Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love the Lord

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

MATHEW 22:37

Internet Cafe Devotions is hosting a once a week event called Word Filled Wednesday, to read more about it and to see the others participants you can by following the link:

Picture source

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holidays are only beginning

This Christmas we spent with our extended family near the Gold Coast. We did have a lot planned for this time but instead of spending holidays at the beach as we planned, we ended up coming back home early due to the heavy rain.

The weather is being extremely wet all over Queensland, it has been officially named wettest Summer in history. The trees are covered by moss and mold, mushrooms are growing on the sides of the roads, rivers are over flowing and fields are flooded..... But enough about rain for now.

No matter what, the weather could not ruin the holiday's spirit and Christmas mood. We had a wonderful time with the family. New Year celebrations are still ahead of us, and then it will be Orthodox Christmas!!!

There are a lot of holidays coming up in January. After the Orthodox Christmas there will be another 2 big feasts: St. Basil Day and The Day of Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Orthodox 19th of January).
My little daughter is going to have a Birthday in between all the fun and then there is the day of the Old New Year celebration. Orthodox New Year is an informal traditional Slavic Orthodox holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian Calendar. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the Old New Year falls on January 13/14 (information from Wikipedia).

In the end of January we're going to have Australia Day! This day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, the hoisting of the British Flag there, and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland (information from Wikipedia).
Any way, all together January promises a fun start to the Year, we just have to get ready.

So Merry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enter through the narrow gate

Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow is the road
that leads to life, and only a few find it.

MATHEW 7:13,14

Internet Cafe Devotions is hosting a once a week event called Word Filled Wednesday, to read more about it and to see the others participants you can by following the link:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Aquarium "The White Horse"

Aquarium: Album "The White Horse" - The White Horse.

Аквариум альбом "Лошадь Белая"

        Лошадь Белая

Лошадь белая на траве
Далеко ушла в поле
Дома упряжь вся в серебре
А ей нужно лишь воли.
Конюх сбился с ног - да что с тобой?
Целый день звонит, пишет
А она трясет гривой
И как будто б не слышит.
Твердая земля да долгий путь
Из огня в полымя
Много кто хотел ее вернуть
Ни один не знал имя.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Updates from our garden. December

The weather in South East Queensland this December is being all over the place, but mostly cool and rainy. And only recently the temperature got up to 30C degrees, which is quite normal for summer time in QLD. To be honest, I was hoping that we will end up having cool rainy-cloudy days through all summer season, but obviously it's not going to happen.
Well, at least this weather is being good for the garden, especially the rain!

With all the Christmas holidays' preparations we didn't get to spend a lot of time in the garden, plus all this rain kept us away from being outdoors, but that's the good thing about living in Queensland - you don't need to do much in the garden during spring and summer, just planting and weeding, the plants will grow on its own in this climate!

Here is a few photos of what is currently growing and flowering in our garden.

Herb garden is growing well in the rain

New addition to our patio


Little baby tomatos growing


Magnolia flower

Here is our cucumber patch

And another new addition - baby Jakaranda trees for outside the garden

Strawberries are little but very sweet

Curry bush
One of my favourite flowers

Agapanthus's are in season

And another little tomato bush

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vegetarian Curry Puffs and a Healthy Way of Frying

1 onion, chopped
500g boiled, diced
1 cup of mixed frozen veggies (corn, peas, carrots), thawed
1 and a half tsp ground cumin
1 and a half tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch chili powder
Sprinkle of ginger powder
1 tbs chopped fresh coriander
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt, back pepper
Ready rolled puff pastry, thawed

First of all, preheat the oven to 200C degrees.

I'll describe here the healthy way to cook food in the frying pan. When you're cooking this way you don't need to use oil, butter or any other grease, no matter which frying pan you're using, the veggies or meat won't stick to it. As a matter of fact, I use stainless steel fry pan, and this method works for me. Make a switch to the healthier cooking!

Heat the onion in a frying pan over a medium heat, until it stars turning soft and golden, add a splash of hot boiling water to the pan, enough to just cover the bottom, but not to much (this will prevent the onion from burning and sticking to the pan). Cook for 1 minute. Add frozen veggies. Cook until veggies are heated up.

With fresh veggies or meat you might need to add a bit of extra water, to prevent it from sticking to the pan, but with frozen veggies, on account of melting ice, you don't need it as much. Just keep watching it, and if it starts sticking add a bit of water.

Add the cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, chili and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, fresh coriander and lemon juice and stir. Set aside to cool.
Cut up pastry into an even squares. I use about 5 (25x25cm) sheets and still get left overs of the filling. Fill each square with enough vegetable mixture, pinch the dough up at the top. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
Cook in the oven until golden.
Serve with tzatziki, hummus dip or Greek style yoghurt.

Easy and healthy!

You can freeze the vegetable mixture or uncooked pastries in the freezer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ask and it will be given to you

Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks
the door will be opened.

MATHEW 7:7-8

Internet Cafe Devotions is hosting a once a week event called Word Filled Wednesday, to read more about it and to see the others participants you can by following the link:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Orthodox Christmas in Russia

Christmas celebrations in the heart of Moscow, year 2009.

"The Russian Orthodox Church celebrated Christmas Eve at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, in the presence of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and his wife. This marks the first Christmas without Alexey II, the Orthodox patriarch who died in December. The ceremony took place at midnight on the night of January sixth. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas according to the Julian calendar, introduced by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar in the year 46 B.C., whereas the Catholic Church follows the Gregorian calendar, adopted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Kirill, who has assumed the governing role in the Russian Orthodox Church until the next bishops' synod is held to choose the successor to Alexey II"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A little word about Russian Christmas and New Year traditions

Russian Christmas Religious Traditions

Russian Orthodox Christmas takes place on January 7th (following the Old Calendar this is the 25th of December) and the celebration lasts for six days.

