The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple. ~Doris Janzen Longacre

The best way to bring a sustainable change in the world around me is by bringing the change in myself

Monday, January 31, 2011

Buttermilk rusks and pita bread ... and Sandra's 3 bean soup

I thought seeing I am mentioning Buttermilk rusks so often, I might as well give you the recipe, you can buy your buttermilk at the supermarket so there's no need for you to go through the whole process of making your own :-)

This recipe is as old as time, way before I was born my grandma used to bake it, and still today we bake the same recipe. It's in pounds and I just use 500 gr per pound for dry ingredients.

4 pds plain/all purpose flour (2kg ... 454gr leveled to be exact)
1/2 pd butter (250gr)
1 pd sugar (500gr)
1 dessert spoon salt
1/2 pd margarine (250gr we used to use stork/copra do you remember them)
1teaspoon of baking soda/bicard of soda
2 teaspoons of creme of tarte
2 eggs
1 1/2 pt of buttermilk (1.640 ltr)

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Melt butter and add milk and eggs, beat together, add to dry ingredients. mix well. Prepare a deepish baking tray or bread pans by spraying non stick or do the old margarine and flour thing(I prefer doing this)Tip: Place a rolled up kitchen towel under one end of the tray, (that keeps them from spreading too much)Have a little oil in a bowl to lightly rub on your hands so it won't stick to your fingers. Now roll just less than a cup worth of dough into a ball and place it in the baking tray, Roll next one and place it beside the other one, keep filling up the tray 2x2. The oil helps to seperate the rusks when they baked and you need to pull them apart for drying. Bake in a moderate oven for 3/4hr -1hr (400*F) At this point I would let it cool totally before pulling the balls apart, cut them in half if they to big.
To dry them you need to pack the rusks onto the racks in your oven, (both racks) turn your oven on it lowest heat, but don't close the oven door completely(stick a wooden spoon in the door so it can breath)overnight or until hard. Enjoy dunking your rusk into a cup of coffee (Mom says it unlady like)Great for little ones teething too.

Also while paging through a new recipe book I just found at the Op shop (Goodwill store) "The Little Big Mediterranean Book", I got so inspired to try make Pita Bread.
It uses 3 1/2 cups or 500gr of all purpose flour,
2x 1/4 oz or 7gr dried yeast or 30 g fresh yeast.
1 1/2 cups of warm water (375 mls)
1 teaspoon sugar & 1 teaspoon salt

Mix yeast, sugar and half the water in a small bowl. let stand for 10 min or until foamy. Sift in flour and salt into a large bowl. make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture and enough of the remaining water to make a firm dough. Place dough on a floured work surface and knead for 10 mins until smooth and elastic (or pop it into the breadmaker for those that have one)Shape it into a large ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hr. Preheat oven to 450F / 220 C /gas 7 lightly oil 2 baking sheets. shape dough into small balls, then stretch your hands to make 1/4 inch or 5mms thick discs. Place on a baking sheet, spray with a little water and bake for 8-10 mins or until puffed and golden brown. Let cool in a wire rack.

Great for filling up with your favorite fillings, ours would be a hot chicken breast, green salad, freshly diced tomato and cucumber salad and a little salad dressing. Just slice it open a bit and fill the pocket up with your filling and enjoy.

I just found this recipe over at Sandra says ... Keeping it Simple I know it's good to eat a meatless meal and beans are very healthy for you, so I was glad when we tried this soup yesterday and we all liked it. The recipe came from an old recipe book I found at the Salvation Army. It recommended serving it over rice or with cornbread. I made some cornbread, but I just ate mine plain. It is just a good, hearty soup. I didn't use can beans but that is what the recipe called for, so I'll type it up as it was in the book. I just soaked a cup of each dried bean the night before and cooked them the next morning. 1-3/4 c of cooked beans equals one 15 oz. can of store bought beans. 1 cup of soaked beans was enough by the time they swelled up. I also was out of carrots so I didn't put them in, but it was still very good.

1-1/2 c diced onion
2 TBS oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. can tomato sauce
3 large carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1-1/4 c beef broth
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 (16 oz.) can Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 TBS chili powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt

In a large saucepan, saute the onions in oil until tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, carrots, celery, broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the beans, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add water to make consistency you like. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Serve over rice or with cornbread. Please pop over to Sandra at Keeping it Simple

Friday, January 28, 2011

I think I messed up...

Ladies please send your emails to this email address Rina was having a blond moment and added a few www.'s to the other email address either one should work.
See ya

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And we got 6 lucky ladies ... and something for you too ...

Six lucky ladies have just been drawn to receive a little giveaway, That's Life Readers Recipes. And they are

Lisa from Spring Peeper Farm

Becky from Becky's Barnyard

Trish from Homemade Quilts by Granny

Cindy from A Little Farm with a Big Heart

Krissy from Transplanted Alaskan

Cathy from Country Cathy

Ladies please email your address to asap thanks heaps.

