Taking stock.

TAKING STOCK {making stock} May

inspired and borrowed from Pip over at Meet me at Mikes

a glance around my life presently. a record to reflect upon.

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Making : The choice to be grateful; Many times a day for many small momentous moments. Ziggy for Cedar. Dolls. Turn a square for Jesse. (shhh but it will be really cold in NZ in June…) lots of clothes for the children, a crafty mess!
Cooking : fish head soup! i know. weird and primitive. salsa verde, jaffles, 24 hour ferment sourdough bread, scones

Drinking : fermented grape juice. oops left the Black muscatel juice out of the fridge… tummy soother tea
Reading: The Endless Forest also Veggie Gardening magazines
Wanting: a field of carrots and potatoes to call my own, a third day off school for children
Looking: forward to playing with friends, singing, watering the garden in the early golden day
Playing: more games with Lily in the evening. Quirkle and Uno
Deciding: to write more, join a choir, be funnier
Wishing: i was a happy early riser
Enjoying: Autumn’s cool kiss, sleeping in the bus,
Waiting: to get hungry, to grow up, to see my mama
Liking: straight talking
Wondering: why i behave like a nuclear reactor some days
Loving: patience, forgiveness, repair
Pondering: the fact that i am buying cabbage seedlings. i must be settling in here!
Considering: the madness of leaving again in 8 no 7 weeks! {now it’s 4! eek}
Watching: small things grow bigger

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Hoping: my raw liver pills arrive tomorrow, i can learn the female vocals to Bob Marleys Hold onto this feeling
Marvelling: the magnificent jewel coloured gowns the deciduous trees are wearing these days, the good clever smart of solar powered lamps

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Needing: to run downhill and play like my children
Smelling: the first orange harvest, bread, Autumn winds
Wearing: brown velvet autumn leaves
Following: my instincts
Noticing: it makes me happier
Knowing: i need time to walk and breathe. alone.
Thinking: what will the next chapter be?
Feeling: amused by a playful fellow, the depth of love for my little people, excited about up coming photography work
Admiring: others photography, people who are storytellers, a meditating mama friend, honesty
Sorting: a tiny fridge after growers market abundance appears. wardrobes. my head.
Buying: woollen unders, Josephs coat yarns, a seatbelt
Getting: joy from laying on the ground and feeling
Bookmarking: willy wagtail woollens

Listening: Loren Kate  esp Deeper than the deep blue sea, The Neville brothers, Yungchen Lamo, Jesse 

Writing: seasonal poems, songs, poetree, silly words
Disliking: lack of fire place, self criticism, forgetting,
Opening: bags of fresh ground flour, pecans, hazelnuts, oranges, mama’s day gift, my heart

mama
Giggling: at farts, dancing, my little genie


Feeling: happiest outside, cosy under wool quilts, grateful for rain, incredulous at the rewards of gardening, different
Snacking: Jennifer apples, salsa verde, Lily biscuits

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Coveting: a fire box to warm my heart and tootsies
Wishing: to remain in the now or somewhere nearby it. i could knit faster.
Helping: little people learn little lifelong skills
Hearing: the big moons silvery shimmer, plants grow, farts, inner giggles

xx

ps this Taking stock was compiled in mid May and almost disappeared into the dusty archives of never published words to be nibbled on my cyber mice making nests, BUT luckily was joyfully retrieved and released { by a great librarian in diamente spectacles none the less}
to the world this good day in June. Hope you enjoy and had at least one giggle. Jesse this ones for you xx
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Swiss Advent Biscuit Recipe

Each year for as long as I remember, my mama has made her traditional Swiss Christmas biscuits. a number of biscuit parcels have followed me across Australia! Lucky me! when I was seventeen and heading off into the sunset in my new yellow kombi, my mama tucked a parcel in my van to open for Christmas a month later. they store very well… Thankyou mama for these parcels of love and cinnamon. I inevitably cry and miss your hugs, and then i share them out to those lucky ones nearby xx

now i have taken up my own ritual Advent baking of biscuits. We bake on Advent Sundays these cinnamon stars and hearts. It’s the only time of the year i use this recipe and one other {after lots of experimenting}. the house smells of spices and sweets and we nibble them for morning tea through the week. We parcel them up in little paper bags we make, and leave them on our friends and neighbors door steps. this year we are using teeny tiny cutters and i cleverly saved a batch of rolled out dough and froze it last week so today i simply cut and baked…

last week i took some to my knitting class. one of my students said they looked like dog biscuits but tasted like the real thing!! ha ha!!

