HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016
I trust that you have had a wonderful and Merry Christmas! I would like to take this opportunity to wish you A Very Happy 2016 filled with good health, love and happiness. If wealth happens to follow to reward your hard work then that would be most welcome. Otherwise my motto is to dust off and start again but this time with new hope and experiences, because that is one of life’s key points to succeed admirably.
Hard work seems to have been my destiny and that is how it has been for as long as I can remember. Luckily enough I don’t shy away from hard work and often think that life is a lesson, so I must learn from it! In saying that I have to keep on hoping that the hard work so far will have its rewards….. perhaps 2016 will be the year for me and for you!
I am proud of my hard work and for achieving my dreams as described on my website so far. My hardest challenge since writing and publishing my book (my-recipe-for-cultural-interchange) has been to turn it into a documentary. That was my dream when I was writing it and I felt I had to challenge myself further to create it, and I did.
This year my husband and I visited some of the 6 countries listed in my book to film the story of Homestay students who have returned to their home countries after studying in Australia. I am grateful that these students for willingly giving me their time and their families who also joined in to give us their perspective of the experience. We thank these students and their families for their time and permission to use their stories and footage in my documentary for airing in the near future.
In addition to filming student life we also filmed their culture, food, countryside and much more. We did six countries in eighteen days, two days of which took us to get to our first country of filming. To finance this extensive journey I ‘crowd-funded’ in person by promoting and selling samples of my style of coking. I did this at pop-up street markets at the weekends. This not only raised money for the documentary but also developed regular customer who will watch the documentary. My cooking and recipes have been very well received and even though I am nearing to end of my crowd funding role my weekly customers do not want me to close because they don”t know where else they can find the sort of food that I have created especially for the markets.
I must say that my customers have been very kind to be such fans of my food. They also value their conversations with me about all sorts of things like current affairs, people, family, weather, jobs, politics and more. This has left me wondering if there is a future business doing the same thing in 2016. After I present my documentary at the AIDC Australian International Documentary Conference I will have to think about whether I should go ahead and create a shop for more people to enjoy my cooking.
No part of my project was funded by companies. We only had the two of us fund and film and edit the whole seven episodes (6 for the 6 countries and the 7th episode as ‘The Making of 6North’ documenting how we financed the whole experience). We did it on a low budget too, but with high quality film. 18 days from start to finish was our challenge. We filmed in 6 countries North of Australia. For a long time I didn’t have a name for my documentary and I stressed many times thinking of one that would be catchy and memorable. It dawned on me that visiting 6 countries North of Australia could be condensed into ‘6 North’. So, yes, this is the title of my documentary 6North.
In some countries we could only spend 20 hours. Due to a technical delay with the plane from KL to Japan we only arrived at our first destination 36 hours after leaving Adelaide! Then we had another two hour journey to reach our student. So, pretty much, the first 2 days were wasted on delayed travel. Then our return flight to Australia took another day. So, really, we did everything in 16 days not 18. The end result of our effort makes up for everything.
We count our blessings and this new year will certainly be a time for us to reflect on all of my achievements so far. I am grateful for simply being alive and still in my home; others aren’t so fortunate; think of those who have lost their homes in the bush fires. Our friend Allan Tiller died in the Pinery fires. Hi wife jenny was one of my work colleagues. I think of those elsewhere whose homes have been flooded. I think of refugees walking through countries with nothing but hope in their hearts. In comparison to these painful events my life is luxury, and this year will be no different, my priority will again be compassion, love, empathy for others. I will uphold and protect the best of human nature. May your destiny bring you peace, love and happiness. May you find the courage to tackle all challenging situations that come your way.
I was still cooking for people right up till Christmas Eve. I will share with you some pictures of recipes which will be posted via The Australia Times Gourmet magazine www.theaustraliatimes.com/
I have written articles and recipes for this digital magazine monthly since August 2015. I hope you enjoy reading my articles and recipes and share them with your family and friends.
We celebrated Christmas with our boys and our international students from China, Singapore and Malaysia. Everyone enjoyed it. It had taken me 24 hours to plan, cook and serve a turkey weighing 4.5 kg for our dinner. The weather in Adelaide has been mostly hot, over 36 degrees, but with a few cool days of 24 degrees in between. We have already experienced a heat wave twice in the last two months and the hottest summer months are yet to come! I have even attached here a poem regarding our Australian summer!
Christmas 2015 with our sons.
I cooked the turkey with fresh apricots in the slow cooker overnight and left it cooking in our verandah to minimise heat in the house. It worked a treat and was well cooked by the morning then I had to turn the temperature setting to low to keep it warm till dinner time. Next time I will just start the cooker in the morning if preparing for dinner. The apricots created plenty of juice for sauce-reduction to serve with the turkey. Enjoy the photos attached. Recipes cooked on Christmas day along with my vegan dishes of whole tomatoes with mushroom and rice stuffing and desserts shall be published in the January edition of The Australia Times Gourmet magazine for you to cook and enjoy. Alongside writing of my blog, documentary, catering, crowd funding at my market food stall, creating new recipes and photographing for publishing and looking after international students I sometimes stop to think about how much I do!
Since our boys are living independently the void of the ‘empty nest syndrome’ is filled with our international Homestay students. Our busy lives give us no time to feel down for long. We all get emotions at some time or another. I have those moments now and then but I am lucky to have a life partner who supports me in everything I do, so I would like to take this moment to thank Stephen for sticking by me through thick and thin and I truly appreciate him. We have done our parental duties and raised our boys as best we could. They have matured into successful individuals. After all, this is what most parents wish for.
So, on January 15th 2016 our younger son gets married. Then on the 18th of March our previous, most diligent student Andi (like a daughter I never had) ties the knot with her fiancee Jacqui and they have asked us to be their witnesses. We are looking forward to this happy and positive start to 2016. You never know if you happen to be on my Facebook after these dates you may just view their wedding photos.
Just before Christmas during November and December of these past two years we have had to say goodbye to our dear friends who passed away. These were friendships we started since we arrived in Australia in 1986. Early this month, with much sadness, we had to say our last farewell to our beloved friend Heather McElroy and then to Allan Tiller whose funerals were on the same day.
Life has its sadness and it joys, funerals and weddings. Achieving our documentary we will certainly be a milestone in our careers, and something we can be proud of. Sometimes I really feel my age, but at most other times I have that ‘you can do it’ attitude which keeps me positive. I hope that Stephen and I can keep in good health. Whatever we have started we must complete. If we both have our health we most certainly will achieve our goals. Stephen and I would like to thank our customers at the Old Spot and Lightsview Farm Direct Farmers Markets for their continued support. 6 ‘thank you’ raffles were drawn just before Christmas to say thank you and here are the photos! WINNERS.
Sharon had never won anything in her life till she won this prize
I hope this blog post finds you in good health! Wishing you the very best of 2016 and may all your wishes and dreams come true too! We managed to get to the Glenelg Jetty fireworks display in Adelaide in time to film the fireworks so here hoping you enjoy the video and spread the New Year cheer.
Cheers for now and enjoy reading about my journey, food, stories and much more here on my website.