Short but full of flavour

Hi All,

Thanks to Queen Elizabeth 2nd I stayed at my daughter’s house for an additional day which means that I am behind the 8 ball with my posts. Steve did a sterling job on Saturday’s post but now the baton has been passed back to narf7 who has been studying all day and who isn’t cram packed full of words. Let’s see what narf7 can pull out of the recesses of her mind to amuse and entertain you…I headed off to my daughters on Friday morning. We had walked the dogs and were talking to a friend on the way who mentioned that it was the queen’s birthday holiday on Monday which ensured that I had to stay another day because most of the shops that I needed to frequent were shut on public holidays…bollocks! I did have a great time at my daughters house and we had a lovely Korean takeaway and created some delicious food. I attempted to capture as many of the meals as I could but by the time we got around to eating we were starving so a couple of them slid down our throats before I could remember to snap. I would like to point out that I think that the queen is a bit greedy to be honest. I was chatting to “quarteracrelifestyle” this morning and she mentioned that the queen had actually had her birthday in New Zealand last week…I get the feeling that she is mooching for extra gifts and as she is officially the world’s richest woman I think that is a bit cheeky.

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This is Qi. She is our daughters Staffordshire terrier and lives with them in town. This photo was taken just before we left her at home to head out and pick up Korean take-away for our evening meal…Qi decided to pick up take-away of her own and rifled through my things till she found a bag of dog treats that was supposed to last her all weekend…they didn’t 😉

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Some of my daughters indoor chilli’s and spring onions that seem to be growing just fine by the well lit windows

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Breakfast on Saturday. Note the Chinese red dates and I discovered that “Aztec Berries” that are quite expensive dried fruit are actually Chinese Gooseberries that grow like topsy here on Serendipity Farm…kudos to the entrepreneur who managed to con someone into marketing them for him 😉

We didn’t get around to making waffles like I was planning to make because by the time I was able to get my youngest daughter out of bed it was closer to lunch time than breakfast. To her credit, she did have to adapt to my early rising habit although I did limit my emergence from my room till after the sun rose which I think was pretty big of me ;). The enormous Liquidambar tree in the front garden of the girl’s home has decided that it doesn’t want to be deciduous anymore. It has been taking longer and longer to lose its leaves and this year they seem to be firmly welded to its branches. Our poor sorry possum chewed specimen lost its leaves weeks ago but the girl’s tree is going strong. I remember our horticultural lecturer telling us that we must have been living in a microclimate. I think we must have been living in an alternate universe sometimes…strange things happen wherever we Pimbletts settle in a district. Glad next door has told us that we can have free reign over the leaves that have fallen from 2 of her enormous oak trees and we just have to find a spare day to head over there with our trusty trailer to rake and collect them. This will be our third year collecting leaves from next door…I am starting to feel quite nostalgic :o). Along with the enormous pile of horse dung and the remainder of the stall hay that we collected prior to now we have a good start on being able to fill our new veggie gardens with more than just chopped up branches.

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On Saturday night we had a chilli night. My contribution was to make guacamole

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My serve before the girls added beef mince to their portions

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My daughters have a most eclectic range of staple foods in their house. Here is the Asian quotient of their fridge…

We are almost ready to start putting the netting up around the perimeter of our fully enclosed garden. We had forgotten to get any strong rope to contain the netting and had to wait till I shopped to pick some up but now we are armed with more rope than we could possibly envisage needing so the next phase of our garden is just about to eventuate. I have decided to dismantle our existing veggie gardens and start using the material that they are built of to start forming garden beds around the netting as soon as we get the netting mounted on the poles we set into concrete a few weeks ago. Why pfaff around with limbo dancing my way into our existing gardens when I can rebuild them (like Steve Austin, the 6 million dollar man) stronger and better. We have enough netting to cover the gardens and protect them from the possums because the wallabies will be officially out of the equation once we get the fences up. I bought a chocko (cheers Jean for reminding me that they are useful food sources :o) ) when I was grocery shopping and plan on getting it to sprout and planting it out against the new fence. I also picked up some red coloured Jerusalem Artichokes that I was assured by the grocer were “just like the white ones, you know how some spuds are red and some are white? Same here…” That was enough to get me to buy a bag of them to plant out alongside their white counterparts…no racism here on Serendipity Farm!

