Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homemade Christmas Treats

This first pic was a real treat for us. The Garrett family came Christmas caroling one night. I was sooo good!! I couldn't get over it and I hoped they didn't think we too weird for asking them to sing on the driveway so our (hiding) neighbours could hear.(L to R Me, DS2 Nicole, Dad Garrett, Mum Garrett, Deardre, Emily, DH, front is Julia (?) and DS1)

Peppermint Fudge with crushed candy canes.  500g dark chocolate melts/other, 65g butter, 1 can of swt cond milk. Heat in pan and mix. Take of heat and add a tsp or two of vanilla and a tablespoon of peppermint ext. Pour into lined tray and sprinkle over crushed candy canes.
NEXT year I'll do chocolate thin cookies squished together with a crushed candy cane butter icing.

 Childhood treat, Malt Buttons (or I call them choco biccy balls). 250g biccies crushed, 1 can swt cond milk, 2 tablespoons coco (if you use organic or raw then use less, it's stronger), 1 cup desic. coconut and an extra half cup for rolling in at the end. Mix all and roll in extra coconut. Refrigerate.
*Tip, the rice cookies that are gluten free are easier to crush, need less swt cond milk (maybe half the amt) and taste yummy. Try not to crush the biccies to a powder, the odd crunchy bit is nice.
 Fruit Mince scrolls and gingerbread.

Candied Almonds. 2 Tbpns each of water, honey and oil (flavourless like grape seedoil) bring to boil in frying pan. Add 2 cups toasted and cooled almonds and 1/4tsp - no more! of cayenne. Stir until all liquid has reduced. Pour onto baking paper lined tray to cool.

Herbed Salt Rub. Crushed rock salt with thyme, bay, sage, parsley, lemon verbena, lemon zest... I think that's it. Great for chicken and fish.

All of them were loved!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lettuce catch up

Har de har...
Anyway, here's DS1 with one of our oak leaf lettuces from the garden. We've had it coming out of our ears and I'm ashamed to say some went to seed as we couldn't eat them quickly enough. Re-planting as I go.

 A visitor on the Christmas tree, spot him?
 DS2's 2nd birthday and ginger biccy cream cake ( you know when you squish the g.biccies together with a bit of jam and cream, cover in cream, refridgerate overnight and then it's like a soft creamy cake? Well that was it)

 My FIRST ever time at growing flowers that are not for companion planting or edible purposes. Just pretty. We have lemon yellow, fuchsia pink and blushing white colours. So pretty!
 My precious little dwarf red shatoot mulberry tree is doing well in it's large pot. I was wondering how a fruiting tree didn't flower but produce fruit and then it answered my question. It has flower fluff! Great teaching moment for the kids, fun to tickle and exciting to watch them mature.
 Some of our tomatoes. These are little love heart shaped ones. They're so so sweet and even I (the tomato blase) love them. I ticks me off at the shops when they sell tomatoes on the truss, all ripe and ready, I doubt anyone buying them knows they're sprayed/gassed to ripen all at once like bananas. They ripen two at a time from the top to the bottom of the truss. So nice for a daily treat!
 The heady sweet, musky, curry leaf tree flowers.
 6 year old honey (or older). We're finally digging into this as our runny honey stash has depleted. I'm already a third through after making the honey almonds for Christmas gifts. It's so yummy, honey seems to get a stronger taste over time.
Nice catching up with you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Summer's here, I'm getting there.

So it's Summer and I'm barely getting the rest of the vegie patches clear and putting the runner & bush beans in... but we have heaps of herbs, beetroot, lettuce coming out of our ears, celery and an a huge amount of passionfruits waiting to ripen.

We ran out of pesto the other day (shock!) It didn't dawn on me we had all the ingredients at hand until DH suggested it. I used plain and lemon basil, cashews, Parmesan and olive oil... er, can't remember what else.
It was GREAT! The colour was flippin' amazing! I used cashews because I wanted the pine nuts whole in the pasta dish.

The silverbeet/beetroot/lettuce/garlic/weed patch. Looking scraggly but very productive. Who has time for weeding?! I just about manage to keep my toddler and pre-schooler out of the vegies let alone stop them from copying me when I pull things out.

The re-vamped Strawberry patch. Since this pic (a month ago) the plants are tall and fruiting. Shame about that bane of my life -onion weed. grrrr!

