Tuesday 30 October 2012

Froog's Bread and Assorted Tales

First things first. Dear Mum is unwell with pneumonia in one lung. She and Dad are supposed to be enjoying a beautiful cruise around the top of Australia. The ship's doctor has x-rayed her chest and prescribed strong anti-biotics and anti-histamines and asked her to stay in her cabin drinking chicken broth! I am just so glad they'll be home on Friday when Gordie and I will pick them up and get them safely home.

Secondly, some-one we all know and love turns one year old today...Happy Birthday Twitch!!! Would you like some celery my Love?

His mum, Bella, gave birth again yesterday, 4 pretty kittens.

Now then onto the staff of life. I bit the bullet and tried Frugal Queen's bread recipe on Friday. It's very basic and measured in cups for speed and I was thrilled with the result. I sliced at least half of it to freeze and it makes the most beautiful toast btw. I also turned 3 mandarin oranges into 3 jars of marmalade to enjoy with it. On Saturday I made Frugal Queen's spaghetti sauce...the trick here is to process a lot of vegies to go with a little meat and cook it for a long time. I used almost a whole 2.5kilo tin of crushed tomatoes and have made enough for about 20 meals for about $10. This recipe is a real winner...where FQ mentions tomato paste we in Australia use passata or chopped tomatoes. I added a little wine too.

Tomorrow is going to be very exciting! Mandy and I are taking train and bus to King's Park to meet up with forum members from around Perth....the icing on the cake this time is that 2 members, both from NSW but unknown to each other so far, are in Perth too and will be joining us. We're all taking something for a shared picnic lunch and I hope to get lots of photos to share both here and at the forum. Can't wait!

So, after sleeping in this morning, I had better get a wriggle on and start my duties around the house...I broke the handle of the sweeping brush yesterday so will have to replace it today.
Will be back on Thursday with a Picnic Report ;)

Take care,
Love from Sue

Friday 26 October 2012

Please Support Aussie Dairy Farmers

This link will take you to the petition asking that our small local farmers get a fair price for their milk. We lost 45 small dairy farms in Queensland alone last year, soon we will have no choice.
Please encourage family and friends to sign too.


Wednesday 24 October 2012

Down To Earth Hands

A dear member at the forums met up with several old friends last week. One of these friends remarked upon seeing  HH's hands that she had "Really let herself go!" Yes. Really. How very, very rude but then we got to chatting about how wonderful our hard-working hands truly are. If they longer look like the hands of a teenage girl then that is testament to their years of service to us and our families. Another member rightly suggested that HH had "let herself go....of pointless and shallow social restraints" Well said Sarah!

So here are mine after an hour weeding yesterday...

These wonderful, wondrous hands also patted pets, knit a few rows of my blanket, turned pages of books, fit together jigsaw pieces, washed dishes, folded laundry, typed here, made several wholesome meals as well as a myriad of other clever things yesterday!

Here are some of the pets I patted...Gypsy, Gemma and Cleo...

Love these "puppies".

Staying true to "Stop-tober", a month of buying only food and real necessities, I popped into the op-shop on my way home from Gordie's and bought another 2 big jigsaws for $2 each.

The Christmas Swap is now open at the forum, this is the fourth year and we see some fantastic craft skills in the hand-made decorations we swap with members all over the world. Next week several local members are meeting 2 NSW members who are both here at the same time, we're going to take a shared picnic lunch to King's Park overlooking the city.

I do wish you a wonderful Wednesday,
Love from Sue

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Creamy Fish Pie

One of those traditional meals that have been around in British cookery forever. I didn't really like it as a child(sorry Mum) but Joe and I love it now and it never lasts as long as it should!
I didn't take photos while I was cooking or of the finished dish and Joe has er slopped the leftovers into a smaller dish so that he could wash the casserole dish but we must have a photo, right?

Encouraged by the wholefoods course I am doing through "beauty that moves" blog I made my own adjustments to this dish and added more vegies.
You'll need

400-450 gms white fish fillets (I think smoked cod would lovely too)and a few prawns if you have them
a cup or so of milk
1/3 cup white wine(optional)

Start by placing the fish in a large pan and covering it with milk and wine, salt and pepper and gently warm it until it flakes apart easily...this cooking method is known as poaching

Drain off  stock and save it, mix the fish pieces with at least one and a half cups of frozen vegs or leftover cooked vegs and place it in an oven proof dish.

