|and the road stretches ahead|
I have just had a week down in Tamworth which is situated in the NSW New England area. It is a lovely area which can be very cold and very, very hot.
The week I was there the weather turned on some spring with each day dawning with a flawless blue sky. There were some clouds one day but they were of the white fluffy variety which don't detract from that beautiful blue, but float around adding ambience.
The drive down was delightful with the highway laden on both sides with wattle. Some were a haze of yellow waiting for the right moment to burst into bloom whilst others had exploded and the sight was glorious.
There are many rock formations and large boulders scattered around the paddocks, as if a giant had thrown his marbles, particularly south of Glen Innes which is known as Celtic country. It boasts the Australian standing stones and every year on the first weekend in May there is a Celtic festival which attracts thousands of tourists.
|balancing rock outside of Glen Innes|
Although Tamworth is very dry a lot of the time, the countryside remains beautiful in that unique way of the Australian bush. Not to everyones taste of course but still haunting. Surrounded by hills Tamworth nestles in and often misses the rain that surrounding areas get because of those very hills.
Having visited the town for almost the whole of my life thanks to relatives, I've been there when it is so cold it hurts to take a breath, so hot you feel you could melt whilst you watch the storm clouds build with the drama of the lightning in them and hear the thunder. Then the relief when the rain comes. There have been times when we had to leave quickly before the bridge out of town went under the flooding Peel River. Contrasts.
Autumn is lovely, as it is in so many places in Australia.
|lizards visit regularly|
|magnificent gum trunk|
Weeping willows were bringing out their new spring dresses in that particular shade of green that is so soft and fresh that even shrouded in fog the message of the coming season impacted.
Cows came to the fence of a paddock to see the strange woman who stopped her car and walked in the rain. A bright spot in their otherwise dull lives??
The contrast of the trees still dressed in their winter garb, the rain and fog, promises of spring in the wattle, blossoms and fresh green on the willows was quite dramatic. The circle of life that continues on regardless of what is happening in our lives.
These are moments that we need to take in, let settle into our beings and go on to the next having been nurtured in a way that is unobtainable from any other source. They are some of the moments that can help us move on to the next, even when we know it might be difficult, if we only take the time to absorb them and let them nourish us.
|avenue of trees leading up to a property|
As I was not at home there was no baking whilst I was away. However, I did take some shortbread down with me, the recipe for which I have had for over 30 years. It was given to my mother by a friend who had married a scotsman so is the real deal, although there are possibly as many shortbread recipes as Scottish clans. So I won't be giving you the recipe for that particular one, but here is a recipe that is just as enjoyable.
Good old fashioned pudding for winter, warming, comforting, great with custard or icecream, or as some do, both. From my trusty Margaret Fulton cookbook.
Lemon Currant Roly Poly
*2 cups self raising flour
*good pinch of salt
*60gm lard or you can just double the butter
*4-5 tablespoons iced water - I always seem to need more
*sift dry ingredients
*rub butter/lard through till mix resembles
*add enough cold water to bind into a soft dough
*Roll pastry onto a floured board to a rectangle about
*1 1/2 cups currants
*2 tablespoons brown sugar
*2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
*Mix these together and spread over pastry
* moisten edges of pastry and roll up from the short side
*place in a baking dish, seam side down
*slash the top 2-3 times
*1 1/2 cups water
*3 tablespoons lemon juice
*1/2 cup sugar
*Heat ingredients to boiling point and stir till sugar has dissolved
*Pour around the base of the roly poly while still boiling
being careful to keep away from the top
*syrup should come halfway up the side of the roly poly so choose a deepish dish.
*bake for 30 minutes at 200 deg or until the top crust is golden and the bottom has absorbed most of the syrup.