Category Archives: Harvesting home grown produce

Catching up with the garden, The value of exercise, Another impromptu outing, Alternative uses for window spray and a speedy impressive dessert

Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well.  I’ve had a busy few weeks following my various activities which I enjoy sharing with you in my blog posts.

 

Catching up with the garden

I wonder if any of you are having the same problem as we are trying to keep pace with removing all the weeds and excess foliage springing up in the garden.  It’s become a daunting task which Ken has been tackling day by day, weather permitting.  He’s going to be making quite a few trips to the local tip when the free green waste disposal period starts in a couple of weeks.

Just some of the green waste

Just some of the green waste

We love our garden but as the years roll on we know one day we will have to face the prospect, that it may become too onerous.  What then?  I don’t like thinking about it.  Fortunately, we are not at that stage yet, so we can enjoy the fruits of our labours for another year.  Last season we decided to reduce our vegetable growing beds but even so have harvested a large quantity of peas, carrots and beetroot plus we are looking forward to the  broad beans which are starting to pod up.  I decided I wouldn’t grow pumpkins this year but having just cooked the last one from storage, I’m wavering!!

 

The value of exercise as we age

There’s no doubt about the importance of exercise in our lives as we age.  Unfortunately it’s not always possible to participate in strenuous activity, but water aerobics is one of the more gentler forms that improves cardiovascular health, increases strength, slows down age-related loss of muscle mass and the decrease of reaction time that comes with getting older.  This was brought home to me last week when a gentleman who attends the same water aerobics class as myself and  who I considered  to perhaps be in his 70’s, was wished a happy 90th birthday.  After the session we all met in an adjoining room to celebrate and enjoyed a super cake supplied by his wife.  I was hoping to be able to include a photo which our trainer took, but so far that hasn’t come to hand.  He said he has always believed in exercise and up until last year was also attending the gym.  In fact there are 4 other people in the class in their 80’s who attest to the benefits of water aerobics on their mobility.

Another impromptu outing

Following the success of our impromptu outing to Agnes Falls, which I detailed in my last post, we set off again on a nice sunny morning to explore the South Gippsland area.  Ken suggested we head to Mount Nicoll Look Out between Foster and Fish Creek.    At about 305 meters above sea level, the views were reported to be phenomenal and extend up to 97 km into the distance.  However, having traversed the very steep and quite rough 2km track off the Fish Creek Road (really not meant for our small car), we found that there was a further 200m walk up hill from the car park to the actual lookout.  We reluctantly decided it was best not to tackle the climb which was a little disappointing.  If you are interested here’s a link with lots of information:  http://south-gippsland.com/mt-nicoll.htm

We continued on heading towards Sandy Point (near Foster) following a sign to Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park.  We couldn’t believe our eyes when a little track in the Park lead us straight onto the most magnificent beach which it was possible to drive along.  Absolutely breathtaking and I so enjoyed driving up and down.

There are many sites on the internet giving information about the Inlet which is between Waratah Bay and the majestic peaks of Wilsons Promontory.  It provides a secluded and peaceful setting for a range of water based activities such as fishing, boating and sailboarding.

After a picnic we headed home stopping off at Port Franklin, one of our favourite spots, to take a casual walk along the jetty.  It’s a very interesting area which was first settled in the 1840’s by timber cutters.  A good web site to visit is:   http://www.visitpromcountry.com.au/towns/port-franklin

Alternative uses for window spray

I’m always looking for new ideas, so whilst drawling through the internet a list of alternative uses for window spray came up which I thought could come in useful.  I can’t vouch for them though, because I haven’t tried them but many of them sound quite interesting.

