Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lime yoghurt syrup cake.

 With an abundance of limes still and the chickens back on the lay, a delicious lime cake sounded like a good idea for afternoon tea. This one is moist and perfect with a cuppa.

Lime yoghurt syrup cake.
125 grams butter, softened
250 grams sugar
1 cup plain or vanilla yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 limes
3 tbsp lime juice
400grams self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb

For the syrup, I just use half a cup of my Easy Lime Cordial, warmed.

Preheat oven to 180deg C.
Grease and line a 23cm springform baking tin.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Stir in yoghurt, zest and juice.
Gently mix in flour and bicarb.
Spread into prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the oven). Check with a skewer to see if it is cooked through.
Use the skewer to prick holes in the cake and pour the syrup over the hot cake slowly allow it to be absorbed.
Allow to cool before serving though it is quite nice while still just warm.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3-2-1 homemade pasta.

My usual method for making pasta is to follow the guidelines of 1 egg to every 100grams of flour and a dash of olive oil for good measure. Then whizz it in the food processor before kneading and rolling.

However sometimes when I cna't be bothered weighing, I use the 3-2-1 method I discovered whilst watching My Kitchen Rules earlier this year. My television viewing is usually restricted  by choice to a few favourites such as River Cottage and those are all on DVD so I was quite surprised that I was drawn in by MKR. 

 Nic and Rocco who were the runners-up used the 3-2-1 ratio for pasta making and it does work a treat.

Simply, 3 eggs, 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Easy. Not really a recipe at all. Whizz it in the food processor or mix by hand if you wish and then knead. Allow the dough to rest.

 Roll the dough using a pasta machine and there you have it.
 I let my rolled pasta sheets dry a little on my super-dooper pasta drying rack. Yes, it is a clothes airer. But it isn't necessary really.

It is only in the past 4 years I have been making my own pasta. I still keep packet pasta in the larder but with the food processor and the pasta roller, homemade is quite easy and once you get the hang of it, it really takes next to no time.

Tonight we are having lasagne because Tom is arriving home and it is his favourite. I'm sure over the next few weeks while he is at home we will be having quite a number of his favourites.

 I don't think he will be as keen on the side serving of baby turnips.
Or rainbow chard. But I will enjoy them. I love winter vegetables when it is winter.
P.S. If you are looking for June!Photo a day pictures, please drop me a line and I will send you a link to see them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A trip to the coast.

 We haven't been away on an actual holiday for over a year and not to the coast for about 18 months. Usually when we go away for our wedding anniversary we stick to bed and breakfasts in big, old country houses but this year we headed east to the closest beach and stayed in a small cabin. This is a three hour drive and maybe winter isn't the best time of year for a sun and sand holiday but I will say it right now, it was wonderful.

 The weather was stunning. It was peaceful and without the buzz of other tourists that happens in the summer. And, the water really wasn't too cold. We both swam in the ocean and enjoyed it (Tim took some convincing to actually get in). Mind though we were the only people swimming and possibly onlookers thought we were silly but you know, sometimes it is good to be silly.

Truly it was lovely. I have come home refreshed and invigorated. More in love with my home, family and my life.

The problem with holidays though is that dreaded unpacking and washing. That has had me on the hop today but farm chores have broken up the less desirable jobs. Pruning lavender bushes, winter weeding, feeding poultry and harvesting bits and pieces for dinner... not chores at all really.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Easy Lime Cordial

This would work for lemons too. I'm not too sure about the keeping qualitites but it only makes about 1 litre and it doesn't last long in our house anyway.

Lime Cordial
1.5 cups lime juice
1.5 cups water
3 cups sugar
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat.
Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Bring to the boil then remove from heat.
Pour into warm sterilised bottles.

The recipe can be adjusted to suit any quantity of juice. Just keep the ratios the same. One quarter lime juice, one quarter water and one half sugar.
To serve dilute with chilled water or chilled soda/mineral water. This would make a delicious summer drink but we never have any left by the time summer rolls around.


June!Photo a day...21

Where I slept.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A chilly start

 The day had a chilly start with a heavy frost but it has turned out to be splendid. When I was making my bed this morning, this Eastern Rosella was sitting outside eating some seeds from the catnip. Now I know why I left the seed heads on. I had to take the picture through the window so it is a little blurry but he is still gorgeous even if he does look cold.

 The globe artichokes don't seem to mind frosty weather too much. They are dying off a little but they actually look quite nice in the frost too.
 Ditto the wormwood. I think it is the silvery, grey foliage that makes them look so nice when they are touched by a frost.

