Category Archives: Food

Kombucha from Pakistan via Abu Dhabi to Perth


While in the backseat of a cab en route to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi last year, I had this box of Pakistan’s finest thrust enthusiastically into my hands by our garrulous taxi driver who proclaimed it “the best tea in the world!” I was visiting a girlfriend who lives in the city and experiencing the strange delights of a Middle Eastern country I wouldn’t otherwise have thought to visit.

I’m not a huge black tea drinker but I just had to bring it home to Australia given how generous and delightful our taxi driver had been. It’s been languishing in my cupboard for a while until I had the bright idea: what better base for my kombucha than “the world’s best tea”? I just bottled another batch of kombucha this morning, adding a few drops of DoTerra ginger and lemon oils for flavour. What a great way to start the morning!

Thanks, my Pakistani taxi driver from Abu Dhabi, wherever you are!

Citrus chips ahoy!


I may have finally harvested the last of the Tahitian lime tsunami and the inaugural Rangpur limes but the rest of the citrus is just getting underway. Parrots cheekily taste-testing the sweet-tart Navel oranges that hang on the tree herald their ripeness. The white grapefruit tree is the only citrus fruit we don’t especially like and, of course, it is far and away the biggest, healthiest and most abundant of all the trees. Late harvest Valencia oranges are still a way off, the lemon tree was a fizzer this year and the mandarins are losing the last of their green bottoms and should sweeten up to be ready any day now.

So I wanted to find another large-scale use for all this beautiful fruit. I had an idea for citrus chips. I wasn’t sure if they were a “thing” or not, but it turns out they are dead easy to make and ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! My google searching revealed a smattering of recipes but after trying a time-consuming oven-baked version, I ended up doing my own thing and put my trusty dehydrator to good use again.

I recently purchased a deli slicer, primarily for slicing bulk meat, but it worked a treat on the citrus, slicing them into uniformly thin rings. I dusted the limes, lemons and grapefruit with icing sugar and left the sweet oranges unadulterated. About 10 hours later (overnight), we had crispy citrus chips that hit you with a sweet sour tang and have a wonderful crunch.

Beyond being a simple, healthy and delicious snack, they look sensational as a garnish floating on the surface of a Rangpur lime gimlet and as a cake topper. I took them to a recent Hills Permaculture pruning workshop where they were a hit with adults and kids alike.

I love discovering new ways to use my garden gluts because for me, my favourite type of cooking always starts in the garden.

Rangpur lime gimlets, oh baby!


Rangpur limes are not limes at all but are best described as a Lemon X Mandarin.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to use my first ever harvest of Rangpur limes. A friend had given me a stunted little tree in a pot and it had languished there for at least a year or two before I finally planted it out last year. It’s now thriving. With masses of new growth, it has yielded an incredible first harvest, half of which I gave away to the fine folk who attend Hills Food Share.  But more were coming and, never one to waste a yield, I figured I had to learn what to do with these mouth-puckeringly sour mandarin X lemon citrus fruit.


So the first google search for a recipe brought up this little gem for Rangpur Lime Gimlets and, oh wow! I’m always up for a good cocktail and it just so happens that the weekend before I’d visited the home of Australia’s finest artisan gin and vodka (so say the awards). Old Young’s distillery in the Swan Valley is barely celebrating its second year and has a swag of international and Australian awards under its belt including Champion Australian Distiller. I’m a gin enthusiast and more than happy to become a gin connoisseur if given enough opportunity. And this divine gin gives me plenty of that!

I made a double batch of Rangpur lime syrup as per the recipe for a rainy (and not so rainy) day. Apparently it’s also good with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink… ppfftt!

This fine gin made an oh so fine martini style cocktail using:

  • 20ml Rangpur Lime syrup
  • 20ml fresh lime juice (from Tahitian limes)
  • 60ml 1829 Gin (infused with cardamom)

All in favour, say “I”!

