Sunday, 28 September 2014

Simple Living Sunday 40

Life has been busy lately with the boy's football and now athletic commitments so it has been nice to enjoy a rare weekend at home. I have been lacking motivation for the garden which I was so looking forward to planting this Spring. I am hoping that will return once I spend more time outside...and start embracing and accepting my life the way it is now. These posts always made me feel good about so myself so Simple Living Sunday is a start to finding my way back again.

The recent rains have done wonders for the mulberry tree. It is back in full form...and massive.

The branches are laden with berries...

...and judging by the various stages, I will be picking for a few weeks very shortly. Yummo!

The leafy greens have kept me going for most of this year. The kale is still plentiful, and I am loving this rainbow chard with my eggs...

...speaking of which, look at the amazing yellow colour in this omelette. The chooks have been a welcome addition to the household and I collect 3-4 eggs per day at the moment. Enough to have breakfast every day and pass on a dozen to my daughter when she comes over on Sundays.

The regular cherry tomato patch under the stairs is blooming again.

I have been slack with the greenhouse...once a day watering is not enough to keep the pots moist in the heat so I will stick to planting my seedlings upstairs on the balcony in summer.

The cape gooseberry has taken will eventually be a large shrub I discovered when I visited a permaculture farm last weekend.

The leeks are finally starting to look 'leek-ish'.

I harvested my first cauliflower and have a couple more growing. Controlling the caterpillars has been the biggest challenge. This is a purple cauliflower.

And a regular white one growing well.

The arrowroot in the food forest is starting to multiply...and add valuable nitrogen to the soil.

The mint is also spreading out...I am hoping to get some black mint going too.

The yard has been getting a big cleanup which included the fireplace. 

A welcome sight on Saturday night.

And a welcome sight on the way to work...dairy crow crossing.

That's the week at my place. What have you been up to at yours?

Friday, 26 September 2014

'Stand n Stuff' Quiche

I have recently come across this easy quiche made in the slow cooker. Last night I decided to bake some in the oven...just to make sure the shell stayed crispy. They turned out beautifully and I packed one for lunch today with some salad. So why did I call them 'stand n stuff'?

Well, because I used these beaut little soft taco boats as the base. Super easy and lower in calories than pastry.

I placed four 'boats' on a greased oven tray.

Then chopped some bacon, kale, tomato and capsicum.

I placed the fillings into the boats, then poured whisked eggs (six) to cover, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Voila! I baked them for about 30 minutes at 150 degrees. You don't want the oven too hot or the 'boats' will burn on the edges. These look a little dark in the photo but were just perfect!

How is that for the easiest, quickest quiche on the run?

                                                   Bake Play Smile

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Time To Let Go

Two years ago today I was on a beautiful beach in Nai Yang, Phuket for my sister, Krish's wedding. It was such a beautiful, romantic ceremony, complete with bare feet and these amazing parasols we picked up for a couple of dollars at one of the temples. I was so honored that Krish asked Paul and I to attend as we had shared their journey from the very beginning of their romance when they met online, and we supported Krish through her breakup with her ex.

I am so very proud of my little sis and so ecstatic that she found the love she deserved after years of turmoil. Congratulations Krish and Pete!

Ironically one of the reasons Krish asked us to attend was that Paul and I understood what it was like to have such an incredible romance...that the depth of affection we had for one another was akin to hers with Pete, soul mates. Unfortunately, at the time of going overseas we had just been through another major flood earlier that year...and it was taking it's toll on us. We really needed the break, and despite my checking on the kids all the time, we all did have a lovely time...except for one big mistake I made which I planned with Krish before we left Australia.

I arranged with the celebrant to have a renewal of wedding vows for Paul and I, under the flower arbour, after Krish and Pete were married. I wanted to try and capture some sort of romantic spark that had been missing from our marriage. Mental note....never ever spring a surprise renewal of wedding vows on someone. Like that situation would ever present itself again, right? It was incredibly awkward, Paul didn't get the gesture, and later said he didn't think it was a good idea.

The reason I share this story is that I think I realised then that my marriage was hurting, that large romantic gestures shouldn't be necessary to keep things moving. Now, two years later my marriage is over.

You cannot go back from someone telling you they don't love you anymore, that they don't want to grow old with you...and that nothing you do can change that. You have to let them go. If they are so unhappy then there is no point holding on to save your broken heart. You have to realise the fairytale is over, even though you would have tried to save it over and over again because you made solemn vows and promised to do so....and, let's face still love him.

A month ago I couldn't talk about this, hence the reason for my bloggy break. Some would think it's not appropriate to air this in public but I felt like writing what was in my heart today, especially on this anniversary of such a moving and beautiful wedding. A day that will always hold a special place in my heart regardless of who was there.

Pete and Krish, I know you will have an eternity of anniversaries and I so look forward to sharing them with you. Don't be sad for me, I deserve to be with someone that will love me for a lifetime, no matter what...just like you.

Thanks for helping me let you both so much!!

