Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for the 'Home Front' Category

Dreams of Africa…

Kenya is a country of color. There’s the red of Masai warriors, the purple of the Jacaranda trees, which were in flower when we were there, the pink of flamingos en masse, the green of the mountains, the mishmash of brightness at the markets and the dry expanse of the National Parks.

Some of my favorite all-time memories occurred in Kenya.

Black Cab, Nairobi, Kenya

We hired a black taxi cab to visit the giraffe reserve and Karen Blixen’s house.

Hubby Feeding Giraffes

Browns and ginger are prevalent here! Hubby feeding the giraffes.

Shelley Feeding a Giraffe

More browns with a touch of red. Me feeding a giraffe. Check out that tongue!

Karen Blixen House

The greens of the gardens and trees and the sienna of the brick. Karen Blixen’s house!

Handsome Masaii Men

The red of the apparel. Handsome Masai men!

Pink flamingos

Pink flamingos!

Lion Snooze

Brown and green. A pride of lions having a midday snooze.

As I said, Kenya holds lots of great memories for me. I can still feel the rasp of that giraffe’s tongue. They were amazing and it was the coolest thing seeing different types of giraffes. I’ve had a thing for giraffes ever since.

What is one fun memory from your past that has really stuck with you?

Ice Blocks and Electrical Goods

We’ve had another hot day here in New Zealand. The weather people keep saying it’s going to rain but it hasn’t happened yet. Bella has taken to sleeping on the tiles at the front door (which is generally open) or she sleeps upside down with all her legs sticking in the air.

Bella and her ice block

In the middle of the day we’ve been giving her an ice block to help her cool down. I blogged about ice blocks for dogs a few years ago. You can find the dog ice block post here.

My sister murders electrical appliances. It’s becoming a family joke. She’ll purchase a phone or a television or a computer and something goes wrong with it. The battery dies, it blows up or mysteriously stops working. She’s never rough with her gadgets, but for some reason they whimper and die after living at her house.

Last year my husband purchased a new iPad, and he gave his old one to my sister. She hadn’t used it until this week when her Android tablet stopped charging without warning.

She rang me up and said, “My tablet has stopped working. I’ve charged the ipad. That seems to be working, and I’ve turned it on but now I can’t turn it off. How do I turn it off?”

I said, “You push the off button.”,

“I’ve done that.”

“Oh,” I said, and I was thinking her electrical voodoo has struck again. “Well, you can let it turn off on its own.”

“All I want is a gadget to read my books on,” my sister said.

So I talked her through how to delete hubby’s books and get her books onto the iPad. The next problem was a wi-fi connection because that isn’t working either at my sister’s place. I tell you – she’s hell on anything related to a gadget or appliance. Their phone is very unpredictable too!

Today she rang me to let me know she’d managed to download all her books. The off button still wasn’t working but the ipad flicks off after five minutes. She’s a happy camper.

We’ve decided I need to write a character who suffers from the same malady as my sister, and I think I have just the heroine. I feel sorry for her now! Smile

Do you have problems like my sister with gadgets? Do you know anyone else with the same problem?

Revive Raw Salad

I visited one of the Revive restaurants in Auckland last week and had this salad as part of my lunch. It was delicious. On my arrival home, I checked the Revive cookbook I had and was delighted to find the recipe for the salad I’d enjoyed so much.

Revive Raw Salad

Ingredients:

2 medium beetroot

4 carrots

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

fresh mint to garnish

Orange Dressing:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

juice of 1 orange

 

Method:

1. Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour on some boiling water.

2. Grate the carrot and the beetroot.

3. Mix all the dressing ingredients together.

4. Drain the water off the sultanas. Add these plus the sunflower seeds to the carrot/beetroot mix.

5. Pour over the dressing, combine and serve.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I think when I make this recipe again I’ll replace the orange with lemon because I like a less sweet flavor.

2. I reduced the amount of honey and salt in my dressing.

Do you have a favorite salad recipe?