Catching the fermenting bug (microbiome)


Recently, I’ve been enamoured with the idea of fermenting, namely for its incredible health benefits and also the practical solution it offers for garden gluts and waste minimisation (another current obsession of mine, but more on that later) . So I bought the seminal book on the subject: “The Art of Fermentation” by Sandor Katz, a guy often referred to as the Godfather of fermenting and a self-described “fermentation revivalist”. I’m only two chapters in, but what a tome of delicious information!

Singularly impatient to my core, while waiting for the book to arrive in the post, I planted out an entire garden bed of cabbage seedlings in anticipation of the oodles of sauerkraut I was going to make, and then bought two practice cabbages from the shops (purple and green). In the meantime, I finally got along on Sunday morning to my local Hills Food Share run by Mundaring in Transition where I got talking to an avid fermentationalist (did I just coin a new word?) who offered to drop a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) around to my house later that day so I could try making Kombucha (fermented tea). So Sunday was Fermentation Day, like it or not. Actually reading the book would have to wait.

Sweet sauerkraut

I knew my son, Hugo, would be delighted to help with the sauerkraut when I told him he could “bash the cabbage”. So we set up on the outside table (good call) and proceeded to bash, pound and squeeze the living daylights out of three large bowls of salted cabbage, which Hugo was fascinated and a little perplexed to discover quickly shrunk to one large jarful. On a whim a fortnight before, I’d bought a Kilner fermentation set from my favourite local store, Wasteless Pantry, so I was ready to go. The resulting mix is quite pretty and looks fabulous sitting up on the bookshelf near my kitchen where I can keep a close eye on it.

SCOBY Dooby Doo makes kombucha

True to his word, Danny, my new local fermenting friend, dropped by mid-afternoon with a cream-coloured disc floating in brown vinegary liquid, which enthralled Hugo when I told him it was ALIVE. He is now calling it SCOBY Dooby Doo and is acting like it’s his new pet, saying goodnight to it and talking to it when he gets home from school…that kid, he’s awesome! He also helped me make our first batch of Kombucha with English Breakfast tea, rapadura sugar and SCOBY Dooby Doo. Let the magic begin!

Preserved lemons

I was on a roll, so why stop there? There’s nothing like inspiration for doing something fun to motivate myself to quit procrastinating on that work project. I needed to finish it today before I could spend a guilt-free afternoon playing in my kitchen. Check.

I found a Jamie Oliver recipe for Lime Pickle that I wanted to try. I’m currently drowning under a deluge of fruit from my ridiculously abundant Tahitian Lime tree, so I’ve been looking for any and all recipes in which to use them. The recipe called for preserved lemons in addition to limes, which I did not have. However, I had gladly swapped a basketful of limes for a handful of lemons at the Food Swap on Sunday (my lemon tree is located on our rental property and suffered from a lack of water this summer, hence I am suffering from a dearth of lemons.) So first I had to make preserved lemons! I found a recipe on the SBS website of all places and it looks great.

What I didn’t think through was the obvious fact that preserved lemons need to sit and sog for about a month…er, no Lime Pickle anytime soon then? Not to be thwarted, I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip and Lime Biscuits and so made them instead. A double batch only used a measly two limes (of zest) but damn, they tasted delicious!

I see Key Lime Pie in our future…

The Preservation Society


“Father: It’s been nine months since my last confession.”Nah, I’m not religious but Holy Moly has it been a long time between drinks on this blog!

Busy, busy, yeah you’ve heard it all before…work, kids, life. Doesn’t matter; here we are. And just this week life presented a lovely little window of garden abundance and time: two sweet things that rarely coincide so I grasped it with both hands and my pantry and fridge are slowly filling in its wake.

First, let me just say: TOMATOES.

