Sourdough sharing, garden and exteno update.

It has been great to be able to share some sourdough loaves with our friends at their social gatherings over the last couple of weekends. Home-made bread always seems to go down so well!

After being away for 5 weeks, it took a couple of days to re-invigorate Phoenicia (my pet name for my starter) into action by feeding her twice a day, she was back in form and rearing to go after 3 days. Good sourdough culture is pretty resilient and strong and can easily be revived after quite a long time if it has been kept refrigerated. IMG_8423-002With this dough made of 80% bread flour and 20% rye flour, I made an assortment of loaves to share and 2 loaves for ourselves.IMG_8433 I have quite a few people ask how I manage to bake the bread in a barbecue. It has taken quite a bit of experimenting but I seem to be coming up with some fairly consistent loaves these days. This cold weather does mean a lot of watching as there is a massive amount of heat loss in the barbecue. It then leads to over-tweaking which can lead to easily burning. It is usually only baguette style loaves I do in the barbecue as they just won’t fit in the ‘toy oven’.

I shape the loaves and prove them on a couche (heavy linen cloth but you can use a T-towel) until about 30 minutes before baking. Barbecue is then turned on, I light the two outside burners on medium and the 2 centre burners on low. I have a large floor tile over the hot plate and grill rack to diffuse the heat and an old cast iron pan with hot rocks in it which will be used as a steam injector when baking. These 2 loaves are ready to be slashed/scored and baked.

IMG_8442 They then go into the barbecue on a little rack to lift off the really hot base and I pour about a cup of water over the hot rocks to create steam then close the lid. The 2 middle burners are now turned off, just the 2 outside ones remain on. These 2 loaves were cooked for 8 minutes then turned and the outside burners turned to low, then cooked for a further 15 minutes.IMG_8444This is the Sunbeam barbecue I use, it’s been a great workhorse for about 10 years.IMG_8443 Finished loaves included, an olive, chilli and cheese loaf, a rosemary baguette which I sprinkled sea salt on top of mimicking Carol Fields’s ‘panmarino‘ yeasted loaf which I baked last year. 2 plain baguettes and 2 crusty 900g loaves. This is the basket of goodies ready to take to a party.IMG_8450Things obviously didn’t stop growing while we were away! This is my garlic bed which has had self-sown poppies decide to take up residence. I thought I eliminated these last year but obviously not.IMG_8418-002 Now that’s more like it!IMG_8421I found a couple of giant celeriac which I’m yet to cook. I hope they aren’t too woody, they may end up frozen and used as stock flavouring if they are.IMG_8419-001In the greenhouse I was greeted with loads of cheery rocoto chillies so these along with  a couple of red capsicum, were turned into some Turkish red pepper paste. I’ll let you know how that goes later!IMG_8414 I was very concerned that my precious oyster plant had croaked it but I notice some new little shoots appearing. This must be a perennial, I can’t find much info on the internet so if anyone can share their expertise I would love to hear from you.

IMG_8416The eucalyptus caesia (silver princess) turned on a beautiful show for our return. The wattle birds are loving this tree.IMG_8412-001and what a delight seeing some cheery jonquils in flower.  IMG_8408It is nice to be home and to get back into the exteno for its final stages. Floors are now done so kickboards can go on, bench tops in this week, architrave and skirting boards ordered, painter booked and most exciting part is I can organise for the oven to be delivered. Ironic isn’t though, our son, who is our plumber left the week before we got home to go on his 12 week honeymoon. One day the planets will align.FloorsIt is lovely to be home!

Garden Heat Stress and Christmas Planning

Last Saturday night we were sitting in front of the open fire warming ourselves from the chilly return to winter we were experiencing. This week has been a complete turn around with temperatures for the last three days going between high 30’s c to low 40’s c, this level of heat combined with the most horrendous winds has caused stress on every living thing.  It is at times like this we all tense up in fear of what bushfires will hit where and hope against all the odds that no one, or their property will become a victim of fire. I can only imagine how it must feel for those who have lost loved ones and property in previous bushfires when these appalling conditions present.

Garden Stress

Despite deep soak watering, wicking beds being filled and shade protection put up, there have ben some casualties already from this very early heat and wind attack. Two seasons ago I lost the complete corn crop at pollination stage when temperatures soared to 45 degrees and we were away. I planted early this season and think we will get a reasonable crop but there are cautionary signs showing. I have increased the covering of shade cloth so it also acts as a windbreak as well as protecting the crop from harsh sun.

