Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Full Calendar

The next 10 days will be full of to-ing and fro-ing in our household. We have school trips, sport and music events galore. Tiring and hopefully with a bit of organisation not too stressful. So if I am absent for a while, it is not because I have deserted the blogging realm just having an enforced holiday.

Chrysanthemum in the front garden

Today however was fairly typical. I made some compost and did some weeding and a little planting. I planted out some echinacea plants, a new white chrysanthemum and a new chocolate mint. The weather was mild and so far no sign of the forecast rain, unfortunately. The afternoon was spent listening to classical music at a church in town. I usually listen to classical music while the girls practice so a full orchestra was a little different especially in a small venue.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

No bread, No problem.

I did noticce last night that we were down to our last slice of bread and I knew that I needed to have something for the lunch boxes but I didn't feel like setting the bread maker up to have a loaf ready this morning. I was lazy. The girls attend a school which doesn't have a canteen and Tom sometimes works in his school canteen so isn't too keen to eat from there. Instead of stressing about what to give them, I made a quick batch of flat breads this morning. They are an easy, quick alternative to regualr bread and just as good or maybe even better than anything from the supermarket.

Flat Bread

250 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
about 150mL warm water

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.
Mix the water and oil together and pour slowly into the flour whilst stirring (I use a knife to mix the dough). Use enough water to make a slightly sticky dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes. 30 minutes if you have time.
Divide the dough into 8 and roll the pieces into balls.
Roll the balls of dough on a floured surface using a well floured rolling pin until they are about 3mm thick.
Heat a heavy based non-stick fry pan until it is hot and then reduce the heat slightly. No oil is necessary.
Cook the flat breads one at a time, frying until the bread starts to form air bubbles and come up at the sides. Check the underside to make sure it isn't browning too much.
Turn over and cook for 30 seconds to one minute on the other side.
Keep the cooked flat breads warm in a clean tea towel while the rest of the batch is being cooked.

Easy to make but I don't want to do it every morning. My Nan used to make something similar and called them flap jacks. Her version was quite thick and dry but still nice fresh from the pan with butter and Vegemite.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Basil Pesto
2 cups firmly packed basil leaves
quarter cup pine nuts
quarter cup olive oil
quarter cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
Process everything in a food processor until it is a paste. Quick, easy and tasty.
I freeze mine in small quantities and use when desired.
Today is a real outdoors day. The weather is perfect (though some rain would be very nice) and I have spent the morning in the garden and also checking on the livestock. It certainly makes the job easier that they are all followers. Here are the older ewes hoping I have something sweeter than grass to offer. I didn't.
We are in the process of finding a new ram for our flock. We would also like to buy a few more registered breeding ewes too but that can wait until the right girls are available. I would like to add a couple of pigs and some cattle to the farm too. We haven't had cattle for a few years now and I miss them.
The benefits to being home alone is that you don't have to share. The first mandarin this season. I'm going to wait though because it will taste better shared.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tranquillity for Tuesday

As Tuesday is my busy day with trips to town for music lessons (and shopping today too), I have made a decision to make sure there is a little something each Tuesday that keeps me feeling a little more calm. Instead of rushing around, I made time this morning to visit the garden. Not just work there but have a visit. Look around and enjoy it.

Roi de carouby snow pea

I usually follow Gardenate's advice about when to plant different things and so far it hasn't failed me. In the future I'm also going to make sure I pay more attention to nature too. This snow pea is a volunteer plant. It is thriving along with a few other volunteers and we have even eaten a few pods from it. If I had have planted at least some of my seeds when these self-sown ones popped up, I would be harvesting pods rather than one pod at a time. Still, the snow peas that I planted last month are hurrying along and should be giving us some crunch soon.

The frost has certainly been hitting the plants. It already looks like this winter will be cold. Cold and dry. The chillies are still good even if they didn't get to redden but the leaves are very sad. I picked the chillies and we will have some tonight on a quick dinner of pizzas. The rest of the chillies, I will string up to dry.

