Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cheese Cauliflower

Cheese Cauliflower
In between trips to town this weekend for cricket and rural fire service training for my son, I managed to squeeze in some time in the yard. Just enough time to pick a cauliflower that was begging to be used. I wanted a quick dinner so I decided to make a version of Cauliflower Cheese similar to that made by Tim Maddams on the River Cottage series.
It was tasty and simple, just cauliflower cooked in milk with a bay leaf and then blended when tender to make a cauliflower sauce for the crumbed and fried cheese. Not something that you would eat everyday but nice for a treat when you have too much cheese or too much cauliflower.

Camembert in brine

I used Camembert cheese but unfortunately my four camemberts still have a couple of weeks to go before they will be ready to eat.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Monday and Tuesday of this week found me feeling very world-weary. I was wondering why I felt a distinct lack of energy.I wondered if I was getting sick or maybe not getting enough sleep? By Wednesday, though I think I had it worked out. I had been 'on the go' too much. My thoughts had been scattered wondering how I would get all the things done that I should. On Wednesday, I just stayed at home. It felt like a luxury and it didn't dawn on me until late in the day that I had actually achieved a lot without any sense of tiredness. I was doing what I wanted and my thoughts were where they should have been. Not worrying about the things to do that don't matter.
That isn't a push-me-pull-you in the background, just two ewes back-to-back.
The gardens have seen a lot of rain recently and the weeds have been enjoying the warmth of the spring sunshine (when it comes out). So, after getting a batch of cheese started and making a very sweet birthday cake, I worked in the herb garden.All I had to do in the garden beds was lay some mulch. It is amazing how spreading a bit of hay around really adds some definition to the garden and makes it look loved. It also shows up the gaps where some new plants can be placed.
The garden beds were fairly easy to tend to but the path is looking decidedly neglected. These paths do have weed mat underneath but the weeds always seem to find a way.
I collected some lavender and Dutch iris for the table and all in all just had a good time outside in the sun just being me.

This is the cross stictch that I am working on at cricket. My daughter, Grace, gave me the kit and I will like the end result but I am trying ever so hard to make peace with the gold thread. It is a little bit difficult to work with but I'm nearly there.
Now I am going to head outside and take care of that path and hopefully next time you visit, I can take you for a visit to the herb garden without apologising for having a weedy pathway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Grace

Happy birthday to my now teenaged daughter. Thirteen years has passed by much too quickly.

Grace's favourite books are the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books and she still sometimes wears her Laura inspired dress and bonnet.

Thirteen isn't too old for a very pink and very sweet birthday cake though. We don't have any fresh raspberries so I'm hoping that raspberry lollies will suffice. I think we are all going to be on a sugar high for a while this afternoon.

Back to Basics Week 7

Late again due to a hectic schedule this week.

no new seeds in but will get something sown this afternoon.

  • 3 artichoke plants in the herb garden
  • ginger in the shed garden


  • cauliflower
  • snow peas
  • asparagus
  • herbs
  • eggs


  • thinking about gifts to make for family
  • trying to make a new (tighter) budget


  • mulching
  • mowing
  • baking bread and other goodies

Friday, October 22, 2010

Garden Geek

Today I went to town to visit the hairdresser. I like having my hair shampooed and conditioned by someone else but I really hate sitting in the chair with my reflection for company. Unfortunately it takes a little longer than the fifteen minutes it takes to actually trim my hair. I am at a point where I just want to have my natural colour (which I would describe as mousy brown but apparently is a lovely auburn) shining through without any silver highlights. So I spent a bit of time reading and waiting to look like me.

The hairdresser is a good conversationalist, I have found that most of them are, but what on earth would make her start talking to me about gardening. In particular, she told me about her vegetable garden. I think that I must have a garden geek aura or maybe I just had dirt under my fingernails.

Hope and I enjoyed the garden at a local park yesterday.

I also picked up a few library books that were waiting on the reserve shelf for me. I was so taken with Sew it,Stuff it by Rob Merrett that I have already started a project or two. If you like making soft toys or cute dolls, this is really a great book. I'm going to take my stitching to cricket tomorrow to pass the time between overs.


