Goal achieved!

The blog I posted Friday set me a target to do a few jobs and I am pleased to have achieved that target. Ticks to all the following:

Have my cello lesson – √

Make Quince paste – √

Tidy up – √

Plant something – √

Cleared some leaves – √ (didn’t mow them, will get a few more together and do all at once).

Enjoy our Indian Tea – √ Sure did, made a thermos full which we sipped throughout the day.

Now as for quince paste  cooked in a slow cooker.

How good is this? I wasn’t too optimistic but am thrilled with the result. No fuss or bother and a much cleaner method of production. I might even make another couple of batches while I’m so keen.

Quince minced

After stewing the fruit overnight I put the whole lot through the tomato passata machine.

Quince Paste ready

Into the pot with equal parts of sugar and just let go for hours, gave a stir every now and again. Took the lid off the pot for last couple of hours. Colour is beautiful taste is excellent.

Quince in tray

Into muffin tray to set. When cooled and dried out a bit the individual pieces should be just a nice size to go on a platter!

Girls go free.

We let the girls out for a run and they had a ball! Explored lots of nooks and crannies and devoured loads of bugs of all sorts. Dust baths were had and they were very curious whenever we were working on something. I’ve also added a photo of the massive egg Hilda lay on Friday.

Hilda dust bath

Egg massive

Mother’s Day Tea.

Had a fun-filled evening with the kids home for the first roast dinner cooked in the combustion stove. I set the lounge room up formally (haven’t done that for eons!), decorated the table with a little bit from each of our mums and grandmothers. My mums brocade white table-cloth, MIL’s antique glass lamp, G/Ma H, lovely little green glass bowl and G/M C’s antique sliced bread jar which we used for nuts. Roast was beautiful and my daughter bought along an apple and blackberry crumble which I am enjoying again as I do this post. While the oven was fired up I took advantage of the heat and put on a big pot of stock to simmer away. Smells great! Not much room between stove top and chimney though! Makes it a bit tricky when lifting the lid.

Stock pot
Everhot combustion stove with stock pot simmering.
Stock simmering away beautifully

Other updates.

Planting (mostly done by husband) consisted of broccoli seedlings, lime tree, established camellia asakura X 12, Eucalyptus Silver Princess X 3, ginkgo biloba that I purchased from the Monbulk Scout plant sale. Amazing how a bit of dimension to a yard makes it feel so much better!

Camellia asakura
Established Camellia asakura planted to begin framework of hedge which will be seen outside bedroom window.

Last of the ‘very unattractive’ 60’s wardrobe removed, getting very excited about how this master bedroom is going to develop.

Wardrobe last bit

This last bit was pulled out minutes later. That’s about the last (apart from kitchen) bit of house that really holds that old stinky smell gone.

Hydronic radiator lounge

One of our new hydronic heating panels-love it!


Couple of old bottles plumber found under the house. The beer bottles has MBCV logo on glass which after googling is apparently from around the 1930’s. Many more under there apparently. Wonder if patients needed a bit of ‘Dutch Courage’ before they entered the clinic!

Strawbs mildew

Mmmm, bit concerned that there is powdery mildew appearing o the strawberries. Organic control is apparently done using some or all of the following, diluted pure full cream milk, bicarbonate of soda, potassium bicarbonate and a canola oil-based product Synertrol. I think this has developed because the greenhouse was closed up on the few rather warm days this week. Must get those auto window openers going!

Have had a lovely afternoon working on design for bathroom reno, watching the very funny movie ‘Death at a Funeral’, eating leftovers from Mother’s Day dinner and occasionally doing something constructive. Hope others have had a lovely weekend too!

High hopes weekend.

It’s Friday night and I’m doing a  post of anticipated weekend activities in the hope I may  actually achieve a few. I have many jobs planned for the weekend as well as having everyone here on Saturday for Mothers Day. Looking forward to firing up the wood fired oven and cooking the first roast in it. I got to the oven last weekend with a wire brush attachment on the drill and got rid of most of the surface rust. Cleaned out all the little nooks and crannies of soot and gave it a good coat of stove polish. Looks great and fires up really well. Looking forward to that roast!

Oven 1

Quince jelly and paste.

One of the joys of blogging is that you get inspiration, ideas and reminders relating to all sorts of things from cooking to just about anything you can mention. I had a reminder the other night when reading a post on Slow Living Essentials that it is quince season, I hadn’t thought about it at all as I do not have a productive tree like the lovely one I had at the old place. I love my quince jelly, especially on hot cross buns or as a glaze on chops or chicken and my supplies have run out so that set in place a job for this weekend. Along with the jelly, you just can’t avoid putting aside some quince paste while these intriguing fruit are available. Inspiration from the Slow Living Essential blog that you can make the paste in a slow cooker really piqued my interest. That too is on the list for the weekend! Quince cleaned and chopped in the slow cooker – can’t wait to see how this goes.