Heat stressed corn

The rhubarb is scorched and the comfrey looks as if Autumn is nearly over, causing it to die down.

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Heat stress comfrey

 

 

 

 

The raspberries and tomatoes are on the droop

Heat stress raspberries

heat stress tomatoes

We have made sure the bird baths, water feature and some extra buckets have plenty of fresh water for any birds, bees and any other hot and thirsty creatures that may like a pit stop to escape the heat.  Mr ATMT refilled one of the pots and by the time he walked to the tap to turn it off a magpie appeared. He managed to snap a pic of it on his phone.

IMG_0623 We are concerned about the chooks. For a couple of weeks we have been worried about Hilda, the oldest one and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she (despite all the frozen treats) just finds it too much and falls off the perch. We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact of the heat on them so with luck they will be ok. There is only so much we can do and taking them to the pictures where it is air conditioned isn’t part of that plan.

Christmas Preparations

These days, Christmas tends to be a very low key affair. With shift workers, kids having to share time between families and a very conscious decision not to get bogged down by consumerism and hype, we focus on making sure we spend time with those we love, enjoy good food, relax and laugh a lot. Gift giving has almost disappeared apart from a few little bits and pieces that I make which are usually for thank-yous and to offer as a token if we visit people. I haven’t even made a pudding this year as I still had one from last  year in the fridge. It will be fine!

I’ve got a bit of a reputation for making some pretty good pickled onions and I usually make a batch about now. I posted about these quite a while ago, the recipe is here Grandma’s Pickled Onions recipe – Best Recipes. I also add some ginger and mustard seed to the spice blend.

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I am also having a go at making some finishing salt or flavoured salt. I have heard that this is great for a whole range of uses, in particular putting on barbecue meats before cooking and adding to salads.

The flavour base I am trying on this first one is red wine, lemon zest and thyme. The bottle of red wine is simmered until reduced to just about nothing, added with other flavourings to the salt (I’m using sea salt) and then allowed to dry. You can zap the blend to the required fineness but I’m leaving mine pretty much normal size and letting the recipient zap it to whatever they need to use it for.

IMG_3446 Flavoured salt.

Once the salt blend is dry I will bottle it into pretty little jars, label and tag. I hope it works well as it’s lovely finding easy to make food gifts that are easy to do with my limited kitchen facilities.

We have some respite from the heat tonight and tomorrow, so I’ll make the most of it and do as much prepatory work as I can for the Christmas Eve gathering we are having here. I love making food for that night as everyone is always in fine fettle indeed. Just the way we like Christmas, good people, good food and good cheer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Horse Chestnut tree-never heard of it!

We are preparing for planting out the front yard come Autumn.

Front path

We are lucky enough to have a great local business who can help design and source plants for your garden. We are pretty ok with the design concepts and ideas, but knowing what plants are available that are suitable for the hot, dry, low maintenance area out the front that will give the look and feel we want, is where Katrina from Katrina’s Garden has been a great partner to link up with. Katrina has some some great ideas and we are making a list of what to purchase ready for planting at the start of Autumn when the weather is not likely to fry things, yet the soil is still warm, enabling new root growth to establish the plants. By Autumn, we will have had time to prepare the soil and there are a couple of large camellias we are needing to move from the side garden to the front that will require machinery to dig holes. Don’t want to run over new young plants when we do this!

There is a tree in the front yard we only ever notice when it is in flower. It reaches up to within the branches of the big pin oak and Katrina has advised it is a “Horse Chestnut” tree. She did comment that we are lucky it is protected by the pin oak as well as a massive blackwood and a  beautiful, very old, fragrant camellia or it would be a monster! This photo is looking back to the ‘horse chestnut’ tree from the side gate. The blackwood is on the right and the camellia under neath.

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The pink flowers are obviously attractive to birds and I spied a wattle bird dipping into the flowers, taking it’s fill. Wattlebirds are prolific this season.

Wattle bird

We are continually amazed at how many birds we are getting into the garden compared to the first season. With all the planting planned for out the front this will only increase the bird life. Nature is indeed a wonderful thing.

Last weekend before our Gardivalia open garden, quite a few last minute jobs to do!

 

 

Gardivalia Open Day is just around the corner! Join us.

