Friday, December 24, 2010

Big Day!

You've gotta love the day before Christmas.... I'm at work finishing off some jobs, the car is getting serviced (should be ready at 12) then i need to (more like want to, there's no real necessity) light the wood oven, light the webber, bake bread and stollen, roast the turkey, make marzipan, make advocaat, tidy up the garden, buy a new battery for the boat, and there's the typical male Christmas eve shopping to be done. No doubt I'll be surrounded by a sea of male shoppers!!

It's the same every year.. Maybe i shouldn't have gone fishing yesterday, but it has charged my batteries for a big day today, as opposed to two casual days :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We were lured to this quaint little cafe on Saturday by the home grown market they run every second saturday and the thought of free range eggs, free range bacon and home made bread for breakfast. And we weren't disappointed. The cafe is housed in an old church in Perth.We were seated on our pews, ordered our breakfasts which consisted off two serving of eggs and bacon, spinach and mushroom bruschetta and fruit and cinnamon bread to share between us. The girls went out to the market in the garden while the boys attended to the more serious task of drinking coffee and duice (juice)

Our ginormous servings of breakfast came out very promptly. The free range Mount gnomon farm saddleback bacon was superb, the home made bread scrumptious, the spinach out of their own vegie garden was extremely fresh (the chef kept ducking out to the garden and coming back with all kinds of produce out of the garden), in fact, the whole experience was great!

The stall holders were selling items such as two metre tall ales, free range bacon, Rhubarb jam out of the Utsi garden, flowers, plants, bread baked at the cafe.... The Cafes slogan is Source locally. Eat seasonally. Live responsibly.

We'll be back soon

South Esk 19-12

Kids in bed, Christine sewing, the script was written for a few casts down at the river last Sunday night. Caught a lovely shot of an almost full moon over the river flats

Snails Revisited

Bit of a recurring theme happening here but i think i am finally getting the upper hand here. They are drastically reducing in numbers, from 315 to 247 on Sunday down to 208 last night...

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Woohoo!! We've continued from where we left off....... 4/45!!!!!! Looks like it's going to be a long, cold summer.....

Proud Dad

Academic Achievement Award second year running for our beautiful girl. Well done!!

(Not so proud about the quality of the photo, but hey, i was there to capture the moment.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I found some photos on my phone that my wife must have taken off a baking session held last Sunday. I had been to Hobart for work last week and stopped at the Callington Mill in Oatlands to buy some freshly ground whole flour.. Although the people at the mill weren't overly helpful, the Companion Bakery across the road was a totally different experience.

The french baker was extremely helpful and willing to share all he knew about sourdough bread, even showing me their recipe. It was great. Companion is an organic wood-fired sourdough bakery. Central to the bakery's philosophy is the use of organic flour and locally sourced ingredients in their naturally leavened bread. They run full day bread baking classes which i am sure to be enrolling for...

Real Ale

Well, after about two months of primary fermentation (was it two months??? Whoops, looks like it was four months)

Lets start again... After four months of primary fermentation, as opposed to the customary 8-10 days, i finally bottled my real ale..... This is going to be very interesting. At least the brew was nice and clear, four months in the fermenter meant that all the solids settled nicely

Check out the spread!

Our eldest daughter had her birthday party last weekend, and as usual, my incredibly talented wife put on a delictable spead of goodies for her flower tea party...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stiff upper lip....

I have one of those at the moment.... albeit dentist induced. The choice between root canal treatment or a swift extraction was a no brainer. So after 3 injections, the dentist grabbed a pair of pliers, put one foot on my chest and told the assistant to hold on to his waist, the tooth never stood a chance...

Bye bye tooth ache, hello baboon face (Only for a little while hopefully) oh yeah, and a very good reason not to answer the phone

Snail Update

315 collected on Wednesday night....... 315!!!!! And there were more! No wonder some seedlings were struggling... Drowned in beer and fed to the chooks.. Hmmm, might get beer flavoured eggs....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ooohhhh Poppie.....

Growing our window frame.......

Christmas pud dud!

I was keenly anticipating the boiling up and tasting of the inaugural christmas puddings that i attempted.... I took one down from his shrine in our kitchen to be confronted with a mild case of penicillin......
Bugger... Oh well, christmas cake it is from now on..

Mad max mulcher

Check out this 9hp beauty! Mulches twigs up too 113mm thick!!!! That's firewood size....

Go on, grab a ruler, I know you want to know how big 113mm really is.... Yep, that's big!!!
Needless to say, we are welcoming the delivery of other peoples pruning to turn into mulch. No more excuses for taking all those mulchable prunings at the tip for $10.50 a trailer load. (Picked it up for a song at an auction last week)

Friday, December 3, 2010

3 for 2??

What is going on???? Australia win the toss and are 3 for 2???? Come on!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Boys Gardening


it's bean a while

cos we've been
berry busy

doing some serious pruning

and oreganising our garden.,

trying not to drop things on

matoes is quite tricky.
Need to find some more thyme
to do some more pruning



Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken
  1. Find yourself a nice plump hand reared rooster
  2. Isolate it from food for about 6 hours (trust me, this really helps)
  3. Use your imagination as to what might happen next
  4. Put in refrigerator for about a day
  5. Heat up the webber
  6. When the kids ask what sort of chook it is, just reply "it's a chook"
  7. When the kids ask if they can go and see the rooster, just reply "Wouldn't you rather play on the trampoline?"
  8. Coat the freshly cleaned chook in olive oil, salt, chinese five spice, sweet paprika and pepper
  9. Shove a lemon up its......... as well as some sprigs of time and rosemary
  10. Roast for about and hour and a quarter (this was a big chook)
  11. Carve up the chook, throw out the legs and thighs (tough as old boots)
  12. Serve the breast meat with fresh buttercrunch lettuce, spinach and potato salad
I guess in hindisght i should have cooked this baby more like a turkey as opposed to chicken, given the size and age of the bird. Anyway, we no longer need to be looking over our shoulder when the chooks are out...