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Steve took a photo of the small tins of loose leaf Chinese tea that the girls gave me

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And here is an artistic shot of the tins…

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The red coloured Jerusalem artichokes that will soon be under the ground ready to sprout for spring when the time is right

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Doesn’t this happy looking choko look like it is hovering over our bamboo countertop! I don’t know how it happened but lets just be happy that most choko’s are content to remain grounded 😉

Our rainwater tank is full to the brim! Steve checked the other day and discovered that there are actually benefits to rain aside from watering the garden. We have been drinking our tea and coffee made with rainwater and it does taste different. My daughters gave me some small tins of Chinese tea leaves along with a large friand pan, some Matcha green tea powder and a lovely reversible blanket to wrap around myself when I am up early before Brunhilda heats the kitchen up in the morning. I have to find myself a recipe for vegan friand’s. There is bound to be some clever clogs out there who has found a way to replace the 5 – 6 egg whites with some vegan equivalent, I just have to hunt them down. I am going to make some vegan green tea ice-cream with some of the Matcha powder and I made a cup of the Chinese loose leaf tea this morning. Thankyou girls, I most certainly appreciate my gifts to the max :o).

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Some more of my daughters pantry cupboards…

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And this one is a bit messier than the others but still laden with interesting ingredients

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The noodle cupboard…

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And this cupboard contains various “stuff”

Steve and I noticed something when we were out checking what we had to do with the veggie garden today. A pane of glass had been broken on the roof of the glasshouse…on further inspection we were able to deduce (just like Sherlock and Watson…bags I being Sherlock!) that something rotund had either fallen off a branch from the sheoak tree that towers over the glasshouse or attempted to negotiate a landing on the roof that went terribly wrong. We know this because exhibit A was the inside of the glasshouse where just about every single potted plant that remains inside was upturned. We figured out that one of our erstwhile possums had made an error in judgement and had found itself trapped inside the greenhouse with no way out aside from the way it came in. We also noticed that there were large shards of very sharp glass pointing inwards reminiscent of one of those fly traps where they can’t crawl out once they venture inside…we have NO idea how this possum managed to get out without cutting itself and there isn’t any blood visible so we have a mystery on our hands (and Steve had to use one of our chook food bags and some silicone and some logs to ensure that nothing else ventures into the glasshouse). Somewhere on Serendipity Farm there is a possum with a bad headache…

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There are a lot of unusual condiments and herbs and spices ready to be used to add interest to everyday meals

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The large blocks of milk chocolate to the right of this image are Belgian chocolate that gets grated into warm milk for “real hot chocolate”. It certainly is fun to cook at my daughters home 🙂

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My evening meal on my last night there consisting of Seasoned sushi rice topped with ingredients of your choice also known as “Chirashizushi”. My bowl contained rice, finely sliced carrot, daikon radish and cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, half an avocado, pickled ginger, toasted black and white sesame seeds and nori squares. It was delicious!

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My daughters added egg and raw fish to their bowls

The days are getting decidedly shorter on Serendipity Farm. It’s dark by 5.30 and it’s still dark at 7am when Steve wakes up. They are also getting a lot chillier and Brunhilda hasn’t had a break since the beginning of May when we broke her out of her somnolence and press-ganged her back into service. We have finally learned how to feed her and are no longer wasting wood and ending up with a house that feels like Florida in a heatwave in the middle of winter. Steve got an infrared filter in the mail today. He has been hunting for interesting camera equipment online and so far has managed to pick up a good quality table-top tripod, a timer that Steve can use to take long exposure images with his camera with and that allows him to manipulate shutter speed and remove camera shake completely. After that he ordered an adaptor ring that will allow him to use his old Nikon lenses with his new Canon camera. He also ordered the infra-red filter he received today and a set of U.V. polarising filters and 3 variations of neutral density filters. Buying them online saved him a fortune. You have to wonder why we Aussies have to pay so much for what the rest of the world seems to get for a lot less. We have been most pleasantly surprised to find that buying from Hong Kong hasn’t been an issue. The infra-red filter took a week to get here as did items ordered from the U.K. and the U.S.A. The postage from Hong Kong was also free so we just need to see if his filters get here along with the adaptor ring (both ordered from the same company) for a clean sweep of happy online purchases. Even if they didn’t turn up, they cost so little we were willing to take the gamble.

