Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fairy lights turn our bedroom into a romantic hideaway

 I've turned our bedroom into a romantic hideaway with fairy lights.  
Knotted strips of white fabric soften the look of the wire. 
I used georgette: voile, lace or tulle would work as well.

The gorgeous Lily helped me with my decorating.  
I wonder how long it will be before she does a Tarzan across the room.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday again already

Another stunning day - it sounds so monotonous doesn't it? Only its not, its divine. Warm, bright and sunny, soft breeze. My perfect idea of spring. The daffies are blooming, along with lemon and yellow pansies, dark cerise rhododendruns, blue marguerites and lavender. A blue and yellow palette with shots of pink.

The chickens are out scratching - probably digging up my vegies, Kate likes to do that.  Their coop is clean with fresh with lavender and herbs to pick out. Today's selection is lemon balm, Vietnamese mint, rosemary and thyme.

The washing is all done and swaying on the line. The gardens are all watered. The dogs and cats have taken themselves off for naps. There's no one around but me and the birds.

I need to mop and vacuum but its far too nice outside for that. Those chores can wait for the waning sun.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Better than chips: spicy roast chick peas

Great snack! 

  • Dried chickpeas, soaked and boiled until soft
  • Olive oil
  • Rock salt
  • Dry spice mix eg cajun

Make sure the chick peas are dry, then mix with splash of olive oil, salt and spices.  Line a baking tray with paper, toss in the chick peas and bake for about 15 minutes. 

I've been meaning to try making these for a long time. They are worth the wait. I'll be making these on a regular basis from now on in. 

Note: cooking with dried chick peas is quite a bit of work. You need to soak them overnight and then they take about an hour to boil.  I recommend you do this however because you'll hardly believe they are supposed to be the same as canned chick peas. These are bigger, have a nicer texture and taste so much better. The way around the time lag and effort is to cook up a big batch and freeze them. They will be ready anytime you need them with no loss of flavour or texture.  

PS: I ate the whole bowl!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cashew and coconut curry: failed recipe

A couple of nights ago I tried a new curry recipe.  I promised to share the recipe. Although I love pinterest and all those who share there, this recipe did not really blow my mind. I cooked it a few days ago and have eaten it twice. Its fine, an okay meal but despite the cashews and coconut milk it's not spectacular.  Tonight I ate the curry with quinoa and broccoli and hommous which was a great pinterest idea. So that particular recipe can go into the archives.

And my neighbour says, "What are you trying to do, make it rain?"

I have just finished washing the cars. When I began, the sky looked like this:
 And now I'm finished, the sky looks like this:
From nowhere! How typical. Still its pretty warm for late winter. Whatever you are doing today, enjoy it ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eggplant in pyjamas - eggplant parmagiana

One of my favourite meals, but I don't make it very often. We had this for dinner last night and I had left overs for lunch, which was even better.

Serves 4

1 eggplant
1 zucchini
Pureed tomatoes
Mozarella or boccocini cheese
Oregano and basil

Slice the eggplant into scant 1cm slices. Cut ends off zucchini, cut in half. Cut each half into thin slices lengthwise until you have thin strips. Steam both vegetables until soft.

Mix ricotta, breadcrumbs and herbs together in a bowl and set aside.

Spray shallow baking tray with cooking oil. Pour in a small amount of tomato puree. Place the largest eggplant slices in the bottom of the tray - 1 slice per serve being prepared.

Top eggplant slice with ricotta mix, zucchini slices, tomato and a small amount of mozzarella. Repeat until all finished. Gently push down on top slice to compact.

Add more mozzarella to the top of the stack. Back in a moderate oven all vegetables are cooked through and the cheese is bubbling on top. This may take longer than you expect, and depends on how long you have pre-steamed the vegies for.

Serve with fresh basil.  Yummy!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day seven: end of a wonderful week off

I have had the most amazing week.  I have sewn, cooked and gardened my little heart out.  Oh so homespun and I don't want it to end just yet. Hopefully I have cleaned enough, cooked enough that I won't need to bother when I get home from work next week.

At long last I feel I have the head space to start to sew again. I have a number of ideas. Beginning with the functional: I want to embroider the scarf I dyed with henna back in June, at a workshop at the Maritime Museum. Then I want to stitch a pansy to reflect those I have growing in pots on the verandah. So many ideas.