I had a day off from everything yesterday. A migraine had me in it's clutches but thankfully a good nights sleep saw the end of it. Today I am feeling much better and have been happy to be out and about. I planted out seven new lavenders along the driveway. I am aiming for a lavender hedge between the orchard and the drive. I still have a few more plants to go to fill the area but I am getting there.

 I have had Hope at home from school for three days now with a cold. Today she is feeling much better and has spent quite a while in the sun hammering and sawing and soaking up the wintery sunshine which always seems to work wonders for colds. She is going to school tomorrow.

June 20: {Fave photo you have ever taken}. It is hard to pick one favourite but this one would be up there. For me the best pictures are those with people I love in them. I don't know about composition or lighting or anything technical but this photo ticks my boxes for a favourite. It has  three of my favourite people in it (and a little black lamb too) and it is from a lovely time when we were all together at home. I keep a copy of this one on my bedside table because I like it so much.

I am due back in the kitchen now. I have more limes to deal with. Some have been languishing so long on the tree that they look more like lemons. Deliciously limey nonetheless. Lime and coconut cake is in the oven and I have made a batch of lime cordial too ('recipe' tomorrow).

Monday, June 18, 2012

I promise...

that regular farm, garden, cooking type posts will be back again soon. Hopefully by tomorrow.
 I had a quick trip to Sydney to take Tom back for his exams on the weekend. Drove down Saturday afternoon and back home Sunday. 12 hours of driving does take it out of a body. The weather looks good from indoors but once you head outside it is bone chilling. The weariness and the cold is making for a very slow day for me. I just can't or don't want to get started. So tomorrow it is.

I did miss yesterday's photo of what's in my bag and I'm not going to bother catching up that one. Today's topic is "Something we don't know about you"

Well I am almost certain that nobody knows that I dance. I have since I was very little and I still like to don my pointe shoes and my tap shoes too occassionally. It is a great workout and it is a bit of fun too.

It was hard to choose what to take a picture of for this topic. I mean this blog really doesn't get too personal and although I don't withhold information about me, it just doesn't come up. There are so many things that people don't know just because they really have no impact on what I do or what I have to say.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Out and About or not.

A reminder of the photo a day challenge for June. Today it is Out and About.

I will be out and about a bit later today but right now I am at home with access to the internet so I am posting a photo from two years ago when we were out and about in Sydney.

The ram sale has been made and the buyer seemed happy with his purchase. Just two more to sell for the time being.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I don't really know if omnivory is a word or not but an omnivore is what I am. Today we are butchering lamb. Last week it was turkey. Growing your own fruit and vegetables has a certain romanticism about it but there really is nothing pretty about growing your own meat. It is confronting to be responsible not only for the life and wellbeing of an animal but also for it's death too. The  plastic wrapped meat in the supermarket allows that sense of responsiblility and connection between eating meat and the death of an animal to disappear for some. Of course there is nothing wrong with buying meat in the supermarket or at the butcher, I do it too. We can't all grow our own. I just think it is important to remember where it came from. My girls will not eat our homegrown lamb for precisely this reason and that is their choice (hope does however get tempted by the cooking aromas on occasion).

Now. Complete frivolity in between what is going on in the butchering room.

  The photo a day topic is yellow. The last and loneliest rose bloom. It is some pale shade of yellow and a bit bedraggled.
The weeds in the lawn are fairing much better. Don't the weeds always fair better?


Thursday, June 14, 2012


 June! Photo a day
 today is TIME. I don't wear a watch (they stop working when I do) and I couldn't choose a clock so it's the sundial in the herb garden. It keeps time  atrociously but I like it anyway. No one needs to keep a watch on the clock when they are in the garden...right?

 I have been using my time very wisely today and getting much done. On days like today, I feel good and I have ever so much to be grateful for.

  • The jonquils are starting to bloom.
  • A ram is going to be making it's way to a new home on the weekend which is a boon.
  •  I have mowed the lawns today and that should tide them over until spring.
  • My parents visited and brought a cake.
  • Tom is getting a fair amount of study done (with only a little nagging from me).
  • One week of school left before the three weeks of winter holidays.
  • The winter sunshine is glorious.
And thanks to my sister I have a 'new' basket to keep my pine cones in.

Life is good.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Busy, busy

I'm not complaining about being busy. I do not work at all because I love what I do. I'm not well paid in dollars but I certainly am rich in the ways that count.

 Busy clearing the compost area of the old pumpkin vines which dominated over the summer/autumn (kikuyu too). I am now ready to make a batch of winter compost. Which may take a bit longer than the speeding summer kind but it ends up being ready when the garden needs it for spring growth.

