Saturday, May 26, 2012

A beautiful day! Sun + Sea + Supper

John and I went to Huskisson for a late brunch today... the water was bright blue and so beautiful, if it had been much warmer I would have been in there. Maybe I should have anyhow?

We had brunch at Pilgrims using one of our new entertainment book vouchers... very excited there's one for the south coast now, we had a beautiful breakfast looking out over Jervis bay for little more than it would have cost to make it at home, and read our favourite sections of the paper, did a little window shopping and a walk along the beach....

I love living where I do!

We stopped at the tip on the way home and picked up some iron bars to make a tripod to cook over the fire with... and some black pipe for another vege bed covering...

And my amazing husband made this for dinner... boeff bourguinonne! In the slow cooker, it was rich, delicious and tender... I made lime meringue pie with limes I picked from mum's tree when I dropped around for a cup of tea this afternoon.

We ate in front of the TV watching the movie Tintin... very enjoyable day and evening together...

Love Weekends :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

oops - set the smoke alarms off tonight :)

Cooking of course!

I found a recipe for Gozleme which is a rustic Turkish snack stuffed with silverbeet and salty feta.

I don't have silverbeet at the moment, so I used a mixture of Cavalo Nero, Mizuna and Beetroot leaves.

I found a 'good taste' magazine from last month at the op shop - so 50c instead of $4!


600g plain flour
1tsp salt
410ml warm water
1/4c olive oil.

Mix til dough comes together, then knead until smooth and elastic... Recipe said for 10 mins... I learnt a new way of kneading on masterchef last week. Carefully stretch the dough out as much as you can by pulling one side toward you and pushing the other side away... then carefully roll it up. Only needed to do this about 6-8 times (less than one minute) and it was good, didn't stick to the bench at all.
Place in a bowl covered overnight if possible, or at least for the day (I mixed it up in the morning and cooked them for dinner.)

*for all the sourdough ppls out there, I actually redid recipe with sourdough - about 500g starter with 300g flour, salt and I forgot the oil, but it didn't seem to need it :)

6 cups finely shredded leaves
4 shallots finely chopped (the mini onion ones rather than the green onions)
100g ricotta
250g feta.
Mix well.

when ready to cook divide the dough into 6 portions.
One at a time roll out to a rectangle about 20x40cm
Top half the dough with the filling, leaving a 3cm border, fold the other half over and press edges together.

Recipe said to cook on flat BBQ plate on med low heat - drizzled with a little oil 5 mins or so each side... as it's wintery - cold and blowing a gale outside, I cooked on flat cast iron pan inside - which cooked really quickly - only 1-2 mins each side but well cooked inside and not burnt... although the smoke was all through the house :)

Serve cut in half with lemon or lime wedges to squeeze over!

I'm always looking for recipes using things that are in the garden - seasonal recipes...

To help this I have rearranged my recipe magazines into month by month, not worrying about what type of magazine, meaning that I can pull out all the magazines for the month I'm in a flick through to find something that I already have the ingredients for... In this recipe all I had to buy was the ricotta and the shallots. (Had some feta in the fridge already, and the limes are from my mum's garden. (Her tree gets so many there's no point planting my own tree :)

How do you plan seasonal recipes? any tips or ideas?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

sourdough waffles..... delicious of course :)

I have had an old waffle iron in the shed for ages and in a recent sorting, decided to move it inside and give waffles a go.

Sourdough style of course.

They need a lot longer cooking than pancakes, but were delicious, with that crispy edge typical of waffles. The key seems to be cooking even amounts on each side and oiling between each waffle. I have a small olive oil spray that I used, but would like to try brushing oil on with a silicon brush...

But what you all want - the recipe.

Night before - one cup of starter, one cup of flour and one cup of liquid (I use whey, you can use buttermilk or water)

In the morning mix in 1/8cup oil, one egg and mix thoroughly, then add pinch of salt and 1/2tsp bicarb soda.


