Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Last day of blogtober

Well today is the last day of Blogtober. It was something thought would be fun to get involved in but for even though I have managed to write or post a photo everyday this month I feel like too much of the content has not been quality. It seems the old saying quality over quantity is ringing true. I take my hat off to those that have managed to embrace this challenge with gusto and have kept their posts interesting. It did provide a chance to become fans of other blogs that I may not have seen otherwise and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Blogtober Day 30

Have to be honest I think I am glad thee is only one more day of commitment to this.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Storing your recipes online/app?

Just wondering if anyone can suggest a place to store recipes online and even better it it has an app also.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

NSW Hens Rescue

Anyone who is looking to buy hens for their yard might want to consider rescuing some ex-battery hens. The girls are normally only 18 months old at the most and still have plenty of egg laying years ahead of them but they are no longer considered to be in their peak by factory farmers. I have two lovely girls Sugar and Spice that were ex-working girls and it is truly delightful to see how well they have fitted in with the rest of the flock.

On facebook their is a page that will advise when some hens need new homes.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Blogtober Day 27

Nothing much to report. Having fun getting used to my iPad. Will have to have a look to see if there are any apps that will help with blogger. If anyone can suggest one please let me know. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Christmas Gift Shopping

Christmas will be here before we know it. Normally I am more organised and would have a large portion of gifts already bought, this year it is the opposite. I really need to get started and get stuck into some serious thinking about people might like and get them bought.

How is everyone else going with their Xmas shopping? If anyone has any website they can recommend please share.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blogtober Day 24

Writing everyday for the month of October is really proving to be hard, sometimes I just have nothing to write about and I feel like I am just posting to fill the space, I am sorry but this is another blah post. Having said that I haven't missed a day so far and it has been fun to have a look at other blogs.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Blogtober Day 23

The new chicken coop. Good use of an unwanted shed and you can't beat free.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Blogtober Day 22

Fresh bread made yesterday. Not bad if I do say so myself.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

New chicken coop open for business.

The new chicken coop is up and ready for the chickens to go to bed in tonight. Yes, I often say I'm just putting the chickens to bed or Kyle can you please put the chickens to bed. The chickens have to be locked up at night to try and keep them safe from night predators. I assume this may be where the term "like a sitting duck" comes from, once it gets dark the chickens can't see very well and choose to pretty much stay in the one spot. This is why it is on the plan to build them an outdoor enclosure linked to the coop so I can stop stressing about needing to be home in time for the chickens to be locked in their coop or have to annoy our neighbour and ask him to lock them in and let them out the next day if we happen to be away.

The new nesting boxes crafted by dear Kyle are in full swing. In typical fashion for my girls though despite there being four nesting boxes to use the I had three of them trying to fit into one nesting box at first. I think they are getting the hang of it now.

New perch's have been made for them to sleep on, instead of it being stepped up we have gone with three level perches. Although it takes up more room the idea behind it is there should be no nastiness of deciding on new pecking orders as they will all be on the same level.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I heard it through the grapevine

Yesterday I g
ot to spend a lovely day with my mum and my grandma back in the big smoke of Sydney followed by a night catching up with a few friends. Now I am not working weekends anymore trips back to catch up with family and friends back in Sydney will be back on the agenda.

We were lucky to have two grapevines already planted in the yard when we moved in but there were not looking healthy and we were not sure they would make it. Hopefully you can see from the photos the grapevines are doing well. Kyle has managed to bring them back into good health. I was rather excited to see that the beginnings of fruit are starting to show.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Blogtober Day 19

Back in the city for the night. Too tired to write. Don't miss living in a city that has traffic lights. Country towns full of roundabouts are the way to go.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Matthew Evans the Gourmet Farmer

So I have no secret crush on Matthew Evans the Gourmet Farmer, OK well it's everything that he embraces, I dream of having the kind of land and set up he has and to be a good at cooking and baking as he appear to be.

I am currently am reading Matthews cook book Winter on the Farm, there are some mighty fine recipes in there that I can't wait to try. I actually requested the local library buy the book and they did. One of the local librarians was pleased also and said she can't wait to have a decent read of it herself. My fingers are crossed the library gets the rest of his cook books in also.

