Blueberry Smooch

I just luuuurve blueberries, star anise and cardamom. It never entered my mind to combine them. Now my whole being is quivering at the thought of making this beautiful recipe with my blueberries which are only one season old at the moment. Mostly I commune with them each morning, tickling a few off and enjoying them standing in the sun before all of the rest of the world intrudes on our special time ūüėČ

betterfoodwhistler

I thought I‚Äôd share this recipe for one of my favorite recipes for fresh blueberries ‚ÄĒBlueberry Smooch.¬† Several years ago I first found the recipe in the Province Newspaper. I clipped the page, made my first batch but somehow I lost the recipe. I have since found a similar recipe for Strawberry Smooch on the http://www.homecanning.com website. The ingredients are similar accept I think the original one slipped in a bit of vanilla. The last couple of years I have tweaked the recipe into Spiced Smooch by adding whole Star Anise and Cardamom pods. I count the number of pods and pull them out before processing or you can make a spice satchel out of cheesecloth.

If new to canning or if you don’t have the time you can also freeze the sauce to enjoy all winter long. It goes well with just about anything from icecream, cheesecake, pancakes and…

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Libreria Acqua Alta | Venice

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The joy of finding small treasures in a foreign country and the excitement of finding a new bookshop, Nora from The Art of Travelling has successfully managed to combine the two. As someone else who loves the quirky, quaint and sometimes ridiculous I have to say she is on to a winner with this one. Pop on over to her blog and have a read of her other articles too.

The Art of Exploring

Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta
I remember finding out about this bookshop while watching a documentary on Venice during wintertime with my mum last year. I found it hard to believe that such a place existed in real life and was not a part of a film set. So when I went to Venice last January, I couldn‚Äôt wait to see it with my own eyes. It was actually one of the first thing I ticked off my ‚Äėto-see-list‚Äô. It‚Äôs no easy feat to locate the Libreria Acqua Alta, like most places in Venice, really. I was walking on a shopping street, literally about to give up, when I stumbled upon a little square, or campiello as they call it there. At the back of it, an arched entrance, lit up from inside, seemed to invite me in. Could it be it, I thought, trying to match what I saw with my televised memory‚Ķ

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The Amazing Power of Scent

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I don’t know about you, but for me a scent can send me spinning off into the dark caverns of memory,¬†touching old thoughts, transporting me into hitherto forgotten scenes or awakening old emotions.

Sourdough bread, for example, that warm, wild and yeasty scent evoking memories of security; an incense bringing into sharp relief the memories of laughter and a precious friend’s welcome home from a trip to Nepal; a rose reminding me of a special time and place of joy or lavender, the rare times I spent with my grandmother on the other side of the country.

While working towards my decluttering challenge I picked up a book, long unopened, fanned through its pages breathing in the mustiness and was transported back years before the speed of the internet, email and mobile phones made us all a part of a new world and easily accessible.  Private time readings as a child, teenager and young adult was salve to my soul.  Many hours were spent in other worlds with a variety of characters, all while curled up on my bed with a late winter sun pouring through the window.

I decided against moving on those books just yet.¬† With autumn arrived I still have things to do in the garden, but those books …. well I am going to reread them all again before handing them over to the local charity store so that others can share the same stories.¬†¬†I am going to have an amazing winter without TV, with the computer and phone turned off, and just dive into those worlds again with the cat curled up and a hot chocolate by my side.¬† I can smell it now.

5 Things I Did Not Expect To Learn From Permaculture

A truly inspiring article and one that resonates very deeply with me. I am learning about permaculture presently and unfortunately had to postpone my own PDC for another 10 months. Most people I know who have done the course find that their worldview changes, their world changes and that amazing things happen. Please enjoy this read.

Shake This Land

I believe in the power of a good cry. Three years ago, I read a book called Eaarth by environmentalist Bill McKibben and it changed my life. Few things have had such a profoundly lasting effect on me, and I dealt with coming to terms with his depressing statistics and threatening realities through cycles of anger, dread, denial and hope. Interspersed with fits of crying, of course. For a long time I felt weighed down by his insights and powerless that his suggestions for changing the world could actually do so… What effect can one person really make by biking to the grocery store and using a reusable bag?! I can see the parking lot full of cars and the stacks on stacks of plastic bags ready to be used! Also, I cannot afford even one solar panel, dude.

