historic rosemaling art norway
History & Traditions

Wisdom from the Past in Traditional Art

Norwegian Decorative Art of Rosemaling

In traditional art, it was a custom to have a saying or Proverb decorating the border of a bowl, utensil or piece of furniture. Especially this is seen in the old decorative art of Norway, called Rosemaling.

Telemark Rosemaling
Rosemaling by Bjorn Pettersen

The following words of wisdom were indicative of a social art history as they were penned by the artist of that time and reflected their thoughts and values. A time capsule of advice.

Norwegian Proverbs on Rosemaling Decorative Art

Wording old traditional art rosemaling norway wall

Here are a few to ponder:

Alderen kjem ikkje aleine; han fører så mye med seg.

Age comes not alone; it brings so much with it.

 –Det gror ikke til på veien mellon gode venner.

On the road between the homes of friends, grass does not grow.

 –Ingen kan hjelp den som ikke vil hjelpe seg sjøl.

Noone can help someone who will not help him/herself

Too much cleverness is foolishness.

For mye klokskap er dårskap.

Norwegian Traditional art form Rosmaling on wooden plate with proverb saying on border

Curious to know more about Rosemaling, an art form that has experienced a Renaissance in America, particularly the Norwegian areas of the Mid-West?

Find more here

pavlova recipe
Australia, blogging, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

The Challenge of Making the Perfect Pavlova

Christmas has been and gone and with it the traditionally festive dessert of choice in Australia, (with its warm weather), the humble ‘Pavlova.’ This ubiquitous dessert really needs no introduction and not wishing to trigger my New Zealand counterparts, I won’t mention its origins, but will note the recipe has Australian variations!

Photo by Sandra Filipe on Pexels.com

Discussions around this dessert led to a four way cooking challenge which I will explain further in the post.

Modern Take on Traditional Pavlova

My take on the Traditional Pavlova Recipe, is mainly decorative but it works well to add to the festive appearance for a special occasion or to spoil a family member.

Still piled high with a delicious marshmallow centre and surrounded by the crunchy meringue shell that we all know and love, this pavlova is topped high with seasonal fruits, whipped cream, or custard as well as cream, (depending on your cholesterol level).

As Pavlova is generally Gluten-free, (omit the cornflour), you can serve this to sensitive tummies as well! Just check the chocolate you use is gluten-free too, if you have Coeliac guests.

What’s Different about this Pavlova?

It is perfect for a birthday dinner, a party, or just a treat to spoil yourself in lockdown and has a Chocolate Dome that you can smash with a rolling pin or large serving spoon, when slicing up.

What fun! Especially for kids!

Pavlova

Smashed Pavlova Chocolate Dome Recipe

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 800g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 600g thickened cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 pre-prepared pavlovaRecipe here
  • Topping of seasonal fruits: eg. cherries, mangoes, raspberries or kiwifruit

N.B. Undecorated pavlova can be made several days ahead; store in an airtight container, prior to decoration.

Method – Making a Chocolate Dome

  1. Spray a 12″ or 28cm plastic or pyrex bowl lightly with oil and place in the freezer. Melt chocolate on low heat on the stove in a double boiler or in the microwave if you prefer.
  2. Remove the bowl from the freezer and pour in half of the melted chocolate. Rotate the bowl to cover as much of the inside surface as possible, using a pastry brush to push the chocolate out to the rim. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. To finish the chocolate dome, use a pastry brush to brush remaining melted chocolate over existing layer, ensuring any thin areas are touched up. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  4. Remove the bowl from the freezer. Trim the chocolate on the lip of the bowl to create an even base line and then gently rotate and tap the sides of the bowl to release the dome with a rolling pin. Run a knife along the sides of the bowl to release the dome slightly. Once chocolate comes away from the edge on all sides of the bowl the dome is ready.

3. Meanwhile, top the pavlova with cream and decorate with mango slices, cherries and raspberries. Carefully cover finished pavlova with the chocolate dome. Serve immediately.

Tip: use a wooden rolling pin or similar utensil to “smash” the chocolate casing when serving and prior to slicing.

Food Blogger Bake Off Challenge

pavlova recipe

When Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles mentioned a delicious dessert of her own a Blogging Bake-off idea was conceived. Thus, I’ve invited other blogging cooks such as Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful and Moon from Bits and Pieces to take up the Pavlova Bake off Challenge with me!

Have you previously posted about Pavlova? Would you like to try making a pavlova or another meringue like dessert?

Join in on the Pavlova Bake- off challenge by adding a pingback to this address in your post and it will update with your link.

