Food and fun.

This weekend has been lovely. Almost tea with my son and his girlfriend at their new home (no dinner because all the take-a ways were closed!). They are doing a great job giving a sad old post war weatherboard home a makeover. Three weeks in and it’s amazing what a difference some cleaning, pruning (major) and TLC can do to a house. Lovely seeing them looking at things from a different view as owners rather than taking everything on face value as normal. We then spent some time on our property that we are still trying to sell at Fish Creek and re-instilled some love there.   Hopefully enough to trigger a sale, but things are so slow over there I’m not holding my breath. Think I may have to re-assess how we manage that!

Re-kindle India.

While in India, we had the fortunate experience of tasting ginger tea at breakfast while staying in a hotel in Delhi. It was purely accidental that we poured from this particular pot as the ‘western tea’ had not been served at that time. I love accidental discoveries and after some lengthy interpretation with the staff we vaguely got the gist of how it was made. Googling answered my questions and it is a common beverage in many Indian households. I had a go this morning at making it and yes, it was sensational. I followed the recipe on ‘Show me the Curry‘ website and was very happy with the result. Nice start to the day indeed. Sorry but photo is a bit fuzzy!

Ginger tea


Not Pho, not hot pot but an attempt to marry the two. I had wanted to make pho but didn’t have bones for stock. Thought about a hot pot (or as Cam would disrespectfully say, Ho Po) but didn’t have a clay pot that would fit into our mini oven, so I tried to marry the the two together. Marinated chicken as per the recipe at added some extra stock and put the whole lot into the slow cooker and let it go. 2 hours before tea I added some chopped bok choy and then served with fresh spring onions, rice noodles and finely chopped spring onions. I would add some star anise and chilli next time but it was very, very nice. I can really understand how these meals based on rich stock with, lovely spices and fresh vegies are soul food for so many. So fresh and healthy too!


The ‘Phot’ required Shiitake mushrooms and I realised that since we have been away and not tending the logs too well, my shiitakes had actually dried on the logs!

Shiitake dried on log

What the heck, cut the dried ones from the logs, reconstituted in hot water, sliced and added to the slow cooker. They were sensational!

Shiitake reconstitutingFingers crossed!


All good! This was a really nice dish. Broth was flavorsome from the shiitake and other spices and seasonings.

Jobs I didn’t get to!

Had a master plan this weekend to plant the onion bag full of bulbs that I took from the last house and to install the auto-openers on the greenhouse windows. Don’t you love it when you have a list and manage to work hard but don’t see one item from the list completed? Started out with the goal to plant the bulbs, went to compost to get some planting mix and realised that the open bins are struggling due to encroaching tree surface roots. I have never had much success with open compost bins, they dry out, roots invade and I find them difficult to turn. I am a fan of the ‘Geddye’ style bin. Easy to use and turn with a curly compost turner. Easy to manage moisture levels and worms seem to love the environment. Ahh, the bulbs will have to wait till next week!




Orange Soup

Named not because of its citrus content but because nearly every ingredient used is an orangy colour! This is a family favourite and can be in the pot cooking in 10 minutes and ready to serve in about an hour.


Butternut pumpkin as we call it in Australia, butternut squash for other countries. I am using some grown last summer as they are starting to soften and I don’t want to see them wasted.

Brown onions or leek if you have some available,

Sweet potato (Kumara) X 1,

Carrots X 2 medium,

Ginger-knob of about 2.5cm (1″) grated, more or less to taste.

Stock-I usually use chicken or vegetable but beef is fine too. Tonight it will be a bit of vegie and a bit of chicken. See notes below about stock – Trimmings from tonight’s vegies will go back into the bag for making the next batch. 

Curry Powder-Usually about a generous teaspoon, increase or reduce according to taste and brand of powder.

Peel and chop all ingredients, very small if you are in a hurry or larger if you are happy to let it simmer for longer.

Place all the vegies, ginger and curry powder into pot, add enough stock to just cover the veg. Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer until all the vegies are thoroughly cooked. Blitz mixture with a stick blender and you are done!

To serve you can create many different variations depending on the garnish you choose. Tonight I am using ricotta and fried onion flakes but we really enjoy sour cream or greek yoghurt with cracked black peppercorns or chives sprinkled over.  Just use your own blend. Serve with some bread to dip and you have a hearty, healthy meal. Enjoy!


Thanks to Slow Living Essentials for posting this wonderful way of making stock. Bought stock is expensive, energy intensive to make and doesn’t really have much flavour. Following this method results in a wonderfully rich brew and can be frozen in various sizes to suit any need. Once cooked the waste can be composted or fed to the chooks. Just love it! Go and have a go.


Salabat or Ginger Tea Powder.

When we were in Vietnam we had the pleasure of tasting some ginger tea made by one of the locals. It was absolutely delicious, refreshing and zingy, just what we needed to give relief from the heat and humidity. I have been keen to try to make some since our return and the notion that it may assist in relieving nausea spurred me on. With a bit of luck it might give a friend of mine some relief! If not I have no doubt we will enjoy it either as a tea or in some lemonade on a hot day. The description ‘Han’ gave on how to make the tea was that it was very fiddly and time consuming-she was right! I am kicking myself I didn’t take photos while I was cooking but mostly I followed the Salabat making video I found on YouTube and the food recap network . Broken down the method was basically

  • Wash and scrub ginger clean
  • Grate into clean bowl
  • Put grated ginger into food processor and ‘blast’ it
  • Squeeze out as much juice as possible (put processed ginger into cheesecloth and squeeze/wring until no more comes out.)
  • Put juice into wok with equal amounts of brown sugar (must be brown)

The cooking process is pretty much exactly the same as making toffee. While stirring continually  until  boiling, cook until mix reaches cracking stage. Remove from heat, and stir the mix until it turn into powder. This is basically grinding the ginger toffee and I found this part the hardest as it sets like cement really fast. Final result is excellent, very happy and I dried all of the ginger residue left after juicing, zapped it in the spice blender and I now have a great supply of powdered ginger for use in cooking and baking.

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