What are some cook books you would recommend?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Blogtober Day 17

Nothing to write so have posted a photo instead.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Here are the photos I have some photos I have taken using Instagram. You may already recognise some of them from the blog.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Back cooking with the Microwave

My husband may just be some kind of magician, he has managed to bring our microwave back to life. Insert my happy dance here. It feels like it have been months since we had it working. I am really please he was able to fix it so it didn't go into landfill, not to mention the cost to us for buying a new microwave. This also means I will be able to use more of the items from the freezer. Wahoo - Thank you Kyle!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Chickens - New coop progress and RSPCA #hensdeservebetter

I love when the weather is like this, its not hold, its not cold, its just right. You are able to do housework and yard work without freezing and without boiling.
Work on the new chicken coop is progressing. Originally the free second hand shed came with two sliding door that didn't work, my very handy husband Kyle has instead created a metal frame to have a swinging door that works, this will be easier for me to get into the coop to collect the eggs, feed the flock and clean the coop out.
I am on the hunt for laying box designs, we have some thick ply board we want to use. I will have a look on the net to see what will suit our girls best and then pass the plans onto Kyle. The girls still continue to want to lay in the same spot at the same time, I am hoping once we have some newly suited nesting boxes they will take to them, knowing my luck though they are likely to ignore the purpose built boxes, just as they tend to ignore the bucked I set up for them to lay their eggs in now.
The RSPCA have a website and they are encouraging people to upload their Instagram photos of their happy free range hens with the #hensdeservebetter. I have added a few but am having issues with uploading to Instagram but I will continue persisting. My username on Instagram is stacester if anyone is interested or search for #hensdeservebetter to see all the chook photos. I am glad to see I am not the only crazy chicken lady.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Micorwave Free

We are still waiting on one last part for the microwave to see if we can bring it back to life. There are lots of times I miss not having it working but it mostly revolves around me not being organised enough to plan meals. Most of the time I decide what to cook for dinner when I get home from work, not so great though if you haven't taken the meat out of the freezer in the morning. The alternative being I need to buy meat fresh from the shops in the afternoon, which in itself is not a problem, I just find I end up walking out of the supermarket with more than I walked in there for. It might be time to try and find a butcher in town that sells free range or organic chicken and pork. My past attempts to source meat direct from the organic farmers didn't prove successful. Wish me luck, I think I am going to need it.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Blogtober Day 12

Another great photo from walking with the dog.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Donated your unwated, unused & underuterlised

With the change of seasons it was time to clear out my wardrobe. I have tried to be more tougher with myself than I have in the past. If I haven't worn it this year or it doesn't fit than it is time to let it go - and why not let it go to the charity bin if it is still in good condition. It is such a waste to throw away clothes and furniture that can still be used so I urged everyone to do a spring clean and donate what you can.

I am still participating in Blogfest 2012 and have blogged everyday so far for the month. The content may be a little slim as I want to make sure I have something to blog about everyday. I have also been blogging some of the shorter posts on my phone so there won't be any novels written anytime soon, having said that I wonder if a short post is a good post.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Christmas Gifts for Orphans

It's no surprise that a lot of us take things for granted. With Christmas not far aware it's time to think about those less fortunate than us. If your able to please consider buying some "essentials" to donate to Christmas appeals, if you start buying odds and ends now then it won't seem so bad closer to Christmas. You don't need to spend huge amounts of money to make a big difference to someones life.

This is one of the organisations I have donated some products to

Local councils often also collect food donations closer to Christmas.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Time for a healthy lunch

All of my cooking and baking lately has lead to additional kilos. It's time to be more careful with just how much I'm eating and get more exercise in.

Now I'm back to having normal and set work hours I can get into some sort of routine.

