Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

5 roasts in 1 day & other Prep for Xmas

Dearest readers, please excuse my absence...I am having technical difficulties with my Internet, email and computer as a whole...sure they are fantastic when they are working, but have one break down on you repeatedly...and your in for a whole lot of trouble......like me at the moment. I won't be changing anything on my blog just yet....as time with an internet connection is valuable I would much rather write a post for my wonderful readers.

5 roasts in 1 day
I bet your thinking I'm mad,.....no, just organised.....lol.....For those who are planning ahead these festive holidays....you will understand my need for cooking ahead. I have great news, my husband is going to be home for the Christmas period, and I don't plan to be stuck in the kitchen half the time, preparing meals. I like to serve up cold meats, and salads.
Today's events in the kitchen went something like this.......

I planned on cooking roasts of Lamb, Pork and Silverside.....It's easy really....

*Prep two legs of Lamb and pop in the oven first.....I basted the legs of Lamb with my soup starter...It really is an all rounder...and you will see me use it quite often in my kitchen.

 *Then prep and put the two silverside's in the crock-pot........

*Then brown the Leg of Pork on the stove to kick-start the cooking of the crackling.......
rub a small amount of salt into the cut skin...
in a really hot pan, place the pork
turn until brown all over.

Almost ready to place in the oven.......

When the juice runs almost clear in the Legs of Lamb.....bring them out of the oven and let them finish cooking in their own heat...............I bake mine in oven bags. I find the meat stays lovely and moist.

Rub some of the herby soup starter all over the crackling of the pork you browned earlier......

*Now turn the heat up on the oven to about 210 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes to set the crackling nice and crispy...but don't forget to turn it back down.......
*Remove from the oven when the juice runs almost clear, like the Lamb....cut away the crackling and allow it to cool. When cool, store the crackling in an airtight container. If you are partial to the odd bit of crackling it wont keep until Christmas...but it would if you didn't eat it. Crackling stores pretty well. Now wrap the leg of pork in foil to finish cooking and cooling....
Ok, I confess, we had ours with tea tonight..but I will buy extra skin and make more crackling for the big day....I'm sure to have the oven on again before then.

We enjoyed half of one leg of lamb tonight for tea...and I put one in the freezer along with the Leg of Pork....Marked clearly of-course........

*At tea time I turned the crock-pot off and left the silverside's to cool overnight in the cooking liquor.....This makes the silverside lovely and moist for eating as a cold meat. In the morning, I will remove them from the pot, then wrap them separately and pop them into the freezer too.

And now I have 5 roasts cooked in one day! Told you it was easy....... 

*I also made herbed butter..using my "soup starter"......

One for the fridge to use now,
and one for the freezer to use later
Butter and my Soup Starter
blended well.

*I had to make a new batch of soup starter today too, so I made a huge batch which you can see in the very first photo. I picked bunches and bunches of herbs from the garden today for it too along with 3 bunches of spring onions. The soup starter gets used for almost everything these days....

*The herbed butter makes a deliciously yummy spread for salad sandwiches too....or use the starter straight to top savoury biscuits with homegrown tomatoes....A big Thanks for the red ones Rose.......Yummmmmm
I also popped some soup starter on the top.
A lovely flavour and another great way to use my soup starter.
*I pureed a huge Papaya I got from the markets over the weekend....2 for $5 was a good price, even though they had a bad spot on them. This will be lovely added to any fruit beverages I prepare.

Here are some other foods I have been preparing ahead of time and popping in the freezer:

*Mini quiches...in the same rectangular mini muffin/bread trays (above).....I plan on using these as a side dish or sliced in sandwiches. Sorry no photos, but I will take one if anyone wants to see them.

*I also have a batch of Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes which I had to hide in the freezer quickly before they all got eaten..........

*I've roasted 3 trays of sweet capsicums and de-seeded them before storing in Olive Oil in the fridge....these are delicious on a piece of toasted bread, or mashed into a dressing.....I wouldn't be bothered with a recipe if it called for them, but when I have them already roasted and bottled...Yep! you betcha I'll use them.

I learnt a valuable lesson here....prepare the sweet chillies before roasting them, it will be so much quicker and cleaner....after roasting, all I would need to do, is slice them possible in half and remove the skin. But nope...I did it the long way around.....but I learnt for next time which is what is important.

Roasted sweet chillies ready to add to Olive Oil
and pop in the fridge.
*I've also got biscuits ready to pop in the oven...Make a double batch...roll them all out into balls until you have no batter left....then pop them in the freezer. Once frozen, remove them from the tray and place in a plastic bag. Back into the freezer until you want a really quick batch of biscuits....They bake up just fine, but you haven't had the trouble of making the batter up.
There's plenty more where they came from....

Other things I would like to prepare...so my holiday is a holiday and I only have minimal salad prep to do in the kitchen include:

*I would also like to get another lot of Steamed Xmas Puddings into the freezer for those last minute gifts....there's only a few left in the freezer for now.
* Some more mini quiche...I think they will be very popular...so add eggs to the next shopping trip.

* I want to have a go at rising bread dough then freezing it....so again, most of the prep is done...Lovely fresh ly baked bread rolls in the oven on Christmas Day with half the effort....It can't get much better than that.