1. Insect repellent – Most household insects hate the smell of ammonia common in      window cleaners. Spray some near windows and doors in summer to keep insects well away.
2. Microfibre furniture cleaner – Smooth and comfortable though it may be, microfibre furniture – like faux suede – can be difficult to get clean. Try some window spray – spritz lightly over the surface and then brush using a soft-bristled scrubber working in the same direction.
3. Stain remover – Window spray might be the secret weapon you’ve been waiting for. Try applying window cleaner to common stains like ketchup or red wine. Soak for 15 minutes, rinse and wash.
4. Jewellery cleaner – You can brighten up metal and gemstone jewellery with Windolene and an old toothbrush.  Spray the piece, scrub lightly, then rinse. The ammonia in window cleaner makes it a great jewellery cleaner – except for soft, porous materials like opal, turquoise and pearl.
5. In the car – Window spray makes a perfect multi-surface cleaner in the car, and is ideal because it’s non-greasy and won’t leave any residue behind. You can use it on the windows, dashboard, steering wheel and upholstery – and even on the car’s exterior to remove stubborn marks like bugs and tree sap.
6. Cut through grease – Window spray is a great foil for any greasy surface, and can soften up hard to clear stains in the oven, fans and light fixtures. It also works on pots and pans, too. Spray liberally, leave for 10 minutes then wipe away.
7. For children’s toys – You can quickly and easily clean up toys with the help of Window spray and a cloth – just remember to rinse thoroughly with water afterwards.
8. Stuck zipper – Free a stuck zipper with the help of a spritz of window spray. It won’t ruin your clothes and will help loosen up the zip so you can free it again.
9. Reduce swelling from stings – If you have swelling from a bee sting, try this simple tip beekeepers have known for years. Spray a light misting over the sting to help relieve pain and swelling.
10. Emergency spot treatment – You might remember this particular trick from the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Window spray can work as an emergency spot treatment to help reduce swelling and dry out an unsightly spot before a big event. Spray a small amount on a cotton bud and apply directly – and only – to the spot.

A speedy impressive dessert

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Last week I needed to come up with a quick dessert for unexpected visitors, which to my relief turned out really well, so thought it worth sharing.   Fortunately I had some crumble topping mix in the freezer which I had previously made up when following one of Jo Marty’s recipes for an apple crumble.  If  you decide to put some crumble mixture into your freezer it’s a good idea to spread it over a freezer tray before bagging up so that it is free flowing enabling you to only use what you need at the time i.e. not one big clump to separate.

This is what I used for my dessert but of course you could use whatever you have to hand in your store cupboard.

Tin sliced peaches
Frozen raspberries
Crumble mixture
Shallow baking dishes

Place frozen raspberries on bottom of each dish and spoon over sliced peaches with a little of the juice.  Thickly sprinkle over the crumble mix and bake at 180C for approximately 20 minutes.  Check frequently to make sure topping doesn’t brown too much.  Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
To make the crumble mixture
5 heaped tablespoons plain flour
60g butter, melted
5 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
5 heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut

Mix flour, butter, coconut and brown sugar together. That’s all you need to do.  I’m sure you will be happy with the result.

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There are a few other things I want to share with you so hope to blog again shortly.  Until then I’ll close with this happy photo of my Peruvian Spanish Teacher Rosa in Lima, Peru on her wedding day:

Rosa and Daniel

Rosa and Daniel

Remember some of the best things in life are free:  hugs, smiles, friends, family, laughter and good memories.

 

Janice 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog friendly short holidays, Events, Crafts, Gardening, Recipe + more

Dog friendly short holiday accommodation and horse muster

Over the Easter long weekend we were lucky enough to find the most amazing dog friendly bed and breakfast accommodation through Airbnb, a site where you can rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries.  Here’s the  link if you want to check out the site:  www.airbnb.com.au.  We travelled north to Euroa in Victoria and stayed with Tessa at The Terrace Bed and Breakfast in a self contained cottage on her property in a perfect setting.  The cottage was beautifully appointed down to the last detail and the breakfasts superb.   We were reluctant to leave when the time came and so too was our dog Ferdie who had enjoyed the company of Tessa’s little dog during the visit.

 

Our  trip was primarily to attend the annual Moora Horse Muster and take the opportunity at the same time to visit Echuca on the Murray River and view the paddle steamers.    If you’re at all interested in working horses and a glimpse back into the past, this can be a great and enjoyable experience.  The muster started with a parade through the streets of Rushworth, a town that was established during the Victorian gold rush in 1853 and was named by poet and later local Goldfields Commissioner, Richard Henry Horne in 1854,  and continued on Sunday at the Moora Recreation Reserve some 7 km away.

Since our return Ken has been busy downloading lots of film from his camera which is still a work in progress but he has produced the following video of the horse parade and muster for me to include in this post.

 

 

Gardening

My garden is looking quite sad through lack of water and the effects of the climate being so variable.  Some vegetables simply couldn’t make it especially the snap beans and runner beans though I must say the pumpkins peppers and carrots did really well.   I lifted the last of my carrots and planted some more seeds.  We’ve decided to cut back on the veggie plot, just too hard battling the elements, so are about to take down two of the raised beds and limit what we grow.

