Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Love lasagna?

I'm off for a few days R & R with some friends-leaving His Lordship to fend for himself. Ergo, rather than let the poor man set the kitchen on fire starve, I've put together some meals for him to feed himself with until I return. :)

1kg of beef mince for $6 can be used in a variety of ways-but as His Lordship LOVES lasagne whipping one up was a no-brainer (using 750g of the mince). I also used the other 250g to make up some small meatballs to serve in a rich tomato sauce over pasta.

How do you stretch your mince?

Cooking is not the tidiest of occupations.....

The stovetop where the béchamel sauce and meatballs in rich tomato sauce are doing their thing....

Lasagna ready to go in the oven-I add enough cheese to the béchamel that I don't need more over the top.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicken yoga....

Our friend's baby has been given an interim diagnosis of Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclunus  ; which is a great result after the stress they have undergone this week.

This morning sees little spots of green breaking the soil where I sowed seeds the other day. The rocket, lettuce and Asian greens are all showing their heads ( so to speak!) and to keep them company, I bedded in 18 odd cabbages today-made up of a mix of savoy, red & drumhead varieties.
 The peas are also swelling and sprouting....
 Some of the ladies are taking serious steps to ensure that they stay in fine form this winter-no battle of the bulge for Roxy as she takes up a form of yoga!

Some of the other girls should perhaps take some pointers..... I'm looking at you Lucy!

Whereas Twinkle has her mind on other some privacy please!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Yesterday we heard that friends are going through every parent's worst nightmare. Their week old baby (their first and born on Mothers Day) has been rushed via Air Ambulance to the Royal Children's Hospital after suffering fits. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they await answers. XXXX

With my mind elsewhere I decided to spend this morning cooking up a couple of meals for the freezer & fridge. The weather has definitely turned towards winter-so I chose to use the ham hock left from Christmas to cook a batch of pea & ham soup (our daughter had cooked up a pot when we visited last weekend and I've been craving it ever since!).

Plus, a pack of split peas ( pre-soaked), a couple of chicken fillets and sautéed vegetables  thrown together has given me a huge pan of savoury split peas.

Both dishes are incredibly frugal and say nothing of downright delicious! :) I also threw a loaf of sourdough bread in the oven ( it had been left to rise overnight)-so we will have fresh bread with our pea & ham soup.

What are your favourite comfort foods?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday's musings....

We spent the weekend with one of our daughters and her family-they live 3.5 hours away and we drove over so that they could go out for dinner without their one year old..... For The First Time!
As they are expecting their second later in the year, this may be one of the few times they get to go out and "be grownups" together for a while!
My parents met us there for a daytrip-they are 2 hours from our daughter's home & 3.5 hours away from us. We all took our grandson to the park and four generations of our family had fun together-with the older males all trying chin-ups and climbing a rather large tree- with varying degrees of success I may add!
I have such a satisfying sense of continuity when we have multi generational outings like this-how lucky are our grandchildren to know not only their grandparents-but also their great-grandparents and in the case of my husband's grandmother, great-great grandparent? There is every chance that these grandchildren of ours will live into the 2100's-and they will have memories of someone who was born in 1918!
It is for this next generation that we decided to buy this land & build this home-when our grandchildren visit here they are in contact with the soil and animals which provide food. They help with baking-and eating. As the years go by, without realising it they will be gaining knowledge and skills-and more importantly to me...memories.
We had a casual drive home-stopping at whatever took our fancy along the way ( stuffed camel anyone? I kid you not!) and arrived home to land that is finally taking on a verdant hue after the recent rain.
No photos I'm afraid- I was too busy enjoying our time. :)
This morning sees MORE rain-deep and soaking. The plants are no longer dusty and seem to turn their faces towards the sky and glory in it's gift.
I am working indoors this morning, housework; then this afternoon I will head into work for a few hours. Today, I am content.
Gratuitous chicken shot of one of our older hens Betty:

Friday, May 17, 2013


This is my morning walk......
Overnight it has been raining-a week's worth of wet weather now. The 7 days prior had been warm- a glorious Indian Summer. The two combined have caused plants to celebrate-to deepen their colours and burst into growth.
I step from the patio and stop to smell the roses....
After crossing the regions of the backyard, I enter the vegetable garden-on my left the newly planted raspberry canes ( yes, I braved the weather yesterday to get them in-dedicated or delusional, I'm not sure which!)
I check on the two beds planted with seeds- the one in the background has been laid solely with broad beans; after harvest these will be used as green manure for Spring planting. The bed in the foreground has had peas, spring onions, lettuce mix, black Kale & red pak choy planted-you can see the divisions roughly laid out by the stakes & scrap pieces of wood.
Onto the orchard gate-where the Committee Of Management await. They worship me as Bringer of the Bucket-as it is I who brings the scraps they so desire!
Follow the Great Bringer of the Bucket girls-quickly now, displease her not!
Oh leaving are you? Well, we have this lush section of damp, worm ridden soil to, please excuse us if we don't follow you back. Have your people call our people and we will see what we can do about chatting another time ..........maybe....................
Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love the living....

 I awake-yet again after a sleepless night. I tossed, I turned, I pummelled my pillow ( and nearly His Lordship-snoring like a chainsaw!) and I lay mind racing through the dark hours of the night.

Finally I slept for an hour or so and when I decided to climb out of bed found that my planting plans for the day would have to be put aside. Since last Sunday ( and after the driest 6 months on record) it has rained....and rained some more. I haven't been this excited about a puddle since my waters broke in the middle of the shopping centre with our middle child! To much information? ;)

Instead of planting more seeds for winter greens , or laying out  the raspberry canes which arrived yesterday I have muddled around the house. Washing is done, kitchen cleaned and linen closet tidied.

Now I am sitting in our newly rearranged living area-which has become one of my favourite spots to sit. We have added a large floor rug; which has lead to adding more blue in the room. Plus, His Lordship and I bought a lamp-not just any lamp though...... we bought Basil!

His Lordship has never shown one iota of interest in homewares-so when I hinted started musing aloud that I thought we needed to find a new lamp for the living room there *may* have been a touch of eyerolling on his behalf!
Imagine my surprise when we both spied this gorgeous owl lamp at Adairs in Melbourne and he ACTUALLY said that he LIKED it! Now imagine the little happy dance performed in public when we found out that it was 30% off (me-not him....His Lordship only ever dances on the inside...) !
Why Basil I hear you ask? His lordship is a fan of Fawlty Towers ( Classic British Sit-Com) and the day before had followed me around the supermarket saying " Basil.... Basiiiilll......Baaaaasssil"  ( after I had put a bunch of basil in the basket) to mimic the wife Sybil from the series.... Fawlty Towers
Ergo-our new household member has been named Basil to remind us off the weekend.
Here he is in the living room with it's new touches of blue-and under the supervision of our cat Houdini..... the red spot on the floor is Houdini's favourite toy!


This is the room a month or so prior-an improvement no?

Linking up at No Minimalist Here, Feathered Nest Friday

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pumpkin loaf? Don't mind if I do!

Recently, this recipe for a simple potato loaf was generously shared by Joybelle.
 I read it and filed it away in the back of my mind-planning on baking it at some point.

I woke up this morning to heavy rain & howling wind and after some housework and seed planting, decided to give the recipe a try...but with a twist!

I doubled the recipe and replaced the potato with mashed pumpkin. The pumpkin holds more moisture-so I added a little more Self Raising Flour. It does make a very wet mix-but the resulting loaf is moist and more-ish!

This is an easy recipe- and will be used again...I may even try it with potato!

Let me know if you give it a whirl......

Linking up at:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Discover Down To Earth....

If you could find a place where you were welcomed with open arms, ushered to the kitchen table like an old friend and offered cake & coffee ( or tea), where you were never judged and could delve the depths of knowledge and wisdom...would you go there?

Such a place doesn't exist I hear you say..... ah ,but it does my friend!

