Banana Cream Pie

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

When I was growing up I was fortunate enough to have not one but two best friends.

When the Lee twins moved from country NSW to the South Coast,  we hit it off, and as a result my childhood is awash of memories of the three of us at the beach, the park and the local roller skating rink. As teenagers we found casual work together in the local supermarket, embraced the Wollongong night life as young adults and when that no longer satisfied we went on numerous domestic and international holidays.

Today, as grown women we continue to catch up….to gossip, to reminisce….a chance for a briefly escape the busyness that has become our lives…we all have day jobs, one has a family of their own, we have households, gardens and pets to attend too…but we would not have it any other way!!

I recall all three of us shared a love of baking. It was common to find us in the Lee family kitchen, making mess from one end of the kitchen bench to the other…We loved to invent, to experiment…following recipes…well sometimes…It was a relaxed atmosphere, three creative spirits having a go!!

It is with fondness that I recall a dish the three of us perfected back in the early 1990’s…Banana Cream Pie.

The taste of my childhood, our collective childhoods…This recipe is best made in the company of others and then eaten soon after with the same crew.

Did we invent this recipe? It is hard to say…I don’t recall there EVER being a recipe book, and it was well before the era of the internet and Google.

Inspired by an my earlier post this week : Taste of Childhood,  I have spent a great deal of time reminiscing about the foods that shaped by early years….Banana Cream Pie surfaced again and again.

So without further ado, let me commit to text, the recipe that will always be associated with good friends, good company and the unmistakable taste of summer.

Banana Cream Pie ( or the  ‘I am such a lucky girl to have two best friends’ pie)

1 Packet of Arnotts Nice Biscuits ( any sweet plain biscuit will do)

75 g butter

2 ripe banana

2 passionfruit

300 ml Lite Thickened Cream

200g Passionfruit yogurt

Base: Smash biscuits into a crumb consistency. Melt butter. Mixed into biscuits crumb.

Place into pie dish. Press firmly with hands into base of dish. Place into refrigerator to set.

Pie filling: Mash bananas. Add passionfruit pulp. Add passionfruit yogurt and thickened cream. Stir all ingredients together.

When pie base has set (20 mins max waiting time) remove from fridge and pour filling into pie dish.

Place into freezer for up to 2 hours to set.

Serve frozen and with fresh fruit (if so desired)

Note : The does not have to be a Banana / Passionfruit cream pie…you could use any fruit that takes your fancy…Strawberries, Blueberries, Rasberries….The falvour combinations are endless.

Related post: The Taste of Childhood

Banana Cream Pie...ready to eat

Banana Cream Pie…ready to eat!

Five Sentence Fiction: Faeries

Picture curtesy of

Word Prompt: Faeries

‘Mummy, the lady with the wings is in my room again!’

Angela put down her cup of tea, and walked toward her son’s bedroom….She had only just left the room, his eyes had been closed…she was certain he was asleep.

Noticing her shadow approaching the doorway, Jonah whispered’ Don’t turn on the light Mummy, you’ll frighten her’

Angela obliged, and stood quietly at the entrance of his room….Her heart was filled with love for her little boy with the big imagination, engaged in conversation with what she regarded as his imaginary friend.

Minutes passed, and then Johah, yawning as he spoke, said ‘  She gone now Mummy, gone next door to wish Pip and Tom goodnight’

The Taste of Childhood

Wednesday night tv got me thinking….What were the tastes of my childhood?

The show, Myf Warhurst’s new doco titled ‘ NICE’  celebrated just that… not the fantastic or the life changing…but the nice… things that had a presence in your life story, played a small role, and to this day continue to bring a smile.

In the short, the show was about  simple foods that prompt childhood memories. The show focused largely around items sold in local milk bars and fish and chips shops, and the two food types that evoked the strongest memories were the chicko roll and deep fried dim sum.

Chiko Roll-is an Australian savoury snack, inspired by the chinese egg roll and spring roll. It was designed to be easily eaten on the move without a plate or cutlery. The Chiko roll consists of beef, celery, cabbage, barley, corn, onion, green beans, and spices in a tube of  egg, flour and dough which is then deep-fried ( Wikipedia)

English: Low quality Hand holding a Chiko roll...

Chicko Roll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deep Fried Dim Sum– a  Chinese- inspired meat dumpling-style snack food popular in Australia. The dish normally consists of a large ball of pork or other meat, cabbage and flavourings, encased in a wrapper similar to that of a traditional dumpling.  Usually deep fried ( Wikipedia)

The show explored the phenomena that despite both foods playing an important role in Australia’s  culinary history, they are often overlooked…You won’t find these food types in fine dining establishments, they are cheap to make and cheap to buy…in other words, they aren’t cool.