Thursday, October 21, 2010


This morning when I checked my emails etc, it was very tempting to spend a bit more time than I should on the internet reading blogs. I did take a little time with a cuppa to look around some new to me blogs and some old ones too. Then I thought that was enough of the vicarious gardening and outside I went.
The Cranberry Red potatoes had a touch of frost damage over the weekend when the temperatures dropped back down to wintery chill. They are quite healthy though so I don't think it will cause a problem. Maybe it will just toughen them up a bit.

The globe artichoke is a gorgeous plant but I have made the decision that it has no place in my vegetable garden. It just takes up too much room. I have three newer artichoke plants to put in the garden and they are definitely heading for the herb and flower gardens.

I do have a few flowers peppered throughout the vegetable garden just for their beauty. The freesias are offering the most delicious scent right now. I planted out six dahlias today at the ends of the bean frames. I still have at least 100 dahlia tubers to plant out but they can wait until tomorrow. My daughter Grace is growing her own dahlia, Tiger Bey this year in an attempt to take on the competition at next years local show.

I had some followers today hopingI had something they might like to eat because grass can get a bit boring day in and day out. They actually helped clean up the last of the broccoli plants (from outside the garden fence) so there is now another bed ready for summer planting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back to Basics- Week 6

I am a couple of days later than intended with my Back to Basics post but I haven't had the computer turned on since last Friday. It has been a nice break even though I didn't get too much done.

Sowing or Planting:
  • 1 row Climbing Princess beans
  • rice(an experimental patch in an old bath tub)
  • sprouts


  • choko
  • 4 x turmeric tubers
  • petunias


  • asparagus
  • lettuce
  • herbs
  • mushrooms
  • globe artichoke
  • broad beans
  • green garlic

Observations: The compost volunteer tomatoes and other self-sown tomatoes are growing well. The 6 tomato seedlings bought to have a head start are lagging behind (ofcourse).


  • ordering free seeds and saffron crocus from Digger's Seeds
  • reading Homegrown Whole Grains by Sara Pitzer again
  • organising bees for a new hive


  • staking young fruit trees which were knocked about by the recent wild winds
  • cheesemaking- Camembert
  • making compost (using alot too)


  • donated blood on Monday
  • visited the local botanical gardens

Friday, October 15, 2010

Earl Grey Tea Cake

As noted yesterday, I made an Earl Grey Tea Cake. It is a moist fruity cake but not as dense as regular fruit cakes. Don't let the idea of the tea put you off, it really doesn't overpower the fruit flavours. It does make the dried fruit very plump and delicious. The kids weren't keen on it but maybe because it is a fruit cake I would have to sell it a little harder maybe warm with custard. That usually works. It could also be that it isn't an overly pretty cake, just wholesome.
Earl Grey Tea Cake
150 grams butter
190 grams brown sugar
1 cup strong Earl grey Tea
250 grams mixed driend fruit
215 grams self raising flour
1 egg
Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
Place the butter., tea, sugar and mixed fruit in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes.
Stir in flour and egg.
Pour into tin and bake for about 80 minutes.
Cool in the tin.

I rarely wait for the mixture to cool properly, I just let it cool enough to stop the egg from cooking when stirred in. I think the secret to the cakes moistness is boiling the fruit.

Now I am cooking a cheesecake and a slow-cooked lamb with harissa, dates and cinnamon. My son is coming home after a week at leadership camp so he will be mighty hungry. They probably only had bbq all week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rosy Glow

After a much needed good nights sleep, the world looks better today. The weather is a bit glum but my weariness has passed and all is right for me anyway. I made a cake this morning to have for afternoon tea, it is an Earl Grey tea cake. It is basically a light boiled fruit cake. If it passes the taste test this afternoon, I will post a picture and the recipe soon. It smelt good in the oven if that is any indication.
I took a turn around the rose garden while the cake cooked and took a few snaps of the roses which are already in flower. There were a few more varieties with blooms but blogger only allows me to load five photos per post.

Graham Thomas
A lot of the roses I have are purchased because of their names. My son's name is Thomas therefore the Graham Thomas rose. This rose is a great bush. It doesn't seem to be bothered by any of the problems that roses can have and it has grown quite quickly.
Fire Fighter

The Fire Fighter rose is only a new addition. I gave it to my fire fighter husband, Tim. It is also a charity rose with proceeds from the sale going to the Rural Fire Service.