And, oh what a glut we’ve had! However, I’m proud to say I’m learning from years past and this time I’ve succession planted. So while we’ve had a tremendous short-term haul of Black Krim, Mortgage Lifters, Tommy Toe and others I can’t even remember, they’re still coming! Green Zebras are ripening (although it’s hard to tell with that variety) and the orange Jaune Flammee and stripey Tigerella too. I planted six different varieties of cherry tomatoes that grew to such gargantuan proportions it was almost a little scary how much fruit we were harvesting. Reinforcements were called; it was all hands on deck!

One of the pleasures of growing so much food is giving it away to grateful friends, family and neighbours who rarely, if ever, experience the superior flavour and quality of homegrown produce. But that said, I  would still rather keep as much of it as possible to feed my own family. And so began the wave of preserving, a joyful yet time-consuming necessity.

Here’s a taster of what I’ve made so far:

  • 14 bottles of tomatoes made in my Mum’s old Fowlers Vacola system, which I subsequently overheated and broke. Ugh!
  • Tomato Ketchup (3 bottles)
  • Tomato and Eggplant Chutney (6 jars)
  • Dried cherry tomatoes (3 bottles) sprinkled with garlic salt and dried basil and marinated in virgin olive oil
  • Slow-cooked oven-baked tomato sauce (2 bottles). This is a recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s “Kitchen Garden Companion” cookbook.

This is, of course, in addition to gorging on fresh tomatoes for breakfast lunch and dinner. Eggs poached in chopped tomatoes for breakfast, bruschetta for lunch, Tray Baked Salmon with Olives, Green Beans, Anchovies and Tomatoes for dinner (thank you Jamie Oliver).

img_3692But it’s not all tomatoes. The cucumbers are starting to assert themselves in the pecking order of the vegie patch with a tidy harvest of 14 cucs in an afternoon (right after I’d just bought one from the shops – what was I thinking?!) So I thought I’d turn my hand to pickling given my son’s penchant for dill pickles. And this was the result: Bread ‘n Butter Pickles. It’s another recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s “Kitchen Garden Companion” cookbook and I’ve got to say: absolutely delicious! Surprisingly so. I’m not usually the biggest pickle fan but these are incredibly moreish and the kids we’re in there with forks, shovelling them into their mouths. So there’ll be more of them to come.

What else? We’ve made Decadent Chocolate and Beetroot cake and Beetroot Relish with all the beetroots coming out of the garden (one of my all-time favourite vegies for its versatility.) Basil pesto is next on the agenda. I do this at the end of summer every year and freeze it in ice cube trays, then bag ’em. They’re great for popping into your spaghetti bolognaise sauce, as a pizza sauce base, adding them to fresh pasta with parmesan and olive oil for the laziest mid-week meal ever (my kids love it!)

Ah yes, I haven’t had this kind of time for ages so it’s just dumb luck that it coincided with harvest. I’ve changed my work situation (for the better I hope) as there are new business ventures to explore. Stay tuned for more on that later.

Sunday Mango Magic


I can’t believe that I once hated the funky taste and slimy texture of mangoes. Now I think they’re divine! So when we went to the Kalamunda Markets last Sunday and saw a stall selling the most ENORMOUS mangoes I’d ever seen, well, we couldn’t resist. They had large boxes of second grade R2E2 mangoes for $20 – BARGAIN!

Despite a few black spots on the skin, which I assume is caused by Anthracnose, a common fungus affecting mangoes, the flesh was flawless and absolutely superb. And jeepers, there was a lot of it! The R2E2 mango has a sliver of a seed, unlike the Kensington Pride variety, which I have planted at Edgefield, so the amount of meat we got off these ginormous fruit was impressive.

We got home and set to work preserving them because they weren’t going to last much longer fresh. Needless to say, we gorged ourselves on fresh fruit but we chopped most of it up and put it into large ziplock bags to freeze. Mmm, mango smoothies. We also thinly sliced a couple to dry in the food dehydrator and I then made a double recipe of Jamie Oliver’s “Black Rice, Hazelnut and Mango pudding”  for breakfast during the week. I could barely keep the kids hands off it!

