Monday, December 29, 2014


  Summer seems to have finally arrived in my part of the world and my garden is looking very lush and almost jungle like especially around my veggie patch. The potato plants are now too heavy to keep upright and are covered with flowers so freshly dug spuds will be on our menu in just a couple of weeks. The self seeded pumpkins have taken over the spaces in between a couple of the raised beds and if all the flowers turn into pumpkins I shall hopefully have enough to give away to friends and neighbours. 
 The tomato plants are laden with ripening tomatoes with more flowers still being produced. Looking forward to an abundant crop so I can make my own tomato sauce!
 Have just harvested my first crop of beetroot ever. 

 I grow strawberries every year and have previously bought new plants every 2 years which the 'experts' suggest you do. This year being on a limited budget I decided to ignore that expert advice and just take the runners off my old plants and re-plant them in as many pots as I could find along with a few mixed in with my raised herb garden. I used mostly purchased compost to plant them in and have fed them regularly with some strawberry food leftover from previous years. All that work of dividing and re-planting is now paying off as each plant is laden with fruit and every day there is a small handful of good sized berries ready to pick and eat :-)

 When the weathers good I often spend a couple of hours in my garden on a Sunday afternoon. Its a nice time to spend alone lost in my own thoughts although I'm often not quite on my own as Leo likes to follow me around resting in the shade where he can. 
And when its just too hot outside he puts himself to bed.....yes that would be my bed in exactly the spot where I sleep with his head resting on my pj's because I hadn't quite got around to making my bed that day....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A little like Christmas....

 Our tree is up and decorated with some favourite decorations along with some handmade wreaths around the house. Our little street is looking like a disco with a few of the houses going slightly overboard with outdoor Christmas lights bringing a steady stream of cars crawling up our street.

 Somehow even though we are surrounded by festive Christmas lights and our house is suitably decorated we are somehow not feeling very festive this year. My eldest daughter Amelia commented that I hadn't done any Christmas baking like I normally do each year. So in an effort to make at least my daughters feel a little more festive, yesterday afternoon we decided to make some chocolate peppermint bark. It's an easy recipe to make just a bit of waiting time for each layer to set before adding the next. We started melting chocolate then realised we didn't have any candy canes. A quick trip to the supermarket revealed that they were all sold out so we decided to improvise and make do with what we did have and we came up with triple chocolate peppermint and pistachio bark.

 Not much of a recipe to share but here it is:
  1. Melt 200 gms white chocolate with 1/2 tsp peppermint essence and 20 gms kremelta (vegetable shortening) and spread onto base of a lined sponge roll tin. Place in freezer to set.
  2. Melt 200 gms milk chocolate with 1/2 tsp peppermint essence and 20 gms kremelta and spread onto set white chocolate layer then sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Place in freezer to set.
  3. Melt 100 gms dark chocolate with 1/4 tsp peppermint and 10 gms of kremelta and spread over second layer. Melt 100 gms white chocolate with 1/4 tsp peppermint essence and 10 gms of kremelta and place on dark chocolate then using a skewer marble the two layers together. Finally sprinkle with more chopped pistachios.

Another recipe I usually make each Christmas are these fresh ginger biscuits which I made this afternoon using a variety of Christmas themed cookie cutters. This recipe makes a lot so they are good for giving away ;-)
  • 375g softened butter
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • grated rind of 2 lemons or oranges
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tblsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 ground cloves
  1. Beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat in the egg, grated rind and fresh ginger.
  2. Sift together all dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture until well combined.
  3. Roll out the dough to 0.5mm thick and cut out shapes using various cookie cutters.
  4. Bake at 180C for 10-12 mins. Cool before storing in an airtight tin.

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