I had mine with bananas and frozen yoghurt... but it was gone before I thought to take a photo loaded up :)

Have a happy day xo

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

keeping warm in winter

Last winter my electricity bill went up more than it ever has (hanging my head in shame) I used the oil heaters that can be kept at a constant temperature with a thermostat and we had them on most of the time keeping the chill out of the house, but when we got the bill in the mail at the end of the quarter I discovered that the cost of running these was more than I expected. This year we have replaced the oil heaters with a gas heater that we run only if using the living room and temperatures are too cold to be comfortable just with jumpers and a leg quilt.

Gradually I have been putting up curtains as well as the blinds that were already installed when I moved in in some of the rooms. The most recent addition has been the lounge room. Out at huskisson last week my friend spotted these gorgeous curtains that fit just right in the windows (ideally I will get around to letting the hems down soon of course) They are opened up in the morning for the sun to come through and whoever is home first shuts them up to keep the heat in.

What are you doing to keep warm and save energy this winter....?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We have lift off! (Rocket stove)

I had a great day at the tip on Friday, found a piece of metal I felt would be perfect for making my rocket stove work better, as previous version was not big enough and was not drawing enough oxygen to maintain fire levels.

It worked!!!!!

The pot had water and was boiling in a few minutes, frypan sizzling hot in no time at all, and seems quite easy to maintain the heat.  The only downside really is that there is little temperature control... It's hot or hot.

The basic premise as seen in the diagram below is feeding small diameter sticks into a chamber surrounded by insulation (easy to create with ash between the wall of the chamber and an external surround) The chamber allows air to flow in and burn the small diameter sticks at a high heat, creating less smoke emission and high temperature emitted through the top of the flue.
These stoves are being introduced as an alternative cooking source through africa and along with solar ovens being taken up as they require essentially scrap wood as opposed to existing charcoal stoves which need expensive and high polluting fuel

If you are interested in reading more about rocket stoves try

Maybe waffles on the rocket stove can be next :)

Have a happy day xo

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Garden update, may 2012

The garden is growing beautifully.

This bed has lettuce (with some baby broccoli planted - as the lettuce is not too far away from being munched and will make way for the broccoli to grow, We have started to pick some leaves but not whole plants, then garlic, some of which are growing strong, others didn't do so well. Onions getting bigger, beetroots as starting to plump up at the base - so excited for our home grown roast beetroot salads in winter. Carrots and parsnips also just starting to thicken....

This bed has rocket still going strong, picking basil in top left and dill bottom right, cabbages and broccoli starting to get bigger (although having to watch them carefully for catterpillers) but the stars of this bed today are the legumes, broad beans bottom left to top right (grown from my own seed) and peas the other direction. Both just over the height of the walls of the bed and looking healthy as. There are tall poles attached to each of the corners, the peas have a frame in already to start climbing up, wheras broad beans will just have twine wrapped around them as they grow as they need support but don't use it to grow, whereas peas send out little feelers that grab onto the trellis and pull themselves up...

I can almost taste them!

Have a happy day xo :)

Friday, May 11, 2012


Rasperries surprising me with red globes of goodness, it didn't last very long as a ring....

Sunshiny days spent in the garden and at the beach with a friend, eating icecream by the bay....
Knowing that God is with us, never forsakes us, even when we feel a little lost...

Beautiful babies to create for. This is a jumpsuit with a skirt added to make a little dress for winter, perfect for little Hadassah, my friends' new daughter.

Weekends :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Scrummy Muffins

Having muffins for breakfast means getting up earlier, to finish the recipe started the night before, but theres something in getting up early, seeing the sun rise. Takes 5 mins to mix and knead the dough, then you have 40 mins or so to let them rest until cooking. Lots of time that for me at least was productive time. Shower, cup of tea, quiet time, putting dishes away....

And then breakfast of an English muffin straight off the grill with butter and local honey... mmmmm

I whinged the other day that my hubby almost never picks up the camera so he insists on taking one this morning. Thanks babe.