Next we make a white sauce,
melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and blend in 2 tablespoons of flour
then gradually whisk in the milk and wine stock until you have a smooth sauce.
you may need a little more milk or stock, see how you go.
season to taste and then stir it into the fish and vegetables.

Then make your mashed potatoes, I added a chopped onion, a whole garlic clove and two carrots to about a kilo of washed but unpeeled potatoes, cooked until tender and then well seasoned and smashed with a little butter.
Spread the potato mixture over the fish and sprinkle some grated cheese on top.
Bake for about 30-40 until bubbling and hot.
This is supposed to serve 4 people but we ate more than half last night so I'll add another vegetable dish to the leftovers for dinner tonight.

Have a look at the twisted limbs of this eucalyptus tree next to the bus stop...this type of tree sheds it's bark each year and has a beautifully smooth and delicately coloured appearance...

and my beautiful Peace Rose that is still marooned at Mum and Dad's house!

Priscilla has appointments today and tomorrow and then starts her scans on Thursday. Thank you all, especially Hedy, for your prayers and kind thoughts. Go Priss! xoxo

Bye bye for now,
Love from Sue

Monday 22 October 2012

A Lovely Weekend

Yes indeed! Lots of pottering, ie slowly and mindfully doing household duties and then watching "Murder on the Orient Express" while knitting on Saturday afternoon. I also bought a second-hand jigsaw for $2, it's 1,000 pieces and the picture is of the Arc de Triomphe at night. Joe has been on the top of the Arc but I was deterred by the many flights of stairs!

Here is the first square of the diagonal blanket I mentioned on Friday, I am really pleased with the beautiful wool and the soft pastel shades...my stripes are random in colour and width so it really is an easy knit...

Yesterday was a welcome home morning tea at Deb's house...catered by her for a dozen friends and 2 extra dogs(dogs are always welcome to come to Deb's house). She'd made Anzac biscuits, florentines, ginger snaps and choc chip cookies as well as a huge carrot cake and a coconut cake. There were also savoury nuts from the Royal Melbourne Show and gluten free rum balls for a lovely friend with tummy troubles. Several types of tea as well as coffee were on offer and we sat for several hours, nibbling and chatting...it was lovely. I didn't take any pics of the group but here is what tired beagles do when tea parties are over...sweet dreams Melody and Thomas...

Thomas said, "Go away, Auntie Sue!"

Melody couldn't care less!

In the garden our bottlebrush tree has suddenly blossomed, I think it looks like a decorated Christmas Tree...

Proteas are a South African shrub that have become very popular here in Western Australia, these were grown by a friend of Mum's, don't they look like fireworks?

I haven't mentioned Priscilla for several weeks. That's because all this month she's been waiting to be called in for scans to see what the tumour is doing at the moment. It's been a rough month with herself and the children being sick and the tension must be unbearable at times but she plods on enjoying life as best she can.

It's raining today and we have nowhere we have to be so a nice day at home is on the cards. Creamy fish pie for dinner,
Hope you have a trouble free and happy week,
Love from Sue

Friday 19 October 2012

New Knitting

I have been busy this last week, just not really in a blogging mood as I have had a lot going on around me.
My friend, Deb, came home from driving herself and her 2 dogs across Australia so we went to collect her cat, Ricky, from the cattery on Wednesday. Yesterday I was up at 4.20am to take loved ones to the airport(a 140km round trip!) and I have some new knitting projects on the go!

As previously mentioned I left my 10st blanket WIP knitting in a taxi recently and I think I was grieving for that...after several months of relaxing company in my hands and on my lap it is sorely missed. I dug through my stash and found that big bag of assorted pastel baby yarns so using 2 strands together and size 5mm needles I cast on 105 stitches and started the feather and fan st baby blanket...

It's a repeat of 11 sts plus a border of 3 sts on each edge so you could make washcloths using this pattern or add many more stitches to make a bigger item,

I cast on 105 sts and knit 2 rows

3) Knit
4) Knit 3, purl to last 3 sts, knit 3
5) knit 3, (purl 2tog)twice, (M1, K1)3times, M1,**(P2tog) 4 times, (M1,K1)3 times, M1** to last 7 sts, (P2tog)twice, K3
6)as per row 4

Continue on until you reach the desired length and then knit 2 rows and cast off loosely .

Deb visited the Nundle Woollen Mills in Victoria on her travels and brought me back a wonderful assortment of pure new wool in sweet pastel colours. I've cast on another blanket, a patchwork "afghan" using the diagonal knitting pattern for extra visual effect...

