Personal

Neat Neat Neat

When I saw that Bob T. Panda from The Panda Chronicles had nominated me for the Real Neat Blog award (thanks Bob T!) the first thing I thought was “Yay!” The second thing I thought was “that reminds me of the Damned song – Neat Neat Neat”. So, in the spirit of my favourite punk band, I’m going to claim this award in a punk way – by messing up the rules!

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Some of the rules:
Thank the person who nominated you – done.
Answer their questions – okay.

If you could be an animal, which one would you be?
A Giant Panda like Clint Recession.

What kind of cuppycake are you, and why?
A Black Forest Cuppycake because I like black and I like The Cure song A Forest.

If you could change any event in the history on people on earth, what would you chose?
The saying “orange is the new black” became popular thanks to a certain show. But as far as I’m concerned, black is the old, new and future black. So I would try and stop anything orange from becoming popular or powerful – except at Halloween, because – you know – pumpkins.

What is your favorite city (other than the one you live in) that you have visited?
Brasov in Romania. They have vampires and really nice cakes.

What children’s book did you read as a child that you still love?
Dracula. That’s a children’s book isn’t it?

If you knew you only had one year to live, what would you do?
Try and find a vampire to convert me. Otherwise eat and drink as much as I want and then tell people what I really think of them just before I die.

What do you wish you had done in your life that you have not?
Become a vampire.

More rules:
Make up your own questions to ask your nominees – done – sort of. I’m not going to make up my own questions, I’m going to “borrow” Bob T’s instead.

Nominate other blogs for the award – here I go! There are so many that I want to nominate so I am going to nominate all the blogs that follow me and all the blogs I follow. So jump in, grab an award and answer “my” questions above. Or feel free to participate in any way you like.

But I am going to break my own rule by nominating one blog. This person hates getting awards and responds in a way that most punks would envy. So hit me with your best shot NCM!

Drawing culinary inspiration from one of my favourite Damned songs, Smash It Up, I’d like to share a recipe for Smashed Avocado. I mean, what could be more punk than healthy, green avocado balanced on a wholegrain slice of bread and maybe served with a side of quinoa? Hell no! If I’m smashing any food up it’s going to be potatoes. And then I’m going to splash them with oil and throw grated cheese on them – now that’s punk! And don’t expect precise measurements for this recipe. You’ll get ingredients, basic instructions and a photo, but that’s it 🙂

Smashed Potatoes
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Potatoes
Oil
Salt
Grated Cheese

Peel, cut up and boil some potatoes. (You can leave the skin on if you want but I like them peeled).
Drain and cool.
Preheat oven to 220C / 430F.
Lightly oil a baking tray.
Add the potatoes then smash them with a fork until they just start to break. I smash some more than others for variety.
Splash extra oil over them.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and flip them over.
Throw on some grated cheese.
Return to the oven and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes or until they are golden.

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Season Of The Witch

New Year’s Eve 1999 was not spent partying like it was 1999. It was spent extracting metaphorical knives from my back and wondering if there were any more to come. I was happy to see the end of a year, century and millennia. I had a lot to put behind me. I also had so many good memories and great achievements to take with me into the new millennia. I was excited for the journey ahead. I thought I knew where my paths would lead me. I was wrong. I really had no idea. It’s ended up being a wild and bumpy ride. But I wouldn’t change it for the world!

2016 was one of those years that makes you think about the past, present and future. So many strange things happened. So many deaths. It made me think about my past and the decisions I made in 2000, the things and people I lost when I removed those metaphorical knives all those years ago. I’m happy to say I don’t miss much from those times but the one thing I do miss is witchcraft.

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I decided to take a sabbatical from witchcraft in 2000, mainly because some of the knives had been wielded by my coven and those knives hurt a lot. A sabbatical usually refers to a leave of absence from a job, usually an academic position. The term comes from sabbath which represents a day of rest. More broadly, a sabbath highlights the importance of making time for periods of rest and rejuvenation throughout your life. This was just what I needed in 2000, a time to rest, nurture and restore myself. As the years rolled by, I yearned for a return to ritual and witchy magic. I often remembered the fun times I had with various covens. The nights spent outdoors with a fire burning. The singing, chanting and dancing followed by cookies and wine.