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Ken says you start off as a young man desiring acres of land, slowly over the years your expectations decline to being happy with a large plot, then it’s a small plot and then it’s a patio until finally you are really happy with window boxes.  I don’t think we have quite got to that stage although Ken has bought some of those small fruit trees which grow happily in pots.

If you are a keen gardener and want inspiration visit Lamely Nursery’s web site or Facebook page.  www.lambley.com.au.   David Glenn’s Lambley Nursery and Garden is set around an old farmhouse in the hot dry wind swept plains of the central Victorian Goldfields.  The garden features frost-hardy plants requiring very little watering and is world renowned as a benchmark in dry climate and sustainable gardening.   Ken and I visited the nursery last year and were truly inspired though unfortunately haven’t been able to get our plants to grow in the same way.

Crafts – wool dying

I recently attended a hands-on wool dying session with the Korumburra Spinners Group at Coal Creek Heritage Village.  My friend Olga came with me and we had a very informative morning using the various dyes.  There’s quite a technique to getting the process correct so it’s a matter of trial and error.  Olga’s wool dyed really well but mine felted.  I have since been told that was probably because the wool Olga used had been spun but mine had not so the effects of drying the dyed wool were different.  If you are interested in a fuller explanation e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net and I’ll send out details.  Here are a couple of photos of the session in progress.

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Recipe for ANT RID

My recipe today is not for food but one I was given for ANT RID which I am sure we all need from time to time:

2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons borax

Place in a saucepan and boil three minutes then cool.  Store in a sealed jar making sure the lid is tight or the ants will find the mixture.

Pour some into jar lids and place in the path of the ants.  Be patient as they will not come to the liquid immediately.  By day two they are usually swarming.  Many will disappear with some of the liquid and others will remain in the lid.  Use two lids if you think it warrants it.  When the activity stops, remove the lids and discard the whole thing into a plastic bag and then into an outside rubbish bin.

Wash saucepan thoroughly.  Best to scald with boiling water as well as washing.

I’ll close this post with

The Five W’s of Life:

WHO you are is what makes you special.  Do not change for anyone.

WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery.  Do not be afraid to explore.

WHEN life pushes you over, you push back harder.

WHERE there are choices to make, make the one you won’t regret.

WHY things happen will never be certain.  Take it in your stride and move forward.

 

Janice

 

A NEW SKILL, WATER AEROBICS, PROJECTS, RECIPES

A new skill

Although obtaining ‘a new skill’ wasn’t on my desired achievement list for 2016, I was recently inspired by a blog I came across where the author had taken up whittling.  Amongst her many projects were crochet hooks.  I just couldn’t resist the temptation to have a go.  Ken pulled a face when I told him and suggested I would cut myself.  Anyway he very kindly came up with some twigs for me to practice on and I tried to follow the instructions in the blog without much success.  I decided to resort to a YouTube tutorial which was extremely helpful and gave a list of requirements needed before you could commence your project i.e. a sharp craft knife or similar, various grades of sandpaper and of course the material you were going to whittle.

i didn’t cut myself but had aching shoulders and sore fingers from all the sanding.  I have to say it really isn’t easy to make the hook but with persevierance some sort of success can be achieved.  Of course you have to get the wood very smooth otherwise your wool will catch and snag when crocheting on your finished hook.

You may well wonder why on earth I wanted to try and whittle but the idea brought back memories of both my grandads sitting on the back step whittling.  Ken also remembers his grandad making cigarette holders from cherry wood.

Here’s a photo of my efforts:

4 hooks with croched cushion

4 hooks with crochet cushion

If you would like links to the Tutorials I viewed, e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net.au and I’ll be happy to pass them all on.

Crochet

On the subject of crochet, I really have taken to the creative possibilities and following on from the success with the blanket I made for my daughter’s Christmas gift, I recently completed a second blanket for use by Ken and I during the winter months.  Must say I was a bit ambitious with the size because it really is rather large.

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

I’ve acquired a pattern for an antique type throw but need to get some advice from the Crochet Group before I attempt what are termed ‘puff stitches’.  I think a lot of practice will be required.

Water Aerobics

If you don’t already pursue some exercise activity, have you thought about water aerobics?Every week I try to attend three early sessions at my local gym.  It has become so popular that there are now six classes a week.   After the class refreshments are provided and in addition to the social aspect of the group there are the health giving benefits which I think we are all looking for as the years roll by.  Some of these benefits are documented as:

  •  Aqua aerobics can benefit us as we age by improving muscular development and our cardiovascular system
  • Since water buoyancy supports your weight, strain on joints, back and torso is greatly reduced
  • Due to increased resistance under water, it burns a great deal of calories, up to 400-500 calories/an hour taking any excess body weight off
  • Long term aqua aerobics increase joint flexibility and lowers the risk of stress and anxiety

Can you spot me in this recent photo of the group?