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Thanks to Lizzy having her birthday on Monday Steve ran out of bread to give the chooks for their morning treat so he whipped them up a delicious looking damper

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Look how fluffy and light the crumb is…more like scones than damper!

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This is a peculiar predilection of the Londoner…this is “Pie, Mash and Liquor”. Pies, mashed potato, peas and a liberal splattering of white sauce containing parsley was just what the doctor ordered for Steve apparently

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Apparently this is what men who are forced to feed themselves eat for tea on a Saturday night…homemade oven wedges and fried rice 😉

Time is fleeting folks and although this might be a shorter post than usual, I can justify it because most of my dear constant readers are from the summery north and have more interesting outdoor activities to undertake than reading blog posts about some southerners winter activities. To my Southern readers, you can count yourselves lucky this time that narf7 has managed to contain herself and keep her post to a comfortable 1 cup of tea/coffee length this time. Have a great rest of your week everyone. I will be attempting to wade through my RSS Feed Reader blogs but thanks to it being summer in the north, I didn’t have over 1000 like I would usually have and it would seem like summer has rendered you all externally restless and thank goodness for that or narf7 would still be here next week trying to climb the equivalent of Mt Everest of blog posts ;).  I returned to lots of new followers on my Pinterest boards so that should tell you what a busy little beaver I was in my week of addiction. I have settled down to a steady hum that encompasses both blogging and Pinterest in a less manic way. I can’t promise that I won’t get addicted to Tastespotting and FoodGawker in the coming weeks but at least I know that my addictions are as fleeting as this post and everything should be back to normal within a week. See you all on Saturday when hopefully we will have this external netting fence up, some of the garden borders created and filled (and hopefully planted out) and I will have had time to do a post a bit of justice.

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31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. teawithhazel
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 17:07:07

    welcome back..and i’m glad you had an enjoyable time..

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:42:10

      Its always good to catch up with my daughters Jane, there is something about a mum and her daughters that is totally terrifying when they all get together. Steve was happy to stay home and have a boys weekend in 😉

      Reply

  2. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 19:03:10

    This food looks so yummy – except Steve’s meal lol. Have you tried the icecream made from frozen bananas, yummy.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:44:07

      I certainly have Wendy and have you tried adding a bit of cocoa or vanilla to it and a little milk (or in my case non-dairy milk) which makes it like a chocolate soft serve? YUMMO! Steve’s meal was something he has been brewing up in his mind for a while. Occasionally he wants what he wants and I am just very VERY lucky that his Northern U.K. heritage (he was born in Liverpool but you wouldn’t know it as he moved when he was 4) hasn’t kicked in as they eat all kinds of disgusting things up North! 😉

      Reply

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Jun 13, 2013 @ 06:07:17

        No, I haven’t tried that…sounds good. I have been meaning to try cocoa, vanilla and walnuts.
        lol, I left Roger home alone one time and virtually all he had for dinner for a few nights was the carrot cake I had made with ice cream….big kid.

  3. Ally
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 19:15:15

    Sounds like you had a lovely time with your daughters. Your meals look yummy, particularly your sushi meal.
    🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:45:43

      I couldn’t believe how yummy a bit of sushi rice and a pile of veggies on top could be! We did douse them liberally with the girls range of Korean sauces (checked for suspicious non-vegan additives 😉 ) but I was seriously impressed and will be eating meals like that more often as I liked that most of it was raw :). I could have done with less avocado but what the heck! 😉

      Reply

  4. brymnsons
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 20:13:15

    What a lovely stay you had. Bet it was nice to get back to your own bed though lol. Sorry Steve you could not PAY me to eat that, especially the peas 🙂 We all have our funny little taste likes don’t we. It would be a boring world indeed if we all ate the same things… Happy netting x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:47:16

