The Mis en Place of life

Hi All,

This is post number 3 that I have up my sleeve…what a luxury! I have been guilty of only having about a quarter of a post ready to post on the day that I am due to post it. Not only that, but I have also been guilty of realising that the day got away from me and that I have 1 hour to post…as a natural processes person I take great delight in the deliciousness of order and progression and I try to do as many things as I can to smooth the way through our days. I love prep. I love to get things ready and sort things out and am a maestro of mis en place when it comes to recipes. I learned it the hard way and getting everything that you need ready before you start something is a wise lesson to learn. Another wise lesson is to clean up your previous mess before you start a new task. My grandmother always pushed “Clean up as you go along” as her mantra. It stuck. I hate a great pile of dishes to do after I cook so as I cook I wash dishes and wipe them at the same time. At the end of the process there may be some dinner dishes to do but not many. I hate waking up to dishes, or a messy kitchen. It’s a new day after all and a new day deserves a clean start. I know that some of my processes annoy Steve. I can only imagine what his flat in the U.K. looked like but I have a good idea ;). Steve lived on his own and was able to drag a doona out to the couch whilst watching television. He could leave his guitar and amp in the lounge room where it would remain (un-chewed by Earl) until he felt like playing it next. He could dump his clothes on the floor until he ran out of them and could head down to the Laundromat just around the corner to throw a load of washing into the machine and the pace of his life was completely centred on his own processes. We have been together for 14 years now (16 if you count the 2 years we spent in an extremely long distance online relationship) and he still doesn’t get why he can’t just throw his clothes on the floor by the bed when he wants to sleep…”it’s not like I am dropping them in the lounge is it?”…but for once, Earl is coming to my rescue. Earl has started to invade Steve’s deftly dropped clothing…I have an early morning disclaimer here…I did NOT train Earl to demolish any of Steve’s carelessly dumped items…he learned how to do it all by himself! ;). Earl has started pulling things out of Steve’s pockets. Steve really only has himself to blame because he leaves bags of dog treats in his pockets and Earl is always ready to find food. Earl is also ready to extract anything else out of pockets that have been carelessly left at Earl’s beak level and he is VERY good at it. Steve wakes up to find chewed up sweet wrappers (minus the sweets 😉 ), dog poo bags that have been deftly rendered useless (Earl has a problem with us picking up his deposits…he deposited them for a reason and is annoyed and somewhat disgusted that we pick them up after he carefully places them at the topmost point of grass clumps and bushes and low walls…) and obviously the dog treats disappear (that goes without saying) and Steve has a habit of cramming his pockets with all sorts of bits and pieces and Earl has now taken to bypassing sticking his nose into Steve’s pockets and just chews right through till he gets what he wants to amuse him. You can’t blame Earl, you have to look squarely at the person dumping their clothes on the floor and you REALLY have to wonder why this person is STILL DOING IT AFTER EARL ATE HIS PANTS!…stubborn willfulness won’t put the ass back in your pants Steve 😉

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I LOVE having a post up my sleeve 🙂 Here is a photo up my sleeve to match the post up my sleeve. We think that this is some kind of funky ferry but whatever float-a-ma-jig it is, it’s most certainly interesting

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We took the dogs to the dog park today. We took a tennis ball and a rope ring and all the good intentions in the world. Earl tried to slip under the gate and run away and Bezial stood still for 15 minutes sniffing the same blade of grass for the entire time…After we got disgusted with them (the YOUTH OF TODAY!) we got back in the car and noticed this pretty picture so the effort wasn’t entirely wasted on our plebian dogs! 😉

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Check out the olde worlde last century chalk folks! I am getting school memories just looking at it 😉

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May as well stick with the boaty theme of this first set of photos and post a pic of the tug that zooms up and down the river. I say “zooms”, it actually “Chugs” very VERY loudly