I am very grateful for my week at home.

Here's how my vegie patch is looking after several hours TLC.

Believe it or not this pile is what I pulled out of the garden!

What's wrong with this picture?

I have big fat asparagus spears coming up. Yum, I can't wait to eat them. But they are several months early. That's how warm it is here.  Spring has sprung.
I've got to do this again!

Day six - cooking up a storm part 2: banana muffins, pumpkin pasties and hommous

Still cold today. I started the day with an indulgent massage. A couple of quick errands and home. Wimped out on the garden again. I actually had an afternoon nap. I haven't done that for years.  I struggled to relax - the cats kept coming and going and my mind was racing.  In the long run though it has helped me. I finished the sewing I started yesterday and I have been cooking ever since.

I have made hommous - yum!  Pumpkin pasties. There was left over pumpkin mix when I ran out of pastry so I threw that into some canneloni tubes. And banana muffins are in the oven baking away. Oh and the crock pot is full of applesauce that I will bottle tomorrow morning.

Bird's nest

I found yet another, stunning bird's nest this week.

It was lying to the side of the road when I walked the dogs. It looked like a clump of cut, dried grass. It caught my eye for some reason and I wondered. I almost kept going, but I felt drawn to check.
Oh, it is so delicate. Just cut, dried grass wound around and around.

It is delicate and divine.

Somewhere along the line I have developed a knack for finding them. I think this makes 7 or 8. I would like to display them one day. I have a glass case with tiny turned timber pedestals in mind.  In the meantime they are in plastic boxes to keep them safe.

Here's a link, and another to photos of some of the others in my collection.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Op shop finds: vintage linens

I found some super cute pillow cases and one awesome vintage sheet at an op shop this week. 
I am always rummaging around in the linens. Lets face it I have a seriously great collection of doilies and souvenir tea towels but I never find sheets.

The floral pattern at the back is a single bed sheet in great condition. I think I'll use if as a couch throw rather than cut it up. The pillow cases are pretty nice too. A white one with embroidered detail, vintage flannelette and cotton and some modern, but good quality blue ones. They'll replace some really awful "too much polyester" ones I have.

All washed and ironed now. Good work at 50cents each!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day four: freezing cold and raining, hmm let's stay inside and sew

Winter turned up unannounced today. It rained in the night and was freezing when I got up. I dawdled for a while. I wanted to go back to the gardening I started yesterday. I kept hoping it would warm up a little or perhaps just that I would get brave and ignore the chill and get out there anyway. Before I knew it, it started pouring and it didn't stop for hours and hours. Hmm what to do?

Easy! I stayed inside and sewed.

First I tidied my desk. It was a disaster.

Then I sewed two new skirts. I used a basic knee length, straight, side-zip skirt pattern that is my favourite. Fabulous fabric just needs a basic pattern. I bought this fabric ages ago. I am going to a conference next month - I think these will add some pizzazz to my travel wardrobe.
All I need is basic black tops and shoes and I'm set. 
And I've reclaimed my desk for my next project! I've had a great day. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day three cooking up a storm: spinach and mushroom lasanga

After the success of last night's sweet potato and peanut soup, I decided to keep cooking. This morning I made a fabulous lasagne and the crock pot is gently simmering away on a cashew, coconut curry.

My aim, apart from eating very, very well this holiday, is to fill the freezer with delights for when I inevitably return to work and have to endure the usual rushed days.

Here's the lasagne recipe. I was happy to be able to use greens straight from the garden and sauce I bottled last year.  I'll share the curry tomorrow, after I've tasted it ;)
I found this very collectable Henry Watson lasagne dish in a op shop for a steal last week. 
It is the perfect size.

1 packet lasagne pasta (I am now a devotee of fresh, see note below)
1 bottle tomato pasta sauce
1 large tub ricotta
1 tub silken tofu (see note below)
fresh spinach, silverbeet, kale or mix of all
parmesan cheese
olive oil spray

Lightly cook the greens until wilted. Saute the mushrooms separately.
Spray your lasagne dish with olive oil, then pour in a small amount of tomato sauce. Line the bottom with lasagne sheets.
In a separate bowl mix together the ricotta and tofu.
Spoon in some ricotta mix, and spread evenly over the pasta. Add spinach greens, again spread evenly.
More pasta, more sauce and more ricotta. Then add the cooked mushrooms. If you have any ricotta left add it here.
One last layer of pasta sheets and the last of the sauce.
Cover with alfoil and bake in a hot oven until all cooked and bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle grated parmesan on top.