Preserving takes time but when you can get your hands on in-season gluts like this or better yet, grow your own, then it’s SO worth doing. We actually went to the market to see if we could get a couple of boxes of end of season tomatoes in order to bottle them for the winter but we were too late.

Turns out it was Sunday Mango Magic instead!


Rockmelon, but not as you know it


 Yes this is rockmelon (or cantaloupe for my North American friends) not pumpkin. It’s an heirloom variety called ‘Delice de la Table’ and it’s fragrant, juicy, firm and absolutely delicious. Been checking these babies daily outside my laundry door till finally they were ready…today. Hooray! 


Sunshine & love in a jar


We simply couldn’t eat them fast enough, those soft, scarlet globes of goodness. Something had to be done because there was no way I was going to watch the mountain of gloriously ripe tomatoes slowly sink into a mushy, fetid puddle and I didn’t want to give them all away just yet.

However, ripe, organic tomatoes I’ve found also help grease the wheels of commerce with a little welcome baggy given to Nigel Thompson from Earth and Water who we called back to fix the pump YET AGAIN. We gave tomatoes and cucumbers to a mate who had lent us some camping gear for our recent holiday and received rapturous appreciation. A heavy bag was given to my favourite neighbour whose daughter Niamh goo-ed and gaa-ed over the tomatoes and scoffed the lot.

It feels great to share the love.

Blissed out on tomatoes


This is what it’s all about.

We arrived home from our two-week holiday in Denmark after a 5 ½ hour drive to a clean house, dinner in the fridge (thanks to our fabulous housesitters Bill and Sue), a happy dog, a new clutch of four chicks and a vegie garden bursting at the seams with the most INCREDIBLE vegies you’ve ever seen. It was Christmas all over again!

I was singing as I collected 43 huge, ripe tomatoes (Tommy Toe, Mortgage Lifter, Black Russian), cherry tomatoes (Pink Bumblebee, Tigerella, Broad Ripple Yellow Currant) cucumbers (Lemon, Double Yield, Suyu Long, Richmond Green Apple), beetroot, basil and a massive bowl full of green beans. La la la!

So in reality, each of those mouth-watering, soft, juicy, flavoursome, lovingly tended, organic tomatoes probably cost me $20 each (especially in the light of the recent reticulation project). But hey, that’s not the point. You couldn’t buy them from the shops if you tried.

Besides, the enjoyment I got from unwrapping each tomato from its fruit fly protection mesh bag to reveal the warm glow of its deep pink and scarlet belly, to feel the soft give against my fingers of its ripe, bulging mass, to smell the fecundity in the air – well, that’s priceless (and pretty sexy in a totally geeked out gardening kinda way.)

So, needless to say, henceforth we are eating tomatoes (and cucumbers and beans) for every meal. My lucky neighbour Rach and my sister will be on the receiving end of some glorious tomato goodness soon but other than that I’m going to selfishly binge out. I’m already dreaming of the Tuscan Tomato Bread Salad I’m going to make for dinner tonight. Bruschetta and poached eggs for breakfast, Caprese salad for lunch…I could go on.

This is why I garden


I don’t often post food photos but I should because this is one of the main reasons I garden, so I can eat food like this, straight from my patch to my kitchen to my plate to my tummy. Yum! The crayfish were a gift from my sister, caught by her father in law. The beetroot, asparagus, salad greens and new potatoes are from my garden. Pretty much just the feta (and lots of butter) were bought. I was in food heaven. Not bad for a casual Sunday night dinner. 


Just Eat It. A Food Waste Story.


I’ve only seen this movie trailer so far but it highlights an issue close to my heart and I can’t wait to see the full documentary. It’s so great that there are folks out there raising the awareness of the general public to hidden issues like this. You hear whispers and read snippets about organisations that are attempting to do something about all the food waste by giving it to shelters and such, and that’s great. But it’s not addressing the real issue of our overwhelming ignorance about food waste.

