Friday, September 27, 2013

You can't beat fresh asparagus and eggs for brunch

Brunch is my favourite meal. Really how can you beat it? It only occurs after a lazy sleep-in and it is obviously a pre-cursor to a slow day ahead.

Brunch always involves eggs for me.  And fresh eggs from your own chickens are the best.  Sorry, I know that's not possible for everyone and believe me some days we don't get any. This morning there were two eggs for the first time since Autumn.

Today's brunch was particularly lovely.  First I collected the eggs and harvested fresh asparagus from the garden.  Howard went to the shop for the crunchy bread rolls.  The chives have re-sprouted here, they always die off over winter and the parsley is bright green and healthy so I collected some herbs too.

To save water, power and washing up I steamed the asparagus on top of the poaching pan.

 It is a bright sunny Spring day here so we sat outside on the back verandah to enjoy our feast of egg, cheese, asparagus, bread, herbs and fresh squeezed orange, carrot and celery juice.
How did you start your day? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stages of a waratah coming to bloom

Waratahs are the most magnificent complicated flower. They thrive in Roberston. 
The flowers start from a tight bud like a lotus that forms months before opening.
As they open they turn from green to pale pink and eventually to red.

When finished a new branch springs from the centre growing at least 50cm before forming a new flower next year.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Foodie fair excursion: Southern Highlands Food and Wine Fair

We had a lovely Sunday outing to the Southern Highlands Food and Wine fair. I love a food market. Wish I lived in Paris or Venice when they're on every week. Its a special thing here.

We bought wine, olive oil, hot sauce, lots of cheeses, artisan bread.  There are so many more wineries lcoally now. Once upon a time we havd been to all of them, but not anymore. We need to get back on the wine trail. We ate gozleme and local gelato. We have lots of foodie delights for tonight's dinner. There must have been more than 1000 people there when we were. So wonderful to see such a huge turn out.

Here are some random foodie pics.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pumpkin brekkie bites

You know those days when you are running out the door without time for a proper breakfast? Maybe you need some finger food for a dinner party?

Try these pumpkin bites.  I threw them together this weekend and thing they turned out very well.

1. Peel, chop and steam your favourite pumpkin (or squash).
2. Mix together 4 eggs, 3/4 cup gluten free flour such as buckwheat or besan (chick pea).
3. Mash pumpkin to a puree and add to eggs and flour.
4. Spoon into a greased muffin tray.
5. Sprinkle chopped leek, sunflower seeds and a little grated parmesan on top.
6. Bake until cooked through.

I can't get enough of these at the moment.

Companion planting on a spring afternoon

I've long been interested in companion planting: the theory that certain plants are beneficial for each other in attracting the right and repelling the wrong sorts of bugs. My herb garden is a wonderful ramble of plants which Howard, who grew up with the British concept of soldierly rows, calls a mess. It is full of four types of mint including common, chocolate, Vietnamese and lemon balm, oregano, chives, and rosemary.  It has a thriving bay tree, a male and female combo of kiwi vines which are yet to fruit and a small passionfruit. Sorrel, lettuce, parsley and rocket reside in pots here.

Since I have put in raised beds in my vegie garden it has been a little too orderly for my liking. Corralling the potatoes has been a dismal failure. The books demand that they be regularly rotated to avoid blight and other spud nasties. What a stupid idea! Now I have potatoes growing in every single corner of the garden. You can never find every single tiny seed potato and they are incredibly resilient. I have planted potatoes in four beds along the back fence. Howard looks around the garden and says whats that over there: potato, and there: potato and here: potato. They are impossible to contain. I can recognise the obvious breed differences: kiplers are long and skinny, King Edwards are creamy with pink blotches (the best!), red potatoes come in a few varieties and I don't remember what I put in. The rest of the ordinary looking potatoes could be one of many varieties.  They all taste good and are quite prolific.

