Monday, June 29, 2009

They all came home to roost .

What a lovely but busy weekend we have had. The family all came to visit this weekend.

We had them all here on Saturday so GB and I decided that we would flash up the woodfired oven and roast a leg of venison for dinner. It is too big for the two of us so we welcome visitors to share with us. Since he was firing up the oven (it takes about two or three hours to build up a good heat) we always have pizza for lunch on those days. This time I got it into my head to try something different. Pide ! We ate it often when we lived in the middle east and always enjoyed it so with that thought in mind I turned to my trusty computer and "googled" it. I was obviously having one of those "know it all days" and I only looked for inspiration for the fillings. I was planning to use my trusty fail safe pizza dough recipe. I completely ignored the dough recipe supplied...oh Linda...when will you ever learn !!!!

I decided on three different fillings.....minced beef with Moroccan spices to be topped with strips of grilled red capsicum and a side serve of garlicky yogurt.....feta and spinach.... and cheese, onion and egg. The latter had me trekking into the village for Halumi and mozzarella (mistake number two!!!) All that was available was a mozzarella,cheddar,parmesan blend. Ho hum...what to do ? I really, really wanted to try this one so I succumbed to temptation and purchased the only available option. The recipe suggested grated mozzarella and halumi with chopped spring onions, mint and a little oil and seasoning. Bake the pide for five minutes....remove from the oven and crack an egg on the top then return to the oven for a further two minutes. Sounded yum.

The dough was made rolled , filled and far so good. GB took over and into the oven they went. Oh dear. My pizza dough is extra special terrific....but obviously only for pizzas!!!! The pide expanded way too fast and burst open. The egg exercise didn't go so well either as number one egg landed on the floor of the oven (the dog got to eat that one) and the other one didn't quite cook all the way through. We ate them anyway!!! We were hungry !!!! Next time and there will be a next time as I wont be beaten. I will follow the dough recipe because they tasted delicious anyway. Hence no photos.

A quick apres lunch nap and the boys went kayaking with the Princess in tow. I went down with them to the creek to watch...way too cold for me to even consider lowering myself into the kayak and have cold water sloshing around my nether regions. It needs to be at least another ten degrees warmer before I will go wading into the water. Back home to pop in the roast for dinner.

We tried a new recipe for the venison this time, marinading it with red wine and red wine vinegar, juniper berries, garlic, chopped onion and oil overnight and we experimented, roasting it covered with streaky bacon rashers and a large slice of pork rind. Yep, you heard right "pork rind". You can buy it in pieces from the supermarket and we have on one indulgent occasion roasted it as an extra with a pork leg roast for those who will not be named who like to eat vast quantities of pork crackling. Mmmmmmmm. Well it may sound excessive but it worked really well and the meat was delicious. Mama made the most gooey, yummy chocolate desert. It looked like a baked chocolate sponge but when you cut into it it oozed out of the middle. Very rich but funnily enough it wasn't too sweet, which was good. With a dollop of cream on the top (may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb!) it was the perfect finish to the meal. You can make that one again sweetheart ;-)

Sunday morning after a full english breakfast...oink, oink! GB and I left the family wandering around the village market and headed down to Mooloolaba for lunch with friends. Great company and a lovely lunch, not only because I didn't have to cook it myself ;-) but I love warm beef salad, which was one of the dishes. We arrived back late in the afternoon and the boys had already lit the fire. What more could you ask for but to snuggle in for the night. It got down to six degrees last night but I was as snug as a bug in my nest. Its all good.

Life goes on......the last of the family departed at dawn this morning and I have been busy laundering sheets and towels all day. Thank heavens for a sunny breezy day. It certainly is the "sunshine state". I hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A new baby in the family.

Great excitement....we have a new baby in the family.....well actually its a new car but thats exciting anyway :-)

I came down to the city as I had promised dr K that I would help him pick up his new car. Well that's what Mums are for isn't it !!! He and I headed up to the Sunshine Coast this morning to pick up this little baby.

Isn't it cute :-) Its a "smart car". A semi automatic two seater that will suit him down to the ground. He lives in one of Brisbane's inner city suburbs but travels daily for work between different far flung areas that are not always accessible by public transport. I am pleased to say that GB , Mama and the doc all use public transport where possible but Queensland is not the most green state when it comes to public transport :-( There is plenty of room for improvement. Hence the need for a more environmentally friendly vehicle. Hopefully this will fit the bill.