What I don’t understand is why the big chain supermarkets, like Woolworths and Coles here in Australia, don’t simply ASK their clientele (most of us) what we want. I can’t imagine I’m in the minority when I say, I don’t need my banana to have a perfect curvature and length in order to buy, eat and be nourished by it. And that goes for all the ridiculous policies that dictate the viability of fruit and vegetables. If we were only to be shown and offered that which is currently considered unacceptable produce, I guarantee it would sell like hotcakes.

I hope movies like this create such a stir that “we the people” demand the big chain supermarkets change their stupid and unsustainable policies.

OK, I’ll get off my soap box now…grrr!

Waste not, want not


It’s an adage we’ve all heard our grandmothers say. Spawned during The Great Depression, it’s as true now as it was then, if not more so, because we’re so further down the hopelessly consumer-driven pathway.

Jeff and I are becoming very conscious of the waste we generate and are doing all that we can to mitigate it. I don’t state this to be self-congratulatory because we still generate far more than we need to or should. But the first step to minimising it is to become aware of just how much (and it’s a LOT!) we throw away, never to think of again. We are, little by little (by stealth most of the time), trying to educate our kids to think about where their food (and other stuff) comes from, where their waste goes and the consequences of their actions, and in so doing, educate ourselves. I’m proud of the fact we diverted from recycling every single bit of cardboard and paper I’d been diligently stockpiling for the past few months to use in the filling of our new vegetable garden beds: our very own landfill. While recycling is good, I think of it kind of like closing the gate after the horse has bolted. It’s better than nothing, but the mantra goes: “reduce, reuse, recycle” – in that order.


Some of the dry goods in my pantry that I now buy from Wasteless Pantry.

I am thrilled with the recent opening of a shop called the Wasteless Pantry here in Mundaring, which is doing us all a great service by providing good quality bulk food while “promoting the zero waste ideals of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (and only in that order)”. I was in there just today with two bags full of Vacola jars and containers from my pantry. My friend Jeannie, who is one of the owners, laughed and said I was a poster child for the store, a moniker I’m only too happy to wear in support of such a fantastic business. While I think they’ve opened at a time when the zeitgeist is shifting in their favour, not everyone “gets it” yet. This was demonstrated by a lady who walked in while I was there. She was baffled at the lack of containers and unimpressed with the paper bags or recycled jars on offer so said she’d just nip off to Coles to “buy some plastic bags” and she’d be back. Kinda missed the point I think.

The cost of growing your own food


Interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald aimed at urban beginner gardeners, which makes a compelling economic argument for growing your own food (if you do it right), to say nothing of the multitude of other benefits it offers.

Read the full article here >>

“According to a survey released in March by the think tank The Australia Institute, 52 per cent of Australian households grow their own food and 91 per cent of these agree it saves them money.”

“The benefits of an abundant veggie patch have financial benefits beyond just saving money on food, says Pen. ‘‘There are physical, mental, community and skills-building benefits that translate to economic benefits down the track.”

Where food ethics meat reality: killing our own chickens




Toni Carroll, my friend and “chook mentor” who, thankfully, walked us through the whole process.

The three cockerels cock-a-doodle-dooing sealed their fate. We’d bred them from our own flock. They were handsome cross-breds out of our spunky Silver Spangled Hamburgh rooster, Dirk Diggler, and half Isa Brown half Coronation Sussex hens (I think). It was time to put into action what Jeff and I had been reading, watching on TV and talking about for a long time. Authors Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food), Joel Salatin (Food Inc and numerous books) and Matthew Evans (Goumet Farmer and The Dirty Chef) to name but a few had, over time, influenced us in a way that had made us want to get closer to our food, or rather, to source it closer to home. And how much closer can you get than raising it yourself?

