Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Sourdough Pancakes .....

I've had a request to put up the sourdough pancake recipe so here you go...

Sourdough Pancakes
2 cups active sourdough starter
1 egg
sugar or maple syrup to taste
cinnamon to taste
2 tbsp. oil or melted butter
1tsp bicarb soda
2-4 tbsp. milk, coconut milk or water (your choice)

Butter or coconut oil for frying pancakes

Handy tip: mix other ingredients separately then add to the sourdough starter & just fold through so you don't knock out the air bubbles.
1. mix together egg, sugar or maple, oil and bicarb and sourdough starter,
2. add (milk, coconut milk or water) to thin the batter to a pancake batter consistency.(start with 2 tablespoons of liquid and add more if needed
3. heat frying pan and once hot, melt a slice of butter or coconut oil on the pan and spoon approx. 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  cook until golden and flip to cook other side 

Handy tip: to see is your starter is active drop a small amount into a glass of water and if it rises to the top it is active.

If anyone is interested in the stewed plums (which were delicious):

(we used about 12 blood plums) 
Halve and pip the plums, add 1 tsp raw sugar, a couple of star anise, 1 scraped vanilla & pod, squeeze juice of one orange and just a dash of water (enough to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pot).  stew until softened.

Monday, 6 February 2017

It's All About The Sourdough !!....

Saturday was sourdough day......I gave my daughter a sourdough class for Christmas and I joined her to learn the beautiful craft of bread-making...I had no idea how specialised artisan bread making can be.... the dough can be a contrary beast whose quality is affected by temperature, handling, moisture, shaping etc...the list goes on.  Thankfully the loaves made by the class all turned out beautifully...even though they had been man-handled by a group of beginners.  I hope that one day I can bake the perfect loaf....apparently it take quite a lot of practice, patience and perseverance...all of which don't come naturally to me !!  It will be worth it  though.... the bread was delicious and the smell of freshly cooked sourdough was amazing.

I'm trying to shape the dough and keep a "gluten skin" on it.... not as easy as it sounds !!
Loaves out of the oven...once cooled they were devoured

Thankfully the 5 hour class included morning tea and lunch....we were served delicious sourdough pancakes with home-grown stewed plums with mascarpone & yoghurt ... the tastiest pancakes I have ever eaten...so light and fluffy with a hint of cinnamon...Yum
Sourdough pancakes
 Lunch was an array of delicacies from "Stella's Pantry" which were perfect accompaniments for our freshly baked sourdough....all washed down with a glass of wine ....very civilised.  It was a fabulous experience put together by String & Salt in Warragul and I would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to make their own sourdough.. 

Gourmet lunch ...perfect way to end the day and savour the delicious bread.
We were offered a few fresh plums and armed with the recipe for the stewed plums and pancakes we repeated the pancake dish for Sunday breakfast..(I should say my daughter did... she paid better attention than I did and thankfully took great notes!!).. Scrumptious....very decadent breaky !!
Re-produced the pancakes  and plums for breakfast the next day !!

We were shown how to make our own starter which we took home to get us started.... need to remember to feed .....get some more ingredients and then I will give my first loaves a go....watch this space !

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The January Whip Around... !

I say it all the time...but I can't believe how fast time flies and January is already done and dusted...It's been busy especially the CWA volunteering on Australia Day....and preparations for the town's Ficifolia Festival.  CWA have a big weekend planned on 11th & 12th at the hall and I'm busy with recipe in a jar and preparations for the garage sale......AND... Zucchini's are everywhere at the moment ... followed closely by some early tomatoes...so bring on the bottling !!

Zucchini's all sliced up with onions ready to be pickled.
All pickled and in the jars.... !!
January also saw me continue on the mosaic which I haven't touched since before  we moved over 18 months ago....it was originally going to be for a covered external wall in our old house....wasn't sure where it would go here, but have decided we can hopefully waterproof it somehow and hang on the outside wall when it finally gets finished...it has been a very long project...like all my projects !!