1st advent

My Adapted Traditional Swiss Advent biscuit recipe

Basler brunsli/Zimpt Sterne

{gluten free}

500 gm almond meal {450 gm for recipe and 50 gm for sprinkling paper when rolling out}

2 c rapadura sugar or less

31/2 tspn cinnamon powder

1 tspn clove powder

4 egg whites beaten stiff

baking paper

rolling pin

baking sheets

  1. blend almond meal and sugar
  2. add spices and beaten egg whites
  3. sprinkle a 1m stretch of baking paper with almond meal and squish your dough out in the middle length of it, press quite flat then sprinkle with almond meal and another sheet of paper
  4. roll out to about 5mm thickness
  5. let dry for 3 hours
  6. cut into stars and hearts
  7. bake at 150’c for 10-15 minutes til slightly puffed {mine took less than ten as very small, and i burnt the second batch! waahhh} really, bake them lightly. don’t get distracted vacumning…

share with friends and neighbours. leave goodwill packets on doorsteps… happy advent! i love all this memory making family activity amidst the deeper pathway of living through my own personal darkness and seeking the renewal of my inner light.IMG_0012

Buckwheat pancakes

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We {read I} have been making regular batches of buckwheat pancakes. mm mmm

i’ve written about the origin of my recipe from lovely gluten free blog what baby{and boy} ate;  here…

and other pancakey berry adventures here…

for my non measure recipe; I use about 1 and a 1/2 cups of raw organic buckwheat and soak it in the blender overnight

in the morning add 2 eggs and some extra water and whizz it up smooth

cook in coconut oil

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I have better success if I heat the cast iron pan very well first and keep it well oiled. they take a little longer than wheat flour pancakes to cook. be patient, it’s worth it!!

Buckwheat is one of my favorite gluten free seeds for porridge {soak overnight with almonds, currants, quinoa and nuts, simmer about 15 minutes in the morning} and pancakes. I have done some sprouting of them but find the slimy tendency in this humid climate off putting!

a good protein source apparently and easily digestible for most tummies.

a nice buckwheat quote…

“The properties of buckwheat are: Neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; cleans and strengthens the intestines and improves appetite..”  According to Paul Pitchford in Healing with Whole Foods (1993)

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notice the jar of rapadura sugar? this has lately replaced the maple syrup bottle while stocks are out. it’s been a good experiment to see that Lily can now self moderate a teaspoon sprinkle of sugar on her pancakes. Yay! it has paid off, all that strict mama monitoring of sugar … now i can relax abit about it and know she knows i know she knows; how to self regulate sugar intake and feel good in her body! luckily Cedar copies her…

what do you do with buckwheat?

oh my!! berries are sooo delightful! i sure am looking forward to another summer in Tasmania….

 

Chillagoe Queensland

 

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we seek a new adventure in the West country 200km  from Cairns, some warm and dry and open bush. dry out our lungs and explore the limestone caves in the Chillagoe Mungana national park. 

 A retrospective post.

Remembering Chillagoe region, inland, tablelands, North Queensland; August 2013

castles of stone

caves, crevices, dust, marble bones

choking dust

bleak heat

dreamtime vista

turquoise mineral spring bathing sancturary

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there are long bumpy stretches of dirt road which we have to take at 10-20km an hour as we are heavily loaded with extra timber, 100lt water and 80 ltr of fuel, never mind the brain splitting rattling of our 4 tonne home… it’s torturous for me as driver on this hot hot day, and i rage internally {and a little externally} and finally retreat to the bed with sunglasses on as Jesse takes over the wheel. it is my least favorite endurance of this adventurous life. hot travel with no swimming respite in sight, cranky tired hot and bothered children… {be forewarned, i am going to bang on alot about how hot this trip was!}IMG_2422