This is such a simple idea...

Cast on 3 sts
K1, increase into next stitch, knit to end.
Do this on every row until you reach the desired number of sts...for a washcloth 40sts would be enough but I am going up to 100 as I want large blocks. Once I get to 100 I will
K1, knit 2 together, knit to end on every row back down to 3 sts and cast off!

Here's my messy knitting corner of the lounge! My nest!

I've ended up with lots of extra vegies this week so have made several vegetarian meals. A thick veg stew with half of the butter beans I cooked last week and some dumplings and last night I made lasagne with mashed cauli, zucchini strips, tomato and white sauces and lots of mozzarella on top.
To use up the surfeit of cucumbers I made Rhonda's Bread and Butter Cucumbers... with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar added...they are very good!

We have our first tomatoes developing now...I have planted 15 seedlings in pots...

The comfrey has recovered and is flowering now, we've had lots of fresh dill, thyme and chives recently and the basil seeds have sprouted, they're my favourite... 

 and I'll leave you with some awww pics of our favourite bunny, in the woods discussing the lack of forage with our cement duck!

I do hope you have enjoyed your week where-ever you are, what are your plans for the weekend? I am just looking forward to being at home and pottering around!

Bye bye for now,
Love from Sue

Friday 12 October 2012

Home-made Oatcakes

I've always loved a packet of Walker's Oatcakes at Christmas time, with lots of butter and a lump of cheese they make a lovely savoury snack.

For the very first time I made my own yesterday and was very pleased with the result...with the slightest hint of honey they work well as a sweet or savoury snack and anything based on oats is a good thing as they help with diabetes and high cholesterol...*

You'll need
225 rolled oats or medium oatmeal...I blitzed the oats in the food processor to a medium-coarse texture and then added

50gms each of plain wholemeal and white flours
1/2 teaspoon each of bicarb and baking powder then

70gms of soft butter
1 tablespoon of runny honey
milk to bind

I tipped it out onto the bench-top and gave it a gentle knead...it was quite crumbly so I rolled it between 2 sheets of baking paper.
Roll it very thin, around 1/8th of an inch and then cut out your rounds or just cut it into squares.
Bake on a greased tray at 180-190C for about 15 minutes, just until lightly browned.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatmeal I loved reading this!

On Wednesday I also went to visit Mum and Dad and ended up taking Mum to the shops for her milk and ham etc for the golf club. I was bemoaning the cost of tomatoes at the moment, around $10 per kilo, when Mum grabbed a beautiful bunch of trussed tomatoes, that actually do smell like tomatoes, and announced she would treat me! lol Better than chocolates I do believe! She also bought us a pack of salmon fillets and gave us 2 dozen hen and duck eggs from her neighbour, Steve. Then I found the "sad shelf" of meat products...everything was greatly reduced but I restrained myself and just bought an organic chook for half price! The crusty bread boxes are gluten free bread mix with no nasty additives, $1.20 each was great!

My goodies...

After putting the shopping away I put these butter/lima beans to soak for 24 hours, they only needed a minute in the pressure cooker to cook the following day and are now bagged and ready in the freezer to be added to soups/stews and salads...

So I didn't buy anything except food this week and we've eaten very well. I'll make some lentil soup for lunches today and an egg based dish for our dinner tonight. How are you going in the spending/shopping area, have you managed to avoid the temptation to splurge on something you don't really need?

Have a wonderful weekend,
Love to you all,

Thursday 11 October 2012

Rockingham Beach

I had to deliver some paperwork to our new rental agent yesterday(yes the owners of our home have chosen new agents) so I took a few photos of the beach area. Garden Island and the Stirling Naval Base are across Cockburn Sound from Rockingham and we can see Fremantle in the distance to the north.
It's a lovely safe beach with shallow water and none of the big waves we get at Safety Bay and Warnbro so it's very popular with families. There are many picnic tables and free BBQs in the grassy areas adjacent to the beach and quite a few very popular restaurants and cafes with fabulous views...remember it's still Spring here so not people are swimming yet...

I spent many days on this beach as a schoolgirl, jumping off the old jetty and swimming to shore. It's very popular with families with young children and there is a great walkway along the front which is well-used by walkers and joggers.

Joe is having his stitches taken out today and then he's going to play chess with a teacher friend near Perth. The forecast is for 32C so remember to "slip, slop, slap" every-one!