I left him to drive to work and headed back taking the scenic route through the beach suburbs of the sunshine coast. It didn't take much longer than using the highway and was an interesting drive. The development up in that area has been amazing over the last twenty odd years. Progress !!!!!Hmmmm I am not sure!

This afternoon I popped in to meet a very helpful young man who has been advising me over the phone this week with computer problems that I have been experiencing. It is a little difficult when you are miles away from the city and your computer starts to misbehave! If I could give this man an award I most certainly would. He has been both pleasant and extremely helpful on each occasion. I am not sure if the problem has been completely fixed.....I have changed from internet explorer to mozilla firefox and everything seems to be working OK today. Fingers crossed!

Tonight I can hear the State of Origin match playing out on the TV and everywhere I turned today I saw people wearing maroon so I guess its a pretty important match for Queensland ! Me....I'm off to bed with a good book ;-) Good night.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A bright new day.

I woke up this morning and the rain had gone :-) I do feel bad smiling about it after the long drought that we had and that others are still suffering from. I have this superstitious feeling that if I complain when it rains for days, we will plunge back into another prolonged dry spell. Shucks....I can't help it. My spirits rose when I opened the curtains and saw the sun was shining. I sat down in my favourite armchair to have that first cup of coffee of the day. Look what I spied through the window.

For what seems like forever is that all I see when I look at this garden bed is strappy green leaves. Don't get me wrong. I love to see the greenery but here I progressively planted out a "bulb" garden. Lillys, kangaroo paw, bluebells, agapantha, iris, daylillys, jonquils, freesia and these hot pokers :-) I had visions of blooms popping up all through the year. To be honest we did have some incredible jonquils last spring and ***one*** agapantha bloom in summer! Hmmm Oh and when it rains heavily enough we get a display of iris for a few days. least there is some greenery. Then way out of the blue these began to throw flower heads. They looked dull with very little colour and a little patchy as if some bugs had been eating them and they were dying off and then...WOW....they opened up. This morning with the early morning sun shining down on them and the last of the rain sitting on the leaves, it was worth the wait :-) How my heart sang. I feel renewed and alive again. I feel a bounce in my step. Life is good. I am off to enjoy this beautiful day. I hope yours is as good.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Lunch

It has rained on and off all day today. The tanks are overflowing and all is well with the world. I really didn't need to water the garden yesterday morning did I ? One surprise bonus is the mushrooms that have popped up in the temporary bed (old water bed frame) that we built for the excess of tomato and lettuce plants.

It was supposed to hold my spare stock of topsoil but we threw on some bags of mushroom compost and mulch before GB planted up. The rain and cooler weather have brought up a crop of mushrooms. Mmmm mushroom omelette for lunch tomorrow with a side salad I think but what about the rest!!!!

After pottering around in the garden for a while I came indoors and started to make some french style bread using the spelt flour that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I was planning a simple ham salad and fresh bread for lunch. While I was poking around in the fridge I saw the bag of chicken wings that I had bought to make cocktail nibbles with. I decided that they needed using up without delay so I mixed up a little tandoori paste and yogurt and chopped up the wings and put them in the marinade. Chicken and bread ...OK...I can be flexible. Off I went to pick the salad greens. Later in the morning when the bread was shaped, risen and ready to go in the oven I turned my thoughts again to lunch. Hmmm. A little yogurt, garlic and mint to serve with the chicken. Chop chop. Maybe I should grate a little cucumber in there and make a Tsatziki.

Well if I am going down that track a greek salad would be nice. Out came the feta and olives. In my "cropping" basket were some lovely fresh radishes.....they would be wasted in the salad but so yummy with a little salt and warm bread. Lunch was evolving. By the time I had finished it looked so good that I decided all that it needed was a glass of wine to make it perfect.

It was :-) and no...I didn't forget to serve that was chilling in the fridge.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where do the days go ?

Its been a week since I have been here. I don't know where the time went but suddenly its Saturday again.

Before I start to waffle on I would like to award the "Sisterhood award" to another blogger whose blog I have been following for a loooong time. I have "lurked" in the background and enjoyed all of her posts for so long that it was not a hard choice. So to Julie from Towards Sustainability I would like to award you the Sisterhood award for the inspiration and just sheer pleasure that you have given to me and to all of your followers with your blog.