Lettuce, celery and tomato bushes. I planted to the tomatoes as per Gina's instructions from Steve Solomon's book (Gardening When it Counts). I stripped the stem of all but the top leaves and made a ditch and duge it in lying down to have only those top leaves poking out of the ground upright. They've hardly needed watering and they're so healthy and producing like MAD! I'll be doing that every year from now on!

The garlic bulbs are small this year but the cloves are plump and pack a punch! I think these are the easiest thing to grow. I'm not sure if it's the done thing, but I always pull out the flower shoot that grows up from the stem. It only makes sense right? Why would you want all that nutrient and goodness going to the flower and seeds. It's what I do with everything else, pluck the flowers off or pick it before they bolt.

A few of the stems snapped when I was lazily pulling them out of the ground instead of doing it the right way. The beauty of that though is that they'll be perfectly fine there for another week or two ... or .. er...
until I dig it for the next lot of vegies.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Beetroot Beauties

I grew a few rows of beetroot. I normally don't as I don't eat it much (except sliced on burgers) but when I found a golden variety and a pink striped I knew it had to be better than the deep staining traditional variety. It was a mix of three colours so I still have the purpley ones too. AND JUST IN CASE YOU'RE THINKING "er.. they're a bit small!" THEY TASTE BETTER THIS SIZE! :op

 We ate the first lot grated in a salad with carrot etc. YUUUM!
Here you can see the lovely colour of the golden beet and stripes of the pink beet.
I boiled the larger golden beets until soft and MY GOODNESS they were sooo sweet and tasty!! Here's a definite beetroot growing convert.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fresh fruited bread

I'm a sucker for cheap ripe bananas. There's just so flippin' much you can do with them! This time I decided to re-make the freshly fruited bread from "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest" cookbook. I think last time I must have gone grossly overboard with the fruit as it was perfect! This time I went over what the recipe said but not enough. It's still irrisistable slightly toasted with butter and just a tad of honey to bring out the flavours.

I used dried dates, sultanas, mashed banana, grated pears and omitted the orange rind. I added extra lemon zest and juice and mixed the recipe with the sunflower millet bread below. The cooked millet that I added was a goodness booster.

The kids LOVED it and got excited to see kiddy sized slices of bread. I was suprised by that!

The texture worked out better this time as I kneaded it and let it rise an extra time. It made all the difference, no crumbling when slicing.

Here's a pic of a cake a lady made (for a cake tin trade) for my son's birthday. Awesome!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I am thoroughly enjoying reading Deb's Science@home blog. It's exciting and inspiring and full of practical Sciency things to do at home with the kids. I LOVE IT!

I particularly like her de-mystifying section on vaccines. Well worth the read.

I trawl through to find an activity relevant to our family for that day/week and it's great fun!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


 Thank you Food Muster! I can't wait to try them on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mulberry irony

It's in stock and I haven't a CENT - ARGH!!! I've been waiting for months for this to become available. I would have a white one if they were a dwarf but they're not. Gotta think of stain minimization!

So here's hoping they're still in stock in a fortnight when I'll forgo a few necessities and buy one. I hope I hope I hope!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

{insert that word here} Powdered Pancakes

Yes, yes, I know it's pretentious but the word "perfect" in my opinion applies to these pancakes by Delia Smith. The way my mum used to make them. 

ANYWAY, ANYWAY.. today I had no eggs, no milk and a hankering for pancakes so I gritted my teeth and got out the powdered egg.
It's in packet mixed muffins, pancakes, pikelets, cakes so why not use it!? It's just totally foreign to our modern domestic kitchens but works fine. 

Now Delia's recipe says it makes 12-14 18cm pancakes. We have big ones so this recipe below is double the recipe and all powdered.

 Pancake mix

220g unbleached plain flour
1 1/3 cup full fat powdered milk
4 teaspoons powdered egg (sifted as it's lumpy)
I omitted the salt but you can put in a bit.
Melted butter for the end

Whisk it all together to get a well distributed dry mix. 
In the recipe it says an amount of liquid to add but if you're just using a cup's worth to make a couple of pancakes for yourself then just add as much water a bit at a time to make the batter like a single cream consistency.

For this double batch you'd need 100g of butter to melt then whisk into the whole mix but for a smaller amount e.g. a cup of mix, plus water to make batter then 2tsp of butter. Or something...

hey, it worked for me.

Urid Dal left overs

I tried making some Jangri with the left over urid dal. Just whizz up in the blender until it's a frothy, whipped egg white kind of thing, add a bit of rice flour and fry. I didn't add any colouring to mine, you can add food colouring or some saffron in water.

