Wordful Wednesday: Go Set a Watchman (2015)

Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman

I must say this is the first time I have ever read a book within a year week of its release. My children know me well — I have often mentioned how I love To Kill a Mockingbird — and they got me Go Set a Watchman for my birthday.

For the uninitiated, To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of one Atticus Finch, a lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s. It is told from his now-grown daughter, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch’s point of view and she tells the reader of her childhood, her town, and the time her daddy defended a black man accused of rape even though he knew the man was as good as dead as soon as the charges were laid.

Go Set a Watchman is Harper Lee’s second book and is a sequel (of sorts) to Mockingbird.

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Gosh, wasn’t it just last year I turned 40? I’m sure it is! I’m still doing a double take when I do surveys and have to choose the “40-44 years old” category.

Thanks to Facebook and friends, I found out that Nick Vujicic was going to be speaking at a church today — 4pm and 6pm. Miss Eight’s dance class finished at 3.05pm, so I made the decision to go straight after her class. This meant that we ALL had to go to the dance school and wait, and that we’d get to the church more than half an hour early.

As it turns out, that was a good decision because the carpark was already very rapidly filling up by the time we got there. This is the church I attended when I was a university student more than twenty years ago, but a LOT has changed since then, least of all its name! We finally made it to the main auditorium and managed to find seats for five of us (our oldest had another activity to attend). By 3.40pm, they said that the auditorium was full, and the “Overfill Room” was also full. People could either choose to stand along the walls, or come back for the 6pm service.

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic

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Foodful Friday: Spicy Beef Stew

If you are not a fan of hot, spicy foods, do NOT let the name of this dish put you off. It really is very delicious and you can always adjust the heat to your taste!


1kg beef chuck, cut into 2.5cm chunks (I used stewing beef)
1 large onion, chopped
a thumbsize knob of fresh ginger, minced
25og tomato paste
2-3 cups beef stock (or chicken stock or water)

Chilli paste:
8 cloves garlic (I used a whole bulb)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bird’s eye chilli (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon olive oil


  • Combine chilli paste ingredients in a blender or pestle and mortar and blend/pound until well-combined.
  • Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a heavy-based pan and brown the beef in batches. Remove from pan.
  • Place onions in pan and saute until soft. Return beef into the pan and stir until well-combined.
  • Put chilli paste, ginger and tomato paste into pan and stir until well-combined.
  • Pour beef stock (or water) into pan until the water just covers the meat.

Spicy Beef Stew

  • Reduce heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 3 to 4 hours or until the liquid has reduced AND the meat is tender and breaking apart. Check periodically to see if more water needs to be added.
  • Serve with white rice and vegetables.

June 2015 021




It looks like the Modesty Police in Malaysia is hard at work making sure people comply with attire that is deemed appropriately modest.

Make clear what is acceptable to be worn at govt premises

On June 8, a guard at the Wangsa Maju Road Transport Department office asked a woman to put on a sarong before she could be served.

On June 16, another woman was denied entry into the Sungai Buloh Hospital for wearing shorts, but was allowed in after she wrapped her legs with a towel.

Barely a week later, two women were denied entry to the Selangor State Secretariat building as their attire did not cover their knees.

On June 24, a woman was denied entry into Penang’s Balik Pulau Court Complex for wearing a skirt deemed too short.

On May 7, a man was denied entry into Kuala Lumpur Inter­national Airport’s lost and found department because he was wearing shorts and sandals.

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Foodful Friday: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

I wanted brownies.

I wanted an easy recipe, ie, something that didn’t involve a lot of time and energy. The fewer ingredients, the better. The more just-put-everything-together-and-mix-and-bake the better.

I found the three-ingredient Nutella Brownies recipe that everyone was posting on Facebook.

Problem: I didn’t have Nutella. Don’t judge me.

Good News:did, however, have chocolate hazelnut spread. (Yes, it’s the same thing. Don’t judge me.)

Problem: I didn’t have enough. (I said, Don’t Judge Me!)

Potential Good News: I had Peanut Butter and Cooking Chocolate.

Question: Could I find a recipe for brownies using those ingredients?

Answer: Yes. Yes, I could.

I got the recipe from here. (And it’s in metric!!)