Keep up the good work. I love the look of the woodfired heater that she has researched and shown us in her blog today. If I were starting out again I would definitely look at one of those.
I would have liked to pass on this award to two other of my favourite blogs as well. Rhonda from Down to Earth who is such an inspiration to so many. Hers was the very first blog that I ever read and I visit her site daily. She now has such a huge following that I believe that she said a while ago...Thank you but no more awards. Well Rhonda, I take my hat of to you, even if I can't pass on this award to you I very much enjoy your work.
The other person that I believe deserves to be recognised is Gavin from The Greening of Gavin. Sorry just didn't seem right to award you a "sisterhood"award but I visit you daily as well...even when you are not there!!! ( Hey I just learnt the advantage of being a "follower" ! You get the latest posts pop up on your dashboard! ) Gavin, I love the work that you are doing trying to pass on "the word" and I enjoy reading about your enthusiasm with taking on new skills. So I decided that you need recognition anyway. Keep up the good work.
Now...where did that week go?
I headed down to the city on Monday afternoon to return a favour. Mama had been kind enough to accompany me on a trip to the dentist so the least I could do was to take her when she needed support!. Boy its so much easier when its not your mouth they are looking in. This was taken care of on Tuesday morning. We dropped off the "suzi" ( my little Suzuki city car) for a wheel balancing and alignment on the way to the dentist. After the "dirty deed" I thought she needed a little distraction so I took her to an auction house. It was a good time to go as they only hold their auctions on Saturdays!!!! Never the less it was interesting to see what kind of things are around and no cash left my purse :-)

We dashed back to pick up the Princess from school, drop Tiggy off for a haircut and headed up to the Strawberry farm near the Ettomogah Pub to pick the early season strawberries. They were surprisingly good but I am sure in another month they will be perfect. Each year we take the little princess so that she can "pick your own" She thinks this is pretty special even though we have to watch her like a hawk as there are signs up everywhere telling you that you can't eat them as you pick (I always thought that was the fun of picking your own!!!) When I went in to pay I also picked up a punnet of ready picked berries. Then I discovered the truly sad part of the "treat". My punnet that somebody else had picked for me cost $15 per kilo. Her punnet , which she had picked herself cost $16 per kilo. This didn't sound right to me, so I questioned the sales person and was informed that you pay more to pick your own due to the wear and tear on the strawberry beds!!!! How things are changing and not I must say for the better. This will be the last year that we go to that particular farm and I will carefully research any subsequent ones. I am just so disappointed in the whole deal. I remember when it was fun to go and pick a heap of strawberries, some for dinner and some to make jam and to nibble on the softest and ripest ones as we picked. We knew those ones wouldn't travel well!! They were so delicious and special. Now the almighty dollar is more important ? Sorry guys....I think you have lost the plot. You have lost me that's for sure.

We headed home picking up Tiggy and the car on the way. Oh he looks so handsome now, ooooh and he smells so good!

That evening dr K came over for dinner and stayed the night. It is always great to catch up with what is happening in his life. We ate the strawberries for dinner! Some how they had lost their shine!

Now I have to say that I haven't a clue where the days between then and now went!!! Sometimes I feel as if I put in a full day but don't really achieve anything. I hate days like that. It is so much like a treadmill. I do like it when my days are meaningful. I came back to the farm on Thursday afternoon and spent Friday doing housewifely things. Hmmmm.

I did cook a "slow roasted shoulder of lamb" for dinner which was well worth the effort. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe, sitting the lamb on a bed of rosemary and garlic and covering it with the same. I used 14 x 5" (sorry I still think imperial!!) rosemary stems and two bulbs of garlic. I would not have thought to use so many but it was wonderful. I roasted it for three hours (it only weighed 1.6Kg). The sauce was made using the pan juices with all but 1 tablespoon of the fat removed and mint, capers and red wine vinegar with a little flour for thickening. It just fell to pieces and was truly the best thing I have eaten all week. Oh...even the memory of it as I write is good :-) I picked fresh silverbeet and carrots from the garden to serve with it and I had a little cauliflower cheese left over to finish it off. Yum yum!

