Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quince harvest


My first quince crop, if only it had been larger.  Next year I am hopeful that it will be.

After admiring their golden beauty for a few days I baked them with a little water and a vanilla bean in the slow heat of our wood oven.

I slipped some pieces into this deliciously simple cake.  We have enjoyed the remainder with yoghurt or cream depending on the time of day.  

Along with the pretty light and and the golden leaves, quinces are becoming one of my favourite parts of autumn.  

I hope you are warm and enjoying your week.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


As newlyweds we moved into our home almost 13 year ago and on and off we have been renovating and improving ever since.  We have done a lot of the work ourselves and it almost feels like it is nearing completion. 

The final major stage of our renovation has been our wood oven and outdoor kitchen area.   We now have a warm, open, sunny place to prepare and cook food and we couldn't be happier with it.  

I hope one day our wood oven is a gathering place not just for our family but also for our little community.  Perhaps we could share bread making knowledge or home butchering skills or vegetables or just some warmth and a home brew or two.  

Over time I have learnt that waiting for improvements and working towards them results in a more fulfilling experience.  The time spent waiting and saving often leads to more thoughtful planning and unexpected outcomes.  

Do you have a goal, or a dream or a long term renovation happening?

Are you cooking a lamb roast or bread?

I hope you are having a lovely week.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Autumn in the vegetable garden

The weather is still warm at our place.  The mornings and evenings are feeling like autumn but the afternoons feel like summer.  It is also very dry and the only plants surviving in my garden are those planted directly under an irrigation dripper.  In between my vegetable beds the earth resembles fine, red powder.

My pumpkin harvest may not see us right through winter but I am grateful for what I have here.  

My thyme is happy and healthy and it is enjoying a revival in my kitchen.  Lately I have been scattering it over almost every vegetable that I cook as well as pizza and roast chicken. 

Hardy, dependable kale continues to flourish. I feed some to my chooks and I feed some to my family.  I recently tucked a sneaky layer into a lasagne and received no complaints.

Small but sweet yellow capsicums.

This 1952 Yates Garden Guide was a recent op-shop find for $2.00.  The basic gardening information hasn't changed much but the trends from the 50s are entertaining to read.  For example, crazy paving was all the rage in the garden planning section.   The book also recommends the vegetable garden be situated away from the main garden, some distance from the house.  I think today most people like to keep their vegetables close to the kitchen, I know I do.

I have been lucky enough to have a self-sown  tromboncino pop up outside our actual garden, underneath a young apple tree.  When plants appear so willingly it feels like a bonus and I am happy to still be harvesting this versatile vegetable. 

My lime tree is loaded with juicy fruit.  Anything that requires lemon in my cooking is now substituted with lime juice.  Do you have a favourite use for lime?

The fruit on my young Buddha’s Hand is turning from green to yellow.  Although the tree is small and not particularly lush it has produced around 8 of these fragrant but unusual fruits.  Fellow blogger Anna from The Littlest Anchovy has written an informative post about the Buddha’s Hand if you are interested in learning more.

My mother in law has a big garden full of interesting things.  When I spotted this autumn colour near the wood pile the camera just had to come out.  

Are you gardening or cooking or taking photos at the moment?

Do you find comfort in your garden?  As life gets busier I find my vegetable garden one of the most calming places to be.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In My Kitchen, May 2013

School holidays in April meant plenty of time for cooking, harvesting from the garden and experimenting in our wood oven.

These little capsicums have featured regularly in our meals.  My capsicum plants survived the heat of summer and are now enjoying the milder conditions and continue to produce prolifically.

The afternoon of Anzac Day was relatively peaceful in our house and the rhythmic process of making pasta was a comforting and quiet activity after an early start to the day.

Our autumn days are still warm and my basil is going strong.  I have made plenty of pesto using home grown garlic as well as our own olive oil to put in the freezer for the colder months ahead.

Another month and another old thermos.  This little tartan beauty was a birthday gift and my thermos collection continues to grow.  The pink rug is a recent addition to my picnic paraphernalia from  Hammamas.  It is made from light weight 100% cotton and can be used as a light towel, throw rug, baby blanket, sarong, table cloth or anything really.  I love it.

Simple, tasty zucchini relish made with excess capsicums and zucchini using a recipe from Whole Larder Love.  By the way if you haven't already got this book do yourself a favour.  If you care about your food and cook a lot from scratch or from your vegetable garden this book is for you.  

Lastly, I have had so much fun experimenting with sourdough pita bread in our wood oven using this recipe from Weekend Bakery.  Over the years I have made yeasted pita bread but after making the sourdough version there will be no going back to yeast for me.  The versatility of sourdough continues to amaze me.

How was April at your place?  What are you up to in your kitchen? 

Celia hosts this tour, please call into her blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and have a peek into kitchens all around the world. 

I received some very kind comments on my last post with two fellow bloggers commenting on my lifestyle.  I certainly have idyllic moments in the country but just like everybody else I also have moments of mess, frustration and stress.  This blog is a space for me to reflect on the good bits and it helps me to be more grateful for what I have in my life.  I am sure this is one reason many fellow bloggers also share glimpses of their life, am I right?  I really do have some lovely friends out there in blog land!