Berry buckle

I'd always rather be crafting than cooking. Had you picked that up already?

Tonight for dinner was rooster soup. None of the big kids complained at all , they know better. The red head is difficult at dinner time. I called them to the table with a wink to the big kids,
"noodle delicious" for tea tonight. They all played along, if you give it a jazzy name the red head just might eat it.
Half way through the bribes start. "better eat your noodle delicious if you want some pudding"

I only make it sporadically, the black berries inspired me tonight.
"Berry Buckle" from Alison Holst's Dollars and Sense cookbook.
My copy has seen better days, I almost burnt the house down awhile back when I set it down on a hot element and went outside to collect beans.

The butter, egg, flour, Cinnamon base with fresh blackberries, plus one extra with frozen red currants to have cold for the school lunches tomorrow.
Now here's why I don't bake much. Chopping butter into the topping till it looks like breadcrumbs!

Bah, I'd really rather be finishing my sewing.

Add whipped cream and it's all worth it. YUM


Welcome Autumn 2010


All my favorite fruit and vege are ready for harvest and it's not too hot to get things done. "Skatey" told me this weekend is the last of summer, though for me it's felt like autumn for a few weeks already.
When I go out to feed the chooks in the morning I get covered in dew from the lemon verbena plant, also I'm not so keen to go to the school pool for an evening swim these days, firewood needs to be collected and stacked and bottling on the stove starts in earnest. Scoffing blackberries also signals autumn, as does the influx of seasonal workers to our town to pick apples, pears and kiwifruit.
However my shin is bruised from kicking myself!
I haven't planted enough pumpkins and am already craving pumpkin soup. The soup pot is not idle thank goodness, tonight it brews young rooster soup with corn, shallots, celery and carrots from the garden. There are already several containers of tomato soup in the freezer, as well as a good batch of tomato sauce in bottles. I added about a pound of redcurrants that were still hanging on the bushes, they were lovely and ripe, I just had to wait for the earwigs to run away before I put them in the pot . I'll need to pick more tomatoes this weekend before the stink bugs suck them to death .

My garden is about neck high in weeds, mainly fat hen and pas pallum grass, I'm surprisingly not bothered. I can find fresh food and herbs every night even if they are hiding. I've noted where the Elecampane and Echinecea are so I can harvest their roots for winter ailments. I probably should be venturing into beer making as well with the hop plant trying to take over the neighbourhood!

We're eating the Nashi today after noticing the neighbours chooks have started eating them through the fence. Willow the Jack Russell is getting the hang of chasing them off which I don't mind, though she's been a bit naughty lately going to the school to look for "skatey" almost every day, she knows he's not there I'm sure. How do you explain to a Jack Russel that he's OK he's just at High School now. I'm sure the teachers are getting fed up at sending PJ home with Willow. She's never been tied up in her life, so I don't know what to do?
Lastly my favorite plant stall has closed down for the season so I may have missed my flip on a whole lot of winter vege plants. I'm hoping that amongst the weeds that are seeding all over the garden that there's a few parsnip, kale, celery, coriander, leek and lettuce to tide us over. I do have some yams , leek, potatoes and broad beans to look forward to, as well as three trees of black boy peaches dripping with fruit...
Black boy fruit chutney, jam, dried- anyone?


Suede, Brain

The teen is getting quite good at juggling, but I'm sick of hearing the four of them fight over the juggling set so I made a trio out of suede. I sort of traced the pattern from a tennis ball, that turned out too big so the red head scored the first one. I made it smaller, tracing round the bottom of a glass. Very fiddly to sew but stuffed with sushi rice they are "spot on " according to the teen.
It's nice to see him juggling while he waits for the dial up to load. Good for his brain I'm sure.

Speaking of good for brains,
You'll recognise me in the supermarket because my kids, especially the red head will be saying "mum coke's not good for your brain eh? Are rice crackers good for your brain?
I probably refer to what I think is good for their brain a little too often, do you think?


Head cold

Lemon, honey, ginger, garlic and thyme tea. Plus two good books and a comfy chair, because I feel like I'm allergic to myself.


Surrounded by a family embrace

Well they say something about how you can't choose your family. I'm glad you can't because I couldn't have picked better myself.
I've got two little brothers. Apparently I was a terrible older sister when I was small, if you believe the stories the "Fabulous Aunt's" tell. I can't remember having tantrums like Pj does, or being separated from my young cousins for their own safety! I do remember chasing them with Wetas and telling stories of ghosts in my Grandma's house and of course how we told the youngest brother that the ugly painting in the hallway was "the big Eughh" and could scare the living daylights out of him at the mere mention of the fictional monster. Dad use to warn me though when I was scratching and pulling at the boys hair to be careful that one day they'd grow up bigger than me. He's not wrong, my two little brothers stand now at 6ft2in and 6ft4in. Lucky for me they both grew up to love their big (short) sister.

My littlest brother is visiting from Adelaide with his wife and two adorable little boys. It's brilliant having two extra adults around who care for my kids almost as much as I do. The big boys have adored having their Uncle, who's a big kid at heart, to play sport and swim with, while I appreciate a sister in law or Auntie to my kids who's much cooler than me but tells one of them not to moan "just get off your butt and get a job if you want something"
I watch their two wee boys for glimpses of my little brother and admire how gentile, sweet and full of mischief they are.
The extended family came for a shared meal to celebrate their arrival. It's just magic how three generations of brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, Mums, Dads, cousins, friends and a few second cousins once removed, create a joy full energy when gathered together. Shared food from many gardeners, meat grown ethically by family, fish from the neighbour, blackberries discovered around our garden with a promise of potting up some cuttings, tall tales and reminiscences all create a picture of "family" in early Autumn here tonight.
From my garden:
I harvested Maori potatoes for my contribution, making a completely sustainable, organic potato salad. The end result tasted better than it photographed.


Cheeky muffin

Someone has recently hit me over the head with the "happy homemaker stick". This is quite possibly the culprit: Doesn't eat his dinner but slyly whips off with the biggest muffin before the others even know they're out of the oven.
I'm actually not often this domesticated, but was inspired by a large harvest of poppy seeds when I went out to finally tackle the garden yesterday. I made 3 dozen muffins with lemon and poppy seeds to go in the freezer for school lunches. Perhaps being in the kitchen was a good way to avoid the garden where there is so much work to do I don't know where to start.
Got the gherkins bottled and made sauce as well.
Picked an armload of cucumbers, I'm struggling to know what to do with them all. There are still "bread and butter pickles" in the cupboard from last season. Anyone who visits has been sent home with them, the pet rat likes them. I think maybe I'll slice some up and rest my eyes awhile.
Anyone else have any good cosmetic recipes for them?