Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thermal Portable Cooker

Aldi was selling a Thermal Portable Cooker, a 'Dream Pot' look a like and it is brilliant for 1/3 of the price of the original cooker.
Tonight we had a melt in the mouth curry, rice and a 'nightshade' free casserole for the littlest. The food was SO tender and SO tasty, and it cost cents to cook with no risk of burning. A good buy.

You cook up the food it the pot (the one to the right) for 20 mins. Then transfer from stove top to the thermos part (on the left). Close the lid and don't peep for 3-5 hours. Keeps hot for 8 hours according to the box.

These can also be used to keep things cold. Instructions tell me that you put the pot in the freezer and add food stuff to keep cold for picnic... yummo

Friday, October 2, 2009

Seeing the free sights :o)

We had a mini holiday budget style. We took our food and saw the free sights. It was really nice just getting away even though it was quick and virtually only the cost of fuel, well, the movies the next day too.

Guess where we went!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lentil Burgers

Hmm, well the mobile phone pic just doesn't do them justice, they are really yummy.

I really love lentil burgers. Tonight is lentil burgers and salad and thought I'd share the recipe.

Fry in fry pan:
1 onion chopped finely
2 carrots grated

Add 1 cup washed red split lentils, add water to cover.
1 teaspoon coriander and simmer all for about 15 mins till soft.

Drain and mix 1 cup bread crumbs and 2 tablespoon peanut butter (optional) and 1 egg.
Mix and form patties. Coat in flour if you want.

Fry up on bbq to save doing a zillion loads in the fry pan!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A few hours old, Lucy Lamb

Isn't this the tiniest lamb. Her mum didn't want any thing to do with her so we are her new parents.
She has survived 48 hours so we are hopeful :o)

UPDATE: 1 week old! She is doing well, fatter and very vigorous! She loves her bottles. I must say she has caused a budget blow out though! Expensive stuff that milk powder. She had better trade me some fleece for my craft later on ;o)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sour Dough Starter -the beginning

Meet festering Fern!

I've been waiting for the weather to warm to get a new sour dough starter going.
Here she is in the garden, under some flowering rocket to pick up the wild yeasts.

I've used 1 cup organic rye flour and 1 1/2 cups blood warm water (we have tank water). Mixed with a plastic or wooden spoon in a ceramic bowl. No metal! I have then sat it covered with a wet tea towel in the garden on a baking tray, I thought this might stop the snails that some times climb up!
Everything is sterilised with boiling water of course.

I will bring Fern in each night and pop her in a warm spot above the stove. Each day I'll give her a new sterilised bowl and a cup of flour and water. In 7 days she is done and will live in our refrigerator, then will be the mother to all our loaves :o) At this time she will only get a new bowl each month.

I'll let you know how Fern goes.

UPDATE: Fern is festering away beautifully. She is growing and smelling very nice. I have changed her bowl each day, boiled every thing, given her a clean tea towel. When I pour her into the new bowl the smell is a pleasant yeasty odor.

1st successful off spring!

This loaf is not as big as I thought it would be but the taste is amazing! It has a really hard crunchy, hold on to your fillings style crust and a soft but denser than I'd like middle.

I really like John Downes 'Natural Tucker Bread Book' for various bread types. Good recipes and excellent information. Off to investigate why it's not as fluffy as it should be ;o)

Friday, August 28, 2009

On with the cladding!

It's looking good! He's been able to work between the massive wind gusts we are all experiencing on the coast of NSW.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Free food from nature's bounty

In the theme of freegan locavore... I can cope with this.

I kind of feel bad, there it was snuffling around the rocks looking for a feed when It turned into ours! In the pot and woohoo! It was amazingly delicious and if this is the free food around here then, I'm taking up diving.. and I don't mean dumpster diving!
I got over feeling bad =o)

Virtually free craft room

We have been collecting second hand materials for a while to make a craft room. We love sewing and scrapbooking etc but we live in a shoe box and it is a pain to get it all out, put it all away, I know you know the feeling, so roll on craft room!

With the exception of the concrete we poured, every thing has been recycled. It also has a nice history. The original building was built at the local quarry in 1930. It was later pulled into town with bullocks and it has sat there until this year past year where it is being renovated. So this is where the materials came from. I feel like we are preserving in a sense, local history and I'm getting a terrific cute room for free!
The roof is up and has been for a while. It too is all recycled. Next we laid some new concrete over the old slab that was there. It wasn't waterproof and rather gross. The little ones helped!
The slab has dried and the hard wood framing is going up from the old quarry house.
The weather boards have been gathered, ready and waiting.
Very exciting! I can't wait for the next available day to watch hubby working ;o)

.... I'll provide refreshments =o)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Naturally lawn mowing

Here she is, earning her keep by mowing our front lawn.
Much better than using fossil fuels!... although she is old, perhaps Fossil Fuel is appropriate ;o)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Outside shower

How quirky is this outdoor shower that the boys used while at a blacksmithing weekend!
Water tank above and gas heating, you lit it with a match before jumping under.

I've added the heating system for interested hubbies ;o) Maybe don't try this at home....!

The floor was a dome shape with wine bottles. Now that's perked my interest, a lovely brown brothers floor I could commit to.

Sliced pickled Onions

Luci's Secret sliced pickle recipe ;o)

This is a fav with the men in the house and as luck would have it it is amazingly easy!

Slice onions 5mm thick
Soak in boiling water, covered for at least 10 minutes. Drain well.
Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup malt vinegar (stir until dissolved)
Jar onions, pour vinegar mix and leave for 2 weeks.

You can add garlic or mustard seeds etc if you like.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


New family members!

