lemmiec@live.com.au

All articles by lemmiec@live.com.au

 

The Spring Garden 2015

It’s been ages since I sat down to write on my blog….far too long! But I am here now…so much to talk about….this is the second year I’ve grown the tomatoes from seed (last years’s crop). 4 different varieties – 40 plants and we’ll let some of the self sown ones grow too, so if all goes well we’ll have another freezer full of tomato puree for next year. The purple peach tree that I...
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Early May in our paleo home and organic garden.

Neil (aka pasta man) and I have had a wonderful weekend working in the garden, finally the summer crops are over (actually there are still a couple of tomatoes, 1 zucchini, chillies and some eggplants producing fruit) but we had plenty of room to transplant seedling lettuces, spinach and purple broccoli and plant garlic and shallots. We’re not growing as large a crop of garlic or shallots this year because we aren’t eating that many of...
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“Change in the weather”

“Change in the weather…change in the weather …somethings happening here..” It’s the Easter holiday break and the Bellarine Peninsula is busy busy busy with holiday makers enjoying the last of the warm weather. We’ve been busy in the garden pulling up the summer crops to prepare for the autumn and winter vegetables. The pumpkin and zucchini plants look horrible covered in mould and aphids but are still producing so we’ll wait a bit longer to...
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The autumn garden & paleo cracker recipe

So autumn is here and wow what a mild summer it was, the air conditioner has only been on once! The vegetable garden is producing loads of tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants, carrots, beetroot, assorted greens and purple king beans. I was really pleased with the tomato crop this year mainly because I grew them from seed collected from a couple of tomatoes given to me last summer. I am definitely going to save seeds and raise...
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The summer garden

Well Xmas and New Year (seasons greetings to you all) have come and gone since my last blog (how time flies) and the garden is just starting to produce enough to eat. We’re harvesting zucchini, tomatoes (early ones only), purple king beans, radish, green bull chillies, beetroot, assorted greens and herbs of course! The eggplants are just starting to fruit – hopefully we’ll be inundated with tomatoes, zucchinis and eggplants in a few weeks time....
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Paleo challenge – crackers (dry biscuits)

I’m learning about this new way of living (Paleo) by researching and trying new products and recipes so I thought I would write about my travels down this gastronomic road and share some of the pitfalls and best recipes that I find. I tried to make my own recipes but that was way too difficult so I’m content to play with other cook’s recipes and add a little of myself as I go! These ingredients...
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Food for health (the Paleo way)

It’s been ages since my last blog for two reasons – 1. my iPad won’t upload photos into my site (but I’ve found another way to load photos) and 2. because I’ve been going through a “moment” regarding my relationship with food. You can tell from my ramblings that I absolutely love anything to do with food (cooking, growing, sourcing & experimenting), it’s a very important part of who I am and so I wondered...
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Chiang Mai Pork Belly Curry

I was given this recipe from a friend who loves Thailand and it’s amazing food, she was there recently and had this dish in a restaurant and loved it so much she searched until she found the recipe and passed it on to me, how awesome! I couldn’t wait to make it, actually I made it that same night, I had to buy some galangal, tamarind puree and shrimp paste (buy the type already roasted...
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Life after a fire storm

It’s been 18 months since the place we called home for 20 years went up in smoke and last week we finally went back to pay a visit. We had sold our share of the property some years ago but the memories of 20 years of living in this beautiful but dangerous part of the world are strong, after all we transformed the bushland to a home with gardens, sheds, dams and animals (pigs, chooks,...
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Hooray it’s spring!

Well we are lucky to have a few days in a row of warm, calm weather – and boy have I enjoyed it! I like to get into the garden early before I start doing other stuff; this morning it was foggy, damp and cool but in no time at all the sun was out and the layers of clothing came off, it was lovely feeling the gentle sunrays on my arms and face. In...
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Winter flowers and vegetables

It’s always nice to have flowers in the garden but especially at this time of the year; the maroon pansies haven’t stopped flowering for months and the vibrantly coloured cinerarias are in full bloom. There’s also camellias, grevillias, some roses, wattles and the lovely ornamental quince blossoms. The broad beans are looking good, they have a long growing season and we won’t be eating them for a while yet, the celery can be seen poking...
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Cream of broccoli soup

I haven’t been able to get to my blog as much as I would like to of late but I’ve been busy cooking and not gardening much (well it’s winter and the garden is in hibernation – maybe I am too). I just looked out the window to see a very brightly coloured parrot eating some beetroot leaves I threw out into the garden earlier. I hope he/she doesn’t come back and start eating the...
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Chicken soup

