In Memoriam @ Silverton NSW

Silverton Cemetery NSW  © Katrina Newman
Silverton Cemetery NSW © Katrina Newman

Staying out at Silverton 25 clicks from Broken Hill NSW, I thought we’d visit the local cemetery. Here you can find stories of struggle and hardship, young lives cut terribly short, and families torn apart by death.

The landscape resembles a red hot oven scattered with saltbush.  It must have been hellish in the 1800’s.  You can see for yourself that this cemetery and those interred appear almost forgotten. The local community however have taken a recent interest in maintaining this local history sight and its memorials.

Silverton Cemetery Trust can be located on Facebook at

summer baking

Upside down plum and polenta cake © Katrina Newman
Upside down plum and polenta cake © Katrina Newman

It’s summer and it’s stone fruit season, perfect for yummy fruit tarts and this wonderful recipe ‘Upside down plum and polenta cake’. The plums are cooked lightly in a caramel style syrup, before adding the walnuts and a splash of Marsala. It makes the perfect cake for afternoon tea or dessert served with freshly whipped cream.  I made this one with blood plums this afternoon.

baked date scones

My date scones © Katrina Newman

My mouth was watering yesterday as I admired some date scones at the local Balnarring Op shop book sale. I didn’t find any books this time but rather a selection of Gourmet Traveller magazines to add to my already large collection; mostly all bought at book sales or garage sales. The lady who took my money said ‘you can’t throw these out can you’. We agreed on two things date scones are yummy and Gourmet Traveller magazines at 20 cents a pop are great value, what wonderful treats.

I knew I had some fresh dates in the kitchen pantry and ‘voila’ this afternoon in less than 10 minutes I had some lovely scones baking in the oven at 220 C.  Delicious and oh so satisfying, I spread each scone liberally with margarine, not thinking for a moment about my cholesterol as my Doctor would prefer I did.   How short life is to withhold the small pleasure of a scone or cake.

Baking in Mali

‘Bloody hot’, it’s a sweltering Australian summers day in southern Victoria. Izzy the dog and I are trying to keep ourselves cool with the air-conditioner sitting on 26 degrees. It’s better than the 40 degree temperature outside.  This morning we were swimming imaginary laps together in Westernport Bay, it was glorious.

I put some washing on the line a few minutes ago and Izzy looked at me to say ‘are you really being serious’ when I invited her to join me outside. It was when I was outside that I decided that heat would play a part in my blog today. This hot weather reminds me of the temperatures in Mali West Africa. I’m actually wearing a tunic that I purchased in Timbuktu, perfectly designed in cool cotton, loose and relaxed to keep the heat away from your body.

Having desired to travel in Mali and the Dogon region since my studies of West African Tribal Body adornment at Canberra School of Art, I finally realised my dream 21 years later in 2004.  I met up with a British tour group in Bamako for the start of the tour. We trekked in the Dogon region for 5 days. Rising before the sun and setting out early to avoid the scorching heat of the day, we walked until late morning where we would collapse in a local shelter to take some respite from the heat and refuel our bodies. Just until the temperature lowered sufficiently to continue our trek in the late afternoon. We trekked about 10 to 15 kilometres each day. Enormous thanks were given to the porters for carrying our baggage, for with added weight of full backpacks it would have been impossible.

My body and feet swam in perspiration as I trekked. We carried over 4 litres of water each, just to replace our fluids and that was still not enough. When we stopped for lunch and other short breaks I would take every opportunity to submerge a scarf in cool water to cool my neck.  After the second day as I collapsed exhausted into my tent, I was in tears with the pain in my feet from the blisters biting deep into my heels.

It was not an easy trek, but it has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life. Following the trek we relaxed in a local boat ‘a Pinasse’ and toured up the Niger River camping on its banks at night, eventually arriving at every travellers Mecca ‘Timbuktu’. As we sat on the balcony of our hotel I remember the other travellers remarking on the dry scorching heat, a ittle bit like today.

For the second page of Make Bake Post Take I’m taking this opportunity to post some pictures of the baking Mali landscapes and it’s people. Not having shared these images before these will give you a small glimpse into the beauty of this harsh and beautiful land locked country.

Click here to see the slide show with captions.

Watering the animals outside Timbuktu Mali. © Katrina Newman.