Wednesday, July 27, 2011


My dear friend, Deb, from A Clothesline Out The Back, lost her darling father recently to cancer.

I did send her a message via her blog but I noticed today it disappeared into the Web-i-verse somewhere.

This is my public message to Deb.

You and your dad, and your lovely family, are in my thoughts and prayers.

I can only imagine how you are feeling right now.

Take care.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Leek, potato and bacon soup

I'm a big fan of soup.

Not all soup, though.

But I love this soup.

It's leek, potato and bacon soup.

I served this to visitors on the weekend.

First, I made my stock.

(I don't always make my own stock, sometimes I use the 1 litre containers of prepared stuff)

I keep scraps of vegies in the freezer in a zip-lock bag - things like celery leaves and the skinny stems, root vegetable peelings and ends, ends of onions, basically, whatever is going at the time.  

That way, whenever I want to make vegetable stock, it's ready to go.

I also found a chicken frame leftover from a bag that I bought for the dogs.

I simmer the stock and some mixed herbs in a litre or two of water for a couple of hours, depending on my needs and how many scraps I have to use.

I drain it into another pot and give the scraps to the chickens to eat.

While the stock is simmering I cut up my soup ingredients.

I use the white part of the leek (and the green bits go into the washed zip-lock bag for the next lot of stock) and cut it into sections about an inch thick then rinse it in the colander to get the dirt out.

I chop up the potatoes as if I'm making mashed potato.

Then I roughly chop up the bacon.

This time I only had about 5 rashers of bacon to work with.

I add a wee bit of olive oil to the pan and cook over a low heat until the bacon has started to cook and everything else has that lovely 'glow' about it when it's covered in oil.

Once the leek has started to soften, I add the stock back into the pot and simmer for the rest of the day.

Sometimes I leave it for 4 hours, sometimes more.

It all depends on how much I'm making and when I want it ready for dinner. 

I usually try to reduce the soup by a quarter at least.

Then, when all of the potatoes have softened completely, I turn the stove off and use a blender to blend it all up.

I don't own a blender thingy with the jug, I use a stick blender; it takes a bit longer to do and not all of the bits of potato end up being smooshed, but that's okay.

Once it's all blended I return it to the heat and simmer for another half hour or so and add a cup or two of milk and stir just before serving.

Add heaps of salt and pepper, crusty bread and butter and voila - dinner is served.

Usually I get enough out of a pot to have a couple of extra days worth of meals to freeze, but this time everyone went back for seconds (or in one person's case, thirds) and there was nothing left. 

The pot was wiped clean with the last of the bread.

So, that's my soup recipe.

Nothing flash, but very tasty and very filling.

And I forgot to take a photo of the finished soup.  

I'm sure you know what it would look like.  

After all, it's just soup.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An inside day (but I'd rather be out)

Isn't this such a pretty spot?

An ideal place for curling up with a good book and sitting in the warm sun.

I wish my kitchen looked as neat and tidy as this.

I've always got things on bench tops or the kitchen table is covered in books and bags and stuff.

Today is the second day at home on my own since the middle of April.

Yesterday I wasted the day.

Today I must clean and tidy.

And cook.

But it's too nice to be inside.

I'd rather be outside in the garden, wandering the paddocks, chatting with the dogs, watching the Ladies chatter away about nothing in particular, inspecting the vegetable garden.

Oh well, these things can wait for a little while I guess.

I'm going to throw on my apron, chuck on a pair of socks (to slide around on the tiles - it's more fun than walking) and wield my duster instead.

And I must remember to make a new batch of cleaner, too, once I'm finished.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giving thanks

Things are coming along nicely in the garden now.

We had home-grown zucchini and squash with our dinner last night and it was wonderful.

I can't wait until the tomatoes are ready to be picked.

I'm grateful for the ability to produce at least some of the food I feed my family with.

And a big thank you to Deb from A Clothesline Out the Back for their wonderful visit on the weekend - and the beautiful goodies you brought.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

In my garden...

this is such a beautiful time of year for gardening here in the tropics.

you don't get eaten alive by the mosquitoes.

everything isn't mouldy or slimy to touch.

it isn't raining for days or weeks on end.

things actually grow and flourish with little help.

i love it!

the princess wandered about in the garden with the camera the other day and these are her photos.

i hope you like them.

she planted two punnets of marigolds in the vegetable beds.

she likes marigolds and nibbling on their petals.

the roses are either patio or chameleon roses.

so far they are turning out to be all sorts of colors.

i even have a deep red, almost purple, rose about to flower.

it is beautiful.

i have been cutting some of the rose blooms and putting them in little vases around the house.

i love their subtle smell.