I have a real weakness for cauliflower cheese (with a seeded mustard in the cheese sauce). Fortunately none of my family like it very much which is just OK with me. I always make a huge dish of it. I eat it for my lunch, I even eat it on toast for breakfast. I just LOVE it.

Today was a good day. I started brush cutting the bank behind the house which has become quite overgrown over summer. Every so often I would go out there and start to weed but would get overwhelmed with the task after hours in the hot steamy sun and each attack would result in RSI of the wrist and I would be unable to finish the job. My favourite saying is that there is always more than one way to skin a cat...I just love a challenge. In I went with the brush cutter....the plan is to slash it to the ground, plants and all! Cover it well with thick newspaper, mushroom compost and sugarcane mulch and finally as that starts to break down a thick layer of forest mulch. Then I will start replanting. Some of the larger shrubs I will leave but with the deer/ wallabies and hares feasting up there in the last few weeks they are pretty much all that has survived. They have eaten all of the rose bushes and small annuals, a few of the natives and most of my herbs. I did find this little strawberry plant desperately trying to flower amongst the mulch. I had over thirty strawberry plants up I have a few stumps and this little valiant baby.

The rain stopped play so I came indoors and made Strawberry and apple jam a la Through my kitchen window. Thank you Mariana. It turned out beautifully. Nice and tangy but I think that maybe the apple dominates a little. Probably because the early season strawberries just don't have the same intense flavour as ones later in the season. I will make some plain strawberry jam later. It was well worth the effort though. My only problem now is when will we eat all this jam that I have been making. Jam on a half of a piece of toast each morning....... and my shelves are groaning with this years produce. I think I will have a few lucky friends this year.

The Gorgeous boy was busy outside digging up the potatoes in one of the beds where the tops had died back. Some of them are small but very tasty.


The ones in the middle he is saving as seed potatoes. Some of the small ones I cooked up for dinner tonight. I made a Thai fish curry with rice but we couldn't resist a few of these little babies as well. I cooked enough so that I can also make a small potato salad for lunch tomorrow.

He has planted out some kipfler potatoes in the new bed we made last weekend. We are just running out of space at the moment and need to get on to making the new retaining wall behind the shed which will create more garden beds.

Now that was a worthwhile, meaningful day :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another day in Paradise.

Another beautiful day here in Sunny Queensland. I am glad to be back at the farm. I have had a busy few days as I went down to the city for a couple of days. I arrived there late Wednesday to be ready for Thursday...the dreaded tooth pulling day !

It went pretty well really. I had stressed myself out all week in anticipation. Mama drove me down there and I was secretly panicking. In I went , by myself I might add. (Never admit you are terrified until afterwards !!!) I had been booked for a one hour appointment and wasn't quite sure why it would take one hour. I made the mistake of asking. Silly girl. The dentist informed me that if things went well it would only take about thirty minutes but he had allowed time in case the tooth broke down as he may have to cut into the gum or maybe even into the bone. They (the dentist and his assistant) laughed when I groaned...they thought I was joking!!!! By this time I was shaking so hard I felt ill. Shall I cry now or wait two minutes..... Thankfully it came out easily......I was elated...bringing me back down again the dear gentleman said he would take another x ray to make sure he had all of the pieces out. Oh no....Ah... another false alarm. Everything was OK. I was out of there so fast I think I forgot to say Thank you. Mama was surprised that I was so calm when I came out but after the build up...ha...I could afford to be. A quiet sit down at home and a couple of panadol and I was ready for the world again.

Mama and I picked up the Princess from school and took her to her swimming lesson. She has only had a couple and has more enthusiasm than style but it looks like she has got the hang of things. It was good fun to watch all the children at different levels of learning. It made me reflect on how we take our "talents" for granted. Every new skill that we take on is a challenge. After we have mastered them we quickly forget how difficult it seemed at the time. Be it the patchwork, quilting and applique, always being able to sew my own clothes or the cooking that seems like second nature me. Even the gardening which is still such a big learning curve for me. You forget the frustration of not knowing how to do something that others do with ease and then all of a sudden..the light goes on and yes, you can do it too. I think that is why I love to learn new things. Be it blogging or whatever. The next challenge that is bubbling up inside of me is Cheese making. I bought a book a couple of years ago and have read it a couple of times. Mmmm looks a bit hard to me. Then Gavin from The Greening of Gavin had a go. Hey. If Gavin can do it ...I can. Then Julie from Towards Sustainability is all set up to go. (Two of my favourite blogs). I realise that I learn best from watching things done rather than by reading it from a book so with that in mind my quest is to find someone close by who can teach me. There I have said it. Now is the time to bite the bullet. A new challenge. Oh how I love life :-) Sorry I got side tracked there. I apologise for the fact that I have no pretty pictures today. a) every photo I took of the little mermaid....with the delay for the flash...she was under water and who wants to see a picture of a pool full of water!!! b) I left my camera behind in Mamas handbag. Such is life.

