Monday, 28 April 2014

pomegranate and lime cocktail

If pomegranate is the food of the gods, this cocktail might just be the drink of angels.  

Ambrosia. Amazing.

My lime tree is loaded at the moment, and the combination with my pomegranate harvest, well, it was just too good to resist.

I have no idea what this kind of cocktail would set you back to buy at a swanky bar, but at my place where the pomegranates and limes are free, the price is most definitely right.

Of course if you don't happen to have a lime or pomegranate tree, you could still make this cocktail. I guarantee it'll impress your friends. Promise. It's yumalicious.

Pomegranate and Lime Ambrosia
(will make 4 cocktails)


Vodka (a good quality one)
3-4 limes
2 pomegranates
cranberry cordial
granulated sugar

Here's how I do it. 

Finely grate the skin from 1 lime. Mix with around half a cup of granulated sugar. Sit sugar mix on a plate. Cut a wedge from the lime and run around the rim of the glasses (so there is a line of juice). Dip the rims in the sugar. Sit them aside to dry while you make the cocktail.

Add a handful of ice to a jug. Squeeze the juice from 1 of the pomegranates into your jug along with the juice of 2 limes. Add a good slug of vodka, about 1/3 cup cranberry cordial and top up with lemonade. Stir it and have a taste.

The sweetness of pomegranates varies, so make sure you sample a little to make sure the balance is right. If your pomegranates are really tart you might need a little more cordial. If it's too sweet add some more lime or pomegranate juice. You don't want to make it overly sweet though, as the sugar on the glass will add some extra crunchy sweetness as you drink.

Finely slice a lime. Separate the seeds from the second pomegranate and set aside.

Add ice cubes to your cocktail glasses. Pour your cocktail in carefully (so you don't disturb the sugar rim). Add some lime slices to the top plus a handful of pomegranate seeds. You can decorate the rim with another slice of lime.

Enjoy (in moderation, of course!)

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pomegranate harvest

We spent some time over the break harvesting the pomegranates. It's easy to feel like royalty, laden with jewels, when you start to crack them open. They are spectacular to look at.

Food of the gods? A superfood? Pomegranates have been given all kinds of labels over the years. There's no denying these gorgeous fruit are packed full of goodness. But they are also all kinds of sweet and sour yum.

They're pretty easy to grow in Australia, they seem to like our hot climate. They do take a few years to put on fruit, but they're a nice tree to look at with sweet little red flowers. The only annoying thing is the fruit fly like them as well. Amazingly that thick skin doesn't put the flies off at all. So you have to be careful about those.

I've been successfully netting many of my fruit trees with fruit fly nets over the past couple of years. I'm not sure how they'll work out long term, but so far so good. Fingers crossed.

I'm pretty excited by this harvest. So many possibilities. Salads, cocktails, juice. I'm off to do some concocting. Hopefully I'll be back with some goodies to share soon.

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Sunday, 27 April 2014

garden update: week 7

One thing I love about gardens is that once they're planted they just go on their merry way growing along. While I've been caught up enjoying the school break, the garden hasn't slowed down. It has been powering away.

The snow peas are towering over their trellis. Lettuces are now ready for munching on. Crispy radishes are making their way into our salads. We've been picking the first of the sugar snap peas and the garlic has already poked its head up from under the soil.

The brassicas (kale, broccoli and cauliflower) are finally putting a bit of growth on, although those cabbages are still dragging the chain. Patience, patience, I know.

Unfortunately I haven't really got any further along on my To Do list. The strawberries still haven't been replanted. They're turning into a bit of a jungle and I need to just bite the bullet and rip them out so I can get the new runners in.

The basil beds also need clearing and replanting  I'm sure it will happen at some point. All in good time though.  
All in good time.

On the pest front, I've finally got on top of those black aphids you might remember were attacking my chives and garlic chives. I tried a few things, but in the end Eco oil delivered the goods. The chives are much happier for it. I'm going to try some of it on my citrus trees now where they've also been setting up house.

Hit the road aphids, and don'tcha come back no more! 

I've got to say, it's nice to be finally eating from the garden, after a long hot summer. Nothing ever beats fresh veggies picked straight from the garden and those peas, well they are one of the finest perks.