Amanda – Something delicious to Ponder About

blogging, History & Traditions, Mental Health, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Emotionally-Driven Thoughts

We spend a lot of time in our own headspace, either at work or at home relaxing. In lockdown, some of us might be alone with our emotional thoughts, much more than we have ever experienced before.

This level of introspection, or mulling over problems, can get to a person, especially if they are a deep thinker or highly sensitive.

Concentration, Energy and Motivation

The extent to which we are occupied by our emotional-driven thoughts is often the extent to which energy is diverted away from our working memory, our concentration and motivation. We find it hard to concentrate on our work when we have something on our mind. The monkey mind, it is often called.

bewellplace.com

Caught Up in Our Emotions

We talk about being caught up in our emotions and it can feel like being trapped inside your own head. At these times, it is hard to re-focus on matters at hand. Our worry or frustration centres switch on and at times, go into, ‘overdrive.’

But those thoughts in our worry centre, are not reality-based thoughts. They are magnified, exagerrated, skewed or biased. We are so much more than those thoughts. Thoughts are not who a person is. Yet we give them power over our moods.

Just like a loud noise that bothers us, trying hard to block it out, will inevitably make the noise appear louder. This is because our focus on the noise has increased. We might even become angry and frustrated.

If we can’t remove the offending noise, we must decrease our focus in order to tolerate the annoying noise, or the many frustrations of our lives. If our attention is diverted away from focusing on the noise or the frustrations, we tend not to notice it and its persistence wanes.

Practising Mindful Strategies to Prevent Worry

Similarly, we can re-focus our attention away from the abyss of introspection, by practising ‘Mindfulness‘ techniques, which are designed to assist us in staying within the present moment. The only time we can act and live is right now, in the present moment. Everything else, the past and the future is only a construct of our minds, so focus on the here-and-now.

The Glennon Doyle and Buddha quotes may have been at odds, but one might assume their objectives were the same.

What do you think of this Sunday’s quotes?

rosemaling fabric
History & Traditions, Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Red and Green

Origins of the Traditional Christmas Colours of Red and Green

In many parts of Europe during the middle ages, Paradise plays were performed, often on Christmas Eve. They told Bible stories to people who couldn’t read. The ‘Paradise Tree’ in the garden of eden in the play was normally a pine tree with red apples tied to it.

whychristmas.com/customs/colors-of-christmas.shtml

Final Photo Prompt for 2020

For the final Friendly Friday Photo Challenge of 2020, show us your version of photos of Red and Green.

Join the Friendly Friday Challenge

Write a post of your own celebrating ‘Red and Green,’ and ‘ping’ or link back to this post, leaving a comment below, so we can find your own Friendly Friday Post.

There are more detailed instructions on how to join in with the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge here.

These photos are taken in Japan in 2019, during the Crimson leaves season. The final two photographs are taken with #No filter.

The Friendly Friday Challenge team will be enjoying a well earned break, from weekly Friendly Friday posts, over the festive period. The challenge will resume in the New Year on Friday 29th January, 2021.

Friendly Friday

Friendly Friday Challenge in 2021

Your Friendly Friday Hosts Sandy and myself, (Amanda) will post a new format for Friendly Friday, going forward in 2021. One that we hope will encourage and support those wonderful bloggers who have been posting Friendly Friday posts throughout this, a most difficult year for the world. Of course, we also welcome new participants to the challenge.

All are welcome to join in.

God Jul til Alle Sammen and Merry Christmas

Christmas tree
computer
blogging, History & Traditions

Google will Help You

In the almost forgotten days B.C. meaning, “Before Covid,” we might search for holiday accommodation, or sightseeing spots using Google. Sometimes Google suggests places we didn’t even know we wanted to go, based on our search history and we don’t have to ask.

hotel entrance stained glass

Whilst away on vacations, we might need to know a good place to eat nearby. No need to ask the concierge or at the Reception desk, as Google can tell you. Do you want to know what people thought of the atmosphere, the food, the service of that restaurant? Google knows better than any food critic. Directions to get there? Google will be delighted to share various routes and time frames. Not sure of the constituents of a fancy French dish on the menu: Google will be happy to elaborate.

You might have consulted the medical form – Dr Google – who compiles a list of potential medical conditions from your given symptoms.

Can’t find that recipe for Turmeric flavoured Brownies? Chef Google to the rescue.

So much of our news and information stems from social media pop-ups, short headlines or excerpts on Google. News services and some newspapers have been made redundant by Google. We are now so good at finding out information for ourselves, via Google, I wonder if journalism will become redundant too?

