Showing posts from May, 2011

The Last Day of Autumn

It is a beautiful day here today. Warm after the freezing cold of yesterday and sparkling after the rain.
It looks like it might rain a bit more later on though.
Its the last day of autumn, our autumn has been unusually cool with several heavy frosts already.
It has also been quite wet, following a wet summer.
As a result we have beautiful Autumn colour in the garden and a huge crop of citrus fruit.
We have been eating mandarins for a while although they still a bit tart.
This morning I picked the first of the grapefruit. It has good colour and was a nice balance of sweet and tart. There are about two dozen on the tree this year.

My pomegranates are a bit of a disappointment as they didn't set much fruit in the end. Only this one beauty has made it to harvest. Maybe there will be more next year.

The bush roses have grown quite well over summer and some of them are putting on a great display of  bare red branches with bright red hips.

Caramelised Onion and Roast Pumpkin Tarts

Yesterday I was baking things to take to a Biggest Morning Tea. I am more a savoury person than sweet so thought i would make these little tarts. As I said to someone yesterday it is more an idea than a recipe.
First I made some shortcrust pastry, my fail safe recipe is to put one cup of plain flour in a small food processor, add 2 ounces of butter, about 80 grams I think that is, process and then gradually add about two tablespoons of cold water and process until it forms into a ball and then wrap in glad wrap and rest for half an hour. This always works and is a very nice pastry as well as being robust.
After half an hour roll out thinly and cut into rounds with an egg ring or something similar, then place in greased patty pans. Onto the pastry place a teaspoon of caramelised onion, my recipe, thinly slice four onions, place with 1/4 cup of olive oil and some sea salt in a heavy based frying pan with a lid on. Cook on medium for about half an hour, stir occasionally but you want it …

The passing of time

I have an acquaintance who always arrives in a flurry and complains endlessly of how busy she is. More than any of my erstwhile colleagues in the world of welfare, and that is really saying something. This caused me to reflect on the nature of busyness and the passing of time. Our lifestyle presents many tasks and occupations that need to be done in order for our life to be lived in this manner. Chooks need to be fed, goats let out, bread made etc.   Then there are the dogs that need walking and the old horse who needs a bit of TLC to make it through the winter. Don't forget to make the yogurt or there will be none and those tomatoes need to be pickled today. That is how may days go when I am at home. These days I am also the editor of the Monthly Eugowra News so I need to make some time to attend to this, maybe make a phone call or write a story. I hope to have time to fine tune it all before publication. The majority of the tasks that fill my day are things I have chosen to do. …


Most of the blogs I read Celebrate Country Life and are full of lovely food, images etc. I am all for this but today I just want to get the "Mice" thing off my chest. The Mice plague has turned me into a cheerful killer, now how did that happen? Last night I was talking to my neighbour on the phone about the most effective way of killing mice, we exchanged some tips. This neighbour is a very urban man, still running his Sydney consultancy business but the mice have brought us to this.
We have numerous traps in the house, the little grey snap ones. They work well when baited with peanut butter, i don't think I will eat peanut butter again it is now firmly associated with these horrible creatures. We  thought the wet weather might spell the end of the plague, but to date what is has done is bring them back inside. I have caught three in the bathroom already this morning and it is only ten thirty. I literally emptied the trap, put it back in place, sat down and snap, anothe…

Home Made Filo Pastry

I love watching cooking shows and despite some of its obvious flaws  am a masterchef tragic, I learn so much from these shows.
A week or so ago George made home made filo pastry, I was really interested in this and looking for an opportunity to give it a try.
We were going to a trivia night on Saturday and needed to bring some food to share so I thought I would make some little pumpkin pies using home made filo.

It looked easy when George was making it and the surprise was it was actually very easy.

