Tuesday, 23 August 2016

August Garden

Hallo every-one, just a few garden photos while it's sunny outside. We've had so much rain and very cool mornings so the sunshine is most welcome...dear Son painted the 2 large pieces of lattice for me yesterday, I love the way they break up the expanse of grey fencing and as we are renting I have hung them on hooks that fit over the top of the fence~no need to drill etc In Spring the frangipani trees will be in full foliage so we should get some nice shadows and a sense of depth here...


beautiful yellow freesias come up every year from bulbs and smell so lovely...


Wise Owl looks on...


Shy Seahorse and Cheeky Parrot enjoy the sun...


Lemon Aji chillies keep ripening...


the Cara Cara orange tree has much new growth...




potted vegies are thriving too...


limes are ripe in time for more Indian style chutney...


a pretty new French style planter is home to sweet peas and a ceramic bird...


Life is fairly routine these days, I visit Dad twice a week with a dinner or two and we do some shopping together. Charlie is 3 months old already and is such a delight with his bright eyes and ready smile...


The beat goes on...

bye bye for now,
Sue

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Kung Pao Chickpeas and Other Tales

oh Dear...I haven't blogged for 2 months...I do check and read the comments though and thank you for those.

I seem to be so busy with visiting Dad 3 times a week, I cook for him and we go shopping(which I really dislike but it must be done!), DS1 has been in hospital for a few days and DD has hurt both shoulders and is a mess to say the least! Priscilla has also needed our support more than ever with her father in law dying in hospital last month and the fact that she is expecting her 4th baby despite being told she couldn't conceive after the treatment she's been having! Frighteningly though her tumour has grown and another has developed in her lower abdomen. Yesterday she had surgery to run a tube from one kidney to a bag on the outside as the tumour was squashing the kidney...I don't know how she keeps going but she does.

Charlie was born 10 days late and is now 7 weeks old, he is so cute and cherished as you can imagine, he weighed in 9lbs 5 oz and is thriving on his Mummy's milk...


So whenever possible I have loved being at home, 'just' pottering....tidying the garden when the sun is out, cleaning, reading, knitting, cooking and baking at my own pace. I bought a fantastic book and am making some lovely bread now in the bread-maker , this is the egg-enriched loaf(not quite as yellow as this evening photo)...


Today I got some more washing soda and made up Wendy's Magical Spray, it's safe and effective and I'm really pleased with it. Have a look at Wendy's blog as she has so many ways to save money around the house and garden. Wendy has even been on telly in this very un-flatteringly entitled documentary 

 Then there was the tourtiere or French Canadian Meat Pie I made for the first time. It's traditionally served on Christmas Eve but should be on every meat eater's menu plan. I made the pastry with butter and plain flour in the food processor and used a kilo of pork and beef minces(all free range), a chopped onion and about 3 level teaspoons of allspice in lieu of the spices in this recipe Chicken stock is much nicer to cook the meat in, it should stay quite moist but with very little liquid as you don't thicken it to make gravy. That's a maple leaf on the top and not a waving starfish.



So about these chick peas...in Canada at Chinese Restaurant buffets you can to sure to see Kung Pao or Captain's Chicken and it's very very tasty. I saw this recipe and was intrigued, partly because I never see any legume other than black beans in Chinese cooking. I found this post rather hard to follow as I don't use teriyaki so went with the following seasonings instead...

4 teaspoons of Lee Kum Kee Chili and Garlic Sauce (yummy)
2-3 tablespoons sweet and sour sauce
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

You could mix and match any of your favourite sauces too.

I left out the carrot but used red and green capsicum instead, chopped peanuts really set the dish off and I didn't have the sesame oil which is why I'm writing all this here for when I forget! I wouldn't say it feeds 4 people either, 3 at the most. Do you like my thrift shop pyrex dish?



I think that's all for now, the washer is beeping at me to hang out the bathmats so I must away, will leave you with a photo of the beautiful Papa Meilland rose that bloomed exactly 3 months after Mum's passing, it was her favourite because of the heavy perfume; is it odd to talk to a rose bush?
Enjoy your day and hug your loved ones tight xxx


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Charlie's Jumper

I've taken the sizing and stitch numbers from an old garter stitch pattern I bought second-hand from the library so this jumper pattern looks nothing like that one. The basic knitting is very easy, picking up the stitches around the neck and decreasing to form the V may require some help if you haven't done it before.

