Friday, October 25, 2013

In the garden this week

 All this spring rain has resulted in some lush greenness in the garden.  The potatoes are loving it.

 Our driveway garden is looking much more diverse than a row of Pittosporum trees now.  I've filled any gaps with tomatoes that came from the supermarket's bargain bin at 85c a punnet.  They were little seedlings not so long ago, now most of them have a few flowers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New chook gate

My dad made up this gate for us out of offcuts from his work, that were destined for the skip bin.  It pains him to see good useful things thrown away, and rightly so.  The 2 cypress posts were also being thrown out.  Andrew spent a good part of the weekend getting it all in place, and now we have much easier access to the chook run.  It's a bit wet from the rain we've had, and we should oil it pretty soon.  Jonty approves, it's a new thing to climb on.  Thanks Dad!

If you agree that we should keep climate change denial on the editing room floor (of newspapers), and have a minute to sign a petition to the major Victorian newspapers, please go here.

Sweet potato slips- it worked!

 I started these sweet potato slips back in August some time.  They took a while, but sped up a bit when I changed to tank water rather than tap water, and put them on a sunny windowsill.  I took 3 slips off the sweet potato with the most slips last week, and the one below has quickly developed roots.
 I might wait until next week to plant it out, as this week looks like it will be mostly cold and rainy.
I hope to put at least 5 sweet potato plants in this year, as last year I planted one to see if it would grow, and it thrived even without much water.  It produced 5 good sized ones, and quite a few smaller ones.  I kept the smaller ones in a paper bag, and they are the ones I'm growing the slips from.  The variety is 'Beauregard', which is apparently the most common in Australia, as it only takes about 95 days to grow a crop, and can handle colder temperatures.  I followed instructions from here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cooking adventures with a Sun Oven

 I bought a Sun Oven a little while ago, and there have been a few clear sunny days to try it out lately.  Today I blind baked a quiche pastry in it, as well as cooking chicken and vegetable curry with rice.

 The finished curry- 3 hours later
 and the rice
 I couldn't fit the quiche itself in with the curry, so I cheated and cooked it inside (I can see why people buy 2 Solar Ovens).  It is made with homemade spelt pastry (with homemade butter), and the filling has backyard eggs, buttermilk from this morning's butter making session, spinach, chives and parsley from our garden, and Otway free range bacon (local).
And some gorgeous lilac to finish- I get up very early and get some from an empty house in the next street ;)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Meat safe

 On Saturday, I put our old baby car seat on the nature strip with a FREE sign on it.  A few hours later, it was gone.  On Sunday, Evie and I were walking home when we saw this meat safe on the footpath in front of someone's house in our street with a FREE sign on it.  I'd been wanting one for a few months, thinking the right sized one would fit nicely in the gap between the pantry and the door in our kitchen.  It's the perfect solution for when we have a glut of potatoes and pumpkins from our garden (and any other food that can be stored in a cupboard).  Andrew and I lugged it back, gave it a quick wipe over, and it fits perfectly in that space.  I call it karma!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spring Garden Tour

 Budding olive trees- they are absolutely covered this year!
 Little almonds
 Gravenstein apple blossom buds
 Rows of carrot seedlings
 Potatoes- we have planted 11 seed potatoes this year, last year we put in 4 that sprouted in the cupboard.  Hoping for a bumper crop, and some early ones for Christmas.
 Crimson flowering broad beans- I picked and podded a heap on Sunday, and there are more to come.
 Baby chillies
 Baby apricots
 Oranges and lots of blossom makes the garden smell great
 Dwarf pear in blossom
Blossoming boysenberry- this is a rescue from my Mum & Dad's old garden, as they downsized this year.  Good to see it doing well.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Homemade Icecream

It's been a long and tiring week, so I'm posting about ice cream.  The long and tiring part involves Liv having gastro while on a road trip up to NSW to visit in laws, 2 trips to the emergency department, and 2 trips to doctors.  She's having a hard time getting over it, but seems it will just take time.

Anyway, I bought and ice cream maker a few weeks ago, and this is the latest, dare I say it, healthy batch of ice cream.  The recipe is from Nourishing Traditions, and our version is gingerbread cookies and cream.

3 Cups of cream (from grass fed cows).  You can substitute a bit of milk if you don't have enough cream.
3 egg yolks (from the backyard is best!)
1 tbsp arrowroot (real arrowroot, not tapioca if possible)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (homemade by us!)
1/2 cup maple syrup

You just beat up the egg yolks, mix in the rest of the ingredients and pour into the machine.  I added homemade gingerbread biscuits broken up for the cookies part.  They were made with spelt and teff flours, homemade butter, and rapadura sugar, so they are a healthier version too.  With a fussy eater in the house, it's important to create nutrient dense foods that you know will get eaten!