It's a gorgeous time of the year to be pottering around the garden. My new afternoon routine sees me take a little detour there each day. Just as the sun is setting, I like to stand back and take it all in under that warm autumn glow. Munching on a few peas as I go, of course.

Yep, life isn't too shabby. Not at all.

Want to see how my garden has been progressing? You can check it out week by week.
Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5.

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

this week in my kitchen

Joining in with Heather from Beauty That Moves.

A few snapshots of what has been happening in my kitchen this week.

- The first small pea harvest
- Crispy potatoes and salad
- Bringing in the passionfruit crop.

If you want to see what was happening in my kitchen in other weeks, go here, here and here.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

farm days

We're making the most of the school holidays here. Lapping up some time at the farm, enjoying the outdoors and the animals. Keeping a good eye on the pumpkin patch, picking out some tasty looking ones to store away for winter.

Hope you are managing a little break as well!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

this week in my kitchen

Autumn has well and truly made its way into my kitchen this week. Nothing quite like roasting up root veggies as the weather starts to cool. Turning them into a tart = instant crowd pleaser!

Joining in again with the lovely Heather of Beauty That Moves. Her kitchen is always such an inspiring place. Go over and say hi, and make sure you check out all the other great kitchens as well!

Want to see what was happening in my kitchen last week? Or the week before?

How to make my Roast Vegetable Tart:

For anyone wanting to make these tarts they are really simple. It's all about the vegetables, so choose things you like and that also roast well.

This time I used sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, yellow squash, capsicum, tomatoes cut into wedges, red onions cut into wedges- mixed with some fresh herbs and a little olive oil. Roast until they're cooked through.

Grease your pie dish. I actually use flan baking dishes with a removable bottoms. It makes them really easy to get out.

Blind bake some shortcrust pastry in your greased pie dish (you can use bought or make your own) in a 180 degree C oven. Prick it all over the bottom first. You need to bake for the first 15 mins with some paper on top of the pastry with some weights (baking beads - or I actually use some old dried beans which work great as well). Then remove the weights and paper and cook till pastry is golden.

Spread the bottom of the pastry shell with some pesto (I use some of my homemade pesto), spoon your veges on top. Put the odd spoonful of pesto in amongst the veges as well and bake for another 15 mins or so.

It's yummy eaten hot or cold!

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

red moon

Wasn't the red moon just awesome? Did you see it? We got a great view here. Nothing like a bit of star and moon gazing.

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

autumn garden week 5

Ptooey, to whoever made up that saying, as exciting as watching grass grow! I beg to differ. It might not be exactly grass, but watching my garden grow is some of the best entertainment I know.

What's that you say? I need to get out more? Well, judgey wudgey how about you come around and have a look for yourself.

Ta da! Here it is. The garden, 5 weeks after the autumn planting. It's finally starting to take off. Will it be as productive as it was last year? Jury's still out on that one. All I can say is watch this space.

So it might be a bit nerdy, but I've been having heaps of fun comparing the autumn growth with the spring growth. So easy to do when you've taken photos week by week. Dang that spring garden was fast!

The brassicas are easily the slowest growing things, but it's not always about finishing first now is it? Some things are worth waiting for.

Surprisingly we've started picking some sugar snap peas, which have come on really fast. We're also harvesting radishes, asian greens and plenty of herbs. The lettuces still need a little more plumping up before they'll be ready, but another week or two and they should be looking pretty good.

The snow pea vines are massive, but still no flowers. I'm getting a little bit excited about the pea crop already. I'll need to do a second planting of them in the next couple of weeks to make sure we have some succession plants. I really can't cope with the idea that we might run out of peas. Woah, I had a little freak out, just thinking about it.  
Breathe. Will Not Happen!

On the pest front, it's turning into a battlefield out there! Lots of caterpillar carnage. Each day I'm picking a handful off my plants and feeding them to the birds. Take that you pesky munchers!

I've also got some black aphids attacking my chives and garlic chives. To be perfectly honest I'm not too sure what to do about those. Unfortunately wishing on the evening star doesn't seem to working. What?! Don't say I didn't warn you. So yes, I'll have to come up with a plan to deal with those asap. If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them!

The cheeky birds are still sneaking through the cracks of our netting and eating off the purple cabbages. Apparently they're super tasty, although it's possible I'll never find out! I may have to replant a second lot of seedlings if they attack too many more. Shoo birds shoo!