Ok, fingers crossed…I am just about to turn the modem back on after a 20 minute hiatus. If it is stuffed we are going to have to head into town soon and get another one because our studies demand that we have an online connection. I will let it do its thing (blinky blinky green lights blinky blinky and a bit more blinking) for a while and will then test and see if I have the net back. This could change our plans for the day and we might have to take an emergency trip into the city to buy a new modem. I hope not, we are saving at the moment. We want to get ahead with our bills and save some money for emergencies and for when bills that are unexpected come in. Penniless student hippies live pretty close to the breadline…in fact; most of us live UNDER the breadline. We are not complaining, we choose this life and are prepared to bypass all sorts of wants and desires in order to keep living the way that we live BUT “The Man” demands a pound of flesh on a regular basis and we don’t have much choice but to pay at the moment. That means “money” and even though we don’t receive a lot of money as students (we get even less than people bumming around doing nothing on the dole) we are still able to save up and we found a plan that if we stick to it, we should arrive at the other end of it with a significant amount of savings for a “rainy day”. Like most other things in life I have a “better safe than sorry”. For a girl who rebelled against her grandmothers “tyrannical rule” on a constant basis, I think I am starting to turn into her! Those early lessons keep coming back “better safe than sorry”, “clean up as you go along”, “don’t put your shoes on the table or you will never be able…” (“Able” to what gran? I had 3 kids after loading up the table with shoes and your method of birth control SUCKS! 😉 )…all sorts of little wisdoms that annoyed the heck out of me when I was forced to comply but that keep coming back to me now as solid proof that my grandmother was a wise and wonderful soul. I didn’t appreciate you enough gran, you really knew your stuff! I think I might be like her…It has only taken me almost 50 years to admit that and she died last century (makes it sound like a lifetime ago doesn’t it? 😉 ). Time to test that connection… (Fingers crossed… 😉 ….

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Here’s the nectarine tree at my daughters house in town AFTER I spent 2 hours removing blackberries from it’s protective circle

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Here is the pile of blackberries removed and on a tarpaulin so that the rotten things don’t invade Poland and start growing from pieces. “Fool me ONCE!” 🙂

Well it looks like it’s either the modem has died or Google has decided to deposit one of Earls mighty dumps on my head for daring to use a tag in last night’s post called “Better than Google Reader” ;). Either way it’s just you and me this morning and those 300+ blog posts are just going to have to wait. I made a wonderful sourdough carrot cake last night. I have made it 2 times now and both times it was amazing. The funny thing about it is that the recipe states that the cake is “nothing special, just a wholesome cake to eat with a cup of tea”… I have never made a carrot cake (before this) that worked. My carrot cakes were always too moist and gluggy and the texture was wrong. This cake has consistently given excellent results and has Steve actually asking me to make it. I threw some ground ginger into the mix along with lots of cinnamon last night and Steve tasted it and pronounced it wonderful (even though he doesn’t like ginger and has NO idea it is in there 😉 ). I love experimenting with recipes and this one is a completely different recipe to the sourdough chocolate cake recipe that I have been baking. In last night’s version I cut the oil back to ½ cup and upped the amount of kefir (not actually called for in the recipe) and added 2 tsp of organic vanilla extract to the mix. I think the trick is in grating the carrots very finely and squeezing them out to get a dry pulp to add to the mix. Whatever the processes, the end results are stellar and my new go-to snacking cake for Steve to have with a coffee. The dogs love it as well and actually beg for it. I took my desire to offload the enormous quantity of mature kefir that I have been amassing of late to a new level. I used a cup and a half (I still have over 2 litres to use up) of very thick mature kefir (it looked like very thick sour cream or Greek yoghurt) in Steve’s quiche last night. I was prepared for a backlash because Steve is VERY suspicious of new things in his favourite recipes but he said that he couldn’t taste anything different and kefir has just elevated itself into a usable commodity on Serendipity Farm…”YIPEE!” I can now add it to all sorts of things with impunity :o). That means that if I want to make a creamy potato bake with bacon, capsicum, caramelised onions, garlic and cheese, I can opt out of paying for sour cream and can use copious quantities of kefir in its place. My little grains work overtime to produce this unctuous thick rich probiotic stuffed product and I owe it to them to use it in abundance. Unlike Jess (Rabid from www.rabidlittlehippy.wordpress.com ) I don’t have 3 kefir loving mouths to consume my kefir as soon as the grains produce it and I have to think how I am going to use it. With Steve’s newfound acceptance I can use it with impunity and might even make some kefir icecream after I toss the icecream base into the freezer overnight. The amazing thing about kefir is that it doesn’t go off. It contains in excess of 60 different probiotics and seems to be able to ward off any other invaders so long as I keep it in the fridge it is fine. My stockpile is going to disappear rapidly now that I know I can use it and Steve won’t reject the results with suspicion.