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 In the Orthodox tradition nothing is eaten or drunk on Christmas Eve until the first star appears in the sky. The star is symbolic of the great star that led the Magi to the newly born Christ. Once the first star has appeared in the sky, the festivities begin with a Lenten meal - meaning meat or dairy products (including chocolates) are excluded. This Christmas Eve meal is "The Holy Supper" .

The family gathers around the table to honor the coming Christ Child. A white tablecloth is used to symbolize Christ's swaddling clothes and hay is displayed as a reminder of the poverty of the place where Jesus was born. A tall white candle is placed in the center of the Table, to symbolize Christ - the "Light of the World." A large round loaf of "pagach", a special Lenten bread, is placed beside the candle to symbolize Christ - the "Bread of Life".

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The father begins the Christmas meal by leading the family in the Lord's Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year and for the good things to come in the new year. The head of the family greets those present with "Christ is Born!" - the traditional Russian Christmas greeting - and the family responds with "Glorify Him!" The Mother then draws a cross with honey on each person's forehead, saying a blessing - "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, may you have sweetness and many good things in life and in the new year." The Lenten bread (Pagach) is then broken and shared. The bread is dipped first in honey to symbolize the sweetness of life and then in chopped garlic to symbolize life's bitterness. The "Holy Supper" is then eaten. After dinner, no dishes are washed and the Christmas presents are opened. The family goes to church for the Christmas Mass which lasts until after midnight.

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 Traditionally, the "Holy Supper" consists of 12 different foods, symbolic of the 12 Apostles. Although there was also some variation in the foods from place to place and village to village, the following is a good summary of what is typically served.

1) Mushroom soup with zaprashka (or Sauerkraut soup)
2) Lenten bread ("pagach")
3) Chopped garlic
4) Honey
5) Baked fish
6) Fresh Oranges, Figs and Dates
7) Nuts
8) Kidney beans (cooked slowly all day) seasoned with shredded potatoes, lots of garlic, salt and pepper to taste
9) Peas
10) Parsley Potatoes (boiled new potatoes with chopped parsley and margarine)
11) Bobal'ki (small biscuits combined with sauerkraut or poppy seed with honey)
12) Red Wine

On Christmas morning the family returns to church for the Christmas day Liturgy. After church the family gathers together to exchange gifts and share a special Christmas meal. Children go from door to door caroling the song "Thy Nativity".

"C Rodzhestvom Kristovom"(srod-zshest-vum krist-o-vum) is a common Russian Christmas greeting, meaning "with the Birth of Christ!"

Christmas Carols (Picture source)

Russian Christmas Folk Traditions

Russian Santa: Grandfather Frost is the Russian Santa Claus. He brings gifts to the children at New Year's, which is the most popular Russian holiday celebration. His grand-daughter, the "Snowmaiden", accompanies him to help distribute the gifts.

New Years Eve - December 31st - is the big day for the celebration of Russian Chrsitmas in post-revolutionary, Russia. On New Years Eve Grandfather Frost (Russia's version of Santa Claus) arrives with his granddaughter the Snowmaiden. They bring bags of candy for the children and Grandfather Frost listens to the girls and boys sing songs and recite poems. After this, he gives small Christmas gifts to the children.

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Russians decorate their homes with a Christmas tree and often put pine leaves on their front doors, and in the house. The Russian Christmas tree is usually taken down at the end of January after the feast day of the Baptism of Christ.

"C novom godom!" (snow-vum gode-um)- meaning "with the New Year" - is a common New Years Eve - Christmas holiday greeting.

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The information source

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask the Lord to bless your plans

Ask the Lord to bless your plans,
and you will be successful in
carrying them out.


Internet Cafe Devotions is hosting a once a week event called Word Filled Wednesday, to read more about it and to see the others participants you can by following the link:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Almond Meringue cake

I have made this cake for my husband's Birthday.
The recipe is taken from "the Australian Women's Weekly" Chocolate cake book.

The original recipe has got raspberries in it, but I used strawberries instead.

125g butter, chopped
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour, sifted
1/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder
1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
2/3 cup (160ml) thickened cream
2 tbl spoons flaked almonds
2/3 (150g) caster sugar, extra
1 tbl spoon icing sugar
150g strawberries, cut in halves

Preheat the oven to moderate. Grease 2 deep 22cm round cake pans, line bases with baking paper.
Beat butter, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Using wooden spoon stir in combined flour and cocoa powder, then combined buttermilk and sour cream. Divide the mixture evenly between the pans.
Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar, beating until sugar dissolves between additions. Divide meringue mixture evenly over cake mixture in pans; using metal spatula, spread meringue so cake mixture is completely covered. Sprinkle nuts over the meringue on one of the cakes.
Bake cake in moderate oven 10 minutes. Cover pans loosely with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Discard foil, stand cakes in pans 5 minutes before turning them onto wire racks. Quickly and carefully turn cakes top side up to cool.
Beat cream and icing sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until firm peaks form. Place cake without almonds on serving plate; spread cream over top, sprinkle evenly with strawberries, top with the remaining cake.

Hints and tips:
Best made on the day of serving.
This cake will keep for one day in an airtight container in the fridge.