Syndicated news doesn’t seem to reflect differing viewpoints any longer. Instead, reporters grow more like the mouthpieces of social media behemoths, reporting on what they personally think of a topic, rather than any balanced, objective or original perspective.

There is little need for a media launch or PR campaign for a new product. With a small amount of money, social media marketing will use targeted advertising will reach your chosen audience and Google spiders automatically do the rest.

Google is omnipresent and listening. If you don’t believe me, try saying, “Hey Google” to your cell phone.

Flowers
Time – less flowers

Google has made the world better by improving access to information, but it has also eliminated a multitude of jobs. How did we ever manage without it?

In referring to time, our future years may be B.G. and A.G. – Before Google and After Google.

1980’s was a year B.G. – being that time when we used Telephone books, Street Directories, read broadsheet Newspapers and Hard copy Dictionaries and more people had full time employment.

I remember those days.

polish folk art mouse pad
craft, History & Traditions, Painting, Photography, Traditional Art

Kashubian Embroidery

Traditional Tuesday – [A look at traditional Art Forms]

Poland is a country of deeply rooted culture and pursuits, not the least of which, is iconic Polish Folk Art forms, such as a specialist kind of stitching, called Kashuby embroidery. Initially used as a decoration for clothing, particularly folk costumes and women’s caps, these distinctive motifs have been transformed and used to decorate items as diverse as pottery, furniture, tableware and a range of merchandise from lanyards to mouse pads.

Kashubians are a proud people with a separate language, craft and folklore to other Polish areas. Their motto is “There is no Kashubia without Poles and Poland without Kaszubians.”

Product available in Zazzle and Redbubble

Previously considered an activity for Grandmothers, girls of all ages and even men, in Kashubia, enjoy decorating clothing with Kashuby Embroidery.

Colours

Kashubia, [a province in coastal Pomerania], is famous for its distinctive embroidery that consistently features seven main colours.

http://www.wilno.org/culture/embroidery.html

The palette used in Kashuby embroidery utilises seven main thread colours and believe or not, this tends to be strictly observed, i.e. 3 shades of blue, yellow, red, green and brown/black, for it to be called Kashuby Style.

Each of the colors used symbolized something from nature and the people.

BLUE: –

  • Dark Blue – represents the profound depth of the Baltic Sea
  • Medium or Royal Blue – the colour of the Kashubian Lakes
  • Light Blue – for the sky of Kashubia

YELLOW :-

  • Light Yellow – representing the sand on the beaches and the sun.
  • Medium Yellow for the grains ripening in the fields
  • Dark Yellow symbolizing amber, commonly found washed up on the beaches, in these coastal areas.

GREEN :-

  • Symbolizes the meadows and plant life
  • Indicates the forests teeming with animal life

RED :-

  • The use of the colour red indicated the heart and love
  • also indicative of the blood of every Kashubian. They are a fiercely patriotic people, and would die to defend their homeland.
  • Red also represents poppies in girl’s hairs

BLACK or BROWN :-

  • representing sorrow and adversity
  • symbolizing the earth in the fields awaiting to be sown seeds.

Motifs

hafty

Because of the poverty of the surrounding soil, the Kashubian landscape produces flowers that are stringy, but still colourful. Nature is an important inspiration for floral motifs, especially bell-flowers, lilies, daisies, roses, cornflowers, pomegranates and clovers. Tulips and Acanthus motifs, derived from Christian religious traditions were incorporated as oak or thistle leaves and restricted to embroidery executed by Nuns in the convents.

Adding Beetles and bee motifs to the embroidery stemmed from connections to the ancient pagan traditions of honouring nature.

A lovely element used in Kashuby embroidery is the ‘tree of life.’ Ideally, the branches mustn’t cross or intertwine because it symbolises that life ought to be simple and clear.

In the nineteenth century, fashions changed and traditional folk art patterned outfits began to slowly disappear but some crafts hung on and were printed on to modern merchandise to appeal to tourists.

Formerly, the different style of embroidered costume was related to the particular job the person was doing. Farmers had different motifs and outfits to that seen on fisherman.

In modern times, these outfits are rarely seen outside of special occasions, events or musical performances yet the popularity of the embroidery style, lives on.

More posts on Polish Folk Art

cake on platter
Food, History & Traditions

Friendly Friday Challenge Guest Post – Nostalgia

The Guest post for this week’s Friendly Friday theme of Nostalgia, comes from Lorelle, an Australian Mum of two, passionate traveller and foodie enthusiast, who blogs at A Mindful Traveller.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting the lovely Lorelle a couple of years ago and she has been so kind to write a beautiful narrative about a very different kind of cake, one that is not only full of tradition but also has a special meaning for her and her family.

