Happy Easter Weekend!

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” ~S.D. Gordon

Dear Cauldrons and Cupcakes Friends,

As we move into the Easter Long Weekend our wish for you is that you stay safe, that you take care of yourself and each other, and that you find some quality time for yourself and to be with the people or projects that gladden your heart.

No matter what your faith or religion is, we wish you peace in your hearts and joy for your life. Oh, and of course we hope you get to eat some tasty treats too.
Stay tuned for a special blog post from us tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

All our love, Nicole and the team xx

Five Yummy Easter Treats to Try at Home


“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” 
~
Mother Theresa

I thought I’d share some of the recipes I’m making for Easter. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced cook – these recipes are EASY, tasty and lots of fun, and there are plenty of ways to get the kids involved too. Giving home-made treats at Easter is a lovely heart-felt gift.

Or, of course, you could just eat them all yourself! Just click on the link to go directly to the recipe.

1.Green Goji Bliss Balls

I often whip up a batch of these healthy, yummy snacks. Green Goji Bliss Balls are packed full of nutrition, and the lemon gives them a lovely fresh tang. They are vegan and gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.

They are incredibly easy to make, especially if you have a good food processor or blender. If you’re looking for a super-healthy Easter Treat this one works well.

2. Healthy Bounty Bar Easter Eggs!

Bounty Bars are one of my favourite chocolates. Ben’s too. They have a creamy coconut centre covered in chocolate. Who can resist that kind of flavour combo? But they are full of sugar, so I decided to have a play around in the kitchen and see what else I could come up with that might be a bit healthier.

This version is refined sugar-free, and can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free or vegan depending on what kind of chocolate you use.

3. Walnut and Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites – Fit for a Prince!

In our household we call these little treasures yummy ‘uglies’.  They may not be the prettiest treats, but the taste more than makes up for it. Walnut and dark chocolate is a heavenly combination, made even better with coconut, and they are quick to whip up.

A variation of a macaroon, these Bites are gluten-free and can also be sugar-free, so they are great for diabetics and people with food intolerances or following a paleo diet.

4.Five-Minute Fudge Recipe

A few years ago a friend gave me a recipe she uses to make commercial quantities of fudge for a fudge house.  I couldn’t believe how simple it was, or how great it turned out. And it only takes five minutes.

I make this often for street stalls, gifts and bribes. It may be a cheater’s kind of fudge but it is every kind of delicious. It will be one of the things in my Easter Basket presents for loved ones this year. Sorry, this one is FULL of dairy and sugar. But as an occasional treat it’s just grand!

5. Marshmallow Recipe – Perfect for Easter

Homemade marshmallow is the yummiest, fluffiest thing. Easy and inexpensive too. The recipe will make the sort of standard coconut-covered marshmallows most people know, but it can also be used in moulds to make cool shapes. At Easter, marshmallow eggs or bunnies are very appropriate, and make delicious gifts.

This Easter I’m making quite a lot of marhsmallow eggs for my loved ones – they’ll be nestled in a basket with my home-made fudge, and some rich, moist fruit cake.

I encourage you to give these recipes a try.  Hopefully some of them will become an Easter Tradition in your household too.

Much love to you, ♥ Nicole xx

A Satisfyingly Late Start to My Day

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“I made a nap this afternoon. I made it out of two pillows, a bed, a sheet, a blanket, and exhaustion.” 
Jarod Kintz

 

This morning has been fabulous. After the first night of Bluesfest I hit the pillow last night and slept solidly until 7.32am. No meditation, no blogging – a complete fiesta of relaxation for me!

Once I could muster the enthusiasm to swap pyjamas for clothes we ventured into Bangalow for an early morning coffee at Sparrow – Coffee On The Fly – a tiny hole-in-the-wall espresso bar owned by Tristan and Cas, locals who founded and also own one of my favourite food destinations – Harvest.

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Oh hooray for good coffee. Here’s mine, complete with my beautiful five-day Bluesfest wristband.

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Here’s another cheerful-making thing: the bowl of red geraniums perched outside Sparrow. How can you look at this and not feel happy?

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Of course we ran into so many friends that our quick trip to town took two hours. Now I’m relaxing at home at the farm in the sunshine, reading a book, resting and getting ready for another night of outstanding blues music.

I hope you are all finding a little time for yourselves too, this Easter Break.

Lots of love, Nicole xx

Byron Bay Bluesfest – An Easter Tradition

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: 
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED 
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD 
WAS MUSIC” 
― Kurt Vonnegut

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” 
― Bob Marley

Sorry, I’m late posting today.  Big night out for me last night, and there are a few more to come! I have a crowded house, and a fantastic Easter filled with live music, groovin’ and living life loud. Why? Bluesfest, of course!

I first discovered blues when the movie The Blues Brothers came out.  I was twelve years old, and the soundtrack was a revelation.

I was already in love with jazz thanks to a great teacher at my primary school, so Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie and Duke Ellington were my heroes. Within a short period of time I was listening to some of the blues greats; Bessie Smith, Ray Charles, James Brown, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.

There was something about blues music that spoke to my soul.

So one of my greatest delights is that we have a world class music festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest, right on my doorstep every Easter.

Cigarbox Guitar impromptu jam - Bluesfest 2012

It’s become a ritual for us..  Music-loving friends arrive on our doorstep to stay for a few days, beds are hastily added to every corner of our small house, and the fridge and pantry groan with extra food and grog. We spend our first dinner together debating the various tents and acts, playing excerpts from the Bluesfest website or our own music collections, and marking up our programs.

A mate who drives the booze bus for the local bowlo (Lawn Bowls Club) acts as our chariot each day, dropping us off and picking us up. So we share rowdy breakfasts together over music at home, or at one of the local cafes in Bangalow, and then head off to Bluesfest for an afternoon and evening of music, dancing, festival food and fun.

Every day there are new musical delights. They fuel the music-filled conversations we’ll have over the next few days.

One of my new favourites? Seth Lakeman. That’s him in the video below. He had us all dancing before the end of the first song, and we danced til the last!

 

Come Monday we are always wrecked, but in the best of ways.

Each year there are new discoveries. Each year there are some of our old favourites. And each year we laugh, dance and celebrate all that is good about music and friendship.

Last night I also danced my little feet off to the sensational Earth, Wind and Fire who opened with this crowd pleasing classic.  And I have to say they were even BETTER than their original version.

 

Rock me, Baby, until I want no more…