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Vegetarian cookery

On each of my blogs I have decided to share with you a recipe from one of my cookery books.   You certainly don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these recipes, in fact it might help if  you are looking for a substitute when cutting down on the amount of meat you eat.   I know in the UK the idea of a meat free Monday is widely promoted.

SEMOLINA CHEESE FRITTERS

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120g/4oz semolina
1 small onion
1 bay leaf and 1 clove
600ml/1 pint milk
125g/4oz grated cheese
Large tbs parsley chopped
Egg and wheatgerm to coat

Pin bay leaf to onion with clove and place in saucepan with milk. Heat until almost boiling then remove and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Discard onion, bay leaf and clove and re-boil milk sprinkling in semolina, being sure to stir continuously until very thick. Remove from heat and add cheese and parsley.

Turn out mixture onto a small wet dinner plate and with a knife dipped in water smooth over. Leave to become quite cold in the fridge. Cut into portions like a cake.  Coat with egg and wheatgerm or breadcrumbs and fry in hot shallow oil until crisp and golden. Alternatively bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes turning once.

If you would like to view any of my cookery books you can find them at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

Two recipes for when you have excess quantities of cucumbers and rhubarb 

Depending on which hemasphere you reside in you may well have an abundance of certain produce.  I have far too many cumbers and loads of rhubarb.  Rhonda a companion at water aerobics passed on a recipe for rhubarb chutney which I decided to try.  Mine came out somewhat stringy but I think I should have chopped the rhubarb into smaller pieces and made shaw there were no stringy bits at the same time.  It tastes really nice so the stringiness really hasn’t spoilt it.   I also have a really unusual recipe for preserving cucumbers which I have used for years and shared many times with others.  Here are both the recipes:

RHUBARB CHUTNEY

½ kilo rhubarb chopped, 120g sultanas, 1½ cups brown sugar, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 onions chopped, 1¼ cups vinegar, 1 tbs mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground ginger.

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 1¼ hours or until mixture is thick (I stood the saucepan on a trivet to prevent burning).  Pour into hot sterilised jars, seal when cold.

PICKLED CUCUMBER USING THE FREEZER

This is not your typical pickle recipe and will produce a crisp sweet pickle that goes well in salads, on sandwiches or as a side. The secret to the crisp texture is the sugar, so do not reduce its content.  Of course you may have to vary the recipe depending on the amount of cucumber you wish to pickle.  

1 litre volume of cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced, 1 small onion sliced thinly, ½ tbs salt, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup white distilled vinegar.

Mix cucumber, onions and salt in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl on the work top for 2 hours.  Pour into a colander and drain water from cucumber mixture.  Combine sugar and vinegar.  Stir well and pour over cucumbers.  Pack into freezer containers or zip-closure bags (ideal).  Freeze immediately.  Pickles are ready to eat in 3-4 days.  

International Women’s Day (March 8)

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.  If you would like ideas for celebrating the day visit the following link:

www.internationalwomensday.com 

I’ll sign off with one of Buddha’s quotes:

DO NOT DWELL IN THE PAST, DO NOT DREAM OF THE FUTURE, CONCENTRATE THE MIND ON THE PRESENT MOMENT

Janice

 

 

 

 

PROJECTS, THE GARDEN, A RECIPE, GOOD FRIENDS

PROJECTS

Felt hat project

I am still in pursuit of assembling sufficient information and skills needed to be able to make a felt hat.  Last week I collected flowers from the garden to try and make some natural dyes.   I followed a recipe I had seen on Gardening Australia.   My efforts all resulted in very pale colours.  First I soaked red salvias, blue salvias and yellow/orange calandulas in glass bottles using cold water and then brought these to a  simmer in my electric preserving pan.  Next I drained each colour and put in a separate pan and added some white wool bringing that slowly to a simmer for half an hour.  I definitely need to do more research and practicing but I’ll keep trying.  I know you can buy special dyes but I think it would be nice to achieve a result by my own efforts.