Despite the warzone, the garden's coming along nicely and I'm pretty happy with how it's growing. So whaddya think? Better than watching grass? I think so!

If you want to get the full play-by-play, you won't want to miss the first few weeks. Best you be checking out the Autumn garden week 1, week 2, week 3 and week 4.

Right then, as you were.

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

good things

I've been a slow mah-go getting around to this, so firstly let me offer up my apologies to the lovely ladies in question.

A while back they nominated me for Liebster award as well as a Sunshine award. Being pretty new to blogging I had no idea what these awards were so I had to google them. It seems they are awards passed around between bloggers. Basically it meant they liked my blog, and well, how nice is that? Thank you so much! I appreciate your warm welcome into this funny old blogging world.

Go check out their blogs here, they're also better at describing these awards than I am too.

Our Simple and Meaningful Life
The Itinerant Seamstress
Another Sewing Blog

I'm terrible at following rules though, so I'm going to do a combination of all the things you guys asked OK. I hope that's alright.

A little list of ten things about me:

1.My favourite candy/sweet is dark chocolate. The darker the better.
2. Awesome music I'm currently listening to. Arva, by this amazing lady.
3. The fabric I'm currently drooling over is Sarah Jane's Wee Wander. I really need to stop drooling and cut into those lovelies though!
4. Favourite movie of all time? Hmmm, tough to say but definitely in my top three movies would be the Princess Bride. I've literally seen it hundreds of times.
5. My favourite child's outfit I've ever sewn is probably a three way tie. The village frock, bubble dress and puppet show tunic and shorts.
6. I have long hair and have done for most of my life now. I keep saying I'll cut it all off, but I'm yet to go through with it.
7. I love shoes. When I was younger, I had a nice little collection of heels. Now I wear flats everyday. 
8. I love to run. I'm not terribly good at it, but I love it.
9. When I was travelling the world, I had heaps of odd jobs along the way. One of them was data entry, where I once fell asleep on the job twice on the same day. My boss had to poke me to wake me up. TWICE. I was so embarrassed. All of you people out there working in data entry, I take my hat off to you.
10. When I was a kid helping out in my Dad's garden, I used to get 10 cents for each long row of carrots I weeded. Amazingly I still love gardening to this day.

Thanks so much for the blog love!

I'm really not sure at this point who has had these awards already, so I won't directly nominate anyone else. But if anyone particularly wants to take part, feel free to write a little list up about yourself with your link in the comments.

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a gaggle of greens in the garden

So I might have gone a bit overboard with the leafy greens in the garden this year.

Is that even possible, you might ask? Well until now, I didn't really think it was either. But this year, well I might have done it.

Just this week I found myself planting another 2 varieties of kale (which makes 3 types now- curly, tuscan and a new-to-me colourful edible variety). That's when I started to add them all up and realised, that's a whole lotta greens.

Apart from the kale, there's the range of silverbeet/chard I've got going on. Regular, bright lights and red leafed. Then there's regular English spinach and perpetual spinach, wild rocket and regular rocket as well as the asian greens (bok choy, pak choy and wombok). Let's not forget the 2 varieties of cabbages I've planted as well.

And lastly, the 4 (or was it 5?) varieties of heirloom lettuces I've put in?

I almost lost count. Could that really be 20 different types of leafy greens?? Did I miss any? Yes, I think we're definitely sorted in that department.

Hopefully the bucketloads of peas and broccoli I've planted will even it all out a bit. Perhaps I should have put in a few more beetroots and carrots as well?

Hmmm, apparently it's going to be a winter of salads and green smoothies. The challenge will be on to find new and exciting ways to cook them up.

Sheesh, let's just hope I haven't jinxed myself! Are you listening caterpillars, slugs and cutworms? Honestly, there's nothing to see here. You can move along now.

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Thursday, 10 April 2014

this week in my kitchen

A glimpse into my kitchen this week and some of the things I've been making and eating.

Joining in again with Heather from Beauty That Moves.

and Emily's stills.

From the pictures:
Chicken pot pies (the recipe will be up on the blog next week).

Herbed roast chicken and couscous salad (Made with herbs from my herb garden and a few veggies from the garden. The leftovers of the chicken went into the chicken pies).

Hot cross buns with extra cherries. You can find the recipe HERE.

See what was going on in my kitchen last week here.

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