It is time for the asparagus to sleep for the winter. Until two years ago I had the whole asparagus harvest to myself. No one liked it. Tim's only experience with asparagus was the canned variety. Sometimes I wish I didn't convince him to try homegrown. He is a real convert now and it might even be his favourite vegetable. My response to more eaters, is more plants. I would like to grow the purple variety too just for added interest.

Now I'm feeling centred and calm and ready to drive to town, shop, sit in on violin lessons until I can come home where I belong.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Harvest Monday-16 March, 2011

Daphne hosts Harvest Monday for anyone who wants to share what they have harvested and what they are doing with it.

Basil Pesto
This week has been about harvesting the remnants of the summer garden. There have been fresh harvests daily for our meals but the focus is definitely on gathering what is frost sensitive in the garden and putting it by for later. I made pesto from the basil. It is frozen now in single use amounts. The pumpkins have had a frost on them now which apparently helps with the flavour. I'm not sure if this fact or fancy as we have been eating pumkins untouched by the frost and they were delicious nonetheless.

The harvest total for the week is 4.773kg/ 10.5 pounds. This includes butternut pumpkin, jap pumpkin, basil, other herbs, spring onion, climbing princess beans,lettuce and rocket. We also 'harvested' 4.5kg/9.9 pounds of turkey on Saturday too which is in the freezer for a winter meal or two.

Coconut and Lime Cake

I used some of my many, many limes in a lime and coconut cake. This cake is quite delicious and moist.

Coconut and Lime Cake


150 grams butter

1 cup sugar

zest and juice of 2 limes

2 eggs

quarter cup of milk

half a cup dessicated coconut

200g grams self-raising flour


Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees. Grease and line 20 cm round baking tin.

Cream butter, sugar and zest until thick and creamy.

Add eggs and combine well. Add juice, flour, coconut and milk.

Pour batter into prepared baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes or unti la skewer comes out clean.

Leave in tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool. Or even better, enjoy a piece warm from the oven.

Usually I leave this cake unfrosted and just dust it with icing sugar. This time however, I iced it with a cream cheese and lime frosting and added a few snapdragons as decoration. A little more decadent but worth the effort. I've been trying to use flowers in my cooking a little more of late. I'm still unconvinced about their taste value but they are pleasing to the eye.


Belated Mother's Day

As both Tim and Tom weren't at home on Mother's Day we decided to hold off our family day until yesterday. We went for a sojourn up the mountain to the dam which I like to call "the lake of shining waters". I am an Anne Shirley fan afterall. The weather was what I call just right. Cool and sunny. My parents came along too so it was a nice family day.

I made a lime and coconut cake. I usually leave it uniced but I made the fuss of topping it with some cream cheese frosting and some snapdragons for decoration. I'm glad I did. I'm also glad I made the effort of packing proper plates and cake forks. It made the event feel more like an alfresco morning tea by the lake than just a quick picnic at the dam.

I also gave my mother her Mother's Day gift. A set of 6 quilted placemats. I used random blocks that were tucked away in the sewing cupboard. I thought it would be a quick job to whip them up afterall, the hard part of making the blocks had already been done. Not so. The quilting took ages and many bobbins of thread. I don't want to have to fill another bobbin for a little while especially mid-seam...grrr.

Being away from the computer I have missed the problems that blogger must have been experiencing. Thankfully.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chilly night, lovely day

Last nights dinner at the TAFE restaurant was delicious. $30 for a three course meal prepared by apprentice chefs and served by wait staff in training. There is a lot to be said for being served by and cooked for by people who are out to impress their teachers. If anyone has the opportunity to visit their local college I can recommend it. I felt a little like a judge on a television cooking show only I was there to enjoy, not to critique. I didn't take pictures because I thought it might add a bit of unnecessary pressure. I'm glad I put those new flannel sheets on the bed. We had out first fair dinkum frost of the season last night. I think this frost might be the official end of the summer garden.

I'm grateful that this Chinese Lantern shrub is my mother's and not mine. It looked pretty but a little chilly this morning in its icy coat.

