Monday, October 9, 2017

Seven salads to make this season

One of the local pubs has just opened up suggestions from patrons, for the salad bar. They've even asked for recipes and created a little competition around it.

I haven't put forward a recipe, quite frankly, I hardly ever go that pub, but it has made me wonder what salads I have in my arsenal, that I could put forward.

It took me to the recipes section of this blog, which if I have to be honest, I hadn't visited for a long time. I was pleasantly surprised. I am reminded of good food memories and stories, and loads of recipes I'd forgotten about. I seriously have a decent cook book full of recipes there.

One of my goals, which I haven't fulfilled (one of these days), is to make a series of ebooks or a cook book. I just have to work out how to get started, which is the key I guess. JUST GET STARTED!

So to jog my memory, and yours. Here's seven salads to joosh up your mealtimes this spring and summer.

Pea and fennel salad

Watermelon Salad

Broad bean salad

Roast pumpkin and capsicum couscous salad

Green bean salad

Orange salad

Monday, October 2, 2017

October. So surprised to see you so soon - Taking Stock

Wasn't it just Christmas in July? Now the real Christmas is beating down our door. The last term of school is the craziest time, with so much happening. I am not looking forward to how quickly it will flash before my eyes. All I can do is hang on as tight as I can!

I love discovering and learning new things. Like what you can cook with the most unexpected ingredients. 

Making : Travel plans. My son and I are Sydney bound for a few days next week. I am SO looking forward to spending some time with him and his paternal family. It has been too long. 

Cooking : Eggless pavlovas. How? I hear you say. Well, you learn something everyday, and if I hadn't have tried it, I wouldn't have believed for myself. With the juice left over in a can of chick peas!

Drinking: Black label Johnny Walker. Our grand final weekend drink of choice. Some also made it into our chocolate mug cakes last night.

Reading: I've just finished Tara Moss', Speaking out. 

Wanting: For the rest of the year to slow down! Time waits for no one!

Looking: Out for new things coming up in the spring garden. I love the surprises like ranunculus and tulips that show their sunny faces, I had forgotten were there.

Playing: Twister. I am definitely too old for it and not as flexible as I used to be. The kids thought it was hilarious.

Wishing: I could have a relaxed week. I have two holiday homes to clean, a doctors appointment and the car is booked in for a new windscreen(darn truck flicking up a rock). Hopefully the end of the week will be a little less busy.

Enjoying: Using fresh herbs from the garden in the kitchen.

Waiting: For our new tent to arrive. We are spending New Years camping and I insisted we buy a new tent! Apparently it takes two minutes to set up. I will believe that when I see it! I can hear the arguments already...

Liking: That daylight savings has started. Longer daylight hours and with that I associate warmer days too.

Wondering: Why the hell I had to wait until tonight to find out what's been happening on Survivor!

Loving: The new bird cage my hubby built for our canaries. He doesn't like birds in small cages and he's built them the Hilton of bird cages in the back yard. They can fly!

Considering: Roasting some chillies and soaking in oil, to spray the aphids on my roses.

Buying: Loads of new plants. I got Bunnings vouchers for my birthday last month and of course I spent the lot on the garden.

Watching: The Bachelorette! Sophie Monk is all sorts of entertaining. I hope she finds the man of her dreams.

Hoping: I remember to turn my phone alarm off. We are on school holidays now, I don't coach in the holidays and some sleep ins would be awesome. No swimming lessons for the next couple of weeks either.

Marvelling: At how crazy my kids make me one minute, and how in love with them I am the next. 

Cringing: I went out to photograph the garden today, only to realise later that the memory card wasn't in the camera. Doh!

Needing: To print out some photos. Mum works at the old folks home and I was there on Saturday taking photos of the residents at their grand final celebrations. I could do it at home, but I've run out of printer ink. I should just buy more ink, it will save me having to squeeze in a visit to Harvey Norman to have them printed. Why is printer ink so expensive though?! These days is cheaper to buy a new printer with ink included!

Smelling: Coconut and lemongrass. I found a stray scentsy star tucked away in the writing desk(which is like a big junk draw!), it's scent wafted from the oil burner last week.

Wearing: Yesterday was tracky dacks and a hoody. Kinda like a pyjama day, because I had slept in them the night before! I went nowhere. Did some washing, cleaned up a bit, and watched a movie with Summer. In the arvo I checked how the winter neglected garden irrigation was working, got soaking wet, showered and put on different tracky dacks and a hoody!

Getting: Motivated to do some spring cleaning. The longer days and warmer weather does it to me every time. On my list is to clean and repaint our interior doors, also pressure clean the back deck. The walls could do with a clean too.