Well it certainly is soup weather and this week it’s all about chicken soup – first a golden, chicken ball & noodle soup and another of green curry, coconut and chicken. Both soups have an asian style broth base and are served with noodles, vegetables, chicken pieces and minced chicken balls. You could use thigh fillets, a whole chicken or a couple of chicken marylands to make the stock, it depends what is on special....
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Winter in the garden

Despite the cold and windy weather some parts of the garden are thriving including thistles and oxalis (or sour sob – impossible to get rid of – the act of pulling them actually promotes their bulb growth). I’ve posted some photos of  feature plants like the blood lilly leaves, red devil featured above, bird’s nest fern, cycad and vegetable garden shots.  There’s only 1 little purple cabbage left until the next crop grows, wish I...
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Spicy pumpkin soup and romanesco broccoli

The perfect antidote for this wintery weather is staying indoors cooking – soup was on the menu today (spicy pumpkin and a ham hock and vegetable soup). I had a lovely time singing along to some rather loud music (Ben Harper) cooking to my hearts content. If you decide to try my spicy pumpkin soup recipe I strongly recommend you put on some of your favourite sing along music too. Spicy pumpkin soup Print Recipe...
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Winter weekend (Chilli pistachio brownie)

Well winter is finally upon us, apparently it’s the best start to the snow season for many many years, for us though it has been challenging, not the cold so much but the relentless wind pushing our garden to its limits. We haven’t suffered any losses but some plants are looking very stressed and tired. So this weekend I’ve been happily playing and experimenting in my kitchen, we had friends over for dinner on Saturday...
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Grilled vegetable & chestnut salad

Some chestnut growers were spruiking and cooking up their produce at the East Geelong fruit shop the other day, the chestnuts were so delicious I decided to buy some to add to the grilled vegetable salad I planned on making for Sunday lunch (feeding my vegetarian son). It feels a bit strange to be buying fruit and vegetables again after living on our own produce for months, that being said I just love shopping for...
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Roast chicken

I was reading about the Melbourne Food Festival’s celebration of the winter roast with multiple restaurants in Melbourne and regional areas creating special menus over the month of June and felt inspired to roast an organic chicken. I read up Maggie Beer’s recipes and decided to fill the chook with limes, rosemary, bay leaves, 1/2 whole head of garlic, oil, salt and pepper and then massaged the flesh with olive oil and rubbed it with...
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The winter clean up

This morning Pasta man pulled out the Russian Lady’s Slipper and Golden Shower creepers, they were getting too big and climbing into anything within reach, they had served their purpose which was to cover up the fence until the garden grew. There’s lots of pruning and tidying up to do at this time of year, it’s all about creating space and light and we ended up with a mountain of cuttings that we’ll have to...
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Early winter gardening

It’s such a beautiful morning in the garden I just had to come in and write about it! Pasta man and I spent a few hours weeding the paths and beds yesterday morning and then it rained, so it looks tidy, fresh and vibrant today. The greens are growing well and we are picking spinach (yum!) and silverbeet, then there’s lettuce, rocket and lots of herbs (the lemon sorrel is great in salads and my...
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Beef cheeks and ribs – slow food cooking

I’d heard about beef cheeks on the cooking shows on TV but never seen them until recently when I found some at our local butcher shop. The butcher recommended cooking them in the pressure cooker for 1.5 hours or 4 – 5 hours on the stove or in the oven. I bought 3 beef cheeks and what strange bits of meat they are, very tough, you just about need a chain saw to cut through...
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Sweet chilli relish

When I bought these bullhorn pepper (capsicum) seedlings I didn’t realise they had a touch of heat in them so that really added to the pleasure of growing these wonderful plants, they have cropped heavily throughout the summer and are still producing (incredible). To make this colourful, spicy relish I also picked some lemon grass, shallots, garlic and kaffir lime leaves. This is a very handy relish to have in the pantry, you will use...
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Fruit cake (boiled fruit cake)

The only cakes I remember my mum making when I was little was a boiled fruit cake and a chocolate ripple cake. I’ve always loved fruit cakes and I’ve been making this boiled fruit cake for as long as I’ve been cooking, it is easy to make and only uses one saucepan. It’s always seemed a bit “healthy” with the use of lots of fruit (however a dietician will not agree) and it will easily...
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The autumn garden

Well I am finally back onto the computer and my blog, life seemed to get in the way for the last few weeks. So what’s happening in the garden? The only summer crop left are the chillies, everything else is over and out. There is however new life in the garden, the garlic and shallots are showing their new growth, the first crops of broad beans and peas are about 3cm tall and the next...
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Moist dark chocolate cake

