Emus make me smile! A Very Random post!

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There was a story on the news the other night Monday the26th November about a couple of Emus wandering the suburban streets of Sydney, and then 2 days later another emu was on the loose in Devon England, trying to get into peoples homes, another unlikely place for an EMU! It reminded me how funny these big flightless birds are and how much I love them. They are peculiar creatures, I mean look at that face!! So I thought I would share some thoughts to make you smile too!

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They are truly Aussie..  they are larrikins but you don’t want to mess with them. They are very inquisitive animals,  Sometimes they curiously poke other animals and then run away after getting  a reaction, like a little game! if they are being attacked from above by Hawks or Eagles  they run off in a zig zag pattern which I think would be pretty funny to see! The Females are typically larger and they are more aggressive than the males when courting. Whilst courting they become more attractive by growing a darker plume of feathers and some of the skin patches under their eyes turn bright blue.

The female will perform a dance for the male circling him with her neck turned but rump always facing him. If the Male likes this female he will peck the ground a bit then go and sidle up to the female, swaying his body and neck from side to side and then rubs up against her!! I am sure I have seen this dance in night clubs!!

They are on our coat of arms, feature in many a childrens book, are part of Aboriginal Mythology Even have a beer named after them!

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One Aboriginal Dream time story is that the Emu Spirit used to fly above the earth in the heavens back in the time when the earth was only illuminated by stars, she noted the creation of land, rivers, plants and animals and marvelled at it s beauty.The Emu thought to herself this earth is way too beautiful to be cloaked in darkness so she sacrificed one of her eggs into the sky and tapped it open with her beak as the yoke flowed from the egg into the sky the land became illuminated in gold light and this became the first sunrise.

If you didn’t like emus before I hope you do now, quite often they get over looked because our Kangaroos, koalas and wombats are so cute but this flight less bird is true Aussie Icon!

Yummy Home Made Focaccias

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Every year we have a family reunion on Rottnest Island in Perth. We hire out 3 Villas and decide which will be the main Villa for meals. No matter what you do that day dinner is always with the whole family gathered around the tables and an amazing spread of food. Normally everybody contributes one thing so that no one person is stuck with the cooking all the time and it works really well. I usually contribute yummy salads or cheeses, we always have somebody on the BBQ and My Aunty Julie ( one of the best cooks I know) Makes a range of delicious dishes, one of my favourite is her Focaccia breads. She makes the dough from scratch and creates the most sensational flavour combos like Caramelised onion and fetta or goats cheese, Chicken and pesto, Smoked salmon, cream cheese and Capers, salami, or even just her simple garlic, oil and oregano is amazing.

 If you make your dough in advance it is a great, quick and easy snack that always impresses! Sometimes I have simply brought  some dough over to friends houses and before their eyes rolled it out, popped some toppings on it and 15 minutes later there’s an amazing gourmet style home made snack!

 I don’t really put much cheese on the focaccia if any so you can make these to be fairly healthy as well.

Its also great to have some spare dough in the fridge or Freezer to make a quick Focaccia on a lazy Sunday arvo.

 Twice now I have joined my aunty while she makes these breads, I cant quite say that mine are as good as hers but I have her exact recipe here so we are starting in the right place.

 You will need..

375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
Pinch of caster sugar
600g (4 cups) plain flour
1 tsp salt
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing

 If you half the yeast and make it the day before you need it, it will have a deeper more sour doughy taste.

 Combine your ingredients in a bowl and mix till it is firm and not too sticky and looks like it is ready to be kneaded.

Flour a clean dry surface  and place your dough on this knew surface. To knead the dough use the palms of your hands to push into the dough and then fold the edges back in and repeat. If it starts to get sticky sprinkle a little more flour and keep going, you will need to do this for at least 10 minutes until it is almost bouncy and has a nice soft smooth skin all around it.

 If you are making this  on the day leave it somewhere warm to rise on its own for a couple of hours. Otherwise pop it in the fridge covered for a coupe of days and let it slow rise in the fridge, If you want to cook it that night take it out that morning.

 When you are ready depending on the desired size grab a big hand full of dough and roll it out, don’t roll them too thin as you want a thick moist bready texture not a thin dry pizza.

 Brush with Olive oil and sprinkle some Garlic salt and fresh oregano to start. You can either just make it like this ( use a little more oil if plain) or begin adding your salami or onions and fetta or chicken and pesto or tomato Basil and Mozzarella etc.

 If you do want to make the caramelised onion and goats cheese, you will need to make the onions in advance. Use red onions and cook them very very slowly until they are sweet and golden. don’t add salt until the very end. then add a dash of beer or balsamic vinegar, and sprinkling of brown or white sugar.Pop em on your Focaccia.

 Pop in the oven at 170 degrees and roast for around 15- 20 minutes depending on the size, just keep an eye on them in the oven

This recipe makes 3 large focaccias and is SO yummy and gourmet, and fabulous with wine or beer.. go ahead.. make one!!

Anything dipped in Chocolate….

Always on the hunt for delicious low fat recipes. I recently had a girly dinner and as bikini season is fast approaching I thought I had better lay off the fancy cakes.

Chocolate dipped strawberries are always a crowd pleaser and if you use dark chocolate it is almost healthy!! I got over excited when I hit the markets and decided to experiment with other fruits too!! I purchased some dates and apricots and some cherries.

I dipped the cherries in the dark choc and then rolled them in coconut. Like a tiny fresh cherry ripe, it not only looks very kitsch and cute it is delicious!! I made extras and took them as my 3pm work snack instead of popping down to the shops. The dates were amazing too.. like caramel chocolate!!Image

Broad bean, bacon and mint salad

Delicious and healthy.

This is delicious as a salad or on Bruschetta.The salty bacon combined with the fresh mint and nourishing beans has a really unique flavour. Try it!

Boil 2 cups of broadbeans for 12 minutes and then strain.

Sautee your bacon strips with a clove of garlic in the frying pan until crispy.

Combine Bacon and broad beans in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice and ac up of chopped mint.

Top some bruschetta or serve as a warm side salad.

You can add some torn mozzarella, fetta or goats cheese also but this is optional.