Video for Author page

As mentioned in my last Blog, I needed to make a video for inclusion in my Author page on Amazon.  Location for filming the video was the first hurdle.  Ken said he could add film behind me if I sat in front of a green screen which is the recognised method of superimposing someone or something on a background.  I bought some green material and we taped that to the wall and then I sat at a small desk in front of the camera.  I’d written out a sort of script of what I wanted to say but of course I couldn’t look at that because I had to face the camera and speak.  Ken was so patient;  it took me 11 attempts to sort of get it right.  I had no idea how hard it would be to talk without making mistakes.

Ken superimposed me on different pieces of film he had but nothing looked right.  I had the idea a library background would be good so Ken went up to the local library.  He described to the librarian what we were trying to do and approval was kindly given.  Joining the film making club has certainly given him some new skills not to mention a few headaches besides.

If you would like to see the end result it can be accessed on my author page at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

 

THE GARDEN

I can’t believe how colourful the garden is even though it’s winter.  Some of the fruit trees still haven’t shed all their leaves but at the same time are budding up, likewise some of the ornamentals.  Even sweet peas, which self sowed, are whizzing up.  This surely must be a sign of how confused nature is due to climate change.  I planted garlic on the shortest day of the year, which is what I normally do, then read in a gardening blog that wasn’t the best way and it should be planted sooner.  Anyway I’ll keep with my method of planting on the shortest day and harvesting on the longest.  My last crop was fantastic.  A while ago I planted broad beans which are now looking healthy and strong and I am fortunate enough to be able to harvest carrots, lettuce, beetroot and corriander as required.  Gardening is very rewarding if you are able to accept failures along with the successes.

 

 

RECIPE

Once again I have to thank Jo Marty for kindly allowing me to include one of her recipes in this blog.  This time it’s for Spaghetti and Pea Pesto.  I tried it out last week and it tastes really delicious.   In Jo’s words ‘the recipe is super cheap yet flavourful and filling’.

200g frozen peas, defrosted, generic is fine
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons almonds/35g, skin on is fine
100g cheddar cheese, grated, reserve a little for sprinkling over
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup vegetable oil (olive oil is best but any mild oil will do)
500g spaghetti pasta

Method
Half cook the peas. Set 2 tablespoons aside for garnishing later.
Place the almonds in a food processor and blend well. Add the garlic, peas,cheese,salt and pepper then vegetable oil. Blend well until smooth.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the instructions on packet.
Ladle out and reserve approximately 2 cups of the cooking liquid then drain the rest.
Add 1 cup (i.e. Half of the reserved cooking liquid) of the cooking water to the pea mixture in the food processor. Blend well, stopping to scrape the sides and base.
Return the spaghetti to the pot then over medium heat toss through the pea sauce until well heated and well mixed. Add more of the reserved cooking water if necessary.
To serve divide amongst 4 bowls and garnish with the reserved whole peas and grated cheese.
Serves 4

ENJOY ………………………………….

GOOD FRIENDS

25th June was the birthday of my good friend Olga.  It was a happy celebration.

Olga blowing out the candle

Olga blowing out the candle

 

A get-well message to Joan Blain, a regular contributor to the blog, who is in hospital with a broken ankle.  I hope she is catching up on her reading.

To everyone else, keep well and treasure each day.

Janice

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES – Harvesting/Preserving/Tofu Making (18/05/15)

Harvesting and Preserving Fruit

At last apple harvesting has come to an end.  Our one small Golden Delicious tree produced so much fruit it was impossible for me to cope with it all.  However, there is always a good side to everything and I was able to share the fruit with friends.  Likewise I received some quince paste from a friend, which from her description, seems a huge task to prepare and not a job that I would be prepared to tackle.  It is particularly good with brie or camembert as shown here:

Quince paste with camembert

Quince paste with camembert

I still use the method of bottling the apples in glass jars using an electric preserving pan (Fowlers Vacola).  It’s quite a labor of love.  I remember my grandma meticulously picking over the apples and making sure they were absolutely perfect.  I wonder what she would think of my somewhat slap-dash approach which seems to work quite well.  So far I have filled 35 large bottles and made various pies.  I think we will be eating apples every week from now on.

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My fig tree didn’t do very well this year.  Even though Ken netted it, the birds still managed to get their fill.  Anyway I never quite know what to do with them all.  Ken doesn’t like the seeds getting under his denture plate.  I know some people make fig jam but I don’t think I would use it if I made it.  I did try drying some and that was quite a success but I’m not sure if all the electricity I used in the process was really worthwhile .