Monday, 25 August 2014

A Bloggy Break

Hey! Attention all you awesome people who read my blog. Something totally catastrophic happened to my family this week and I need to take a break for a week or so to get our lives back together.

I don't mean to be mysterious but now is not the right time to be talking about it. I promise I will once I have digested it all.

I hope you will stick with me and be there when I get back into the swing of things!

Thanks for your support xxx

Friday, 22 August 2014

Pumpkin Kale and Quinoa Salad

I was looking for an up-market salad to take to a party last weekend and thought that I would try and use up the abundance of pumpkins and kale I have at the moment. A quick Google search using the two ingredients led me to this recipe, which I have varied slightly. It is an ideal winter salad as it can be served warm or cold and it really brings out the flavours of the pumpkin without the kale being overbearing. looks pretty fancy!


800g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1.5cm cubes
Spray olive oil
Olive oil
1 x onion, finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 x teaspoon finely grated ginger
2 x teaspoon ground coriander
2 x teaspoon turmeric
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
100g trimmed kale leaves, shredded
1/4 cup slivered almonds, pepitas or pine nuts


1. Place the pumpkin on a lined baking tray, spray with oil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden and tender. As my oven did not crisp the outsides of the pumpkin cubes, I tossed them into a frypan with some spray oil to finish off.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion for five minutes until softened. Add garlic, ginger, coriander and turmeric and cook stirring for one minute.

3. Add quinoa and 2 cups off water, bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until water has evaporated and quinoa is soft. I found I had to add more water and hence increased the quantities of coriander and turmeric from the original recipe, due to evaporation.

4. Stir through kale until just wilted, then gently stir through the roasted pumpkin and almonds. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

The salad was very popular and a wonderful showcase for the fresh produce from my property.

I hope you enjoy!

Bake Play Smile

Monday, 18 August 2014

Simple Living Sunday 39

This weekend was a write off in terms of spending time in the garden and on my projects. Even if I wasn't running the boys around all day Saturday for football, the torrential rain (Yes, Rain!!) would have prevented me from getting stuck into it. The rain was very welcome though to fill the tanks a little and green up the farm after the frost.

Kale, pumpkin, spinach and citrus are the main items of produce from my garden every week now. The chooks have been laying well again and you can see the three different coloured eggs. My favourite layer Ivory has got a cough I noticed today so it's off to the feed barn tomorrow to see what I can get for her.

I keep missing the fine line between letting the broccoli grow bigger and it going to seed. I let this one go and the bees have been going crazy.

This is supposed to be brussel sprouts but I can't see any sprouting :)

Another small cabbage head survives.

This eggplant has 'regrowth' like the gooseberry so I will see what happens with it.

I was wondering if the mulberry tree would fruit again as it had an unusual season earlier this year. Well, it looks like I will have a few mulberries but not a full crop as I did not get a chance to trim the tree back.

Although the berries are out of focus, I have left this photo in as it is a great shot of the block and trees.

I read that a good thing for a sick chicken is clover and I found this patch yesterday, so hopefully that will help her. Apparently apple cider vinegar and garlic in the water can help too.

I lost the battle with my husband's arson tendancies. I will get the boys to dig the rest of the bladey grass out and I will have another garden to plant.

This Russian Red kale is amazing, almost a metre tall and has not stopped producing, even through the frosts.

The same plant I took a photo of last week, and now there is a little baby cauliflower under the leaves.

The lettuce seeds I planted last week are already beginning to sprout.

And so is the black mint which I got from Fair Dinkum Seeds.

Finally, I was asked to take a salad to a party yesterday and came up with this pumpkin, kale and quinoa one. It was very popular and used up some of the pumpkin and kale I have here. Recipe later this week.

I hope you had a lovely weekend and enjoy your week! What did you get up to at your place?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Slow Cooked Pork and Pineapple

I posted a review of my multicooker this week and had a request for this recipe. I must confess I made it up as I went along and it turned out beautifully, so I thought it would post it here. That way I will remember how to make it next time!


700g diced pork (I used forequarter chops which were only $6/kilo and cut the meat off the bones, removing all fat)
1 x can of pineapple pieces (including the juice)
1 x onion chopped
1 x red capsicum chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x teaspoon chilli powder
2cm piece of ginger, chopped
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup kecap manis
1 cup chopped pumpkin


Combine garlic, ginger, chilli powder, hoisin sauce and kecap manis in a bowl. Add to the diced pork and marinate overnight.

I then sauteed my onion in my multicooker, but if you are doing this in a slow cooker I would just add it raw. Add marinated pork, tinned pineapple including juice, capsicum and pumpkin and stir to combine. When adding the pineapple juice, the total amount of liquid you need depends on the size of your slow cooker. You don't want to cover the meat, and I find about half way up the meat level works best as the pork juices will add further liquid.

Slow cook for 6 - 8 hours on low, depending on your slow cooker. I had mine on timer and when I got home I added some homemade natural yoghurt to thicken the liquid a little. You could also use sour cream or a little cornflour mixed with water.

Serve with basmati rice. The pork falls apart on your fork and is rich with asian-inspired flavour.



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