Monday, 8 October 2012

Easy shortcrust pastry

Today is the last day of the school holidays, even though I love the holidays Im welcoming the change this week.
Lunches to be organized, for a very long time my father allways said why dont you make your own pastry, I allways bought the sheet pastry {how lazy of me} today I made my own shortcrust pastry to make little egg and bacon pies for the school lunches and I was surprised how easy it was, so Im now converted I will never buy shortcrust pastry again.

With just a little help from this lovely mixer.

And this trusty old rolling pin which was my fathers and since he doesnt bake much now he gave it to me, it was his Mothers, so its had a good work out in the family.
They dont look great but they tasted scrumptious, kids loved them.

Recipe for very easy shortcrust pastry is
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teasp salt
125 g butter chopped
1/4 cup water
and mix
roll out
Very nice pastry

Friday, 5 October 2012

All in a days work

A quick trip for my opp shop fix I found this cute monopoly game from 1936 complete with money and wooden houses. I didnt plan to buy this it was just the tin I wanted but I got the lot for $8.00 so I was happy, the tin that contained the money and houses was a Macrobertsons tin which I collect so this was a bonus.
I love school holidays but I just cant get to opp shops as much as I would like to. I have a room full of treasures to list on ebay but havnt had time for that either.
Today was a busy day mowed for 3 hours, weeded {only a little} cleaned spouts, kids cleaned car, potted plants, kids moved pavers, moved guinea pigs around a little and cleaned them, cleaned chook pen. spring cleaned 2 rooms {the rest of house to go}.
Often people say to me did you see such and such a show on the tv......... I NEVER  watch tv, it bores me, I like to be busy and do constructive things, after Im to tired to do anything around the house I usually read blogs, ebay, or read books.
Although occasionaly I may watch a dvd  maybe once a week .
We have had some beautiful little guinea pigs born in the last 2 weeks , this little girl is a day old and I will be keeping her, her Mum is white sheltie and father is a himalayan sheba yak.
Guinea pigs are gorgeous little creatures they love company so its allways best to keep more than one of the same sex.
My loganberries are coming along nicely, oh how I cant wait for these to fruit.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Simple home cooking

                                                  Spicy Pumpkin soup
1 large butternut pumpkin { or what ever pumpkin you have}
1 large carrot
1 sweet potatoe
1 onion
chicken stock to cover
red curry paste
1 tsp cummin
1 teasp coriander
 1 tblsp sugar
1 can coconut milk
fry up the onion and spices in saucepan add the pumpkin, carrot and sweet potatoe, then add chicken stock ,coconut milk and sugar.
Once all cooked puree

                                                              Apricot slice
1 pkt malt biscuits crushed
1/2 can condensed milk
4 tblsp butter
Melt and mix together and press into a slice dish.
1 cup sultanas
1 pkt chopped apricots 200g
1 1/2 cups coconut
1/2 tin condensed milk
Mix together and put on top of base

Monday, 10 September 2012

Zucchini Slice

This is a great recipe for a take anywhere snack the kids love it in their school lunches, you can add alsorts of things to it.

5 Eggs
1 cup of SR flour
375g zucchini grated
1 large onion chopped
200g bacon chopped
1 cup of cheese grated
1/4 cup of oil
Preheat oven to 180 Grease and line a lamington tin.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl add the flour then add zucchini, onion, bacon and cheese. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Its a great quick snack , great eaten cold.

It really is worth keeping some chooks in the backyard, such entertaining creatures.

Friday, 7 September 2012

A touch of Spring

Here in Beautiful Ballarat we have had a small touch of spring, just a few days so far really.
But it was enough to mow the lawns ,weed, and just enjoy the nature outside.
The fruit trees are all blossoming in my yard.
Baby animals are being born.

This photo is of 3 baby alpaca cross mini sheba yaks. We have 7 babies at the moment and a few more due in the next few weeks. The poor Mum who is a alpaca has no fur it looks like Ive shaved her as these bubs just sit near her chewing her fur, baby guinea pigs love to chew fur and I notice its the males who do this.

Also my long awaited tri colour mini lops have been born all 7 of them. They are extremeley adorable and so friendly I dont want to part with any, they will make lovely pets I wish I could keep them all.

Eggs are in abundance all the girls are laying, the girl in the picture is my naughty girl who escapes almost every day visits the neighbours , walks across the road to the building site, I swear she just wants me to look like the crazy lady walking up the street with a chook under arm. I wont part with her though as she has so much personality ,she is just naughty.