Anyway....Here we are back up the farm and hasn't the weather been wonderful. Cold enough at night to be able to snuggle up in front of the fire or nestle down "for a long winters nap" in flannelet sheets with a soft fluffy doona on the top and bright and sunny during the day so that you can work hard outside without dissolving into a pool of sweat. How blessed are we?

The Gorgeous boy and I worked in the vegetable garden this morning. Planting seeds for more root crops and setting up a couple of huge pots of herbs as a back up in case our furry friends eat any more of the ones outside of the fenced area. I am not pointing any fingers but look below at how cheeky they are and how close to the "home paddock" they will come.

They jump the electric fence or shimmy underneath as do the wallabies and hares. My flower beds are fair game for them but not the veggies. Enough is enough. We have chest high dog fencing around there and plan to put deer fencing around the orchard before too long as they come in almost daily on a mission of destruction :-(
This afternoon was spent cooking up a vast pot of beef stew....comfort food weather. Enough for dinner tonight and plenty for the freezer. Everything I could find in the cupboards and garden. Carrots, onions, garlic. celery, sweet potato, pumpkin, tomatoes, cauliflower, beef, bacon and some blue peas. Gotta tell was delicious. Mmmmmmm oh...there was a little chilli in there too ;-) While that was cooking I went and spent an hour or so mowing around the house on my ride on. Another productive day.
When I went down to visit The Great Dane last weekend he asked me to bring down some blue peas from Simply Good. I dutifully took him down a kilo and asked what they were being used for as I had never cooked them myself. He explained that they were used to cook "mushy peas". I remember that my Grandmother used to make mushy peas when I was a little girl. She was a "yorkshire" woman and a very basic cook (due to financial necessity) but the food that she did put on the table was always delicious. The memory of eating this dish evoked other lovely memories of my childhood so when I called in the shops to pick up a few groceries on Friday I bought a small bag of these peas. I will be doing a little experimental cookery with them over the next few weeks while the weather is still cool. I may even be a little indulgent and make some of Grandmas "splodge". Sponge cake filled with jam. Chopped up into small squares and stirred through hot custard. Oh Heaven. (At least that's what I thought fifty odd years ago!!! We'll see :-) My bed is calling me. Night all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good to see you...come on in.

Thanks for coming by today. I am so excited....I have some lovely news that I want to share :-)

I went away for the Queens Birthday long weekend and when I returned I naturally sat down to catch up on my favourite blogs. Mariana from Through my kitchen window has been kind enough to present me with an award. The "Sisterhood Award" to be precise. It is an award given by bloggers to bloggers in recognition of attitude and or gratitude. I am not quite sure why I deserved it but am tickled pink to think that someone out there enjoys reading my ramblings.

The rules that come with this award state that I get to pass this award on to up to ten people whose blogs I admire. This shouldn't be hard !! I have been reading blogs for a couple of years now, since dear daughter introduced me to them. Not being very computer savvy (I'm of THAT generation :-) )I tend to "lurk" in the background and have only rarely ever commented. Not that I didn't wish to.....I just didn't quite know what to say. Well I took the bull by the horns last month and started my own blog. With much help from Mama I might add. I am still finding my way around and have now been bold enough to comment and add myself as a follower on some blogs. I'm still working on that!!

I need a little help to add the award to my blog and to pass on the blessing :-) Once I have time to sit down with Mama I will ask her to show me how to go about this. I learn something new everyday ......its please bear with me.

Anyway.......I just wanted to say Thank you to Mariana and to invite you all over to help me celebrate. Now, I love to cook ( or is it that I just love to eat!!!!) but I don't very often cook cakes. The Gorgeous Boy is very virtuous and doesn't eat sweet sad is that!. Me...I love to eat them but they don't love me.. Now that the kids are all grown up and have left home there is only me to demolish a whole cake. Oh my gosh...yes I could do that! I try not to have them in the house unless I have guests.

