Monday, 27 April 2015

ANZAC Day 2015, The Centenary of the landing at ANZAC Cove.

 25 April 2015

One Hundred years since the ANZACS landed on the peninsula at Gallipoli, 
where so many lives were lost.
ANZAC Day is the most moving day for both Australians and New Zealanders.
All over the world Aussies and Kiwis, attend dawn services, gather together
to honour and remember. To recognize the service and sacrifice our forces
made and continue to make so that we may all have better lives.

My little family held our own small service in the small town of Mussig, France
just over the border from Germany. 
We went to honour an Australian RAAF Flight Sergeant who had been laid to rest
along with six British airmen in a Commonwealth War Grave in the local cemetery.
I thought about J. C. Smith, my Grand Father who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915
and the conditions he endured before he returned home to Australia.
I reflected on the effect World War One had on so many countries and their people.

Mussig, France

We reflected on the life of  Australian C. G. Arthur, 
of the life cut short, the family left behind. 
The sacrifice for his country.

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

We stood in the corner of the small, French cemetery 
and recognised the lives of the men that were buried far from home.

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

Commonwealth War Grave, Mussig, France

C. G. Arthur, Royal Australian Air Force 
V.J. Pickford, Royal Air Force
L. R. Melbourne, Royal Air Force 
R Liderth, Royal Air Force 
E. A. Cunningham, Royal Air Force 
J. Clegg, Royal Air Force 
J.B. Bull, Royal Air Force

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Spring is Springing in my forest!

As a West Australian, the land of the evergreen, I haven't had much experience 
with the change of seasons. A burst of colour in the Spring time is about as good as it gets. 
A neighbour may have a deciduous tree in their backyard for a splash of autumn or spring colour.

I have discovered a true love of the distinct seasons and am really enjoying watching
my forest literally explode into green before my eyes. 

These four photos were taken at the same place over the last month....amazing transformation!

Spring in the forest, Frankfurt, Germany
 23 March 2015

Spring in the forest, Frankfurt, Germany
 3 April 2015

Spring in the forest, Frankfurt, Germany
 19 April 2015

Spring in the forest, Frankfurt, Germany
23 April 2015

Spring in the forest, Frankfurt, Germany

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Keukenhof Gardens in the Spring, more than tulips!

We visited Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands to see the tulips
but there is much more to this beautiful garden.

Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
There are walkways covered in blossoms.

Cherry Blossom, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
Wafting scents of springtime through the air.

Orchid, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
A pavilion filled with glorious orchids.

Snakeshead Fritillaries, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
The delightful Snakeshead Fritillaries with their chequerboard design
are easy to spot.

Gerberas, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
Happy gerberas to brighten your smile.

Art work, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
Lots of lovely sculptures are dotted around giving extra dimension to the garden.

Hyacinths,  Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
Hyacinths are all over adding colour and the most delicious scent.

Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
I have no idea what these are but they added a great contrast in the garden.

Lily, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
Beautiful Lily

Daffodil, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
You cannot have a Spring garden without a cheerful Daffodil...

Daffodil, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
...of a few different varieties.

Robin, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
There are Robin's to say hello!

Keukenhof Garden information 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Tip Toe through the Tulips, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

 Where in the world do you go if you want to tip toe through the tulips in the Springtime?
Well you would head to Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands.

The second largest flower garden in the world, with seven million bulbs of 800
varieties of tulips blooming there is not better place.

Meander through the 32 hectares of gardens and discover colours and shapes of tulips 
you could never dream of, planted in the most beautiful and artistic ways.
There are many different themed gardens to immerse yourself in, 
hide away from the crowds, breathe in some beautiful spring scents.

I gathered four friends last week, we booked a hotel for the night
and we hit the road for a fun and laughter filled girls' trip to visit the tulips!

Come on...tip toe through the tulips with me.....