It is hard to beat a good chocolate cake and when I was learning to cook (still am actually) I searched high and low for a “good” recipe, I even asked my Auntie Mary –  a renowned cake maker – for her recipe, but Auntie Mary’s cake was too dry and not dark enough for my liking (I must have tasted a “really good” cake somewhere). I eventually found this recipe, it ticked both boxes –...
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The ever changing garden

Our garden is just about full so when I find a plant that I “have to have” finding a home for it can be challenging, luckily there are always plants that die, aren’t thriving or reach the end of their cycle, so we can usually find room for the new arrival. I can be ruthless when it comes to pruning or culling a plant, when space is limited you have to be. I was disappointed...
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Beautiful beetroot (beetroot chutney recipe)

I think I’m having a love affair with beetroot, the colour is spectacular and when I eat either the root or the greens I feel that the nutrients are going straight into my veins (silver beet, spinach and kale do the same thing to me). Luckily we have enough beets to use as juice, as a vegetable, a dip, or to make chutney or relish. They are easy to grow and  can be grown all...
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Landscaping and building the new garden

Pasta man is a builder and jack of all trades and so is perfectly suited to all manner of projects around the home and garden (lucky me). His latest project is a garage / office and as part of this project a large amount of soil needed to be excavated and was used to form a new terraced garden. The new garden was in the most barren part of the property, it’s exciting to develop...
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Pumpkin citrus syrup cake

                      I picked the crop of pumpkins last week, I just hope it wasn’t too early, in the past I have gone by the rule that you leave the pumpkins on the vine until the vines wither and the first frost comes, but after reading alternative practises I made the decision to go for it. I was not happy to read later in another article...
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The floral garden

A couple of years ago I noticed a spectacular climbing plant growing over the wall of the old Geelong gaol and grabbed a piece to identify it. I couldn’t find it in any of my books or on the internet but the local nurserywoman named it “Russian Lady’s Slipper”. She thought it looked easy enough to grow from a cutting (it looks like a succulent) so I did just that, one little cutting and now...
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Experimenting with Asian flavours (spiced beans recipe)

I’ve been having fun researching the flavours of Asia over the last few weeks with the help of Charmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook (1976) and her Asian Favourites (2001) and the Women’s Weekly Indian Style Cookery (1997). I’ve made a vindaloo curry (the meat was marinated in vinegar o’night with loads of spices, ginger, shallots, chilli and garlic); I used the front leg of goat for this recipe (the butcher says it is better...
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Garden talk

There’s been plenty of action in the garden over the past couple of weeks, we pulled up the pumpkins and found 26, they were hidden all over the place. One pumpkin was wedged into a corner and is square, another was lodged high in a shrub and other particularly large ones were hanging from their stalks (they must be incredibly strong). The tomato and zucchini plants are looking ghastly but still producing quite heavily (I’ll...
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Kasoundi (spicy tomato chutney)

I’ve been experimenting with spices and Indian flavours for a while and have come up with my own kasoundi recipe (maybe I should call it something else) and would love to share it with you. I had enough home grown tomatoes to make chutney and decided on kasoundi – the last batch only made 5 jars which isn’t much considering all the tomatoes and effort that go into it (no wonder chutney costs so much to...
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Sausage rolls

                  The weather is cooler this weekend and I decided to make sausage rolls – they’re always good to give away to appreciative family members or to freeze for a rainy day. I used to make lots of sausage rolls when the kids were little, they were perfect food for parties, feeding hoards of hungry mouths and were a popular item at the school cake stall at...
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Garden update

Well another week has passed and the garden continues to produce, I have to wonder just how long the zucchinis can keep going, surely they must end soon. We are down to the self sown tomatoes only and they are still going strong, I’ve made litres of pasta sauce, chutney and relish. The eggplants are awesome, pasta man grills them on the webber or I shallow fry them and then pop them into a salad,...
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Mango Kulfi (Indian ice cream)

I would like to be more proficient with asian cooking and flavours – especially curries – so each week I plan on trying a new recipe. Last weekend I made a vindaloo goat curry which used the front leg of the goat (the butcher recommended this cut for long slow cooking), he cut the goat leg into serving size pieces leaving it on the bone (best for flavour). The vindaloo used vinegar along with loads...
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Fish and vegetable chips

I was racking my brains to think of another way to cook zucchini when I checked out Stephanie Alexander’s book – The Cook’s Companion – and she suggested deep fried in beer batter. Well I thought this wasn’t a bad idea because I had some nice sea bream, eggplants and peppers and I could beer batter and deep fry them all! I can’t remember the last time I made a beer batter so I used...
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Chocolate chip cookies with pistachios and cranberries