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We decided to open up the computer desk to get maximum space today and ended up making room for a large pine box that we can store things in as well as dealing with the cables that were snaking out all over the place behind the P.C. and making a haven for dust. Much better 🙂

I think I need 10 points and maybe a factotum gold star for not hyperventilating about my inability to use the net today. My early mornings are actually tied up in online use and this morning I am sitting here in the dark tapping blog posts to my dear constant readers rather than expunge my readers exponentially increasing backlog of posts (just typing that made me think I need a paper bag!). I guess Steve is going to have to use his techy skills when he gets up. My instinct is to give it a whack but I will curb that instinct because technology and “bashing” tend to result in dollar signs ;). We have been working a bit ahead of our course because we finished and handed in all of our work early (can anyone say “big fat factotums!” 😉 ) and rather than sit here twiddling our thumbs we are working through our next unit. I know we aren’t meant to be doing this till next term and that we have an assessment that we have to complete on this Design unit but we haven’t been given it yet and so we will continue to work through our next unit on Photoshop. We are enjoying it immensely and are learning a lot about digital manipulation of images. Yesterday Steve was able to help my brother sort out a problem using what we have learned so far. My brother is going to attempt to sell some of his lovely photos at the local markets where he lives on the weekend. He has been paying a premium to print out A0 poster sized prints at the printers but couldn’t work out how to get more than 1 panorama on an A0 sheet and was only using ¼ of the sheet in the process. Steve sorted it out for him yesterday and now he can get 4 panoramas on an A0 sheet and is saving himself $90 a sheet. It’s great to be able to put what you are learning into practical use and help people at the same time.

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Looks like it’s gutter cleaning time again… 😦

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“Hmmm How did you get up that ladder eh?”

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“It certainly looks like a lot of fun…”

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“Ok, I recon I could handle it…”

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He didn’t manage to climb the ladder but Steve did along with his trusty muck bucket and blow-a-ma-jig

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Isn’t it funny how last year this was disgusting to me and this year I see it as a precious resource? It’s all a matter of how you look at things :). Notice that black “thing” (that’s about all it could still be called…) on the right hand side of the bucket? It is one of a pair of “black things” that Steve fished out of the gutter and then was able to identify as some of his socks that he obviously put up on the gutter in order to prevent Earl from predating them…the problem with that very clever idea sir, is that you forgot about them and they got blown into the gutter where they have been mouldering for the best part of 8 months 😉 Needless to say they now reside in the bin! That bucket was a “found thing” that we discovered on our walk discarded amongst the bushes today. It’s an old oil bucket that blew over from the Exeter Show recently and that Steve eagerly took receipt of and will be stowing in the Mumbly Cumumbus as his new bailing/fish bucket

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Apparently the roof is Steve’s domain and this mess blown down onto the deck is mine…funny how no-one talked about this “Domain” stuff prior to Steve heading up the ladder with his blow-a-ma-jig eh 😉

When we were at our graduation ceremony last week, we had a chat to Meg, the team leader of another course who was helping out on the night to take registrations and direct graduates in the right direction when they arrived at the ceremony. Meg is a wonderful generous person who works with disabled and indigenous people to teach them how to create horticultural spaces. She specialises in environmental science and is perfect for the job. She is eminently qualified and her caring nature makes her ideal for helping people to use what they have to facilitate positive changes in their lives and make the most of their situation. Meg loves Steve and I and we love her right back. I think Meg has romantic goggles on and thinks that it would be wonderful to work with your partner and study/learn together. That might be the case if you weren’t exact opposites and had NO idea how the other person can even function with brain/thought processes like that! Steve and I are slowly learning to adapt to each other’s processes but they are as foreign and alien to each other as to be bordering on crazy and as we both think that we are right in our own processes, it can sometimes be a difficult process in itself to unite and learn anything together. We have learned to break down the task into what Steve does best and what I do best. I research best…I type best…I am good at problem solving and Steve is technical and stubbornly keeps going till he works it out. Together we are formidable in both the French meaning of the word AND the English version ;). If we can’t get the net back today we are going to have to find a solution for this problem. Hopefully it is just the network and isn’t anything to do with our connection per-se but it’s been a long time since we had to phone up Dodo and try to wade through those Indian accents to get to someone who isn’t in automatic damage control and who insists that the problem doesn’t lie with them…let’s just hope that the problem can bypass the need to phone Dodo. I feel a headache brewing if it can’t…

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The meat and onions and garlic cooking for Steve’s “BEST EVER” chilli recipe just before the red wine goes in…

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Some of the other ingredients and the recipe. This chilli is truly unctuous and gorgeous and we haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like it yet. We used to make this in HUGE vats when we volunteered at the local Salvation Army kitchen to help feed the homeless. Steve’s chilli is still talked about long after we stopped working there (and they have probably forgotten who we are but that chilli speaks for itself 🙂 ). We will make you some when you come Kymmy 🙂

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Not the greatest photo but this chilli bubbles away to an unctuous thick delicious flavoursome pot of heaven and served with some steamed rice and some oven wedges (home made of course) it will be Steve’s happiness tonight 🙂