The two I have made so far are to fit am 18 month old toddler and as I have used 2 different colours. They would take about 100gms for the main colour and 30-40 of a contrast colour, less for the smaller sizes. I've used a nice, soft hand-wash acrylic yarn from Spotlight for around $2-3 a 100gm ball so they have been very inexpensive too...should be hardy for a busy little boy next Winter. The yarn is by 4Seasons and is called Stallion Acrylic...



You'll need your trusty UK size 10 and 8 knitting needles(3.25mm and 4 mm), a stitch marker or a small loop of brightly coloured yarn and 2 stitch holders or spare needles. Around about 150 gms of yarn, all one colour or some contrast yarn too
Sizes 6mos(12mos and 18mos)

Back

Using smaller needles cast on 58(62, 66) sts and work 12 rows in single rib.

Change to larger needles and work in stocking stitch until your work measures 16(18, 20) cms from the beginning, ending with a wrong side row.

Cast off 4 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows and then continue without shaping until your work measures 26(29, 31.5) cms
Cast off 11(12, 13) sts at the beg. of next 2 rows and slip remaining sts onto a stitch holder or spare needle.

Front

Work as for back until your work measures 18.5(21, 22)cms then we divide to form the V-neck ...

Shape Neck

Knit 25(27, 29) sts and slip these onto a spare needle/stitch holder, knit to end.
Purl 1 row, turn
Decrease 1 st at beginning of next and every alt row 14(15,16) times and then continue until it measures the same as the back, cast off the remaining 11(12,13) sts.

Join the yarn to the sts on the other side/holder and complete that, decreasing at the neck edge as before.

Sleeves

Cast on 36(40,44) sts on the smaller needles and work 12 rows of single rib, switch to larger needles and work until it measures 19(21,23)sts....increase at each end of every 10th row and add stripes if desired...actually the stripes really help with the counting of every 10th row ;)
Cast off.
Make two.

Neckband

Join right shoulder seam and then with right side facing you and smaller needles pick up 34(36,38) sts down to the middle, place marker, pick up one more st and place another marker then pick up the same number of stitches up the other side of the front. Knit across stitches on the holder for the back.

Work 6 rows of single rib, working two sts together at each side of the marker then cast off loosely.
If this is a new technique to you then have a look at this link which explains it much better than I can
Knitting and More

Now you can join the left shoulder seam, attach your sleeves and then sew up the sides and down the sleeve edges, fitting around the 4 cast off sts that are to set in the sleeves.

Happy knitting...Charlie is due today but appears to be digging his heels about this!
Hope you have a relaxing weekend
xxx






Thursday, 5 May 2016

Kushari~Egyptian Meal, Frugal But Oh So Delicious

I watched Maeve's Food Safari one afternoon last week and she showed Egyptian cooks preparing several different recipes including Kushari, a scrumptious blend of rice, pasta and lentils with a tomato sauce and fried onions. We both really enjoyed this meal with some sour cream, I even had it on toast for breakfast the next morning...


I was lucky to be able to buy the spice Baharat locally as that was the only thing I didn't have handy, everything is pretty much standard pantry fare, I think a fried egg on top will be a lovely addition too.

I used a can of puy or French style lentils some-one had given me, plus about 2 cups each of cooked Basmati rice and macaroni elbows and about 3/4 bottle of passata(2 cups?) instead of the tomato paste and water. I made a lot more fried onion than is showing here and half a long red chilli from my garden.

Another spicy rice recipe we loved recently was the Cajun Chicken and Rice from this list by Pioneer Settler. I had to use a Mexican chilli mix but have bought some Cajun seasoning for next time...I also used fresh onion and capsicums rather than frozen as they are plentiful and cheap at the moment. We can't buy the tomatoes with chillies here so I used fresh tomatoes and a few slices of bottled jalapeƱos... the grated cheddar cheese mixed through was lovely too...

 .
It's Mother's Day here on Sunday, I have asked the 'children' to ignore it this year, my first without Mum. It won't go completely un-noticed as our grandson is due on Saturday and so hopefully my daughter in love will celebrate her first ever Mother's Day, her own Mum flew in from interstate yesterday to share the joy.

Much of this post resonates with me and I do find comfort in some places and unexpected pain in others, Bree helped by folding some of Mum's clothes to take to a charity shop for me but it's a very slow job de-cluttering her possessions...they have to go some-where that they can be used but we don't want to let them go. One day at a time for now.

So please enjoy your weekend and your family, take time to smell the roses
xxx





Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Around the Garden

So lovely and fresh but it would have been much better if I hadn't left my camera out overnight...it's currently sitting in a dish of raw rice which I hope will draw out the moisture!