As I have previously posted, we have entered our back yard garden in the Gardivalia food gardens section this year and the opening weekend  is October 24th and 25th. That’s the weekend after next. I’m pleased to say I’m not doing my usual control freak panic (yet), quite happy to just let things evolve, ensuring a few crops are growing and that it presents well. It’s more about showing how you can relatively easily create a sustainable garden, manage it organically and use good design to ensure things flow smoothly and minimise unnecessary work. It’s about showing how far we have come in a couple of years and I must admit it’s giving the many locals who have been concerned that the house was going to be loved, an opportunity to have a look and rest assured it’s in good hands. Here is a preview of how it’s shaping up.

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The asparagus has been producing some great spears, this bed needs mulching. The thyme growing around the water feature has proven to be a great addition. Bees love it, it’s great to have for picking and it bounces back after a ‘hack’ with the hedge shears.

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The apple tree on the junk fence is in flower. Some baby figs developing too. That’s very exciting!

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The broad beans are in flower and I’ve seen bees in there. Hopefully we will see young broadies showing soon.

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This shot below is from the gate into the veggie patch.

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IMG_9284This photo was taken from a similar position August 2012, my post about it is here. It shows the asparagus bed when started and mentions my plan about having the wisteria acting as a frame around the greenhouse. It is getting there!

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I hope the mushrooms will perform for the opening but nature will dictate that. I’ll work with nature every time.

As you look around……………… click on this for a little more information of how and why we have created this  food garden. Come along on the 24th or 25th October and introduce yourself. Should be a great day!

With the balmy weather shining on us this weekend, it was a good opportunity to sit under the mulberry tree and enjoy a casual lunch. I know, the dip in the plastic container is not good. Just didn’t have chick peas on hand to whip up some hummus. Better stock up!

Casual Lunch

 

 

Spring is definitely springing up! Garden Share Collective.

At the risk of painting the devil on the wall, I’m going to say that Spring is well and truly here and I doubt there will be any more frosts. There, I’ve said it! This past winter has been a ‘real’ winter. Very cold, lots of frosts, lots of rain and I’ve loved it! I really like seeing the seasons roll around and for the past few years there have been strange happenings such as things bursting into flower in mid June, then frost burning them off and trees  shooting out new leaves before the old ones have fallen. This year it has been a definite autumn, into winter and I hope now into spring. The daffodils are a sight to behold and they have been in bloom for a good three weeks so far. There are also irises and freesias about to pop open.

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IMG_2313One of the irises has opened its heart.

I’m not so confident about no more frosts yet to remove the frost protection, sure as eggs………………

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We’ll end up with more of this! This was a beautiful ball shaped fig, didn’t even think to cover it and it has been whacked terribly by the frost. Not sure how well it will come back but I’ll give it a bit of TLC and see.

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Then there’s the ever pleasing sight of asparagus spears shooting. I’ve already picked 3 or 4 and munched on them as I work outside.

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The broad beans were planted late but are going really well. In previous seasons I’ve found that they don’t set pods until the bees are out so I may be in with a chance yet! The wire support on the poles is working really well keeping them upright. I’ll add another layer as they get taller.

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The garlic at the end of this bed is rocketing along. These brassicas are nearly done and there are some radishes in here too that I pick and eat as I walk by. This bed will be mostly tomatoes and corn this summer.

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The silver princess gums are flowering and we love checking daily to see if the little gum nut caps are any further open. It is amazing how well the caps hold on even though the flower is in full bloom. This is one of my favourite plants!

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You could swear our keeper of the garden is relishing the afternoon sun on his face.

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As I sit in our small, front room in front of the open fire where bread is proving and we are eating the warming, spanish chicken dinner I made last night,

IMG_2376I wonder how many more nights we have to enjoy such cool climate comforts.

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I’ll try to add this post to the Garden Share Collective site but I keep stuffing up due dates   so it may just go on the FB GSC page.

 

Gardivalia 2015-We’re in!

October in West Gippsland is the month when gardeners, would be gardeners and just lovers of gardens have the opportunity to visit properties throughout the Baw Baw Shire. Gardens that are opened up for the public to visit and learn from. Food gardens, formal gardens, native gardens, permaculture and community gardens as well as events, forums and workshops being available for people to expand their knowledge and develop friendships and networks. This event is Gardivalia and I’m excited! Yep, check out garden Number 13, Around The Mulberry Tree. That would be us.