ENGLISH MUFFINS (sourdough recipe)

The night before: combine 2 C flour, 1C water and 1C starter

Leave overnight.

In the morning put 1C starter aside to keep, mix in
1/4C milk powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1tsp sugar
and enough flour 1/2-1C to make a dough that sticks together.

Turn onto floured surface and knead well until smooth and no longer stickly, adding more flour if needed (for 2-3 mins.) Flour generously and roll to 1/2inch thickness. cut out with drinking glass about 7-8cm diameter. Place on parchment or silicon baking sheet sprinkled with polenta. Sprinkle more polenta on top.  (Should get about 16 muffins from this recipe)

Leave to rise, covered in a warm place at lease half an hour.

Cook muffins kind of like a pancake, in lightly greased pan - cast iron is best for this if available.

7-8mins on low-med heat (I set the timer and get other things done while waiting.

Have a happy day xo

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gardening and Cooking with Friends

It was lovely to spend the morning gardening and cooking with some friends from the permaculture group and with some friends from church who are interested in similar things.

Jody and Deeann weeding the cherry tomato jungle - and all the subsequent weeds, pruning the grape vine and harvesting what they could.

We spent the morning gardening, below you can see the other garden bed near the house weeded, mulched and the rhubarb plants were dug up, divided and replanted with soil food - horse manure and dynamic lifter! We then stopped for (a couple of pots of) tea and lamingtons, and then spent the rest of the morning cooking. Made sweet chilli and tamarillo sauce, posted about that one last week, bottled pears and demonstrated and discussed drying food. I am currently experiementing with my first fruit leather.

Jody really enjoyed bottling fruit and was very proud of her bottle of pears.

Working with 4 is so much more productive than one.
Thanks for those who came lending a hand. hope you had fun, and your cuttings grow well!

Have a lovely day xo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A new member of the family - needs a new home

On Sunday I went for a drive down the road, about 20 mins to Bewong - near the famous roadhouse to pick up our new rabbit. We had two rabbits, but then discovered that on their own they were always going to stay two rabbits as they were both male - this isn't very helpful when you are hoping to develop small scale meat production. So we needed a female, and she was advertised in the paper.

Maisy is 8 weeks old and is a flemish giant x New Zealand rabbit - both larger meat breeds.

She is currently the same size as our other full size rabbits, and she has a long way to go - probably at least double the size. She was quite skittish when she arrived but within two days is much calmer, inquisitive, enjoying her greens and coming up to say hello and ask for pats when you walk past.

But her temporary cage is just temporary, so we are converting large, long rabbit cage to two sections, here is the labourer creating a second door, we have already put a middle divider in, and raised the cage off the ground. makes it dryer, warmer and cleaner. Most weekends we give them some grass time which they love.

Have to wait a few months for Maisy to finish growing, and then we'll see how she goes as a mummy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

another use for milk - cheese

My work has started getting milk delivered.

Problem is not everyone looks at the dates before they open the next bottle of milk...


There were three unopened 2L bottles of milk at work today that were out of date...

So I thought I'd make cheese - Ricotta cheese is one of the most easy things to make in the world.

1. Put milk in a clean saucepan
2. Heat up to lukewarm
3. Put some lemon juice/vinegar - or as I tried tonight some junket or vegetarian rennet in the milk, stir then let the curds form (the white lumpy stuff in the photo below)
My experience is that with acids - like juice and vinegar - the curds are lumpy
With the rennet it formed a huge curd, which I then cut with a long knife into inch sized cubes and stirred while warm

4. use a slotted spoon to scoop the curds out into a colander (mine is one that was one that a large round of ricotta came in - so gets the perfect lines as seen in the next photo that is on the ricotta you purchase at the supermarket.)

5. Let it drain

6. If you want to you can use the whey for breadmaking, the yeast loves the protein in it.


I think Ricotta and spinach something is in order for dinner tomorrow night.

Have a Happy Day xo