gathering firewood roadside on the trip in. I am stunned by the dry midday heat, the starkness of sky and and bleached colors after weeks in the lush coastal regions. it is familiar from my childhood in WA and a little part of me also relishes the crackle of crisped leaves and bark underfoot and the open bush and ant trails. epic sky and thin shade kissed by eucalypt breeze

we fill the floor space with perfect dry hardwood for campfires, it’s awkward sweaty hauling but we focus on the enjoyment of fire gazing and cooking. Jesse finds some perfect straight Mulga for making rhythm sticks.

and then we are arriving into tiny Chillagoe township looking for the Eco Lodge as we hear it boasts a small observatory and resident astronomer {part of our attraction to come to this open sky country} a population of about 250. with fluctuating tourism nodded to by the 4 campgrounds. there is a more private camp ground on a property right on the creek near the airport, but the caretaker is ill.

we are simply  heat shocked and wondering what the hell we are doing here!

im ecstatic to here there’s a swimming hole near town.

turns out to be a lovely shady deep spring fed hole. phew. everyone is refreshed quickly and it all seems worthwhile and copeable. is that a word? the rocks are amazing!

IMG_2414 IMG_2413the swimming hole becomes our base for half of each day we spend in the area. i sit by the water and understand how the indigenous mob survived out here, in the shade by water is the only place to be in a lot of Australia on the hot days. if there’s water…

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we visit some caves and do some short walks. we skip the guided tours in to the deeper caves. {i’m quietly glad the children give me the excuse for this as it frightens me just a little} finding ourselves alone in some huge caverns, sitting on besmoothed stones and watching captured sunlight glittering the dust moats is surprising and awe-some. singing and didging and echoing in the tumbled caves, it’s good to be together in a cave. a new experience.

the rock formations and the self guided caves are striking enough to fulfill our rocky quest.

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i awake on the second day better adapted to the climate and find gradually heating with the rising sun easier than driving into the hot midday from the coast.

we monkey around at the old train station near the campground in the twilight. there are great mobs of wallabies. this was a rare campground stay. we usually find independant camping or stay on properties. we want to experience the astronomy session in the evening however, and it’s simply so appealing to have access to water. we claim the little patch of grass out the front of the Eco lodge. Cedar declares the sprinkler his truck wash.

the session at the observatory is inspirational and full of facts and numbers and anecdotes. i saw Saturn and it’s rings! and two of it’s twenty something moons! it really does look like those funny colour drawings from school books! it sparks many wonder-full conversations about life, other life, gallaxies, stars, moons, space travel, wonderment, constellations, feeling small, feeling big, feeling like a speck, how time and space move and are measured….

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Have you ever roasted a whole pumpkin in the coals?IMG_0009

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before you go to bed, make a nest in the coals and ashes and plop in a really great pumpkin; cover it with a good blanket of ash and coals and you’re all ready for bed; uncover your golden treasure in the morning! we used a Japanese variety here; the more ripe and good your pumpkin the better caramelized result you will have!

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Enjoy your roast pumpkin in many attitudes; here a savory delight but previously it’s been breakfast on pancakes with maple syrup and cream! decadence!

and here is a proof I’m not some super unrealistic lady who can’t do wrong. {just in case anyone wondered; as Jesse pointed out it’s easy to falsely represent myself here on an edited blog}  burnt food is one of my occasional talents! i am a bit dreamy{creative} at times and become absorbed in other activities, than watching the meal cook!! oops. still good. just cut off the charcoal…. I have been banned from using the toaster and cooking rice in a previous life…IMG_0024

Lily spent the first morning engaged in making a flower fairy palace from bark, sticks, marble chunks and flowers. unfortunately she built her house on the sand {the mat} and it had to go down with the packup tide. rebuilt in the bushes and a learning about how to choose a safe site to build…IMG_0022

our last night, we left the township of Chillagoe and visited a more secluded cave with relatively intact Indigenous paintings. The energy of this place was strong and beautiful. We spent the afternoon and gloaming in the cave watching the changing light and dreaming of life as a tribe in the caves, in this remarkable landscape.

