It’s all relative……….

Oh dear!  The productivity level on the blog has been a little lower than usual so my apologies for my lack of attention.  In my defense however, it has just been an extraordinarily busy time for me.  Within two hours of arriving back from Panama City Beach in Florida I was eating Tim Tams, Mint Slice and Freddo Frogs.  I had no choice in the matter!  Morally, I am duty bound as an Australian girl to do so and the above three things are items I have certainly missed since leaving Australia.  Ditto on vegemite too!

After all that, it was then onto Savannah, Papa Buck’s BBQ just off the interstate 16, a visit to Stone Mountain, hanging out in a Dublin boot store, going to a classic car auction, a day at the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, 18 rounds of mini golf, cocktails etc. etc. etc.

And all that plus more, was packed into a ten day time period.  Why!  Well we had family all the way from Australia visiting.  Mum and Rob arrived from down under to spend some time with us in sunny downtown Warner Robins, Georgia – home to a sea of chain restaurants and all-you-can-eat buffets, two Wal-Mart stores (and yes, as Mum and Rob discovered, the ‘ethereal’ Walmartians really do exist!!), Robins Air Force Base, pecan orchards and cotton fields.

The visit……. 

Stone Mountain:  This is one of Georgia’s most visited attractions.  It is also one of the largest exposed masses of granite in the world.  Native American Indians originally used this mountain and its surroundings as their meeting and ceremonial place.  Now, it has become a major tourist attraction due to the massive ‘Confederate Memorial’ which is carved into the side of the rock.  During our time at Stone Mountain we rode the Summit Skyride to the very top of the mountain, travelled the scenic railway, saw the amazing laser light show in the evening and Mum and Rob got to see their first glimpse of a couple of very cheeky raccoons – little bandits who sleep during the day and play (up) at night.

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Ditto 🙂  

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 Classic Car Auction:  most of the cars at the auction came with an attached sign which read – *runs and drives*!  Well frankly, so do most of my friends!!

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Savannah:  Just a beautiful part of the world!

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Ocmulgee Indian Celebrations:   Each September, the southeast of Georgia becomes the largest gathering of Native Americans.  This amazing celebration is a joyous sharing of culture, dance, storytelling, singing and history.  If you are ever in Georgia around the third weekend in September then I can very highly recommend this festival to you.

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More random photos from the visit:

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And you know, that’s the funny thing about family.  Sometimes you love them and sometimes you don’t.   Sometimes they make you laugh and sometimes the ones who you think should be the closest and kindest to you make you absolutely miserable.  But be they the blood you are born into or if you are lucky enough, the family you make for yourself, they will always be significant in your amazing life.

Thank you both for a lovely visit and thank you again for the incredible stash of Aussie goodies (which also included ‘snakes’…..Allen’s, not the live scaly kind) you managed to bring over with you.

And just like the demise of this fabulous crab………. that’s all folks  xx

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Australia Day in the USA

Life-Insurance[1]

Wonderful Australia Day and nothing makes me prouder nor happier than to see our beautiful flag in full flight.  It seems no matter where Australians are on this day – be they home or abroad – they celebrate.

On days such as this you tend to think about Australia and miss (just a little) some familiarity:

  • Cadbury chocolate:  They sell ‘Cadbury’ chocolates over here however it is made by Hersheys and it tastes completely different….and not in a good way.
  • Meat Pies and Sausage Rolls at the corner shop or bakery
  • Vegemite:  I miss you xx
  • Tim Tams and Mint Slice:  Ditto
  • Gum Trees and Wattle

We had two celebrations here in the US.  The first one was held on Friday 24th at the Warner Robins Air Force Base and the second celebration was held today Saturday 25th (the 26th in Australia) complete with back yard cricket, inflatable kangaroos, a barbie, meat pies and sausage rolls.   It was a little odd though as the temps were in the very low digits and we are more used to sun and heat on Australia Day rather than very cold (almost below freezing) weather.

You can’t buy meat pies or sausage rolls in America (nor reasonable pastry to make them with)so as part of the celebration of our wonderful nation we made our own little Aussie icons to share with those who have not experienced them before.

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Making the pastry

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Cooking the mince for the meat pies

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Cutting the last of the sausage rolls in readiness for the oven

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A guilty little pleasure wrapped in flaky pastry……what’s not to love

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Hot Aussie meat pies

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Steven channelling his inner bogan complete with ‘jail tatts’ for Australia Day although I thought a Collingwood jumper and moccasins would have been more appropriate.

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Hair dressing tips courtesy of Tony Mokbel

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Zoe’s expression upon seeing bogan Steve was kind of priceless

Happy Australia Day everyone, congratulations to our Australian of the Year Adam Goodes and where ever you are enjoy this great day xx

FOOTNOTE:  Since posting this blog I have had a couple of requests for the recipes which are now listed below.  The recipes are in Australian measurements and I tripled the listed recipes to make the quantity we required.

Puff Pastry for the Sausage Rolls

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 250g of butter (almost room temp) cut into small pieces
  • 150ml cold water
  • Your choice of filling for the rolls
  • 2 beaten egg with a dash of cold water for brushing pastry with before baking

Pre-heat oven (it was on 400 here in America which may be around 200 Aust oven temp) and in a food processor add flour and butter and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs.   With the motor running on the processor slowly add the water.  When the mixture ‘clumps’ stop the machine and tip mixture out onto a surface, bring together and wrap in glad wrap then chill for around 20 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface gently knead the mix to form a rectangle then roll the dough in one direction only until about 3 times the width (should be around 20x50cm – try to keep the edges straight and even which is a little difficult at first but you’ll get the hang of it and you should also have a ‘butter streaks’ resembling a marbled effect).  Fold the top third to the centre and the bottom third over that, give the dough a quarter turn and roll out again (in one direction) to three times the length, fold as before and cover in glad wrap then chill once again for about 20 minutes before rolling out to use.

I filled the sausage rolls with a mixture of pork mince, sage, finely diced onion and freshly cracked pepper bought together with an egg.  Place mixture down the centre of the pastry and bring edges together and secure with some of the beaten egg.  Cut into pieces and place on a lined baking tray, brush with egg and bake until golden.

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Shortcrust Pastry Recipe for Meat Pies

I made the mince and gravy mixture the day before so it was cold when going into the pastry however you can make your own variation on the mixture (and again I tripled the mix).  I also found this recipe to be ‘very short’ so I am still on the look out for something a little more to my preferred taste however it was good enough to use on the day (and everyone seemed to enjoy the pies as well as the sausage rolls…..orders have been placed).  Pre-head oven to 200 (400 here in the States).

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 125g of butter chilled and finely chopped
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. of chilled water

Process flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.  With the processor motor running add the egg and water mix and continue blending until the mix begins to form large clumps.  Stop machine as you don’t want a ‘ball’ of dough.  Turn out onto a very lightly floured surface and gently knead only to bring mix together.  Wrap in glad wrap and chill for about 20 mins.   When ready turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to your desired thickness, cut dough to fit pie tins, fill with mix, cut tops, brush with egg mix as before and bake until golden .  I also pre-baked the bottoms of the pie then added the mix, topped with pastry brushed with egg and then baked…..I didn’t want a soggy bottom.

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‘Little Australian flags courtesy of Lyn Lillicrap….we thank you :)’