Gold Medal
My Gold Medal rose is lovely. It is new too and was a gift from my son for my birthday. I will pretend he gave it to me because he thought I deserve the gold medal when in fact he probably just liked the colour of the flowers. The flowers on this one start off this lovely deep golden colour and fade to almost white when full blown.

Now that I have enjoyed the roses, I really think it is time to do something about the bugs that live there.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


After feeling a little on the weary side this morning, I had a cuppa and a lie down and managed to wake up feeling mediocre. Mediocre enough to go outside and bring in the clean washing and then dig up a patch around the bottom of the clothes line.
I saw a lovely old clothes line on Ruth's blog which had some flowers around the base and thought why not?
Rae's does look better than mine but hopefully in a week or two the flowers will be big enough to see properly and make the clothesline and hanging out the laundry more jolly. I only used 'weeds'. I pulled up some heaartsease from the vegetable patch and some oregano, thyme and lavender which were popping up in the path of the herb garden.
Here's hoping tomorrow feels brighter.


Blah, that's how I am feeling this morning.

I remember way back at the beginning of the year, I mentioned that caffeine is no friend of mine, well it's true.

Yesterday on my jaunt into town, it was quite hot and after doing the right thing and buying my biodynamic brown rice from the health food store the hot car was just too much to take. So... what does a girl who buys biodynamic rice use to quench her thirst? The caffeiniest, fizziest noughtiest can of Coke ofcourse. I paid the price. I was awake half the night and today I have no get-up-and-go. I'll try though. Maybe I can shake it and actually get something done today. Who knows?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poultry Futures

There are four nests in the poultry pens which have broody mothers attending to them at the moment. The above nest is Marie's. She is a laced Wyandotte and was hungry enough to leave the eggs for a little while so I could take a picture. These should hatch out in a about two and a half weeks.
Mother turkey, Vickie, is a well seasoned mother and rarely leaves her nest once she is sitting tight. She might have a stretch and a nature call when they are let out to range but other than that, she stays well and truly planted on her nest. I'm not sure how many eggs she has under her and I am not game to find out. Turkey eggs take about 27 days to incubate so we will be expecting these to hatch sometime around 25th October.

The Pekin mother who is nameless because I really just can't tell them apart, is sitting on 17 eggs. I'm hoping we get some chicks from this lot of eggs as last year we had no success with the pekins. It might be time for a new rooster. These should hatch next week sometime or maybe a little later.
The fourth nest belongs to the Sebrights. They are my son's chickens and they are the craziest, flightiest chickens we have ever had. I don't care for them much at all.
Just waiting for the ducks to sit and we will have a farm full of cuteness.
I am off to town today after a much loved absence. The cupboards are however quite bare and the girls have their music lessons so there is no choice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back to Basics Week 5

Sowing or Planting:
Sowing: Watermelon Small Shining Light and Moon & Stars
Pumpkin- Jap, Golden Nugget, Cinderella
Potatoes- Pink Eye, Purple Congo, Kipfler, Pink Fir Apple, banana
Beans- Climbing Princess
Carrots- Nantes and Topweight
Lettuce- Perella Rougette Montpellier
Shallot everbunching
Spring Onion- White Lisbon
Nasturtium-Jewel Mixed
Popcorn- Golf Ball
Zucchini- Greenskin
Sunflower- free seeds from mental health awareness group

Planting: Compost volunteer pumpkin and tomatoes
Tomatoes- cherry and grape types
Transplanting Hearstease
Capsicum- California Wonder

  • Herbs
  • eggs
  • peas- Greenfeast
  • mushrooms
  • broad beans
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Cavelo nero

  • meal planning
  • Birthday and Christmas ideas
  • cheese making supplies required for this weeks batch


  • weeding (this never ends)
  • bread baking
  • bee hive maintenance

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend Happenings

Ofcourse there has been lots of outdoor activity over the weekend. Gardening in general but planting summer seeds and seedlings in particular. There will be more about that tomorrow in my Back to Basics post.The weather has finally been kind enough to allow painting to start on the outside of the house. So far I have avoided any contact with the paintbrush or roller but it is only a matter of time before I will have to do my bit. I did make sure the resident painter was well provided for at break time with some frersh baking and cups of tea and that he had music to listen to while he painted. Thanks Tim, you're the best.
I really have been bitten by the sewing bug. I had a stack of nine fat quarters that I received in a birthday swap a few years ago. I requested floral fabric for my fat quarters and the ladies in the group did not disappoint. I received a lovely collection of floral prints which have been languishing in my basket of things to do. They are languishing no more.