I haven’t made any biscuits for a while so thought I’d share this recipe with you. The original recipe came from a woman in America who unintentionally paid $250 for a chocolate chip cookie recipe (from a restaurant) and was so upset she made sure the recipe was spread around the world free (not sure if this is true?) Anyway the basic dough recipe is the same but I have used pistachios and cranberries instead...
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Garden views

It’s a lovely day for gardening and pasta man and I got out early to beat the heat. The garden is looking a little untidy at the moment with some of the plants nearing the end of their season and looking a bit the worse for wear. It’s hard to pull out the seeding lettuces or tomatoes with a few fruits left on but we needed to make some space to plant out a few...
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Orange poppy seed syrup cake

I was flicking through my old hand written recipe book the other day and found this beautiful cake recipe that I made lots when I had more mouths to feed (a family favourite), I was inspired to make it (I wanted to use blood oranges but none were available) and I am very pleased I did. It is lovely and light for a butter cake and not too sweet (despite the syrup). It’s the long...
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Scones (cream tea)

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog on scones for a couple of weeks now and buying some beautiful organic berry jam was all the inspiration I needed (you have to have wonderful jam and the best cream). Scones are a pretty basic food and I know a lot of you out there already know how to make them, but for those others who haven’t found the “right” recipe, or whose scones turn out like...
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Road trip to Gellibrand and Torquay

Today pasta man and I went for a mini road trip to the Gellibrand market and then on to Cafe Moby at Torquay for lunch (where no 2 son is a pizza chef). Our friends (Judy and Andrew) have an olive oil & related products stall at the market and we had a lovely time catching up with them & strolling around the funky little market. I ended up buying some candied nuts, the brightest...
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Profiteroles / chocolate eclairs

                  I have played with choux pastry over the years without a lot of success (mind you I cooked in a wood stove oven without any temperature control) but after making profiteroles at the cooking school in Positano and making them a few times since I am happy to say they are fun to make, cost next to nothing and look and taste fabulous. I have made...
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Beetroot relish

My pantry is looking rather bleak at the moment, we are down to the last jar of peach chutney, marmalade and beetroot relish. We have a lot of beetroot coming on in the garden, so I need to get cracking on the preserves again. I make 2 different beetroot preserves- a relish and a chutney, the relish recipe featured today is simpler to make and I probably make this one the most. It certainly pays...
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Chocolate coconut slice

                      I was wondering which slice to make (pasta man suggested chocolate caramel slice) when I remembered this recipe (from my sister in law); it was perfect because I had all the ingredients in the pantry, it is incredibly easy to make, nice to eat and keeps well. Chocolate coconut slice Print Recipe type: slice/ biscuit Cuisine: australian Author: who knows Prep time: 10 mins...
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Monkfish with salad

We’ve had monkfish for dinner twice this week; it is just so delicious and easy to prepare. I used two layers of foil large enough to completely seal the fish, then placed lots of lime, lemon and basil leaves followed by the fish. I sprinkled some spice mix (I used saharan spice mix from Wildings Kitchen Essentials), salt / pepper and olive oil over the fish before covering it all with more lime leaves and...
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What’s happening in the garden?

Another week  has passed and at last we have a cool damp day and how lovely it is! The garden is surviving the heat and wind remarkably well compared to other gardens I have seen over the last few weeks. The high fence and density of the plants in the garden must help (as well as water of course) because we certainly cop some pretty fierce winds at times. The tomatoes are finally started to...
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Chicken & vegetable tajine (Moroccan style)

It’s strange where inspiration comes from sometimes and where it leads – yesterday I was looking through Maggie Beer’s latest cookbook (Maggie’s Christmas) and was inspired to make the chicken dish with preserved lemon and rosemary. However it soon morphed into this Moroccan style tajine dish (mainly because it was too hot to have the oven on) and I hadn’t used my tajine in a while. Chicken & Vegetable Tajine Print Recipe type: Main Cuisine:...
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Pesto and Lighthouse Olives

                      I’ve been buying my olive oil from Lighthouse Olives for a few years now; what a delight to take my 3 litre flagon to get refilled with the latest batch of oil and be tempted by other goodies they have for sale. Yesterday I bought a bucket of their olives and was very tempted to buy one of the beautiful rolling pins (every time...
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Granita

I was visiting a friend a few days ago and was served this lovely drink – a traditional Sicilian recipe using lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice called granita. The Food Lover’s Companion book says that granita is an ice made from a particular flavouring (fruit juice, wine or coffee) with the proportion of one part sugar to 4 parts liquid – the ice is stirred frequently during the freezing process; this recipe may be...
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