Now I just want to thank Debbie, Hazel and Africanaussie. I have a little something for you too, a bottle of my milder homemade version of Mrs Ball Chutney. I am about to go bottle it, this house smells of homemade today. Just email your address and I get it off too you.

Nilo your special hot version is on it's way.
Thanks everyone

I think I got the problem!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mrs Ball's secret recipe, Pickled Garlic .......

I can't tell you which one of my lovely South African friends put this recipe for Mrs Ball's Chutney on the Facebook and well I just had to give it a go. But then I just had to improve on it didn't I, well Mrs. Balls I hope you don't mind too much cause we like it hot, hmmmm maybe not this hot. The devil was sitting on my shoulder when I was chopping up the extra few chillis and those raisans. Maybe we'd just better stick to the original next time.

Edward Ball, Mrs. Ball’s grandson scaled down this original recipe to make 18 bottles of (mild) chutney.

612 g dried peaches
238 g dried apricots
3 litres brown wine vinegar
2 1/2 kg white sugar
500 g onions
120 g salt
75 g cayenne pepper
1 to 2 litres of brown wine vinegar for soaking
About 2 litres of brown wine vinegar for mixing

The fruit should be left in the soaking vinegar overnight, then cooked in the same vinegar until soft. Drain. Put the fruit through a mill. Add the sugar (dissolved) and onions (minced) and cook in a pot with the brown wine vinegar. The amount of vinegar depends on the consistency: it should not be too runny or too thick, but have the same consistency as the end product you find in the bottle. Add spices and cook for one to two hours. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Sterlise your bottles and spoon in the mixture. That's it - you've got Mrs Ball's Chutney.

To make the chutney hot, add 75 g chopped chillies.
To make peach chutney, omit the apricots and use 850 g dried peaches instead.

It might sound like a bit of effort making your own chutney but then again, this will set me up for at least one year's supply of chutney. Taking into account how much just one bottle of chutney cost here in Australia, it might just be worthwile trying it out ...
Only we'll be on fire for the next year lol

Pickled Garlic (fresh from my garden, peeled and chilled for a few days now, man I got to make this one tonight) only got about 1 1/2 cups of garlic so will adjust the recipe to suit.

6 cups fresh garlic cloves
3 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Peel cloves; if large, cut in half lengthwise. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boiling and stir until sugar dissolves. Drop garlic into mixture and cook, uncovered, over high heat 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let cool. Store in tightly covered jar in refrigerator for 3 months or longer.

And just as if there's not enough going on here atm, I made some semi sundried Tomatoes in the dehydrator and added vegatable oil instead of olive this time, so far so good

Holy Moses, where's the milk? not good to lick the spoon ...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunflowers and my army of workers ....

Just love this pic, it's so happy don't ya think.

Wonder what's Harry up to in Miss Daisy's house, she has been kicked out of her yard when it got turned into another veggie patch. Not that she ever really used it much.

The Mathildas hard at work looking for grubs and bugs.

They doing a great job too.

More sunflowers to brighten your day. I got a heap of work waiting for me, Roma tomatoes are drying in the food dehydrator atm, this time I am using vegetable oil, not olive, I have been told by Elizabeth from our local IGA, never to use olive oil, she should know she's Italian. And later on today I will be baking a banana loaf and making peach chutney (Mrs Ball recipe)
Have a great weekend

PS. Don't forget to put your name down for the Magazine Give Away.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Move over Nigella .... give away!

You ever love her or you don't, I sometimes don't, maybe the smooth way she talks putting on all the airs and graces for the camera. Nah, I used to love her ...

But move over Nigella for the Ozzie girls have sent in their favorite recipes to That's life magazine, 125 Reader's Recipes We Love! Baked mushroom risotto, spinach and potato lasagne, tandoori chicken pizza, birdseed slice, carrot and chickpea soup, mum's meatballs in sauce, just to name a few. A then to top it all with lemon meringue pie or wonderful brownies.

I bought my copy yesterday and another 6 copies to share with you all. even if your overseas it does not matter. So get your name down for one and I get them to you as soon as I pull your name out of the hat. Draw closes a week from today, so Good luck

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A few pics of the flood in our area, nothing like up in Brisbane and the rest of Queensland. It reached the 2mtr mark judging from the bit of debris on the 2 mtr mark.

The flood waters covered this bridge, I took this pic 2 days ago and yesterday morning the road was reopened.

Check those trees how flat they been pushed.

Paris 2000, that's their name unless there's some other fancy name for them. The perfume, you just won't believe it. When I bought them at Bunnings, a woman actually stopped me to call her Mom to come smell them lol.

Nilo how could we have a Rose cottage without roses, I planted 4 in front of the fence to form a hedge, they get to about 80cm high. We extended the fence by another 2 posts before turning, now that gap in the middle, is not that we ran out of rails but for the driveway to the new carport. (when ever that gets put up)

Our nightly visitors, other one took off, they rather enjoy peaches and bananas.