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Discussing how and where and what and why was a rich experience. The children chose their rock beds and imagined where the fire was and how we would use the cave and how many people would share it and so on. I realised how little i know of the nomadic tribal culture in Australia, how disconnected i feel at times from the cultural history of this land I was born in. Sadness arising for what is lost now. the questions i’ll never know answers to.  noticing the discomfort i can experience when I am in company of people of culture because i don’t have many reference points. and ultimately I’m a white fella and there is a massive burden of racism and tragedy between us. at other times it just naturally is and I’m connecting with ease and humour. often the children break the ice and connecting through play is a gift.IMG_0090

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the open verandah effect of the cave creates an empowering view over vast land. a safe standpoint.IMG_0094 IMG_0109 IMG_0102 IMG_0113

i awoke to didgeridoo echoes across the land from the cave above at sunrise. when i return from my solo adventure to the cave i am met by singing and music. thankyou Jesse you bring melody to my life.IMG_0133

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there are many old marble quarries in the Chillagoe area. many massive blocks have been lifted out and left on the red dust like a giant’s play blocks. We stop at one of the quarries on the way back East. {some conspiracy about bleeding away private money…} we met an epic conspir-ollogist our here! wowzers.IMG_0156 IMG_0153 IMG_0175 IMG_0166

the bush is open with tall ironbarks and malga among the trees. their thin canopy offers little shade in the oven hot morning. with termite mounds being the bush furniture. the spindly crisp grasses remind me of country up near Katherine and Darwin.
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quirky old machine installations IMG_0181i certainly left with a puzzled feeling from Chillagoe, its been great to reflect on it from my midnight table here in Bellingen.

i hope you enjoyed the story and the photographs.

Roselinde

Right now. A menu

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I haven’t resorted to meal planning for ages. But this little beauty is inspiring me this week. No set days, simply meal ideas to use the ingredients I have in abundance. Leeks, potatoes, spinach, fresh veg, free organic bones gifted us and incorporating a variety of protein. I’m aiming to make big enough batches and have lunch leftovers each day. (And it be yummy enough to want to revisit) then it’s only two fresh meals a day to contend with and hopefully little waste. Phew. Sometimes it’s an epic mission just procuring some nourishment and other times it comes effortlessly.
I’m blessed to be a mama at home presently with time to put into our meals so I’m refocusing.

With my goal to provide fresh, wholesome, nutritious meals every meal time, it can get overwhelming at times. Then it’s good to remember my friend saying, lovingly cooked eggs on toast is more nutritious than resentfully cooking an elaborate meal.
I used to tease a certain sister about her meal roster, until I was exhausted in the second baby days. I could not think straight about much or cook without burning something while I made the rest or come out with some weird uninspired dishes. The other trap is gastronomic boredom with the same five meals in rotation. I was losing a lot of weight and interest In eating and really needed a shift.
Really hard times that I’m sure some of you can relate to. Whether its a challenge from grief, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, overload, overwork, busy family life or other factors keeping our bodies well nourished can be a hard ask, which is essential to look at for good health and mental health.

I made a list of dishes I could make easily. Plus 10 I wanted to eat that where from friends or books. Plus jesses handful of dishes. Wrote them onto scraps of paper with blank backs for future additions and popped them into a jar. A lucky dip ensued and there pinned on a weekly chart was my meal ideas. I didn’t have to think about what was coming in the kitchen next. Phew!! So easy So clever so smart. Easy to shop once or twice a week. Easy to change or skip meals around. Easy to prepare legumes or grains in advance. I enjoyed tHe liberation of the day without “what the heck am I going to cook tonight ” looming over me all day. It was a step in realizing organization can free up more energy and time for doing other things!
So at this time of transition back to a big house, school rhythms, work rhythms and town life I look to these little tricks which help me keep up with myself and make my days a little more free and enjoyable.
Even if I don’t use it, I feel supported by a fall back plan!
What are some meals you would put In Your jar?
If you are the main cook in your home, what helps you keep inspired about your task?