      And Steve was going to serve you that when you got here! ;). Seriously though, I am lucky that is the “worst” thing that he likes to eat. He could have succumbed to his Liverpudlian heritage and been mad for offal (YUK!!!). Imagine me and intestine’s doing battle on a regular basis! If the worst I get is to dish up some white sauce with parsley over a few pies I count myself a lucky woman indeed! 😉

      Reply

      • Linne
        Jun 15, 2013 @ 14:48:14

        I’m not much for the white sauce and peas (unless the peas are fresh or frozen to begin with; def not canned/tinned), but as for ‘offal’ . . . well, I was raised on it (it was cheap meat back then, not like these days) and I still like liver, kidneys and heart. Hate to tell you, but today I was looking up recipes for haggis (and found some good ones, too!); the first was actually about how to bake a ready-made haggis (no fun there!), but the others were quite interesting, with great photos. If you want to make some for Steve, I’ll be happy to share links . . . 😉

        Glad you had a good time and thanks for sharing those lovely photos of all the food. I see that they gave you my share of the avocado . . .

        Wishing you fun in the garden and looking forward to photos of the netting.

        ~ Linne

  5. thinkingcowgirl
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 22:04:51

    Love all those cupboard shots 🙂 I’m getting hungry just looking at all the yumminess. I’ve got a friend who is a food photographer and being there when he’s doing a shoot is brilliant….cue lots of friends hanging around with mouths open!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:48:29

      I am NO photographer LOL!! I just wanted to share some of what they buy and use on a regular basis ;). I would love to watch a photographic foodie shoot if only to see just how they make the food look good. I dare say it glows in the dark by the time they have finished but at least we can have our fantasies 😉

      Reply

  6. Littlesundog
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 22:48:00

    You were right!! I sipped just one cup of coffee reading your post this morning! I’m happy you had such a wonderful time this weekend with your daughters… those food photographs look scrumptious!

    The phrase, “to the max” took me back about 40 years! I had not heard that in a very long time!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:50:08

      Glad I could take you down memory lane :). I tend to be 40 years out of fashion at the best of times. I should put it to good use and become a “Hipster” but that would be too much effort so I will stick with just being a bit stage left ;). It will be back to a bucket of coffee by Saturday. I had a lot to catch up with yesterday 😉

      Reply

  7. LyndaD
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 00:02:31

    Question, if and when i can find a jerusalem artichoke can i just put it in the ground and it will grow. I had some for the first time a few weeks ago just sliced and fried with salt and oh my, it was better than potato chips. Very windy though! Excuse Me.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:54:11

      Feed the whole family and no-one will know/care if the flatulence quotient increases exponentially after eating Jerusalem Artichokes. They grow like weeds. They spread like weeds but what weeds! They grow tall stalks with multiple small sunflowers on them and are quite pretty to have in the garden but they will take over and once you have them you won’t lose them. I threw 3 roots that I bought from Woolies years ago into the ground in our home in Launceston (where my daughters live) and they are still going strong even though the girls don’t do “watering”, “gardening” or “giving a damn about anything outside the door”…that should tell you that they are hearty to the max! So are salvias by the way (they are still going strong as well 😉 ). I am planting them in bag loads (the amount you saw in that bowl) that Steve gets me for $2.50 a bag. They grow amazingly well just about anywhere and love full sun and heat and dry conditions as much as any other conditions. Give them a try in a corner of your back yard and you can keep them under control by digging them up regularly and eating them. Most people who have problems with them don’t actually eat them so it’s their loss! 😉

      Reply

      • Linne
        Jun 15, 2013 @ 14:51:12

        A doctor I had some time back told me that they are good for diabetics, too, as they reduce the need for insulin. Recommended to eat one raw and one cooked (steamed) per week, about 3 or 4 days apart. Interesting, eh?

