WELCOME to my BLOG
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.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Some are not Christmas related but most are... It's been quite a few years since I was in this craft box; hope you like them; I enjoyed making them.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Hint: If you plan to make both recipes at the same time, it makes for one lot of preparation. One mess to clean up too which I like. Weigh out onions for both recipes, keeping them in separate bowls. Prepare 1 double batch of the spiced vinegar mixture and bottle the cucumber mix first. After bottling the cucumber mix, reheat the spiced vinegar.Add the plain onions and repeat the bottling process. Too easy!
|I'm trying out a new seedless variety |
Pour into colander and rinse and drain well. Rinse and drain again.
|Bread & Butter Pickled Cucumbers|
You can order new lids for recycled jars from Green Living Australia by clicking here.(I don't get any credit) They also have a great FAQ page on replacing your lids too, It has loads of information on there.
|All these jars sealed, except for three. Those lids will be ordered.|
Pickled Onions - For sandwiches (Yep! Pre-sliced pickled onions...Brilliant idea of mine I think!)
|Rinsed twice and added to Spiced Vinegar then bottled.|
Monday, December 17, 2012
When I need good tomatoes or cucumbers I go to the one 'shop' I know best. Each Saturday our local markets are held at Warrawong on the lake; and if you don't catch your regulars there, you can drop in on Sunday at the Dapto markets. I visited both this weekend past to get the finest organic produce I know to make some preserves for Christmas gifts this year. When you first park your car on the lawn in Warrawong, as you enter the rows of stalls, they are right there on the right hand side. You can't miss this stall. They confidently advertise that they are 100% organic and the sweetest in Australia.
I've been going there for years now, and have just began sharing my preserves with Mama. She's the boss on the stall, Mama sits at the scales and the cash-tin and everyone pays her; but her hubby and two boys work the stall and help out the hoards of customers. They sell out every week, so I know their produce is very fresh, and they are only up the road in Picton as well. Brilliant! Yesterday I took them a jar of my Plum Sauce and a small basket of Mini Black Russian tomatoes from my garden, and much to my amazement Mama was blown away by my generosity. She kept popping more cucumbers in my bag while we talked, even though I had already paid. I can't wait to find out what she thinks of my Tomato Relish and Choko Pickles.
Last weekend I ordered another box of Green Tomatoes off Mama, which I picked up on Saturday.
They have introduced a new cucumber variety (I'll tell you about it tomorrow) to their stall and I've decided to try them out on my Bread and Butter Pickled Cucumber recipe, but that will be tomorrow's post, as I only salted them last night.
|Not all the produce here is from the markets,|
but I had already made some purchases elsewhere.
I've blogged about Green Tomato Pickles before but I was lazy and used the whizzer to chop them up...It made the final product far to runny for my liking. I chopped them all by hand this time; producing a much better consistency.....
Enough chatter Narelle!! Get on with it!!
- I can't stress enough on how organized you need to be at this bottling time. It's important that you have enough bottles ready.
- When decanting into glass jars, I use a jug with a handle like this....If I need to put down the jug, I just hang it over the inside of the boiler like so. The only time I put the messy jug on the bench is when I scrape down the sides of the boiler for the last 1 or 2 jars.
- After scooping up a jug of hot pickles, scrape the outside of the jug onto the inside of the boiler. This helps to prevent any drips on the jars, and makes for a lot quicker cleanup.
|Green Tomato Pickles|
5 1/2 kg of Green Tomatoes AND 2 1/2 kg of Onions
Did you know that Green Tea can be grown in your own garden? I never knew that a Camellia variety (Camellia Sinensis) was in fact Green Tea that tea-drinkers enjoy. There are many health benefits to be had by drinking Green Tea.
My mate Richard gave me a few small branches, actually I pinched them out of the back of his ute....lol It's easy to propagate too, but I dried this lot, as we have done them in class.
|Green Tea - Camellia Senensis|
Saturday, December 15, 2012
|Tiny Tom Black Russian Tomatoes|
|2 Tiny Tom tomato vines|
According to my gardener aka Stinkin' Rogers
|One of many Honey Eaters that love dancing|
in my garden in search of bugs.
I look forward to their daily visits.
|Lonely Pelican, |
I got up early to capture an Illawarra Sunrise,
unfortunately it was too cloudy and misty.
|Female Zucchini Flower|
|Stinkin' Rogers OR Marigold|
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
How lovely it was too to receive.
Yes readers; it's that time of the year again for me. It's time to take another walk around the garden and decide what seed to harvest. I can't stress enough on how important it is for every gardener to save at least some of their own seed....
|Marigold seed - to be harvested|
When you do harvest your own seed, you more than likely will have plenty to share with other gardeners. Maybe you could even do a swap with them for something that you don't have or haven't tried growing yet. The possibilities are truly endless once you begin saving seed. Especially when you encourage friends and family to save their seed too.
|Perennial Basil seed - |
to be harvested once dried on the stem
|Nasturtium Seed - to be hunted for and gathered|
I've also written about those crazy Klumpin' Tomatoes I grew last year....and wrote about how I saved seed from them as well....There's a cool trick to saving Tomato seed without the gel sack around them. Did you know that if you soak tomato seed in some water, let the water go rancid, it develops an enzyme that eats the gel exterior on the seed....when strained, and left to dry on a plate, they dry clean, just like the seed you get in a packet....I used this method on many varieties of seed that I save.
|Rocket seed - |
Once dried, the seed pods will be harvested and shelled
Last December I wrote about saving the seed from Corn Salad Leaf, Tatsoi Salad leaf, Water Cress and Poppy Seed......My corn salad isn't doing so well this year, but I have enough leaf to harvest ocasionally for salad. I don't have Tatsoi at the moment, but I do have another salad leaf in seed which I need to save (see the Pick-as-you-grow seed head below).
|Pick-as-you-grow lettuce seed - |
all the fluffy heads need to be gathered and dried fully
|Sorrel seed - ready to harvest|
Last December I wrote about saving the seed from Corn Salad Leaf, Tatsoi Salad leaf, Water Cress and Poppy Seed......My corn salad isn't doing so well this year, but I have enough leaf to harvest ocasionally for salad. I don't have Tatsoi at the moment, but I do have another salad leaf in seed which I need to save. My Water Cress is totally bombarded with Water Celery at the moment. I must tell you that Water Celery is very invasive....in the 12 months since planting it in my water garden (the neighbors bath after a reno)...It has totally taken over the entire bath. The whole bath is one huge root ball of Water Celery. I find it hard to believe that there is any room in there for my water chestnuts to be peeking through, but they are....Thankfully.
I never used my Poppy Seed for the tops of bread because it was sooooo small it would get laughed at.
|Chervil Seed - to be harvested|
If you click here you will see photos of me saving Celery seed and 2 types of Pick-as-you-grow lettuce leaf.
While I have never had any problems growing from my own seed, I never assume that they will always germinate....especially since none of my Rosella seed germinated this year, but all of the plants did develop a nasty disease last year due to heavy rainfall...So I guess that's the reason the seed didn't germinate this time...................
I was so thankful to Holly too for sending me the Rosella seed which I swapped with her for one of my shooting choko's. Holly; I hope your choko vine is doing well.
This week I need to harvest from my own garden the following: Nasturtium, Marigold, Perennial Basil, Chervil, Sorrel, Pick-as-you-grow lettuce and Rocket.
I'm looking to swap seed with anyone who is interested. (Australia and only certain states)....
I'm looking for Rosella seed, as mine developed a disease last year and all seed harvested refused to germinate this time. I'm also looking for some Loofah seed again, as mine went rotten...but I'm still determined to give them both another try.