Home made Mayonnaise ~ easier than you think

i have attempted mayonnaisse once before, it was a terrible gloppety glop which seperated in the first hour and no-one would eat. boo. condiment disaster.

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and then one day recently, like a home cooking queen, my dear friend Dalee {Owl and Snail blog} casually offers to whip up some mayo to accompany lunch as the rice is not cooked yet. WHAT? squawks I

what can’t this woman do?

whip up mayonnaisse? i thought it was a half hour hand whisking ordeal for secondary results?

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not anymore ladies and gentleman.

mayonnaisse, fresh, lemony, creamy mayo is within your grasp {if you have a power source/sauce and a blender}

no more sad sandwiches gasping for some moisture, no more shop tainted slaw,

read on and then

quick get your apron on and blender out…

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Dalee’s deelicious home made whip it up casually MAYONNAISE

disclaimer~recipe is just a guideline, adjust ingredients as you see fit…

pop into your blender jug

  • 2 good and fresh eggs and another egg yolk
  • juice of half a lemon or more
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or similar

whizz til smooth then with motor running slOWly pour in oil in a steady drizzle until mixture thickens to your liking… ta da!!

approximately more than 1 cup of good oil but possibly less than 2 {depends on the weather}

Dalee recommended a blend of olive and a lighter oil like sunflower, i agree after tonights recipe trial. i also added a sprig of parsley to dye it an appealing shade of rolling meadows green

then good people, dollop, slather, spread, dip, splat, lick, enjoy!
Keep it in the fridge. I can’t legally recommend an exact UBD but perhaps up to 7 days?? do not leave out of the fridge for extended periods as it contains raw eggs, food poisoning is a concern.

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try with roast potatoes, fish and salad {my dinner above. mm not bad… in another life i am a food shooter for culinary prints}

try it with….

vegie sticks

in coleslaw

in nori rolls

in chicken salad

egg sandwitches

in salad dressings

on frittata

on pancakes…?

IMG_0283well go on, make some soon and tell me what you enjoyed it with {as long as it’s food now}

looks good, tastes great and has raw eggs in it!

and what about Miss Dalee, artist, mama, musician, crafter, pioneer, yurt dwelling, homeschooling, mayonnaise queen. did you go look at her blog? or her skilled husband Jesse, who handcrafts beautiful Shakahachi flutes.
some more moments from my visit

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Lily plays for The Ridge children
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view from community house/kitchen to the sea

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the kitchen of mayonnaise heaven…

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Dalee also makes KimChi {fermented spicy vegetable condiment from Korean origin}

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Lily disappears into the schoolroom within arms length of the bookshelf

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playful artworks by Dalee and children

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The Yurt~temporary home while they build/wait for approval to build from council

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so cosy and light. furnished with many handmade pieces from the hands of mama and papa

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a wedding gift from Jesse’s dad

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circus fun

 

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jesse dalee and eltham

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my cute wee home for the night.

my cute wee home for the night.



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rainbows

peace

and mayonnaise

xx

there is another good mayo recipe and scientific examination of the sauce here

thankyou Ridge friends, you where the last stop on the way to Bellingen. i enjoyed my three fun days of inspiration with different friends and i left you feeling full and motivated and, well, inspired!

potato, dill and goat’s cheese frittata

good food good times, this yummy simple dish featured as a girl’s dinner in during my time away from home…

though i like it also for lunch and breakfast and leftover for lunchboxes and um well anytime….