Finally making some progress with the mosaic.
One of our small apple trees (an orange Blenheim) ... only been in a year produced about 10 apples...they were a bit scrappy but the birds decided to leave me these five and along with our rhubarb I managed to make an apple & rhubarb crumble...so excited to have fruit in the garden even if at this stage they are minimal.

Apples and rhubarb from our own garden...so exciting

Homemade crumble....it was surprisingly delicious ..!!
 The zucchini assault continued all of January.....this lot turned into Zucchini Relish ...even managed a few red capsicums from the garden as well....it's been a zucchini fest !
Zucchini and capsicums from our garden....onions, vinegar, sugar, turmeric etc.....equals relish.
Bottled up into jars....most of these get given away as gifts..... one can only eat so much zucchini !!
This month I discovered the local op-shop warehouse....they have some amazing stuff in there...picked up a dozen fowler jars...$1 each... they have heaps so I will be back....also vintage tortoiseshell knitting needles...I have been on the hunt for these for ages...couldn't believe it...I had been looking for some on Ebay and the few I saw were very pricey....I actually paid extra for these at the op-shop because they were so cheap !!...they were a real treasure to find.

Fowler jars and vintage knitting needles.... I just need the top bar for the jars.
My neighbour Les introduced me to his 'lunar planting guide' that he bought off the internet....I made a copy of it for myself...he swears by moon-planting so I am going to follow the guidelines and see what happens...There may be something in it.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Belated Blog .....!!

Christmas has come and gone and January is already half over ....  my blog is always the last thing on the list of must do's.... so today is finally the day to catch up.  It was our first Christmas without dad and my eldest daughter had an old photo of him restored, enlarged and reframed for me as a gift ...that's him on the right, about 17 when he played football....I love this photo .....  I got quite emotional when I unwrapped it...so good to try and remember him this way.... a young man with his life still ahead of him.

Beautifully framed restored photo of my dad...
 My younger daughter also spoilt me with a beautiful new set of gardening tools and something that I had never seen before...... "Swags"  for keeping vegies fresh in the fridge...have to say they are amazing...I've used them for carrots and zucchini's so far and have to say they have kept things very fresh...you just dampen the 'swags' and put in the veg and keep the bags dampened in the crisper...easy !
The "Swags" all dampened and into the crisper....excellent idea.
 We took my mum to see her brother in Ballarat for a day trip late December and were amazed at the gorgeous Christmas decorations that the town had on display....they were absolutely beautiful and mostly made of flowers ....my best friend has family in Ballarat and she agreed to take a night time snap of the floral reindeers in all their glory.....very festive indeed.
One of the many beautiful Christmas decorations in Ballarat ...they do a great job !!
 The new year has started out with quite a big commitment to the local CWA...we have a lot going on for Australia Day...7:30am free breakfast for 120 locals  !!...then Australia Day in the Park commencing at 4pm..serving tea and coffee to all the locals for free !!.  We also have the Ficifolia Festival in Drouin Feb 11th & 12th..... this year we are holding a garage sale at the CWA hall called "Grandma's Attic"...selling second hand items and serving (you guessed it) tea/coffee and a homemade biscuit for a gold coin donation... It's fundraising for the CWA so I suggested we also do Recipe in a Jar to raise additional funds.....I have put together jar's containing oatmeal cookie ingredients using recycled & thoroughly washed Moccona Coffee jars from the Op Shop Warehouse in Drouin... taste tested the recipe I found on line ..they are tasty and economical to make ..... hopefully they should raise some extra $$ for the CWA.

Recipe in a jar for our CWA fundraiser...hopefully we will sell a few of these.
Each jar will make 12 biscuits...they require very little effort to make.
  What would a blog be without a photo of my latest cup of green tea.....

Another addition to the green tea collection....so many creative ways to serve it.
Being January the garden is going well even though the several really hot days have been tough..... zucchinis have gone crazy and a big batch are pickling away as we speak... more of that next time.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Five Eggs & Four Chooks ....??