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As an homage to my past, I decided to make my old coven recipe for crescent cookies. I was going to use them for my new year post on Mari Lwyd. My mouth watered as I remembered the golden, buttery taste of the delicately flavoured almond cookies. I was so eager to taste them that I ate a hot one straight from the oven. It wasn’t very nice. It was bland and dry. I waited until they cooled. They were worse. What had gone wrong? I’m not sure. I’ve certainly become a much better cook than I was back then. Could that be it? Again, I’m not sure, but the failure of my cookies reminded me of both the good and bad coven times. It wasn’t all cookies and wine. So for now I’ll put the cookies and thoughts of covens on the back burner. There is a new path ahead for me. There are many reasons why I think 2017 will be my season of the witch. I’ll share those reasons soon, but for now I’d love to share a recipe for a Strega Sunrise – my witchy tweak to a Tequila Sunrise, one of my favourite cocktails 🙂

Strega is a saffron based Italian herbal liqueur. I first saw a bottle of this golden elixir many years ago at my Italian brother in law’s home. When he told me that strega was Italian for witch, I had to take a good look at the label. It features witches dancing with half goat, half man creatures. There’s also an old witch holding a broomstick. She has snakes in her hair! I couldn’t believe it. Medusa, Pan, Witches and Saffron – what’s not to love about Strega!

Strega Sunrise

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Ingredients
ice cubes
30ml Strega
3/4 cup orange juice
15ml grenadine

Method
Place a few ice cubes in a tall glass.
Pour the Strega over the ice.
Pour in the orange juice.
Gently pour in the grenadine so it slips down and then rises again, creating a sunrise effect.

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A Birthday Surprise For Bram

Tuesday November 8 is Bram Stoker’s birthday. To celebrate, I have done a guest post over at Cordelia’s Mom Still. Cordelia’s blog is an eclectic mix of personal anecdotes, photos and other interesting things! Feel free to pop by and have a read 🙂 You can also pop round to Not Cordelia’s Mom if you want to see the world from a very different perspective!!

If you’re looking for a recipe, here’s last year’s birthday one for Bram – Irish Coffee Dessert.

 

Three of Goblets

 

A Place Not Far From Home

So last year was my 50th Birthday. To celebrate we did a very special trip. Friends have asked me to write something about it and I’ve been waiting for the anniversary to do so. While I was writing, I saw an opportunity to enter it into a competition. It didn’t win but I liked the way it came out. I hope you do too.

A Place Not Far From Home

“I’ll be spending my 50th birthday in Canberra”, I told my regular travelling companion Trevor.

The look of horror on his face was priceless. “Have you been to Canberra?” he asked, stunned.

I have been to Canberra many times. Unlike a lot of Australians, I like our nation’s capital city. But I knew why Trevor was stunned. Trevor, my partner Paul and I were supposed to be travelling halfway across the world to England to celebrate my birthday, not Canberra, which is only a short flight away.

Ten years earlier, when I was planning my 40th birthday, the three of us started a tradition. We would each choose a holiday destination to travel to for our big birthdays. I chose a trip I called “A Dracula Tour of Romania”. My 50th was supposed to be part 2 – “A Dracula Tour of England”. Whitby was the prize destination. Sadly an ailing elder dog meant I couldn’t travel too far from home. Trevor went to Whitby and Paul and I took a short trip to Canberra.

On the eve of my 50th birthday, I woke to the sound of lions roaring in the night. They were so close. I could picture them walking near my window. I snuggled into the thick duvet, comforted by the warmth of the room and the sound of lions.

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Throughout the night I had been woken by their stirring call. Sometimes the roars were close, sometimes they were distant, every time was hauntingly beautiful. They made me smile. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my 50th birthday than in the company of wildlife.

