Belinda_kisses_tnSince Marianne is on a sugar fee-ish kick, I have a cottage cheese pie recipe I’d like to challenge you with Mandy (and I think it’s gluten free). It’s about the only recipe I make that people outside my family actually enjoy. It could make a snack for the Wrangles troops.



1/2 cup white rice

2 tblsp snipped chives (optional)

30g melted butter

500g cottage cheese

6 eggs

6 rashers of bacon (diced)

5 spring onions (snipped finely)

1 spanish onion (diced)

pinch of salt



Cook rice and allow to cool

Sweat off the bacon, onion, spring onion and allow to cool

Preheat oven to 200c

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix gently until combined

Pour mix into a greased pie dish

Cook until set and is a nice golden colour

*use a fork to stir the pie gently every 15-20 minutes during the cooking process


SONY DSCIntroducing Belinda Hamilton:

How long have you been writing for MDPWeb, why did you join the group, and what do you like about being part of it?

I started writing for Marianne in 2009-ish putting out her e-newsletters. It turned into guest blogging, then reviewing. I was so impressed with Marianne for her drive to give a hand to the up and coming that I grabbed hold of the offer and ran with it.

I love the fact our crew is diverse in age, culture, and we’re flung pretty far across the globe. If I do say so myself, I think we’re pretty lucky to have Marianne to bring us all together.

What creative piece are you working on, and what author would you liken your work too?

Currently, my brain is numb from real life getting in my way. In my day dreams I write paranormal fantasy and would love it to be akin to Keri Arthur, or Yasmine Galenorn.

What book have you most enjoyed reviewing for MDPWeb?

This is a hard one. I have discovered SO many new authors, like Jennifer E Smith, and Ben Chandler. I got my hubby hooked on Monster High thanks to the Lisi Harrison books about the dolls. But I think probably the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and getting the chance to meet Laini Taylor was pretty damn epic.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Read, watch tv, head to the movies and hit the farmers markets.

Is there somewhere else online/in bookstores we can find your work?

Vision antho coverWhen I was president of Vision Writers, we put out an anthology to celebrate 18 years of our group meeting. I don’t have a story in there but it’s still my baby.

What’s your favourite TV series?

Gilmore Girls is my go to when I’m in need of a pick me up.

Who or what is your current crush?

Travis Fimmel could give me his icy Viking glare any day of the week, and Johnny Depp, well, that’s just a given.



Belinda Hamilton is a 30 something wife and Mum of one. She attributes her love of books to her Mum and hearing the phrase, “The more you interrupt me, the longer it will take,” more times than most kids.

She is a sucker for a beautiful cover, and loves a happy ending, but by-golly, don’t let the prince do all the saving. Darwin’s theory needs to apply, even in high fantasy.

grandin-ThinkingInPicturesNewIn 1947, there was no name for autism.

In her early years Temple Grandin had doctors completely stumped, and kids who were mentally ‘challenged’ in that era would ordinarily be institutionalised. Her mother was adamant; this wouldn’t be the fate of her daughter. She spent many years going through psychological testing, therapy and analysis. Speech therapy helped her to be able to communicate, but it’s still a constant challenge for Dr Grandin to assimilate with the world in her public life.

Spending a holiday on a farm with family members when she was a young girl was a pivotal moment for this extraordinary woman. Temple discovered she could empathise with the livestock far better than she could with her fellow man.

So, her name may be somewhat familiar to you. She’s known as one of the first autistic people to write an autobiography, and is a world renowned animal behaviourist.

In the US, she helped to revolutionize the abattoir industry. Creating a far more humane situation for beasts meant a better product, and by achieving this brought great respect from those in positions of power.

There’s a great BBC documentary, The woman who thinks like a cow, and a HBO film on Dr. Grandin if you want to see more, and numerous books of both autism and animal behaviours if you want to read more.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

Hardcover, 206 pages

Published April 30th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2013)

ISBN0547636458 (ISBN13: 9780547636450)



Netflix_logo.svgNetflix came to Australia in March after being in other countries for years. It seems to be new and wonderful to those of us who don’t have cable TV, and I’m sure we’ve all heard our favourite UK and US vloggers, bloggers and friends talking about watching something on it numerous times.

