Vegetable and Lentil Tabbouleh:CSIRO Low Carb Diet – Quick and Easy -Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor 

CSIRO Low Carb Diet –  Quick and Easy 

Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor 

Pan Macmillan Australia

RRP $34.99

Vegetable and Lentil Tabbouleh

400 g firm tofu, sliced

4 zucchini, thinly sliced diagonally

640 g fresh vegetable and lentil salad

250 g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves finely chopped

¼ cup (60 ml) fat-free Italian dressing

 

Preheat the chargrill plate on a barbecue to medium–high.

Add the tofu and zucchini and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden and just cooked. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Pumpkin and Tofu Tangine – CSIRO Low Carb Diet – Quick and Easy -Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor 

CSIRO Low Carb Diet –  Quick and Easy 

Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor 

Pan Macmillan Australia

RRP $34.99

Pumpkin and Tofu Tangine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon harissa seasoning

300 g peeled, seeded pumpkin, cut into thin wedges

600 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm pieces

2 zucchini, cut lengthways into quarters

1 x 500 g packet frozen broccoli and cauliflower rice

 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep non-stick frying pan over high heat.

Add the harissa, pumpkin, tofu and zucchini and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes.

Add ½ cup (125 ml) water. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick wok over high heat. Add the broccoli and cauliflower rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through and starting to crisp up.

Divide the rice and tofu tagine evenly among shallow bowls and serve.

 

Review: Dugong Magic – Deborah Kelly, Illustrated by Lisa Stewart

Dugong Magic
Deborah Kelly
Illustrated by Lisa Stewart
Lothian Children’s Books
Hachette Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780734419965
Paperback $15.99

Description:
A beautifully illustrated, lyrical and informative story about dugongs, one of our most unique endangered animals. Ideal for anyone with an interest in marine life and the environment, and an excellent teaching resource.
There are not many dugongs left in the world now. But what if humans freed the sea from nets? What if we cleared it of rubbish so that seagrass could flourish again and dugongs could feed?
A beautiful and thought-provoking picture book about dugongs – the mysterious creatures who were once mistaken for mermaids. Deborah’s Kelly’s beautiful, lyrical writing brings these animals to life, and highlights the dangers they face, inspiring young readers to care for and protect our natural world. Lisa Stewart’s gorgeous illustrations capture the beauty of these gentle and endangered creatures.

My View:
This is a very sensitively written book that provides gorgeous images with a message about ecology, the environment and optimism.

Read and learn about the dugong’s calf’s family close relationship, its habitat, it quests for sweet waters, pollution free, and an ocean that all can utilise.

For adults, teachers and carer’s there is a handy page of “Dugong Facts” to assist you answering those never ending “why” questions 😊, eg where they live, what does the name mean, how do they communicate? etc

A great teaching resource and an environmental call for action.

Review: The Recovery of Rose Gold – Stephanie Wrobel

The Recovery of Rose Gold
Stephanie Wrobel
Penguin Random House Australia
Michael Joseph
ISBN: 9780241416082

Description:
Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years.

She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair . . .

Turns out her mother is a really good liar.

After five years in prison, Patty Watts is finally free. All she wants is to put old grievances behind her, reconcile with the daughter who testified against her – and care for her new infant grandson.

When Rose Gold agrees to have Patty move in, it seems their relationship is truly on the mend. And she has waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
But is she still the pliable young girl she once was? And is Patty still as keen on settling an old score?

Because if mothers never forget then daughters never forgive.

A chilling tale of obsession, reconciliation and revenge from an incredible new talent.

My View:
This one completely baffled me – right up to the last few pages and then it still had a few surprises – a great read!

This is a read that will keep you guessing, will have you shaking your head confoundedly, “how could this happen?”, will continually surprise you and you will gasp at the ending.

This is a great read.

Review: I’m Staying At Richard’s – Bernadette Agius

I’m Staying at Richard’s: Raising the Exceptional Son I Never Expected
Bernadette Agius
Atria Books
ISBN: 9781501174568

 

Description:
This inspiring, heartfelt, and powerful memoir by a mother of a child with Down syndrome explores the incredible blessings and challenges of raising a child with disabilities.

When Bernadette Agius—an ambitious career-focused woman—became pregnant, she imagined her unborn child attending the best schools and dazzling everyone with his impressive wit, charm, and intelligence. But when the doctors placed her baby boy in her arms and told Bernadette he had Down syndrome, those dreams instantly disappeared.

While her first impulse was to fight against this new reality, she soon found the strength to become the champion her son, Richard, would need and deserved. With the help of her husband and a newfound village of professionals, Bernadette forged a new life, discovering along the way that everyone has a different version of normal. Ultimately Richard, now thirty, was able to defy expectation and become an independent adult.

Grounded in love, offering a message of hope, and told with humor and honesty, I’m Staying at Richard’s shines a light on the fierce, unwavering love of a mother for her son.

 

My View:
This is a very powerful story of unconditional love. Reading this memoir felt a lot like stepping into somebody else’s shoes and for that insight I am grateful.

If you want a powerful, heartening, optimistic and joyful (mostly) story about finding your path and yourself when life throws the totally unexpected at you, read this poignant story.