Captain Cook’s Cottage

During our recent visit to Melbourne, Australia we visited Captain Cook’s cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. This cottage, built in 1755,  is the oldest building in Australia, and although it is called Captain Cook’s cottage, the building was actually owned by his parents. It is thought that James Cook did spend some time there during his holidays.

The cottage originally stood in Yorkshire, and when it came up for sale in 1934 Sir Russell Grimwade purchased the building. The brick cottage was dismantled, each brick labeled and shipped to Australia. On arrival, the cottage was reassembled.

These days the cottage is a tourist attraction with the rooms furnished in a typical style. The cottage is surrounded by a cottage garden containing flowers and vegetables.

Cooks Cottage Notice

Cooks Cottage

The cute exterior.

Cottage Garden

Part of the cottage garden.

Cooks Cottage Lounge

Ground floor interior. Lounge room.

Cook Cottage Bedroom

Parents’ bedroom, off the lounge. At night the curtains would be pulled for privacy.

About Captain Cook

Click to enlarge.

Cook Brass

A brass of  Cook, out in the garden

Captain Cook is an important part of New Zealand and Australian history. He visited New Zealand three times, charted much of our coast line and named many of the coastal landmarks. He also discovered and charted the Australian east coast and named it New South Wales.

If you’re ever in Melbourne Cook’s cottage is an interesting place to visit. I recommend it. Smile 

Do you enjoy visiting historical houses? Do you have a favorite?

Egypt: Worthy of a Painting!

We visited Egypt quite a few years ago now and had a brilliant time. Egypt is a country full of fascinating history. Mummies. I gravitate to them in museums! But I was also taken by the scenery. The Nile, which is like a backbone, provides a lifeline for the people living along its banks. They rely on the water in the river to irrigate their crops and to feed their animals.

There is a distinct band of green on both sides of the river. Farther away, the dryness of the desert takes over. It makes for an interesting photo—one of big contrasts.

Cruising the Nile, Egypt 

This is the view we saw from our boat as we sailed down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. Isn’t it amazing? Almost like a painting, but I can assure you this is real.

I have a new release – a boxed set of my contemporary romances called Ain’t Misbehaving.

ShelleyMunro_Ain'tMisbehaving3D_200px

The boxed set contains:

Lovers at Last

One Night of Misbehavior

Blindside

Fringe Benefits

Wild Child

So far this set is available at All Romance ebooks. It should be available at other online retailers very soon.

Have you been to Egypt? Do mummies fascinate you? And a question about boxed sets – do you read all the books contained in a boxed set or do you just read the ones that interest you?

The Otago Peninsula – World Famous!

On Christmas day we spent time in Port Chalmers. The sail away was beautiful with fine weather – very different from the last time we were there when the peninsula was covered with fog and visibility was nil!

The scenery was gorgeous – blue skies and this group of people cheering and waving as the cruise ship sailed past.

Farewell_PortChalmers

This is me seeing the sights and waving back…

Shelley_PortChalmers

You get an idea of the scenery. New Zealand really is pretty. I hope you all get an opportunity to visit one day.

The Otago peninsula is special because it’s the only mainland colony of the Royal Albatross. Hubby took some awesome long range photos of the albatross on their nesting sites.

Albatros Colony

An albatross flies for long distances across the seas and oceans, but they always return to the same place and the same partner. Isn’t that romantic?

Albatros Love

A matched pair…yes, I think that’s romantic. Smile

At the farthest point of the peninsula there is a lighthouse, shown below.

Lighthouse

The endangered yellow-eyed penguin also makes its home on the Otago peninsula, although we didn’t see any of those.

Is New Zealand on your bucket list? As me some questions or tell me where you’d like to visit first when you come.

Recipe: Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip

I made this recipe for my husband’s birthday last week. It was a trial of a new recipe, and the end result was delicious.

Blue Cheese Caramelised Onion Dip

Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip

This recipe was taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Italian cookbook. As usual, I didn’t have the right ingredients to hand, so I improvised.