It is 6.10am and I have managed to write 3 posts all bordering on the gargantuan this morning. I could keep typing posts but I fear they would be obsolete before I posted them! So I am not too sure what I am going to do now with the next hour before I wake Steve with a cup of coffee and wait 30 minutes while he wakes up slowly before I dump the problem with the net on him. I have lots of things that I can do today that don’t involve the net. We have the lizard piles of wood to collect up (and maybe a lizard rescue might be on the cards) and deposit under the deck and out of the weather (should “the weather” ever decide to come that is 😉 ), I have plans to use as much of my kefir in cooking today as I can. I need my fridge back! Kefir and sourdough starters don’t mix well. I only found out the other day that kefir makes a perfectly good starter all by itself! I didn’t realise that kefir has lots of yeast and that it can be used to raise a loaf of bread and might test it out one day. I know that when I add it to sourdough cakes in place of milk, the cakes always rise well and have an excellent flavour so perhaps I can take advantage of this in some of my recipes. I want to get hold of some water kefir grains in the near future and will be converting half of Kid Creole’s coconuts into true coconut milk loving babies. If they die I will just keep trying to convert more as Kid produces them. He seems content to repopulate the earth with his progeny at the moment so that isn’t an issue. I have been researching and it is entirely possible to convert kefir milk grains to coconut milk grains or soymilk grains… it just takes persistence and a slow progression. I make my own coconut milk (out of coconuts…what a coincidence! 😉 ) and as such, I end up with coconut water as part of the equation. I would like to use it productively to make water kefir and so I might have to send a quick missive with accompanying moola off to Dom in South Australia to avail myself of some of his amazing water kefir grains. I want to experiment with various juices (including the über sweet carrot juice I squeeze from the carrots that I use to make Steve’s sourdough carrot cake staple) and fermenting them.

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On one side we have Steves oven wedges marinating in olive oil, chilli, pepper and salt and ready to go onto the bbq after the dessert on the other side is cooked

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This is the way that I cook apples now. I prefer it to using water or juice. I thinly slice the apples and fry them gently in butter, cinnamon, mixed spice and a tsp of organic vanilla extract till they are tender and then I add 1/2 cup of sugar (you could use rapadura or coconut sugar or honey or whatever you like here) and after a few minutes cooking in the resulting syrup I remove the apples and reduce the syrup to a thick caramel that I then pour over the apples. The results are superb and so far removed from apples stewed in water they could hardly be considered the same thing. I call them my “toffee apples” and use them as a base for my crumbles and for tonights dessert which will be covered in a light vanilla sponge and served with custard. Steve has earned his chilli and dessert tonight with his antics on the roof 🙂

I have been stretching out my posts in order to ignore having to deal with the fact that the modem is not working properly. It might be something to do with the weather (although I am bordering on my mother’s steadfast desire to cling to superstition there! Whoa neddy! 😉 ) but my guess is that our network is down and that an unmarked white van will turn up at the little wooden box up the road that is ostensibly Telstra’s and that Dodo has to share with them and will do a bit of fiddling around and hopefully the problem will be solved. I dare say you will know if we get back online by the presence or absence of posts ;). I am going to leave it there for today folks. It’s now 6.21am and the rubbish truck just took our rubbish and soon the recycling truck will be rumbling past to collect our recycling as well. It is still dark but I can spend the next 30 minutes getting ahead of my processes thus allowing us to launch into our day a bit earlier than we normally would. I hope you all have a wonderful day and weekend ahead of you and that you are able to spend some quality time doing what you truly love to do. See you all on Saturday  :o)

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33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthropogen
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 17:40:08

    Are there any seeds in those Hoyt’s dried chilies? You mentioned earlier the lack of good chili seed in Tasmania. Maybe they would germinate. Chili seed will stay viable for a long time.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 04, 2013 @ 03:32:37

      That’s a great idea Spencer and a friend recently told me about how she just tries to grow any “seed” that she gets from grocers, health food shops etc. I will give them a go and will post about it if they grow. I have NO idea what kind of chilli they are. We grew lots of Jalapeno’s this year and they are just starting to ripen and its getting colder here. Hopefully we get more than a few red ones :). I might head off to the Asian supermarket in town and see if I can’t source a few of their birdseye chillies from whole dried chilli’s. Thank you again for this great idea :).