This is Maggie the magpie, sharing a little weetpix, she was hand raised and released from what I have heard.

Just had to get a pic of George driving the ride on into the trailer, your got to duck a little!

View from the road, we left after 2 pm this afternoon and got here very late. Tomorrow is work so it's up at 4am again. It's bedtime for me, so see ya all

Monday, January 10, 2011

A little work to Rose Cottage ...

We've been travelling the Highways up and down a few times this holiday, the Holden Rodeo is on auto cruise already ... and it's been raining! OK I won't mention that word, but it sent us back home to Sydney to fetch the last of the wood and some corrugated bull nose sheeting I bought on auction. To be honest, the Blond One has been on our case again, to tidy up around the yard a bit. Above pic is of the little creek that goes through our property, it's so overgrown!!!

But first I must show you what we've been up to the last week. I know I said Rose Cottage won't be having anymore extensions, Well "WE" changed our minds again, but I tell you about that another day. Nilo I hope your going to like what I did to your Cottage ... You'll love the pink carpet in the bedroom.

The rest of the alterations/building I show you the next time ...
Pumpkin patch was a total mess, lantana and black jacks everywhere, and grass a good 9 inches high. Still got a lot of weeding ... yeah I know I could just use round up and kill it all, but no I weed by hand. Bags of mushroom compost got emptied and worked into the cleaned raised beds, and a whole packet of golden nuggets pumpkins got planted and a few coffee trees I got from my friend Scott. But what I wanted to show you was the new flowers on the galangha, just about ready to open. I am hoping to show you a pic of them open next time.

And I been mowing like a mad women ... More pics to come after the weekend.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fireworks and scared animals ....

Truly a pain in the rear end, my critters were all scared out of the skulls last night! I don't blame them!!!! Our neighbours at the back had a huge fireworks display at midnight and it went on for a good 15 mins, music pumping as usual when they having a get together. Lucky it not that often, maybe 8 parties a year, it feels like right next door only we're on 25 acre block, and they up the other end. Actually we don't mind the music to much!

Now to get back to the animals, you could recall Chief the Golden Retriever is petrifed of thumber and load noises, jumps fences and takes off. Tammy the english springer spaniel is not much better, while Knight (Tammy is his aunty)is a little nervous. We locked the Chief and Tammy up in the big dog run, so they would be safe. Knight got to be in the computer/study room and slept under the desk.

I thought I just share this pic with the rest of the world, Someone left the front door open the other morning, and guess who came in and found the chips packet, she was shoed out before she left a wet patch thank goodness.

Well when that first cracker went off, Miss Daisy who sleeps on the stack of solar panels next to the house, got the biggest scare, bolted though the carport, if you have seen my carport you'd understand you need wings to get through there. And made it to the front door Please let me in!! Anyway I had planned to watch the fireworks on the TV but ended up pacifying Miss Daisy. Who yes you guessed it slept in the laundry for the rest of the night.

Thank God no problems with the cat ... Tanya had gone to check on the sheep and they too were very nervous. George of couse had gone to bed at 11 pm, was not aware of any of these problem, joked why did you not bring the sheep in too ... funny! It's a zoo at our place alright.

But the best is yet to come, wait for it ....

We had to see the Dr for George's Drivvers licence, the RTA Driver's licence requirements a form only you regular Dr can fill it in, it's so you can extend your Drivers licence for the next year. Being a diabetic on insulin it need to be done every year. While we were doing that, Tanya was at the vet with Smelly who looked very grumpy with a thick lip, that turned out to be from his rubbing his chin on the spots Jellybean had been spraying outside. It's mating season but all our animals have been neutred! anyway he got an antibiotic. Knight on the other hand has had an eye infection, which we have been treating for sometime now,only it not really clearing up. The vet took tests and have sent them away, we'll know in 10 days exactly what it is. But she thinks it could be a livestock desease he has picked up. He is losing his sight as it's causing the eye to go hard, so we'd better get it sorted out.

The vets are open from 4pm to 7pm, no appointment first come first served, we travel 45 mins to get to the vet, while there are vets just 10 mins away, but it's so worth it. Only after all that, Tanya's car decided it can't run on empty any longer, she bypassed 2 service stations on her way there. Calls to tell us she's out of petrol but will walk to the service station for a jerry can and some petrol. After about 1/2hr she calls back, it woun't start, so off we go again at 8pm after we ourselves had just done the same trip to the doctors, armed with a big jerrycan of petrol, one of Des's steel cables incase we needed to pull her out and the torch. Well Des's cable came to the rescue ... someone got to eat his own words last night ... what am I going to do with all this stuff Des left here. Dessie I love you Mate Hoarding stuff pays off. It was about 10.30 when we got home .... See I told ya it's a zoo here

A wonder New Year to all of you who stuck it out to the end xox