One day in the middle of a good cry, I got sick…

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I ask you ….

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What during this last week¬†or so¬†has truly amazed you?¬† It may have been something that made you step back in surprise, splutter with laughter, sigh with reflection.¬†¬† It may be simple, it may be complex. ¬†What has really hit your attention, boggled your mind?¬† I’d like to know, if you’d like to share¬† ūüôā

Out the door, turn right and pay a visit ….

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Tonight I jumped at the assignment opportunity to ‘visit the neighbours’.¬†¬† There are so many wonderful blogs out there and so little time to read, at least while in the throes of learning how to use WordPress.¬† I presume once I have mastered the day to day aspects of blogging it will be easier to find time to include the joy of reading the work of others.¬† As¬†part of a community, and not flying solo, I think such visits make blogging meaningful.¬† Without readers there is only us.¬† If there is only us, why are we writing in a public place?¬† I promise to make time to read your¬†creations.

So how do you take your coffee?

The Fishes and the Bees

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Bees in an aquaponic system

Bees in an aquaponic system

For sometime I have been toying with the idea of installing a small aquaponics system in my yard.¬†¬†Part of the sustainable lifestyle I am trying to lead¬†is the important¬†responsibility of raising as much of the food we eat as¬†possible.¬† So the thought of breeding my own fish for eating, while their waste water¬†recycles¬†as nutrients in my veggie patch, cycling,¬†cleansing and¬†returning to the fish, really appeals to me.¬†¬†I want¬†some living systems¬†to learn from as well¬†as¬†to grow my own provisions – at least within the capabilities of my (very) small garden.¬† I want to spend more time¬†immersed in ‘nature’ than I do. ¬†So all hyped up¬†with that in mind I decided to visit¬†a recommended aquaponics retailer.¬† Now I must say, although my research showed I’d have to wait a while for the fish to grow large enough for harvesting I was running a few recipes through my head on the way there.¬† As you do.¬† Unfortunately¬†discussion with the helpful staff made me realise¬†the tank I thought suited to my courtyard is not suited to having edible fish because of the small area.¬† Pop!! A bubble bursts, there goes that dream.¬† But in its place …. more room, bigger systems.¬† A girl can dream!¬† And speaking of learning – something I observed in the vegie beds which had just flushed with water, beautiful, buzzing, thirsty little bees.¬† It’s¬†a perfect drinking hole for them because they cannot drown.¬† So there is another part in a wonderful cyclic system we need to care for.¬† These industrious little creatures play such an important role in maintaining our complex food structures.¬† Without them, it might be life, but not life¬†as we know it.

365 Journeys in One Year

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Hoarder and messy, that’s me.¬† I love to collect things – books, bowls, timber boxes, rocks and shells.¬† Just to mention a few.¬† I am not sure why I do, perhaps when looking at or handling it I find myself in another world.¬† New worlds are easy to fall into through literary channels.¬† But¬†think about rocks and shells; a sea fossil found in the Australian outback thousands of miles from the ocean.¬† It’s fascinating stuff and it takes my breath away considering how they got there, what it must have been like when there was a huge inland sea instead of red sand dunes and spinifex.¬† But all that is about to change.¬† All my precious, and not so precious, treasures are going under scrutiny.¬† I want to simplify my life and removing the work in storing, dusting and cleaning these things or moving them to get to something else is going to reduce some stress.¬† I want to become a minimalist.¬† Not overnight of course (can such an event occur!).¬† Just little by little, until I find that balance where I can enjoy more¬†time ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’ as one blogger recently wrote of.¬† This year, to begin with, I am testing myself with a 365 declutter challenge – one thing goes – every day.¬† For those of you who have no appreciation of a hoarder’s nature I do not expect you to understand.¬† 365 may not seem like much, but the time involved in going over each item, reflection of special times, places and people, being transported all over again is not a small challenge.¬† Imagine.¬† 365 journeys in¬†one year.