The Ballarat Vintage clothing fair has been and gone, it was a fantastic day with so many lovely stalls and beautiful items it is held at the Brown Hill Hall. I bought this lovely coat and its a keeper, I wont be reselling this. The racks behind it are full of vintage clothing that I just havnt had time to list on ebay, I tend to get a bit of a collection hold on to it for a while then sell it off, I think I like to hoard vintage clothes. I just love them, so much nicer than the mass produced rubbish today.

Monday, 2 July 2012


Winter school holidays are here again , I love school holidays there is usually a bit of baking going on and we decided to tackle macaroons, I have never made them before or eaten them, I had watched a show on making them a few days ago, I think it was French food safari.
There were so many recipes on the internet , and I finally have a chance to use my new fancy red beaters, I have had the same beaters for 20 years I think they cost $20.00 so two weeks ago I decided to treat myself to Catch of the days special red beaters and Im quite loving them.
Macaroons with chocolate ganache

100 grams of egg whites
110 grams of almond meal
165 grams pure icing sugar
60 grams of castor sugar

Process almond meal with icing sugar sift
Beat egg white till foamy gradually add castor sugar.
Beat until stiff
Fold in the egg white mix with the almond meal and icing sugar mix in well.
Place in piping bag.
Pre heat oven 180c
the turn down to 160c
line baking trays with baking paper pipe mixture onto trays
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes

100 grams of chocolate
100 grams of cream
20 grams of butter
Melt altogether in saucepan
refridgerate until cool
cream together macaroons.
These were a beautiful texture

Cant wait to experiment with different flavours next time

Friday, 25 May 2012

A funeral

This last 12 months I have attended 3 funerals , one was a friend then a week later my beloved Mother then just this week my Aunty June ( my fathers sister).
My Auntys funeral even though very sad it was beautiful for a family that hadnt seen each other for many years. I sat and watched my father chat with brothers he hadnt seen for 35 years, it was like my Aunty had got the whole family together, I often hear Dad talk about his childhood but when they all got together and spoke about it, it was just beautiful , old memories of Ballarat in the 50s and 60s, of bakerys and houses and people.
Very funny memories when he was a child, Aunty June was 20 when Dad was born so she looked after Dad most of the time and he spent every school holidays with her, she bought him gifts home from work all the time, she was a very caring sister to Dad as a child.
My deepest sympathy goes to her family as she was a loved Mother and grandmother .
Our family both on my Mothers and fathers side go back 6 generations just in Ballarat so there is a lot of history in this town in our familys.
I have my father recording in a book his childhood memories as its one of my favourite things to listen to.
I have read this book to the kids and they just love it, I was going to just read one part but they didnt want me to stop and were yelling more more pleeeeease.
I think everybody should keep a journal with some of there fond memories in it, as otherwise they are lost even though people tell them they may forget bits and pieces thats why we have to write things down.
How things have changed in Ballarat, my father lived in central Ballarat in Lyons st and if he takes us for a walk up sturt st , how things have changed in his stories.
The grocer, the butcher, the pigman, bakeries,trams, the night time serial around the radio, toast on the fire, supper, the whole community.
We have become to busy, a throw away society{ there once were bootmakers to fix our shoes now throw them away buy a new pair} In another 50 years I wonder what Ballarat will be like .
For me I really like the sound of the way things were back then, people seemed so much nicer.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

School holidays

Well its school holidays once again, how the time flies, I actually love the school holidays as I get to spend more time with the kids.
Easter Sunday was spent with and Easter Egg Hunt and nerf gun wars, hmmm first time for me, but I must admit it was lots of fun and I still say the girls won.
School holidays has been busy here with new additions we have 2 litters of bunnies and 2 litters of guinea pigs, so we have been all having lots of time outside with the critters.
The vege garden is still producing plenty of tomatoes, so looks like a will be making sauce and green tomatoe pickles for the last of the tomatoes as Im wanting to clean up the tomatoe garden and fill it with horse poo and give it a rest over winter.
I have plenty of seedlings that I have planted from seeds I bought from ebay I find they are good value and organic, I plant extra for the rabbits , guinea pigs and chooks.
Speaking of chooks I went to the Talbot market a couple of weeks ago and bought a new chook and what a nightmare she has been she is the biggest escape artist I cannot keep her in have had her wing clipped rearranged the chook pen but nope she still gets out.
All my chickens are purebreds and she isnt so I have decided she is just feral, and I have to build somthing on the chicken pen now to try and keep her in.

The Talbot market was nice we often attend it but we do prefer Daylesford its closer and love the atmosphere, also we stop at the chocolate mill and have hot chocolates the white hot chocolate is to die for it is the best I have tasted, and the chocolates are also the best I have tasted considering I work on a taste panel once a fortnight I could say if you are in the area stop at the chocolate mill it is delicious highly reccomended. Also the Mill Market Daylesford is awsome we all love it there for those vintage finds.

