Saturday, October 23, 2010

Healthy Herb Garden

I have just added some fresh organic soil to my vege/herb garden.  Wow...don't they soak it up... everything has doubled in size and just looks greener and fresher. 
 I have just turned my little vege garden into a herb garden, as my plans for my supersize vege patch is well on it's way.  More about that hopefully in a couple of months, if not less.
It was nice to take a superhuge bunch of fresh parsley to playgroup last week to share with all my mummy friends.  Must have been something in the air that day (or maybe it was due to the rain we had had all week) as I one of the other mums brought in a big bunch of silverbeet from her garden as well, I usually take along a couple of dozen fresh eggs to hand out occasionally as I did today so we decided to make a garden tart with our produce, milk from the coffee fridge and flour from the playdough cupboard.  What a fun morning it turned out to be, teaching the children about growing and cooking our own veges....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Play with Dough

2 cups SR Flour
2 tbs cooking oil
1 cup salt
Food colouring
2 cups water
Mix the ingredients in a saucepan, stir over medium heat for about 5 min or until mixture congeals.
So, I used to stir this Playdough on the stove top until it 'congealed' then I spent the next three days soaking and scrubbing the pan until all the glug came off. Not any more....
What I learned toady: Add boiling water to the flour mix. Instant Playdough.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sprinkle like this...Day 1

Grows like this...Day 5


Ready for Christmas....this is my all time favourite chutney, I call it exotic apricot and date.  It has a very middle eastern type flavour and is totally yum on a cold plate with cheese and cold roast meats.
Chutneys are my most favourite preserve, there is so much room for imagination with endless combinations of fruits, vegetables and spices....I always double my recipe so I have plenty to share with friends and family.  This chutney stores and ages particularly well, if it lasts long enough!!!

Ingredients - all approximates
500 g dried apricots
1 cup water
500gm dates
1 1/2 cups sultanas
2 oranges (zest and juice)
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab chopped fresh or preserved ginger
1 tab salt
2 tab mustard seeds (black and yellow mix)
2 tab crushed coriander seeds
5 cloves
1 teasp chopped chilli

Finely slice the apricots, place in a saucepan and cover with water and leave to sit for an hour or so until they become soft.  Add the sultanas and vinegar and simmer for about 15 minutes, then add all the remaining ingredients, simmer until it thickens.  Keep stirring!  Add extra water or vinegar if needed.  Pour into sterilised jars with new lidsWater bath to seal and store in dark cupboard until ready to use. 
Once open store in the fridge.  ENJOY!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Creamy Bacon & Mushrooms

I'd like to say it's from my Pig but no...not yet...that is still on the vision board, as is the milking cow.....oh and I've not quite looked into how to grow your own Mushy's yet, however it was made fresh in my kitchen with love. I don't usually follow recipes with quantities, I tend to just estimate my proportion of ingredients to suit the number of people I'm cooking for, toss it all in and hope for the best.

Fry some bacon, garlic, onions and mushroom in butter until crisp and golden. Add big bunch of chopped fresh herbs from the garden, today we have Flat Leaf Parsley and Oregano. Stir through some cream, add a sprinkle of Salt and Pepper. Served over my Freshly made Pasta.

This is one of those meals everyone at my house eats, nice and rich and creamy, can be served with yummy green salad on the side.


I have had a pasta machine in my cupboard for about 6 years now, it was one of my visions I had when I had so much more time on my hands to actually make my own pasta. Well after last nights experience I realise that I actually do still have the time, you know it's all about just making the effort, anyone who makes their own pasta knows there is not much to it at all. Although next time I might allow myself a little more time so that we can actually eat at a normal time, little hungry tummies don't wait very long especially when they know there is two minute noodles hiding somewhere at the back of the cupboard that would surely be much easier to cook!!!
My Basic Pasta recipe goes like this:

  1. Sam runs down to the chook coop to collect 5 big Fresh Eggs
  2. I open the cupboard and pull out 2 1/2 cups plain flour and 1/2 tsp salt and sift these together.
  3. I throw the flour on the kitchen bench, while Sam cracks open the eggs, gives them a quick whisk and throws them into the well I made in the centre of my flour.
  4. While I work the eggs into the flour with my fingertips, Sam finds the Pasta machine and attaches it to the bench.Once my dough has formed, I give it a firm knead for about 6 minutes until it's nice and smooth and elastic.
  5. I toss a little extra flour around to get it to the right consistency, that is when you press your finger in and it comes out clean, not sticky.
  6. I then chopped my dough into four pieces, wrapped them in glad wrap and rested them for ten minutes.
  7. I can't begin to tell you how much 'other' stuff I got done in this ten minutes while waiting for my pasta to rest!
  8. With my hands all floured and arguments with Sam won over who was going to roll it out first, I squished down my first chunk of pasta into a slightly rectangle kind of shape and started rolling through my machine, The machine itself has 8 settings, I just kind of guessed a few settings and rolled and rolled, about 6 - 7 times reducing the setting until my pasta was nice and smooth and about the right thickness for what I wanted.
  9. We then rolled it through the spaghetti maker...I say we as you actually need two people for this process, one to guide it as it goes in and the other to hold it as it comes out all spaghettied, we got a little tangled and sticky at this stage but I just kept tossing and separating my pasta on my very floury bench.
  10. Into the pot of Boiling, salted water.... It was that simple.
All in all the process probably took about 1/2 to 3/4 hour, I think I can manage to find the time to do this again, The preparation was fun, the food was fresh and the taste and texture of my fresh pasta was non comparable to our usual dried store bought sticks.

What I learned today: Always double the recipe!

I have also discovered that my bread machine makes Pasta. Hmm, might try this way next week..anything to save myself a little bit of time is a good thing.
Could I still call that Handmade?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Today we planted Zinnias. I plant these every spring, they flower every summer, I then pick them every autumn, pop them in a vase and they adorn my kitchen for the next twelve months until I replace them with the next years blooms. Here are last seasons or maybe the season before?? sitting up on the bench above my stove, slightly dusty, a few cobwebs, and looking very unloved... but they keep the same bright Orange colour they were when they were growing in my garden... This year I have also planted them in white, I can't wait to see how they bloom. My little girls helped me dig, plant and water, they can't wait to start picking, I'm trying to teach the girls to leave the flowers in the garden so that everybody can admire them, they just don't get it though. Annabel in her defence says "but Mummy if you pick one then another one will grow!" How right she is, my little horticulturist in the making. We all know this as pruning...
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