Review: Small Mercies – Richard Anderson

Small Mercies
Richard Anderson
Scribe
ISBN: 9781925849707

Description:
A husband and wife living on a severely drought-afflicted property take a brief break, only to find that their relationship is parched, too.

After enduring months of extreme drought on their modest freehold, farming couple Dimple and Ruthie face uncertain times on more than one front. Ruthie receives the news every woman dreads. Meanwhile, a wealthy landowner, Wally Oliver, appears on the local radio station, warning small farmers like Dimple and Ruthie that they are doomed, that the sooner they leave the land to large operators like him, the better. Bracing for a fight on all fronts, the couple decide to take a road trip to confront Oliver. Along the way, not only is their resolve tested, but their relationship as well.

Desperate not to dwell on the past but to face up to the future, Dimple and Ruthie make a crucial decision they soon regret. And when the storm clouds finally roll in across the land they love, there’s more than the rain to contend with.

Told with enormous heart, Small Mercies is a tender love story. It is a story of a couple who feel they must change to endure, and of the land that is as important as their presence on it.

My View:
Richard Anderson does not disappoint! What a versatile writer able to easily cross the divide of mystery /suspense (Retribution, Boxed) to evocative small-town drama set in realistic physical, economical, moral and political landscapes. This was an engaging and thought provoking read, storytelling at its best, nuanced and credible.

Anderson writes Australian outback with a clarity that comes from personal experience. “Richard Anderson is a second-generation farmer from northern New South Wales. He has been running a beef-cattle farm for twenty-five years, but has also worked as a miner and had a stint on the local council.” (GoodReads author page). The narrative feels biographical, I am sure there are elements of Richard’s own experience of life events, big and small, of farming and local politics that inform his writing. It is in the subtleties of these details of everyday life that Anderson’s writing soars. You can easily place yourself in the setting, in the emotions, in the relationships.

Against this backdrop of hardship and drought a finely drawn story of enduing love is exposed. We are privy to the self-talk and the situations, good and difficult, that all relationships face in varying degrees and we hang in there with them as they struggle to move forward in very difficult circumstances. I really like that this narrative is about mature age, long term married, likable characters, complete with wrinkles and a good dose of humanness. Anderson has taken such care in his portrayal of this couple that we feel privileged to know them and want them to thrive.

This is a timely written narrative with many contemporary social, economic, and personal issues that could be playing out live in a country or regional town near you. This is great reading. I loved it.

Some Very Personal Insights – Fleur McDonald

Recently I read the new release from author Fleur McDonald – Red Dirt Country (review to follow soon) – if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading this author before you are in for a real treat. This series is The Voice in Australian Outback Crime Fiction; wonderful characters, settings to transport you to “other” worlds, crimes to be solved, all peppered with a subtle insights of the society her characters live in.

 

Fleur writes with authenticity. After reading this, her third book in the Detective Dave Burrows series I was motivated to look up Fleur’s website https://www.fleurmcdonald.com/  to learn a little more about her motivation for her writing. Her bio states: “Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she became a jillaroo before spending twenty years farming 8000 acres, east of Esperance, WA. Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia… Fleur McDonald is a highly sought after guest speaker. Fleur not only is available to present on the topic of writing, but also across areas she is most passionate about. This includes country life, autism, domestic violence and her non for profit organisation “Breaking the Silence” which tailors Domestic Violence services across Australia.”

I reached out to Fleur and asked her about her interest in Domestic Violence ( a theme that recurs in her novels – sometimes subtly, sometimes loudly).

I was surprised by the honesty of Fleur’s response. Speaking up, speaking out is, in my opinion, essential to breaking the silence of Domestic Violence.  Please listen to Fleur’s response and check out her website.

https://www.fleurmcdonald.com/tag/domestic-violence/

Fleur’s Response:

My involvement in domestic violence came from having lived experience. I understand the fear, shame and self-hatred that comes from living in a house where this occurs. As I understand what it does to the children who are under the same roof.

Domestic and Family violence is very different in country areas, which is something I wanted to highlight, along with the fact that all DFV isn’t physical. There are many parts (emotional, financial, mental and so on) which leave bruises on your soul, rather than your body. That’s where Breaking the Silence got its name.

Breaking the Silence is a not for Profit organisation and website which acts as a directory of all DFV services involved in your town. At the moment, we are only in Esperance and Albany, but by June 2020 we will have another eight towns in Western Australia. By October 2020, we will be offering counselling services either online or by phone.

I started this organisation with my own money and later, as I wanted to expand into other towns, lobbied the federal Government for funding. Minister Hunt saw the benefit in Breaking the Silence and gave an grant which will enable us to get all of Western Australia online and start the counselling services. We intend to branch out into other states in during this time.

The current COVIS-19 crisis will see a rise in DFV rates, there can be no doubt. I wish we were further down the track with the counselling services, than we are, but we are working as quickly as we can to get these services up and running.

 

Thank you Fleur. 

 

Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline – Western Australia
The Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline is a state wide 24 hour service. This service provides support and counselling for women experiencing family and domestic violence. This includes phone counselling, information and advice, referral to local advocacy and support services, liaison with police if necessary and support in escaping situations of family and domestic violence. The service can refer women to safe accommodation if required. A telephone based interpreting service is available if required.
Telephone (08) 9223 1188   Free call 1800 007 339
In an emergency – if someone is in immediate danger – call the police on 000 now.