Having had chickens for several years now I thought I knew quite a bit about them..... I have updated to four new girls now...the old ladies didn't settle down so they went to a guy in Longwarry who lets them run around his property....Three of the new girls were already laying and one was just about ready....so since Sunday there have been four eggs from the four chooks every day....but this morning there were five eggs !!! ... two of them are not as big as the others but I have no idea how one of them has laid two eggs?? .....I have had two double yokers lately ... is this the same as a double yoker but in different shells????.... has this happened to anyone else?

The egg mystery..... four chickens + five eggs = ????

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Broad Bean Blog......!!

I know a blog about broad beans doesn't sound all that interesting but this is the first time I have prepared, packaged and frozen anything from the garden..(unless you count a miserable attempt 2 years ago at freezing zucchini which was very ordinary when defrosted)...I usually give any oversupply of vegies away...but I am determined to preserve as much as I can for later use....(following instructions from the internet)...I removed them from the pods......blanched them for 1 minute in boiling water...then into an ice bath to prevent them from continuing to cook...then into reusable plastic bags and into the freezer....hopefully this will result in lovely broad beans when defrosted.

shelled and ready to go

into the boiling water

then the ice bath

into snap lock bags ...then into the freezer.
It seems so easy but I guess it all depends on the result when defrosted...hopefully they will be great.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

It's in the Bag ...!!

Share The Dignity is an annual campaign, which in 2016,  runs from Saturday 19th November 2016 to Saturday 3rd December.  My daughter hosted a "Bags 'n Brunch' morning tea inviting family & friends to support this great cause.  Twelve of us gathered to share morning tea and 27 bags (along with mine) full of toiletry and personal items for women in need were donated ..... she then delivered them to a drop off point in Warragul where they will be distributed to charity organisations to give to women in need or victims of domestic violence.  Hopefully we have managed to spread a bit of Christmas comfort to women and show that people really do care.
27 bags full of thoughtful personal items gifted to help women in need at Christmas.

There is still time to get involved if you think you can help....it seems a truly worthy cause....find out more about it here.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Everythings Super....!!

A weekly catch up of all things super....firstly that amazing super moon...unfortunately it was pretty cloudy where we are so viewing wasn't the best....but there were amazing images circulating...It really looks spectacular....

The Spring garden is going 'super'....so many beautiful colours in the yard which seem to have popped up from nowhere...the bees are loving the flowering sage, borage and lavender ..

Picked most of the broad beans...still a few left in the vegie patch...and also dug up the rest of the potatoes...a couple of artichokes which I am going to practice on ...rhubarb and a little cauliflower.

This year I am growing beans between the corn.....supposedly they will use the corn stalks to grow up alongside of them....will see how that goes....some early zucchinis popping up too.
Little blue thing on the bottom is a sprinkler head...should make things easier
 My hardworking man has very kindly installed a watering system in the top garden to save me having to drag the hose through the garden beds to get there...hopefully it will also reduce the water usage as he has put drippers on the fruit trees and tomato plants and little spray heads in the garden boxes.
Drippers on the root line of this apricot tree.
 But the really super exciting thing is I have some tiny little apples on a couple of the apple trees...and also both pear trees have quite a few baby pears on them. ... they are mature trees but have only been in the ground since the start of the year so they may fall off before they ripen...fingers crossed I get a couple to keep growing....even just one would be fabulous.

Tiny little apples appearing on the apple trees......

Also baby pears have popped up on both the William and Packham pear trees....fingers crossed
The weekend also saw us attending our usual get together for a 'Super' Asian style luncheon...J & A stole the show with a fabulous chicken satay entrée that was voted 'dish of the day'. ... the Big K & Robbie provided all of the main which was Changmai slow cooked pork (fabulous) and a chicken dish with Asian greens, rice and Roti bread...the delightful J&M provided a lovely rice pudding dessert with lychees, lemon curd & passionfruit.

The super spread from the Big K and Robbie.
Hoping things are just 'Super' for everyone out there....happy gardening !

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Trouble in The Hen House .....