Our neighbour, Nadia, has taken many cuttings of her Euphorbia Cotinifolia without ever knowing it's name. I asked an on-line gardening community and it was quickly indentified, it's very tree-like but is actually a perennial so I am going to plant it in front of the passionfruit vine to provide some shade from the afternoon sun in Summer. Nadia has cut hers to train them into small trees and they are stunning...


In it's large pot is the Papa Meilland rose I bought not long after we lost Mum, she has one at the family home and always loved it's fragrance, her other favourite is Mr Lincoln...


The passionfruit vine is going gang-busters, the flowers are so unusual and the fruit so delicious that  it's a must for every warm garden...


Still good drying weather...


a black and white corner...quite un-intentional but rather eye-catching...the white daisy was also a cutting from Nadia...


I sat down after a crazy busy day of looking for Dad's wallet around his house and garden...my view was instantly soothing...


the herbs are so lush at the moment with all the rain we've had, I've started to save the basil seeds as they appear and ripen...


saving my chilli seeds too, these grew from some seeds in a chilli our neighbour, Nong, gave me last year...I also have bird's eye chillies from her seeds...



Sage...


these little cherubs never complain and are always smiling...


My garden isn't big but it certainly packs a punch and I love that so many of my plants have been grown from cuttings or seeds from my neighbours. My son and his wife have taken several frangipani cuttings to grow at their house, it will be nice to watch them grow in the coming years.

No rabbit pics these days and Twitch sure is missed, he loved this little courtyard so much but the great news is that our little grandson is due this week so please keep him and his Mummy in your thoughts.

I hope your week is going well and Dad found his wallet shortly after I'd been to the bank to cancel his cards!
Ah well, here's always knitting and here are 6 more reasons to enjoy it

Love from Sue
xxx



Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Carrot and Sweetcorn Bakro

I came across this recipe when looking for recipes to use up the besan/chick pea flour I bought in Fremantle recently at Kakulis Sisters. I used polenta instead of semolina and came up with a nicely spiced and versatile cornbread. Rustically looking as I tore off several pieces instead of cutting it...


I used...
1/2 a cup each of plain wholemeal flour, besan and polenta
1 cup of corn kernels
1 large grated carrot
1 finely chopped onion or 2T of dried onion
1 cup of plain yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon each of all the usual suspects..

crushed garlic
chopped ginger
chilli flakes(may leave these out if you are cooking for children)
cumin
coriander
turmeric
salt

2 teaspoons of baking powder

Mix all these together...I added a little milk as it was still too dry and then mix in 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb of soda last of all.

I didn't use sesame seeds as mine were way past the use-by date (I know) and baked it in a 9 x 5 inch tin lined with baking paper until it was firm and nicely browned, about 40 minutes at 180C

The recipe I linked to states it is a South African/Indian staple but I can't find any other reference to it or other recipes, perhaps the name is spelled differently. A bakro by any other name would taste as good! It was lovely with soup last night and with a fried egg for my breakfast. Would be so good with a nice curry.

Bon appetite!

ANZAC Day 2016

A total break in tradition this year as Dad did not march with the veterans to the local memorial for the Fallen Servicemen and Women.
When I went to visit at around 11am he mentioned that Gordon, Bree and Jess and Liv were coming to take him out for fish and chips...his favourite food! Of course I was invited and as I knew everything was neat and tidy at home I said "YES!" We had to take 2 cars and set off for Kailis Bros in Fremantle by the fishing boat harbour. It was a grey, windy day but not cold and we had a lovely afternoon 'blowing away the cobwebs'.

My photos can take over now...Lovely Livvie waiting for lunch...


 The view from our table...


the view of our table...note the mushy peas!


local sardines are crumbed and fried and utterly delicious...


some people had room for ice-cream but not Bree...Charlie is due in 11 days...


the old Maritime Museum, much of early Fremantle was built by convicts and they used the local sandstone...


 trees can grow through the sandstone cliffs...


the view from the steps leading to the Roundhouse steps ...


crowds of people fishing on one of the groynes...


decorative bathing huts on Bather's Beach...


  the view directly up High St to the Town Hall...


Inside the 1831 prison is a sobering experience...


the Curfew Bell was rung at 9.45 pm and any-one caught out after that would find themselves in the Roundhouse cells...


  or the stocks as modelled by Jess...


the view back to the fishing boat harbour...


It was wonderful to get out for a scenic walk with much loved family...I hope your weekend went well

Love from Sue
xxx