Bookmarking: Clothing websites(I can dream) and recipes. Always lots of recipes.

Disliking: The conflict that has arisen because of the same sex marriage vote. So much for free choice and freedom of speech. 

Giggling: At Puns on Facebook. Most of them are like really bad Dad jokes, but funny.

Snacking: Trying not to. For some reason cheese single slices are my go to snack. Like four in a row. Could be worse. Oh and yesterday it was choc chips from the pantry. 

Hearing: I love hearing birds in the morning. Wont be long and the cockies will be making their racket too. Some people hate it. I don't at all.

What new and exciting things have you learnt in the last month?

What has made you happy this week? 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bush mouse vs Beach mouse

I grew up in the bush. A small town in rural South Australia. There was a mill, a train station, a deli, a pub, several stores, a cop shop, a school and a bank. There's not much there anymore, you'd be lucky to trip over a tumbleweed. A couple of humble shops and the school remain.

It's landscape is warm and familiar, it welcomes me with open arms. Mighty gum trees, green fields and grassy roadsides.

Childhood memories flow like lava, I long for those days again. Playing in the front yard with log truck rumbling past, my brothers and sisters pumping our arms for a horn blow. Dad playing Boche down the road with the other Europeans immigrants, underneath grapevine covered greens. The smell of freshly cut pine filling the air from the timber mill.

I am torn between the bush and the coastline I now live near, although I didn't go that far. I am still only thirty kays from where I grew up. The beach is closer.

I spent a lot of my school holidays by our local beaches. Gran and Grandpa lived in Southend, their house was only a sandhill's walk away from dipping my toes in the water, or filling a bucket with shells.

The air is crisp, the waves calming. I remember many nights laying in bed listening to the waves ebb and flow on the beach. I could not tell you how many times I was nipped on the foot by a skittish crab while paddling in the surf.

I learnt how to fish on it's jetty. Cray boats scattered the bay, bringing in their catch and rolling it in on steel carts along rail lines. 

Not too much has changed here since I was a kid, mainly the people. The beach has been eroded away by huge winter seas, but I still enjoy spending the day along it's sandy shores. These days I'm a lot more sun wise, no more blistered red shoulders, that would stick to the sheets at night, skin peeling off the following week.

I am calmed by the whispering waves, as they take my cares out to sea. I take in the fresh air, deep into my lungs and expel the negative. 

Both the bush and the beach hold a special place in my heart, though I don't think I could ever life too far from the beach now. I would miss feeling the sand between my toes. 

Are you a bush mouse or a beach mouse?

Joining Denyse for #lifethisweek

Monday, September 18, 2017

Veggie growing, and eating!

Over the last week I've been getting out and cleaning up the garden after neglecting it most of the winter.

While weeding the veggie patch, I pulled up a rogue beetroot. I love growing beets. I love to roast them or make beetroot relish! That lonely old beetroot looked good for lunch anyhow.

I roasted it with eggplant, capsicum, garlic and onion, with some spices. When the veggies were      ready, I mixed in canned brown lentils and warmed them through in the oven. I served it with feta cheese broken up over the top and fresh parsley.

Growing my own veggies is something I love to do. I haven't always had too much success, which is why cooking with the veggies I do get, gives me so much pleasure. 

Summer helped me plant more beetroot seeds, and Isabel climbing beans and carrots over the weekend. Neither of them enjoy cooked veggies, but they will eat them raw!

Mum recalls me sitting in the pea patch as a kid and eating peas straight from the garden. My girls love to do that too, so I would recommend if you have kids to let them grow peas, snow peas in particular.

After getting rid of most of the ivy from around the garden there is a lot more space. I've planted some butternut pumpkin seeds, and as I commented to my uncle yesterday, I probably don't need to as Mum grows enough pumpkins for everybody! I still have some saved seed from the jack be little pumpkins(minis) that I grew last year. They are a little closer to a squash type of pumpkin. I grew them on a trellis last year, with cucumbers successfully growing below.

I planted broad beans back around Easter. They are flowering now and wont be too long until we are eating yummy broad beans. I love them with bacon, cream and pasta. My son loves this too. The last time I made it he came around the next day to see if there was left overs! Summer likes to eat broad beans raw, and well Isabel, it's hard to know what she will eat half the time.

I try to eat a wide variety of veggies, scouring the shelves at the supermarket for something new to throw in the trolley, or something I haven't had for a while. Like bok choy, which I cooked up this week in a chicken stir fry, also cooked under some fish wrapped in foil in the oven.

Do you grow your own veggies? Are you adventurous when buying veggies at the supermarket? Why don't you try something new when you are shopping next.