Thursday, September 20, 2012

Birthday Celebrations!

Friday 21st September 2012

We have a birthday in our family today.  It is our youngest daughter's birthday, she is 19!  It only seems like yesterday that she was this small.
I just wanted to take this time to wish you a wonderful birthday Emily.

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Apron Day

Tuesday 18th September 2012

I am having an apron day today.  It started early this morning when I thought I had better turn these
along with some lemon juice

and some sugar and gentle cooking

into these lovely jars of jam

Emily and Dave got the strawberries for me over the weekend and how could I resist making some lovely strawberry jam.  I smelt heavenly.

Then it was onwards to chopping up, what I think will be the last of my turnips, along with some cauliflower and onion and soaking it all in salty water to make mustard pickles.

This needs to soak overnight so the pickles will get made tomorrow.

Our eldest daughter and fiance had their engagement party over the weekend, and as a result they had HEAPS of left over chicken.  I threw some into my slow cooker yesterday to slowly simmer away, and pulled the meat off the bones last night before straining the stock.

It produced a large bowl of chicken meat and another large bowl of stock

which all got turned into chicken and noodle soup

chicken vegetable curry (using some peas from the garden)

and a filling for a curried chicken pie.  This gave both her and Rana and ourselves three meals each.  Well worth the effort.

I will be back in the kitchen again this afternoon to make bread, bake a cake and while I have the oven on I thought I would have a go at a cabbage frittata recipe that I have found.  We will have this along with some leftover salads from the party and a pineapple tart made from some leftover pineapple we had on pizzas on Friday night.

Here is the recipe for my strawberry jam that I got from an old CWA cookbook.

Strawberry Jam

To 1kg strawberries, cut in half lengthwise, allow 1kg sugar.  Put fruit into preserving pan (grease pan well) with juice 4 lemons.  Stir till it comes to the boil to prevent catching.  Add sugar.  Let boil rapidly 15 - 35 minutres, over cooking will darken, until syrup jellies.  Cool before bottling in heated jars.

Take care

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Going too fast

Monday 10th September 2012

I can't believe it has nearly been a week since my last post.  Time just seems to fly by these days and just to think we have the build up for Christmas yet. 

I was able to get into the garden in the past week.  My potato vines had died off despite not flowering.  I'm not sure what happened to them, but decided to dig them up anyway.  I went off and got a bucket to put all the potatoes in, but this is what you call optimism!  LOL
A very large bucket!  Once I started digging I realized that my crop wasn't going to nearly as good as I thought.  The following photo is REALITY people!

Still I was super excited about my very small crop.  I decided I am going to have a go at growing potatoes again next year, but might try a different position in the garden.

My smallest potato

My largest and smallest potato

There was enough to make an egg and potato salad for dinner that night and even enough salad leftover for dinner last night, so not a complete waste!

I also picked some more of my turnips, beetroot and snow peas.  My snow peas just keep on producing and while rummaging around in my fridge for dinner last night I found another zip-lock bag full, so I made a snow pea, cabbage and sesame seed salad.
The beetroot was pickled and put into the pantry.  I'm not sure what I am going to do with the turnips yet, but I think there will be more Chinese Mixed Pickles coming up.

With the warmer weather coming I decided I would like to have some dresses to wear, so this meant a visit to the opportunity shop.  I was lucky enough to come home with 2 dresses for $12.95 each.  I am an awkward person to fit for dresses but was really pleased with the fit of both of these.

This one is a cotton and spandex blend and with the crossover at the chest it fits me lovely!
This one is a bit bright for my tastes but very comfortable so should be great for those hot summer days.  I have some kakhi wedge shoes that look fabulous with this dress.