Myf’s show gave both the humble chiko roll and dim sum is rightful recognition…She celebrated both, interviewing top chefs and food critics, who spoke ever so highly of both foods as being both ingenious and tasty. Her guests gushed as they recalled scrapping together loose change as children, walking to their local fish and chip shop, and indulging in a bag of deep fried goodness.

It prompted me to act…All the joy surrounding the deep friend foods was contagious….Having never tried a deep friend dim sum, with lashing of soy sauce and a sprinkling of salt, the following evening I indulged in a serving of four.

Whilst it was not the taste of my childhood, I grinned from ear to ear from the moment I took my first bite….The crunchy, salty goodness…the calories…the soft pork centre….soy sauce oozing down my chin

The show got me thinking, the taste of my childhood? The first of many things that came to mind…

Tinned Beetroot Sandwiches

My first year at Primary School. I was 5 years old and allowed to order my lunch from the canteen once a week. Don’t ask me how this came about, but somewhere along the line I developed a taste for tinned beetroot sandwiched, on white bread with butter.

I remember one of the canteen ladies explaining to me that they had to make my sandwich as close as possible to the lunch bell ringing, as the tinned beetroot would soak through the white bread, if they made it too early.

And I loved the canteen lady for it,  I NEVER ate a tinned beetroot sandwich that was soggy from beetroot juice.

I do however remember feeling of embarrassment associated with this food type…Perhaps that is an Australian quality ever-present when something is deemed’ daggy’!! I would eat my sandwich quickly, careful not to get any of the content on my face or school uniform…. I did not want to be known as the girl who ate tinned beetroot sandwiches….on our playground only peanut butter and vegemite sandwiches were tolerated.

I don’t know when I stopped eating tinned beetroot sandwiches…the indigestion I got from eating at such fast pace probably began to outweigh the joy I felt on eating the crimson red centred sandwiches..

But to feel like a kid again, perhaps I should have forgone the dim sum meal, cracked open a tin of beets, and put them between two slice of bread!

What is the taste of your childhood?

I’d love to hear which food evokes memories of your childhood…..The good, the bad, the ugly…heaven forbid…. the embarrassing


Catch Up with a Mate joins Five Sentence Fiction

Joining the blog hop, writing about Forbidden Love was fun….Lillie McFerrin, one of the hosts of the hop has a blog called ‘ Five Sentence Fiction’.  I had been told of her blog back in 2011 , a blog were each week, you could submit a short piece of writing, five sentences of fiction’ to a word prompt.

Well, its 2012, and I am on board….

This weeks word ( 14th -20th June) is MEDICINE…Here goes nothing!!

She looked at the pill bottles neatly lined up in the vanity cabinet.

They contained pills to make her feel happy, one to stop the anxiety, another to quell the tremor that had developed in her right hand.

The blue pill…for the dull headache that was ever present….the yellow pill to combat the side effects of the blue.

Filling a cup with water she swallowed the medicine, one pill at a time….

And then she waited…she was forever waiting…. to feel better.

Dance like no one is watching

On Sunday the 17th of June, my friend Kate and I attended a dance class at the Sydney Dance Company : ‘ Hip Hop for Beginners’

Do something that scares you’, was a remark made over Friday night drinks

Dance does not scare me…it challenges me…challenges me to let go, be in the moment, be present, in the here and now…

Sunday came around, and Kate and I  entered studio 4, ready to get our crump on.

I took to the warm up routine with ease, stretches similar to those of a yoga class…but as dance steps, arm movements…and music were slowly introduced…I realised that

‘ Remedial Hip Hop’ would have suited me better!!

As the class progressed, I tried to loosen up, not to indulge in thoughts that were ever-present   ‘ I can’t , I can’t’ ….’ You look foolish’ …’ Everyone else has their groove on EXCEPT you’

It was an inner battle, that presented itself on the dance floor….misplaced footing, restricted movement…the more I tried, the worse it got….


If I was the kind of person to take it on face value alone…FUN would be the ONE thing I took from the class.

The joy of movement, of sharing an experience with a great friend, carefree laughter, shared frustration

But I took much away much more than that… ….Insight….that I too often restrict my experience, listening to an inner mantra of ‘ I can’t’

Looking back on my Sunday…when I stepped outside my  comfort zone, I remember with a smile a fleeting moment as I stared into the mirror of the dance studio,  let all thoughts evaporate and permitted myself the luxury of dancing like no one was watching for 5 seconds….

Walking on Sunshine

Though NSW has recently endured torrential rain, flash floods, howling winds and king tide surf…I am walking on sunshine.

