5 things…

It was a bit of a mixed-up week here. The day job has been busy, Adventure Spaniel hasn’t been her usual bouncy self, and, as is usual before heading off on holidays, there’s plenty that needs to be done before we go.

First up, every so often the passing of someone you’ve never met has an impact – so it was with the sudden death during the week of celebrity chef, Gary Rhodes. His book New British Classics, now 20 years old, was one of the first serious cookbooks I bought. It taught me so much and is still a go-to favourite when I’m seeking inspiration in the classics.

That being said, there were still things to smile about during the week…at least 5…

Cruise ships

I love it when these visit Mooloolaba – it not only introduces people to our little part of the world but also brings good $$$ to the community.

Big News

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had some big news. You’re looking at the new president of the RWA – Romance Writers of Australia. Naturally, you’re not looking at her, but you know what I mean.

I’ve been thinking for a while about using my skills in a way where I can give back (in a voluntary capacity) to something I believe in and this is that. 

There is, though, a lot in it for me. I realised when I attended the conference dinner earlier this year just how out of touch I’d become. I’ve been so used to my comfort zone – which was absolutely necessary when we went through the year that I refer to as “2016” – but although I’m busy, I’ve also stagnated. It feels like it’s time for me to take on a new challenge and step out of the shadows a tad – so that’s what I’m doing. And I’m excited by the prospect.

Anyways, the news came out in yesterday’s RWA newsletter so I guess that makes it public!


A personal milestone

During the week I hit the magical 10 kgs lost on my Excess Baggage project. I rewarded myself with a cookbook – would you expect anything less from me?

It’s taken 5 months to get to this point and even though I know I have another (at least) 15 kgs to think about, I won’t be thinking very much about that until we get back from our month in England.

Adventure Spaniel

I mentioned earlier she hasn’t been her bouncy self. She hurt her back earlier this week and was very sad and sorry for herself. It was a stark reminder that she’s now 11 and not getting any younger. She is, however, back to normal and I’m trying hard not to allow her to make flying leaps on and off things (with her customary half pike and double twist). She, however, continues to do both whenever she can – and with a big doggy grin.

Spirit House Cooking School

Saturday Kitchen this week was a cooking class at our favourite restaurant – The Spirit House in Yandina. These guys are in demand as having one of the best cooking schools in the country and it’s not hard to see why.

The class we did is the most in-demand of them all as it’s full of the classic dishes that have been popular in the restaurant since it opened 25 years ago.

It was extra special because Sarah – whose idea of cooking is to take something (we’ve prepared) out of the freezer and stick it into the microwave – came along with us.

On the menu was: 

Lemongrass & Coconut Soup with Tea Smoked Salmon & Oyster Mushrooms. In the restaurant, they serve this in a teapot and tiny little cups. After every visit, I’ve attempted to recreate it and never quite got there. Now I have the recipe.

Caramelised Pork Belly with Green Mango & Nahm Jim Dressing 

Red Curry of Duck with Lychees & Thai Basil 

Whole Crispy Fish with Three Flavoured Tamarind Sauce. We first tasted this dish at least 12 years ago – and have been ordering it on our annual visits ever since. I recall the surprise on the waiter’s faces when Sarah, then not even 10, dug in. It looks a tad confronting but wow it tastes good. I might not be inclined to deep fry a whole fish in a wok very often, but I will be making this sauce for barbequed fish.

Best of all was sitting down afterwards to eat what we’d prepared.

This meme

Get it?

The upside of Black Friday

Was your inbox as full as mine with emails advertising Black Friday sales? (As an aside when did this become a thing in Australia?)

At first, I cursed, then I began unsubscribing.

More frangipanis

Okay, that was my week…how was yours?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

19 thoughts

  1. Congrats, Jo, on your new role as the president of the RWA, and hitting your personal milestone. The food and the garden setting around the Spirit House cooking school look amazing. The fish served whole is really something! #lifethisweek

  2. Congratulations on your new presidency (you’ll be awesome) and your personal milestone (you are awesome)! Which new cookbook did you reward yourself with?
    The Spirit House Restaurant was highly recommended to us by our Australian friends. We tried to get in when we were there last (2010). We didn’t have reservations — so no luck for us! The dishes that you featured here looked absolutely amazing!

    1. Thanks Donna… the cookbook I chose was the new Rick Stein one – Secret France. Spirit House is amazing – before we moved up here we holidayed here most years – and most years a highlight would be lunch at Spirit House. These days it’s still our go to for “special” birthdays or events…but you have to book!

  3. Oh my god! Yay re the RWA thing. I had no idea. I live under a rock. Yay re all of the other stuff (Spirit House is on my to-do list one day) but the RWA thing is HUGE!!!! Congrats. That quote says something about ‘giving a busy person more to do’ and that’s you. You’re such a ‘can-do’ person!!!

    1. Yeah, they haven’t made a full announcement yet (RWA) but given that it was in this month’s Hearts Talk I figure it’s public. I also just realised that you and I were in a FB conversation when I lost power the other weekend. I’ll message you separately.

  4. Congrats on your presidential role – you’ll ace it! Everything at the cooking class looks amazing and as usual you have nailed it with the memes! It was so sad about Gary Rhodes, wasn’t it? And congrats on Operation Excess Baggage, I think a new cookbook is a most apt reward!

    1. It’s almost a little counter intuitive isn’t it? Buying a cookbook to reward weight loss…but it makes absolute sense to me.

  5. Congrats on the Presidency – because you only have a million things on your plate and you were getting bored??? You continue to amaze me with all that you fit into your life and how well you handle it all. I think there might be a Wonder Woman outfit under your daywear. Oh and congrats on the 10kgs too – quite an achievement!

  6. Congratulations on your new position for the RWA! Hope it’s a wonderful experience for you. That cooking class looks incredible too!

  7. Congrats Jo and well done on your new role! Well deserved. I love frangipanis too and it took me a minute until I got the horse meme 🙂 A great wrap up and I always enjoy catching up with all you do. You really are amazing! #lifethisweek

  8. Your photos are lovely! Congratulations on your new role. Sounds like it’s something you will love sinking your teeth into (unlike that fish – it looks too scary for me). Well done on the 10 kilos. No doubt you are feeling more energised and motivated. Enjoy your December. 🙂

  9. What a week! Congrats on the new RWA presidency! I’m very excited for you. I’ve been volunteering as proofreader for Heartstalk and I’m the FB admin as well and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the roles so far. It’s a great organisation.
    Love those frangipanis – they’re gorgeous.
    And it took me while, but I finally got the Mayo joke. #blonde

  10. Well-done you, stepping up and becoming president. That is cool news. Love love love the frangipanis. There is no doubt Qld does these best! I may not have followed Gary, the chef as you did but I sure saw him on different shows. Life takes twists and turns alright. As I write it is single figure days till you leave sunny Qld. I am guessing you will be stopping in smokey Sydney for a while before the take off to the UK. It really is awful- if anyone uses puffers, bring them! Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is: 49/51 Taking Stock #5 9/12/19 Hope to see you there! Denyse.

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