Well today I have baked a cake for you to share with me. This is one of those recipes that always goes down well. I personally think it is best served just warm but what the heck, its good enough to eat any time. It is tart and tangy and deliciously moist. I hope you enjoy it. Come and sit down I have set a place for you.....

This is my Raspberry citrus drizzle try a slice

I hope that you enjoy is the recipe.

Raspberry Citrus Drizzle Cake.

The ingredients I have had to convert from lbs and oz as best I could.

250g Self raising flour

155g Caster sugar

3 Eggs

190g Butter

155g Raspberry

1/2 an orange zest

1 lemon zest


2 Tbl sp Orange juice

3 Tbl sp Lemon juice

95g Caster sugar

Grease a 20cm spring form pan and line the base.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy

Slowly beat in the eggs adding 1 tbl sp of the flour with the last egg.

Add the zests and gently fold in the flour.

Fold in the raspberries. I used frozen ones as I didn't have any fresh ones.

Bake for approximately one hour.

While the cake is baking add the juice to the sugar and allow it to soak. When the cake is cooked heat the juice and sugar to form a syrup. Do not boil it. Spoon it over the cake and allow it to soak in...Enjoy.

Thats all for today or I will get sticky finger marks all over the keyboard :-)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back at the Farm.

I have been away for a few days, it was wonderful, but I am glad to be home, if only briefly.

So much has happened since I was last here. The Gorgeous Boy and I went to visit our dear friends The Great Dane and Gemini for a few days. They have both had a birthday recently and a wedding anniversary coming up so we were invited to join them and their family to help them celebrate. I probably didn't mention but I wasn't born in this wonderful country. I came here over thirty years ago for a working holiday and met the GB and chose to call Australia home but that's a whole other story ;-) As I left my family behind in England it warms my heart to be invited to join this family celebrate. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter,a fantastic son and the cutest little grand daughter that a girl could ask for, I love my family, I am truly blessed. To have good friends as well is the icing on the cake.

I dropped Tiggy off for the weekend to stay with Mama and The Princess and headed south. What was I thinking !!!! To leave it until after lunch on the Friday of a long weekend and join the holiday traffic on the Bruce highway! Some days I am just so blond I don't deserve to be allowed out! By the time I had reached the Gateway Bridge I was well into peak traffic. I could have climbed out of the car and walked that last ten kilometers or so quicker than I drove it. Our friends live in the Redlands, an area southeast of the city. We lived in the same area for many years and I love it down there. GB came down on the train from the city and I picked him up from the station...from then on it was all rest and relaxation.

We dined out on Friday night at a local Thai restaurant. Went out for morning tea the next day at Hawkins...a garden nursery where they served the most delicious coffee and lemon tart, had the most enormous seafood lunch and just sat around and chatted for the rest of the day. Saturday night the Great Dane cooked up a joint of venison that I had brought down from the farm. I am new to cooking venison and am looking for different ways to serve it. The great Dane is a very good chef so I watched over his shoulder as he roasted the marinated joint draped with bacon, glazed it with redcurrant jelly and made a light sauce to go with it. Yum. Thank you Jorgen. It was good :-)

Sunday, The Gorgeous boy and I popped out to pick up a couple of things for the BBQ and bumped into another couple of friends of ours who we hadn't seen for about four years. We sat and had a cup of coffee with them and caught up with all the latest news. I don't get to go out for coffee very often since we moved out to the farm so it was a great novelty. Twice in one weekend. How decadent !! One grumble though. At "Gloria Jeans" they served the tea and coffee in paper cups. Very tacky and not at all environmentally friendly :-( I was disappointed)

We arrived back just in time before the lunch guests arrived. A lovely afternoon and the weather was beautiful. If it sounds like we did nothing but eat, drink and sit around......well that's about the size of it! I told you....I had a wonderfully relaxing weekend :-) GB and I took Cooch (the dog) out for a walk along the esplanade to "blow the cobwebs away" but that was it.

We headed back to our little granny flat mid day on Monday. Tiggy was soooooooooo glad to see us. He has been glued to my heels ever since. I spent a couple of hours dashing around the garden after the lawn mower to try to burn up some of the excess calories that I consumed over the weekend but I fear that even if I mowed for 48 hours it still wouldn't be enough!!!