Two bloggers meet in Melbourne

Lorelle writes:

Nostalgia

“Interestingly, there are two forms of nostalgia, restorative and reflective.

For me, Nostalgia is purely reflective. Stepping down memory lane with no need to recreate the past, is gratifying. The memories and more importantly, the feelings associated with those memories, are forever embedded with us.

Food is a remarkable trigger for Nostalgia, as it is a powerful sensory recollection. We all associate certain foods with memories and feelings.

Sri Lankan Connection

Coming from a Sri Lankan family, food is an important cultural way of life. And when I reflect on the vast variety of delicious and tasty Sri Lankan foods, there is one particular dish that is not only my favourite but one that holds special memories as it is only prepared and eaten at that all-important sacred feast of Christmas.

These customs and traditions allow us to preserve our important ancestral history. Unique, individual stories, wisdom and in this case recipes, passed from generation to generation. As Sri Lankan migrants, my parents continue to pass on their significant heritage to their children, and at important celebrations of the year where family gather, recipes like Sri Lankan Love Cake remind us of where it all began.

Sri Lankan Love Cake

History of Sri Lankan Love Cake

This traditional Sri Lankan cake was inspired by the Portuguese from the 1500’s. As the name suggests, Love Cake was originally made to win the heart of an admirer. It is made from cashew nuts, semolina and candied winter melon/squash called puhul dosi (pumpkin preserve).  Exotic spices and floral essences create a fragrant, sweet, spiced cake with a soft chewy inside and a crunchy crust.

There are many different variations to Love Cake, with each “Aunty” insisting her recipe is better than the other! Practice is also another requirement. Don’t be alarmed if you do not succeed the first time. Adjusting ingredients or oven temperatures may be necessary.

Sri Lankan Love Cake Recipe

In the recipe below, I have used a bain-marie of water to create that soft chewy centre. By placing a tray of water at the bottom of the oven, the moisture stays within the cake and doesn’t dry it out.

So, it is here that Christmas and its celebratory traditional cakes, bring great Nostalgia of our original family home, my grandparents and the sense of togetherness and family love.

Sri Lankan Love Cake

Makes: 2 rectangular baking trays

Prep Time: 30 mins (Eggs need to be at room temperature)

Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 450g butter, softened
  • 450g semolina
  • 650g cashew nuts (pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped, keeping some larger pieces. Do not blend to a powder consistency)
  • 12 egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 7 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 700g caster sugar
  • 500 g preserved pumpkin (puhul dosi), finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  • 50ml rosewater
  • 2 tbsp almond essence
  • 50ml honey
  • juice of 1 orange
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp clove, ground

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced)
  2. Grease two rectangular cake tins and line with foil and then baking paper.
  3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
  4. Combine the softened butter and semolina together in a separate bowl using your fingers. Add this to the egg and sugar mixture in thirds, beating to combine.
  5. Transfer mixture into a very large mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon incorporate the nuts, pumpkin preserve. Then add rosewater, almond essence, honey, juice and rind, stirring well. Add remaining dry spices and mix.
  6. Whip the egg whites into soft peaks and gently fold through the egg whites into the cake batter in two batches, do not over beat mixture. The egg whites will loosen up the mixture.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake tins.
  8. Place a large tray of water on bottom oven shelf.
  9. Bake the cakes at 160°C for 20 mins on middle oven shelf.
  10. Reduce heat to 150°C and bake for a further 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  11. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
  12. Once cooked and brown on top, remove cakes and allow to cool in trays before transferring. Cut into rectangles or squares when cool.

If you are wondering about preserved pumpkin, Lorelle writes to tell me that:

Preserved pumpkin or Puhul dosi, can be purchased from the Indian/Sri Lankan grocers or you could try to make your own. You can alternatively use preserved or candied squash/winter melon or pineapple. A health food store might stock these items.

About Lorelle and A Mindful Traveller:

Three years ago, I decided to document and share my personal travel and favourite recipes from the many wonderful places I visited locally and globally.

My passion for travel grew immensely and was educated as I discovered new and exciting corners of the globe that I had not been to before.

Living in Australia and being quite distant from the rest of the world has its advantages and disadvantages.

Now, as we fight our way through a worldwide pandemic, the ambivalent questions of when we will be able to travel overseas again are daunting.

This presents another opportunity to further explore my own country and improve my knowledge for the country I was born in. The open outback, rugged coasts and stretched roads are calling….