On Sunday the 10th of June my little brother Michael got married to his fairytale princess, Tennelle…the weather held off as they declared their love for each other in an outdoor service in North Wollongong….

415938_10151823737860383_414228130_oAmerican Novelist Mark Twain said of love

Life is short. Break the rules

Forgive quickly, kiss slowly

Love truly

The lead up to the big day crept up slowly….Tennelle, Mum and I spent Friday pampering ourselves at a day spa in my home town of Austinmer : Ibah Spa. The spa is located at the top of the street I grew up on as a child. As I drove to the 3pm appointment, I felt a surge of nostalgia….I was home for a wedding, a family wedding, my brother, the little boy with angelic red ringlets, now a grown man was getting married… precious childhood memories came and went as  I lay down for my massage and pedicure.

Saturday and my Dad and I did pre-wedding errands. Collecting cakes, flowers and the mini bus that would transport the wedding party.

It was clear that mini bus hire company refused to join the technology revolution…preferring to rely on a computer circa 1985. Minutes felt like hours, and eventually the keys to the mini bus were handed over.

‘You getting married?’ questioned the man responsible for the 1985 style business operations

‘No, not me, my brother’

And perhaps, only in Wollongong would you get this reply: ‘ Whats the wrong with YOU then?’

Jason Donovan sang to Kylie Minogue of Love

Especially for you

I want to tell you, you mean all the world to me

How I’m certain that our love was meant to be

You changed my life

You showed me the way

The Big Day….special is so many ways

An early morning stroll in Austinmer….Passing the beach were Michael and I had learnt to swim, the parks were we had played as children, the corner store were we walked to by mixed lollies, the bus stop we stood at to go to school….

Hair and makeup sessions for Mum and I, at the family home by a local makeup artist. Small talk with Michael and his four grooms men,  all childhood friends….friendships that span 25 years….

The outdoor service…my brother looking sharp in a gray suit and bow tie, close by stood four dapper groomsmen and four modern day beauties : the bridesmaids.

And then she appeared…..the bride….breathtakingly beautiful…

The wedding guests beamed, wiped away happy tears as two individuals united by love became man and wife


English Poet and Novelist William Shakespeare said of love

Love is an ever-fixed mark

That can never be shaken

The party that followed was a celebrations of the love shared by Michael and Tennelle.

Family and friends chatted about love, danced to songs about love, listened and gave speeches about love….and ate and drank an array of fine food and drink the couple had chosen…well…because of love.

And when it was all over, and Monday came around, followed by Tuesday, then Wednesday…I felt a bit flat…All the build up, the hype, the preparation, the gossiping was no more…

But the  memories sustain me…..they are as precious as gold

The beautiful bride, Tennelle….simply stunning.

The couple being serenaded by their friend Mikaela to ‘ At Last’ by Etta James, as they took to the dance floor

My brothers speech …where he declared that their  first meeting in a Wollongong Bar was , in his words almost ‘ an epic fail’

But most of all…..

The loving gaze shared by Michael and Tennelle as they stood before their wedding guests, before the celebrant started official proceedings…Not a word yet spoken…The look of love was there for all to see.

Blog Hop : Forbidden Love

After a yoga class, my friend Tatiana and I had coffee…Tat’s politely listened to me whine about lack of traffic on my blog….Her reply was short and to the point ‘ In order to receive, you have to give’

In the blogging world that means read, read the work of others, support other writers…

Tat’s was right….she is RIGHT almost 100% of the time!! And I love her for it. You can find more of Tat’s wisdom on her blog Mum in Search

She also suggested that I take part in the Blog Hop Forbidden Love Challenge….composing a piece of fiction, 300 words max to the to theme central to Romeo and Juliet: Forbidden Love.

Here goes….

Forbidden Love

Arriving home from school early meant that Phoebe had time to sneak in a bit of reading from the books kept by her Mother on the top shelf of the bookcase in the lounge room.

Though she was tall for an 11-year-old, she still had to get a chair to reach the novel she had spent the last 6 days engrossed by ‘ One night love child’

It was 4pm, and both parents would soon arrive home from work, Phoebe estimated she had time to read about 12 pages….

She found the folded page, signifying the spot where she had last read that Roy loved Lucy, he loved her alot….but not enough to leave her, he loved his wife Lorna more.

She began to read at a rapid pace, her eyes darted back and forth, taking in each word, computing their meaning as best she could….

Some sentences confused her ‘ With love pulsating through them, they dared to take lust to new heights’

Some made her laugh ‘ Let go skinny dipping, no costumes, just us….naked’

Some made her feel mad  ‘Lucy, I can’t be the father you need me to be to our unborn child’

Phoebe loved reading her Mother’s Mills and Boon collection…Her Mother, however, had told her that such books were off-limits till she was 15….that was 4 years off… matters has been taken into her own hands!