Not only frost but a fog too. I love foggy weather (except when I have to drive). It has a bit of mystery about it. I half expect Kate Bush to pop out of the mist singing Wuthering Heights.

Typically, the fog lifted and the frost melted to bring a beautiful sunny day. Just right for drying washing and salvaging anything left in the garden which needs it.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I have been feeling down in the doldrums today. I think I'm tired. Out late last night for Grace's hockey and up early for her violin. Nothing a good nights sleep won't mend.

Tonight however, I'm heading out for some fine dining at the local TAFE. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to coming home and going to bed. I made the bed up today not only with flannel sheets that are not only clean but new too.

Back tomorrow in a good mood.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day. I don't really buy into the commercialisation of motherhood but it is still nice to have a day to feel a bit extra special. However there was no breakfast in bed or sleeping in here today. I prefer to be up early and eat at the table anyway. Tim is working today and Tom left for a school trip to Sydney. I did receive a lovely card made by Hope which featured her signature decoration of copious amounts of glitter. She included a voucher for a back rub and dinner cooked by her. I'll keep them safe until needed.
Here I am with Tim and Tom on the day that I first became a mother quite a few years ago now. One of the best days of my life even if we all look a tad weary. Just looking at my little boy, makes me yearn for those baby days over again.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Harvest Monday- 2 May, 2011

This week has been a bit haphazard because of back to school and getting back into routine. The crock pot has certainly been on duty.

I have been harvesting the same things as the previous few weeks but usually just ducking down to the garden right before dinner preparations.

The end of April means I have a harvest tally for the whole month. In April my weighed harvest was 20.168kg which equates to about 44.46 pounds. This has brought the tally for 2011 so far to 92.238kg which is approximately 203.35 pounds. This amount of produce coming in to the kitchen does save us money although in all honesty, if I was buying produce, I wouldn't buy some of the things I grow. I would stick to the basics. I wouldn't buy 9 kilograms of limes for example but that is how many came off my one tree. Last nights harvest meal was a curry. It had a small amount of lamb in it but was mostly vegetables- potato, carrots, onion, garlic and cauliflower. I like to use the slow cooker for curries. This one was just a matter of browning the meat, adding the vegetables, stirring in the curry paste (which was some spicy pickles I made last year), adding the coconut milk and then putting it all in the slow cooker for a few hours. The down side is that you have to put up with tempting cooking smells for most of the day.

On a lighter note another quick meal we eat is a chicken salad. It is pretty much a huge salad with lots of leafy greens to which I add some hot roasted potatoes and some stir fried chicken breast pieces. I usually stir a sauce through the chicken fillets when they are cooked and that dresses the salad. It is delicious even if it looks a little bland. The kids like to bulk it up a little by eating it wrapped up in flat breads.

Today I have been planting out seedlings and have made the decision to remove most of the left over summer crops. But that's a job for tomorrow. Today in the kitchen I'm making pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter sauce and a cauliflower soup too.

If you would like to have a look at what others are harvesting, check out Daphne's blog. There's lots to enjoy there.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Work

Ivy trimmed and watered
I have been working a little this weekend. I try not to be too busy because it is my time to spend with the kids. However of they are doing their own thing, I do mine. I've been working on our budget and I also made myself to-do list for the next couple of days which is achievable. I'm often guilty of making lists that are unachievable which can lead to disappointment. So, in the next two days I want to:

  • finish tidying the herb garden

  • plant out some vegetable seedlings

  • make 5 x 8.5" patchwork flower squares

  • make a birthday gift for my mother

  • paint a small table

  • tidy the outside shoe box (done)

  • tidy the outside hanging plants

  • trim the ivy (done)

Tim and Grace(will she ever stop making funny faces in pictures?)

Grace and I spent some of the morning at McDonalds. Our favourite fire fighter was on duty and was at McDonalds for the Brigade Kids program. Sometimes I wish that Tim didn't work weekends and holidays. It would be nice to have him at home but he has a good job and we are proud of him. Tim's weekend work is definitely more intense than mine.