Love from Sue

Wednesday 10 October 2012

October 10th

Just a few pics today of various things. Mandy came to visit on Friday and brought these beautiful carnations, I love their fragrance...

After losing my 10 st blanket last week(and it is gone, the taxi driver said his taxi was empty at the end of his shift) I had itchy knitting hands so cast on a feather and fan baby blanket to use up this pastel yarn..

On Sunday I ran out of this yarn to make a longer scarf so I joined the ends together to make a cowl, I like this very much...and it only cost a dollar as the yarn came from the op-shop...

My big, fat minestrone, beans and red capsicum from the freezer and bok choy, onions, carrots, celery etc from Farmers Direct..

Vegie smoothies seem to be everywhere I look on-line...I turned these fruit and veg into 2 big glasses of juice...on the right are the bok choy stalks left over from my soup...

  funny colour but it tasted good...

The crushed pulp went into the bokashi bin(sorry about the awful photo)

and I sprinkled it with the powder...

Continuing on with our frugal meals we had a lovely cauli and broccoli cheese last night with herby breadcrumbs from the freezer and grated cheese sprinkled on top to make a crispy "lid" and 2 elderly pieces of fish, also from the freezer lol
I spent a long time weeding and hoeing yesterday and also worked out how to use the bore and irrigation system we have for watering the gardens Yay me!.

Have a wonderful Wednesday every-one,
Bye for now

Monday 8 October 2012

Frugal Meals

We have a great thread at the forum this month called "October 2012 Grocery Challenge" where members are suggesting their best ways to reduce their grocery bills and their most frugal meal ideas. Clever use of leftovers, acceptance of free food from various sources and less meat are some of the ideas. Frugal Queen and Becci  have lots of great ideas for thrifty meals so have at look there if you'd like to save some money.

I've been determined to use up what we have as we have a big gas bill next week. I took about half a cup of leftover pasta sauce, added half a cup of milk and a handful of cheese and warmed them through then served it on some oddments of pasta left in their bags, not enough for a meal but fine mixed with other shapes. Last night I used one chicken breast to make curry, today I'll add more vegetables to that effectively getting four good meals from one chicken breast. I'll make some minestrone for lunches today and tomorrow.

With summer on the way I'd like to show you a photo of Joe's poor face after having 3 basal cell carcinomas removed last week...he doesn't go out in the sun but has a rare condition called Gorlin Syndrome which causes these skin cancers to pop up all over him...my dear Mum's lower legs are really bad too, badly scarred from the frequent removal of cancers after years of playing golf in the days before we knew about the danger of melanoma etc. Please take care of your skin, especially protect the children when they play outdoors; our Govt. has a slogan "Slip, Slop, Slap" ~ Slip on a t-shirt, slop on your sunscreen and slap on a hat! Children in Western Australian schools are not permitted to play outside in Terms 1 and 4 without a hat.

I emailed Swan Taxis as Rose suggested but still no word on the whereabouts of my bag lost last Thursday.

So on that cheerful note I will leave you!
Hope you have a wonderful week, stay out of the shops lol!
Love from Sue

Friday 5 October 2012

Perth Cathedral

Joe had to be in Perth yesterday morning for several skin biopsies so I walked around the grounds of the magnificent cathedral that sits just metres away from the front doors of Western Australia's busiest hospital.
The cathedral has an interesting history as it was built in three stages, growing with the city it seems. You can read more about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary's_Cathedral,_Perth

These are some of my photos...

This beautiful old house belongs to the church too..

Spring flowers at the gate...

We walked down into the city after Joe's surgery and were delighted by the many young buskers..

This young man is visiting from Japan and was extremely graceful..

Joe has a large band-aid on his forehead and one on his top lip which he says makes him look like Adolf Hitler and he should colour it black! He has to go back in 2 weeks to have all his stitches removed.

We were late for the appt so we took a taxi from the city centre...I left my patchwork shopping bag complete with my lunch, my ten-stitch blanket and needles and the wonderful book I mentioned yesterday. Hopefully the taxi driver will take it to the police station, the taxi company wouldn't message all their drivers for me which was disappointing but I suppose they have literally tons of lost property every day. I'll phone later today to see if they have any good news for me.

Mandy is coming to visit today so that will be wonderful, we plan to do a little craft work and a lot of talking!

Have a fantastic Friday wherever you are,
Love from Sue