Monday, April 30, 2012

worth more than their weight in gold!

these tiny threads are worth more than their weight in gold.... what are they?

I bought a pack of bulbs this year and planted them the other week, and I have already had one flower come up! After my autumn flowering and fruiting pear tree, I freaked out that this is the wrong time of year and that they would wither and die, but no, they are supposed to flower now.

The flowers themselves are beautiful, and should be followed by thin green leaves.... the cost for the bulbs works out quite similar to buying a small packet of saffron threads in the supermarket, plus I will get them year after year.
In researching them it seems if you live in an area that freezes you may need to lift them and store them until the next year, but where I live there are no frosts so they can grow and multiply to their hearts content... I may have to consider investing in more - my retirement strategy :)

Have a happy day xo


Sunday, April 29, 2012

what's in your mince?

Have you ever looked at the label of your mince.... it doesn't tell you whether your chicken mince is breast meat or thigh or indeed all the leftover bits with lots of skin and fat plopped in the mince machine...

I have one of these mincers and have been looking at the increasing price of unidentified mince and thinking that if chicken mince is $10-12 per kilo and chicken breast fillets are $8 per kilo I prefer cheaper and identified fresh mince.
Last night I defrosted a chicken breast and this morning made mince for the first time (have had the mincer for years but used it mainly for breadcrumbs with toasted stale I have now marinated the mince with coriander, garlic chives, finely chooped jerusalem artichokes (in lieu of water chestnuts) and some oyster sauce, ready to make wanton soup for dinner....

Photo of soup to come. Apologies for google image as my camera file corrupted and I had to format it and lost my photos, luckily only a few on there at the time.

Have a happy day xo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gardening at work!

Today was the first sunny day that wasn't blowing a gale in a couple of weeks, so I brought the seedlings I had purchased, seeds I had saved from the garden and some pea seeds I bought and we planted out the garden!

There were two of us gardening and a few more having a look, we planted two rows of seed and a lot of herb seedlings... here's to winter salads at work from the garden!

Does your workspace have anywhere you could put a garden? I am blessed with a workplace that wants to encourage wellness, healthy living etc and we recently had a garage sale that raised money, some of which has been earmarked for the garden and supplies.

Just as I write this I am watching River cottage talking about landshare systems, where people who have land they can't utilise due to time or physical ability invite others to come and garden it. What an idea!

Post a comment where you think we should start growing veges and fruit!

Have a lovely day. xo

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Good friends of ours have just welcomed their third blessing into the world. Hadassah
She is one week old and most beautiful.

I am thankful for the gift of life that is so mysterious, so magnificent and wonderful.

I got hugs, although was careful not to touch her skin as I had been cutting up chillis earlier in the day and was not wanting her to get burnt by them. This couple now have three children under four, and it's hard for them to get out at night due to their business being on call, so we regularly go to their place for dinner and games. This visit was the first time I had been over when their older boys were up, and they were very curious who this new person was... they were most indignant that I had been to their house and not met them before :)

Have a happy day xo

Monday, April 23, 2012

Home made crackers

Lavosh crackers are not very cheap at the supermarket...

I had seen someone post a blog about these a couple of years ago and always meant to have a go... but never did until last night.

I was lent a lovely book called 'the free range cook' which is by Annabel Lanbein from New Zealand and had a recipe for Lavosh crackers. The recipe said to roll out thinly, however I remembered reading that it was possible to get them very thin using a pasta machine. I have one of those so put it into action.

Of course I had to try them straight away, and they were delicious! With a bit of homemade plum paste and some Brie they were spectacular.

Sesame and Lavosh Crackers
1cup plain flour
1/3 cup wholemeal flour
4Tbsp sesame seeds
1 dsp salt
1 tbsp finely chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried

1/4 cup olive oil
1tsp sesame oil
1/2cup water

Mix oils and water together and add to dry ingredients (I didn't need all the water) until it forms a sticky pliable dough.

Roll as thin as possible - I used a pasta machine to do this.
Cut into shape of crackers and carefully transfer to baking paper covered tray.
Brush crackers with oil and sprinkle with extra salt and bake at 170C for 15 mins or until golden brown.
Once cool store in an airtight container... but they won't last long.

Have a happy day xo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Garden update part 2

So due to difficulty uploading more than three photos, here is the rest of the vege garden... (I should make a disclaimer that if I took photos of all the garden I think we'd be upwards of ten posts so just the veges today)

 I had pulled everything out of this garden last week and on the weekend planted broad beans and peas/snowpeas on the diagonal. In the spaces between I planted red cabbage seedlings and you can see there is still some nastutium straight ahead, dill in rh corner, spring onion on right, rocket bottom right and you can just see the basil on the left.
 This is the last bed, although eventually there will be two more... just waiting on more fence palings, and possibly have a lead on some more through a friend this week. In here is chillis, kale, ceylon spinach, leeks and rocket. In the middle I planted a second sowing of asian greens as many of the plants in here weren't ready to get rid of yet.

A close up of some of the kale - this is Cavalo Nero. It is delicious and around 1m tall stems now, we have benefited a lot and I also pick a couple of leaves each day for the chooks whose gate you can see behind.

Have a happy day xo

garden update part one

My blog seems unwilling to add more than three photos to a post so this shall have to be part one!

The garden has been progressing well and now the vegetables are all in raised beds. I am attempting to implement a crop rotation system to some success but when there's a space sometimes things just beg to be planted.

This is the labourer (aka husband) installing a pipe support over this bed so I can put a cover over as it is underneath the jacaranda tree and the camellia tree and when they let loose, anything in the bed can be smothered. I'll just pick up an old net curtain at the op shop to go over.