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I’ve entered Around The Mulberry Tree so that we can show people  what you can achieve in a relatively short time to get a food garden established.  Wicking beds, chooks, shiitake mushrooms, permaculture concepts, composting, worm farming, fruit trees, berry growing and greenhouse gardening are all part of our garden. The importance of thinking through the design and demonstrating how you can use recycled materials and creating habitat for birds and bees is also part of our garden. This is only the second season the vegie patch has been constructed and we want to show the development of it and the garden over the next few years, so this is the benchmark. Excited as I am, it’s a bit like having to clean up before you have visitors! I want to make sure we present in the best possible light, so there are a few jobs to do before our open garden weekend.

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We transplanted a couple of standard roses from the front yard to frame the entry to the patch. They were just in the wrong spot out the front and should do much better here. This area has compost bins, a worm farm, potatoes in the bath tub, garlic growing beside the chook shed and there will be bee attracting flowers bordering the beds.

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I’ve transplanted the rhubarb from the garden beds to the veggie patch, these pavers will be filled with toppings, herbs and bee attracting flowers will be planted in the bordering spaces. I’ve planted climbing peas on this frame near the compost bins,

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and these sweet pea seeds have been planted near the berry house. I soaked these overnight then left in damp newspaper for another 2 days to hasten the germination.

In the greenhouse I have a range of cuttings that hopefully will be established enough to sell at a little plant stall on the weekend. I have tomato seedlings starting, poppies and other flowers seed ready toppling out. I will definitely need to give this a sort out!

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I always perform better with a deadline and this is certainly one I look forward to meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

Pork buns, shed bases and birds.

Shed Bases.

With our extension/reno scheduled to begin later this year we are going to be in an interesting position with management of a few things such as having a laundry and cooking area, storage and generally keeping things manageable while works are under way. We decided to have an extra garden shed put in place which will be used as storage for the mower, camping stuff and lots of shelves will be incorporated to take boxes that may need to be stored until they can come back into the house. We’ve sited this shed at the back and will be able to screen it almost completely with planting. Added bonus is that it will screen neighbouring properties.

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We are lashing out and having this shed installed, something we have never done before but the cost is reasonable, it means it will be done and dusted and our list of jobs is so long it just seemed sensible.

Birds

We love having native birds as part of the garden. When we first came here there were no birds apart from sparrows and the dreaded Indian mynah, we have been gradually increasing bird attracting plants and every day we are thrilled by our feathered visitors who are increasing rapidly. This morning I was mesmerised listening to a magpie who was sitting and ‘chatting’ away just outside the bedroom. I found this magpie video of a warbling magpie that captures it beautifully, I could listen to them for hours. Along with bird attracting planting we are ensuring we have water available for birds, bees, lizards and every other ‘critter’ that is welcome. here. We are establishing an area in the back corner that I have labelled as the ‘bus stop’ and Mr ATMT is currentLy working on. We bought a cast iron bird bath that will be positioned centrally in this area. The bricks we claimed from the neighbours garage when it was demolished are slowly being integrated into the landscape.

CAST IRON BIRD BATH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buns

This morning I picked some lemon grass, spring onions, broccoli raab and I had some cabbage that needed a purpose. There was some pork mince in the fridge that also needed using so with these all being a good base for asian dishes I thought I’d have a go at making steamed pork buns. We have dumplings quite a lot so something a little different was appealing. I have never had steamed buns before and had no idea what to expect.

I made a filling of pork, cabbage, ginger, spring onion, char sui sauce, chilli and garlic and made Pork bun dough using this recipe.

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The dough worked really well, I was happy with this.

Pork bun dough

Divided into 16 pieces which I filled with the pork and ginger filling,

Pork Buns

Into the bamboo steamer on a small piece of baking paper and steamed for 15 minutes.

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No idea if this is how they are supposed to look but they were as light as a feather to pick up and to eat. Served with some soy and sweet chilli sauce, I wish I’d been bothered to make a proper dipping sauce, I think it would have made all the difference.

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From the photos I’ve found they look pretty much like they should. Any pork bun experts are welcome to give me their thoughts!

Back to work tomorrow, I need some motivation!

 

 

Don’t be fooled-Winter in the garden is busy!

It’s been many moons since I last did a Garden Share Collective post. I just don’t know where the time has gone, I blink and another month has passed me by!

We can no longer kid ourselves that summer has gone (didn’t really have one), and Autumn too is racing out the back gate being replaced by what appears will be a cold winter. As the sun shines and sparkles on these icy cobwebs in the early morning I revel in the changing seasons.