Photo by David Jia on Pexels.com

Many thanks to Lorelle for sharing this delicious recipe and giving us an insight into the background and traditions around this a small piece of ‘nostalgia.’

History & Traditions, Motivational, Philosophy

Weekly Quote and Proverb

Proverbs and Quotes provide us with wisdom from days past.

These words, generally anonymous and uttered so succinctly, can teach us so much, in just a few words.

Here are this week offerings:

The greater love is a mother’s;

then comes a dog’s;

then a sweetheart’s – Polish Proverb

Schnauzer dog

In these times of pandemic and social distancing, we would do well to remember the Danish proverb:

No one is rich enough

to do

without a neighbour.

Danish Proverb
Dragør

As a second wave of Corona looks to be commencing in a southern state, the final word goes to Thomas Edison –

Stay safe.

blogging, History & Traditions, Photography

Friendly Friday: The Colour Pink – Guest Post

Vero writes:

When Amanda asked me to write a post with the prompt, “Pink,” my mind went in many directions first.

Then I paused: what’s really my relationship with this girly colour?

Let’s be honest, no matter how modern you are on the gender stereotyping theme, it will still take yonks before pink is something else than a female shade!

I grew up in the 70s, though, which was supposed to be a decade of change and evolution in the matter. But my mother was rather traditional. My bedroom had a pink wall paper – until very very late.

I wore pink dresses.

But looking at this other photo from my dance class, (ironically, it’s black and white!!); it seems I was suddenly totally opposed to pink and decided to make it very clear!

Being a teenager is very tricky, isn’t it.

You want to fit in but also you want to show the world how different you are from the crowd!

That’s when I started wearing very different items of clothing.

I particularly loved a velvet jacket and suede tie which belonged to my grandfather – 4 sizes too big for me. The results of my combo choices were often extremely peculiar but I guess that’s how I decided to be creative at that time.

And took ballet classes wearing pale pink leotards and tights. In a way, pink was the colour of my childhood.Then the teenage years followed. And they were black. Didn’t we all wear black then? It was the way to merge.


Pink never really came back in my wardrobe in my adult years. Except for fuchsia. Vibrant colours are what define me now. In French, we have a way to qualify vivid shades: we call them “shouting” or “yelling tints.”

As if it was so bright, it could actually make an unpleasant sound.

In my never-ending craving for strong saturation, I even painted my house’s front wall, one Saturday afternoon, in bright pink. My courtyard had already been indoctrinated with a mixture of bleu majorelle (link to jardinmajorelle.com/ang/ ) and anis green !


Click on over to Vero’s blog to read the second instalment of this post.

About the Guest Blogger

Vero was born in a green and quiet Parisian suburb. She left this idyllic scenery in her early twenties to live in England, later settling in the South of France and started a family of three (+dogs!). Now in her forties, she lives in a rural coastal village in Brittany.

Thanks to Vero for this interesting glimpse into her relationship with the colour pink prepared for this week’s Friendly Friday theme.

If you would like to be featured as a guest blogger for a Friendly Friday Challenge post, please contact Amanda or Sandy – hosts of Friendly Friday, via our contact pages.

Friendly Friday
History & Traditions, Philosophy

Living History 100 years ago

Margaret uses a Box iron – that is heated on the fire to iron her clothes. She cooks all her meals and bakes her own bread in a pot oven, over the open fire. She lives in a house without electricity and modern conveniences. This is not a reality show where we are taken back in time for a short period. This is the life of someone living in modern times, but just as people did 100 years ago in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

The fire, Margaret says, is essential not just for life, but for the house itself to survive, as the timbers, need the fire to preserve them. Without the fire, you could not live this way.

In addition, this county has interesting natural and social history features. As well as rare plants, there is the pagan stone – where the firstborn of stock and family were sacrificed in pagan times! A Holy Spring is located there – the waters of which are supposed to cure nervous and paralytic disorders.

It is thought some of my family may have come from this county, around 130 years ago, so this is a snapshot into the way of life they may have led. Margaret doesn’t see this house as a time capsule, the way we might.


She sees it as home just as her father and Grandfather did.

Could you live a life without modern conveniences. the way Margaret does?

If you had to give them up, which one would you miss the most?

Which one would you choose to keep?

veterans
Australia, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

ANZAC Biscuit Traditions

Home made bikkies

When is a Cookie a biscuit? When you live in Australia, of course.

On April 25 each year, Anzac Day, the nation stops to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of a group of soldiers that have contributed to the development of our national psyche. We don’t have many traditions of our own so we have adopted this to be a signifier that we are Australian. And the Anzac tradition has even spawned a biscuit or cookie! How Australian!