Cut into approx. six servings and eat straight away or freeze individual serves.

Note: Fresh pasta
Today was the second time I have used fresh lasagne sheets (from chiller section of supermarket). I used a different brand both times: today's type has convinced me not to go back to dry, unless desperate, for a couple of reasons. Firstly you don't have to mess around trying to break corners off or splitting them, very messily, to make them fit your dish as the fresh ones flex. Secondly I was able to make better layers by pressing the previous one down gently. That doesn't work with the dry sheets.

Note: Mixing ricotta and tofu
I know I have said this before, and I'll no doubt say it again 'cos its true. If you don't tell, no one will ever know this has tofu in it, or object. You can increase the protein and eat a more varied diet this way. It also gives the ricotta mix a better texture in this or canneloni. Tofu comes in lots of different forms, look for silken tofu. It has the consistency of junket, if you remember what that was like, or the custard in a vanilla slice.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Divine sweet potato peanut soup

I made the most divine soup tonight. 
This is superb, every one will think it came from a very classy restaurant.  

The recipe is adjusted from something I found on pinterest

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup roast unsalted peanuts
1 small can coconut milk
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
juice of 1 fresh lime

Saute chopped garlic and onion briefly to release flavours. Toss in sweet potato and top up with enough water to just cover.  Bring to the boil, then simmer until sweet potatoes are soft.

Puree with a blender. Return to pan.  Puree peanuts and coconut milk, add to sweet potato puree and return pot to low heat. Add lime juice and stir through well.

Warm up the soup but don't let it boil. 

Serve and eat, eat, eat. You might like coriander on top. I scooped up with a bread roll, but could have skipped it without feeling deprived. 

This recipe has lots of flavour, you don't need all the salt in stock!

Thank goodness there are left overs for tomorrow, and next week. Oh man this soup is good and so simple, homespun simple. Definitely quick enough to make after work!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Herbs for chicken health

Today I gave my chickens a posie of herbs for their good health. 
They've been out all day scratching around. When they go in tonight there is a surprise for them hanging just near their laying boxes. I have given them dandelion, thyme, mint, lemon balm, parsley and oregano.  I found a list of herbs and their uses for chickens here. I have a lot of them in my garden already although some like parsley and oregano are in short supply at this time of year.  This way they can self medicate and eat what they need.

They have clean bedding in their nesting box which I have strewn with lavender to keep mites and bugs away. 
It is also supposed to reduce stress and increase blood circulation. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day one of my homespun bliss week: where do I start?

Day one: where do I begin? Its sunny, but windy. The chooks are scratching around in the yard. The dogs are under my feet, the cats are sleeping in their favourite sunny spot. I got lots of housework done on Saturday but I didn't quite finish it. So I suppose I'll quickly round up the rest of the vacuuming, laundry and sorting. I have a small bag to go off to charity: I think there are a few more things to go in there. 
Once that is done I'll feel I have more space to be creative. 
Oh what a wonderful feeling a week at home is! Homespunbliss ahead.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Homespun bliss for one whole week - follow my week

I am off work for one whole week! 7 days/168 hours from Sunday evening to Sunday evening.  Today I have been doing housework, setting the stage if you like for a week of relaxation, organising, reading,  crafting, gardening and cooking. One whole week of homespunbliss is in store for me. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Quesadilla with guacamole for lunch

A fancy name for toast, a quesadilla makes a yummy lunch or light supper.  You can fill it with anything: pesto and roast vegies works well. Today I suck with the Mexican theme.

Quesadilla ingredients

2 tortillas (I used spinach)
refried beans
mushrooms finely chopped
shallots chopped
baby spinach leaves
grated cheese

Spread the filling on one tortilla place second on top. Toast under the grill or in a cafe press. Use sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice into triangles.

Mash flesh of a fresh avocado.   Stir in chopped shallots, tomatoes and sweet chilli sauce.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive