Wednesday, 21 May 2014

may madness

I don't know where May is disappearing to. I really don't. One minute it was April and the next, BAM! Here we are more than half way through May.

What a gorgeous month too. Out in the flower gardens, the leaves are turning on the trees. Everything has a beautiful glow. It's all red, orange, yellow and pinks out there. My camellia hedge is blooming like crazy. It's an amazing sight.

I really don't want this month to slip through my fingers. In amongst all the craziness that is May, I'm trying to take a few moments to stop and take it all in. Really soak up the beautiful show that nature puts on for us at this time of year.

The days are gorgeous, sunny and warm. But there's a chill that's now creeping in at night. I'm grateful for the warmth of our crackling wood fire (Thanks so much guys for all the wood fire tips! I've been to look at a few models, but still haven't quite settled on one yet. Patience, patience. Sometimes it's hard.)

The weekly cutting and stacking of firewood, from our piles of dried hardwood we've been saving for these very days. The constant gathering of kindling from the gardens. The gum tree limbs that have been making a mess in the garden are now making themselves useful in our fireplace.

The veggie garden is powering away as well. I promise an update on that soon. We're eating quite a lot from the garden lately and with the return of kale, many green smoothies are on the horizon as well. I'm determined to pack a nutrient filled punch into these cool winter days that are to come.

Will it hold off the winter lurgies? Doubtful, but it's worth a try!

Along with the blog neglect, there's a been a whole lotta neglect of my inbox as well. I'm sorry about that. It's overflowing at the moment. Thanks so much to all those who've sent me emails! I'll be working my way through it in the next couple of days. I'm not ignoring anyone. Promise!

So, how are things looking in your part of the world? Crazyville as well? I do hope you are you finding some time to enjoy the beauty that is May.

Thursday, 8 May 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.

To see what was happening in my kitchen previously, go here, here, here, here and here.

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

chicken pot pie recipe

OK, I promised I would get around to writing this one up and here it is! These pies came about after a few cool nights we had recently. Nothing like pie on a cold night!

After roasting a couple of chickens, I had some leftovers. And I always like to make the most of leftovers. Which meant chicken pie. Or little chicken pot pies, to be more precise.

The crowd goes wild around here when things are individually portioned. I guess it's like a little food present just for them. You don't have to cook them in little pots though. It works just as well in a big pie dish as well.

But shhhhh, the kids don't need to know it's leftovers!

Chicken pie recipe (serves a lot of people 6-8)


1kg cooked chicken (You can use whatever you've got, I used the leftovers from 2 chickens I roasted) cut into small pieces
300grams bacon (I used low fat short cut), diced
6 cups veges (approximately) cut up into small pieces
2 onions (or 2 leeks), diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, finely diced
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder (I use an MSG-free one)
2 teaspoons seeded mustard
2 tablespoons finely cut parsley
bunch chives from the garden
Approx. 1.5 litres milk
2/3 cup plain flour
Approx. 100 grams of butter
Pepper to taste
Filo pastry
Extra butter melted (approx. 30 grams)

Here's how I do it:

Cook bacon in a large saucepan. Remove from pot.

Add butter to your pan. Cook the onions and garlic. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, chicken stock powder and mustard. Don't add all the milk at once though, just add it slowly and stir really hard to make sure there are no lumps. Cook until sauce thickens. You'll need to stir it all the time so it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pot. You may need to add a bit more milk, if it's looking too thick. Add parsley and chives. Season with pepper.

In a steamer or microwave lightly steam your veges until almost cooked through. Add all ingredients (vegetables, chicken and bacon) back into pot and cook through for a couple of minutes. Spoon into pie dish. Cover with filo pastry.

With the little pot pies I just take a single sheet of filo pastry, scrunch it up to fit on top of the pie and brush with a little melted butter. For a bigger pie, I arrange the pastry in layers with some melted butter brushed between each layer. You can add as many layers of pastry as you like.

Cook in a 180 degree oven for 20- 30 mins or until pastry is golden brown. A bigger pie will take a bit longer.

That's it, you're done! Pie that really is as easy as...

Want to see more great recipes? Go HERE.

Want to see the amazing transformation of our vegetable garden? Go HERE.

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Sunday, 4 May 2014

can anyone recommend a good woodfire?

Well we went from wearing shorts and t-shirts, to madly collecting firewood over the weekend! The cold snap certainly found itself at our place. It's so lovely to be sitting in front of the fireplace on a chilly night though. There's nothing quite like the warmth that comes from a wood fire.

Each year we talk about upsizing our wood stove size to better heat our space. Our little fire does a great job for what it is. The only thing is, I'd love it to heat a bit more of the house than just one room.

A couple of years ago I went and looked at loads of different wood stoves at the shops. Then I got overwhelmed by all the choices out there and put it in the too hard basket. There are so many different types out there. I'm worried about choosing something that turns out to be a dud or that won't do a better job than the stove we already have.

There are a few things I'm looking for in my fire. I really want it to burn clean, with minimal smoke inside and outside the house, and to be economical with the wood. It also needs to heat a large space.

Is there a wood fire that will do that? Do you have a good wood fire at your house that you'd recommend? Any great names that I should keep an eye out for? Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

So has the cold snap found its way to where you are as well? I hope you are all rugging up and keeping warm!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

this week in my kitchen

Joining in with Heather over at Beauty That Moves. Some snapshots of what has been happening in my kitchen this week.

We harvested our pomegranates so they've been turning up in lots of things! My fingers are stained red, but it's been a tasty week.

1. Pomegranate, nashi pear and chicken salad.
2. Pomegranate and lime ambrosia cocktail. Recipe can be found HERE.

To see what was happening in my kitchen previously, go here, here, here and here.

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