The turn of the key, the familiar call out from the door ‘Phoebs, where home!’

She smiled…..15 pages in one sitting…a new record!… Roy was on the verge of confronting Lorna, his wife with his ‘infidelity’…though she did no know what that word meant, it sounded interesting….Tomorrow afternoon could not come quick enough!

Day 6 : Catch up with a Mate Month 2012

It is day Six of the 2nd annual Catch up with a Mate month…when I go out of my way to catch up with friends and family, make and a special effort to reconnect with those I hold dear.

So far so good….The 2012 launch party at the Hollywood Hotel, Surry Hills , Sydney was lots of fun. The concept of inviting 10 guests, who in turn would bring along a friend they longed to catch up with was a good one( in theory I thought!!)…BUT in practice….it FAILED.

A total of 3 on the invite list turned up….and only one guest brought a friend, three friend actually, who had they caught up with the night before.

Yet despite attendee numbers being down…my small party embraced the night with gusto…drinks flowed, tasty food was consumed and most importantly honest conversation and lots of laughter continued until the midnight hour.

In the days following the launch, their have been coffee dates and a yoga session, a 30th Birthday party, Yum Cha lunches and a Thai dinner with friends, a phone conversation with a friend I have seen in many months…

I have also spent a time alone, with Flora the cat by my side. Often during that time feelings of loneliness have surfaced, not of the fleeting variety…the ones that hang about….Which in turn has spurred me to act….I vow to no longer ignore such feelings….Catch up with a Mate month 2012 will inspire me to be the change I seek….

I look toward the weekend with joyful anticipation…the impending nuptials between my little brother and his beautiful bride to be.

I am busily preparing myself for the celebration, my gift is slowly coming together, I have got the outfit under control, the hair and make-up appointment booked in, the Friday pedicure / manicure treatment, I’ve written the reading I’m to give at the service and sent it through to the celebrant….It has, to say the least, been quite an involved process….but of the enjoyable kind!!

Come the wedding on Sunday, I can sit back and enjoy, soak up the love and good vibes ..Oh, and laugh and giggle at the wedding dance…Fingers crossed they choose to sway about to the Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan  classic…’Especially for you’!!

Mum’s home-made muesli

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

A few months back I was having a post work whinge over a cup of coffee whilst visiting my Mum and Dad in their South Coast home.

On and on I ranted…having survived another week of office warfare all I wanted was some understanding, for someone to say ‘ What a horrible week…I understand your frustration and disappointment’

Instead, as I finally stopped to draw breath,  my Mum uttered the following words, with the tone of voice every parent calls on from time to time

‘ Aren’t you eating breakfast?’

In an instant my anger and frustration just grew 10 fold!!

Looking back on that discussion…and Mum’s classic summation of my whinge…I can’t help but think that perhaps she was right….

For indeed, on that fateful day , I had forgone breakfast….And if I am honest, more often than not since that day I have eaten a single piece of toast on the run, relied on a large coffee to provide me with all my breakfast nutritional needs…

As days have turned to weeks, weeks into months, my morning energy levels have dwindled….and over and over in my ears rings I can  hear my Mother’s concern ‘ Aren’t you eating breakfast?’

On the weekend  I came to terms with the fact that I could no longer ignore my Mother’s pleas….I shopped up a storm, dusted off an old recipe book  and took the time to make her ‘Famous’ home-made muesli.

As I child, and teenager, young adult, it was my breakfast cereal of choice. It was its simplicity that won me over…no sugar, all natural grains and oats which I would spruce up with the all essential chopped dried apricots and cold milk.

Home-made muesli with dried apricots and cranberries

Home-made muesli with dried apricots and cranberries

When I first left home to live in the UK for 2 years in 2001, it was the first recipe request that I had Mum write into my travel journal….And it is this travel journal which I turned to on the weekend, turned to the well worn page and got to work.

It felt ‘just right’ to set aside time to eat breakfast this morning. Sitting down at my breakfast table to a bowl of childhood memories, complete with chopped apricots.

Lesson learnt….Mum knows best.

S.M.Boyle’s Famous Home-Made Muesli- Guaranteed breakfast happiness

1 packet ( 750g) rolled oats

1 packet ( 100g) sunflowers

½ ( 75g) packet sesame seeds

1 packet ( 100g) of slivered almonds

½ cup coconut

½ cup of bran OR oat bran

½ cup wheat germ

Bake in large tray in very slow oven 90 Celsius for ¾ hour – 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave until cool.

Serve with array of chopped dried fruit and milk

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