Today, there won’t be any dawn Anzac services attended by the many descendants of those soldiers, so it is likely that we might all be baking these biscuits at home, remembering the soldiers.

The ANZAC Biscuit

During WWI, a certain type of biscuit/cookie was sent by mail, in sealed tins, to the troops fighting in the filthy trenches at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove in Turkey. They were sent all the way from Australia, from the mothers and sweethearts of those brave, young men who were to fight Britain’s war against Turkey.

It was thought this biscuit would keep well in transit for an extended period of time. As such they are regarded as quintessentially Australian and our tradition of making Anzac biscuits on April 25, has continued for the past 9 years. Almost as old as this blog itself!

Below you will find the recipe.

Heidi 020

 Anzac Biscuit Recipe

I have posted two versions here. The first recipe is mine and the second, the trusty Women’s Weekly magazine version. Please post what temperature worked for you, if you do try the recipe…

Preheat Oven 170 – 180 C or 350 F

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup – you can use honey or maple syrup as an alternative
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 160 g or (⅔ cup) butter, melted

Method
1. Sift flour and ginger into a mixing bowl and add coconuts, oats and sugar. Mix and make a well in the centre ready for the addition of the wet ingredients.

2. Stir in Golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb soda, in a small bowl, until combined.

3. Add the syrup mix into the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well.

4. Take heaped teaspoons of mix and roll into small balls.

5. Place on trays and flatten gently.

6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown

7. Cool on tray 10 minutes until they firm up slightly.


Wanting to try the ever faithful Woman’s Weekly recipes, last year I cooked up a second batch. These ones aren’t so crisp, but if you like the flavour of brown sugar, they are worth a ‘go.’

Woman’s Weekly Anzacs

Preheat oven  160 -175 C or 350 F

Ingredients

Heidi 020
  • 125 g (I cup) butter chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats

Method

  • Melt butter and golden syrup over low heat.
  • Add bicarb and water to butter mix.
  • Mix remaining dry ingredients and combine wet and dry.
  • Spoon teaspoons of mix on to lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
  • Cook 12 – 15 minutes. Cool on tray  5 – 10  minutes.

Now you can also try these biscuits, and tell me what you think. I will ponder whether they will become a tradition in your house.

History & Traditions, Traditional Art

First Trip to Nepal

Fellow blogger Pooja from Stories from Europe grew up in Nepal, so we’ve joined forces to write about a city located close to Kathmandu, called Bhaktapur. The individual accounts are about the same city, Bhaktapur, but written from a perspective of 34 years apart.

What things had changed?

What comparisons can we draw? Let’s find out.

1986

It is March in the year 1986.

It’s been two months since the doomed Space Shuttle Mission exploded and before another month is over, the reactor in Chernobyl, Russia will fail triggering a catastrophic nuclear accident that will change the world.

Meanwhile, in Australia, I am young, newly married and embarking on my first overseas trip. I am optimistic and filled with a mixture of excitement and nervous energy about my upcoming visit to Nepal. It would be my first time travelling overseas.

The First Overseas Trip

Why choose Nepal for my first overseas trip when every second Australian, at that time, was going to London or Bali?

24-year-old me was eager to experience a culture entirely different from the semi-pasteurized life I had in Australia, yet I still had many reservations about what ‘Overseas’ would be like.

My Arrival in Nepal – Kathmandu

When I arrived in Kathmandu, the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom, the wave of initial shock I felt at seeing the level of underdevelopment that existed in the Third-world, quickly gave way to a respect and appreciation for the Nepalese country, its eye-popping scenery, history and peace-loving people.

In 1986, I wrote in my travel diary, “the poverty of many Nepalese citizens contrasts sharply with a grand, ancient architecture, which is set against the backdrop of the staggering beauty of the Himalayas, mountains that could easily be mistaken for clouds.”

The contrast of our well appointed accommodation, the Yak ‘n Yeti Hotel, a former Palace in itself, with the scene a few steps away on the main street of the capital was stark.

Contrasts.

In 1986, there was very few modern conveniences, (there was great bemusement and amazement when someone brought a small vacuum cleaner into the hotel lobby). The swimming pool was cleaned with a mop that consisted of a rag wrapped around the end of a wooden broom.

Thus, it was a day or so before ‘Westernized’ me could relax and enjoy the Nepalese culture, without feeling a sense of inequity on behalf of the people, and guilt for living my life in what would Nepalis would consider to be an extravagant and materialistic Western lifestyle, in comparison. (Even though my lifestyle was merely average by Australian standards.)

