Sunday, September 25, 2011


Busy bee hard at work on my sprouting broccoli

Saturday, May 07, 2011

What to do with the pumpkins from the garden

 With 2 pumpkins from the garden to cook up, I wanted to try some different recipes rather than just adding them to a roast. The first recipe was pumpkin hotcakes from Stephanie Alexanders Kitchen Garden Companion, pumpkin steamed & mashed then added to flour, eggs, etc (no sugar) & cooked up, served with maple syrup.  Delicious morsels with crispy edges & the sugar wasnt missed though the maple syrup did make up for it!
 Next, a roast pumpkin salad, the dressing is made up of chopped roasted capsicum, lemongrass, sesame oil.  All served on a bed of rocket (from the garden too).  Delicious though my pumpkin didnt brown up during the roasting & was quite soft, think it would have been nicer if it caramelized a bit.
Lastly a Bill Granger recipe for a pumpkin soup that was a bit different.  Pumpkin was baked in the oven with tomatoes, carrot & spices, then mashed, stock & lentils added & simmered on the stove for a while.  Serve with a dollop of yoghurt & this was one of the best soups I've tried in ages, bound to become a Winter regular in the house.  Pumpkins all gone now though does anyone have any sensational pumpkin recipes to share?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter

 We've had a busy Easter over here, Family lunch Good Friday, lovely picnic in the amazing childrens garden at the Botanical gardens for Easter Sunday, a drive to the country to visit friends today & of  course lots of baking & cooking for it all.  Here are a couple of Easter treats I delivered this year.  Above white chocolate chip/chocolate cupcakes topped with butter frosting, Persian fairy floss & Easter eggs.  I loved the overall look thought found them overall to be too sweet.  If I made them again would change the base cupcakes & frosting to something a little more adult in flavour.  Having said that though I didnt hear any complaints & they all disappeared pretty quick!

Below are my hand made Easter eggs that I gave out to the family, Chloe loved making them with me & loved even more making the packaging.  We cut up egg cartons & painted them, then tied them up with ribbon to secure the eggs inside.  The eggs were chocolate crackle eggs, held together with melted dark chocolate & topped with melted white chocolate & freckles, inspired by fast Ed on Better Homes & Gardens, a great Easter treat to get the kids involved in.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Autumn Garden

Lovely long chillies, waiting for them to turn red, chose a variety with not too much heat in the hope I can sneak some into the kids meals too, miss cooking with chilli....

A couple of rogue pumpkins that sprung up from the compost in the weed patch behind the garage that we have not done a thing with yet.  They are different colors so not sure if they grew on separate vines & are different varieties?, hard to tell in the jumble of vines & weeds.  Interestingly the pumpkins I planted didnt grow so might have to plant them in this spot next spring

Capsicums turned from green to black, now waiting for the red to kick in, these grew on last years plants which I left in

Garlic coming through, not much success with my last batch so hope this spot does better.  You can also see some of my masses of basil bushes alongside

Peas growing up the fence, then a row of carrots, row of coriander, row of beets & some marigolds to ward off the pests

Bright & cheery nasturtium, again to help with bugs

Joshie lending a hand with this mornings garden chores, raking leaves & bug spraying (my garlic & oil mix from Vasili), Chloe still sound asleep...

And the asparagus plot coming up nicely, believe in a year or 2 I might even be able to harvest.  Meantime I am growing some carrots in the space at the back.

Have also planted some broad beans, show peas & rainbow chard which are yet to poke to their heads up through the soil, love waiting for everything to grow & ripen & nice always having something ready to harvest.  At the moment the tomatoes have just come to a halt, cucumbers said bye bye & beans which we have been eating almost every night dug up too though I do have one stalk in a pot that looks quite vigorous & may produce some late beans yet.  Meantime masses of herbs for the picking, waiting for chillies & capsicums to ripen & some rocket & lettuce just about ready for my lunch

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy 4th birthday to my sweet princess Chloe!

Yesterday was my beautiful baby Chloe's 4th birthday, I cant believe how quick the years are going.  To celebrate we had a small party with family & a couple of Chloe's friends.

