Monday, October 30, 2017

Growing broad beans this season? Here's two ways to use them.

I am well aware that broad beans are an acquired taste, and not everyone's cup of tea.

A bit like Brussels sprouts really. Both can be cooked up in the same way. If I had the choice, I'd choose broad beans, hands down.

Broad beans are easy, they are not fussy and easy as to grow.

At the start of Spring, choose a patch (a metre by a metre). Dig it over and sow some seed(about 12-16 seeds). You will soon be rewarded with loads of yummy beans.

1. Broad bean and bacon creamy pasta.

Boil up two cups of pasta shapes( I used curly macaroni here), in the last couple of minutes, add a cup of shelled broad beans. If they are large and older broad beans, you may have to peel the beans (once cooked), as the skins are usually tough and chewy.

While the pasta is cooking, fry off the bacon. Add the garlic and stir, add the cream and simmer for a few minutes until the cream starts to thicken. At this point add salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the cream mixture, stir through and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, if liked. One of my girls loves the stuff and won't eat pasta without it. 

2. Broad bean and bacon fry up.

This is one of my favourite broad bean side dishes, as it takes no time and is ready in a flash, and Oh. So. Tasty.

Slice a small onion, a few rashers of bacon and cook them on a medium heat until the onion is soft.
Add two cups of cooked broad beans and stir until combined and the beans have warmed through.

Monday, October 23, 2017

And in the door she walks...I'm back!

You may have noticed I didn't show up for Open Slather Monday last week.

I'd spent the prior four days travelling and visiting with my sons family in Macquarie Fields, south of Sydney.

It had been 12 years too long for me, and seven years for Jake, since either of us had seen them.

My son and I travelled five hours in the car, then flew from Avalon, near Melbourne to Sydney airport. After all that I was even stoked to then jump on a train out the southern suburbs. It had been too long since I had stepped foot on a Sydney train. 

The next few days were amazing. A piece of my heart will always be in Mac Fields, with this family. 

There isn't any place on earth that makes me feel so alive, so at home, so free to be...myself. My heart again, became immediately entwined. Leaving hurts so much, like chunks of meat separating from the fibres of my heart, glued with the strongest adhesive that is love, acceptance and an unspoken understanding. 

The trip home was hard, from the goodbyes at departures to the last leg of the road trip home, where I shook my head, my brain telling my heart to STOP IT, a knowing smile on my face.

I had the chance twenty years ago to pack up and go. Something stopped me, and I can't help sometimes to dwell on it. Especially this last week. I have to realise that the past is the past and I can't spend too much there. What ifs are just that. What was will never be again. My son however, is so blessed to know and have them in his life.

I woke on Sunday morning at 5 am. Jake's nan dropped us off at the airport, we flew at 7:45, then drove again, five hours home. I was knackered and emotional. Emotions I kept to myself, because how can I go back to my husband and tell him I had doubts about leaving my sons father those years ago. I was grieving in a way, of what was. I've been weird all week. 

I know it is all for the best now. But last week I didn't have the physical or emotional energy to blog. I gave myself a break. 

It was quite the trip. It's been a long time since my son and I had travelled together, after all we've been through over the last few years. He handled it like a champion. Even with me crying on the plane home, he asked me in the most beautiful way if I was alright. I told him I always get sad leaving his family. Again his strong yet gentle, caring ways shone through as he told me, "It's alright Mum". And at that moment I knew that everything was alright. 

This trip was meant to happen, the timing was perfect, and the way I was feeling was normal. 

Life is all about the learning, sometimes it's lessons are hard, on our minds and our hearts. The most important thing to learn is that life does go on, and we must embrace every day for what it is, a new beginning and to live in the gorgeous moments that every new day brings. It's also about knowing when you need to cut yourself some slack...

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? 

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