My ebay store
has been keeping me busy with my secondhand finds although school holidays slows it down a bit as the kids arnt fond of opp shopping .

Have made another batch of soap coffee and vanilla with goats milk so think I will call it my vanilla latte soap.
My gorgeous little kits pictured at 3 weeks old their Mum is from Mountain View stud Tasmania and their Dad from Erinlea in Olinda they have the most beautiful coats I havnt sexed them yet so havnt named them they will have pedigrees, the kids love them so I may keep one of them.

Also pictured is Alice my alpaca guinea pig she is due any day to have pups, cant wait for those cuties.

Anyway we have one week to go of school holidays boo hoo, I have this week of to spend extra time with kids .
Happy Easter and enjoy the holidays

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Hot cross buns

Finally I have made hot cross buns they were one of the things I have been wanting to make as the kids love them, and they informed me they were the best hot cross buns ever. I made half with sultanas and half with choc chips.
Very tasty
Hot Cross Buns

340ml water

2 tabs oil

2 teasp salt

3 tabs brown sugar

4 cups bread flour

3 tabs milk powder

1 tabs mixed spice

1 tabs- Cinnamon

2 1/2 teas yeast


Mix together

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/4 teasp all spice

1/4 teasp cinnamon

1 tab water

Place all ingredients in order into Bread Machine and place on dough setting. (Anything that saves me time has to be a good thing)

Once dough is mixed knead in 1 &1/4 cups of sultanas

Chop dough into 18 pieces and shape into rounds

Place close together on a baking tray

Place in warm position and allow to rise for a further 20 minutes or

doubled in size

Blend a batter of 2 tablespoons of water with 1/4 cup of plain flour, spoon into plastic bag. Cut of tip and pipe a cross onto each bun

Bake in a preheated oven 200 Degrees for 20 minutes or until Golden brown. Brush with Glaze.

Slide off tray and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes before serving

Break apart, spread with butter and serve with a nice cuppa Tea!

Friday, 9 March 2012


Finally I am able to get some gardening done in my backyard as my very kind Uncle offered to build me a chook run, before they free ranged all day.
Im new to keeping chickens and have had mine for 12 months, and had no idea what a mess they make with peastraw.
I thought I was being rather good buying a heap of peastraw to mulch all the gardens I worked for ages placing it all out lovely. The next morning I got up they had kicked it absolutely everywhere they thought it was the best stuff ever hmmmm.
So I thought no more gardening down back until the run is built.
Here is a photo of the run when it was first built.
Inside they have a shed with a roost and nests for laying.
I have 2 Black utility Ausralorps which a beautiful large birds.
Three silkies , they are the most friendly allways wanting a nurse and one rhode island red.
Inside the pen has my compost bin and my worm farm which another kind friend gave to me as she never used it.
I got my first lot of worm castings today and put them on my garden, also after I raked out the pen, this mulch went on garden and around the fruit trees.
Just down the side of the pen which you cant see in the picture I have made another garden using rakings of chook pen and guinea pig waste.
I have my first comfrey plant in this garden ,it was given to me by another friend and it is growing lovely, I cant wait to make some salve ,that will be another post.
Now that my girls are fenced off my gardens are starting to flourish, down the back I have a berry garden with loganberries and rasberries all given to me by friends and family.
I have cherry, apricot ,nectarine,apple, almond, walnut, olive and lemon trees.
All the gardens have been mulched with horse poop and peastraw, worm castings and worm juice.
This garden in picture used to have hebe in it ugh, how hard was that to remove, but finally after a lot of hard work and getting rid of all the roots it was gone,  I will never be planting that again. This garden is right outside my kitchen window so its going to be a very handy vegetable garden at the moment it is being prepared with horse poop, pea straw and worm castings. In the back ground you can see the last of my gladis that will be dug up and placed somewhere else.

The next photo is the first egg my Australorp laid and it was huge, it turned out to be a triple yolker, I have seen double yolkers but not triple, shes a clever girl, hence I took photos of the egg and sent to everyone, Im sure they think Im mad.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