  8. christiok
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 01:45:01

    Ah, the sleeping hours of the 22 and 23 year old! I know it well. With His Majesty here this summer, the late night candle burns for him and he is loath to get up before 11! And I know what you mean about 3 years seeming the stuff of nostalgia! lol I feel that way about our strawberry plants. Oh, this again! I’ve been here! Not always the case as we are still newbie farmletters. I have actually sprouted two avocados in jars on the kitchen window sill. No way will we get those tropical fruits here, but the foliage is a boon, eh? Your daughters are so thoughtful. Cheers to them and you for your lovely relationship, and the food pictures are yummy. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:57:15

      Try growing those avocados in the hoop house or you could make them their own little hoop house. We get avocados growing here in Launceston and a friend’s mum regularly harvests hers so it must be possible (you just need a sheltered spot near a house). I have sprouted lots of avocados and plan on planting them out on Serendipity Farm (along with my walnuts etc.) Now the nuts are dormant is a perfect time. Avocados don’t go dormant though so they might be susceptible to frost damage (not sure might have to check). I know that they are pretty hardy plants. The girls were very happy for me to head off home so that they could go back to bed (well my youngest 😉 ). I did have a great time Christi but I was VERY glad to get back to my own bed 😉

      Reply

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jun 18, 2013 @ 20:34:04

        The Bacon avocado is the one will tolerate the cold up to -10C but frost will damage the flowers/fruit I think. And they need a cross pollinator. Something confusing about types A and B and maybe even C I think. I have 2 on the windowsill but don’t think they’re the variety to survive. One disadvantage of globalised food (and there’s plenty more I know) that you can’t know if the seeds will work in your climate.

    • Linne
      Jun 15, 2013 @ 14:53:09

      I had an avocado that I started from a pit and it grew to nearly 6 feet high and wider than that. It was a busy time in my life and I dried it out a few times by accident; the last time it didn’t recover. I always wondered if it would have had fruit. Do you have a greenhouse large enough to put it there one day? ~ Linne

      Reply

      • christiok
        Jun 15, 2013 @ 15:09:11

        Hi Linne. The avocados (2 of them) are just sprouting, but if they carry on over the summer and get leaves, I’ll transplant them into soil. They could stay indoors, or I could try transplanting them into the hoophouse. It’s really not “warm” in there year-round, just protected. There’s no heat source. I doubt they’d grow fruit, though. We are on the 47th Northern Parallel! 🙂

  9. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 05:11:41

    Hi Fran. So you bought yourself a choko. Good girl. Now, come the revolution, you will never starve. The thing that really impressed me about today’s post was – who sliced the avocado? Tis a thing of great art. Either your daughters have a gadget – or they are under the star sign Virgo, like myself, who worships the goddess of symmetry.

    Reply

  10. Angela @ Canned Time
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 06:46:56

    Wow! That was a full visit. You need another weekend to rest up after that. Sounds like a wonderful time with your daughters and a little break from the routine, glad you got the chance to share you newer cooking experience with them too. My Mom doesn’t have a clue about what’s healthy, just what tastes good ;(

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2013 @ 07:26:22

      My daughters didn’t get out of bed early enough for your waffles :(. I am going to have to get myself a waffle iron, maybe one of the old ones that you use over an open flame for Brunhilda and then I can eat waffles at 3am if I feel like it! 😉

      Reply

  11. Jo
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 09:30:25

    How lovely to see your daughters cooking fabulous, healthy meals. It must feel very good as a mum to know you taught them all those great life skills!

    Reply

  12. rabidlittlehippy
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 20:36:15

    He he he, given the damage done to the rest of your garden, it’s hard to feel too sorry for the possom who had the crap scared out of him. A little sorry, yes, but not too much. I do hope thought that there are no cuts. I’m a little vindictive, not plain old mean. 😉
    Oh, and welcome back. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jun 19, 2013 @ 04:04:03

      We are flat out here! We have been cramming our brains full of Adobe Flash (a foreign but entirely addictive program to us) and have been creating animations for our course along with working on our garden as it IS holidays at the moment for us ;). We noticed that the ground was damp as we were transporting the huge fish farm nets up in a wheelbarrow yesterday…too damp to be merely dew… and suddenly a bit of messing about on the PC to create an animation had to take a back seat to major plumbing…sigh…at least we have 3 sides up on our garden and aside from me having to shovel horse poo for the rest of today (and make about 10 litres of kimchi in my “spare” time) we might just make it through the day till we drop into bed at our earliest convenience 😉

      Reply

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