 Busy sewing too. Actually this is shameful (not the colour even if it is shamefully bright), Hope chose this fabric about 5 or 6 years ago for a nightie. I finally sewed her a pair of pyjama pants yesterday afternoon. It took all of 20 minutes from start to finish and she was happy. I wasn't because she couldn't have her nightie. There was enough fabric for a 5 year old but not for a 10 year old. At least she got her pants I guess.

Todays photo a day topic is ART. I have absolutely nothing in my house that remotely resembles anything that would be called art. Craft yes. Art no. So with that in mind, I took some pictures of some of the things I have painted over the years. I like practical things so I generally paint something that has a purpose. Boxes, buckets etc.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fungi on the farm

 First up the June!Photo a day for today. The topic today is "From a low angle". This is the old windmill that is situated close to one of the two creeks bordering our property. It has been some time since it was in use. At some time in the past it had been used to pump water directly from the creek(we don't have a bore). We have set the farm up now so that we don't need to rely on the creek for our water supply but it is good to know it is there need be.
A fungi in the garden(despite the resident comedian's claims of it being something else).
 I have been out and about today. Looking at nature along the way. No matter where one lives, city or country, fungi is ever present and vital. Even if it is not edible, they play an essential role in the ecosystem. The world of fungi is very interesting and I do wish now that when I studied microbiology at university, I had chosen to study environmental fungi rather than clinical mycology. At the time though it was what was necessary for my future career.

 Just more things to learn about and probably if I look through my old books, I might find the information I want. In the mean time though I have just been visiting a blog all about Australian fungi and in particular things seen not too far from where I live.

We don't get too many edible fungi or at least fungi that I would feel safe eating so I am now growing some in a mushroom growing kit in the laundry room.
Grace and Hope gave me the kit for Mother's day and it is starting to kick into high gear. The girls will join me eating these button type mushrooms but when it comes to other 'shrooms, they aren't fans. I am on my own. More for me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Frugal by necessity.

Every so often I go over our budget to make sure things are working as they should. I like numbers and lists so I don't mind it a bit. I have never been a spendthrift which has been a blessing to our family. As soon as I had a job after university, I saved and saved. I didn't even take a holiday for the first few years of my working life. Thankfully I loved my job so it was no hardship. Back in those days, I was frugal by choice. Nowadays we live a frugal lifestyle by necessity. I am trying ever so hard to put a stop to any small leaks which might sink our ship.

I have been having a look at the thrifty tips  that Kate has been blogging about this month and consequently thinking about money saving ideas. I think most people can relate to having to economize especially in the current financial environment. I have cut out unnecessary spending (obviously not completely, I still have Internet at home) and we do our best to reduce our costs. I menu plan right down to what I will be baking for the week, turn off appliances at the  switch. There truly is a limit to how low expenses can go though. Council rates need to be paid, utilities, insurance for cars, home and farm, animals need to be cared for. The only item on our budget that is a non-essential (besides the Internet) is gift giving and that has been reduced too. Hanging out on a farm all day doesn't require a high-end wardrobe and thankfully our tastes are fairly simple. Last years "town" clothes become this years farm clothes.

From experience I have found that it is good to have a specific goal in mind if you are saving. Throughout our marriage we have just been saving for the future without any real aim in mind. It was a good thing, it gave us the opportunity to set our son up in the city for his studies.Which is good for him now, the girls too if they decide to move to Sydney too for study or just to live. Now however I am thinking about saving with a more concrete goal in mind for mine and Tim's future. At the moment the savings dream is just that and the goal is going to have to be reached slowly but it will be worth the effort I'm sure. I'm saving only cents at a time, not big bucks but I am motivated.

Now that was serious and I would like to talk a bit more about frugallity a bit more some other time. Right now though, I have chores and must sign off.

Before signing off though here is the photo for June 11th. Topic: Door. This is a little cupboard that hangs in my dining room and the door is more interesting than my front door. I painted it a few years back when I was going through a folk art phase. I still have all of the paints but just not the inclination to use them (Grace and Hope use them so they aren't going to waste).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Best of Weekends

 Thankfully the June!Photo a day challenge picture for today is the "best part of the weekend". Too easy. I could have posted any number of family pictures I took.Though some did have even more ridiculous expressions than Tim's in the one above. The best part of any day for me is family. Even if I didn't stay at home this weekend, it still would have been about family because we would have travelled to Wellington for our niece's baby shower. Tim's work roster didn't allow travel this weekend and it is probably best to wait until after the baby has arrived before heading over there, it is a big trip.