When I knew I wasn’t going to Whitby for my birthday, I trusted that I would somehow find the right place to go. Sure enough, a few days later I was viewing an online newspaper when I saw an ad that made me look twice. The ad featured a photo of a woman taking a bubble bath while a European brown bear watched from outside her window. The words “wild”, “down under” and “Canberra” grabbed my attention. I knew immediately that this was where I would be spending my birthday weekend.

The ad was for Jamala Wildlife Lodge – the National Zoo and Aquarium’s new onsite accommodation. We had visited the zoo before, most notably to celebrate the very first International Red Panda Day, but never realised we could stay there. The secluded bungalows scattered around the zoo in the animal enclosures sounded perfect. Floor to ceiling windows gave you views of the animals as they went about their daily (and nightly) meanderings. An “al fresco” style section with heated pads and food treats was used to encourage the animals to come and snuggle down. I just had to choose which animals I wanted to “share” my room with. I chose the white lions for my first night and the European brown bears for my second.

Night one was more about sound than sight. While we caught glimpses of the lions and one came up to the window briefly, we mostly heard them roaring into the night, and were woken again by them in the morning.

 

After a sumptuous breakfast on day two we moved from the lion room to the bear room. There, snuggled warmly by our window, was a European brown bear. I wanted to squeal in delight but restrained myself, scared I might frighten the bear away. Instead, I calmly approached the window and quietly watched. We made ourselves cups of tea, munched on biscuits and relaxed on the couch, all under the watchful eye of a beautiful bear. Finally the bear left to do what bears do.

 

We reluctantly left our room and wandered around the zoo. We laughed when we made it back to the bear enclosure. One of the bears was enjoying a feast of fruit, vegetables and bread by a waterfall. We watched it for a while, before returning to our room. As before, the same brown bear was snuggled in the same place. We watched, mesmerised, as another bear arrived, grabbed some food, gave us a long, hard look and then left. We opened up a bottle of wine and shared the late afternoon with this most accommodating bear. Again, we were reluctant to leave our room, but dinner was calling and we were hungry.

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There are few lights in the zoo overnight and for our own protection, we weren’t allowed to walk around after dark. At a prearranged time, a bus came to collect us from our cabin, taking us through the pitch black of the zoo to the main hotel for dinner and drinks. The bus stopped a couple of times to pick up others from their rooms and we compared notes on our experiences as we rode.

A lavish South African inspired spread greeted us at the communal dinner table. I couldn’t wait to try the bobotie and malva pudding, both of which I’d heard of but never had a chance to try. The food was extraordinary and the wine selection suited it perfectly. We sipped wine and spoke to the other guests, each of us exchanging stories about the animals outside our rooms. The staff told us the main bear visiting our room was a female named Blondie. While we enjoyed the food, wine and the company, we were eager to get back to our room and hopefully a bear. In the meantime, we were entertained by first a pair of white lions and then hyenas as they were let into their dens for the evening. We could see them clearly from the dining room. We suspected that they could see us also, but they ignored us and after exploring their dens, curled up and went to sleep.

There was one birthday wish I deeply wanted granted. To have a bubble bath with a  bear! I really wanted to reenact the ad that got me to Jamala. We arrived home and Blondie had returned to her usual place. I was so excited. It was now or never for my bubble bath. I carefully filled the bath, making small, unhurried movements. I gingerly hopped in, hoping I wouldn’t startle her. I sat in the bath like the woman in the ad, watched by the beautiful brown bear. Then to my surprise and delight, another bear arrived. I lay in the bath, soaking in the soft, warm bubbles, watched by the gentle eyes of two extraordinary creatures. I had surpassed the ad. Not one but two brown bears were sharing my birthday dream with me. It was the most extraordinary birthday of my life.

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While I bathed with bears, Trevor had a drink for me in Whitby. Was I sad that I didn’t get to Whitby? Yes. Did I enjoy myself in Canberra? Immensely.

