Showing posts from April, 2011

Autumn Colours and a Great Cake

We have quite a few deciduous plants in our garden now and are enjoying some splendid Autumn colours. The star is the ornamental grape that grows on a terrace outside my kitchen window. It is breathtaking. Makes washing up a real pleasure.

The entire view from that window is quite special at the moment. There are two little pineapple sage plants that have grown well and are flowering profusely. I like the contrast of the red flowers against the shiny foliage of the Lime tree.
The Citrus trees are loaded with fruit and these oranges are ripening very quickly now. they are usually ready to eat about mid May.
The other day I needed a cake to take to a party and thought I would try something a little bit different. I also wanted to test the fruit I have bottled. I found this recipe for a Plum Cake in my Stephanie Alexander book. It sounded good so I gave it a try. I used a bottle of plums that had start Anise in them. The flavour was intense and wonderful. I ended up in a bit of a hurry mak…

Reclaiming the compst

When I went to put something the compost yesterday I realised that if I didn't take action soon it would be completely engulfed by the Kikuyu. I think because we had so many years of drought here we hadn't expected the vigorous growth of the Kikuyu. We are both on a mission to get it under control. I have asked lots of gardeners how they do this, inevitably the answer is "Roundup". As we don't use chemical sprays we have to rely on digging and barriers. hopefully in the future we will stay on top of it as well.
Back to the compost, there are three bays of beautiful compost, full of worms and almost ready to use.
It looks reasonable in this area again. I will finish tidying it up today.

Look at the barrow load of Kikuyu i dug out.
The good thing about this lawn is that it is very resilient, very soft and outgrows most weeds. Just needs to be controlled.

What a beautiful morning

Last night it was rainy and cold. We thought an early winter had set in. When I woke  up this morning there was the most magnificent picture. It was misty down the valley and the sun just rising. The roses in the foreground blend perfectly with the  colours of sunrise.
It was a pretty special picture yesterday morning as well. We do have an amazing view from our bedroom window.
The magic of the morning continued when I took the dogs for their walk. In the front paddock the moisture from last nights rain had made thousands of little cobwebs visible.
The grass has been washed clean by the rain and it looks golden against the blue sky with the remnants of the morning mist in the background.
the big spiderwebs "uppy hill" are all clearly visible with raindrops still clinging to them. and the moss on the flat rock is bright green.

A beautiful morning.

Portugese Pumpkin Jam

I am looking for interesting ways to use up all my Pumpkins. I thought I would have a go at freezing some this year so we have a few over the summer months. I am also hoping that the larger blue and green hard skinned varieties will last well. We have been eating pumpkin nearly every meal, in curries, stir fries and roasted. I made a big batch of Pumpkin Chutney    and actually sold all the bottles I took to the car boot sale. The Eugowra Palate must be getting more adventurous.
I also came across a recipe for Portuguese Pumpkin Jam.
This is a real winner. Unusual, very tasty, great on sourdough toast , quick and easy to make as well.
Here is what you do.

Portuguese Pumpkin Jam

1.5 kilo pumpkin, weigh it after you have peeled and cut it into small pieces.
1.5 kilo sugar
grated zest and juice of two lemons
1 heaped tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cumin powder

Put the pumpkin and half a cup of water in a heavy based pan and cook until it is soft.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved
Add …

Summer Survivors

It has been an unusual summer here, not particularly hot and quite wet and humid. Many of my vegetables succumbed to powdery mildew quite early in the summer. In an effort to have a source of zucchini's well into the autumn I planted a few late Zucchinis. they quickly succumbed to the mildew and bore no fruit at all. However, my trusty Trombocino vine is still going strong. No mildew, lots of strong vigorous growth and providing half a dozen nice sized Tromocinos every week. The one vine has sent out random runners so I find the fruit in the oddest places. The fruits are a bit troubled by ladybugs but otherwise fine and still very good to eat. A true survivor. I will save some seeds from this vine, it certainly outdid the black beauties and rond de nice.