One street vendor summed it up.

“Where are you from? he asked, polishing the prayer wheel we were about to buy.

“Australia? Then you are rich!” he put forward.

I shook my head.

“No, not rich, definitely not rich,” I maintained.

“No?” he said, raising his eyebrow quizzically.

“How long did it take you to save the money to come here, then?’ he asked, “Six months, a year?”

I said, “Almost two years,” but he had made his point well. I was rich in comparison.

Bhaktapur – 1986

After a day or so in Kathmandu, my new husband and I were eager to explore further by driving around 10 kilometres east, passing through largely agricultural farms and the turnoff to China before arriving at Bhaktapur.

In 1986, 80% of the population of Bhaktapur were farming and the city was not yet on the main tourist trail. That was a shame as it was the original epicentre of Nepalese government from the 12th century until Kathmandu became the capital city under the Rana Kings.

The name Bhaktapur, means, “city of devotees,” my yellowing travel notes tell me, and if you enjoy traditional art, architecture and lifestyle, Bhaktapur gives you this in bucketloads. To visit Bhaktapur in 1986, it felt like a time warp back to the 14th centuries, Nepal’s Golden Age, when the Dynasty of Malla Kings ruled the region.

As well as seeing traditional Newari homes, Bhaktapur’s main square, ‘Durbar Square’, is filled with UNESCO heritage-listed Palaces and Pagoda-styled temples, adorned with highly crafted, intricate woodcarvings and statues that I felt were a privilege to see, given that Nepal was, for many years, closed to the outside world.

It isn’t widely known that the tiered Pagoda-style architecture, typically associated with the Orient, was first developed in Nepal, by a Nepalese architect who exported the concept very successfully to Asia.

Durbar Square

Our Guide, Madhav, explained the history behind the architectural legacy left from the Malla Dynasty and their lengthy rule which preceded the more inward-looking Rana Kings, who closed off Nepal to foreigners.

Walking across Durbar Square we saw the masterpiece that is the Golden Gate, which comprises the main entrance to the old Royal Palace. Said to be, ‘the most richly moulded specimen of its kind in the world,’ the Golden Gate is intricately embellished with Garuda, the mythical griffin, Goddesses and other Hindu creatures. The gate leads to an inner courtyard containing a Royal Pool, or Water tank where a Hindu goddess, was believed to have her daily bath.

The Royal Palace itself, a structure adorned with fifty-five carved wooden windows, was built during the reign of the Malla King Bhupendra Malla, and finally completed in 1754.

Despite the Royal Palace remaining closed to the public as a result of the damage it sustained, during the 1934 earthquake, we feel now quite lucky to see it when we did, as the damage to these heritage structures from the 1934 earthquake had been repaired and the devastating 1990 earthquake was yet to happen. This is the palace as it appeared in 2013, (not my photo).

Photo Credit: Sadmadd

The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla stands atop a pillar overlooking the square. The King is depicted in an act of worship and can be seen facing the Palace and away from the main square, as a mark of respect. Such a contrast to other statues in the West.

Bhaktapur’s Taumadhi Square

A few more steps away, Taumadhi square features a five-tiered pagoda built in the 1700s, with stepped plinths, said to have taken three generations to construct. The animal statues on the steps, guard both the temple and the resident Goddess. My photo is old and cloudy, but I am there standing on the right side at the top of the steps, talking to some young girls.

The girls in the photo gathered around me, holding my hands tightly and pleading, “one rupee.” Their fingers were so cold, and I worried that one little girl might actually be ill. One rupee is a pitiful amount of money and my heart went out to them, but our guide had warned us away from giving any of the children money. “If you give them money, it encourages begging,” he said. I did not want to offend.

From here we strolled along the quieter back alleys, where several Newari ladies dressed in traditional Sari, sat on mats on the ground, selling their crafts.

They sold silver filigree jewellery and trinkets, some inlaid with semi-precious stones as well as carved wooden boxes. There didn’t seem to be a lot of customers about that day. I purchased a small carved box and was given another small silver box in place of change, as the seller had no coins or notes to give me any change for the transaction. A kindly gesture and one that I hope did not leave her out of pocket.

traditional craft

Buddhist Art -Thangkas

We were privileged to witness the Buddhist monks painting scrolls in the traditional Buddhist art form, known as Thangkas. The monks paint versions with authentic gold leaf highlights, or a lesser alternative using gold paint, which was reflected in the price of each alternative.