      Reply

      • Linne
        Apr 04, 2013 @ 11:32:56

        Thought this might help: I was reading a biography of Gene Stratton-Porter a while back (for info on her and her books, try Google; here’s a start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Stratton-Porter)
        Her mother apparently could grow things most people couldn’t. One thing she did if other methods failed was to cut a slit ina potato, then insert the end of a slip or seedling or whatever. The book said most of her efforts were successful. ~ Linne

      • narf77
        Apr 05, 2013 @ 04:47:47

        What an awesome link! I have never heard of Gene Stratton-Porter Linne. This is one of the amazing things about sharing knowledge online with fellow like minded bloggers. You can find out all SORTS of things that you would never have known before. My grandmother would have adored the internet. I am like her. She would have never gotten off the net and would have filled several hard drives with everything that she was interested in :). Thank you SO much for that info, I will spend today chasing up everything that I can find about her and will see if I can find anything in the library about her but our local (Tasmanian) libraries tend to revolve around the mainstream…sigh…

  2. Chica Andaluza
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 19:32:27

    You have a lot of very exciting things tucked up those sleeves of yours! So funny about Earl and Steve’s clothes. Do we get to share the details of Steve’s chili recipe (please!)? It’s gutter cleaning time for us in England before we head back in a few weeks for Spain but i don’t think it’s been done for years and we need to get up to the top floor of a tall 3 storey Edwardian house (scary). I need to track down some kefir, I’m so impressed with all you’re doing with it!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 04, 2013 @ 03:37:47

      Wish could give you some of Kid Creole’s babies as they are going great guns and I am going to have to start going all Sweeny Todd on them and mincing them up in my morning smoothies!!! I might have to advertise them for free on Gumtree ;). That truly IS a scary proposition…3 storeys! Steve only has to get up on 1 story albeit a bit of an elevated 1 story at the front. 3 would make me twitch. I had enough trouble getting halfway up the ladder to take those photo’s of Earl let alone get any further. Might be time to consider paper rock scissors time although methinks a nice pud and a good meal might do the deal with the big man 😉 (it worked for Steve 🙂 ). If you would like the chilli recipe I will put it into Saturday’s post as it really is amazing. Very simple ingredients but it tastes amazing and we kept getting people asking for us to make it over and over again. The secret is the red wine I am sure of it and the fresh ground spices. Served with chips on the side and some rice underneath with a side of avocado, sour cream and a bit of thin sliced red chilli on top it is the food of dreams :). I say that but I have never tasted it! I have smelled it though and it has a gorgeous aroma…consider it done, recipe in Saturday’s post (best type it out now so I don’t forget 😉 )

      Reply

      • Chica Andaluza
        Apr 04, 2013 @ 04:46:45

        Ooh, lovely…I’ll be getting some mince in ready! Luckily Big Man (in his “real” working life) used to install electrical pylons so thinks nothing of shinning up ladders to great heights. Phew…I’m a bit of a vertigo sort of gal 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 04, 2013 @ 05:22:40

        Ditto…ask the big man if he wouldn’t mind sorting out our dangling tree problem…there is a big bowl of chilli and toffee apple pudding if he is up for it 😉

      • Chica Andaluza
        Apr 04, 2013 @ 05:28:05

        Now you’re talking. he has just been introduced to Sticky Toffee Pudding so I know he’d love Toffee Apple pudding!

      • narf77
        Apr 04, 2013 @ 05:39:41

        Lol…”Bring on the tree felling!” 😉

      • Linne
        Apr 04, 2013 @ 11:35:35

        I was going to ask for that recipe, too, so thanks very much in advance! Wish I could have some of those kefir grains, too. I tried it once, but nothing happened. Have been thinking I should make the effort and try it again.

      • narf77
        Apr 05, 2013 @ 04:45:34

        Christi has spare grains and lives in Olalla Washington, just over the border from you. I wonder if she would send you some? She is a wonderful person and you would love her Linne :). Would you like me to ask her if she would send you some grains? Kefir is so easy and with over 60 probiotics it leaves yoghurt for dead. You can also make sourdough starter with the whey, Christi just gave me a recipe for it and I am going to make some ASAP as my curiosity is piqued to the max. (Check the comments on my last post to get it). I use my starter and kefir for making cheese to add to lasagne etc. and to add to cakes at the moment but bread is a whole new ballpark and I want to play! :). So many uses and so many recipes and this little black magpie duck would love to dabble with them all. Cooking is my “craft” I guess. I adore cooking and love to mess around with interesting recipes. It’s just a pity that I am married to a man who sees food as “something to eat” rather than his life’s passion…lucky really as there is such a thing as killing someone with kindness 😉