  • 225g crunchy peanut butter
  • 200g bar dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used dark cooking chocolate)
  • 280g soft light brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour


  1. Set aside 50g each of the peanut butter and chocolate. This will be for the topping.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  3. Gently melt remaining chocolate in a pan. When chocolate is melted, remove from heat, stir in peanut butter.
  4. When peanut butter is well combined, add in the sugar and stir until the sugar is just about melted.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to beat in the eggs one by one. Stir in the flour and scrape into the tin.
  6. Melt reserved peanut butter in the microwave on High for 45 secs, or in a pan, until runny, then drizzle over the brownie. Bake for 30-35 mins until it has a crust, but the middle still seems slightly uncooked.
  7. Melt reserved chocolate, drizzle over the brownie, then cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly just-put-everything-together-and-mix-and-bake, but it was SO good!

I used crunchy peanut butter for the batter, and smooth peanut butter for the topping.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

20 Years

Twenty years ago, two very young people were joined in marriage.

July 2015 001


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Trekky Tuesday: Kokoda Memorial Track, Dandenong Ranges National Park

One of my Facebook friends shared this on her wall: 21 Melbourne Walks That Will Take Your Breath Away. It looked good, so I put it on my Pinterest for future reference.

Well, it’s school holidays (Term 2 break) now, and I thought going on the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk would be a fun thing to try. My legs and thighs may be complaining tomorrow, but that’s another story! The Memorial Walk is located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, about half an hour from home. It is winter now, but today’s weather was pretty good. Not too cold, and more importantly, not wet.   Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

June 2015 033   Read the rest of this entry

Movie Review: Inside Out (2015)

We don’t often watch movies at the cinema because there are a lot of us and tickets are expensive, especially at the regular-priced cinemas. Also, we don’t mind waiting until the DVD comes out and borrowing it from the library when we can watch it with subtitles and the Special Features.

That said, when I saw the trailer for Inside Out, I thought it might be nice to watch it at the cinema. I’m still reluctant to fork out big bucks, though, so we watched it at the budget cinema — half the price of ticket prices at the regular cinemas, but no 3D option.

Friday being the last day of the school term, I thought it wise to grab the opportunity to go before the crowds flock to the cinemas during the Term Break. We went for the 1.45 p.m. showing and there were so few people, we had free seating! (LOVE Free Seating, but only if we get in early.)

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Foodful Friday: Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit-and-Jelly Topping

Note: When I say jelly, I am NOT referring to fruit preserve. I am referring to a gelatin dessert-type of food. US Americans refer to such foods by the brand name, Jell-O.

Now that I’ve got that cleared up….

I made this for my younger son’s birthday recently. He said he wanted a cheesecake and so I tried.

1 1/4 cups sweet biscuit crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted

2 x 250g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 x 400g can sweetened condensed milk

1 x 400g can mixed berries
1 x 85g packet jelly crystals (I used Port Wine flavour, but I reckon any berry flavour would work just as well.)


  1. Combine biscuit crumbs and butter, press onto the base of a 24cm spring form pan. Chill.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth, add lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk and beat well.
  3. Pour into prepared crumb crust. Chill until firm.
  4. Top chilled cheesecake with canned mixed berries.
  5. Prepare the jelly using 3/4 the amount of water the packet directions call for. I do this so the jelly will be firmer and not so wobbly. Pour jelly mixture carefully over the cheesecake.
  6. Return to refrigerator and chill until firm.
Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit-and-Jelly Topping

Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit-and-Jelly Topping

Candles are optional. ;)

Thoughtful Thursday: Answer This, Creationists!

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is God of Evolution.

His latest post is entitled 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer.  While I think the word “no” in the title might be slightly off — in his blogpost, he does mention some YECs attempts at some answers — the article is pretty spot-on. Perhaps a more accurate title would be: 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationists Can Answer Satisfactorily.

If you are not familiar with Tyler Franke’s style of writing, be prepared for some pithy humour which may, or may not, border on snarky depending on your tolerance level.

In summary, here are the questions:

1. What was the point of the tree of life?
2. If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved?
3. If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?
4. Why was Eve named “mother of life”?
5. How did Adam and Eve know what death was?
6. If the punishment for eating from the tree was that Adam and Eve would physically die … why didn’t they physically die?
7. Can you name any other piece of literature in which the existence of a talking snake and trees with magical powers would suggest to you that it was meant to be taken literally?
8. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict?
9. Why is incest wrong?
10. And finally, if it is so vitally important that Christians take Genesis literally, why did Jesus never once instruct us to take Genesis literally?


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