Friday, December 24

Haiku Friday

bent back and bent knees,
sand digging, looking for these.
clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Sunday, December 19

Salad of greens with mango chutney dressing

This in one of my all time favourite  salads! What greens you use are almost irrelevant. I have used coz, iceberg, rocket, english spinach, mache. Whatever you have to hand and is in season. If I'm using a head of lettuce like coz or iceberg, I prefer to quarter it and quarter again, like and orange, and lay the segments in a bowl to serve so that its easy to get both tender heart and outer leaves to a serve. I also vary the cheese used, but its always a soft, creamy style; goat curd, feta. Sometimes I layer the lettuce segments with avocado and top with a heap of fresh chopped herbs from the garden, whatever is available.
garden greens
roasted slivered almonds or whole roasted, chopped.
cheese - feta, goat curd.
1 -2 tabs Mango Chutney (I always use Sharwoods Green label)
2-3 tabs good red wine or other dark grape vinegar
3 tabs olive oil

Mix dressing ingredients well in a shaker. Place greens in bowl, top with other ingredients. Pour over salad. Gently agitate dressing in.

Saturday, December 18

Christmas menu planning

One of my most favourite meal times is Christmas. I love everything about the preparation; the reading of blogs, magazines and recipe books to find something that suits my fancy for the day and the dedication of a day or two to preparation and shopping. I like cooking anyway but it always feels much more special, probably due to the more extraordinary ingredients or volume involved.

My family have never done the roast and veg at Christmas lunch. My mum was a vegetarian when I was growing up  and so we had our own version of the roast; her marvelous Nut Loaf with Pimiento Sauce. Its stuffed with sage and onion and has a fantastic texture. To be found in the womens weekly vego cookbook.  It's now an institution as we all love it. So Christmas is always a nut loaf or two (coz we all like leftovers) and a bonanza of seafood, fish and fresh salads.

But this year I'm thinking of contributing a gingerbread spice glazed local happy ham with fresh cherry relish (coz we had a stupendous one at our wedding and I haven't had any since!), a baked ricotta with a sticky tomato balsamic glaze, spinach, persian feta and roast almond salad with a mango chutney dressing and mince tart ice-cream with brandy snap and a load of fresh raspberries. And bubbles.
Christmas Eve, I plan on eating macarons.

What are you all planning for Christmas lunch?

Tuesday, December 14

before shots

Just a few cachoux missing at this stage. A few empty welts in the icing testament to the prior presence of small, shiny edible balls; just  a little surreptitious crunching through the day kinda gave him away.

At some stage today, the Bean began getting a bit more adventurous with his help yourself.
Tonight , this is how they're going...
Just a few points missing...

and a whole mouthful.
Who can blame him? Temptation in a decoration! Don't know what his older sister was thinking when she thought making these would be a good idea!

Sunday, December 12

winding down

I'm finally learning how to incorporate this new hectic life into my slow ideals. Embrace it!
I'm reminded that I can be busy as but mindful and present, letting go of the need to control most aspects of our life has really helped. Recognizing my need to control these things is a bit of a revelation. Its really OK if the kid doesn't get a bath or have a sleep some days, even two days in a row! Enjoying life is the important bit. Letting go of some rigidity in structure really helps this. I try not to freak out about the expenditure on my new business, the ethicurean, too much, and its plodding along nicely but i really must get into some marketing next year if I am to recoup any investment in the future! lol

The girls are happy happy happy and its so lovely to have them on holidays and home! The bean loves it too, more people to play with! and more often! B2 has finished up at her Montessori primary school and is heading off to high school next year and  B1 starts her final year of school. Its a holiday to enjoy this one! The house is a noisy mess and I'm loving it. It helps that the girls have finally moved into that lovely 'adult' phase where they do dishes and washing and tidy up without being asked. this is most likely the primary reason  for my loosening of the reigns!