Get the batter in zip lock and cut a teeny hole to pipe it out. You're supposed to pipe a circle and then go over it again with little.. oh can't be bothered to think.. look at the pic. Not too hot with the oil.

When they're cooked and have risen to the top. Strain and pop into a sugar syrup and let stand on a plate.
They taste just like Jalebis. Too sweet and deep fried. I just hated to waste the urid dal that had already soaked, at least I know how to make them!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dosas - Da Daaaa!

I've grown up with Indian friends and food in England but never knew about South Indian food until I came to Australia. North is mainly breads to eat with your meal but in the south it's more rice based.

This savoury, crispy rice and lentil pancake is absolutely delish! The inspiration to make them came from my new  curry leaf tree:

It's really easy but takes two days to prepare. THIS LINK shows the technique and the lovely chef at is fun to watch. I did a simpler recipe:


For the Dosa Shell

1 1/2 cups rice (not basmati or jasmine)
1/2 cup urad dal
spray oil for the pan

Wash and soak the rice and urad/urid dal separately and leave overnight or for about 6 hrs.
Drain the soaked rice and dal and put in blender or food processor with a little water to blend into an almost smooth batter.
Leave overnight at room temp to ferment.

Then you're ready to make the filling.

Masala filling

2/3 large potatoes
1 medium onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon yellow split peas (I didn't use these, forgot!)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 green chili (I didn't use this as it was for the kids too)
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
(I added 5/6 small curry leaves)

Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seed, peas, onions, turmeric and curry leaves.
Fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat or/until onions are turned into golden brown.Add potatoes and mix and cook some more.


Easy easy!! Yum yum!!

Ok this is what Urid/Urad Dal looks like

The soaked rice and dall in the blender with a bit of water

The slightly grainy consistency that the guy on the UTube video recommended (I'll do slightly smoother next time)

Curry leaves for the masala

Dosa spreading gone WRONG

(I hate this word, but it totally applied) PERFECT as it gets Dosa spreading!

First Masala Dosa (the potato masala filling was added about a minute before I rolled it up in the pan and served. Da daaaaa!
The colouring is great and when there are teeny tiny holes it creates a lovely extra crispy spot.
Tasted just like a native made it :o)

Riley pushed aside his scrambled eggs and enjoyed some crispy dosa shell.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Food Muster Giveaway

Yes, C over there on Food Muster is giving away some of her hand made earings. 
Check it out, they're really cute!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monkey Bread

Gina's HomeJoys blog is so much fun for me to read!

This week we tried Monkey Bread

It's a basic sweet bread dough, dipped in melted butter and rolled in sugar, cinnamon (and I used a bit of allspice)
I happily cheated by sticking the bread making machine on while we were at church in the morning. Then it was the easiest and quickest thing to plop them in butter, shuffle them around in sugar and stick in the oven. The kids loved helping and we sat watching them to see if we'd get any "pop offs" (giggle) but they all stayed in the tin.

This bread pudding was marvelous. You know how the recipe says milk, cream and eggs.. well, I replaced the cream with lemon butter (that my lovely friend made just for me - effortlessly with her Thermomix.).
I've made it three times since  and each time it gets gobbled up faster than cake! Simple things are often the best.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Correction - All time favourite

So having a long soak in the bath I grabbed a couple of favourite books to paw over. I love having my own copies of books as I can read them in the bath and don't worry if it gets damp or slightly dipped if I drop off to sleep (or absent mindedly dog ear the page). Today I realised that it's not Barbara's year of local eating, or the Seakingdom's historical insights that I like the most it's this:

Yes, that's right I'm officially out of my tree and rummaging in the undergrowth.

I have so much fun and get so much enjoyment out of reading about how to care for fruit and nut trees. Imagining my own land plan and choosing the fruit trees I want to own one day.

(Dreamily slow and happy exhale) Here's my list so far:

Dwarf White Shatoot Mulberry (long and white, super sweet)
Curry leaf tree
Peanut butter fruit tree (just out of curiosity - think of all those nut allergic kids out there, they can try it!)
Pecan nut
Native finger lime (the black skinned one with red jubes inside)
Mango for Sydney weather - yes there is one!
Kiwi - that's 1 male plant to 7-9 females so that one will have to wait a while.
Cinnamon tree
Blackcurrant bush
Dwarf Macadamia

I think maybe the Dwarf Mac and Mulberry, Curry tree and finger lime are the only ones I could accommodate so far and keep small in large pots. Oh but I love to dream and plan away!