I spent two days last week helping Ron on the building site.  Don't you just love those phone calls you get and you just know that they want your help.  Half of Wednesday was spent helping him stand the roof trusses and putting in the cyclone rods, and just when I thought Thursday was going to be nice and quiet I was asked to help him take roofing iron off the roof.  Some of the sheets were over 3 meters long, so not an easy task with the wind blowing.
I was lucky enough to be able to slip away on Friday to visit a girlfriend that I used to work with.  I hadn't seen her since I finished my job and it was great to be able to visit with her and her daughters and new grandson.  I took along my Wacky Chocolate cake for morning tea.

Wacky Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 level teaspoon bi-carb of soda
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon white vinegar
5 desert spoons melted butter
1 cup warm water

Mix all the ingredients together and then place in a greased tin and bake in a moderate oven for approximately 45 minutes.

I iced mine with creamy butter icing and then grated some chocolate over the top!

Take care

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Quick Update and a Recipe

Tuesday 4th September

I got a phone call from Emily today wanting to know why I hadn't updated my blog in awhile.  I have been busy helping Ron with the business and haven't really been up to much that is exciting!

One thing for certain is I am REALLY glad that Spring is on it's way.  I hate the cold weather and dark mornings.  I love the sun rising as I get out of bed and as we get up around 5am the sun has to be up pretty early for us! L O V E  I T.

Father's Day was spent with my parents , Bec and Rana at the beach having a BBQ breakfast.  The weather was lovely.  We did spare a thought for those families of the Australian soldiers that were killed recently.  They too were someones father, son, brother, nephew or uncle.
This was the weather at 8 o'clock in the morning!  Bit tough to take.
We have our little dog back with us. It turned out that she was more ill than the vet first thought.  She had a bad tummy bug and along with a sudden change in her diet she became very ill.  We collected her from the vet Friday afternoon and at the moment she won't leave my side.  She probably thinks that I am going to abandon her again.  She lost heaps of weight over the week and only started eating again on Friday.

The above photo is Ron and Cindy having a nap on the deck after lunch on Saturday.  They were both worn out from a huge week!

I did manage to get some time to make some Mixed Chinese Pickles on Sunday.  This is a great way to use surplus vegetables.  I used turnips, carrots, celery and chili in mine, but you could adapt the recipe to whatever you have on hand.

Chinese Mixed Pickles

2 carrots
1 large cucumber
1 red pepper
4 sticks celery
8 shallots (1 onion)

Pickling liquid
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/4 cups water

Combine the pickling ingredients in a saucepan, stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, bring to boil.  Remove from heat and cool.

Cut carrots and cucumber into strips.  Cut pepper into 1" cubes,  Slice celery diagonally.  Slice shallots diagonally.  Boil large saucepan of water.  Add prepared vegetables, then remove the pan from the heat.  Leave vegetables in water for 2 minutes, then drain for several hours.

Pack vegetables firmly into jars and cover with preserving liquid.

Stand one week before using.

Awhile ago I decided to paint an old trunk white.  This trunk had been brought over from England when my grandparent immigrated just after WWII.  It belonged to my grandmothers grandmother  and is one of the few items they brought with them.  My grandfather used to keep the tack for his horses in it when I was little and I remember it sitting in the shed.  When my grandfather passed away, my grandmother had the shed pulled down and was going to throw the trunk away.  I was able to rescue it.  It is in very poor condition with all of the paper falling off the inside.  It has had, at some point in it's life, been infested with wood worm, and all of the metal on it has rusted.  I got Ron to make a base for it to sit in and help hold it together and over the years I have had it, it has been placed in many rooms.  At the moment it is living in my "reading room" (Cindy's room, as she is in it the most often) and it has a new lease on life with it's new paint!


I hope that it will remain in my family for a long time yet, so hopefully one of my girls would like it one day.

Speaking of girls.  Emily and Dave went to an engagement party on the weekend and when I looked at Facebook yesterday I noticed that Emily had changed her profile picture.
This was taken by a professional photographer and I just love this photo of them both!

On the countdown now to Bec and Rana's engagement party!

Take care