Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Morning juice

After watering the garden this morning I cut some silverbeet stalks, and pulled up a couple of carrots for my morning juice.  These along with two sticks of celery a piece of ginger, two small granny smith apples, half a lemon and a few ice cubes thrown in  made a delicious juice for my breakfast.   It's predicted  to be another very hot day today,  37 degrees,  with these hot tempretures and the worry of more fires, I'm not leaving the house today.   The air-conditioner is on and now I'm off to do some sewing.

Fresh produce

Nothing beats growing your own vegetables, I'm definately eating more vegetables than I used to and the fact that they are organic and fresh gives me the incentive to want to eat them.   I'm outside in the garden more than I usually would be so I'm getting more excercise and feeling better for it.  Today I pulled out the last two lettuce, they were starting to bolt, so it was time.    I've dug that patch over and instead planting seeds I'm going to buy seedlings to plant, these will grow fast and I'll have crunchy lettuce quicker than waiting for the seeds to germinate.  I've been disappointed with the beans, I've had a few, but not the abundance I was hoping for, with the small handful I picked today I decided to blanch them and add them to the salad I would make for dinner,

Sunday, 20 January 2013

My little gardner

Every alternate Monday I care for Deacon, while my daughter is at work, it is an early start to the day and is usually a long one.  Trying to find things to amuse a three year old all day is really stretching my old brain cells.   I needed to do some weeding and watering in the garden so I gave him the watering can, after he drowned me with the hose haa, haa, he thought it was very funny.  Then we picked some of the vegetables to bring inside, I was surprised to find three large cucumbers, these must grow really fast, I'm sure they were'nt there yesterday.  I have just put a pot of water on the stove to boil  for his favourite lunch, which of course is pasta.    He is currently playing make believe with the stick horse while I post this,  I think we might have to visit with his cousin after lunch to kill an hour or two.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Pasties for the freezer

Today we have a respite from the very hot days we have been experiencing over the past few weeks.   There are  fires burning in three states, homes have been lost and someone has lost his life while trying to escape a fire.    I always have a bad feeling when we have hot north winds, it usually means there will be a fire somewhere in this country during summer.   My thoughts go out to the many people who have lost everything in these fires,  It would be devastating to know your home and everything you cherished were gone in a matter of minutes.     
I  decided to take advantage of the cool change and turn my oven on to do some cooking.  I have a lot of vegetables, thanks mainly due to my garden, I also had some pastry in the freezer, so I chopped the vegetables along with some leftover haricot beans and made pasties. They smelt so good as I took from the oven that I had to have one for lunch, the rest will go in the freezer.   My above fridge freezer does'nt give me room to store much besides necessities,  I've have been thinking about buying a small freezer, which would fit in my laundry and give me space to cook and freeze more.
Vegetable Pasties:
This recipe will make six large or more if you want smaller pasties
1 onion finely diced
1 potato either grated or finely chopped
1/2 carrot finely diced
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup turnip or sweet potato finely diced
salt and pepper
chopped parsley, as little or as much as you like
4 sheets of pastry, I have used frozen flaky pastry because that is what I had in the freezer, or make your own pastry, either shortcrust or flaky
I added 1/4 cup left over haricot beans to the mix

Combine all the vegetables with the parsley, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Lay out the sheets of pastry and using either a saucer or bowl cut circle shapes in the pastry.  Place an equal amount of filling onto the pastry. Brush around the edges with water, join edges together and pinch to seal.  Place onto a tray and piece each one with a fork, glaze with egg wash or milk.  Bake in oven 200c for 10 mins then turn the oven down to 180c for 30-35 mins. They will be golden brown and delicious, enjoy

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pickling and spices

Over the past few weeks I've been doing some pickling, bread and butter cucumber pickles, my home grown beetroot and onions.    I've just gott back into this after quite few years abscence, I used to make jams, chutneys, pickles and sauces, it feels good to be in the kitchen again.  I've been using and old recipe book by Family Circle, this has anything you may want to preserve or bottle, jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, chutney and sauces.  This book is well used and the one I always turn to.  My mum had a Vacolas bottling kit and what seemed like a thousand bottles with bands and clips, every year we spent days in the kitchen with her blanching and skinning tomatoes to bottle, to make sauce, cutting green tomatoes and vegetables for pickles and skinning fruit to preserve in jars for the winter.    Mum bought boxes of fruit that we did'nt grow in our yard,  it seemed like most of our summer holidays were holed up inside, in fact it was probably just a few days or maybe a week.    It was so good in the winter to be able to open what had been stored.   I recently asked my dad if the Vacolas unit was in the shed, to my disappointment it was'nt,  I have checked the internet and was blown away by the pricing on the new units.   The new Vacolas units are electric,  I remember mum's being a stove top unit, boy our house must have been hot in the summer with that pot cooking on the stove almost non stop.     The weather-board house I grew up in had no insulation in the roof and no air-conditioner, I do remember sleeping outside some nights until the mosquitoes buzzing around sent us back inside the house. 

Monday, 14 January 2013


My garden is making me very happy, my roses are beautiful, I planted them into pots this year but they will be planted out into a garden bed during the next stage of the  garden renovation.   I've been cutting blooms to take inside and I've given a bunch of roses and lavender to a friend for her birthday.    Just walking out to the vegetable patch to collect what I need for lunch or dinner is wonderful,  I love the fact that I don't have to drive to the shops to buy vegetables, I'm making do with what I have here.    Even my two daughters have been over to collect some vegetables, I think they are surprised that I have grown them.   When I was younger I always had a vegetable garden, but on reflection I think I gave up after the dog continually ate everything, so they may not remember.    The labrador we had used to take fruit from the trees, as well as anything she could get into, and if she could'nt get in she would eventually find a way.    This morning while drinking a smoothie, enjoying the sun and just looking around, I  felt very pleased with what I've achieved so far.   Stage three will start when the weather cools down, I have been looking through a garden book, "What plant is that" by Readers Digest and have decided what I would like to plant against the back fence, I need to enlarge the existing garden beds, which means digging out more of the lawn, I've been debating whether I actually want the lawn at all.  Oh well, plenty of time to think about that one.

Friday, 11 January 2013


I've said in previous blogs I have lived in this house four years.  Over this time I have been searching for light fitings for most of the rooms,  I have looked in a lot of shops and most of the fittings are too modern for me, so I just keep looking.    I do have two beautiful leadlight shades I took from the previous house, replacing them with other shades before I left.    My husbands sister made these for me so I had a sentimental reason for taking them down.   I have been meaning to have them installed here but have put it off and then forgot about them.    I recently came across the box they were stored in while taking down christmas decorations.    I asked my sons father-in-law Frank if he would install them along with Daniels help,  Daniel would have to go up into the roof cavity to secure the light fitting to a beam because of it's weight, this would be no mean feat for someone who hates spiders.    He found this a difficult job, along with the spiders there was'nt much room in the roof space to move around the heating and cooling ducting.    I'm now happy to see this beautiful light fitting up and sharing the limelight with it's mate the standard lamp.   The other shade will be next but not sure which room it will live in.