Quince defuzzingQuince in pot.

Will keep you posted on results

Go Hilda!

Egg first

We have been getting an egg every second day from Hilda. First two were 90g but tonight she’d produced a whopper 100g one. The girls are settling in very nicely, I am spoiling them a bit with a nice warm Weet Bix mash in the morning and I have bought tins of sardines to feed every now and again to keep the protein levels up. Tomorrow we will let them out for a run and see how it goes.

Warmth at last!

After many broken promises we finally had our hydronic heating system installed during the week. I must say it seems to appear that it will be even better than anticipated. Feel a bit cheated now that it’s been quite warm this week! In order for the radiators to be installed we had to ‘patch’ some sections of the bedroom floor that are severely damaged by borer. A more detailed post on heating to follow.

Borer boards damage

Our builder will begin replacing floor boards, take out a wall to open up the two bedrooms into one large room very soon. We have purchased recycled Baltic pine boards in the hope they will blend with the existing floorboards that are staying. We have to remove the very unattractive 1960’s wardrobe before he starts just in case we find more damaged boards under it. We took the plaster off the wall being removed a couple of weeks ago to get a feel of what the room will be like.


Right side shot is taken from a video clip so clarity a bit dodge. Still, get the feel of how big this room will be.

Other planned weekend jobs.

  • Have a very overdue cello lesson! I have been very slack with lessons this year, there has just been too much else happening (my excuse) so need to get back into gear.
  • Clean up some of the thick layer of oak leaves that have fallen so far and put into compost after chomping with the mower.
  • General tidy up. It is very easy to quickly become out of control when renovating so need to rein it in.
  • Make another batch of our delightful ginger tea we discovered while in India.
  • Plant something.

Best intentions, lets see how we go.





Back in town.

After a few confronting weeks in India and some time to ponder the obvious troubles over there, we are back and attacking the reno with gusto. If only the tradespeople we book would do the same! We locked in to have our hydronic heating system installed before going to India and pressed the need to have a fixed date arranged. With the weather about to change we didn’t want to be left out in the cold and anticipated installation would be as soon as we returned. Turns out we are left in the cold and things are starting get that slightly damp feel to them, we are getting the “we’ll definitely be there next week” story. That’s now been four weeks and I am getting quite peeved. I just wish people would at least ring to say they won’t be there as stated. Luckily we have a nice cosy little open fire to sit in front of on these increasingly chilly nights , not too pleasant when we leave that particular room though!

Cosy Open Fire

Feel like we have done nothing until you think……………………….

Hmmm, let me do a run down of what we have and haven’t achieved so far this year. It has been slowed down by moving, weather too hot, out for a month house-sitting for our daughter, overseas trip followed by two weeks camping. The have achieved are: good supply of tomato passata and tomato sauce in the pantry, new Sproutwell Greenhouse is up (one of those processes when divorce seems good, similar to selecting paint colours!) and nearly fitted out, possibly have found a builder who is going to be good to work with, our neighbour demolished their brick garage so we are now the proud owners of approx 1000 reds which will be used for paving and garden decos. We have come up with a final design for the garden and extension which has been no mean feat. I have ordered our chicken mansion, shed/garage under way with permits and planning lodged could start anytime. Holland roller blinds ordered for every room, front door measured for leadlight design and quotes being sought. Helped our son and his girlfriend with purchase of a house and subsequently moving out (YAY!). Have some beautiful carpets we bought in India on the floor in several rooms. The mantel clock that was a wedding present of my mother in law’s has been put in for restoration. Booked plumber to install heating. We have bought 20 Camellia sasanqua ‘Asakura’ thanks to our friend Mark from ‘Plants R Us’. Many, many years ago we ran a garden design business at Gardenworld in Springvale and Mark was one of the nursery staff who helped us tremendously. These camellia will be planted to form a strong, base structure of planting around the back yard as well as possibly forming an espaliered area outside the master bedroom and bathroom. We also learned how to appreciate and respect this wonderful country we live in.

Greenhouse up and running, beautiful camellia (original) flowering. It is just beautiful!
Camellias side garden
Some structure starting to take shape!
Camellia Planting
More framework.
Strawberry flowers
Strawberries in greenhouse looking very happy.

New kitchen goodies!

Now that the weather has turned to being a bit too cool to be using the BBQ I invested in a new gas range.  A whole $13.80 at Bunnings for a Butane gas camping cooker and I’m off and away! So nice to have somewhere to boil a pot, use a wok or throw on the frying pan.

New gas range.
Looking forward to firing up the combustion stove!

Did a great job of cooking up some Singapore Noodles for dinner tonight!

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