Potato, Dill and Goat’s Cheese Frittata

IMG_1781To begin dice up 1 medium potato per person into maximun size 2cm cubes

heat a good 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottom fry pan {cast iron really is best for this as it will retain enough heat to cook through the thick frittata without burning the bottom}

lay in the potato chunks and lid on, cook about 10 minutes, shake or turn occasionally

Meanwhile

  • chop fine 1 small onion and 2 cloves good garlic
  • dice a small zucchini
  • dice a small capsicum
  • slice 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • shred a little dill
  • get some goats cheese ready {about 3 tablespoons}
  • whisk up at least 6 eggs {maximum 12} with a couple tablespoons of milk

when the spuds are cooked pop in a bowl

now heat a little more oil and lightly fry your onion and then add garlic

add the potato back to the pan and onto a low heat now

mix it all up with the zucchini and capsicum

pour over your egg mix

lay on the olives and some decorative capsicum and season well with salt and pepper

spoon on little chunks of goats cheese

and sprinkle on the dill

pop a lid on {low heat remember}

check regularly until the frittata is cooked about 2/3 from the bottom of the pan, up to 10 minutes

make sure it’s not burning on the bottom

get a grill nice and hot because you will now put the pan under the heat {keep the handle sticking outside the grill unless metal}

watch the eggy top puff up and brown slightly

it’s ready, be careful it’s so hot!

oh delicious, i’m hungry again just thinking of it…

i like to serve with some good chutney or kasundi and a big salad…

so many varietiations depending on what you have on hand… experiment…

or just stick to potato and eggs for more simplicity, like a more traditional spanish omelette…

ps when we are in the bus i don’t have a grill {i don’t have a lid that fits the pan either i use a thick plate…}

but about that grill, instead just keep up the low steady heat and keep an eye on it, or loosen it all underneath and slide onto a plate and flip back into the pan to cook the top if it’s taking too long. not as pretty but just as tasty.

see, good simple nourishing food, easy and should be less than half an hour til it’s on the table…

oh yes i did burn a few bottoms before i got the frittata regularly great, so don’t you fret, just trim it off and enjoy…

Salsa verde {a passionate dance with parsley}

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during my pregnancy with Cedar, our lovely midwife recommended this delicious dip/spread as a nourishing supplement to my diet. it has since become a favorite with us all and is used to accompany many dishes. I believe the original can be found in the Stephanie Alexander Cooks companion book.

It has some surprise ingredients….

Salsa Verde

my current version goes a bit like this… all measurements are approximate, let your tastebuds and intuition guide you

simply blend the following ingredients to a smooth paste, starting with the parsley

  • three large bunches good looking flat leaf parsley stems removed
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • tbsn of capers in brine
  • anchovies to taste (i use about 40g per batch)
  • olive oil to moisten (i have thinned the mixture with a little water on one occasion)

to make a vegan version exclude the anchovies and perhaps add a pinch of salt

i grind my own almond meal for this recipe. If you want to also, chop the parsley seperately and add the almond meal to it with the wet ingredients

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it’s worthwhile to make a bigger batch and enjoy it for a few days, cover with olive oil to help preserve it in the fridge…IMG_0006 IMG_0011

maybe you know a pregnant lady or a new mama who could benefit from an easy nutritious snack to have on hand..

go on take her some….salsa verde

Upside down Autumn Peach-preme

saving for her grandparentsyesterday i made an awful cake

trully dry, overcooked, flat, gritty, pasty disappointment {one reviewer commented it expanded in your mouth…}

the ingredients where amazing! it turned out atrociously and i felt some grievance as to the wastage of goodness

{and the ruination of my cake queen recipe}

today to make amends and lift my energy Lily and I created

Upside Down Autumn Peach-Preme {as in supreme}

The delicious simple spongy layer below caramelised peach heaven will make this a sure Autumn favorite when the late peaches are pink and sweet…

The cake layer is thin so you could easily double the mixture if you have a bigger family/guests

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**~~~**

175g unsalted butter soft

1/4 c brown sugar

2 eggs

1c spelt flour

1tspn baking powder

up to 1/4 cup milk

2 large peaches thinly sliced {1cm at thickest end} or enough to cover your baking dish

butter to dab over them

{all measurements are approximations except the eggs!! use your inner cake intuition}

paper line a 20cm square baking dish or equivalent

preheat oven to 160’c

  • line the base of your tin with the peach slices prettily and dot with butter
  • beat sugar and butter til creamy
  • and one egg, mix well, then the other {if ingredients are not binding add a spoonful of flour}
  • mix in remaining flour and baking powder
  • adjust texture with extra milk if needed
  • spread carefully over the peach base with a spatula
  • pop in the oven and bless it
  • when it smells so good and is browned on top pull it out and let cool in the tin for 10minutes
  • place a plate over it and carefully upend your creation
  • devour with cream or yoghurt
  • mmmm yum yum yum


