Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cook your own Beets

 For some strange reason I just can't seem to get enough Beetroot at the moment !! 

 When I found a 2kg bag of fresh local grown beets at the market for just a $1.99, they were bought home and pickled up within the hour. I had bought a few fresh beets here and there in the past, sometimes they were roasted and sometimes added to a salad but I  had never cooked and pickled them before, I was surprised just how simple it actually was and how delicious!!
 The beets were boiled up until they were tender, this took about   3/4 of an hour or so . . .
While they were cooking I boiled up 2 cups of white vinegar, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 doz cloves and peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves and a dash of cinnamon. 
  When the beetroot were cooked, I removed the skins and sliced them up, stacked them into some sterilized jars, poured over the strained vinegar solution, capped them off and popped them into a water bath.  I adapted this recipe from a few on line recipes, my mothers preserving wisdom and my own sense of common knowledge, it tastes terrific so far, and I presume like most preserves they will get even better with age? 
YUM!  A slice or two of this stuff on a big fat hamburger makes it just so extra tasty and juicy and have you ever tried beetroot, rocket and fetta? A great easy salad to take to your next BBQ.
There'll be no cans of Beetroot stored away in our pantry anymore, you'll only find it hidden away with the jam at the back of the home preserves cabinet!
My Garden Beetroot should be ready in another couple of months, Half of this lot will be eaten raw, grated with sandwiches and salads and the other half I might just Pickle . . .
Are you a Beetroot Lover?

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Bun in the Oven !

Thats Right!
There will be another little Gooseberry running around here soon . . .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Freshly Made Soap

One more thing to cross of my ever growing list. 
Yes, I  made Soap!
And what an interesting process this was, The soap I made consisted of four ingredients only, It was just amazing to watch these basic ingredients of oil, water and sodium hydroxide whip up into a softly scented smooth paste of soap!   I am very keen to look further into the chemistry behind the process now... At first I could not imagine lathering  olive oil and caustic soda onto my skin, but I was just amazed to watch it transform.   Can anyone suggest a good Soap Making Book, I am keen to try a few different processes and ingredients now.  There will certainly be a lot more regular soap making sessions going on around here... 
My first batch I made was the basic recipe, the second batch I added essential lavender oil, the third I added a good handful of ground oats and drizzle of honey. 

My final batch was made with grated fresh kaffir lime rind, which I have been told is particularly good for your skin...a bit more research needed into this one though, might need to dry the rind first as it cooked when it hit the soap mixture...
I also forgot to grease the tin on this one so I'll wait until it cures, chunk it out and use it in a soap bag.  Looks a bit like Cake doesn't it, well it was just as rewarding to make that's for sure.
Now waiting with much anticipation until it cures, approx 4 - 6 weeks.  I can't wait to try it!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

On My Mind...

I can't stop thinking about Christmas presents, Yes already!!! 
For many years I have struggled to get to the shops at that time of the year and when I do, I often come home empty handed after hours of roaming around mindlessly looking for affordable and suitable toys, trinkets and keepsakes, just for the sake of having to give a present! Aghhh! It makes me frustrated just thinking about it!
My mum always told me to start buying presents through out the year, "When the sales are on" she says, "then it's never so overwhelming when Christmas comes around"  This has never worked for me . . . I think I just dislike shopping!
I am a practical person and I like to give a gift to somebody that has a bit of meaning or purpose to it and I do like the added element of surprise!!   On certain occasions I will give a gift card as a present, as impersonal as they are they do allow the recipient to purchase something that they do desire opposed to receiving something that is not to their required taste, colour or style! 
How many presents have you ever received that have ended up hidden in the cupboard for years then eventually passed onto a charity store.  Can you imagine how much money gets wasted on unwanted gifts at Christmas time? 
 I much prefer to give somebody just a Big Warm HUG! 

This year, I will not be purchasing presents for Christmas, for anybody! It will be A Handmade Christmas. 
I guess it still doesn't necessarily mean that everyone will like what they get, but it will be made and given with LOVE!
It worked for EASTER!
I have given myself plenty of time and have many a project 
On my mind  . . .
 With Hubby at work, the big kids at school and the little ones off on a play date today, I am hoping for a productive morning in my laboratory, happily mixing and molding.
Can you guess what I'll be making? 
Here's a little hint . . .

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Garden Post

Just waiting to be picked and eaten!

Radish anyone?

Asian Greens
Almost ready to harvest Iceberg Lettuce
Chard and Silverbeet ready for the table
Chard ready to transplant
Yes, they reached maturity, Well most of them anyway, 
We have decided to use these for our garden snacks, they are so sweet and crunchy, we all eat them like lollies...
The first of our Sweet Pea flowers . . . Pretty!
Rosemary, Mint &  Parsley

It wont be long before we are harvesting the rest . . .
Mixed Lettuce
A rather healthy Choko Vine
A wheelbarrow full of Rocket
Mixed Climbing Beans, Blue Lake, Golden Wax and Purple King
Carrots, in desperate need of thinning
Rhubarb - Yippee
Cape GOOSEBERRY  Of course...
Rosella  - In six months time, this will be JAM! 
Yellow Pear Tomatoes 
Just look at the size of the Mulberry Tree
Loaded with Mulberries
My little Mulberry!
Add to that some sweet smelling Orange blossoms

and this is just the Start of the season . . .
Has your Spring Sprung?

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