Thursday, December 30, 2010


The wet season invokes great memories for me...most revolving around my Dad as it was the only time he was home for weeks at a time. The rest of the year he was always around but spent a lot of time out in the stock camps - mustering cattle over vast country, all unfenced. It is a world away from our little farms today.

There are many memories but one in particular remains and is now firmly entrenched as a family tradition - smoking ham and bacon.

I had the most amazing childhood - a day away from civilisation meant we were isolated and away from what many consider necessities. Cold meat for us for all year was either left over corned meat or roast beef (or on a very odd occasion tinned corn meat which we called bully beef). But at the start of the "wet", a fat pig would be slaughtered and then Dad would set about curing bacon and ham. A few days before Christmas he would then smoulder over smoke for a few days eventually ending up as the centre piece of our Christmas. It was (and is) such a treat to eat genuinely smoked ham.

Despite us now owning a butcher shop and selling hundreds of hams (all year round) Dad still smokes his own ham and bacon for Christmas. This year he passed the tradition down to Claudia and Haydn who followed the process every step of the way. Check out the photos below.

PNG Move - well still no I am not fretting or anxious just simply beside myself and trying my best to appear cool, calm and collected. "Stay Calm and Carry On" is my 2011 motto.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My peacock Girl

Those who know me will atest to the fact that I am certainly not creative and yet I have given birth and now nurture the talents of a very creative daughter. No doubt its a way of making some use of my, up until now, very lazy left side of my brain.

At the school concert in mid December she had people crying with her beautiful voice. I didnt even manage to get a photo as I was so mesmerized by her courage to stand up on stage, no backing music and just belt out Take Me Home Country Roads. My daughter is someone that I dont recognise as being part of me or her Dad, she is truly gifted in the way she makes others feel when she performs.

Here she is on Christmas night. We were all feeling a little sad - it is always hard celebrating another Christmas without my brother Clancey who passed away 12 years ago. She picked up on our mood and came out in her peacock outfit and did an impersonation. It was incredibly funny. It reduced me to tears (again) but for all the right reasons. Thanks Claude.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini Plum Puddings

Yes this is a real picture I took of the fab Mini Plum Puddings my kids and their two friends made yesterday. They also made Christmas Ice, Christmas Balls and Choc (Mega Rum) Balls.
It was a rainy day and I have the flu so we tried to come up with some inside fun.
I think the results are pretty spectacular.

The recipe for the Mini Plum Puddings are:

Arnotts Royal Biscuits
White Choc buttons - about a third of a large packet melted
Spearmint leaves - cut into 3 smaller leaves
1 packet Jaffas.

Just make sure you put them in a container in the fridge as soon as they are made to stop any further melting.

Back to PNG tomorrow to nail down a house once and for all. Just when I think I am close, the target moves.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mum's Roasts

I am away from home, in Sydney attending the PNG Mining & Petroleum Conference - yeah I know, what would I know about mines...fair point. Anyway I have met hundreds of people, have been running back and forth between the office for other meetings and generally having a pretty crazy, miserable time of it. Never enough time to do any one thing properly, just a lot of things getting done half assed.

Anyway...what has this got to do with Mum's roasts.

Not much but when I am away and eating hotel prepared foods - I just long for the extra-ordinary. Dont you?

I want bangers and mash with onion gravy; cornmeat, white sauce and vegies; soup (any sort as long as its home made) - you get the drift.

A couple of weekends ago we did some mustering, branding and then one of Mum's legendary beef roasts. I took a whole rib from the butcher shop that had been dry aged for around 3 weeks. Perfect timing. Mum simply put garlic in it, bay leaves in the pain and lots of salt and pepper. It nearly didnt fit in the oven. The lid of the roasting dish certainly wouldnt fit on. Check it out

...and here is the side version to give you an idea of the height.

and here is the final result- Shane's dinner. What a feast. I wish I could have taste & smell vision installed to give you a sense of the aroma and the deliciousness of the dish.

Here I am having a chocolate fondue for dinner...just couldnt decide so went for strawberries and chocolate - dont tell my kids!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


No this isnt a reference to smoking hot Englishmen...but rather a statement about hot I am finding it in Port Moresby (POM). Its only about 35 degrees here today but the humidity must be in the 90s. It is so hot and sweaty.

Its been a fab week so far. Finally no training wheels (the boss flew out this morning) and so far no smash.

Our new offices look smik and I cant wait to move in. They are even building me a new "local". The hotel Papua is under construction across the street and it looks like just the sort of place I could enjoy a icy cold glass of sauv blanc. How thoughtful of the developers to have the opening date around the time I will be in town.

Shane is in town too doing some coaching and making the newspaper every day. He is such a media magnet - talking about how rugby league can help in stopping violence against women. What a do gooder - honestly. Some of my goodness must be rubbing off on him.