Sunday, 19 September 2010

Dig, Plant, Grow...

...water, harvest, chop, cook.

There's a certain satisfaction in watching your kitchen garden grow that is unexplainable. The seeds that we sow, sprout little shoots, leaves, flowers. The slugs and snails come uninvited, aphids, caterpillars and downy mildew. And it takes such a long time! Not to mention the costs, laying down a garden bed, seeds, seedlings, soil, lime, manure, fertilisers and more.

It's so much easier to buy vegetables from the shops is it not?

This is what my cauliflower looks like, after 5 months. Just yesterday, I bought a head of cauliflower, with lovely firm white florets for $1.20.

I read in the books, that beetroot should be harvested when it is roughly the size of a tennis ball. I pulled a bunch out today. I have beetroots the size of... marbles.

Aahh... silverbeet. They are so easy to grow, I have harvested yet again and again. The leaves rich, glossy green. But no one else eats them in this household...but me. And my mother-in-law told me, once upon a time ago, in their village in China, they fed it to the pigs.


Brussel Sprouts! Cute little buttons that has just started to appear... I can't wait to sink my teeth into them.

Well, at least my cabbage does look semi decent if I say so myself. It is now the size of a mini (junior) football.

Nevertheless, there has been some successes (no doubt more failures) and the kids are fascinated with the whole process of it all. There is so much pleasure in stepping outside into the garden, and picking just what I need for the next meal. In saying that, my herb garden in flourishing. There is SO much mint, lemon verbena, rosemary, Vietnamese mint and coriander. Please feel free to pick some if you're in the area. A kitchen garden is rewarding after all.

And on that note, my Kitchen Garden Companion (RRP $125) arrived in the mail last week. I am so excited! I waited 2 months on pre-order from and paid a little less than $40 for it with free shipping! Stephanie Alexander is such an inspiration, an Aussie icon. Her role in initiating the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is tremendous. And this promotes a kitchen garden programme for primary schools across the country, in the belief that the earlier children learn about food through example and positive experience, the better their food choices will be through life.

Let's pray for my kitchen garden, let it be a positive experience for the sake of my children! Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 17 September 2010

Roll Up! Roll Up!

It's the last day of term, and I thought let's just finish off our week with a trip to the circus, why not? It is school holidays afterall.

The Silvers Grand Magic Circus came to town, just a suburb down from ours. It so happened, we drove past a circus one day, a different one, and I pointed out to the boys, "Look, that's a circus!" and went on to explain what it is, the animals, the clowns, bla bla. Then, that very same day, I received an email from TicketMaster with news that the clowns are in town!

So off we went to the circus, my boys and I. We dropped the baby off at my parents' as I didn't think she's into clowns just yet. First impressions: it ain't no Cirque du Soleil, but hey, we pay for what we get. But what we got, was an unforgettable experience! My boys were in awe, completely enthralled in the night's performances. Balls juggling, batons waving, clowns squealing, techno lights, hoola hoops, tightropes and all.

The big top tent was set up at the car park of a hotel-motel. The seats were makeshift plastic chairs that gave you pressure sores, elevated on the ring sides by wooden crates. The box office is literally just that, a little box of a caravan. A buxom lady dispensing thumb size tickets. The smell of popcorn and candy floss fills the air. This is what a circus is all about!

My personal favourite was the hoola hoop girl, I thought she was simply amazing, juggling so many hoops at the one time. And her b-o-d-y, oooohh aahh!

Lachlan and Lucas both had a lollipop each, given at the start of the show as an extra special treat. They held the lollipop, their mouths agape, eyes wide open for the longest time. They didn't even finish their lollipops by the time the show ended, the longest ever time taken to polish off a lollipop! And the show, was 2 hours long, with a 10 minute intermission.

The grand finale was a show stopper. The death globe. 3 crazy bikies riding their thing, in a web of metal in a form of a globe. The speed, the sound, the terror, a death defying act, enough to make me cringe behind the head of my 4 year old. And the look of glee on my boys... priceless!

