Thursday, 31 July 2008


Every year at around the end of July our road gets closed off for half a day on a Saturday morning or afternoon and we can't leave our house to run errands, etc. Why? So that a number of cars can race around our dirt road, churn up the gravel, scare the livestock, make a lot of noise and pollute the place. All part of some championship or other.

Whooppeee. Yes, I am very impressed. I wish somebody could tell me the point of such an exercise.

Anyway. End of rant. We had some friends over last Saturday to keep us company (uh..yes, there is also a petrol head or two in our group of friends). We had tons of lovely food and great fun. We walked up the hill and watched the cars race past the place. Took some pictures, too.

Admittedly after 5 cars I got bored. Well, you see. Here comes a car, now there is another one, then another. *yawn*
Anyway. It's over. Peace has returned. Until next year.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Froth it!

I received a few questions regarding the frother/creamer. Here is a little tutorial. Probably more than you ever wanted to know.

Fill the frother about 1/4 or less with your favourite milk. Don't fill it up more than that as the milk will expand when you froth it. Then heat it on the stove until you can see little bubbles forming.

Take it off the heat and put the plunger back on. Vigorously move plunger up and down until the milk takes on the desired texture. I like it fairly thick.

You can have little peeks - just lift the lid a little bit. It also gives you the opportunity to have a little rest.
That's the texture I like, but as I said, it's up to you.

All you now have to do is to pour your frothy milk into your coffee or espresso. You can do quite a bit of cappuccino art, just by pouring it a certain way. Do a search on YouTube and you'll see what I mean. Or do a search for 'coffee art' in your favourite search engine. It's absolutely amazing, but not necessary for the enjoyment of your delicious afternoon coffee.

Fill 'er up as much or little as you like.

Then serve with your preferred tasty morsel.

We had quite a few leftovers from the weekend. Leftover trifle and custard/berry cake. Enjoy!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Scarlet Robin

We have at least one resident pair of Scarlet Robins at our place. They are beautiful little birds.
I managed to get a picture of the male on the weekend. I wish I could have been closer, but that's the best I could do.


Frosty mornings. Walking through the frosty grass you can hear it go 'crunch crunch crunch'.
A bucket full of rain water had a lovely ice lid.

Friday, 25 July 2008

It's a boy!

A little shy, hence the slightly fuzzy picture. I had to use the zoom to get this picture.
Mother and son.

Ps.: They are our neighbours' sheep.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Yes, I'm still here. Just a tad busy.
Here's Cleopatra to entertain you. I'll be back shortly.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A little pick-me-up

Every afternoon we reach a point where we need a little rest from the office. That's when we have a cup of coffee or cappuccino.

We have been experimenting to get the cappuccino the way we like it. Freshly ground beans are a must, so is good (local & organic) milk. But how best to cream/froth it? Well, we finally found a cappuccino creamer that does the job. It is a jug you can put on the stove to heat up the milk and it has a plunger with twin filters at the end. You slide the plunger into the jug and move it up and down until the milk reaches the consistency you like.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Batch #2

I made another batch of candied peel. This time I left more pith on the peel.

You can see 3 lemonades in this picture. In the background is another small batch of chocolate coated lemonade peel. As soon as the chocolate is properly dried I will put them in a box and hide them in the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. Theoretically. However, I may have to do another quality test.

Loopy with lemonade

What do you do when your neighbours enjoy a lemonade glut?

You ask for 1-2 lemonades and they give you a dozen.
You ask for 1 dozen lemonades and they give you a whole bag of them. (I am not complaining. Thank you so much! I really enjoy experimenting with them. Samples will be provided in the next few days.)

Lemonade peel is fantastic in stewed (or preserved) rhubarb. It turns very soft and delicious (not sour or bitter).

Then you can enjoy the juice of them in your fruit smoothies. That makes them very refreshing.

The funny thing with lemonade fruit is that you expect them to be sour, as they look exactly like lemons. However, they are sweet and can be eaten just like oranges.

Juice them, but don't discard the peel. Make candied peel!

Cut it into strips, put in a pot, cover with water, bring to boil, discard water. Repeat process. This is supposed to take away the bitterness of the pith (the white stuff on the peel).

Then simmer them slowly in heavy syrup (1 cup water and 1 cup sugar brought to a little boil until the sugar is dissolved), until the peel is translucent. Dry on a rack.

Coat with chocolate. This is not necessary as the peel is delicious by itself.

Or cut the washed lemonade fruit into thick slices, simmer for a few minutes in heavy syrup, then pile them into jars and fill up with syrup. Process in your preserver. Or (if you have a surplus of rum in your pantry) pile the slightly cooked slices in jars and fill up with rum. Let sit for a few weeks, then sample. Should be good over icecream, on cakes, or straight out of the jar.

This batch was made with heavy syrup.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Komatsuna - Japanese Mustard Spinach

Big, dark green leaves and thin, light green stalks. Both are very tender and delicious. Use either raw in salads or in fried rice, pasta, or anywhere you would use spinach.

Easy to grow and great for people who are not keen on spinach. This leafy green does not have the earthy taste of spinach or silverbeet.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Rhubarb glut

The rhubarb is looking fantastic. I have been harvesting bunches of it since autumn (when the rain gave my plants a long awaited drink).
I gave them a good feed, too. A mixture of chook/horse/sheep/cow manure and a thick layer of pea straw as mulch.

Together with some lemonade fruit from my neighbours' tree they are great preserved. The lemonade is sweet, even though it looks like a lemon. I use the peel (without the pith) and fruit. A stick of cinnamon and heavy sugar syrup.

The end result.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Today's view

It's dark, cold, wet. The temperature is still hovering between 5 and 6 degrees (Celsius) shortly before lunchtime!

We have had 42mm of rain overnight and we are very happy. The tanks are overflowing and the ground goes 'squish squish' when you walk on it.
It's still raining and we have also had a bit of hail. The rain gauge is filling up nicely again (I think we've had another 25mm since 8.30 this morning.)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Dutch Cream

...and other potatoes.

Flower Gnome harvested these potatoes a few days ago. Last night we had some of the Dutch Cream for tea. Just a drizzle of olive oil, finely chopped garlic, rosemary, ground cumin, a touch of chilli, salt & pepper and roast in the oven. Superdelicious!

This is the harvest. 3.5kg of Dutch Cream in the left tub, and over 1 kg of 'Pantry' potatoes on the right. 'Pantry' potatoes are those that started sprouting while stored in the pantry and were then planted in the garden.The potatoes are brushed and then stored in a box full of shredded paper.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Splash of colour

It's stormy out there. A fierce wind is howling around the place. It's wet, cold and miserable.

But look at this splash of colour! What a cheerful sight!