Here you will Find Topics such as Organic Gardening, Biodynamics, Whole Earth Gardening, Artisan Sourdough Bread making, Cooking from Scratch, Candle making, Soap Making, Beekeeping, Simple Living, Stockpiling, Energy Saving, Living Frugally and lovingly sharing with like minded people.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

    Wishing you all the very best for


Shirley :):)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jacaranda Time

Here in Australia it is Jacaranda time, from around the end of September until the end of November the Jacaranda trees flower, they are the most beautiful tree, no leaves at this time of year just a mass of flowers.
 A street lined with Jacaranda trees magnificent.
A close up of the gorgeous flowers.

I absolutely love to see these trees flowering, they take many years from  planting before they flower but oh so worth the wait.

Have a great day Shirley :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Total Eclipse of the Sun

This morning here in Australia we have been lucky enough to witness a Total Eclipse of the Sun.  Although here in Brisbane hasn't been the best vantage point at the moment there is a dimmed light as the moon passes in front of the sun.  

Many people from all over the world have gathered at Palm Cove close to Cairns in far north Qld as this was the best place in the world to view this phenomenon.
This is a rare event and will not be seen again for many years.

Have a great day Shirley :) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

In My Kitchen

In my kitchen this month is a super active batch of Spelt Sourdough Starter.
 I made a delicious loaf yesterday using this starter.
I purchased Annabel Langbein's new book Simple Pleasures and made these Brownies with a secret ingredient that makes they beautiful and moist "dates"!
A new heavy Mortar and Pestle I purchased from a local kitchen shop that was on special.
A healthy mix of grass fed beef, vegies, kale cooking away in my Emile Henry Tajine.
Lastly a beautiful pottery dish that I purchased on a recent visit to the little town of Maleny tucked away in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my kitchen for November.  Why not visit Celia at who gives us the inspiration for this series of posts, there you will find many others who give a glimpse into their kitchens every month.

Enjoy your weekend.

Shirley :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breakfast Oh Yum!

                A picture says a thousand words!  Breakfast Oh Yum!
Have a great day!
Shirley :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Everything Small

We had a delightful day out today at the Small Breeds Expo here in Brisbane.
Aimed at small acreages, I think my favourite was the cattle and miniature donkeys.

Have a great day Shirley :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Driving Over Lemons

A series of books written by Chris Stewart (former Genesis drummer).

Driving Over Lemons

"An idyllic life in a remote, sunny part of Europe is a fantasy normally punctured by harsh realities, and abandoned.  Chris is made of sterner stuff.  Driving Over Lemons is a wonderful account of his Andalucian adventure."
A Parrot in the Pepper Tree

"This follows Driving Over Lemons, three years on, on their farm as they get to grips with a misanthropic parrot who joins their home, Spanish school life, neighbours in love, journalists beating a path to their door and the shock of discovering that their beloved valley might once more be under threat of being engulfed by a dam".

The Almond Blossom Appreciatiion Society

"The sequel to Driving Over Lemons & A Parrot in the Pepper Tree, Chris Stewart's optimism and zest for life is as infectious as ever"

Three great books I picked up at my local library and haven't been able to put down.

Two books I purchased recently.  The Gourmet Farmer deli book (from the TV series) where Matthew Evans and his two best mates share their skills for making everything from cheese and butter to hams, sausages, smoked fish and pickled vegetables, as well as simple recipes using these ingredients.

Whole Larder Love , Grow, Gather, Hunt Cook, by Rohan Anderson. "Primarily concerned with how to live off the land and provide himself and his family with fresh, local food, Anderson has become an expert hunter, fisher, forager, gardener, pickler and sometimes barterer.  In this book he shares his healthy and Sustainable secrets and experiences.

Also both well worth a look at!

Have a great day, I'm off to do some mulching in the garden.

Shirley :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Local Gardening Group Visit & Another Great Loaf

We belong to a gardening group, we meet monthly usually at one of the members gardens where we get to have a look around their garden, share ideas, chat with like minded people.  It is a food growing based club and it is growing quite rapidly in membership as prices rise and people are looking to produce more of their own fresh fruit and vegies.

Here are a few photos from our October meeting.

It was a lovely way to spend a few hours and I find one gets inspiration from visiting other peoples gardens.
Freshly baked this morning straight out of the oven, yum! 

Have a great weekend.

Shirley :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quick Bread Recipe

Bread is one of those foods that when made with you own hands, gives great satisfaction.

Late in the afternoon before the day you want the bread, take a large bowl and measure in three cups of flour. Add ¼ teaspoon of dry yeast and a teaspoon of salt. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add 1½ cups water and mix the ingredients together with your hands until all the flour and water have mixed together completely. This mixing (not kneading) will take less than a minute. If you have to add slightly more water or flour to get a moist dough, do so. The amount of flour and water you use will depend on the type of flour you use, and your climate.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it on the kitchen bench overnight. During the night it will puff up and expand, but not as much as your regular bread dough does.