I walked to work this morning which I really enjoyed. I bought some falafel and hommus and have made a fresh sandwich filled with lettuce. Yes I know I should have made most of the ingredients and I probably will but it has served its purpose for today of providing a fresh and healthy lunch.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Enjoying country streets

This is a short post as I'm rather tired. But I took Sam the Dog for a walk today and just had to capture how pretty this street looked. I am really enjoying this time of year. Not too hot and not too cold.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Junee Farmers Market

Today I went to the Junee Farmers Market for the first time. It's doing things like this with Kyle that I am looking forward to doing now that I have my weekends back. The markets had a nice spread to offer, I am sad to admit but much more on show that our little Cootamundra markets.

We didn't buy much it was more to see what was on offer.

We bought some strawberry seedlings and a bag of Granny Smith apples from Batlow where they are grown. Both Kyle and I think they are the nicest apples we have eaten in a very long time. I have an apple pie baking as I write this, yummm!
Progress has been made on the new chicken coop, the old shed we will given as it was no longer wanted is standing up well. I was a very good frame today holding up the wall sheets while Kyle screwed them together. Work still need to happen on the doors but it will be nice to have a concrete floor that will be much easier to clean out. I am on the hunt for chicken nesting box designs at the moment that Kyle said he will make for me. Eventually we will add a chicken run and an enclosed outdoor area but it's not essential as they are free range chickens anyway.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Homemade Pizza

Ive been reading a number of blogs lately about using leftovers. I think leftovers are great, it gives an old meal a new lease on life and also saves money - whats not to like. I hate to throw out food, I feel like it is bad kitchen management on my part, it is just such a waste for a number of reasons.

One of our favourite ways to use up leftovers and bits in the fridge is to make homemade pizza. I had made meatballs a couple of nights ago and we still had leftovers, we had marinated feta (not enough to do anything substantial with but not worth throwing out) and a jar of pesto that was open and needed to be used.

I make my own pizza dough, this started when we had a wood fire pizza oven at our old house, this is on the to do list for this place also eventually. Pizza dough is really easy to make and so worth the little effort, like a standard bread it's more about leaving enough time for the dough to stand and proof.
Pizza dough (this is a basic recipe but my changes are noted below)
600g bread flour
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
1 tsp raw sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil
375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt in kitchenaid mixer  with dough attachment and mix briefly. Slowly add warm water and continue mixing, you may not need all the water. More flour or water can be added as needed. The dough should feel like playdoh.
Set aside in a draught-free place to rise for 60 minutes or more until dough doubles in size.
Punch air out of dough.
Lightly dust board and rolling pin with flour.
Roll out pizza dough and place onto pizza tray. Leave to rest for another 10 minutes.
This made one very thick pizza base but this can make 2 thinner pizza basses.
Add pizza toppings, this is what I added last night;
Tomato paste & pesto mixed as the pizza sauce base.
Meatballs cut up into chunks.
1/2 an onion.
Grated tasty cheese
Put into the oven at 240 degrees for 25 mins.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Hydrogen Peroxide and Neti Pot

I have been getting more than average amount of ear and eye infections over the past year or so and this just goes along with the hayfever. I read yesterday about using Hydrogen Peroxide to help clean your ears and so last night with the help of hubby I gave it a go and it does appear to have cleared things up. It is something I will be using again. How to Unclog a Clogged Ear.

It got me thinking though what else I could use the Hydrogen Peroxide for and I cam across this article that you may find interesting. Ten Household Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide.

To help with the hayfever I used a Neti Pot and salty water. Really simple and easy to used and cheap. It helps to clear out any build up of pollens and dust. I tend to use mine while I'm in the shower. How To Use A Neti Pot.

If anyone else has any tips for using Hydrogen Peroxide or even keeping ear and eye infections or even hayfever at bay naturally then please share.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Chicken Curry and Naan Bread

Homemade chicken curry (using free range chicken of course) but instead of pairing it with rice I decided to have a go at making my own naan bread. Both turned out to be a great success.
I am really enjoying having time to make home cooked meals. I have always liked cooking and dabbling in baking but I like to do it when I have the time and energy to do it. Makes the finished product seem like more of an achievement when love and care has been put into the food.
You can find the original recipes by clicking on the links but here it is with my amendments;
Quick Chicken Curry
2 tbs sunflower oil
500g skinless free range chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs dried chili flakes
2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 tbs tikka masala curry paste
400g can chopped tomatoes
400ml coconut milk
2 tbs crunchy peanut butter
400g can chickpeas