I had a pattern in mind for a couple of years after seeing it made up on another blog so after a few hours of cutting and sewing and pressing seams, I have a quilt top ready to quilt. I'm not sure how I will quilt it yet but hopefully it won't take me years to progress to the next stage like it did to get to this one.
I hope everyone has a had a lovely weekend. It has been very nice here even if a little on the cool side. The only downside is that tomorrow school goes back and I will be without my chums for the day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Favourite Flowers

Lavender flowers are everywhere in the garden now. The bees are in a blissful state and it is hard to spot a bush without bees on it.

The bees are equally enamoured with the broccoli that has been left for seed saving. Although I am quite partial to broccoli, I think I would much prefer to package our honey up as lavender honey than broccoli honey. It just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Another favourite that is making life more pleasurable is the jasmine. One of my archways is covered in blossoms and the smell is divine. I keep a vase on my bedside table and it is just such a delightful scent whiloe falling asleep and to wake up to.
It's not all rosy though. I spent some of the afternoon rotating the compost bays.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Some sewing

I haven't taken much time for sewing recently but today I set the machine up to make a bag for a swap on the yahoo group I am in. It made me realise how much I have been missing creating things in fabric and just being creative generally. I have been focusing on the day-to-day and not taking the time to nurture the parts of my life that are for enjoyment. Mind you, I do enjoy cooking, farming, gardening and even cleaning(at times) but they are must do chores. Having said all that, I am about to log off the computer and fire up the sewing machine. Daylight savings has made me feel an hour younger in the night so I can stitch a while longer without being tired.

P.S. Keep your eyes on the mailbox, Ted, your apron will arrive soon.

Back to Basics- Week 3 and 4

With being away, not a lot of activity has taken place in the garden or on the farm.

Sowing or Planting:
  • Planted-waratah
  • lavender
  • rose- Gold Medal

Potted up some cuttings taken while on holidays: jade bush, geranium and a frangipani (from a pile of prunings)


asparagus, snow peas, broad beans, herbs and mushrooms

Planning :

  • updated seed lists
  • planning layout for summer planting

Working :

  • netting fruit trees
  • mowing
  • weeding
  • bread baking

Monday, October 4, 2010

Garden goodness

After being away and living 50km from shops (and really not wanting to go to the supermarket anyway), it was good to see that the garden had some vegies to give. I am hoping to not buy any/many vegies from now on until well into autumn next year. It is going to be a green overload for a while because it seems that that is the predominant coulour of our winter vegie garden.

I grew this variety of cauliflower for the first time this year and it looks great. The taste was a little bland but it makes up for it in looks.

The purple sprouting broccoli is a break from all of the green vegetables that we are eating at the moment. This variety has produced a lot of florets but it is a favourite of the aphids which is a pity because I don't like sharing with them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Home appreciation

After a 1794km (1115mile) round trip, we are home again. I for one am extremely happy to be back. I always look forward to going away but when the time actually comes and I am away on holiday, I want to go home. I find holidays to be a bit tiring and not the relaxing break that they are supposed to be. This time I also came home with a cold as a souvenir.We covered a fair bit of ground this trip. We headed west to Lightning Ridge first and it was vastly different to our local region.
There were emu for a start and the journey was through some very flat countryside. The main focus of the tow is opal mining and fossicking. I'm sure more goes on in Lighning Ridge but as a tourist, it was all that there seemed to be. Opal mining and the Artesian bore baths. The weather was much warmer too. I resorted to the air conditioner at night because we are used to chilly nights.

The next stop over was at Glen Innes which is only a few hours from home but on the tablelands rather than in a valley like home. This is the view from Raspberry Lookout on the Gwydir Highway between Glen Innes and Grafton. It was lovely. We had this view all to ourselves and even someone as scared of heights as me could appreciate the beauty (just not too close to the edge).

From the lunar like landscape of the opal mines and then the cool mountain climate, we headed to the coast. The girls always like to include a dip in the beach on a holiday. The water was too cold for most but the girls are immune to cold water and headed right in. The surf was calm and clear but very chilly.
Now I am home and starting to shake the cold, I am happy. For me, coming home is the best part of the holiday.