Sunday, 29 September 2013

Something about Minties

  Minties, when googled (ha who knew it would become a verb in our vocabulary) Minties come up as being an 'iconic Australian lolly'. They were first made in 1922 by James Stedman and were produced in the former Sweetacres Factory in Sydney. Taken straight from the Allen's Minties part of the Nestle web site ... The mint lolly survived The Great Depression and World War II and is one of the oldest confectionery products still available, along with Allen’s Jaffas, Freckles and Fantales, selling over 3.5 million packs a year. It is also the subject of one of the oldest advertising slogans: “It’s moments like these you need Minties.” The interesting things you find out.

This all came about because I was looking for something else "Iconically Australian" for my students to try and walking down the aisle in the grocery shop I thought 'ah Minties' as they are something of an iconic part of my childhood and travelling routine.

As kids we were given Minties as a treat in the car on the LONG journey to visit our Grandparents. A 10hr trip south by car and some of it very hilly and windy, Minties were good for relieving the built up pressure in our ears, helping them to pop.

We also used to have competitions to see who could tear their Minties wrapper into the longest strip. The same idea as pealing the apple all in one spiral.

It kept us occupied and was a bit of fun. We concentrated hard on tearing that Minties wrapper around and around, as skinny as possible and trying not to break it.

Have you ever done this?

 Do you love Minties?

I'm off to eat another and see how long I can get the wrapper.
What do you think is an iconic Australian food?

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Coffee Works

Ahh ... Yesterday we quickly dropped into that lovely little Coffee Works Shop here in Cairns. I have blogged this one before here and the factory's shop here but it is such a lovely little shop that it is making a reappearance.

Now I am not a coffee drinker, although after this fortnight maybe I better start. I like an iced coffee but hot coffee for some reason just makes me feel sick. I do however love the smell and on walking into this shop you are bombarded with the smell of coffee. It cloaks you, it surrounds you, it draws you into it's comforting embrace. Ah sounds so good, smells so good, if only I could appreciate the taste. Maybe just going there for a daily smell of coffee would be enough to keep me going.

As I have said previously it isn't just about coffee. It is about tea which I will occasionally delve into the world of and chocolate which I constantly wage a war with and loose ... okay so it tastes so good how can that be loosing. It also has cups and pots and other knick knacks on show. Some are quirky and some are so delicate and pretty.

I'll just leave you to imagine the smells while I end with just pictures of this cosy, friendly little shop.

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Yellow and Blue

 Mr Sparky spotted these trees blooming yellow against blue skies.
He goes past them every day on the way to work, I go the same way when I head down town to Nova so he told me to look out for them when I headed that way next. Well they are pretty hard to miss.

I had no idea what they were, they weren't something I had seen before. I thought they look a little like a Jacaranda but with different leaves. 

I typed yellow flower Cairns into google and tada there it was on the Cairns Botanic Gardens site.

Tabebuia chrysantha - Golden Tabebuia, is a native tree of the intertropical broadleaf deciduous forests of South America above the Tropic of Capricorn.  It is a rustic decidious tree that defies hard, dry or poor soils. Flowers are large, tubular shaped, with broadening corolla of deep yellow colour, about 2 inches long.  

I love it. The tree looks like something from the bush, it is rough and hardy looking.

The flowers are so bright and at the moment they contrast with the mostly clear blue skies. I love that colour combination, the yellow and the blue.

Mr Sparky wants to plant some when we have a place of our own and I vote 'YES' to that.

Now we just have to watch and wait for seed pods.

I am enjoying seeing new plants and flowers here in the north as the seasons change. Seeing the beauty around me.

 What is flowering around your place?

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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

What's happing in my garden ...

On Sunday, super exciting news alert, I picked 5 tomatoes from OUR GARDEN.

Okay so I know they are looking a little green, especially the one right at the back but if I don't pick them early they end up like the one below. I wonder what eats them.

I have picked tomatoes from our garden before but not so many at one time.

And there are more on their way.

We also have another capsicum that has started to form. This one will make 4.

I finally managed to get some snow peas or sugar snaps to grow. Not sure what I put in the pot really.

And we have successfully grown 3 chillies so far off what were supposed to be capsicum plants ... hmmm.

We have a little lettuce growing, mind you it doesn't go very far.

We have had a small but steady stream of strawberries, a couple every few days.

And my parsley and basil are doing well in the various locations it is planted ... in pots and in the garden.

Do you grow your own food?
What is in your garden?

Grab button for one mother hen
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A Nova week down ...

What a busy week it was last week. We had a group of three students fly in from Japan for lessons last week.  With Teacher P out of the country, in Japan in fact, I worked every day. They were a lovely group and I hope they had fun. We did plenty of role plays to practise conversation and as I mentioned earlier they loved their homework.

Their stay went very fast. One of them is here another week though.

 On the last day we spend a lot of time comparing Australia and Japan, expressing opinions. We also have a brief look at some Australian foods like pies, ANZAC biscuits, Vegemite and lamingtons. On Friday I pulled out a sponge cake from my freezer (shop bought) and we made lamingtons to eat at our BBQ.

The students are given a simple recipe along the lines of cut the cake into squares, mix the icing ingredients, quickly dip the cake in the icing, roll the cake in coconut. Very good for some action words.

It was a nice bit of fun and finger licking good, literally, licking fingers at the end was a hit.

A bit later we headed down to our normally quiet BBQ spot at the wharf. Last time it wasn't so quiet and we ended up on the Esplanade, a bit of a walk with all the food.

We cooked up kangaroo sausages and onions. Kangaroo sausages are interesting, they taste okay but I'm not too sure on the texture.

We even had an onlooker for the whole cooking eating processes. I swear that gull didn't go anywhere until when we were almost ready to leave and it spent a bit of time defending its post, getting cranky when another gull flew by.

Those lamingtons were a very tasty finish to our afternoon BBQ.

This is such a nice way to spend an afternoon, so relaxing eating, talking and watching the happenings on the water.

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