Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wishing you Mamma Karries!

This Christmas I pumped out Gingerbread houses for those special ones - camera broke so no pics - and these DELISH ferrero like chocolates for the other 'special to me's'.

A lady in a pilates class made them for end of term nibbles at the end of class and I was BLOWN AWAY!


180g soft butter
pinch salt
120g brown sugar - I used rapadura as I was out of brown, that's why mine look speckledy

240g plain flour
3 tablespoons cornflour - I ran out so used custard powder, was great!
1/8 tsp bicarb soda
small chocolate cups
nuts of your choice (raw, they'll get roasted in the cookie baking part)
500g chocolate (plus more for drizzling if you want to do that)

You can see the raw cookie dough around the hazelnut. You don't need to leave much room. If you have put too much dough around the nut it sags when it cooks and you don't have that think wafer like crunch... it's .. well, thicker :o) still yum though.

See some have sagged here. First batch.

Dipped and chilling, waiting for white choc to melt.

IT MADE 130 -ish HAZELNUT chocs!!!!! I was there for flippin' ages! I hope you loved them as much as I do :o)

Merry Christmas. I'm glad it's over.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Berry bountiful bargain

 Not exactly a bucket full, but nice munchable snacks for me and the boys. I had to fight the baby for the strawberries. As soon as I let him loose in the garden he heads for the patch under the lemon tree and trawls through it looking for treats!

Here's one of the boys with some zucchinis from the garden. We had them stuffed and baked:

Fried off onion, mushrooms, cherry toms and herbs. Mixed with olive oil and left over cous cous (already cooked). Shoved it in the cooked zucchini halves with breadcrumbs ontop that were mixed with parmesan and grated tasty cheese. Mmmm.. nice and crispy.

It was very filling which suprised me and we ate it with Hubby's catch of the day (snapper I think) crumbed and fried.YUM!

Ok so not a garden shot.. but it's such a buzz to get something for a bargain! We got this at a garage sale for $20. I was nice to the guy and didn't haggle, I think he hadn't done a garage sale before as he kept lowering the price every 10 seconds - nervous about something?!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In the mean time.. let's veg

Hubby took the daisey bushes out some time ago and it's just looking scraggly while we're deciding what free things we can plant there (it's a rental.. don't want to spend money on it).

So! Here's my pumpkin on the left with a new row of cucumber seeds with support for them to grow up.
On the right I've popped some potatoes on the ground to do a "no dig" patch. My small tribute to Esther Deans (a local at my post office :o)

Here's the after shot. I took Peter Cundall's advice this time and put straw over the seed potatoes, then manure on top. I ruffled a little more straw over the top as it didn't look/smell all that good having a big splodge of cow poo there!
They're both netted with wire to keep the flippin' cats out from next door - grr!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My local Permies

Here's a pic of our local Permaculture group. It was our Christmas get together (and meeting o'course). It was really interesting to here about the new community gardens, North Epping/Epping becoming the next Transition Town and a report from the rep at one of the local schools about their new Permaculture project, classroom, focus and plans.

It was reeeally nice to wander around our lovely host's garden. It was brimming with life - so relaxing and inspiring. The pic above is of their latest addition. Behind to the left is the huge veggie patch and to the right is their 5 star chook motel.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Norwegian Experience


So I'm a researcher, a skeptic and very cautious with my money when it comes to products that make outrageous claims.

A while ago I bought some enjo products that are great to clean with;
  • Use less water
  • Enviro friendly
  • No chemicals needed
  • Very expensive
  • A drying cloth or is needed for every surface
  • No proof to show it rids the surface of bacteria

So I bought some and liked them. THEN I found out about Norwex that also have cleaning cloths;
  • Use less water
  • Enviro friendly
  • No harmful chemicals
    And also:
  • Very affordable
  • Microfibre cloths - no drying needed
  • Silver element in all cloths - now a PROVEN antibacterial
  • Used in Norwegian hospitals
  • Used in St Vincent's Private hospital in Sydney
Here's a link to some of the clinical studies

In fact I'm so taken with this product (that I've only ever seen in action once but read up on it a million times) that I'm joining.

Say hello to your new Norwex Consultant :o)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 09

Well the buttercups have gone now - a brief but beautiful encounter

These are last year's strawberries (about the amount we would get per day.. small patch!). We didn't re-plant the runners so now the mother plants have worn out a bit. We still have plenty but we'll be busy fertilising, planting and waiting after this year's lot has finished.

Ok so you can't read it very well when you click to enlarge.. so there is (from right to left);
Passionfruit, celery, lettuce, rocket, cucumber, beetroot, garlic/onions, silverbeet, carrots, purple king runner beans, lemon balm, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and stuff. Beyond the compost bin is pumpkin, a few potatoes, carrots and onions.
Water tubs for the garden, potato patch and potted plants; comfrey, lemon verbena, bay, rosemary etc. The branches on the left in the foreground is one of the ornamental plums - complete waste of space if you ask me, but it's a rental and there's only so much we'll get away with pulling out and changing :o)
As I stood back and looked at this pitiful patch of carrots and onions I thought what a shame it is not to have enough room to grow a proper crop. This will probably do us a fortnight.. ho hum!