My childhood home

We all often have fond memories of our childhood and the home where we grew up, I know I do.
I lived in a victorian house in central Ballarat a beautiful big old home in Talbot st.
So many details I loved about the house I didnt even think about it as a kid growing up there.
My grandparents originally owned the house and lived there I remember moving there when I was about 4.
There were fireplaces in everyroom and the front room fireplace was made of marble it was stunning. There was a long hallway with all the rooms coming of the hallway, the foundations were bluestone and the front veranda was tiled, all rooms had bluestone windowsills. Leadlight windows in the front window. High ceilings with ornate rosettes and ornate cornices.
In the early days we had a woodstove which I remember my Nan making bread and allsorts or yummy goodies and the kettle constantly on. Later on we got a gas stove and had both for many years until the fireplace was boarded up.
We had a walk in pantry which was filled with staples flours, sugar, and it was also where all the homemade cakes and biscuits were kept in the retro aluminium canisters.
Through the 70s I remember the kitchen being allsorts of colours, Mum had a habit of painting and re arranging things quite often, so it was the hot orange and brown , apple green, lemon and brown.
The big down fall was the outside toilet oh how I disliked that as a kid, I remember being petrified of a night going outside so I used to make my father stand at the back door and sing while I was in the loo the minute he stopped for air I used to yell "are you still there keep singing ". We also had two toilets one was even further down the yard it was of those old wooden ones with a chain to pull, I dont think I ever used it I was scared of spiders.

We also had and outdoor laundry we did have a twin tub but there was an old wringer and the big old wash tub out there. We had a woodshed and a sleep out which was just a spair room outside. There was a gully trap which everything was put down , tealeaves , fat, vomit. ugh
Also we loved the incinerator oh how we used to love burning stuff in that, it looked a bit like a bbq it had a iron grid across the top which I used to have my sandpit nearby and when I cooked my pretend cakes thats where they went.
One thing it had a very small bathroom and the sink was in the pantry.
In the pantry there was a cellar where years ago they stored butter and cheese.
I can never remember the doors being locked and we lived in the middle of town, how things have changed.
I think this is why I have a love for vintage things and collecting bits and pieces as it reminds me of then. My Dad allways collected things books, antiques, samurai swords, clocks, postcards, actually to many things to mention. Mum was dolls and bears.
 Dad had a room for his office with whatever he collected at the time.
The backyard had two big apple trees and a large vege garden.
Mum grew gladis and dahlias.
Often people walking past would stop and look at the front garden with the blooms of roses, gladis, pansies, daphne, ferns, dahlias, it was allways beautifully kept.
I never remember going to a supermarket but there was allways plenty of home cooked and home baked food.
I think we may have been the first in the street to get a colour tv, which my grandfather bought he was a watchmaker and ran that business from the house. Oh my gosh we had 3 stations that was huge, we had chanel 3 chanel 6 and the big one was chanel 10. It was just to much to choose from.
My father was a pastry cook and made the best eclairs ever he did show me once how to make them so I must give them a try again soon as I havnt made them in about 10 years.
The little bottle with strawberrys on it in the picture above I found on ebay , my Mother had this in the bathroom it is Avon strawberrys and cream bubble bath I remember it well has I copped it for pouring the whole bottle in the bath/
Also the the 4711 perfume in picture my nan used to wear I think I found this in opp shop.
The old gold lipstick container I bought in an antique shop as I remember my Dad taking me to a white elephant sale when I was about 4 or 5 and he bought me my first ever lipstick it had been used but I remember I used to love the smell of it it was some apricot colour think it was some old ladys as it was in a gold container like this one.
I think with childhood memories we could go on and on for ever and go into many many subject, like our home, shops, around the area , where we used to play , school days ect ect ect.
Its just such a lovely time in our lives where everything is so simple
So I will end it here for now x

Friday, 2 March 2012

Quirky opp shop

I have been extremely lazy with this blog of late, I just dont like sitting on the computer to much or even sitting full stop, I rarely sit down to watch tv. I think the only time I sit is to eat meals.
Finally now school is back I can get back into my favourite past time opp shopping.
I have a couple of favourites the sweet little ones only open a couple of days a week where they are genuine opp shops with lovely ladies offering cups of tea these are the opp shops where my donations will be going. Rarely is anything over $5.00 these opp shops are few and far between these days. They are run by volunteers everything is donated and everything is sold cheap Im pretty sure thats what a opp shop is. I think these other opp shops that some of the prices are ridiculous if you go to a sale in a department store they are cheaper. The other day I went to the Brown Hill opp shop I quite liked a tea towel the price was $5.00 I asked the lady is this right she said yes, hmmmm ok and out I went it wasnt really worth looking at another thing who buys a tea towel for $5.00 from a opp shop.
Dad and I took a drive to Ballan where there are two opp shops. Steptoe and son has just moved from an old garage to an absolute quirky gorgeous little house. The prices seem to be pretty good . The lionesses run the shop. The thing that strikes me is the garden out the front , I fell in love with it, the house used to belong to an artist who did all the gardens and had tea rooms there.
I loved this garden as there were so many recycled things in there cups ,saucers plates, teapots, sewing machine , bird cage, knifes, forks, pots, pans.
If your in Ballan this little place is in the main street. I know its open on Fridays. Its worth a peek.
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