I noticed recently that a book has been written about bottling using a microwave method.  That might be worth checking out though it is unlikely I could use my large bottles.  A while ago I found a recipe for corn relish using the microwave and that turned out well so perhaps that’s the way to go for small quantities.

Making Tofu from scratch using sea water

Last Saturday I went to a tofu making demonstration given by Bruce, a master tofu maker, followed by a light lunch using the finished tofu.  The process is absolutely amazing and Bruce has kindly allowed me to reproduce his method.

Now I know this isn’t for everyone but I am sure there may be some readers who will be tempted to have a go.  If you don’t live in close proximity to the ocean an alternative to sea water is Nigari available from Asian and Japanese grocers.  Bruce advises to use a heaped teaspoon of Nigari powder diluted in 250ml water (scale up volume as required).  Do not be alarmed by the use of salt water in the process of tofu making as it is poured off with the whey and takes no part in forming the tofu curd.

The amount of sea water or Nigari you use is the same as the dry soy beans i.e. 1 cup of dry beans needs 1 cup of seawater.

First you have to make the Soy Milk:  

  1. Soak beans fror 12 hours (possibly 300gm or more if wished)
  2. Mince the softened beans into a large pan of hot water at 100C
  3. Bring the water and ground beans back up to 100C and hold at this temperature for 20 minutes stirring to prevent burning.  A trivet is useful.  This destroys an enzyme called trypsin inhibiter that is bad in the human gut.
  4. Strain through sieve or colander.  Now you have REAL SOY MILK

Making the Tofu

  1. Heat sea water or Nigari to 80C
  2. In another pan heat soy milk to 80C
  3. Add the milk to the sea water while gently stirring for 10 seconds.
  4. Stop all swirling in the pot and allow curd to form over next 6 minutes
  5. Ladle out the whey by pressing onto the top of the curds and whey mixture.   Do this again and again until all you have is tofu.  The whey can be used in bread making.
  6. Drape some muslin over a small squarish plastic container with drain holes then spoon the soft tofu into the mould then weigh down for 20 minutes or so.  You now have tofu.  Store under fresh water in fridge.

I collected some sea water today and intend to have a go myself at making the tofu tomorrow.  Will advise how it goes.  I have my fingers crossed!

Update on Realising your Talents (31/03/15)

Recently I wrote about how Lesley had realised her talent for painting.  She has been working away at improving her art and sent me some more of her paintings.  Here is one I particularly love:

Lesley's latest picture

Lesley’s latest picture

Until next time warm regards to all

Janice

 

 

 

 

Harvesting home grown crops 11/12/14

Hello everyone

It’s time to think about harvesting some of our home grown produce before the blackbirds completely devastate the crops.  This year there seem to have been an army of them ready to pounce.  Ken netted the fruit trees and the berries but the birds always find an opening somewhere not to mention digging up tiny seedlings in search of worms.   We also have to contend with snails, slugs and white fly which are so hard to eradicate.  I remember the advice of a friend who said you have to grow twice as much as you need so that you can share with the wildlife;  how very true.

On Tuesday Ken noticed the cherries were under serious attack and so he decided to harvest them before the message went out to all and sundry,  as it does in the jungle, that  a particular tree was in fruit.  So far I have made two large cherry pies and sampled many in the process.  I still have quite a few bottles of apples in the cupboard from last season so included some of those in one of the pies.  Wasn’t sure what the result would be but it turned out to be a good combination.

Cherry pies

Cherry pies

While on the subject of cooking I would like to share with you a really delicious recipe from The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook by Wendy Polisi.  Wendy has kindly given me permission to reproduce her recipe for which I thank her.  To save time I always cook a batch of quinoa and save it in portions in the freezer then it’s always ready for the next stage.  You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these fritters.

QUINOA FRITTERS

1 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup chopped onion
Pinch salt and black pepper
1 tbs chopped parsley
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil

Put quinoa in saucepan with the broth or water, bring to simmer, reduce to low and cook for about 20 minutes. Leave covered for 5 mins.
Then combine quinoa with flour, cheese, onion, salt, pepper and parsley. Beat eggs and add to mixture. Form into required portions and shallow fry. I actually coat them
in fine breadcrumbs before frying. They cook quite quickly usually a few minutes.

Homemade Ketchup

1 sachet tomato paste/2 tbs coconut palm sugar/2 cloves garlic minced/pinch cumin and sea salt/1/2 tsp dry mustard/2 tbs apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce to medium low and simmer for about 18 minutes.

Do try this recipe and let me know what you think.

I’ll be back soon

Janice