The Bloke is now a Councillor and is out OFTEN. He's enjoying the challenges that have already arisen (Inverbrackie - the site for the new refugee centre is in our council ward) and is beating off the rednecks who have emerged from the woodwork in force. The new council is very Green and we have a very Green new mayor. I'm looking  forward to lots of great new and exciting local initiatives in the next four years with the appointments of arts and sustainability officers for the Hills region.

Work is winding down (well except for the three new grant applications Im trying to get ready for early in the new year)  and I love  the languid sense that work gets in the last few weeks of the year with people starting to chill and the weather changing and Xmas functions aplenty. We are all looking forward to what may well be our last complete ( all 5 of us) family holiday in the New Year.

Christmas prep with the brother is working well, just received an email as he is trying to plan  the lunch menu! How good is that! Bit different to last years family fiasco! I'm really looking forward to some glazed happy ham that i intend to take. Anyone got a perfect glazed ham recipe? I love food prep for Christmas! its so...festive!

I hope your end of year is slowing down and you are looking forward to a wee break!

My that pile of crusts in the pic waiting to become breadcrumbs really needs looks a little precarious! lol

Saturday, December 11

Haiku Friday

...on a Saturday.
Freshly picked, trimmed and sauteed, 
with garlic butter.

Tuesday, December 7

Biodynamic day

This was the very Adelaide view that greeted us on our arrival  for a communal compost making fest. Ngeringa winery is a small boutique Adelaide hills winery owned by Erinn and Janet Klein, both avid sustainability champions and community minded couple and is sited on the old Jurlique herb farm ( a biodynamic farm for 30 years owned by Erinns parents, the founders of Jurlique). Our quest for the afternoon was to get a good start on the new seasons biodynamic compost pile, one that would be shared between both the winery for their vines and the newly established Adelaide Hills Community Garden; a part of the Transition Towns initiative. The land you can see behind the cellar door is pegged for development, 30,000 new homes to be built on this prime Ag land. needless to say, Erinn and Janet are part of the Stop Urban Sprawl movement , trying to conslidate growth into infill in the well serviced city areas and not cover this prime farming land in concrete foundations and asphalt roads.

A key component of biodynamic farming are the manuring processes and above you can see the tank which is full of biodynamic cow shit and water which has been nicely fermenting and fresh from Paris Creek biodynamic dairy and on the tray of the ute is a box full of BD cow pats from the dairy as well.

First task for us all was to mark the area with a layer of hay that Erinn and Janet grow for the purpose which had been sitting and drying a while. The area marked was 20m x 2m. Very thin layers are then built up to make a biodynamic compost pile. old hat, cow pat slurry (which we mixed like bakers in the box), newly cut hay from the big wheel above in the pic, a spray of slurry from the tank, a layer of old compost and then start all over gian. it took 8 adults five solid hours to get the pile just one meter high. The cows in the background are grown for meat, horns and their poo and are Scottish Higlanders, the most gorgeous cows I've ever seen!

Old compost being dumped from last years pile to be incorporated into the new.

Erinn sprays the cow shit slurry from the tank over the very small pile.

Spreading the old compost over the growing pile.

You can see why biodynamic farming produces such awesome results with such intense nutrition being nurtured in the soil stock and why biodynamic produce costs  more!
All five kids had an absolutely grand day. Our little bloke didn't skip a beat despite missing his normal two  hour midday sleep, declaring upon leaving in a blurry, somewhat battered state at 10pm that  'Jasper had a great day Mumma'

I haven't earnt a meal like that in ages. The wood oven pizzas were fantastic, especially as I wasn't in charge of this one!, isn't it a beauty?  and the wine, well , it was quite mindblowing, the voigner/chardonnay blend, well, Im in! And the view on sunset was quite spectacular. It was great to be a part of such a community minded afternoon and evening with new friends, a hard days work behind us and feeling like we are moving toward creating a healthier future and consolidated community.

Pics taken on my phone- so 'scuse the quality!

Wednesday, December 1


oven on, dough rising, chilled white wine in hand. Perfect