I didn’t have to travel the world to find a new and exotic place. I found one right here, in a place not far from home.

Liebsters For V  

I’d like to thank Agatha from Agatha Chocolates for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Naturally you will find many links to chocolate recipes at Agatha Chocolates – from the delicious to the bizarre! What I also love are Agatha’s quizzes, dunk it or dump it polls and her bite-sized mysteries. As a fan of cosy mysteries and dogs, I particularly loved her Who Stole The Cookies From The Cookie Jar? mystery.

So to accept the award I have to:
• Acknowledge the person that nominated you:
Done!

• Share 11 random facts about yourself:
1 – My “natural” hair colour is purple. I often mix it up with blue, pink, green, orange or red highlights. Sometimes all of them at once!
2 – I have lots of tattoos. Mainly pandas, red pandas, puffins, bats, ladybirds and halloween pumpkins. And yes – getting tattooed hurts.
3 – I’ve been romantically involved with the same person for over 28 years.
4 – I love all animals – especially my dogs.
5 – I’ve studied vampires since I was a child.
6 – I went to Romania in search of vampires – I didn’t find any.
7 – I created a Dracula tarot deck.
8 – I became a witch in my early twenties.
9 – I have a PhD in witchcraft and cinema.
10 – I love collecting cookbooks – especially the quirky ones.
11 – I’m co-writing a cupcake cookbook with fine artist and panda satirist Anne Belov.

• Answer 11 questions posted by the person that nominated you:
1 – Describe your blog in 5 words.
Recipes, Mythology, Personality and Pandas.

2 – What is the last dessert you ate?
Do cinnamon donuts count?

3 – Name any 3 people (living, dead, fictional) that you have never met, that you would like to have dinner with.
Anne Belov – because she would serve cupcakes.
Frida Kahlo- because the food would look fabulous.
Count Dracula – because I could eat all the food and drink and all the wine because he never drinks wine!

4 – What would you serve for dinner?
Cheese toasties and cupcakes for dessert.

5 – What is the best decade, and why?
The one I’m living in – because life’s always good.

6 – What kitchen gadget could you not live without?
Is a frying pan a gadget?

7 – Where’s your happy place?
On the couch with my partner and dogs.

8 – Romance, Mystery, Drama or Action?
Mystery.

9 – What’s your dream job?
Giant panda nanny. Yes, this is a real job. No, I don’t have it.

10 – What’s the best find in an assorted box of chocolates?
Turkish Delight.

11 – Give the link to the favorite thing you have posted.
Wickedly Wicked

• Post 11 new questions:
1 – What is your favourite quote?
2 – What is your favourite joke?
3 – Who is your favourite character from a book?
4 – Who is your favourite character from a movie?
5 – Who is your favourite character from a television series?
6 – What is your absolute favourite song?
7 – What is your favourite ingredient?
8 – What ingredient haven’t you tried but would like to?
9 – What is your favourite place that you have visited?
10 – What place haven’t you visited but would you like to visit?
11 – What is your favourite animal?

• Nominate 11 blogs for the award:

https://cookswithevie.com/2016/03/27/empty-tomb-buns/

https://culinarymosaic.com/2015/12/21/sweet-pilaf/

https://keralas.live/2016/07/02/ghee-rice/

https://notcordeliasmom.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/the-claws-are-out/

https://samskitchenblog.com/2016/05/07/citrus-and-apple-rose-tea-cake/

https://theveggiecooker.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/homemade-rice-noodles/

https://witchlike.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/go-ask-alice/

I would have added more nominees but you have to have less than 200 followers 🙂

• Notify your nominees of their award:
Done!

In honour of Agatha Chocolates, here are some links to my favourite chocolate recipes.

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A Study In Fours

Cordelia’s Mom from Cordelia’s Mom, Still invited me to play the Four Fact Survey. Basically I give four answers to each of the questions below. So settle down with bowls of my Popcorn Four Ways and have some fun!

