Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Around here - Carrot Cake

In my last post I mentioned I was making this Carrot Cake today as I had a few extra carrots in the fridge.  We ate half of the cake and I gave my very good neighbours the other half along with a dozen eggs.  My neighbour mows my footpath when he does his every week and also trims all my hedges at the front as well.  They are such a lovely family and always keep an eye out for us.  Having good neighbours is worth their weight in gold.  This cake was easy to make and would freeze well for later on if you didn't want to eat it on the one day and/or could be put in the fridge in a container too.

CARROT CAKE [Recipe link here]
  • 1/2 cup Canola or Olive Oil [I used Olive Oil]
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 3 cups Carrot (grated)
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts (optional)

CREAM CHEESE ICING [I used the Thermomix Carrot Cake icing recipe]

  • 100gms Cream Cheese
  • 50gms unsalted butter
  • 230gms Icing Sugar
  • Chopped Walnuts to decorate (optional)

Preheat Oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place the oil and eggs into a large bowl and whisk.

Then add grated carrot and mix through.

Sift the following into the wet mixture, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.  Add chopped up walnuts now if using them.  Stir until evenly combined.

Line a 23cm tin, pour in the batter and bake 25-35 mins. [I cooked mine for 35 minutes]

Once it’s cooled beat your cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar with a hand mixer until it’s smooth.  I made my icing in the Thermomix - place cream cheese, unsalted butter and icing sugar into the Thermomix on Speed 9 for 20 seconds.

Ice your cake and decorate with the chopped walnuts. Place it into the fridge in a sealed container and you will have something lovely to enjoy for the next few days or weeks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Around here - Self Crusting Corn Quiche

The other day I found this recipe on The Heart of the Home blog from Queensland and decided to make it for dinner.  It was super easy and it tastes delicious.  It's not as heavy as having a pastry base and I thought it might be a good recipe for school lunch boxes since school starts back on Wednesday.  I'm also making the Carrot Cake recipe today so I'll let you know how it goes.


4 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of Self Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
425gms can Creamed Corn
1.5 cups of grated Tasty Cheese
1/2 Red Capsicum
Shallots or Onion [I uses shallots/spring onions]
Bacon Rashers [2-3] or ham [I used a combination of both]

Heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius

Chop up capsicum, shallots and bacon and fry them off in a pan.  Set aside to cool.

Place the eggs, milk, Self Raising Flour and Salt into a bowl and stir.

Stir in creamed corn and grated cheese and add the cooled mixture of capsicum, shallots and bacon to the bowl and mix together.

Pour into quiche dish or lamington tray [20-23 cm in size].

Bake for 20-30 minutes until centre is firm.  I baked mine for 30 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with salad.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Around here - Home Made Wraps

We have been making home made wraps using a recipe using yoghurt from the "Down to Earth" book for a long time now however the recipe I made today is just plain flour, baking powder, salt, coconut oil or butter and water.

You know how much I love Tracey & Jo's recipes from Additive Free Lifestyle so today for lunch I decided to make some home made wraps using their recipe.  Wraps are so easy to make and these were so nice.  The tip is as you make them pop them into a tea towel and cover them up so they will stay soft instead of going hard.  They can also be frozen as well and I have put some freezer paper in between them so I can take one out at a time if I need too.  As it was just me at home I made a half batch of 6 wraps and then I had one for lunch with ham and salad and OMG it was so soft and fresh.  So simple and I can highly recommend this recipe.  I also have some baby spinach in the fridge so I might try and make these spinach ones too.

You can make them yourself using 6 ingredients or take a look at the spinach wraps you find in the supermarket...look at this ingredient list for Spinach Wraps.

You will notice that the reason they are green is from a combination of blue and yellow food colour and they use spinach ‘seasoning’ (no real spinach!)

Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), contains 2% or less of each of the following: Seasoning (Spinach Powder, Onion Powder, Spice, Salt, Garlic Powder, Soybean Oil, Artificial Colors [FD&C Yellow #5 Lake and FD&C Blue #1 Lake], Natural and Artificial Flavor), Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Distilled Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Wheat Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Antioxidants (Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid), Vital Wheat Gluten, Cellulose Gum, Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite), Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid).

Below are my home made wraps I made for lunch today, very satisfying.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Around here

I live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and it's a sub-tropical environment where we can grow veggies all year long and we don't get any morning frosts either.

I have been reading Heather's blog from North Ridge Farm again and she and her husband now live in Vermont and their grown up daughter lives away.  I was reading Heather's former blog years and years ago.  In other places in the world they get snowed in for months at a time and I can see the need for stock piling and canning when you can't have a vegetable garden or get to the shops.  I have two major supermarkets 2 kms to the right of our home and 2 major supermarkets 2kms to the left of our home so I don't need to stockpile much for summer or winter.  We have an organic farmers market about 20 minutes from where we live which are open on Sundays and also another farmers market open on Saturdays although not organic it is a fresh fruit and veggie market.  The image below is from Heather's "about page".   You can also do her online courses which are self paced.

Heathers former blog was called Beauty that Moves and she now blogs at North Ridge Farm.  Her home and environment screams home made, nourishing, cosy and you just want to be there.  Her abundance of homegrown and home made food is wonderful and I love all her photos.  When I see all of Heather's produce photos it makes me want to get stuck into my veggie garden that I have neglected over the past 6 months.  You can follow her on Instagram here.