And in that bed we have from left to right... lettuce, garlic, onions, beetroot, carrot and parsnips. The garlic was the last of the Australian garlic at the local fruit market, with warning that it was sprouting... which made me more inclined to buy it! The beetroot seed I soaked overnight and had a much better germination rate than with the last lot I grew.

This bed is a half size one, as there are some steps next to it... I have lettuce at the right hand side, and the rest was asian greens although a pumpkin seems to have decided to join... we have eaten and given away so much bok choy and mizuna... I don't think I'll try the asian cabbage again, it just seems to go straight to seed?

Tamarillos + Chillis - mmmmm

I was given some chillis from a friend in the permaculture group the other day....

 They had been waiting for something to be done with them. And then I was given a bag full of Tamarillos from a friend who's trees had all ripened at once.

Thanks to Linda at 'The Witch's Kitchen' for this delicious and easy recipe. I had everything in the cupboard and it was simple to make...

But there is still nearly a bag full of tamarillos so my friend Lida from permaculture is dropping over some more chillis tomorrow.

Have a happy day xo

Friday, April 20, 2012

An aunty day!

One of the reasons my blogging has been somewhat erratic lately has been that through 2010 and 2011 I was studying part time to get teaching qualifications as well as working close to 30 hours a week.
This year I have negotiated to work three days at my regular job and have the other two days available for casual teaching! It's been a but slow over term one as well as schools losing paperwork and not processing working with children checks, so I have had a bit of time to catch up with friends, get involved with a ministry of my church calles SOS store much like food bank, do gardening, prepare lessons and resources.

This week my state is on school holidays so I got to babysit my awesome nephew Rylee yesterday, we went for a walk down to the river, had morning tea, watched birds, butterflies, boats and people.

At nearly two he has an amazing curiosity and sense of fun.

 And a very cool hat!

The rest of the day was spent catching up with my sister after she finished her work, having some friends around to look at the garden, trying to go to the twilight markets in town however they appeared to be cancelled, so went for coffee instead, and homemade pizzas with friends for dinner - sourdough of course.

Now breathe.... just kidding. I loved it.

Have a happy day xx

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bush Tucker Harvest

About three years ago I planted a Midyim berry plant

Daley's Fruit Nursery have this blurb about them

Have to be the morst delicious of all the Australian Bushfoods. They can vary in flavour from extremely sweet to a rather aromatic almost menthol flavour. They occur naturally on the coast, from northern NSW up to Fraser Island in QLD and were a favourite food among local Aborigines. they do best in a shady sheltered place, with well, drained soil but are very adaptable to most sites if water is available. They make a great ground cover, tube specimen or garden plant. They are attractive, growing to a maximum height of 1m and width of about 80cm. Narrow pointed leaves, 1-3cm long which are silky and red/pink when young, giving them a lovely flush of colour. They have a delicate mass of white fluffy flowers, which occur in spring and summer. They can produce fruit twice a year - jan and april. fruit is best eaten freash, seeds and all, but can be added to fruit salads, into a pie or made into a fabulous native jam.

Three fruit up close, you can see they are a light grey, speckled with blackish dots.

I have my bush planted under the apricot tree, and after I mulched the courtyard food forest it has just taken off!

Also spent the morning putting small nets over the new pears to see what they do, there were about 15 formed pears all up!

Off to babysit my gorgeous nephew now as his regular babysitter has a meeting and I am not at work. Looking forward to taking him to the park as there has been a break in the rain and the sun is shining :)

Have a happy day xx

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Autumn here.... or is it spring

So I live in Australia, which means at the moment as the northern hemisphere are enjoying the weather getting warmer... here it's getting colder.

But... perhaps due warmer weather accompanying recent heavy rains, it appears my garden has decided to put out in hopes that winter might have been and gone.

This is my almond flowering.

And some budding pears! There's about ten or so pears forming. I won't worry about the almonds, but I think I'll net the pear and see how big they get.

Otherwise normal activity in the garden... pulling out spend summer plants - beans, capsicum, tomatoes and feeding the bed in preparation for planting autumn legumes on the weekend.

Have a happy day xo

a confronting movie

Machine Gun Preacher - Our church had a viewing tonight and the man the movie is based on, Sam Childers, is coming to speak tomorrow night. I have observed some controversy around the story, but regardless of exactly what has happened the issues it deals with are real issues.

-Children stolen and forced to fight other people's wars
-Girls who don't perform as comfort women have their lips, ears and noses hacked off with razor blades
-Entire villages are destroyed so the children who are stolen have nothing to come home to
-Children walk miles to and from safe houses each night and morning as they are afraid of being stolen in the night

Some amazing people working with children who have been freed from these forms of slavery are Watoto who have recently seen the first women they are working with complete their facial reconstructions - and get their smiles back! They also have many young men who were previously child soldiers, rehabilitated, restored, part of families and community and education

For I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Anyone near Nowra tomorrow Sam Childers will be speaking at Nowra City Church cnr of Rockhill and McMahons Rd, North Nowra at 7pm.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exciting new project... and chokes!

Very exciting to be asked to be part of a new blogging project -

can't say much yet but know it will be fun

And bless your world

and mine

For now you can see the photo shoot done to start setting up the blog....

Soup for lunch!

Made from Jerusalem Artichokes straight from the garden.

These were planted in the spot they're growing about three years ago, got a harvest the first year, then little the next, then they were mulched over with newspaper and woodchips and suddenly they made a reappearance!

They are a member of the sunflower family and you just eat the tuber - great sliced thinly in salads, pureed and mashed, or just baked.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup.

Saute One onion diced in 20-30g butter.

Add 500+g jerusalem artichokes (scrubbed and chopped roughly) and 1 litre vegetable stock

Bring to boil and simmer 15 mins or until soft. Puree and season.