Ingredients:

20 grams (3/4 ounce) butter

1 large brown onion – diced roughly

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

90 grams (3 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

3/4 cup (180 grams) creme fraiche

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Method:

1. Melt the butter and cook the onion until softened.

2. Add the brown sugar and the vinegar to the onion and continue to cook over a low heat until the onion begins to caramelize. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Add the crumbled cheese and the creme fraiche and stir until the mixture is smooth.

4. Cool and refrigerate until well-chilled.

5. Stir in the parsley and serve with corn chips, crackers or your favorite savory biscuits.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I substituted thick Greek yoghurt (low fat) for the creme fraiche.

2. My onion was on the small side, so I reduced both the sugar and vinegar to 1 tablespoon each.

3. I added a little extra blue cheese since I adore the stuff.

Conclusion: This recipe is a keeper! Do you have a favorite dip recipe that you make on a regular basis?

Is this the face of a murderer?

Bella

I was out for most of the day, and I arrived home with my spiffy-looking hair to find Bella waiting at the door for me to let her inside. That’s not unusual, but what was out-of-the-ordinary was the body lying beside her.

Now, I know Bella gets a little irked at the birds taking baths in her water bowl. She chases them away if she sees them splashing in her bowl, but did she catch this bird and swiftly dispatch it?

Shelley, the detective, did some detecting…

1. There were no feathers littering the scene of the crime. They were all still on the bird.

2. Bella hadn’t tried to snack on the body. It was fully intact.

3. When Mr Munro removed the body there was blood pooled beneath the body. Shelley refused to touch it!

Detective Shelley concluded that this is not the face of a murderer and the bird killed itself by flying into the window.

Ah, the relief. We’re not harboring a felon.

World War 1 and ANZAC Girls

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of World War 1.

Earlier this year, Mr Munro and I visited Flander’s Fields in Belgium. It was a sobering and emotional experience seeing Tyne Cot, the Commonwealth war cemetery, and also the Menin Gate Memorial. There are so many unmarked graves at Tyne Cot—all from Commonwealth countries. The Menin Gate memorial commemorates 55,000 men who died and do not have graves. So many names, many of them very young. Just heart-breaking.

MrMunro_TyneCot

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium

Tyne Cot

A few of the many headstones. Some have names while others show the country with the name unknown.

TyneCot

The cemetery is beautifully kept.

Menin Gate

This is the Menin Gate memorial. The Last Post is played here every night and our guide said the crowds get bigger every year.

Menin Gate Top

Menin Gate again.

Menin Gat Interior

This is a shot of the interior of the gate and some of the 55000 names engraved into the walls.

Tonight we watched a new TV series called ANZAC Girls. It’s set during the time of the Gallipoli campaign. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, because I knew it would pull at the heartstrings. The series focuses on the nurses who traveled from Australia and New Zealand and who worked on hospital ships off Gallipoli or in Cairo. The show is based on fact and is fairly graphic and real when it comes to the medical scenes. I thought the first show was good and time will tell if I can make it through the entire series.

Recipe: Lavosh Crackers

Lavosh Crackers

I’ve been looking for a cracker recipe for ages – something to eat with cheese or to serve with a dip. This is one of Annabel Langbein’s recipes. I’ve made it several times now and the end result is always good. These are moreish! They’re also very easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain white flour

1/3 cup wholemeal flour

2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped) or substitute dried and reduce amount to 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 cup water

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 165 C.

2. Place dry ingredients, seeds and herbs into a bowl.

3. Mix the oils and water together and add to dry ingredients. Mix to a dough.

4. Split dough into four and roll out each part as thin as possible.

5. Cut into strips and each strip into a cracker size.

6. Bake on a baking paper-covered tray until crisp and golden – about 15 – 18 minutes.

7. Cool and store in an airtight container.

 

Shelley’s notes:

1. I didn’t have any sesame oil and used all olive oil in my crackers.

2. I’ve substituted other herbs such as rosemary and other spices such as cumin seeds. Ms Langbein suggests chili or parmesan.

3. Hubby made this recipe and rolled the dough through the pasta machine to make it extra thin. I use the rolling pin. Winking smile