Popcorn Four Ways

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Ingredients
8 cups freshly popped popcorn
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions
Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn. Toss to combine.
Place 2 cups of popped corn into each of four bowls.

for Traditional Salted Popcorn
Sprinkle in sea salt to taste. Toss to combine.

for Cumin Popcorn
Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Toss to combine.

for Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of icing sugar. Toss to combine.

for Cocoa Popcorn
Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of icing sugar. Toss to combine.

You can vary the seasonings to your own taste.

Four Fact Survey
Four names people call me other than my real name:
Panda Lady
Purple Haired Lady
Variations of my names
The usual “nicknames” 🙂

Four Jobs I’ve Had:
Bass Player in a Punk Rock Band – It was a very short career
Examinations Supervisor – I was nicknamed the Dragon Lady but that was a long time ago
Producer and Director of two Community TV Programs:
– The Pet & Wildlife Show – where I got to be in an enclosure with 8 Mississippi Alligators
– Eat – where I got to consume great food
Tutor and Lecturer in Cinema Studies – When I screened The Exorcist, half the class didn’t turn up because they were scared!

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once:
Interview With The Vampire
Kung Fu Panda
Nosferatu/Dracula
The Wicker Man

Four Books Or Authors I’d Recommend:
Anything by Anne Belov
Anything by Terry Pratchett
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

Four Places I’ve Lived:
I’ve only lived in Melbourne but I have moved around a bit. The most interesting place I have lived has been on campus at La Trobe University in Bundoora.

Four Places I’ve Visited:
China – to cuddle a baby giant panda
Iceland – for the puffins and the scenery
New Zealand – because it’s totally awesome
Romania – for all things Dracula

Four Things I’d Rather Be Doing Right Now:
Cuddling baby pandas with Justin Trudeau
Dancing with Channing Tatum
Patting my dogs
Spending more time with my partner whilst cuddling baby pandas with Justin Trudeau, dancing with Channing Tatum and patting my dogs 🙂

Four foods I don’t like:
There aren’t many foods I don’t like but I am allergic to the capsicum/bell pepper family which limits my choice. I’m also sensitive to tomatoes and eggplants which also limits my choice.

Four of my favorite foods: 
Alcohol
Cookies
Cupcakes
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Four Shows I Watch: 
Bewitched
Buffy/Angel
Hamish Macbeth
Seinfeld

Four Things I’m Looking Forward To This Year: 
Eating and drinking at interesting places
Finishing writing one of my cookbooks
Going to Adelaide (South Australia) to see the giant pandas Fu Ni and Wang Wang again and maybe meeting a coati
Spending more time with my partner and dogs

Four Things I’m Always Saying:
It’s too early to get up
This is doing my head in!
Time for a drink
What’s to eat?

If you enjoyed reading this Q&A and want to join in please do.

I am tagging the witty and acerbic Not Cordelia’s Mom to join the fun. I know how much she will love it!

 

Mixing It With The Locals

My partner Paul and I were talking recently about the concept of a local bar. Growing up watching tv shows, “the local” was a place you could drop in after work, have a drink, catch up with friends and generally unwind before going home. Cheers is a perfect example. Not only does everyone know your name, but they also know your drink!

The closest either of us had come to a local bar was when we were at University. Our uni was the only one that had an actual bar on campus. I lived on campus, so it really was my local. I loved going there. No matter what time of day or night, I was bound to bump into someone I knew. I’d drop in for a beer before a lecture or pop in afterward for a couple of rounds. Lunchtime was great, as we all caught up around plates of chips and gravy. I later discovered that the Canadians have a similar dish – poutine. While the staff didn’t know our names or our drinks, it was still a great place to unwind before hitting the books for a long night of study.