* I also need to prep my Ham, I'm doing Nigella's Christmas Coke Ham...It's delicious....but I plan on looking for a recipe for coke on the internet....so I don't buy the horribly sweet fizzy soda.

* I also need to buy my Turkey legs...we don't bother with the whole huge bird coming to the table...I'd rather have the meat off the bone long before that...and have it all bagged up, in the freezer....and thawed in small amounts at my convenience.

That's all I can think of at the moment...Oh I still have a container of that delicious Apricot Delight I made....so add that to the goodies too.

Are you doing any prep for the big day? Or do you like to prep for a few days or even a week or more, like I do? 
If you like something you have seen, or can offer me some great advice along these lines...even recipe ideas....I'd love to hear from you.....
Please leave a comment..........................


  1. Whew! You are really getting ahead of the game, and preparing for a relaxing holiday with loved ones. Very wise!

  2. I feel exhausted after reading this! How on earth do you manage to do all that? You are really super organised. I feel totally inadequate! I haven't started any cooking for Christmas. I guess I'd better get my skates on. Thanks for giving me the motivation. By the way I love your blog. You have so many terrific ideas. Thanks.

  3. oh my!!!! I've made my Christmas cakes and that's all.I am preparing for 2 of my children's birthdays on Saturday though, after that I'll start on Christmas.

  4. You're on fire Narelle! LOL I love it. We only have a very small family and food on Christmas Day isn't a big affair, especially with a very fussy eater in the house. We might have my Mum and sister here for a baked dinner on Boxing Day but you know how crazy hot it usually is here so we try to avoid, rather opting for fresh fish or seafood, depending on the budget. I love all your hints. You're superorganised and I'm going to do that 'soup starter' you do as I use a lot of fresh herbs in many things and this would be great to use them up.

    Thanks Narelle! (How's your Christmas cake going?)

    Anne xx

  5. Thanks Ladies, Even when I make salads, I bulk grate enough carrot for a few days...cook and drain enough pasta for the same.....finely shredded cabbage for a few days works well too. There's lots you can do a few days in advance......Keep them all in air-tight containers in the fridge and they will store well. Bulk prep makes for quick salad preparation too.
    Heather: don't feel inadequate, feel inspired.....I'm only doing it early because hubby is coming home for two visits.....he only has 6 days at home, so I don't want to waste it in the kitchen.
    Anne: if you want to know what I put in the soup starter...here is a link....
    We love to have some seafood too around Christmas, I used to stand in line at the Seafood shop for hours to get fresh local prawns, now I stay away and buy my frozen prawns a few weeks before..that reminds me....add prawns to the list.
    And if your wondering....I joined a group of girls at the Down to Earth forum a few months back and made my Christmas Cakes....so they are already done too. Thanks.

  6. Wow, and I thought I was an organised person!!! Well done. Enjoy your time with your Hubby when he arrives Home :)

  7. well done Narelle...it all looks fabulous and will save lots of time later in the month

  8. I'm feeling meat envy lol! Looks lovely, you really spurred me on to get going today.

  9. Wow Narelle most impressive. All looks so delish, your meat looks mouth watering!

    Would love for you to join in my online biccie/cookie exchange :]




  10. A vegemite sanger on the boat while catching flathead, (hopefully) will be my Christmas day. Relaxed, just how I like it.

  11. How many people are you catering for? I am most impressed! I cant really cook much ahead since we have a small fridge and freezer. I plan to spend the whole weekend of the 17th baking and then make up my gift baskets to deliver during the week. There will be just 6 of us and two young grandkids on Christmas day and I will roast a couple of chickens the day before to have cold with prawns and salads. cookies for dessert. I will be interested to see how the frozen risen bread works out. Do you just bring it to room temp and then bake it? You can buy those partially baked rolls - I always thought bread had to be partially baked before freezing.

  12. Thanks Kimmie for the invite...I'm off to check it out shortly...

    Africanaussie: Sorry, I wasn't clear before, in that I am cooking for the holidays of while my husband is home...It's not all for the one day..Heaven's no....At the moment we will only have 5 seated on Christmas Day...but anything could happen before then.
    Regarding the frozen dough..I only make rolls now..but my friend Rose informed me that she makes her dough as usual and once risen the second time in the bread tin..she then pops it in the freezer, defrosts it overnight in the fridge..then pops it in the oven...It takes a bit longer to bake, probably because it is cold. So because I bake rolls...I think I will try allowing one AND two rises...but I will need to punch the dough down and shape into rolls, allow them to rise, then pop them in the oven. But at least the dough will be made ahead of time.
    Rose has her own blog....and you can check out her bread posts here.....

  13. Very clever you!! I'm most impressed. Now, I'm going to take a nap which is maybe what you need now after all of that cooking & baking! LOL

  14. You have once again inspired and amazed me :) Well done, Narelle! You'll really appreciate having all that prep done now when your dear hubby is home for Christmas :)

  15. Thanks ladies, there's a drawback on all this prep though.....all the dishes...ahh well.... I got the turkey legs roasted yesterday too, which made a 4L icecream container of cooked meat....so it' now bagged into 4 meals and into the freezer too.
    Next is prawn & chicken rolls...they are like sausage rolls....yummmmmmmm.

  16. Really I appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. The topic here I found was really effective to the topic which I was researching for a long time.


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