If you're planning to go to the Silvers Circus, I suggest you get the tickets online on TicketMaster. There is a promotion running for a limited time for Wed-Fri 7.30pm sessions, with $10 off each ticket (MY TICKETMASTER SPECIAL, the codeword is MAGIC).

$13.95 per child (under 3 is free)
$23.95 per adult
($7 booking fee per transaction)

So, for less than $70, we got a night of entertainment. It usually costs me more to go shopping at Coles!

Otherwise, the prices are as follow:

Adults elevated seating: $30
Adults ringside: $35
Children (3-12 years old) elevated seating: $20
Children (3-12 years old) ringside: $25
Pensioners & Full Time Students elevated seating: $25
Pensioners & Full Time Students ringside: $30

Happy Weekend everyone! Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 10 September 2010

Banana Bread

Bananas! They're like a household staple, my lazy last minute snack box item, a guilt-free hunger buster or a pre-exercise re-energiser. Every time we're at the shops, there will always be a bunch or sometimes bunches of banana in our shopping trolley. And in our fruit bowl, a display of bananas in different shades of green, yellow and... spotty dotty browns.

So every now and then, when there's a spotted banana or two, I always throw them together in a loaf. And it's great when you yearn something freshly baked, because it is just so quick and so easy. This recipe is one of Curtis Stone's, and isn't full of the usual butter and cream. Once you have tried this, I am sure you will be hooked, like I have!

Banana Bread
Recipe by Curtis Stone

250g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
150g caster sugar
125ml vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
3 overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp Greek style yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped


1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base and sides of an 8cm x 11cm x 30cm loaf pan.

2. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl.

3. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar on high speed until thick and pale. Reduce speed to medium, and drizzle in olive oil in a slow steady stream. Add bananas, yogurt and vanilla and beat until well combined. Fold through flour mixture and half of the walnuts.

4. Pour into prepared pan, and scatter the rest of the walnuts on top.

5. Bake in preheated oven for about an hour, until skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

7. Serve warm, thickly sliced.

I love the method of emulsifying the oil in the egg mixture, as you would in making mayonnaise. It gives the cake a lovely fluffy texture, not too heavy or dense. The trouble with this is that you always end up having another slice, and another! Mmmm... the aromas emanating from the oven is almost as good as the flavours for this banana bread, and you can guess what's for brekky tomorrow. If it doesn't get wolfed down piping hot from the oven for supper that is!

Happy weekend everyone! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Things Money Can't Buy

Leonny from Our Everyday Things wrote ever so brilliantly on "Things Money Can't Buy", I can't help but to share this with you. You must hop over to her site and have a read! It is a reminder of what I already have, that the time I have given to my children are the greatest investment yet, and no amount of fortune will take precedence family.

One’s childhood will be over sooner than we think.

Time will fly.

And there’s nothing we can do that can turn back time.


While we still can, and while we still have time, let’s remind ourselves to treasure our children and their growing-up years (however tough and often challenging our moments with them are).

Because really, there are just way too many things in life that money can’t buy.

And one of them is, time.

-Leonny, from Our Everyday Things.
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Hoot Hoot!

Meet Ollie the Owl.

I know, she does have a strange face, with buttons around her eyes and all. But just between you and me, I botched up the stitching around her eyes and it needed some cover-up. Sshhhh...

She is a real nice snuggle up pillow if I must say so myself, and she has taggy tag feathers on her rear end. What is the obsession with tags anyways? Is it just me, but have you noticed little people love playing with tags? Tags on their blankies, tags on their clothes, tags on MY clothes. So I made tags on Ollie the Owl.

She is made from brushed cotton on one side, and soft 100% cotton on the other. Her eyes are recycled material from one of my fluffy scarves, new and recycled buttons, and her nose is recycled felt. Her eye lashes are leftover bits of wool from a previous knitting project.

I haven't decided who I made Ollie the Owl for. But as you can see, the colours are swaying a little to the feminine side.

Do you want her? Maybe I should start an etsy... :)
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