I selected the following Thangka, brought it home from our trip, had it framed and it has been such a delight to me. All my family love it and I still have on the wall in my new home, 34 years later. It is a timeless piece that still fascinates me. There is always something new to see in the painting, even after 34 years.

nepalese traditional art

Some of the figures depicted in the painting might, on closer inspection, be considered pornographic to an unknowing Western eye. We are grateful that our guide explained the true purpose of this traditional depiction. The erotic positions of the figures were intended to excite men and the male spirit, in the hopes of increasing their fertility, something vital to the population, where children are seen as a way of securing your financial future.

Perhaps it worked, as I never had problems conceiving children?

My view from the coffee lounge

Our final stop in Bhaktapur, was a surprise invitation from our guide to drink coffee with him in a small Lounge, located atop one of the tiered Pagoda-like buildings, overlooking Taumadhi Square.

It was a unique experience to sit and contemplate the history of the centuries-old square where Kings had walked, where battles were fought, where ancient monuments were crafted and stone sculptures stood on guard, as a timeless testament to a creative and artistically rich culture.

Our Guide told us he met a girlfriend who lived in our home town and also how it was common for many Tour Guides to marry foreign tourists and live overseas. He insisted that he would prefer to stay in Nepal and hoped his girl would move over there. He asked us to go visit her when we went back home. I imagine he would have been disappointed to hear that she had no plans to return to Nepal.

Visiting Bhaktapur was a unique and highly satisfying experience I shall never forget and I thank Pooja from the blog: Stories from Europe for the opportunity to share these beautiful memories of my first overseas travel experience with you.

Bhaktapur – 2020

What things had changed since 1986?

To find out what has changed in Bhaktapur over the intervening years, visit Pooja’s blog post, and find out what life in present-day Bhaktapur is like.

What was your first Overseas travel experience like?

Where did you go? Was it to someone familiar or completely different?

I would be happy if you link back to #firsttripoverseas in the comments below.

New Zealand
Australia, History & Traditions, Travel

Australia Speaks – Yeh Nah!

Australians are renowned for a laconic, self-deprecating sense of humour that is, to a large extent, the sort of mockery that is not meant to offend.

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Australia – New Zealand Relations

We love to tease the New Zealanders about their accent and habits, like their habit of calling all and sundry, ‘bro.’ The Kiwis, in turn, mock us about our own ‘Straylan‘ accent, about who really invented pavlova, or whether Russell Crowe is an Aussie or Kiwi.

[Although after the phone-throwing incident, there was a debate as to whether anyone would claim Russell, at all].

Mocking each other can be a sign of feeling secure enough with the friendship that each may ‘have a go,’ or tease someone, in a gentle way, hopefully without it being taken personally, or causing offence. And so it is between New Zealanders and Australians.

Teasing aside, our countries do have a fairly similar culture, at least historically in the Anglo-Saxon sense. Many of us have relatives in both countries.

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We understand each other and visit all the time, prior to Corona, of course. It is quicker to travel to New Zealand than to travel to the other side of Australia, for goodness sake. When every second or third New Zealand Teenager moved to Australia in search of work, in the 1980s, the popular joke here, was:

“So you moved here from New Zealand? Did you leave the light on?”

New Zealanders are very welcome in Australia and are treated as one of us. Well, except when it comes to welfare payments, perhaps. ‘Nuff’ said.

Aussie Vernacular Idioms

My Kiwi cousins enjoy teasing me about the way Aussies say, “Yeh, nah,” or ‘yes,’ then ‘no’ in the one breath or sentence. And we do say it. No doubt.

All the time!

So why was this T-shirt found in a souvenir shop, in New Zealand, with a kiwi as part of the logo? “Hey, bro?

yeahnah

Are New Zealanders saying it, as well?

In defence of my fellow Aussies, this confusing phrase is used when we want to make two points, relative to one another, presumably to save time. As you may know, Aussies like to shorten everything to save time, especially when it comes to conversation and slang. As this video confirms:

In saying Yeh. Nah, we are agreeing with our conversational partner before further disagreeing on a smaller, less significant related point. Hence:

“Yeh, meaning you are right, (it looks like it might rain, but) “nah” meaning in reality, it probably won’t rain this afternoon – hence “Yeh, Nah, I don’t think it’s going to rain!”  Clear as mud?

It seems this confusing idiom that makes no literal sense has traversed the Tasman Sea, into New Zealand to the point that it’s now New Zealand speak, if only because it has the word, ‘bro’, after it!!

Aussies will NOT disagree with this, will they? Yeh…. nah!

And if you are ready for some more Aussie humour, Carl might give you a laugh.

Something for linguists to ponder about.