This morning I loaded up the car and headed home to the farm. On went the washing machine and I headed over to the garden to see how everything had fared in my absence. While that cats away the mice will play !!! Whose been eating all the strawberries? Who has nibbled most the leaves off the passion fruit vine? Who ate the cherry tomatoes? Mice ? Wallabies? Deer ? Sigh. Will it never end this year?

I did manage to crop these. I am so glad that we fenced off the veggie garden last month. Mushroom omelet and salad for a light dinner tonight I think.

In the picture below is the banana bed. A raised garden with a circle in the middle made of fencing and shade cloth that we use as a compost bin. We throw in all the vegetable scraps and garden waste and as it breaks down it feeds the bananas (they are very heavy feeders). Some tomatoes popped up on one side where we were going to plant a different variety of bananas. They are growing so fast and look so strong that I am inspired to build another bed especially for "heavy feeders" like tomatoes and rhubarb. I shall talk to GB about it and see what he thinks.

Enough for today! Please come and visit tomorrow as I am baking a cake. I don't make cakes very often but would like to invite you to join me and celebrate. Mariana from Through my Kitchen Window has been kind enough to present me with an award and I am so excited I want to share it with you. See you there :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Preserved Lemons.

I have been laying low for a few days. Mama and The Princess had the most terrible cold a couple of weeks ago which they kindly passed on to The Gorgeous Boy, who in turn was most generous and passed it on to me . Hmmm! Who says we are not a sharing and caring family!!! I of course...being "super girl" have almost shaken mine off. I just don't have time to be sick!

Monday saw me having a real "pity party". Sore throat, snuffy nose, slight cough, oh, and the aches and pains. A whisky sour and an early night saw me surfacing the next day in higher spirits with only the aches and pains. I spent the day quietly catching up with paper work. Wow. This morning after a big sleep in I surfaced much brighter, ready to take on the world again. Howzat for fortitude :-)

Deciding that I had "recovered" I wandered over to the veggie garden to inspect if the were any urgent jobs that needed doing. I cropped a few mushrooms and as is the usual course of events...I got side tracked. I am not sure how it quite started but I ended up unbaling one of the huge rolls of sugar cane mulch and spreading it all around the garden beds on the footpaths.

This is something we have been doing ( after watching Pete on Gardening Australia do it between his garden beds to keep his feet clean) for a while.. The theory is that after it has broken down you just shovel it onto your garden as compost. The sugarcane mulch does two jobs for the price of one. That sounds good to me. Since we had extended the garden area when we put up the fencing and the existing mulch had broken down with all the rain of late, it seemed a good time to top up. We do have a red clay type soil in that area which is very "sticky" on your shoes. Every time I headed out the gate for the next wheel barrow load, Tiggy would jump up and head over to the house. It took me a while to realise what he was up to until I checked my watch. It was almost 2 pm! He wanted his lunch! Talk about side tracked.

This afternoon I had a go at preserving lemons. It is something that I have been wanting to try for a while. I watched the chef on The Kerri Anne Show do looked simple. Just cut up your lemons, pack with salt, pack into a jar and top up with water. I can do that.

Just to be sure I googled it, as one does. They suggested using additional herbs and covering it with extra lemon juice. Hmmm What to do?

I opted for no herbs. My theory is...try that the first time. Next time try WITH herbs. I had bought ten lemons and only eight would fit into the jar. So compromising between both recipes I juiced the last two...poured the juice over the whole lemons and topped up with about a half of a cup of cold, boiled water.

I'm not too sure. What do you think? I don't know why, but I kinda expected the liquid to be clear. Now logic tells me that it would be cloudy because of the extra lemon juice and the salt would wash out from between the lemons as soon as liquid was poured over. But I just hadn't thought about it. I EXPECTED it to be clear! Maybe it will settle out with time. I do have to point out that a) I have never seen preserved lemons "in the flesh". Only on TV and then without my glasses on and b) I have never used them in cooking. This of course I will remedy but I really don't know what they look/feel like. You have to learn sometime!

S'all for now as I need to go lock up the shed and light the fire. Its not particularly cold but just damp. It will be a cosy night in front of the computer for me tonight as I am not much of a footy fan and I believe it is that maroon and blue state match thingy tonight!