Another pleasant vegetable surprise has been the blue lake climbing beans. I planted a lot but only two came up and they seemed to take forever to get any beans so initially I was very disappointed. However long after the other be…

D'uccles in my garden

The other day I purchased three new bantams. They are called D'uccles, they are very cute. Smaller than the silkies with interesting feet! I haven't managed to get a great photo yet but these are  not too bad.

The little rooster is called Mr. Darcy, the mottled hen is Lizzie and the black one Jane. They have settled in well but in truth we are lucky to have them because the very first night they were here a fox got in and took two of the Silkies. As they live in a cage under the fruit trees and in our yard we have never locked them in their little coop at night. What a cheeky fox to come so close to the house. We are going to set a fox trap tonight.
Despite a general air of disorder in the garden there are many wonderful things to see.
I spied these Hakea flowers yesterday, Aren't they lovely.

And the ornamental grape is putting on a magnificent autumn display.  

Pumpkin Chutney

Today I am busy cooking for our Lion's club stall at our car boot sale. The Sale looks like being a huge success, i thought i would be happy to get ten boots booked in but have closer to twenty. Its important that we have some nice things to sell so i am making my trusty recipes. Carrot Cake, Sour Cream Chocolate Cake and Pumpkin chutney. I have often given this chutney as a gift and people always want more or the recipe. Today I am making it with a beautiful pumpkin from the garden.
Pumpkin chutney

About 2 Kilos of pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 large red onion , finely chopped
1 apple, grated
1 pear grated
handful or raisins or sultanas
1& 1/2 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger 
600 grams sugar
1 cinnamon stick
pinch ground cloves
a red chili, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
400 ml cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Put all ingredients into a large pan and boil for about ten minutes. then simmer for about two hours. You made need to add more water
bottle and seal.
Like all chutneys I thin…

Introducing my new girls!

During my blog holiday we took delivery of our first goats. Elisabet, Genevieve and Fetta are three generations of the same family. A friend of Peter's boss is downsizing her milking goat herd and was looking to sell some of her favourite goats to a good home. We have often talked about getting goats but not done anything about it. So in our usual style we jumped in and accepted the offer. I wrote earlier about learning to milk to Goats when we first looked at them. It was great to finally get them here.
the first few days were uneventful but we then had about a week of them escaping at every opportunity. Not that they went far although one day as we were driving off down the road to put Katie on her plane who should we see but the three girls out for a bit of a jaunt! Luckily they ran back home. Peter made some improvements to the fencing and they have been staying in their paddock. We will add an electric fence though. so far they have made no attempt to get in to the garden whi…

Cooking with Jemima

I have just been looking at my photos from Katie and Jemima's visit. A lot of them involve the animals or cooking. I think my favourites are of her helping me to cook. These days I am lucky enough to have a kitchen with large benches so it is easy for a small person to sit on the stool  and help to cook. Just before they arrived i found some lovely retro stools with backs for my kitchen. They became Jemima's stools for the duration of her visit.
I found myself cooking things I have not cooked for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane as well as my helper. When the girls were little one of my stand by biscuit recipes were "Hokey Pokey" biscuits. I found the recipe in the Quirind Hospital cookbook I think. anyway they are quick and easy to make, require very few ingredients and have an appearance and texture that little children enjoy. Jemima certainly did, and her Mum. Poppy Pete also seemed to like having sweet homemade biscuits in the house re…

A Cautionary Tale

I'm back from my blog holiday. I haven't been away but had loads of visitors staying here. Katie and Jemima were visiting from England so other family members came to visit them here. It was a lovely time and I will post more about that in the next few days.
We almost had a tragedy during their stay. the Central West of NSW is in the midst of a rodent plague. I suppose because it has been such a good season, there are rats and mice everywhere. Our house is very old and not all all mouse proof and we have a number of sheds. for some reason we have been in the habit of using rat bait in our sheds and our ceiling. I think we did this out of habit and with not much thought as we don't use any other pesticides. I had also come to believe the farmers folklore that eating a baited mouse or rate would not hurt the dogs.
Well we have found out the hard way that is not the case. We came home one day to find Elle (the puppy) quite listless. Katie, who had arrived home earlier, said s…