At the moment, raising and killing our own fowl for meat is about as far as we are willing and able to go. The romantic notion of pigs, a cow for milk / beef or various other animals is unviable on our current 1-acre smallholding and we’re ok with that. This was, in itself, a very large first step for us and one of which we’re rather proud. It’s funny how killing your own animals for meat IS such a big deal. Probably the majority or the population eats meat but we have become so removed from that first step in the process that it has become thought of as an extraordinary act of brutality at which most people cringe. But now that we have gotten over the “hump”, done the deed once, I think it will become a much less gruesome task and one that I associate with fresh, delicious, complex meat for cooking and eating rather than the thoughtless killing of another animal.

I called Toni Carroll with whom I’d become friends through various chicken-related adventures and she came over on Sunday, 30 March to show Jeff and I how to kill, gut, clean, skin and pluck our young roosters ready for eating. While I admit it was a confronting task, at the end of it I was surprised to say I didn’t find it as bad as I thought I would. The most difficult part was breaking its neck. This is an optional step but one I wanted to learn how to do and it seemed easier than trying to chop the head off a live chicken, which I imagined would flap around like a crazy thing while I was wielding a cleaver. Not a comforting thought. So Toni showed me how to break its neck by holding on to its legs, lying it flat on the floor of the garage with a broom handle over its neck, standing on both sides of the pole and simply pulling the bird up hard till its neck snapped or stretched. Then came the worst bit. The inevitable convulsions of a dead but seemingly very alive bird which flapped, writhed and gasped for air. Despite assurances from Toni that it was very much dead and just its nerves were jangling, I found that part uncomfortable. Funny really given that I’d done the very same thing with a million fish before in my lifetime. Hopefully, this will become “normal” for me too over time.

Jeff had a go too but he opted to go straight to the beheading. And what I feared might happen, did. While making a clean cut, the convulsing bird slipped out of his grasp and went flip-flopping headless across the yard. I’ve got to say, it was a hilarious, if somewhat gruesome sight. Jeff and Toni got spattered in blood but he quickly retrieved the bird and we bled them into a bucket.

So onto the next step. We decided to skin two of them for a casserole and pluck one, leaving the skin on for roasting. I boiled a large pot of water and dipped one of the birds into it for about 15 secs before plucking, which I found surprisingly easy. Toni demonstrated on one and Jeff skinned the other. The gutting was unpleasant because of the smell but was over quickly. Then it was good wash under the tap and we were done. Toni advised the birds needed to rest for 2-3 days either in the fridge or the freezer to allow the meat to relax from the rigor mortis. 


Plucking one of the cockerels ready for roasting.


The look on Jeff’s face says it all: blergghh!

Then came the best bit – eating. On Sunday, 6th April, I prepared the most delicious casserole I think I’ve ever made, if I do say so myself.

Jo’s recipe for Edgefield Homegrown Chicken Casserole


Two whole chickens cut in quarters
Pickling onions
White wine
Vegetable stock and water
Tomato paste
Salt and pepper

I think that’s it for ingredients from memory. I just flew by the seat of my pants in terms of a recipe and it turned out great. The meat was really delicious. It was darker in colour, had more texture and was firmer than shop-bought chicken. The flavour was slightly gamier and more “chickeny” – just as Matthew Evans had described. Major thumbs up from all around my table so I was stoked.


So all round it was a very positive experience and one we are now prepared to continue doing, which is good because I’m rather enjoying breeding chooks and with that comes surplus roosters. This is by far the best thing I can think of doing with them.



Homesteading: time-consuming but satisfying work


We’ve had a glut of lemons, oranges, grapefruit, silverbeet and leek (the last of the season) plus endless mulberries and strawberries at Edgefield of late. So I’ve been channelling Martha Stewart and doing some serious homesteading, in my spare time, of which I seem to have very little these days! A friend who came up for lunch recently after looking at my vegie garden asked: “Where do you find the time?” And I was kinda stuck for an answer and eventually said: “I make time.” I’ve been thinking about that ever since. When not working (as in paid work) or actively looking after the kids and cooking, I am ALWAYS outside in the garden. Sometimes I wonder what people without a garden / property do with all their spare time! RELAX I’m sure, read books, have hobbies, exercise, etc. I find I go in waves of enthusiasm for all the gardening and property maintenance. While I definitely enjoy it, sometimes it’s just plain tedious, hard work and I wonder why I’ve made such a rod for my own back. I’m not very good at finding balance in this area but I’m working on it. 