At least we'll be getting a massive crop of passionfruit. There's about 50 green plump fruit already and more popping up everyday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gloop (poop)

Well... what can I say about gloop? Well on a positive side it's nice and mild, fine for washing things that just need a wash for washing's sake.
On the down side, well, it's not the best. I have a husband and two very active (mucky) boys and I NEED something that shifts stains. I soak clothes over night then wash them and if that doesn't work on a stain usually the UV rays from the sun finish them off and make them vanish.
With gloop I can see myself soaking more and re-washing.

So what to do with the stuff? er? What do I say to all those who say they use it (or the grated dry variety)? Poop!

There is this washing powder that is very eco friendly and "nasty" free. It's the EcoStore brand from NZ, I think I'll try that next :o)

Friday, November 20, 2009


When I was a young girl at school my mum used to make this stuff we called "gloop". It was home made laundry liquid.

2 bars soap ( I used 1 sunlight and 1 sard wonder soap)
2 cups borax
2 cups soda crystals

Grate up the soap finely then add a couple of litres of boiling water and mix until dissolved. Then add the rest and dissolve in more hot water if needed. Then fill it up to the 20 litre mark with hot tap water.

Leave it over night and your soapy liquid turns into slimy goop!
1/4 of a cup does a regular wash for a front loader.

So now I have so much I'm pretty eager for someone to come over take some home to try.. So I figured at 1/4 per wash that's 16 washes per litre so 320 washes in the tub. At 5 washes a week I'll get 64 weeks out of it - what is it with me and thinking that doubling the recipe is a good idea!!

Want some?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Zucchini "talk"

Gladly I avoided "the talk" when I was younger but it's a fact of life, even when zucchinis are concerned. Here they are, slightly pruned to give eachother a bit of space.

With the male flowers, I pull them off when there's a female needing pollunation. I rip the petals of and shove it in the female flower and leave it there. Can't be bothered with all this paintbrush nonsense. I spose it's ok when you have a large crop and limited males - never happened to me.

This is Mrs zucchini, see the difference in the stamen?? thing in the middle
Mr Zucchini + Mrs Zucchini = So you really have to check them every day to see if the female flowers are open and ready for the tickling :o) If it doesn't pollinate properly the young fruit (that is in a young stage when the female flowers) will rot.

This is why tomatoes are so great, you never have to bother with them they seem not to need tickling.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vanilla bean bliss

A lady I know who writes a blog called Welfare Wise, has started a few bulk buys for her own area (good on her!). I peek at what she's doing and jump on board when there's something I like :o)

So this is how I came to have a whole stack (not this many!) of Organic Vanilla Beans for cheeeeep cheep cheeep.

Here's what I made with the first one.

I left the ice cream plain so that we can drizzle the home made mulberry syrup over it.
I left the bean in for the first part of heating the milk and making the custard, then pulled it out.

I'll let you assume that it turned out perfectly, that I didn't take my eye of the custard and it didn't split. I didn't whisk it like mad and take it off the heat too soon and my ice cream didn't turn out like icy crystals that I have to stick in the blender.
BECAUSE I'm sure when I've blended it up it will have a divine texture to mach the oh so divine taste!!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Well we're almost at the end of spring and I still want to do so much but don't' have the room. Here's what I've got:

Potato patch with kipfler, sebago, ruby red and some other random I've forgotten.

The stinky compost that I put a bag of "pigeon manure" in from a friend at the local permaculture group.. it wasn't nice. It's slowly getting better.

Haven't got much hope for these figs, last year's efforts weren't worth it. We'll see!

I know! I know! Waaay too close together. I need encouragement to pull the middle one out. If there's not adequate space between plants they struggle to compete for nutrients and don't produce well. I'm packing the feed and tonics on them :o)

The first Lebanese zuccini

Lemon Verbena in a pot while we make a new home for it.

Rainbow chard with my size 8's. There's pink, white and orange (the bright pink on the right is the back of the orange type. LOVE these ones but they're never as strong or bushy as the white.

DS1 squirting water at DH.
Behind him is the lemon tree with strawberry patch underneath.

...more tomorrow

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dirt to Dinner

On a normal day I'm bursting to talk about gardening and food. Which is why I was really happy to join my local Permaculture group. What a delight, a whole room full of people as over enthused as me about eating home grown food, developing land and enriching lives.

I know, I know! Friends reading this will roll their eyes around about now, but that's the beauty of blog land - someone out there will be interested .... somewhere ...

So here I go, documenting as I go.

your friend in dirt.