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After leaving uni, we never really found a favourite place to drink. The closest we came recently was our local cafe, Corinthians. With great food and great coffee, combined with wonderful staff, it soon became our favourite coffee place. The staff are friendly, they know our names and, very importantly, they know how we take our coffee! But it’s not a local bar, and not just because it doesn’t sell alcohol. While the staff are great they are always on the run and don’t have time to sit down for for a chat. Nor are there other regular patrons there we know, so there is no communal catching up. It’s just Paul and me having a damn good coffee – and it is damn good coffee! Occasionally we may catch up with a friend or bump into one but that is not the norm.

And then it happened. Last year a craft beer bar opened just down the road from us. Could this be the local we so dearly desired?

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The moment we walked into Hopheads we loved it. From the graffiti style logo on the wall, to the 8 beers on tap, to the shelves stocked with interesting and tantalising libations, we knew we had found a gem. And we weren’t the only ones! Over the year, a steady group of regulars have come together to drink and catch up with each other. I never thought I would be as excited to see friends as I was to drink beer 🙂 But that’s what Hopheads is like – it’s not just the drinking, but the socialising.

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Part of what makes Hopheads so wonderful are the owners – Adrian & Wai Lee. We have never been made to feel so welcome in an establishment than we have here. We hit it off with them straight away and were delighted we shared similar views on politics and life in general. Many an afternoon and evening has been pleasantly spent drinking and engaging in riveting conversation. They not only welcomed us, but our dogs too 🙂

We didn’t know what to expect when Hopheads opened. We expected great beers and we got them (the beer is excellent). We hoped it would be a place where locals would congregate and have a good time and we got that too. We didn’t expect to meet people we genuinely care about and to form deep friendships, but we have. What we really didn’t expect was the depth of friendship that blossomed between the owners and us. Adrian and Wai Lee are more than just publicans who know our names and know what we drink. They are dear and cherished friends with whom we have shared a turbulent year. We look forward to sharing many more years of friendship – and many many more beers!

One of my favourite ways of cooking with beer is Beer Can Chicken. I’m allergic to chilli so I use a mild spice rub. You can make your own spice rub based on what you like. If you have room and want something sweet afterwards, you can make these Beer and Bacon Cupcakes!

Beer Can Chicken

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Ingredients
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric
1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs
1 free-range chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can of beer

Method
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
Position the oven rack low enough to accommodate the height of the chicken on the beer can.
In a small bowl mix together the salt, turmeric and mixed herbs. Set aside.
Remove any giblets from inside the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Using the spice rub, season the inside cavity of the chicken, and the outside of the chicken, rubbing well into the skin.
Drink half the beer.
Place the beer can in the middle of the baking tray. Carefully place the chicken on the beer can so it is sitting upright and the can is inserted into the chicken. Position the chicken legs so they help stabilise the chicken on the can. You want the can to hold the majority of the weight and the legs to stop it from falling over.
Place the chicken in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes per 500g plus an extra 20 minutes. Check every 20 minutes and baste if there are any juices.
The best way to check if the chicken is cooked is by placing a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh or the breast without touching the bone. It should be approximately 82C / 180F.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing from beer can.
To remove the chicken, hold the chicken upright with one hand and a pair of tongs then use your other hand to carefully wiggle the can free using another pair of tongs or by wearing a heat-proof glove. Work over a sink or in the baking tray being very careful of the hot liquid inside the can.

Creativity for V

Thank you Leyla for nominating me for the Creative Blogger Award!

Leyla’s wonderful Culinary Mosaic blog is filled with fabulous recipes and great foodie travel stories. Make sure you visit – you won’t be disappointed 🙂

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This is another award that if you are nominated you are awarded!
Here are my nominations for the Creative Blogger Award:

https://cordeliasmomstill.com/about/
https://culinarymosaic.com/about/
https://newcitywitchescocktailcoven.com/2016/02/26/shoot-a-flaming-dragon-bomb/
https://notcordeliasmom.wordpress.com/about/
https://peasromainecalm.com/me-myself-pie/
https://samskitchenblog.com/about/
https://sassandsauce.wordpress.com/about/

Five new things about me:
I have cuddled a giant panda cub in China.
I have snuggled with red pandas in Canberra and Brisbane.
I have visited puffins in Iceland.
I have petted binturongs in Brisbane.
I have ridden on camels in Perth and Melbourne.
Bonus facts:
I had a bubble bath while a European brown bear slept outside my window in Canberra.
I found it hard to stop at five 🙂

The rules of the Creative Blogger Award seem to vary.
This is the way I’ve interpreted them:
Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Nominate at least 5 bloggers and let them know they have been nominated.
Keep the rules as you see them in your post.

