Sunday, November 29

Our Vegetable Garden - Update#4 November in pictures

No matter how big our vegetable garden is, it doesn't seem big enough... that or we've overplanted... probably the latter..and the former!

Anyhow.  We've had some scorching heat this past week and earlier in the week I was horrified to find a whole swarm of fruitfly helping themselves to our silverbeet, and some on the tomatoes!  Not happy !  Went to the local Bunnings and it was explained it was going to be hard to get rid of them as I would have needed to set a trap for the male, and that should be done before they appear. .. Or I could pay $30 for a chemical concentrate to spray on.. I thought I'd give a home remedy a try.

So I mixed 2 tb of beer with 2 litres of water and 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped, and 2 tb dried chilli flakes (we had dried our own, use fresh chillies if you have them) boil for 5 minutes, and leave overnight.  Strain, and then put in spray bottle.   Well, it seems to have worked.  We applied it every morning and watered at night only and there's no sign of the little blighters today, despite the dreadful heat over the weekend.  Woot to no chemical sprays!

So here's the garden!
Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes!

 Tomato berries... aren't they cute?

Here's some of the Grosse Lisses, there's loads of them this size and bigger!

These are thai pink tomato seedlings, there's no more room in the opera house so they're in pots!

And here's a black russian in an upside-down planter, it took a while to take off but now it's found the sun, it's doing nicely and growing steadily (not a scrap on those Black Russians in the Opera House).

 Silverbeet is about a 1 foot high now

celery, cos lettuce (which we are eating presently and have harvested outer leaves) and carrots.

Rhubarb has exploded this past week!

Leeks, Baby Cos and climbling beans

Cucumbers, still flowering, growing nicely...

The pumpkin patch, has now ventured out of the wire under the jacaranda tree as we'd hoped :)

Watermelon has doubled in size in the past week

and here's some seedlings ready for transplant (watermelon and rockmelon)

Eggplant are flowering..

And here are some more baby eggplant to go into the garden

Climbing beans are growing leaves, shoots and flowers at an alarming pace!

And here's a look at the easterly end of the garden (click to enlarge if you wish!):

Sunday Baking Project: Olive, rosemary and gorgonzola loaves

There's no yummier smell than bread baking, and I enjoy it, so I really should do it more often.  Ironically warm days are the best to bake as you get that really good rise when you prove your bread, however it's the warm days you  are quite loathe to turn on the oven.

This bread is truly worth making, whatever the weather.

This recipe will make 2 loaves, double (as I do) if you want more.

500g plain white flour
10g yeast (or 1.5 sachets)
1 tsp caster sugar
300ml warm water
Around 18-20 olives, de-seeded and chopped
Finely chopped leaves of 2 long sticks of rosemary
75 gr gorgonzola cheese

Either on a floured surface or in your mixer with a dough hook, combine your flour, sugar and yeast.  Combine well and then gradually add your warm water until forms a eslatic -like dough.

Make sure it's well combined, knead for about 5 or so minutes if by hand and about 3 if using a mixer.  Place in oiled glass bowl and cover with cling film and place in warm place (i.e. warm windowsill, next to warm oven etc.)

When it's double size (about 20-40 minutes depending) take out of bowl and add in your chopped olives and rosemary.

Knead for another 3 minutes, it will go quite flat again, don't worry about this!  Put it back in the glass bowl and put cling film back on top, allow to prove a second time.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees c on fan or 220 non-fan.

When it has doubled in size (see below) take it out and place on floured surface.

Spread out into a rectangular shape, and scatter chopped gorgonzola on top, then roll up and spread out into one big loaf.

It is then at this point, I cut in half but if you have a loaf pan, you might want to keep it intact.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden on top.  Cool and slice.  Serve with antipasto or just butter... whatever you fancy!

Saturday, November 28

Gingerbread House anyone?

I've made a few gingerbread houses in my time, ok, well 2 before, but this weekend I've helped organise and host a community gingerbread house making evening and day.  Last night (Friday) was mainly adults.  A group of ladies who I called the 'hard-core table'.  They came in, started unpacking.  Aprons, lollies, knives, cutting boards, marshmallow santas, and got down to business.  I was sitting with the quasi-novice table and I'm pleased to say, last night there were no avalanches or gingerbread house-wreckers.

Here's some of Friday nights' pics and houses - tell me - which one do you think is mine?

Almost set up and ready to go!

The novice group..

The hard-core ladies!

And here are some of Friday nights' houses:

And this is (todays) Saturdays' crowd - smaller and more of a family feel with Mums (and a Dad!) enjoying family time in a creative way!

Friday, November 27

Festive Friday - oh dear.

I must admit I love looking (and laughing) at terrible family photos.  Christmas usually brings out the better ones complete with bad jumpers and t-shirts.

Get a load of this one!!  Love the shirt, and the glasses... and the blush!

The jumpers on this one.. oh and of course the eyes!

This must have been taken at an ugly sweater party (these exist ya know!)

Thursday, November 26

2009: The year of....

Been thinking a bit this week (yes I do think!) well rather reflecting on 2009 now we're nearly at it's end.  And wondering how I'd sum it up.  I've decided I would sum it up by calling it :  Year of the U-turn.

You see last year I went back to work.  I love what I do for a job and was very happy to be out of the Stay-at-home-Mum routine.  Don't get me wrong, but when you do 3 kids in 18 months and are forever burying yourself in washing, nappies, feeding and cleaning you can lose yourself a bit.  So I was happy to be rediscovering myself in a 'oh yeah, that's right, I'm good at this' kind of way.

This year has been different.  Economic crisis hit and the industry was just too unreliable for someone with 3 little frills who needed to be in daycare if I worked.  So decided it was probably best if I stay at home, therefore being a bit less disruptive to the family life.  It has also seen us pretty broke too!  Just after getting used to having some money to have holidays and maybe go out for dinner every now and again, we back at one-income-central.  But I comfort myself with the fact that is only temporary.

This year is also my last year at home with Eloise, she heads off to big school in two short months and that's the beginning of a new phase of our family life.  Her two sisters follow her the next year and then all my kids will be at school.  Hang on, I'm sure I just pee'd on a stick a few weeks ago - how can my three girls be so big?

So it has been a bit of a u-turn but it's not been the end of the world, just another adjustment.

2009 has also been the year of the broken electrical appliance:  Toaster, microwave, vacuum cleaner, video (no loss really we hardly ever use it) and our coffee machine.   We've replaced all except the video recorder.  One day I'll get that DVD recorder!  Nothing is built to last anymore!

If you had to dub 2009, how would you do it for your life?  

Wednesday, November 25

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree...

Yes.  We're a bit early.  We've been collecting a few extra decorations over the past month and look, we just couldn't wait!

The weather was cool, my Nan was over and it seemed like the right time.

So we got the tree out, we organised the decorations.  We decorate in silver, iceblue, red and white.

We put Bing, Judy and Dean on - and sang along to familiar Christmas Carols and songs..

then we decorated the tree, we tried to do it without shouting  in an orderly manner but it was just too exciting!  It's a massive task actually because when we bought the tree Eloise's first Christmas in 2004 we looked at it in a department store with 20ft ceiling.  Didn't look as big as it is..... 8ft tall and 5 ft wide.

We have to move the entire loungeroom around to accommodate it!

We still have another 16 red sparkly baubles to put on and I think some more white lights, but we're just about done..

This is hubby's new decoration this year from Bed Bath and Table, looks antique and it's quite solid. I like it!

I love this decoration, my Nan gave it to me.



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