So anyway, we have a freezer and fridge full of produce at the moment, which is awesome, and I’ve been focusing my meals as much as possible around my available garden produce. It certainly makes for a different mindset when you’re thinking about the evening meal.

  • Lemon ice cubes and frozen lemon quarters
  • Lemonade
  • Lemon cordial
  • Lemon butter
  • Preserved lemons
  • Lemon tart
  • Orange, lemon and grapefruit juice
  • Strawberry jam
  • Mulberry jam
  • Mulberry icecream
  • Bags of frozen chopped up silverbeet and leek
  • Lots of silverbeet and leek in vegie bakes, lasagne, stirfrys, etc

Oh! And we’re finally eating the bunch of bananas that I’ve been patiently waiting to ripen for over a year now. They are magnificent! Creamy, soft and full of flavour – delicious! And there’s another bunch forming too, yay.

Lemon butter, mulberry and strawberry jam, orange juice and bags of silverbeet ready for freezing.

The nice thing about preserving is that while yes it’s a lot of work, you enjoy it for such a long time afterwards. We still have 1/2 dozen jars of marmalade in the pantry from Jeff’s last attempt to break the back of the overwhelming amount of citrus (it didn’t even make a dent.) I won’t be buying jam for a long time either, and it’s a lovely thing to give away. No-one says no to homemade strawberry jam, yum!

Anyway, it’s Sunday and I have a fence to take down and reticulation to fix so best be off…

Got my cooking and gardening mojo back!


I spent yesterday spring cleaning part of my pantry while dreaming of my new house that will actually have room to store it all. For the moment, I’m slowly taking over the kids’ playroom and lounge room with foodstuffs.


This is mainly beans, grains, legumes and some preserved lemons that just don’t fit in either pantry #1 or #2.

It’s getting a bit ridiculous. But I’m enjoying the revival of my cooking mojo in which I’m experimenting with more vegetarian cooking, focusing on wholefoods and using my Thermomix more. So far it had yielded lots of delicious results! It’s also going hand in hand with the burst of life Spring is bringing to my garden. I’ve definitely got my gardening mojo back too and have been slogging it outside for a couple of weeks now (in my “spare time”. 

Tony (my awesomely handy neighbour) re-gravelled the driveway and delivered a massive pile of mulch from my new favourite place for cheap landscape supplies – Red Hill Waste Management AKA, the tip. Who knew?


The new driveway and the kids playing on the mulch pile.

I’m slowly but surely mulching the entire garden, gravelling the paths in my vegie patch, erecting walk-under arbour-style trellising for beans, cucumbers etc. So much for doing less in the garden this season! I can’t help myself. I am trying to quarantine it all to the house block for ease of maintenance and water use but I’m sure it will inevitably spill out. I will have a densely packed edible garden around the house though that’s for sure.


A recent harvest – beetroot, carrots, cabbages, mandarins, oranges, lettuce, silverbeet, spring onions, pak choy.

The citrus grove has been pruned, fertilised, weeded and is ready for mulch (big job – deep breath). Then I’m going to plant melons and pumpkins under it and see how they go. My seeds have all sprouted and are slowly growing into little seedlings. I haven’t started on actually revitalising all the vegie patch garden beds yet…so much still to do. But I’m making good progress.

The last of the Navel oranges


The last of the Navel oranges

I collected the last of our delicious Navel oranges today before the parrots could eat any more. While a little smaller than in years gone by due to such a hot dry summer, their flavour has been superb and we’ve been gorging ourselves for months now. Winter is made so much better when you have established citrus trees.