 I took the girls for a play in the park with their cousins. I love the park which is dedicated to all things wool related. The uprights on the swings look like huge knitting pins and there is a playhouse which is like a shearing shed. Very cute. It was busy today too which is good for the local businesses.

Lastly a picture of our table after the light started to fade. The stylists at Country Style, Donna Hay and other gorgeous magazines have nothing to worry about from me but I liked it anyway. There is something a bit special about dining outdoors.

Sunday soup night tonight. We are having Cauliflower, potato and blue cheese soup which was in a freebie Donna Hay magazine my Mum gave me. It isn't ready yet but almost.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


The Queen's birthday long weekend always meant fireworks and bonfires even when I was small and living in the city. The fireworks are a thing of past but tonight we are going to brave the elements and have dinner outdoors with the added magic of a bonfire to keep warm by and maybe those who are inclined will toast some marshmallows. I have Tom home and my sister is coming for a visit too so if that isn't an excuse to celebrate then I don't know what is. I am loving this weekend and a bonus, Tim is not working until Monday. Simple menu tonight, pumpkin soup with homemade bread roll and steak sandwiches for the anti-soup brigade and the extra hungry diners. Warm pear and honey cake for dessert.

The photo topic of the day is "Your View Today". Both of the pictures above qualify. The lighting is off today, overcast and the sun is giving  the grass an eery look but is how it is.

Apparently there was an tremor in the region last night. I felt nothing probably because I was sound asleep but it is still scary nonetheless. I know I couldn't live in those places that face that constant known threat of disaster. I would be forever on edge. I am a worrier I believe.

Anyway I have to go and bake the dinner rolls and light the fire.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Little Excited

 June 8: Six o'clock. I am a bit of a clock collector but I rather like the idea of showing where I like to be at six in the morning or night (during the winter anyway). By the fire the lights out and just sitting alone ot with the family. Tomorrow night we will be outside with a campfire and that will be equally nice.

But why am I excited? My boy, Tom, is coming home tonight and will be staying for a week. It is stuvac for his first semester at university and apparently he feels he will get more study done at home with Mum looking after him than he will if he stays at the townhouse fending for himself. I'm not sure if this will be so but he will be well looked after and spoilt just a bit.

I am branching out with my farming and tomorrow I am setting up a roadside stall. It is the only thing for an excess of pumpkins and honey and no transport to sell them at the weekly organic market. I'm hoping a nearby clearing sale will increase sales. The rams are proving more difficult to sell this year, People often contact me to buy ewes but as only one ram is needed for many ewes, they are harder to sell. I have had a few inquiries but no sales as yet. Hopefully after another round of advertising tomorrow, their will be some takers.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7: Drink

June!Photo a day can be found here.
This cup of lavender and mint tea was just what I needed today after a busy day outdoors. weeding, planting and working hard.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pumpkin Fritters

 The weather is playing along today and I managed to hang a basket of washing on the line. Having damp washing drying all over the place is messy and distracting and I don't like it so it is good to have it caught up. We do have a clothes dryer but it is a last resort and believe me I would have used it yesterday but some rubber band type of thing in it has snapped and it is out of commission. Doesn't matter now.

I'm not just grateful to have the wet washing sorted but also to be able to go outside and actually enjoy it. I never buy pumpkins and it is easy to see why. We grow enough to last most of the year and besides when there are none left, there is always something that is in season and abundant to take its place. Up until now I have been picking the pumpkins as I wanted or needed plus a few to give away. Today however I harvested two wheelbarrows full. So we have plenty to share and enough to keep us going until we are tired of them.

Last night I made pumpkin fritters for dinner. The fritters do need something with them or they border on being bland. I had left over fritters for lunch today along with a poached  egg , lettuce and a little mayonnaise. It was good.

Pumpkin Fritters
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 cup grated pumpkin
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bi carb
olive oil for frying
In a large bowl combine the milk, sour cream and egg.
Stir in the pumpkin and zucchini.
Mix in the flour and bi carb well.
Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Place tablespoons of the batter in the hot oil and  cook until golden then turn to cook the other side.
Allow to cook until they are cooked all the way through.

I use two forks for turning, it works for me. The zucchini I used was frozen from the summer glut. I defrosted it in the microwave and drained the excess liquid in a colander. I don't like salt at all but some might find the mixture benefits from it.

June 6- Hat

For the challenge on Fat Mum Slim, here's today's effort for the subject: Hat. I think I will have to try to think a little because I am boring myself a bit with my pictures. Maybe I am just an inside the square thinker, who knows?