5 things – Monday, 8 June 2020

Monday again, already. In most of Australia it’s a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday – but not here in Queensland, we celebrate that in October when the rest of the country is commemorating Labour Day…which we take in May, which is actually closer to the Queen’s actual birthday, which is in April. Follow?

Anyways, it’s been another week of not wanting to watch the news so rather than dwelling on what’s going on in the world, we’ll talk about the five things in my world that made me smile, or take notice.


I must have left the teeniest of nodules in the pot that my bay tree is in when I harvested last year because I dug all of this out of that same pot on Saturday.

Yes, that’s a lot of ginger – over 500g from a teeny tiny piece.

While we use fresh ginger regularly – and can buy it at the farmer’s market super fresh – we can’t use this much. I’ll be turning some of it into jam, but as for the rest? I’m not sure yet.

The part of the Sunshine Coast that I live in is famous for its ginger – Buderim Ginger is exported all around the world. It all started with a few ginger plants around the time of WW1, became a commercial concern when farmers joined together to form The Buderim Ginger Grower’s Co-operative Association Limited and pretty much went from there.

The operation is no longer in Buderim – it moved to Yandina in the Hinterland many years ago – but my little haul is true Buderim ginger. Buderim Ginger 2.0 perhaps?

2. In the news

Sugar Pine Walk in 2018

I was sad to read about the clearing of the Sugar Pine Walk in Laurel Hill which had been damaged beyond repair in the bushfires earlier this year. The story is here.

In other news, this story of a widowed swan that found love again gladdened my heart, and this story about the rise in ugg boot related foot issues during isolation had me raising my eyebrows.

3. Wardrobe wins

I was thrilled when we moved into this house to have a walk-in wardrobe. Back in our old house I had the tiniest space possible – while hubby had the larger half of our wardrobe and had also spread into the wardrobe in the spare room.

I have, however, spent the last few years jamming clothes into shelves. No more. Yesterday we made a pilgrimage to IKEA and bought me some drawers and yesterday afternoon Grant put said flat pack drawers together…without one argument. Yes, that’s right. He was so methodical to watch (no, I didn’t help – then there would have been arguments and swearing) and at the end of it there were no screws leftover. Job. Done.

4. Book wins.

I’ve finished, finally, the draft that I thought would never end. Escape To Curlew Cottage is done… for now.

Normally I really enjoy the structural editing part of writing – it’s when the characters and the story really take form – but this time? I’ve been working on this edit since, well, for most of this year – that’s longer than it took me to write the first draft. 

Anyways, it’s done. I suspect that I’ve now missed the slot with my editor, and feel dreadful about that given that I preach about how indie publishing has to be done in the same way as traditional publishing and deadlines need to be met, and I’ve now broken my own rules, but there you have it.

The next step is back to my editor for wrangling of my dreadful grammar. In the meantime, I need to think about covers and also scone recipes – because this novel is about scones. Of course it’s about more than that, but there are a lot of scones.

Plus I’m itching to get into something new. In fact I’ve been wondering whether my restlessness and angsty-ness has a lot to do with me not writing anything new since April last year – when I finished the first draft of this book. It feels as though I’ve been editing something or other ever since.

5. In the Kitchen

This Saturday’s Destination was China – so that meant blow-dried chicken. Actually, it’s Shandong Chicken. This was Sarah’s favourite dish at the Chinese restaurant we used to go to in Kellyville, but we haven’t been able to get it here.

Traditionally this chicken is twice cooked. It’s boiled, then deep-fried, and served with a sauce of black vinegar, soy, sugar, garlic and chilli.

The recipe I use is this one by Adam Liaw. In this, the chicken is marinated in Shaoxing wine, dark soy and ginger juice. You then dry the chicken skin with a hairdryer (hence why Sarah calls it blow-dried chicken) and roast it. Not only is it much healthier than the original, we think it’s tastier and the blow-drying gives a really crispy skin.

We serve it with lettuce and some quick pickled carrot and cucumber (to cut through the sauce) and rice.

Also this week I made this teriyaki salmon poke bowl and tried a chilli pork and black beans recipe that I’ve been meaning to try from Matthew Evan’s Winter on the Farm. It was okay, but not great.

What was great were these scones – my Not Posh Scones, or Beginner’s Scones, or Can’t Be Faffed Scones. Whatever you call them, the recipe is here.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

30 thoughts

  1. Congrats, Jo, on finishing your book draft and getting new drawers assembled for your closet. Fresh ginger smells wonderful. I bet you can freeze the extra for later use, or slice some and make them Japanese style for sushis. I also had some candied ginger before. I don’t make them but I eat them 🙂 #lifethisweek

    1. I’m thinking tht half of it will beturned into jam and I think I’ll mince the rest and put it in the freezer….maybe…

  2. When are you opening your restaurant, Jo? I’m salivating just looking at the photos and those scones are just perfect! I’m looking forward to your new book as I’ve read all of your others. Well done, Grant doing Mary Kondo on the wardrobe! Have a beautiful week my friend and thanks for sharing another 5 things Monday. #lifethisweek

  3. All of your photos are breathtaking, Joanne! You are right about not wanting to watch the news. I did not know ginger could grow so well.

    What is up with the ugg boot issue? I read the article. I am a walk around in socks all day person which is likely asking for trouble, according this article.