The next day, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it. You want it to look smooth and to all come together, but this will only take a minute, no longer. Form the dough into a tight ball, with a smooth top and a folded bottom and place this ball on a clean tea towel - just to help you carry it over to the oven.
About 15 minutes before you're ready to put the dough in the oven, place a cast iron dutch oven, with lid, in the hot oven and let it heat up to about 260C/500F - or as high as your oven will go. When it's really hot, slide the oven shelf out slightly to give yourself a bit of room, bring the dough over to the oven and plop it into the dutch oven, smooth side up and snip the top of the loaf with a pair of scissors. This helps the loaf rise and will give you that rustic look you want in a loaf like this. Put the lid on the dutch oven, close the door of your oven and let it bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn down the heat to 200C/390F, remove the lid and let cook for another 15 - 30 minutes (depending on your oven).
Same recipe using rye and grain flour.

The type of container you bake in is important. It must have a lid to give the loaf a steamy environment in which to cook. The container needs to get really hot because it's the very high heat when you start that gives the bread a great oven lift so it bakes as a tight ball and doesn't spread out over the bottom of the pan. I don't grease my dutch oven but I do put in a small disc of baking paper on the base.
For a larger loaf, use 5 cups of flour, 2½ cups water, 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon dried yeast.
Using this method you'll great a great loaf for very little effort and even though it's not a real sour dough, it looks like one and it has a good taste. The crust is crunchy and chewy but it goes softer as the loaf cools. It has a good flavour but it's not as developed or complex as a good sour dough loaf. Still, for an everyday loaf that doesn't take much effort, this one is a beauty. I hope you try it.
From Down to Earth Blog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Getting Ready for Summer

Over the weekend I potted up new herbs, added some new potting mix and pruned our potted lemon and lime trees on the deck.  I picked up three Poang Chairs pre-loved on Gumtree, three for the price of one.  Gave them a colour change so things are looking great for a relaxing spring.
New Herbs Planted in the Old Pots
Dwarf Lemon & Lime Trees Pruned and Potting Mix Added
The Ikea Poang Chairs that I purchased second hand 
Fabric washed and given a colour change
makes a world of difference
They are so comfortable, easy to fall asleep in:)
               All set up ready for some relaxing outdoor summer living.

Have a great day.

Shirley :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yesterdays Baking

As we have an overload of eggs I thought I would make a pavlova for desert yesterday, we all love pavlova, yes lots of cream but the fresh fruit more than makes up for the indulgence.
Ready to pop into the oven.
Lastly a loaf I made yesterday, I was so happy with the finished baked product, it tasted great had a lovely chewy crust.  It isn't sourdough but nevertheless was quite delicious.  I used 2 cups of bakers white flour, 1 cup of attar flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, half tsp dried yeast, 1 and a half cups of water, a couple of spoons of chia seed, Pepita's, sunflower seeds, baked it in a really hot oven for the first half hour and turned it down to around 180 C for the remainder of the cooking.

Have a great day.

Shirley :) 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

In My Kitchen for September

Spring is here, hooray, however the heat has arrived here in Brisbane up in the high 20"s today though the evenings can still be cool.

In my kitchen this month A set of Neoflam saucepans, these can be used on the cooktop, as a cake tin, a casserole dish, very versatile, attractive and oh so colourful.  They have a removable clip on handle and stack so easily for storage.
 A set of Baccarat knives in a lovely wooden block, I have been a shocker with knives, always blunt so these are proving to be a pleasure to use.
A bottle of 12 year old Muscat we received as a gift, very rich, I find it very much like Madeira wine, love it.
Lastly a jar of Organic Agave Nectar to use as a sweetener in cooking, in recipes 25% less nectar is used than sugar required.
Take a look at what others are doing in their kitchens at Celia's blog, it's very inspirational and she is a great photographer.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend:)


Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Kale" Flavour of the Season

In almost every recipe one sees this time of year Kale is being used as an ingredient, so many claims of benefits to health.

I have a few varieties of it growing here in the vegie patch, we have been having it steamed and in green smoothies.

This is a very attractive purple stemmed variety.

The leaves of this variety are so dark and shout out healthy!

Another very attractive curly leafed variety.

They grow very easily and haven't been bothered by any pests.

I just love the deeply crinkled leaves of the Savoy Cabbage, a little longer to go before they are ready to harvest.
This year we have chosen to grow purple podded peas, the pods have been a little slow to develop and aren't quite as big as the green varieties.  They say everything purple is the in colour to be eating for healthy superfoods, the flowers are very colourful in the vegie patch to.

What have you got growing in your vegie patch at the moment.

Enjoy your weekend.

Shirley :)