Heat the sunflower oil in a flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the free range chicken, onion, garlic, chili and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chicken starts to brown. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for a further 1 minute or until fragrant. Season, then stir in tomato, coconut milk, peanut butter and chickpeas until combined. Cover until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Naan Bread
450g (3 cups) bread flour
7g (2 tsp) dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
185ml (3/4 cup) warm water
90g (1/3 cup) greek yoghurt
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl. Mix in water, yoghurt and oil. I used my Kitchenaid Mixer to knead the dough. 
Set bowl aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. 
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250°C. Preheat pizza tray for 40 minutes. Punch down dough then divide it into 6 portions.  
Roll out each portion of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 x 20cm oval shape.  
Spray both sides of the dough with oil. Bake on pizza tray for 5 minutes or until puffed and light golden.
Chicken Laksa
I had left over chicken curry so I added noodles, another can of coconut milk along with veggies and turned it into laksa. Another meal made from leftovers.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Meringue pies

So here are the mini Lemon Meringue (using the Lemon Curd made earlier) and Chocolate Meringue pies I made. I think they have turned out pretty good considering there was an awful lot of winging it. I didn't have specific recipes for either but both have turned out tasting fab and will be something I will make again. As I chocolate lover I can't believe I am about to say this but I think I preferred the Lemon Meringue pies over the chocolate ones. Just one tip, I used a very basic shortcrust pastry and didn't add sugar and and I glad I didn't as there is well and truly enough sugar and sweetness in the filling and meringue topping.
You can find some recipes here though that may inspire; 
Basic shortcrust pastry
Lemon meringue pies
Chocolate meringue pie

I have more things to write about but I am trying to ensure that I will have something to write about everyday this month for Blogtober.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Lemon Curd

Yesterday I made lemon curd for the first time. It was supper easy and something I will definitely make again given my access to a very fruitful lemon tree in our backyard.

I plan to make a a lemon meringue pie also and will use the lemon curd in this as the filling. Leaving it overnight to cool should save me some time tomorrow. I can be a little impatient and the though of having to wait 30 minutes for pastry in the fridge before rolling out & then waiting for the lemon curd to cool for hours is just too much for me. So by having this step done in advance it should save some frustration when it comes to pie making time.

Lemon Curd Recipe
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (I will hold onto the 2 egg whites for meringues topping)
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80g) chilled unsalted butter
Zest and juice of 2 lemons (I used more than 2 lemons as my lemons didn't seem very juicy)

Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Since I had the juicer out also I had another attempt at making Orange Juice and no surprise once I removed the white pith the juice came out a hell of a lot more sweeter and not bitter like my first attempt. You still use a lot of oranges for not so much juice but I don't mind as long as the oranges from our tree are being used and not wasted. I think I will attempt to make orange cordial at some stage.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Ahhh - smell the fresh air!

Lacy my Light Sussex hen
What a great weekend it has been.

I finished working at my job on Thursday, there is a new job to be started on the horizon. It will be back to my comfort zone of working in a office and no more shifts, weekend work and I can walk to work. I am really looking forward to a new challenge.

Because I have had the whole long weekend free I have actually been able to spend a lot of time with hubby which has been really lovely. I don't think I let myself realise just how much I missed just hanging out with my best friend.

Another coat of white paint has been added to my $5 charity shop chair, it still might need yet another white coat before we hit it with the orange paint.

We moved an old tin water tank that looked like it may have once been used as a small chicken coop into plot 4 where the chickens current are so that they might have more shade now it is getting warmer and also somewhere else to lay their eggs. I still giggle at the fact that my 12 hens all seem to want to lay their eggs in the same 3 places and all at the same time. This then involves a ruckus of chicken clucking and line ups that continues to amuse me.

I also want to bring attention to a fellow blogger who I follow & has been kind enough to put a link to my blog on her blog. So in mutual admiration I would like to post a link to her site also;
Mrs Thrift's Simple Living in the Modern Day

I am also going to attempt the Blogtoberfest annual blogging festival my aim is to try to blog every day for 31 days