April Fool’s Day Treat

I love April Fool’s Day – and not because I play pranks on people 🙂

April Fool’s Day is my unofficial Name Day. It’s a day when I celebrate who, what and where I am. It’s also my self-appointed New Year’s Day. It’s a time when I look back on the year that has passed and make plans for the year ahead. It’s also the day I started my blog – two years ago!

Why have I chosen April Fool’s Day as my very own special day? Well because of tarot. The Fool is the first card in the major arcana. It is the Fool who journeys through the arcana and learns the lessons of the cards. The Fool is so important symbolically that it is the only major arcana to be represented in modern day playing cards (as The Joker).

Fool

Renfield and Wolf
The Dracula Tarot

The Fool card traditionally features a brightly dressed young man standing on the edge of a cliff. His face is lifted up, not watching where he is going. His belongings are wrapped in a sack and tied to a stick slung over his right shoulder. In his left hand he holds a white rose. A dog plays at his feet while the sun shines brightly. Will he step off the precipice and fall, will he leap to the other side, or will he turn around? The Fool begins the journey of the Tarot with no knowledge of what will be. Every April Fool’s Day I too begin a Fool’s journey into the unknown.

In honour of April Fool’s Day pranks, the tarot Fool’s dog and my own very special dogs, I have created a tricky recipe for both Fools and Dogs. The oatmeal cookies below have been cut to look like dog treats and are served in a dog bowl. Surprise your friends by serving them these tricky treats 🙂

Doggie Treats

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Ingredients
1 + 1/4 cups ground oatmeal
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
65g unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Method
Preheat oven to 200C / 395F.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Combine the oatmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until combined. Add the egg and milk and continuing mixing with your hands for 3-4 minutes or until the dough comes together into a ball. The dough should be firm enough to roll out. If it is too firm add a bit of milk, if it is too soft add a bit of flour.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board and roll dough out to about 5mm thickness. Use a dog bone shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Repeat with any remaining dough.
Place on prepared trays and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before placing on racks to cool completely.

Versatility for V

I would like to thank the lovey Leyla from Culinary Mosaic for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

I recently discovered Leyla when she visited my blog and liked a post. I visited her blog and fell in love with her recipes – especially the pastries. 🙂 That is one of the things I love about blogging – visiting other blogs and meeting new people.

One of the great things about the award is that if you are nominated you are awarded!
So here, in alphabetical order, are my 15 nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award.

http://bunnyeatsdesign.com

http://cafebookbean.com

http://chezmoiblog.com

http://cookingwithawallflower.com

https://cookingwithoutlimits.wordpress.com

http://cordeliasmomstill.com

http://culinarymosaic.com

https://edmooneyphoto.wordpress.com

http://frugalfeeding.com

https://hocuspocus13.wordpress.com

http://newcitywitchescocktailcoven.com

https://notcordeliasmom.wordpress.com

http://passioncook.net

http://samskitchenblog.com

https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com

As part of the award I am to list 7 things about myself – so here they are:

1) I am Australian of Macedonian ethnicity.
2) I have a PhD in Jungian psychology, film theory and witchcraft.
3) I am the creator of the Dracula Tarot, beautifully illustrated by Anna Gerraty.
4) I am writing a cupcake cookbook with my friend, artist and satirist Anne Belov.
5) I love writing, reading, photography, tarot, walking and cooking.
6) I have a fantastic long-term partner and two fabulous dogs.
7) I have been gifted with extraordinary friends.