I signed up and I’m part way through my free trial month. There are new films, TV shows and documentaries being added daily because let’s face it, at the moment we probably don’t even have a quarter of the titles on offer that other regions have.

I thought I’d have an occasional natter about things I’ve found in the catalogue, maybe you’ve seen it; maybe you have thoughts on things I should watch next.

Rita-Danish-Series-Netflix-1-12-15Rita is the first international (Dutch) TV show I’ve watched on Netflix.

Rita is in her element when in front of a classroom full of teens. However in her personal life she just can’t keep her ducks in a row. There is some adult content so probably not great for young teens, but for the older teens and adults with a sense of humour, you’ll be barracking for Rita by the end of the first episode.

The opening sequence is of Rita, (played by Mille Dinesen) smoking in the toilets and adding to the graffiti on the walls of the stall. This not only sets the tone, but gives us a quick snapshot of the character.

I snort-giggled at least five times in the first ten minutes, and I quickly worked my way through the two seasons available.

The cast is incredible and I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Lise Baastrup (Hjordis).

I give Rita a 4 out of 5 star rating.

Have you seen the program and if so, what did you think?


Mandy Wrangles_2_tnNow that the weather is starting to cool in our part of the world, I thought it would be a good idea to check out a warm dessert this month. Everyone loves apple pie, and I’ve used this recipe more times than I can count. While I found the original recipe in a Mrs Field’s Cookbook (yes, she of those amaaazing cookies fame), I’ve Mandy-ised it a bit over the years, playing around slightly with ingredients and quantities~Mandy


apple pie 2

What You Need:


3 cups of plain flour

Grated lemon zest from one large lemon

1 cup of butter (please don’t use margarine!)

Aprox 6 to 8 teaspoons of ice water

apple pie 5


8 to 10 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and then thinly sliced

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 cup of white sugar

½ cup of brown sugar (packed tightly)

½ cup of cornflour

1/3 cup of chilled butter, cut into small cubes


You’ll also need one large egg for the egg wash, a little more white sugar to sprinkle on top and butter to grease your pie dish. I use a 22cm ceramic dish, though a tin one is fine.

apple pie 4

How It’s Done:


Mix the flour and lemon zest together in a large bowl – a wire whisk is easiest. Add the butter and either cut it in using two knives in a crossing motion, or if you’re a bit slack me, throw it all in the food processor for a quick spurt until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the iced water one teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together and you can push it into a ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten both halves into disks. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and pop into the fridge for at least an hour, or until it firms up.


In a large bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon and cornflour. Again, a whisk is the easiest way to do this efficiently – you won’t need the processor! Add the apple slices to this mix and toss with a spoon until the apple slices are completely covered.

At this stage, it’s a good idea to get your oven preheating. Set it to 200 degrees Celsius.

Once your dough is firm, prepare some bench space with sprinkled flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out one piece of dough into a circle aprox 25cm in diameter. Gently (very gently) fold the crust in half and then quarters. This makes it much easier to handle. Grease your pie dish and carefully place the corner of your dough into the centre of the dish and unfold, leaving excess dough hanging over the edge. Spoon in your apple filling and sprinkle butter cubes over the top.

For the top crust, you can use one of two methods:

Roll out and then fold the remaining pastry half into quarters as you did the first time. Place over filling, crimp the edges together as decoratively as you can, and add a couple of slits into the top with a knife to allow steam to escape.

apple pie 1


I prefer to roll out the remaining pastry half into a more rectangle shape, and cut into strips. Add strips to the top of your pie in a weaving pattern, which is a little fiddly, but will give you a much more traditional-looking result.

Either way, once done, whisk egg in a cup and brush over the top of your pie, then sprinkle with white sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 175 Celsius for a further 30 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes. It will still be warm, but this cooling time gives the filling a chance to solidify a little, making it easier to slice. Serve with cream, ice cream or custard (or you know, all three…)

PS – if you ever happen to come across one of Mrs Field’s Cookbooks, do yourself a favour and buy it! I have two. They’re fantastic, and oh, so pretty to look at. All recipes have American ingredients, weights and measurements, but I’ve found it quite simple to convert or substitute.


Belinda’s Version

Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Follow on Pinterest
  • Follow on Google+
  • Follow on GoodReads
  • Follow on Tumblr
  • Follow on LinkedIn
  • Follow on Keek
  • Follow on YouTube
  • Subscribe