The Weekend is Here.

As per my post on going back to work and in particular the article on your life being planned for you my weekend is packed.

BUT trying to keep it cheap and cheerful much to do and a lot of projects that don’t need money and the kids and A. can join me in 🙂

Till then waste not, the extra tortillas from the fine folks from La Tortilla being air dried in my oven. I will turn them into real corn chips tomorrow. These where left over after two meals we have already had from the packet we bought home from our local farmers market.

Not home made but go to love traditional Mexican method of making up ground Australian corn and some salt (the only ingredients on the packet). These are a go to on our menu and I will be going into the go to meals we do on weekly basis next week.

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See you over the weekend.:)

3 More things.

Bill Gates used to say do an extra thing each day and that will be another 365 things you get done for the year.

Me I am believer in the rounding function so for me do 3 extra things each day and you will have over a 1000 extra things done each year 🙂

One of the myths I often see in the alternative world is this thought a simple life being easy. It is harder than most people realise and that is part of the problem in a world where we expect life to cut us chances. But also more rewarding , or at least I think so.

So tonight’s 3 …

Sorted two barrow loads of bricks from the pile and cleaned those that needed it. For the next section of paving.IMG_9777

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More firewood from down the street IMG_9774

The Daily Bread as always before bed. IMG_9776IMG_9775

Time for sleep 🙂

Working with or against Nature? (fat hen spanakopita)

I visited my parents place over the Christmas period had a really nice relaxing time. Foraged some items, took the family to a few different places but mostly just relaxed.

My father is the king of the drip system. He has beautiful rich red volcanic soil that is free draining, very free draining as such he tends to drip water the plants and along with 40 plus years of adding organic matter to the soil means his vegies grow incredibly well.

Because of this he also has minimal weed issues how ever one thing I did note that fat hen sometimes called lambs ear (Chenopodium album), dock and the purslane where doing really well. IMG_9318-2000

I grabbed some purslane to plant at my place and grabbed a large bag of fat hen which I made into spanakopita (recipe below).

To me it is interesting that this high protein crop that by my father’s admission (he is a rabid anti weed man 🙂 ) the chickens and sheep love is torn out spayed out and treated with disdain.

And there it is growing without water or love and just doings its own good thing. From a point of view of plants we are going to have to start to look at what will work by itself without lots of inputs or work and this is potentially a great option for fodder and food. The broad acre style of farming the crops you want rather that what will grow easily is simply not going to hold true in the long run.

And much to my father annoyance his granddaughter loves the fresh leaves of this plant and now it is naturalised in my back yard we have access to it for salads, cooking or as fodder for the chickens.

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As for the taste of the spanakopita. A. and I made up two batches of rolls and a pie with a half side fat hen and half spinach and apart from being slightly more beefy texture the kids and wife could not tell them apart and all was eaten.

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This is one good weed.

Recipe for Fat Hen (or spinach) Spanakopita.

  • Packet of filo or puff pastry (or if you are a better cook than me make your own 🙂 )
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 gram of feta
  • 75 grams of ricotta
  • 75 grams of quark cheese (could use another 75 grams of ricotta)
  • 2 bunches of spinach or equivalent or more of fat hen.( I like lots of green in my mix) shredded.
  • Butter melted and a brush
  • Two onions finely diced.
  • 1 or 2 Sprigs of mint finely sliced (to taste)
  • 1 or 2 Sprigs of dill finely sliced (to taste)
  • Dash of nutmeg.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients apart from the melted butter and pastry in a large bowl.

Lay out the filo or puff pastry. If using filo make sure you keep a damp towel over it put brushed melted butter over each sheet as you layer them. A. helped me with this process as two people make this easier. We use 3 or so layers for a roll and 3 or so layers top and then same bottom in a pie. Puff pastry is just one layer.

Spoon mix onto the pastry sheets and roll or make into pies. Do not over fill.

Butter top and make sure you butter the tray they are sitting on.

Put in an oven at 150 to 170 degrees Celsius till cooked through and browned (about 45 minutes) slow cook is a better option for your health than the western desire to deep fry/fast cook everything.

