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Monday, 02 May 2016 06:02

Settling In - Day One of Our Autumn Writing Retreat

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We arrived at the campsite just before nine this morning. The place looked pretty much as we’d left it when we were here for a mini retreat back in March.

Although we refer to it as a ‘campsite’ we’re not roughing it by any means. Everyone who comes on retreat gets their own bedroom in the dorm just a stone’s throw from the ocean. The beds are comfy and the sound of waves breaking on the beach is soothing at night. The kitchen is huge and fully equipped, and the hall, where most of us set up our work tables, has windows overlooking the sea and a slow combustion stove for heat.

After the lengthy Indian Summer we've had, the weather decided to go straight into winter. It blew a gale for most of the day with occasional showers. Which wasn’t really a problem as most of us enjoy sitting snug in the hall writing to the sound of rain on the roof. 

It was my night to cook dinner (each of us takes a turn through the week) and I made up a huge tray of spinach lasagne with German cheesecake for desert. (We work up an appetite writing all day!)

Side note: I first had German cheesecake at a bakery in Handorf in the Adelaide Hills. I loved it so much I decided I had to make it myself. But when I couldn’t find a recipe I had to invent one. The following is the closest I've come and received high approval ratings from the group: 

cookie crumb crust - 2 cups crushed graham crackers (or wheaten biscuits for the Aussies), 100 gms of melted butter and a ½ tsp cinnamon. Press onto bottom of cheesecake tin.

Blend in a blender:

4 large pkts low-fat cream cheese (Low-fat actually makes a creamier cake than full-fat cheese. Plus I feel less guilty slathering it with cream when I eat it.)

6 eggs

1 1/3 cups raw sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

Bake 50 minutes at 180.

Topping:  6 apples peeled, cooked and coarsely chopped with 1 tblsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Spread this over the cooled cheesecake and top with cream. 

My day’s progress…

I don’t know if I’m alone in this but windy days aren’t my best when it comes to writing. I feel restless and find it hard to focus. Still, I managed to get a chapter written.

As I write this (just before heading off to bed) it’s still blowing a gale outside. We took a chance and didn’t order any firewood so hopefully it won’t get too cold through the week. 

My walk on the beach will have to wait until tomorrow.

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