    Your closet looks great. I have a walk in closet (small) and I should go through it and organize again. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Huge congratulations on the draft! OMgoodness on the blow dried chicken. I am sharing with my husband. A fun post, Joanne. xx

    1. I’m mostly a bare foot sort of girl and have a pair of thongs at each of the doors for when I go outside. I do, however, wear my uggies in the winter…I remember when I first got teh hair dryer onto a chicken my husband was convinced I’d finally lost it.

  4. Hi, Jo – You must have more than 24 hours in each day. How else can you explain how you get so much accomplished?! 😀
    Congratulations on completing the draft of Escape to Curlew Cottage. I look forward to reading it.
    And congratulations to you and Grant on the wardrobe update. It looks awesome.
    Your ginger also looks incredible. Sounds like you’ll be making lots of curry, soup, stirfry, fish, tea, gingersnaps…… 😀

  5. Hi Jo – another great week and I’m so glad you’ve finally finished with the editing for now – it seems to have been the never ending story for you, so now you can use all that spare time you have for tackling the next book project. You might even fit in an hour or two of sleep! Loved all your food photos – but I must say that the only thing my hair dryer gets used on is my hair – the chicken just has to look after itself!

    1. I’m so excited to get into something new – the stories in my head are getting quite impatient to be told.

  6. I’ve never heard of blow dry chicken – interesting! Also don’t own a hair dryer so it’s probably not one I’m going to try 🙂

    Congrats on finishing the draft! I had mostly finished the book I released today in November last year but those last ‘bits’ …ugh my least favourite part.

    1. Oh my goodness the last bits! I have 2 ready for release waiting on me to write the 100 word blurbs!

  7. Congrats on finishing your draft Jo, it seems to have been an ongoing issue for you so it must be a relief! I’m amazed at blow-dried chicken, I have never heard of that before. My all time tried and true scone recipe is similar to yours – 2 cups SR flour, 200ml milk and 100ml cream – they never fail me! And yes it’s very sad about Sugar Pine Walk having to be demolished due to the fires earlier, our whole area will miss the beauty of those trees. #lifethisweek

    1. I love how there are so many different scone recipes. I bought an entire book on them when we were in England – all the different recipes from teh national rust properties.

  8. Jo,
    I am in awe of all that ginger!! I must try this growing tip. I have successfully grown spring onions from the roots of onions I bought at the supermarket. It’s the one thing I seem to be able to grow…

    I wonder if I can work the same miracles with ginger.

    SSG xxx

  9. Jo, your world certainly looks a lot better than watching the news. Best to stay right where you are and keep moving forward. I saw the pictures of the ginger and the scones on Instagram. The scones look a lot like what we call Southern biscuits and the ginger WOW! Can you freeze it?

    1. Yes, what we (& the English) call scones, are biscuits to you guys. As for the ginger I’m going to turn some into jam and will have a go at mincing and freezing it.

  10. Congrats on finishing your draft. Very exciting progress! I was amazed at all that ginger. I tried to grow ginger once from a piece I got at the grocery store but it never sprouted. My son has grown it. Maybe I will try again. I love fresh ginger.

    1. We live in an area where it grows wild, so are lucky I think – I pop bits in pretty much any empty pot.

  11. That’s a lot of ‘volunteer’ ginger! Have begun using it in smoothies. Wish I could reach into the laptop monitor and relieve you of a bit of yours.

    Congratulations on getting the book submitted to this point. I am certain the publishing company and your editor can give you a little grace with the craziness that is life these days, weeks, months.

    Those scones look like what I call biscuits. I have had scones several times and made them just once but none of them were as fluffy and light as these look. Mmmm.

    1. e absolutely right – what we (and the English) call scones you call biscuits and what we call biscuits you call cookies…at least I think that’s how it goes…

  12. I’ve just finished Wish You Were Here so am hoping the new book will be a sequel. Please say I’m right! I think you should feel so proud of finishing the edit and don’t think the work involved should be underestimated. In other news all that food looks totes delicious. Now I just want to eat scones…

    1. Escape to Curlew Cottage isn’t a sequel as such, but I do have some plans in my head for the Queenstown crew…

  13. How good is that ginger you have grown! My 96 yo Dad has some grated ginger in hot water first thing in the morning. I am not sure why but he enjoys it.

    Well-done to Grant…and thanks Ikea. Storage is so important.

    I have a resident cabinet maker and builder of all kinds of storage. He is somewhat frustrated with us living in a rental place but he has turned the double garage into his work space. Back in the day, he had his own kitchen and cabinets business. When we moved from Glenwood we left all the in situ stuff in the wardrobes etc but some of the little side tables are now storage inside wardrobes here.

    I had a sneak at your coathangers…best buy for me was packs of 20 black velvet ones from Reject shop.

    Thank you for linking up this week. I have changed my blog’s home page; right hand-side, to note the regular bloggers and blog names who link up for Life This Week. I am very grateful that you are one of those. See you next week when the optional prompt is Kindness. Take care, Denyse.

    1. The ginger in hot water is very good for you. I sip at it during the day. We also use it a lot in what we cook. Thanks for the shout-out in your side panel too.

  14. That ginger looks amazing! As always, love your sunrises. Envious of your walk-in robe. And yay for your writing win! Also yes, the Queens birthday PH makes no sense whatsoever…

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