Once cooked leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a nice salad.

New Year New Life – Lacto Ginger Beer Starter

It seems apt at the start of the new year with nice warm (if variable weather) above 20 degrees Celsius that I start a lacto fermented ginger beer starter 🙂

With the warm weather on the way being able to produce some natural ice cold drinks is also a good driver 🙂

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I have done lacto fermented starters before and they have worked out well but died off over winter due to neglect.

I am starting this one a bit differently to the other one less water and the addition of some molasses to add some trace elements to the mix after some conversations with friends.

To make start with.

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of grated organic ginger (if you are not using organic soak it for a few days to get the chemicals out that can stop the fermentation process).
  • Equal amount of unrefined sugar to the amount of ginger you are using.
  • 1 teaspoon of molasses
  • Filtered or boiled and cooled water to room temperature about twice as any table spoons as the sugar (a bit less a bit more no issue)

The biggest trick is to make sure you sterilise everything as much as you can for me this means a kettle of boiling water and making sure that you don’t put things like teaspoons on the bench top between uses, or forgetting to sterilise the knife used to cut the ginger. It can seem a bit excessive but it will help in the long run.

Mix it all together and leave for two days in a nice warm spot in your kitchen where you can keep an eye on it then add a ½ table spoon of grated ginger and a ½ tablespoon of sugar each day for 5 days. Should be bubbling nicely well before then 🙂

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Time to get out and enjoy the garden on this new years day 🙂

Finishing Christmas with a simple meal and simple lesson in life

So we have had our Christmas splurge. In reality ours while generous it was not the masses of excess I have seen other years or from others.

I will say this, it may be the crowd I hang with but the year seems to be a lot quieter at this time of year. A great many people are simply not buying into the sales and mess (could have been spending Christmas in a depressed regional centre as well)

Our Christmas plans were interrupted to a degree by a bought of gastro in the house. We ended up simplifying them and reduced travel time by 2-3 hours and the pace just felt a lot more relaxed.

We ended up at my parents, dry and warm but quiet and relaxed.

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The meals for us where generous but relatively simple, presents where practical and not ostentatious and the main thing was simply time spent with family. In time this will become the norm rather than the exception. The decline perhaps has already begun with a great many people so the chance for waste and excess will become less.

On the last day at my parents place we decided to head to the local trout farm as we had promised the children that they could try fishing and sitting on a river bank for 4 hours to get nothing will not attract children to fishing (it put me off most fishing 🙂 ).

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So we spent about an hour got 9 beautiful rainbow trout

Cooked simply n a BBQ nothing better. A salad from my parents’ house, chips from their own potatoes. Simple but good.

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And the kids well they again know where the food came from and the only comment was from the 5 year old that she would eat the fish but not bloody 🙂

Guest post on Ranting’s of an Amateur Chef.

So I have been a follower of the Ranting chef for several years.

I am honoured he offered me a guest post and had a post I was about to put together for something A. and I have been eating a fair bit later that I thought would suite.

To me he the ranting chef is a constant. Every day in rolls another email about a meal to make.

My wife often comments can go to a fridge and pull together a meal from what appears to be nothing. It is a skill I used living in share houses in London when I lived there in the 90’s it is skill that allows me to save money and means we waste little.

Perhaps the first step in people taking back some control of their lives is cooking their own meals and knowing what is in them. Cooking from scratch should not be in the realm of master chef style reality television shows or only the realm of celebrity chefs it should be a day to day thing. Shown to be easy skill it really is.

With knowing what comes in your meal is the ability to mix in the few ingredients have in your garden you started gardening in or the items you have never seen before from the local farmers market.

The Ranting Chef blog shows this day by day, week by week, building up skills and using ingredients.

His stamina is also quite impressive in regards to rolling out blog posts as a blogger who is an absentee writer a lot of the time I know how hard to roll out a post almost every day for years at a time.

http://rantingchef.com/2014/12/23/guest-post-anthony-meat-balls-and-zoodles/