A Little Bite of Christmas

Whipped up these delicious little christmas cakes to welcome the start of the festive season

They're a take on Donna Hays Little Figgy Christmas Cakes (Donna Hay Issue 42, Celebration)
They're quick and easy to make, as i "stew" the dried fuit on the stove  instead of letting it soak overnight. This also evaporates the alcohol, making it a bit more kid friendly. I also use dry sherry instead of the traditional whisky or brandy, as it's not as sweet

Little Fruity Nutty Christmas Cakes

Makes 12 muffin size cakes

• 1 cup sultanas
• 1/2 cup currants
• 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1 teaspoon mixed spice
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2/3 dry sherry
• 125g butter, softened and chopped
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 ¼ cups plain wholemeal flour
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ cup almond meal
  1/2 cup sliverred almonds

1. Place sultanas, currants, dates, cranberries, mixed spice, vanilla and brandy in a saucepan. Mix well, heat on stove gently until all liquid is absorbed

2. Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF). Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda and hazelnut meal over the fruit mixture and mix well ensuring all the fruit is coated in flour. Add the butter mixture and stir to combine well. Add the sliverred almonds

4. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

If you're driving past, come in and grab one, they are really tasty

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kids Vegie garden...

I took a snap off the girls vegie patch on the way out this morning.. There's butter crunch lettuce, english spinach, broad beans, dwarf beans, carrots, nasturtiums, snow peas, poppies, zuchini, marigolds, and viola's.

There will be photos of the boys vegie patch tomorrow..

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday Happy Hour 5-6pm

What's normally a trying time was happy hour yesterday..... You gotta love those moments

Bit of Paul Kelly and the Stormwater Boys turned up to almost max, and the dress ups used earlier in the day at playgroup laying around made for some frivolous time

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nothing beats a wood heater

A comment on a previous post reminded me that i was going to post this...
21st November 2010
It has now been 3 nights in a row that we have not had to light the fire...

Rain on the garden

Why is it that copious amounts of watering simply does not have the same affect on the garden as a little rain??

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do chickens really eat that much???

It would appear not.. Someone was helping themselves.. Ahh, living in the country is quite and peaceful (now)

Stir up Sunday

Stir up Sunday came a bit early this year. I thought the day was 5 Sundays before Christmas, but it turns out it's the last sunday before the change of the seasons... Oh well, the puds are hanging!

Just found another recipe that uses Guinness, might be another batch going in....

Monday, November 22, 2010

You gotta love this city.....

  9.30am - Date scones for morning tea, but alas, bakery all sold out
12.09pm - Bang last nights leftover spag in the zapper for 4 minutes
12.10pm - Race to a different bakery than this mornings to get some ciabatta to go with left over Spaghetti while its in the zapper, sold out of all bread
12.11pm - Zip round the corner to a different bakery while the spag is still being zapped. Closed
12.12pm - Racing against the zapper, zip to a different bakery for some bread. Closed
12.14pm - Back behind the desk, carb loading on last nights left over spag after the mini marathon
12.16pm - Finished replacing the carbs i burnt whilst on the hunt for bread. Still hungry

South Esk Fishing

I had been planning to make Christmas pudding yesterday, but thanks to a "man" read off the recipe, i forgot to soak the calico, so the pudding will be made tonight. With everyone else in the house pre-occupied, i grabbed the bike and pedalled down to the river for a quick fish. Managed one nice brown trout
I smoked him in the webber and he tasted hmmmm, well, pretty much like the bottom of the river mixed with a handful of charcoal.... I'll definitely be practicing catch and release on this stretch of river in the future.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bad Moon Rising

I see a bad moon rising, i see trouble on the way.............

"Place your bet - Ah say - place your bets, gentlemen. Winnner plays, loser stays. Everyone's a winne - well, not everyone."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heb Jij Ook Een Beetje Mulch???

Bit of sarcasm to start the day! Seriously, if you need some for home, drop by and get some. I might have overcooked the order......

Tuesday, November 16, 2010



Finally managed to get out into the garden to do a bit of work. After visiting two of Launcestons most beautiful gardens on the weekend, we felt a bit inspired....

Chooks eating 38 snails

Tettnang Hops
Green Gauges

38 Snails

Birch Woods

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Weapons of Mass Destruction

No, they're not to be found in Iraq! These little weapons of mass destruction came out in force last night after the rain... Anyone care to guess how many there might be???

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cleaning inside our water tank

Our water was running low so i organised old mate Bruce from down the road to come and fill it up. Just before he was due to arrive, we decided it might be a good opportunity to clean out the tank.... I should have taken some photos, but on second thoughts it's probably a good thing i didn't so you people out there can't see the quality of the water you have been drinking when visiting. (It was a little dirty)

Years of pumping water straight out of the south esk had deposited a nice layer (about 40mm thick) of sand and silt (and other things) on the bottom. Bucketing about 1,000 litres out of mud from the bottom of the tank out of the overhead  hole at the top is not a pleasant exercise....
Not our tank but you get the idea