  3. brymnsons
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 22:41:38

    I am looking forward to the chilli meal Fran. It looks delish! Never had chilli with wedges, but hey when in Rome right. We buy Gossips wine too, for the price it is pretty good eh. I have written down the recipe for the apples, it sound tasty. I hope you get your internet to work, it’s a pain in the butt when it stops working. The photo of the first boat is a type of catamaran, I think 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 04, 2013 @ 03:40:48

      This was a post written a little while ago Kymmy and the net is fine now. It did a diagnostic on itself and took AGES to do and we thought, for sure, that we were going to have to take it into town to be sorted out by our handy dandy techy guys (the guys that built the PC in the first place) but it came back to life like the phoenix and has been going great guns ever since (fingers crossed and all 😉 ). That chilli is delish and the “chips” are a U.K. way of serving it (but they do serve everything with chips and that is why I LOVE them so much …both chips and U.K.ite’s 😉 ) even better with some sour cream and avocado. It isn’t over the top hot but it is a nice buzz of heat and I think you will like it. You will head back with a suitcase full of recipes, kefir grains, sourdough starter and Earl 😉

      Reply

  4. Kathy Tetlock
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 00:27:19

    What’s a doona?

    Reply

    • brymnsons
      Apr 06, 2013 @ 12:05:37

      A doona is a quilt inside a cover. You can buy feather, polyester, wool etc filling. The covers are usually poly cotton, but sometimes you can buy just cotton. The covers are patterned or plain. You can air your quilt and wash your cover. 🙂

      Reply

      • narf77
        Apr 06, 2013 @ 12:30:04

        Or you could recycle it through the dog…I am NOT going to tell you how many doona’s Earl ate before we got him out of the habit 😦

  5. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 00:39:55

    Last night I dreamed I was in your neck of the woods. I’ve heard devas only visit during the night houses with clean kitchens. That patio rock work looks interesting. It’s giving me a project idea. The weather is warming up and we are ready to move outside with projects now – mostly gardening. I’m feeling the urge to mow the lawn this weekend. I had to look up the weight in pounds. How did you lose it? I’m afraid to even know how much I weigh. My husband looks at the scale while I close my eyes. He writes it inside an envelope. I have been afraid to look thus far. My daughter and I are going to try to do a three day juice fast next week. Those apples look great.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 04, 2013 @ 04:00:06

      Lol NO idea why your deva visited then as Steve was left to clean the kitchen up last night and when I got out here there are “things” everywhere ;). The rockwork was there when we inherited the property and we found out why in our first winter. The back yard area floods, but Steve has created a drainage system that removes the water now so those rocks don’t turn into a personal swimming pool for the dogs (and mud bath) in winter any more which is SO much better for my sanity as dogs + water/mud + speed = nervous breakdowns for me whenever they dash in and out of their dog door in the winter and the walls start to resemble the colour of the mud :(.
      It’s a sure sign that spring has really sprung when you feel the urge to take control of a lawnmower :). I lost the weight but eating well. I stopped eating garbage and started eating healthy food. I am vegan so it really wasn’t all that hard. I just subbed beans and lentils for fake meat subs and I stopped using oil. I eat some avocado and nuts but not huge amounts and lots of greens, salads and veggies but I am not weird about counting calories or anything. Life is TOO short to count calories ;). I like to eat a LOT of food and so upping the veggies and low calorie fruit (watermelon and other melons and strawberries and other berries) worked well. I also added breakfast (never ate it before) in the form of those green smoothies and my green smoothies are HUGE. I use a whole bunch of home grown spinach, lots of add ins and end up with about 2 litres of “breakfast” that keeps me going for ages. I think it’s all about tailoring what “you” like to eat/drink and finding a way to make it low enough in calories and high enough in nutrients to satisfy you. I don’t eat sugar or very starchy foods (aside from pumpkin and sweet potato) and sub date paste in my smoothies. I was living on starch prior to the green smoothie challenge that I started back in January and my weight loss efforts had stalled. I started the green smoothies, hummus or big salad for lunch and soup for my evening meal (much MUCH more than I was used to eating mind you!) and started losing at least a kilo (2lb) a week and instead of stopping the plan I just kept going. I now eat a smaller meal at night than I used to but a lot more during the day. It works for me and that’s all that really matters in the long run :). That green smoothie challenge was the bomb! Somer really didn’t realise how many people she would be helping with that challenge 🙂
      I don’t “do” juice (aside from in a glass with a splash of something alcoholic 😉 ). I blend everything together and drink it because the fibre fills you up and gives you bulk. I guess that is my peculiarity, I need to feel “full”. It’s all swings and roundabouts really. Some people love sweet food, I don’t. I am a savoury person all round (and I used to be “all round” believe me! 😉 ) and ate heaps of butter, chips (thick french fries), tonnes of pasta, cheese and bread but since I cut them all out (I don’t even eat potatoes at the moment) my body has had to adjust to eating more veggies and beans and lentils and I am reaping the rewards. You really have to try and see what works for you but if you love “eating” and feeling full after, this way works :). Good luck with your juice fast. I used to fast. I fasted for 21 days on water once and didn’t lost a pound. It was the most disappointment I have EVER had in my life! I have tried just about EVERYTHING from high protein diets to Scarsdale to Pritikin to juice fasting and nothing worked till I started to eat real, healthy food and enough of it. I guess that’s the secret, our bodies really DO need to be fed 🙂
      By the way…I NEVER let Steve see what was on the scales before but could care less about him seeing them now 🙂 I love that your husband is with you on this quest/goal…that’s what enduring love is made of right there 🙂