Filo Pastry
400g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons Olive oil
200 ml warm water

process all ingredients in food processor until it forms a balls
knead for a few m inutes and place in a lightly oiled bowl
cover with glad wrap and let rest fro about two hours

Then divide into eight pieces
Put through pasta machine on highest setting then fold over on itself and repeat
Gradually decrease setting on machine and put the pastry through until it is very thin

cut into desired shape, I made small rectangles …

Preserving my olives

I picked our first olives about ten days ago, very exciting. It didn't look to be many but there were one and a half kilos. I did lots of research and decided to try and preserve them in the following manner. first I washed them all and then cut a small slit in each olive. I then placed them in a large bowl and covered them with water. I changed the water and rinsed them every day until today. Today i made a brine on salt and water, half a cup of salt to four cups of water, to which I added half a cup of red wine vinegar. I put the drained olives into the jars and filled them up with the brine. I poured a small amount of olive oil on the top and sealed them up.
I am going to keep one jar in the fridge and try them every so often to see how they are going.
I ended up with seven jars of Olive,s two of them a quite big jars so that will do us for quite a while. There is still about a half kilo on the tree so I'll pick them later today and process them in a different
manner. i kno…


After  two big early frosts I thought it was time to harvest the remaining pumpkins. I was really glad to do this as they had got quite out of control and between pumpkin vines and rampant Kikuyu the side garden was very untidy. Next year I will keep them under control!
I grew out a rond de nice Zucchini and a Trombocino for their seeds. They did quite well and the trombocino did a lot better than the conventional Zucchini.

The best of the pumpkins has been the volunteer that grew in Jemima's garden. It produced the bright orange and green pumpkins. I didn't plant these so have no idea what variety they are, but they are delicious, very sweet, they were also hardy and produced well. I don't think they will store that well though so will use them up before some of the harder skinned ones.
I harvest one giant pumpkin, after the earlier disappointment. It is a decent size and I was sure it would weigh in about the 25 kilo mark! not so, it is a meagre 13.7, the record at the S…

The Last Rose of Summer

Well almost and isn't it just beautiful.

We have roses for at least nine months of the year here, from September until June usually.
This year is unseasonably cold early. It is only mid May and we have already had two significant frosts.  I guess that will mean the end of the roses. The Autumn blooms are my favourite as the rose bushes are usually less stressed than in the summer. This year though we have had a lot of black spot on our roses as it was such a humid summer. Looks like I will be planting more roses this winter as we have another Joey on the way, I think I will stay with the Just Joey's as interplant with some Salvias. I am also going to plant a formal garden of standard roses next to the veranda. hopefully the building will be finished in time to plant them. I think I will plant half icebergs and half Just Joeys and  plant a border of our little lime green/ variegated geranium.

The past two days were cold and frosty in the morning and then beautiful days. Today t…

Our First Ever Olive Harvest

I first planted olive trees about ten years ago at our old home when I was trying to establish a Mediterranean area in the garden. They flowered a few times but never fruited. Olive trees were some of the earliest trees we planted here, I have a vision of a small olive grove that will at least supply us with table Olives, and in my wilder flights of fancy, Olive Oil as well.
Three years down the track and I have picked my first Olives. All 2 kilos of them! I am sure this will make quite a few jars of delicious olives. At the stage I have washed them, cut a little slit in them and am soaking them in water that will be changed daily for about ten days. Then I will bottle them in a brine. Hope they turn out. Have you ever eaten a raw unprocessed olive? They are truly disgusting. As with many food things I wonder who was the person who discovered you could make them delicious!


We have just returned from a short holiday. We drove to Daylesford in
Victoria, a very beautiful little town with a reputation for good gardens and good food. We were not disappointed on either count. we had originally planned this trip for the late spring but perhaps autumn is an even better time to visit this region. It was a little bit chilly, much cooler than here, but the gardens were spectacular. We visited the Botanical Gardens at Ballarat and Bendigo, I really loved the garden at Bendigo, very creative. Look at the use of ordinary succulents in this garden!

The little cottage where we stayed had a nice garden and some good gardening ideas.

We also visited the Diggers club garden at St. Erth and another lovely garden called Lambley. We were only able to see a part of this garden as although it is a nursery it is also a private home. I would love to come back and see this truly inspirational garden in its entirety. They mail order plants and specialise in dry climate plants so …