Here in Australia [although they are now living in Italy] Matt & Lentil have written two amazing books on growing food and cooking from scratch.  Their first book called "Grown & Gathered" is amazing and their second book "The Village" was written after they spent some time in Italy.  I've got both of their books and can highly recommend them.  Their blog has some great recipes and beautiful photographs.  They started with a small house and parcel on land on Matt's Dad's property in Victoria and grew veggies and flowers and instead of selling the flowers they created the Flower Exchange Project.  I love their passion for home grown and home made.  They are now living experiencing Italian life as much as they can due to lockdowns.  They have a small vineyard which they purchased and I just read an article this morning how this came about and I can't find it to link it.  If I do I'll come back and update it as it was great.

Here's a few recent photos from around here.

Sienna made a spinach and feta tart for dinner including making the pastry from scratch which was delicious.  I was very impressed.

Roast chicken for dinner..didn't have any greens to go with it however I'm really good at making homemade gravy now and it tastes delicious.

Threw all the chicken bones and onions from the roast chicken into the slow cooker overnight to make chicken stock.

Four jars of homemade chicken stock are now in the good is "free food".

Made some sticky buns however wasn't too keen on this recipe so I'll try another one next time.

Sticky buns.

Looks like I need to clean my driveway again.

Yesterday afternoon storm clouds rolling in however we only got about 5 mins of rain.

Looking towards the bottom of our street with the storm clouds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Around here

Brisbane has just come out of a snap 3 day lockdown which was sparked by a cleaner from a Quarantine Hotel contracting the very contagious UK strain of the Coronavirus.  It was a rainy weekend so it was nice to be inside and it was the first weekend after my sister was here when we were out and about every day so I didn't mind a quiet weekend.  I was going to have my friend's dog Billy for the week and my sister was due to come over and have a coffee and help me take down the Christmas Tree and decorations.  Both of those things didn't happen and it wasn't a big deal, not like someone who was perhaps getting married on the Saturday who the lockdown would have been huge.  I really support our Chief Health Officer and Premier looking after the welfare of Queenslanders.  I feel so lucky to be Australian and it's really scary what is still happening overseas. 

As you know my sister came to visit and see my Mum and she flew back to Perth on the 4th January and then on the Wednesday she got the message that she had to get a Covid test and isolate for 14 days at home because the Western Australia Premier declared Greater Brisbane a hot spot. She is not a home body so is finding it hard although her house is getting a good declutter so that's a good thing.  Whilst she was here we didn't go to any major shopping centers and we live on the Northside of Brisbane so no where near where the UK strain was detected.  It was a bit of a shock to her when she found she had to isolate as when we went into lockdown we thought her visit was well timed because she was back in Perth.  All of this is totally understandable and not having to do that in a hotel with the expense is a good thing.  This is life in 2021 and as I mentioned, 2020 and 2021 are going to be much the same even though everyone wanted to put 2020 behind them.  This is life in a Pandemic and it can turn in an instant however we are living a pretty great life regardless.

On Sunday morning I was at the grocery shops at 9.00 am to do a big food shop since the holidays as I had nothing in the fridge and with the panic buying on Friday in Brisbane I decided to wait until Sunday morning and make do with the little I had at home.  I made Tahini Granola, Jam Drops, Yoghurt, Beef Stroganoff and Lentil Bolognese.  Now I've got a few things in the freezer as I had let everything run down before Christmas.

With January always comes thoughts about how to reduce expenses and whist my food budget is reasonable and smaller than it was a few years ago I want to see if I can shave some more $$ off my weekly spend and put the extra money into my emergency fund.  Even if it's $25 a week that would be $100 extra a month into the emergency fund.

You know I am a huge fan of Tracey & Jo, the sisters from Tasmania who are behind the Additive Free Lifestyle  which is all about cooking from scratch and removing unnecessary additives and preservatives in our food.  The girls have launched a Lunch Box edition cookbook which is fantastic.  It's a pre-launch which means you purchase it now and it will be released in March however with the pre-release you get the E-book version sent to you so you can start cooking now.  I can say this book is equally as good as their first book.  When you think lunches most Mum's think "school lunches" however I can say these recipes are fantastic for at home lunches, work lunches or school lunches.  I can highly recommend this book, their website and their story and mission.  Anyone that has ever worked away from home knows how much money can be wasted on morning tea and lunch if you aren't organized.  Lunches can sometimes get boring at the best of times having the same sandwich however you will be inspired by the lunches, snacks and dips etc. in this book.  

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Happy New Year

Today is the second day of 2021 and to be honest it's going to be much like 2020 in respect of the pandemic.  Whilst Australia is so lucky in terms of the rest of the world, Covid is here and is not going away in the short term.  I am lucky that my sister is here from Perth as I haven't seen her in 3 years so it's great to spend time with her.   Western Australia have recorded over 265 days or so without any community transmission.  Queensland is over 100 days without community transmission.  

We had our usual family Christmas with the most delicious prawns, ham, salads, chocolate plum pudding, home made custard and various slices.  We collectively all do our part in our family gatherings and it works really well.

I'm about to go and make some Turkish Bread for lunch today so I'll keep this post short and sweet.