So potato dominance aside I am improving the rest of the vegie garden with some companion ideas. The following photos and descriptions show what I have planted together, taking a lead from Sustainable Gardening Australia. Two caveats are important here: I have not done any scientific studies and ALL commentators seem to agree that companion planting rules from the north and south hemispheres differ greatly.
I bought plants, potting mix and plants at two different garden centres and three different market stalls this morning to butymost of the plants on my list.

I love my little thrift store trolley that helps me trundle plants around the garden. 
 Much to my surprise I found all these volunteer silverbeet seedlings between the cracks in my garden path.
Most of these plants have re-seeded from last year. I added some extra spinach and lettuce seedlings today. If anyone can tell me the name of the purple leaved plants I'd be grateful: I planted them last year and have forgotten their name which is a deep shame they are fabulous.
 My onion patch has been expanded with new seedlings of onion, cauliflower, lettuce and French marigold.
I thought companion planting was all about growing well but today discovered the idea that some plants improve taste. I have added parsley to my permanent asparagus patch.

 A layered patch with snow peas, leeks, celery and spinach. A few dill and sage seedlings have been added to keep the variety going. Oh and a couple of radishes.
Harvest time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Crimson rosella comes a visiting

Isn't it the most divine bird! These crimson rosellas call our garden home. I call them my flying opals!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cauliflower bites Pinterest recipe

Oh yum, I finally got around to trying a recipe that is constantly repinned on Pinterest: Cauliflower pizza bites. I don't know where the original recipe came from for sure, but the link I followed was from: Damy.

They were a little time consuming after work but really yummy. This recipe is a keeper!

Here's the recipe verbatim. All credit to 

·         2 Cups Grated Cauliflower (washed, dried and grated using a food processor or cheese grater by hand until rice-like or thinner – Note – Approximately one head of cauliflower)
·         1/4 Cup Egg Whites
·         1 Cup 1% Cottage Cheese (drained)
·         1 Tsp Oregano
·         2 Tsp Parsley
·         1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
·         1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (Optional)
·         1-2 Tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce (Optional)
1.    Pre-heat your oven to 450 F.
2.    Using a healthy cooking oil spray your mini muffin tin.
3.    In a hot frying stir fry the “cauliflower rice” until the cauliflower is slightly translucent (about 6-8 minutes). Place in a bowl and let cool.
4.    Place all other ingredients the food processor and blend until smooth.
5.    In a bowl combine both the “cauliflower rice” and blended ingredients. Mix completely.
6.    Evenly spoon mixture into your muffin tin molds. Press pizza dough down evenly and firmly (*The pressing down firmly is very important to make sure these stick together).
7.    Place in your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
8.    Remove the pizza bites from the oven and let set until cool (This is also very important – let these pizza bites set in their pan for 5 – 10 minutes before removing – If you take them out while they are too hot they will break).
Once cool remove from muffin tin (either by tipping them out OR by running a thin knife down along the side and popping them out).

I served it with spicy salsa and other vegies.  H agreed it was a keeper that was worth repeating. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Glenelg on an overcast day

The last stop in my brief trip to Adelaide was Glenelg on the bay. I love the water. 
The water on cloudy days is always more dramatic. 
Glenelg is a lovely waterside town with an amusement park, cafes and beachy homewares shops. It is quite famous for the tram ride from the city although the tram is now a modern one.
In one of those quirky twists of fate I, who live in New South Wales, was able to meet my parents, who live in Queensland for this day out in South Australia. Love you guys.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Adelaide Central markets - wish we had these near home

The Adelaide Central Markets are a wonderful traditional food market in the best tradition of Sydney's Paddys and Melbourne's Victoria Markets. The halls are thriving, full of cheese, nuts, fruit and veg, delis, organic whole food stores. If I lived here I would do all my food shopping here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First trip to Adelaide, South Australia

My first impression of Adelaide is that is a lovely small city, very foodie, has a bit of gritty underculture, lots of students and a mix of old Colonial buildings and ultra-mod glass.  I've been here the last few days for a work conference.

I'll come back with Howard and explore the hills, the wineries and the coast.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


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