      Reply

  6. Linne
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 13:23:47

    There are some recipes on this blog, Narf7, if you’re still looking for other preserving ideas: http://madewithmytwohands.blogspot.ca/2013/04/still-madly-harvesting-and-preserving.html On that page is one for Roasted Tomato Chutney. Hope that’s helpful. I am going to try and make time for posting some of my Mum’s recipes in the next couple of days. Lots of scanning to do tonight, though. ~ Linne

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 05, 2013 @ 04:41:11

      I can’t wait to see (and save) some of your mum’s recipes. Other people’s family recipes are precious things. My mum passed on lots of her favourite recipes including a special Christmas Cake recipe that was the secret recipe of a small factory that my uncle worked in for many years. That factory has gone by the wayside now but that amazing recipe is firmly entrenched in our family history and will keep going on :). I LOVE the look of that chutney! Right up my alley. I figure that food needs to taste great before it goes into my mouth. I don’t want to waste my efforts on anything blah unless it is going to give me super powers ;). Tried and tested recipes are the best kind and if you had any of your dad’s family recipes (if your mum had any) they would be a wonderful addition as well. If not, I am sure my magpie researching bones could hunt some down 🙂

      Reply

  7. Deb
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 13:29:49

    The first pic of the ferry looks like the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry (Vic) which comes to Tassy a couple of times a year to go on the Synchro lift in Launceston and be overhauled.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 05, 2013 @ 04:37:55

      I am betting that you are right there Deb. No idea what it is but we get to see everything that heads up or down the river as we are at the narrow bit of Devil’s Elbow where all traffic on the river has to pass (just before the Batman Bridge). Some of these water craft look WAY too big to head down the river but head down they do! This one was particularly amazing looking and we just had to share it. Cheers for helping us work out what it is 🙂

      Reply

  8. christiok
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 15:44:10

    I clean as I go, too, Fran! And the kitchen is clean and floor swept before I go to bed, exactly as you. I wonder if that funky ferry might be one of the new low-wake kinds? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcSiknuTPqE
    These are the passenger ferries that run around Puget Sound here, but there aren’t very many of them. They’re supposed to keep the waterfront properties of Bainbridge Island from eroding.
    And wow! As you know I wrote about getting some kefir grains from a neighbor in my own blog post this week, and I am so excited to get your recipes! It’s just the Bearded One and moi, but I do send baked things up to the loved ones in Seattle regularly via Annie. They are requesting samples. 🙂 For the bread starter, I used 1/8 cup kefir whey and 1/4 cup flour to make a paste, then added flour and water to it for a week ’til I got a concentrated cup and it was bubbly and gassy looking. Then I added another cup of whey to that and 2 cups of water and 4 cups of unbleached white flour. Let it rise overnight. Then baked it in a preheated 3 qt. casserole with the lid on for an hour at 375 degrees. It’s no-knead and quite good.
    Steve is a mighty handy fellow. Today he helped your brother with his computer and me with flick week identification. Thanks again, Steve!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 05, 2013 @ 04:36:12