I thought today would be a good time to add two new young girls to the hen house....I've put the new ladies in the pen and left the old girls in the yard to get them used to each other, then plan to lock them all in together tonight...unfortunately the older girls are not all that keen.....
Some new point of lay girls seem quite at home in their new house.
 ....the grand old ladies have not stopped squawking all afternoon...they are standing in the rain, huddled together making an absolute ruckus ...having a stop work meeting I think...fingers crossed all settles down tonight ...!!
The old biddies ...ARE NOT HAPPY !!!
 On the subject of "old girls" , this old girl got onto a bicycle for the first time in I hate to think how many years.....we borrowed bikes while we make the decision if we should each buy one (in our latest get fit attempt).. ..my man and I decided to ride to the two towns trail and just go halfway and then back home....just over 8kms, which I will admit did require me walking the bike up the hills...thankfully not too many...  my man took the opportunity for a photo pic outside one of my favourite gardens as we rode home.......all was going quite well.

....a timely warning to all old ladies who think it's a good idea to try and steer with one hand while you try to get something out of your bag.....DON'T...yes I had a spill, thankfully landed on the grass and no damage done other than a grass stain on my pants and a slightly bruised ego....I asked my husband did I at least fall gracefully and his reply was.... "Sorry babe..but NO, you landed like a sack of spuds"...

Once my man stopped laughing he decided to take a picture....thanks for that Ed !!
I'm not deterred .... we are thinking of buying each other bikes for Christmas...see how that goes hey.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Garden Update....+

Things have been growing amazingly well over winter...I've had the joy of giving so many baskets of vegies away each time we visit friends....it really is the perfect gift...nothing like a load of fresh produce to get people excited and more importantly starting to talk about wanting to grow some for themselves.  I would love to encourage people to just have a go...it really is something so basic but so rewarding.

The garden has loads of broad beans planted throughout which are now producing. ..... word from the "experts" at Permaculture group is pick them before they get too big as the smaller beans are more tender than if you allow them to get large and they get the thick tough skin around the bean....It's probably a personal taste thing, but the small beans were delicious, boiled for 4 mins and then tossed in the pan with Butter/oil and garlic and onion salt....very tasty.
Loads of broad beans throughout the garden.

Currant bushes and broad beans throughout the garden

Loads of borage popping up all over the garden.,..self seeded and bringing in the bees !!

The flowering sage is also a great bee attractor.
 The artichokes have started to appear on the plants....I have never grown them before...planted them as an understory plant for the fruit trees....not too sure about how to prepare them...looked on google but it seems challenging....I would love to try marinated artichoke hearts, but this years crop may just be practicing on how to dissect these tricky guys...members of the thistle family.
The artichokes have flowered
 We had loads of broccoli this year....it did take a while to start...I was beginning to think nothing was going to appear but once they form the start of the heads it's all systems go and they produce lovely big heads in no time.
Broccoli en-masse this year....yay.
 Over winter I thought that our Kiwi vines had died....it was a great relief to see them get going again once Spring arrived....hopefully kiwi fruits in the next couple of years....I get so excited about trying to grow our own fruit....I know, simple things right !
Kiwi his and her vines....using up the fence space next to the garage...I can't wait for fruit.
 I did want to share a tip that perhaps everyone already knows ... but I didn't....putting your freshly cut broccoli heads in a glass of water then into the fridge keeps them fresh for about a week....it really does work....give it a try if you aren't already.

Broccoli into a glass of water and then into the fridge
Couldn't let Halloween go by without a quick comment....I was minding my grandson so we took him  to The Courthouse in Warragul for a Halloween night....he didn't have his costume so we made do with a pirate skull mask and a bucket of lollies..he thought it was great.  I couldn't resist taking a pic of a young boy whose mother had gone to a lot of effort and put a zip on his face.. it was really effective and looked great.

My Gboy went to his school Halloween disco as a zombie...complete with fake teeth, latex skin and blood capsules.....awesome !!
He loved dressing up as a Zombie....
What would a post be without a picture of my latest cup of tea....this one was shared at the Emerald bakery ....I still attend the writing Group in Emerald and we head over to the bakery afterwards...... it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways there are to present cups of tea...this one came with a cute little heatproof cup...
A lovely cup of green tea.............enjoy!