 In this place you will always find a friendly shoulder and a willing ear-in this place you can unburden your troubles or offer the hand of friendship yourself. You can laugh and cry, share and seek solace.

Where is this Nirvana, this Fabled Land I hear you ask? Here my friends, it is here:

Come visit, I'll put the kettle on.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cupboard love.....

At times in my life there has been an aching emptiness...something is missing and I cannot rest until the gaping hole is filled...dramatic, no?

Let's tone down the histrionics a tad-the reality is that I was looking for "something" to finish off our dining area. That something needed to fit with the vision I had; of being sturdy and useful, preferably with some age about it needed to be cheap affordable!

One day whilst wandering aimlessly actively sourcing such a " something" my eye fell upon this:

I held my breath as I tried to locate a price tag-nothing! After seeing similar cupboards priced at $200+ I wasn't optimistic...... I hunted down a staff member and hopefully asked how much. " That old thing" she says... " if you really want it, you can have it for $75". SOLD!
I couldn't back the car up quick enough to load my new baby in- I was terrified that she would realise that it was actually $175!
Home we came, lovingly I unloaded this beautiful ( what -can't you see it's gorgeousness? Must be my photographic skills! ;) ) old piece of furniture. It's an old cupboard and appears to be locally made ( by the label on the back). I think it's either a gentleman's cupboard or a children's wardrobe by the hanging rail inside. At some point someone has cobbled together a shelf from recycled wood and installed it on the inside.
My plans for this baby did not include leaving it in it's original state-oh no. A bit of homemade chalk paint in a custom mix ( bits & bobs from our garage!) and two hours later we have this:
It's not weird to want to caress a cupboard is it?

The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Autumn activity..... a dreamy Autumn day. Sun is streaming through our windows, warming the inside of our home. Lightly blows the breeze and I have a morning at home to utilise.

The freezer yields 1.5kg of strawberries, frozen at the height of summer's bounty-strawberry jam is made...5 jars now sit glowing on my kitchen bench. Alongside the ruby hue is my sourdough starter ( Edie), newly fed in anticipation of sourdough bread and English muffins and keeping company is the cooling beef casserole base which has been pressure cooked into succulent tenderness......3 or 4 meals worth for us.

Mine is a working kitchen- it has the capability to look "pretty" but is rarely is clean but not magazine feature worthy! There is always something from the garden hanging around-at the moment there is a plate of pumpkin seeds drying in anticipation of next season's planting; a bowl of the last tomatoes and a large pumpkin.
Later this week we will have most of our children, their partners & children here for dinner and my hard working kitchen will provide plenty for all.
What is your kitchen like?
Linking up at:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Vege out.....

This weekend was a productive one for His Lordship and I-we finally managed to finish laying out and edging the vegetable garden beds as we have been planning for waaayyyy too long. In recent times we have been too busy on weekends to get anything done-so this was a satisfying couple of days!

 The centre section of beds gives us 10 large beds with pathways to access all. We also have deep beds running along the boundary fences-these hold the blueberry bushes, asparagus crowns ( more to be planted this year), rhubarb and will also have raspberry canes ( I have to replace the ones we had after they were drowned due to water flooding from next door last year-our neighbours have done some drainage work so hopefully that issue is resolved!).

Above: Standing in the Eastern corner with our home just showing on the left. The covered bed in the bottom right of the photo is one of our 3 raised strawberry beds.

Above: Looking to the left ( North) as you walk through the gate. Chicken shed in the background, with chickens wandering through the orchard.

His Lordship and I also took the opportunity to head across to Port Fairy and walk around Griffith Island and stop at the lighthouse there. The walk is a comfortable hour long trek-and this time we spotted 6 wallabies, a number of raptors-plus a lot of shearwaters ( mainly the dead ones!).

We live in a gorgeous area and taking the time to act like "tourists" in our local towns is not only a refreshing recreational activity, but is also nice and frugal too!
How about you-what thrifty activities do you have in your area?
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