 Amongst all it all we had some cheery clown straws which worked well slurping up the home made lemonade I concoted, figured if they were going to have sugar, at least I could make it free of chemicals & colours, etc, a big hit, they all loved it.


 Then for lunch I stuck to kiddie food & we had the pigs in blankets above, I grew up with the cocktail franks wrapped in bread and baked in the oven.  This was a Nigella Lawson recipe from Nigella Bites.  The franks were wrapped in a cheesy scone dough & baked, mmm, delicious.  I have wanted to try them for ages but of course needed the excuse of a childrens party.  Much nicer than plain old bread.
  Also made some home made sausage rolls, filled with pork, zucchini, onion, pesto & cheese, again really good & nice to sneak in some veggies (sorry forgot to take a photo.  Then there were chicken wings & a variety of sandwiches.

While everyone was bursting at the seams after lunch I played some old school party games with the kids, pass the parcel, success, musical chairs, took lots of convincing but in the end they were all fighting for that last seat & pin the tail on the donkey, may need to invest in a better blind fold next year as some unusual bulls eyes were had!
Last of all was birthday cake, chocolate of course sandwiched with chocolate fudge icing & more icing smothered on top & sides.  Decorations all pin with a splash of purple here & there, lots of smiles over this one.  Also pictuerd the white chocolate cupcakes with pink icing & decorations courtesy of Chloe, lemon & lime tart, whoopee pies (thanks mum) & fruit kebabs.

Chloe declared it her best birthday ever & true to form about midnight she awoke us with a big clean up job in her room, too much chocolate that wouldn't stay down, oh well better luck convincing her to be moderate next year!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Garden update

 A few photos from my garden.  it's all coming along nicely though things seem to be taking a lot longer this year with our cooler than usual summer.  Here are some tomatoes, I have 6 different plants on the go & finally they are starting to produce
 First lemons on the lemon tree, lets hope they will live to mature, I haven't had much success so far
 The first of my tomatoes to ripen, these were actually some Winter tomatoes that I picked up at the garden show last year, I planted them a bit late so nothing in Winter but nice to have something ready to pick now
 Thai basil (back) & sweet basil (front), all from last years seeds.  This year I have been planting basil every few week so I have a continuous supply, these are my youngest
 More Winter tomatoes from last summer, yet to redden
 A rogue pumpkin plant I have let live amongst the weeds, one budding pumpkin so far, who knows how many more I will find amongst the weeds
 The first of my cucumbers looking good
And lastly some corn just about ready to eat....

How is your garden growing this year?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011!

Happy 2011 to all.  I have been a bit of a slack blogger lately, I seem to have lost my mojo since the finish of the Cookbook Challenge (which I did not even complete!).  I have still been cooking lots, just no time or inclination to write about it.  Guess that's what happens when you're busy with a new job & trying to run around doing Christmas stuff.  I did lots of Christmas cooking, 2 puddings, mince tarts, stained glass window biscuits & a glazed ham to name some of the more traditional recipes and for my mums birthday I made Poh's Jaffa Chiffon cake which I have to say I was very dubious about yet it turned out amazing & stayed fresh for days afterwards in the fridge, the fridge didnt even make it go hard & cold like I find it does to most baked goods making them inedible.

One of my resolutions this year is to have a bbq every weekend while it is still warm enough/daylight savings.  We tend to only fire it up when we have company and that is something I want to change.  I have so many mouth watering bbq recipes I want to try & most are ones I wouldnt bother to make if having a party so Saturday bbq night is the perfect excuse to try some of them out.  Tonight was the inaugural fire up & I went with some sticky ribs from Ben O'Donoghues barbecue cookbook.  I teamed it with some corn cobs & sliced chats.  Fantastic recipe, slow cooked for 3 hours so can sit back & relax until the last half hour where the veges are banged on & the glaze applied.  Kids were chomping away at there 'bones' quite happily & I have to say the only downside was how much I stuffed myself, smaller portions next bbq I say!