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Advent adventuring inside

and then later again

making swiss biscuits on advent Sundays over the last few years has become

a simple joyful tradition for us

connecting me with my family heritage in Europe

we bake them, taste them, parcel them up pretty, then walk up the street to our nieghbours and share them

or take them to friends

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this year i have lacked any christmassy stamina until four days ago {new flower essences have supported me to shift my mind and lift my energy YAY!}

{oh gosh thank goodness what a relief because i was feeling i could not pretend and i had nothing authentic i wanted to share or celebrate

i was planning on jumping ship and avoiding the whole thing ie. go camping alone

it is revealing how low i have been feeling this last month and now i am perking up a little again and i am grateful

 and it would be a non event in our household through advent and isn’t that sad for the children {lily wants the full glitz and glimmer and festival felling}

and i honestly had only one gift and no inspiration to make any more  {lily has made a basket full and keeps asking where i am hiding mine…}

and i was wondering if that’s ok, to not give gifts and how would that feel and would i be ashamed or embarassed or would i write letters

or…  should i rush out and just buy stuff?

well, what would christmas be without the gifts, the advent rituals, the biscuits, the candles, the nativity, without Mary Joseph and a donkey walking across our house through december, without the singing and poems, the wreath, the secrecy and elving, the crafting together, the fun and wonder?

it’s great things to contemplate isn’t it? what do we give from our hearts? what do we hold in our minds and beings? what is the energy which enlivens the experience beyond the gift giving bit? do i just take it all too seriously and need to lighten up eat lots of bikkies and be silly? probably a little…

before the advent of jesus there are the festivals of the solstice and the return of the light and many other ancient traditions around the world at this time of year

in the last years i came to thinking of the birthday of jesus {who is jesus mama? a kind and good man who was a healer on earth a long time ago}

and found i could sit with the picture of the birthday of the light within me and within us all. the looking towards the goodness and love and kindness and generosity in all of us that we celebrate at christmas. and when i put that lens into my glasses, it makes sense again in a way it hasn’t since childhood.

the handmade gifting element began when i was 20 and i decided i would aim to hand make as many of my gifts as possible

they can be very humble offerings, but you know if you get one, i have thought of you as i stitched or wove or painted or preserved, i have held you in my focus and embedded my good wishes for you in this gift, i have enjoyed the making of the gift and reflecting on our relationship

there is no cold winter to bring us in to the hearth together here in the southern globe but we still gather with our families and friends inside and out at this time of year around candles and games and beaching and reading and costuming and eating and cooking together

i’m so grateful to my family of origin and my extended families for the brightness you all bring into my life and the forethought and generosity which you share with me and mine

for me once again in december i am seeking a depth of meaning in the festival/life

it doesn’t mean i am judging how you or anyone else does it

im on my personal quest to enrich the experience for me and my children

so i can cope with all the hoopla out there in the world

basler brunsli

so we have made our first batch of advent Basler Brunsli

and it was really fun even though it was on a monday…

delicious chewy almond meal, cinnamon and chocolate biscuits

this year’s recipe i am trialling can be found here

i think it was a little sticky as i used big eggs

so we waited a few hours before cutting the hearts

messy

yummy, but too sweet for me with the sugar sprinkled on top

will remember to cut down the amount inside

{my family always complains i don’t put in enough sweet}

cute huh?

lily’s teachers gifted her with the cookie cutter for a farewell gift

perfect.

wow end of class two already!

i know we spend a lot of time away from school anyway

but really that has come way too soon!

anyway enough rambling

blessings to you and yours

xx

what are you doing in preparation for christmas {if anything}?

what does it mean to you?

what stands out from your childhood christmases?

what is special to you at this time of year?