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip Garden, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Garden is located in Lisse, The Netherlands and is easy to get to by car or public transport from Amsterdam. If you use public transport, buy a combi ticket and pay for transport and ticket in to park to save queuing at the gate. We bought our tickets online including parking for the car, very easy! Get there early, we arrived as it opened at 8am, which wasn't easy as none of us are morning people but we had an hour or two before the crowds arrived on coach buses and it was well worth the early start. The garden was jam packed by the time we left at 4pm! There are lots restaurants selling decent food and little shops selling souvenirs throughout the park. If one of your party has recently had a hip replacement, grab yourself a wheelchair at the gate, it will be well worth it. Check out their practical information for more helpful info and if you can....get to Keukenhof in the Spring Time, it really is spectacular!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I finally visit magical Prague, Day One!

The city of Prague in the Czech Republic has been on my travel wishlist for many years.
I planned to visit on a four month backpacking holiday in my twenties.
I listened to other backpackers talk about the magic of Prague in hostels in Istanbul, Rome and Paris so was not happy when we just couldn't fit Prague into our schedule.

Then, last year my family moved to Germany, Prague became closer.
A trip to Prague would be my birthday present from the family last October.
This trip had to be cancelled, a work trip for my husband came up. Really!!!

So last weekend was a long weekend, an event we were going to was cancelled.
I grabbed the opportunity and booked a hotel on the Thursday...we hit the road first thing on
Saturday morning for the UNESCO heritage listed city of Prague.

Our four and a half our drive turned into a seven and a half hour drive, we never considered
early Easter traffic! It was such a stunning, blue sky day I just wanted to get to Prague and explore!
We finally made it to our hotel, checked in and wandered down the Vltava river
to the historic and beautiful Charles Bridge.

Prague took my breath away. A place I have anticipated for decades did not disappoint,
all the tales I had heard about the beauty of Prague came to life before my eyes.

Enjoy my first few hours of Prague!

Vltava River, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle

Vltava River, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle

Vltava River, Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague

Vltava River, Charles Bridge, Prague

Vltava River, Prague

Vltava River, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Chicken, Brie, Spinach and Sweet Potato Risotto

We all have a recipe or two that has evolved over time, adapted from the original 
and is often requested by friends and family.
This risotto barely resembles the recipe I originally used but is a family and friends favourite. 
I have made it for friends in Shanghai, our little village in England, here in Frankfurt and I 
will be sure to whip up a batch or two for friends back home in Perth when we visit in July. 
Over the years I have added Pumpkin, then when I found it nearly impossible to buy Pumpkin 
out of season in Germany I substituted Sweet Potato which worked great.
After many requests by friends for the recipe, here it is for you all to enjoy.

Chicken, Brie,Spinach and Sweet Potato Risotto

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 3 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Litre Chicken Stock, home made or made from stock cubes, hot
  • 150g Baby Spinach fresh or frozen
  • 3 Sweet Potatoes or 1 Butternut Pumpkin or a combination of both, cubed
  • 125 Brie Cheese, chopped

You need to:

  • Place Whole chicken breasts in a glass baking dish, pour over 200ml of the chicken stock, sprinkle with Paprika and place in 180C oven for 20 minutes until  cooked through.
  • Put the Sweet Potato/Pumpkin in a glass dish, add a little water, put lid on and microwave on high until soft and cooked though, about 8 minutes. If using frozen spinach add in after 6 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add onion and cook until the onion softens and is translucent.     Add the garlic and stir through, then add the rice and stir until it is coated with the oil.
  • Gradually add the stock to the rice, one cup at a time, stirring until it is all absorbed. Repeat until all the stock has been used. This should take about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. If more liquid is required you can used the liquid from the Sweet Potato or the stock from the poached chicken.

  • When rice is cooked through, cut the chicken in to bite sized pieces and add to the risotto. If using fresh spinach stir through until wilted, then add Sweet Potato/Pumpkin.
  • Add the brie, saving a little for garnish and stir through.
  • Serve, topping with a little brie and a sprinkling of chilli flakes if you like!

Enjoy with a glass of chilled, dry Riesling or your favourite white wine, a bit of crusty bread and the company of good family and friends.

Quite nice with a few cashew or walnuts stirred through at the end too.