Foxy/Australian silky terrier X

Homemade corn chips

Homemade corn chips!

In the never ending effort to reduce our exposure to chemical and to 'know' what's in what we are eating, we tried to make our own corn chips.

It's weird, you eat one and and you think... "uummm it's ok, strange texture" then you suddenly find you can't stop eating them, it's like they have an addictive causing substance!

Corn Chips
180 deg C
10 mins

Mix: 1 cup corn meal (polenta)
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons milk powder

In a separate bowl & stir
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Choice of topping: powdered garlic, paprika, onion, or seasoned salt etc

Add liquids to dry mix. Stir with fork. Knead until smooth.
On two sheets of baking paper, sprinkle cornmeal. Divide mix in half and roll out thinly on both sheets. Go really thin but not so there are holes.
 Sprinkle with topping of choice. Garlic powder is what I used. Roll again to press topping in.
Cut into triangles, or whatever you want. Prick with fork.

Bake 10 mins or until lightly brown. 

*We found that the edge pieces were the nicest. So next time I'll try to go thinner again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mmmmm soup

Winter is in the air and my favourite thing to do is have a pot of soup on the heater. Chicken or lamb and vegetable is the usual. It simmer gently waiting for hungry tummies to eat when they are ready. At no further cost to the family, the heater is going anyway.
I use an Aldi mixed vegetable for $1.75 (New Zealand produce) and a few chicken drumsticks or those strange lamb bits when you buy half a lamb (bones and all). Some stock, onion, garlic and pepper. I bring it to boil on the regular stove and move it to the heater for the rest of the day. 
It makes about 8 litres.


I lost my sprouting jar, I missed them, then forgot them! How unfaithful of me :0)
But the jar is back. It's a large coffee jar and we cut the top of the lid and added fly screen.

I'm sprouting mung beans. Mung beans need to soaked 8-12 hours in warm water to kick start them
I leave the jar upside down on mung beans as they have a tendency to go moldy.
Mung beans grow very quickly and these have started to sprout already, just from their initial soak.
Sprouts are such a quick cheap way at add lots of nutrition to your diet. Especially good in winter when the garden has slim pickings.

Here's the the next day....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cooking on the Canberra!

We are cooking dinner in the "Canberra" which is outside on the verandah and we found some more tomatoes, nice plump yellow ones. The children find some tiny red ones too. I guess we ended up with more than one tomato this season... but only just ;0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I just looked out my kitchen window and saw two white chokos hanging there. Can you see them? Ahem, above the not weeded in at least 6 months garden;0)
I thought we had missed the chokos this year.
We love chokos roasted. We peal them, cut them in half and roast with olive oil and garlic. We eat the seeds too, they are really nutty flavoured, just divine! We prefer the white over the green chokos, better flavour if I recall.
Go the humble choko!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Apricot and Raisin Chutney from Digby Law's Pickle & Chutney Cookbook.

It was easy enough to make but made a surprisingly small amount, 2 & 1/2 jars!
Recommended for curries and with cheeses. I tried it on a cracker with tasty cheese and it gets the thumbs up!

250g dried apricots
2 cup boiling water
200g raisins
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar
6 whole cloves 
2 teaspoons mustard seeds.

Soak apricots in water for 2 hours.
Put all in saucepan and simmer, stirring till sugar dissolved then bring to boil. Reduce to simmer 1 hour or until thick. Jar Makes about 1 litre (Not for me, must have over simmered!)


Monday, April 20, 2009

We have been busy bees building a stone garden wall and steps. (When I say we I mean hubby labouring and I have been foreman... hehehe). We have granite on our property so we collected it and prepared the front steps and a nice little garden.
We are waiting to get a cement truck into to fill in the steps but gee the old boy did a good job on the wall! 

Mean while we were so happy with our wicked garden beds experiment (see older posts) that we are setting up new ones in a tunnel. I'll add pics as we go :0)

We have half built a garage and craft room. We have gathered 100 year old weatherboards that were going to be burnt. We have old windows we got from a house that was being demolished and same nasty roofing iron that has come up a treat. So far the basic structure is up and roof is  on. Other than nails it hasn't cost any thing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Emma's slipper making

My DD Emma has been busy knitting these slippers. They are so amazingly comfortable, it feels like your feet are being cuddled. She knitted them with pure wool (on sale of course!) from Kmart! She got the pattern from Simple Savings

Basil Pesto for the fresh pasta

My pesto is 2 cups basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (homebrand fine)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whiz all ingredients except oil. Drizzle until form thick paste.
Sometimes I add a tin of tomatoes for a change when it's going on pasta.

Pesto on pasta and about to be stirred through. Pasta was slightly over cooked and a bit soft. Memo to self!! Remember to cook for only 4 minutes!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pasta Making

2 3/4 cup of plain flour, pinch salt and 3 eggs. Mix until most of the dry flour is gone, you may need to ad an extra egg, it depends on how absorbent your flour is. If you use wholemeal or as a mix you need more eggs. Once it all clings together start kneading, this is hard work and takes maybe 5 mins.

Here's the kneaded ball, then wrapped in plastic to rest for 25 mins and the finished rested ball that should look slightly glossy.

The dough is nice and stretchy and breaks into golf ball sized balls ready for rolling out in the pasta machine.

Liberally flour your machine and start rolling on widest setting. Keep putting the pasta back in and narrowing the gap, one little ball just grows and grows!

Look at all that from 2 & 3/4 cups of flour!
After you have all those lovely sheets of pasta and you aren't using them for lasagne, put it through the cutting blade on your pasta cutting machine.

Two large bowls ready to be boiled for about 4 minutes.
Finish boiled product ready for sauce. This will feed the 7 of us.