IMG_0722A couple of things to share this month:

A new bed and repositioning of the spud bath. The bed beside the chook house that had corn in it over the summer has been fed and garlic is planted in it. The bath across the back previously took the spot where the stepping stones are and I have moved it to make this area a little more attractive and easier to access and use. I can now get to the worm farm and one of the closed compost bins much more easily. There are a couple of small  spaces that I will fill with bee attracting flowers. Love that camellia!

IMG_0780I must admit I love winter in the garden, the feeling that everything has stopped kicks in and you then turn something over or see the cool climate crops return a harvest and you realise just how much does continue on. The sweet potatoes in the greenhouse are starting to die off and I’m eagerly awaiting to see how many and what size sweet potatoes I get.

IMG_0838The broccoli heads are starting to form and the garlic in this raised wicking bed is well and truly on track.

IMG_0852There are a couple of plants I’ve had to put some frost protection in place for. This is a Davidson’s Plum, the other is a tamarillo that I thought I had lost last year but it came good over the warmer seasons.

IMG_0824The couple of beds that you walk through on the way into the veggie patch are slowly showing signs of the seasonal changes. The nectarine on the front right is resisting yet the yellowing plant rear left is a cherry that has just about dropped completely. There are bulbs and irises poking up through the mulch, exciting. No eggs from the free loading chooks ATM though!

IMG_0903The last of the grapes harvested and slipped into the mouth with a sigh of appreciation.

Grapes

Looking forward to having a bit of time over the next couple of weeks to plant more, tidy up and plan for the spring. I’m looking forward to reading the other GSC posts.

http://www.strayedtable.com/grow/garden-share/

 

Chick Peas, Pulled Pork, Tortillas, Bread and Garden.

Yep, it’s been a busy weekend! I love it when you get to achieve everything you set out to, it is incredibly satisfying. It certainly helped that the weather was absolutely beautiful. After 10 days of non stop rain and misery the sky was blue, no wind and the temperature got to about 19 today.  This is my son’s dog enjoying the warmth as did we!

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I’d been feeling a bit under the weather Thursday and Friday so it was great that I felt energised and raring to go for the weekend. First up I chooffed off to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on some goodies. This market has developed well and even though we are entering winter, there is still a great range of produce and a really strong sense of community from every one who attends or sells there. I love it! I bought some beautiful organically grown carrots (see recipe later) and leeks from Thorpdale Organics  (forgot to take a pickie), organic milk and paneer from Miranda Dale Dairy, chicken from Mirboo Pastured Poultry, Eggs from WillowZen, who claim their pullet eggs are sensational poached. I’ll report back on that later! Apples (I always forget the business name but they are very friendly),  Mushrooms from Gippsland Mushrooms, Saffron grown in Mirboo, just up the road, chorizo sausages and surely something else! No need to go into those awful big ‘not so super’ markets at all!

With the shopping stowed away I spent a couple of hours in the veggie patch trying to bring a bit of control back into it. I hadn’t done much over the last few weeks and found it very therapeutic getting out there and getting stuck into it. I tweaked the area where last season I had put a bath to grow some potatoes. It is now a better use of space and gives me a spot to put a chair so I can just sit and contemplate. It also means the worm farm and compost bin are easier to access.

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Some gravel fill in between the pavers and some bee attracting flowers planted, it should come up quite well. I also gave the greenhouse a good clean up. I noticed there was quite a big build up of muck on the panels which would be reducing the mount of sun coming in. With the cold season I need to capture as much warmth as possible,  so some hot water, truck wash, broom and a good high pressure blast of water and it is back to looking loved.

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Belated Mothers Day Lunch.

We were in Sydney for mothers day, so the kids came home today for lunch. I was really happy with today’s  meal. I often don’t enjoy eating what I cook but thoroughly enjoyed these dishes. Eating while sitting out in the lovely sunshine consisted of:

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Spicy Pulled Pork– Pulled pork is such an easy and cheap way to feed a group. I put a pork shoulder in the marinade/rub  in the slow cooker pot Friday morning before I went to work, put in fridge until Sat night then turned the slow cooker on low and it was beautifully cooked by Sunday morning. I do cover the meat with some baking paper to keep it moist while its cooking. It just falls apart and is so juicy and tender.

Spicy Pulled Pork

The recipe had ‘Cebolla en escabeche’ (picked onion) as an accompaniment. The pickling being achieved by soaking onions in lime and orange juices. I didn’t have limes so substituted green lemon juice and it was fine. Love the colour!

