horse Downunder Magazine wanted to share my blog, 21 Things I didn't know about living out bush, until I live out bush... And so they did! Pick up their current Winter edition from "all good newsagents" (ha! I've always wanted to use that line!)...

SUPER EXCITING THING #4 Mamamia asked for more! They had such good feedback from my first story that they asked to know the real story behind how ST and I ended up at Burragan. So Mamamia have a brand new, exclusive blog from me up on their site right now!

You won't see this one on my blog, so please click this link to read all about it, and find the space down the bottom where you leave adoring comments: Could you do THIS for love?

OK so that's all the exciting things! Oh except that I accidentally put a number 4 there at the end, instead of number 3... Oh, that's right! I haven't told you about number 3 yet!

Well... maybe I'll let you in on the little secret... if I can just catch that flight tomorrow...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cheater, cheater... cake mix eater!

I want to talk about cooking. Now, before you roll your eyes, let me explain… I don’t blog much about cooking because, in all honesty, I feel there are already so many other beautiful, creative blogs out there already doing such a good job of it, I don’t really have anything new to add to that world.

I do love cooking. Very much. Almost as much eating. And really you’d be slightly stuffed in the world of “station wife” if you didn’t at least slightly, sliiiightly not want to die at the thought of cooking – it’s kind of a big part of the role!

I am the kind of cook who actually gets physical and mental enjoyment out of something that has taken painful hours or days to construct… whether that be the monotonous stirring of rich, homemade custard which will later become real, authentic ice-cream, or meticulous moulding, cutting, shaping and baking of a decadent, layered birthday cake… I’m the girl who makes Burragan beef spring rolls or Asian chicken wontons from scratch, and hosts Indian or Mexican themed nights (for just ST and the dogs so far, but neighbours, you’d be welcome!) right down to the handmade roti and pickled home-grown eggplant sides. I even make my own sweet fruit buns, fruit roll ups, and buttermilk... because doing it the other way (read: buying it from the shops) is “cheating”... (read: not always an option).

And yes, that image above is a bounty from my extensive veggie patch.

But let’s be realistic here. As a station wife the consumers of our kitchen creations are usually men. And when we’re dealing with men, and animals, and isolation… anything is possible, and likely. It’s likely as soon as you put that marinated duck in the oven to roast, you’ll get a call on the UHF to the furthest paddock to help pull a stuck cow out of a boggy dam. It’s likely you’ll end up with a dining table full of unexpected hungry helpers, when you’ve only defrosted enough lamp chops for two. It’s likely you’ll only be told about tomorrow’s all-day fencing expedition (which will require a pre-packed smoko and lunch) at 10pm after you’ve brushed your teeth and taken your contact lenses out and have one foot sans slipper and half into bed. And it’s likely your last two laying hens will have been killed in a vicious wild cat attack and you will be severely lacking in eggs… and anything else that’s half useful in the world of cooking.

So, in the spirit of keeping it real, let me share with you my biggest, best “CHEAT’S and CHEATERS, CHEATY-McCHEAT-CHEAT” recipes and tips on how to look like a kitchen pro, when really you’re a blubbering mess, savouring cake batter off the beaters at a quarter past midnight and hoping your husband doesn’t catch you.

Tip 1) CHEAT’S CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE: Suitable as a cake or a pudding, this diverse recipe can be adapted to suit all your cake and pudding needs. Best of all! It only takes 10 minutes, max.

You will need: 1 packet homebrand cake mix (chocolate or vanilla), 1 packet instant pudding mix (chocolate or vanilla), 300ml milk, 2 eggs, 1 cup choc chips (dark or white)… and for the vanilla version, add half a cup of coconut if you’re feeling up to it.

What to do: Mix all together. Put in greased silicone ring tin. Microwave on high for up to 8 minutes. Vwwaalah!


You will need: 1 cup Self Raising Flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup milk.

What to do: Mix. Bake (25-30 minutes in a medium oven if you wish… but there’s nothing wrong with the 8 minute microwave version either, baby, yeah!) Eat.


You will need: 1 cup yoghurt (any flavour!) 1 cup Self Raising Flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup of anything you choose (as in.. choc chips, dried fruit, crumbled biscuits etc… no metal shavings, please.)

What to do: Mix. Bake (see above). Eat.

Tip 4) CHEAT’S ICING: When one can’t be effed icing a cake… one keeps those little tins of passion-fruit pulp in the pantry. One upends one’s tin all over one’s cake, and one looks like one went to a lot of trouble!

Tip 5) PASTA: Pasta is filling. Pasta is delicious. Pasta is SO ADAPTABLE (well, except for the celiacs. Sorry folks.) And there are SO MANY pasta sauces that can be made by the time your pasta has boiled… that’s 12 minutes guys! Think about the possibilities…

- Ham/bacon/chicken, garlic, onion, chicken stock, peas/zucchini/broccoli, white wine, cheese.
- Ham/bacon/chicken, garlic, onion, chicken stock, peas/zucchini/broccoli, cream/evaporated milk.
- Salami, garlic, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, red wine.
- Beef/lamb, garlic, onion, mushrooms, capsicum, tomatoes, herbs, olives.
- Chilli, oil, garlic, fresh parsley.
- Ham/Bacon, garlic, cheese, white wine, eggs.

Get creative! It doesn’t have to have a million ingredients and be slow cooked since 6am to be totally yummy. Really all you need is garlic!

Tip 6) LET THEM STARVE: This trick has been working for centuries… pretend you’re too busy, tired and stressed to cook anything. Don’t get any meat out to defrost for dinner. Don’t even be anywhere near the kitchen when hubby gets in from the paddock. When you’re pressed on, “What’s for dinner?” several hours after dark, after beers, after TV and relax time, be sure to answer, “Ohhhh, well, I hadn’t really thought about it.”

One will hear the sizzling of steak (or inhale the scent of burnt toast) in no time.

So there’s the Top 6 I can think of off the top of my brain… what are yours?