Monday, March 19, 2012


Sorry that I haven't been giving you my undivided attention lately.  There's been a bit on.  I've been flipping pancakes at the Port Fairy Folk Festival for the school.  Here's our little tent.
The pancakes are famous.  There are people who seek us out year after year at the Folkie.  And why wouldn't they?
It wasn't really a tough gig, here was the view from our to cook to.
I've been at the school helping with the Kitchen Garden program, which I thoroughly enjoy.

One of the heritage apple varieties in the school garden
Last weekend I helped a friend at her open garden and fundraising event which was very busy but we raised lots of money for Care Australia.  Next weekend I have a group coming to look at my garden, a terrifying prospect as we have a bit to do to get it into shape. What it does mean is that I get a bit of assistance from the husband (a man, a chainsaw, tools: is it worrying that this is what I wish for most??!).

It has been desperately dry so it has been hard to keep the water up to the garden.   There aren't many flowers so I'm crossing my fingers that the roses will come out and we'll have some autumn foliage.   I do find that mulch hides a multitude of untended weeds.
 So there is much to do this week and you probably won't hear from me.  
But my halo, as one friend observed, is positively sparkling

Monday, March 12, 2012

A little rain

You will not believe this.  Whilst much of northern Victoria and 75% of New South Wales are practically underwater, it is still incredibly dry here.  Here is a photo I took last week.  The sheep have gathered in a circular formation because we are feeding beans out to them to supplement the feed in the paddocks.
I know I'm always going on about rain.  On the land it can make or break your year: it can mean holiday or no holiday, going ahead with house rennos or not, being able to pay school fees or not.  I just hope that after the floods subside, that the country will flourish, and help those affected recover from more than ten years of drought.
In less weighty matters, look at the lovely apples on the tree.  And I take it back what I said about the tomatoes, they are coming thick and fast now, I'll soon be able to make sauce and relish.....
We did have some rain last Friday night and woke up on Saturday morning to no power, which goes beyond not having lights, stove or technology (we couldn't download the Saturday papers!).  It meant no water pressure (no pump), and no phones as mobiles don't work in the house.  Oh the silence.  It didn't come back on until lunch time.  There wasn't much rain, just enough to give me a few day's reprieve from watering.

We discovered this little fellow in a tree about five metres away from the house...
the dog sat and stared at it for hours..
He was gone the next day and hasn't been seen since.  Does anyone else find that bananas these days go from this
I have been making frozen banana ice cream (just bung chopped banana in the freezer for a couple of hours then whizz in the food is surprisingly good), muffins for the lunch box and banana cake.  If you are not in the mood for cooking just put them (whole, unpeeled) in a plastic bag and freeze them for a later date.  They will only be good for cakes or muffins.


1/2 cup sultanas
1 tblsp golden syrup
170g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teasp vanilla essence
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups SR flour
1 teasp bicarb soda

Line a loaf tin with baking paper.  Preheat the oven to 180c.

Put the sultanas in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain off the water and add the golden syrup to the sultanas.  Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well, then add bananas and buttermilk.  Sift flour and bicarb soda and fold in gently.  Stir in the sultanas.  (Add a bit more milk or buttermilk if the mix looks dry).
Pour into prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fickle autumn weather

This was the haul of tomatoes I picked on Monday.  The bushes are loaded with green tomatoes that just won't ripen, but two days of 38 degrees seemed to get them going.  I don't think I'll get too many this week as it's forecast to be cool.  Today it is 20 degrees and blowing a gale.  I still haven't got enough to make sauce or relish, but I am prepared to be patient.  Is anyone else having the same problem?

I saw a Jamie Olive recipe for plum sorbet with sloe gin and thought I should try it.  Sloes don't grow around here, but they do in Tasmania.  I would love to grow some so I could make my own sloe gin for hunting expeditions.  Instead I used Vinocotto, which was a perfect substitute.


1kg of blood plums
80g castor sugar
50ml vinocotto 

Cut the plums in half and remove the stones.  Put them in a plastic bag and put in the freezer for about 2 hours.
 About 5 minutes before you start, get the plums out to thaw a bit.  Put them in the  food processor with the sugar and vinocotto and whizz until smooth, adding more sugar or vinocotto if you think it needs it.
I then put it into a container and back in the freezer.
Take it out about 5-10 minutes before you intend to serve it.  
Serve with a some berries, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with some thin ginger biscuits, or just on its own.