      The great thing about sourdough cakes with kefir is that you just bung the flour, starter and kefir in together the night before and next morning they are ready to go. The resulting cakes are moist, very long keeping and have a gorgeous texture because the starter and kefir have partly digested the flour. Steve loves the carrot cake recipe and can’t get enough of it. I am going to keep messing about with the recipe adding things and seeing what I can and can’t get away with. I have recipes for Lumberjack cake and Hummingbird cake (both with fruit, dried fruit and nuts in) that would adapt to sourdough and kefir magnificently and when I get round to converting them (when Brunhilda is back on full duty 😉 ) I will post the results. Poor Steve is expected to eat everything that I produce and I am on a bit of a cooking jag at the moment. Yesterday I made 4 meals of spring rolls (frozen in the freezer) 4 meals of fried rice (also frozen in the freezer) and 4 calzones. I love cooking in advance and being able to just pull something nourishing and homemade out of the freezer at the end of a hard day. Steve and I are just about to start working on the new youbeaut veggie garden that should ruin the possums chance of ever getting anything out of us again! I can’t wait. I consider it my 50th birthday pressie and will be stoked to the boilers to be able to walk into it and know that everything that I plant is safe (at least from the bigger munchers 😉 ).
      I am really intregued by the kefir starter and am going to give it a go with some bread (typing it out in a wordpad as I type this…Steve isn’t the only magic one! 😉 )… It looks awesome and bypasses sourdough starter :). Kefir is the result of a symbiotic relationship between fungi and bacteria and it has over 60 probiotics involved rather than the handful that yoghurt has. It can be used for so many things and is amazing. I am just about to get hold of some water kefir grains but will hold off till spring as I don’t fancy drinking cold probiotic drinks all winter 😉
      Steve is, indeed, a handy fellow Christi. He is our go-to computer genius and has just worked out how to give me the poster that I need for my assessment. We have to have a theme for our course and Steve’s is his wooden spoons, mine is a seed saving organisation and we had to design a logo and poster for a fictional event for each of them. I wanted to design one of those 70’s style psychedelic posters like 70’s rock posters for a fictional “Back to the 70’s” type Hipster event involving ethnic foods (you know…Indian etc 😉 ), homesteading crafts, old school food production and seed saving and Steve has managed to find a tutorial for how to make those very posters! I will post the results and see if you aren’t gobsmacked (isn’t that a GREAT word? 🙂 I love it and it is my word for the week 🙂 ) by the results :). Let me know if you ever need a poster or flier for anything and we will design it for you gratis. Good friends get good gifts :). Steve is blushing 🙂

      Reply

    • christiok
      Apr 05, 2013 @ 15:07:07

      Oh, I left out the salt! When I wrote out the no-knead kefir bread thing. I put in 2 t. Here’s the link to the recipe, but I changed it as you see above.http://www.schnookiemuffin.com/2010/05/02/no-knead-kefir-bread/
      That’s the thing with kefir, it is very forgiving! I’m discovering just how flexible all amounts and times are…we should all be so kefir-like. 🙂

      Reply

      • narf77
        Apr 05, 2013 @ 18:21:45

        Cheers Christi 🙂 I have saved the recipe and am going to give it a go ASAP as I am totally impressed with it and knowing how many probiotics kefir has I think it would give a lot of added nutrition to any product with flour in :). Cheers also for the link, I am off to eat my tea now but will check it out first thing in the morning :). Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy your gorgeous sunshine 🙂

  9. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 12:15:43

    Oh, I used to have the best system in place for having posts prepared in advance. I don’t even know how I made it all happen, since I was in high school at the time and posting once every day (!)… How I wish I could get back to that though. Now it’s always such a scramble to get the words together, and nothing comes out quite right when it’s rushed.

    Gotta say, those “toffee apples” of yours look like a giant bowlful of sweet heaven. Give me a pint of coconut ice cream and I could go to town!

    Reply

  10. Littlesundog
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 13:33:07

    I am positive: I’m in love with Earl!!! Not only is he handsome but he’s clever as well! I read that first paragraph 4 TIMES before I could move on! You painted a scenario of Earl eating Steve’s pants that I just couldn’t get out of my head. I always did have a warped sense of humor! Anyway, thanks for the laughs. Give Earl a big hug from me… EARL ROCKS!!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 05, 2013 @ 18:20:08

      Consider yourself drenched in Earl slobber…he loves to lick his friends :). Both he and Bezial are covered in something sticky that they have both rolled in. I am hoping beyond hope that it hasn’t been exuded from a possum as we have had one sneaking up and pinching the tiny cheese cubes that I leave for the birds at night time and they tend to leave deposits that dogs would be interested in. I haven’t gotten the courage to sniff either one of them yet and I might have to play paper rock scissors with Steve to see if I can’t get him to do it first 😉

      Reply

  11. Sophie33
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 18:52:43

    Your chili looks just fabulous! xan we ger the recipe, please??? xxx

    You did a lt of household chores! xxx

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 06, 2013 @ 03:13:54

      The recipe for that amazing chilli is coming up in tonight’s post Sophie so make sure to have your pen and some paper handy :). It’s an amazing chilli. Not vego as it’s Steve’s, but for all of the Omni’s in your life it is scrumptious 🙂

      Reply

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