Cebolla en escabeche

Last week when I was at Herbies Spices in Sydney we sampled a lentil and kidney bean dhal using his ready made blend. I bought some of the blend and used it to make a chick pea dish to go with lunch today. So easy, add some oil/ghee to a pan, add 1 finely chopped onion and soften, add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend and cook out for a minute or so. Add drained chick peas (2 X 400g cans), tomato passata (I bottle mine in beer stubbies so that would be 375ml), 1/2 the juice from the drained peas and cook until required thickness. I also threw in a couple of the last cherry tomatoes. If too thick, add a little water to thin. You can also add some yoghurt but I didn’t and it was still lovely. Served with coriander on the top. Beautiful.

Chick Pea Dahl

An interesting side dish  I made was a carrot and radish (turnip) salad only I couldn’t get radishes at the farmers markets so I used young turnips which have a similar spicy element to them. Put the carrot and turnip through the V-Slicer, took about 2 minutes to make. Winner-It was really nice!

radish and carrot salad

Home made tortillas, Annabel Langbein’s recipe of course!

Tortlllaswhich were used as a wrap for the pork, chick peas and side salads. Some greek yoghurt, bean sprouts and tomato relish as well and it went down really well.

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Lastly are a couple of photos of the pretty spider webs I saw when I ventured out early Sunday morning. Hope your weekend was as fulfilling as mine!

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Hangin’ in the hammock. Spelt, flowering gums & books.

What an absolute cracker of a weekend  it’s been weather wise! Autumn is my favourite season, but  I especially love it when the weather has been as lovely as the last couple of weeks. We’ve had cool, almost balmy nights, sunny days ranging from 18-30 degrees with just a slight breeze, promises of cooler nights advancing by the dew that’s on the grass and cars in the morning and the golden tinge of colour change in the leaves of the trees. Perfect camping weather, hope it holds for a few weeks.

I was not going to miss the opportunity to enjoy this weather while I could, so in between all the weekend chores and jobs I took time to retreat to my beloved hammock and have some ‘smell the roses’ time.

If I was asked to make a short list of my favourite things to do, reading, camping and hanging in my hammock would be top of the list. If I can do all at the same time I’m in heaven!

I recently borrowed a book from the local Mobile Library and although a very different genre to my beloved crime mystery I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book was ‘The Briny Cafe’ by Susan Duncan and it is a nice story based around some Aussies who live off shore from the mainland and have a strong community  that they cherish and we get to share their lifestyle. I loved the tone of Susan’s writing and have since read the sequel, Gone Fishing which I found just as delightful. So, on to reading her ‘memoirs’, Salvation Creek which I have also enjoyed immensely. Close to my heart, we all are or have friends in the same places she has been and I felt it a very honest and light-hearted approach to disclosing her unbelievingly difficult experiences. Close to the end of the book, I was in between stretch and folds of my bread dough, stirring of the tomato and plum sauces so I treated myself to a stretch in the hammock with a ‘coldie’ (aka chilled beer), my book and a relaxed attitude. Heaven!

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Coming back in between tasks, I picked a few things to go in our dinner that I hadn’t planned. Lemons, lemongrass, capsicum, zucchini and some potatoes. Found some chicken in the freezer  so we had a chicken, lemon, lemongrass, capsicum, zucchini, thyme and potato bake. Threw in some small tomatoes to add sweetness and served on rice cooked with lemongrass and some star anise. Wasn’t a dribble maker, but it was fresh, tasty and hearty.

IMG_0407 IMG_0411My sourdough bread bake this weekend was a 50% spelt flour mix, in a 68% hydration dough. We bought this flour at Callington Mill in Tasmania last September, its best by date has passed but it looked ok, smelled ok and performed well in the loaves.

IMG_0449While lying in my hammock I was positioned so I could keep peeking at this beautiful flowering gum. We had to remove a large flowering gum tree when we moved in and I hated doing it. This one is a smaller grafted variety and the shape of the leaves, buds, flowers and I presume  the resulting gum nuts are so beautiful. Not usually a pink kind of girl! First time its flowered, beautiful.

IMG_0427As I’m putting this post together there is a leg of lamb in the slow cooker laced with 2 heads of garlic, lots of rosemary, a cup or so of balsamic vinegar and a bit of brown sugar and stock. Smells beautiful! Will let you know how it goes.

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Ahhh, love Autumn.