Showing posts with label eating locally. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eating locally. Show all posts


Cumquat Marmalade: Winter Sunshine in a Jar


This year's cumquots have made the most delightful marmalade. It's like winter sunshine in a jar! 


About 500g of cumquots 

a cup of sugar

The juice of half a lemon 


Slice the ends of the cumquots and cut them in half. 

Chop the fruit and pulp coarsley 

Mix in the sugar and lemon jouce

Cook on the stovetop sitrring constantly until the mixture thickens 

Bottle in clean jars whilst hot and seal. 

This is one of those experimental recipes. You can try different citrus or blend flavours together. 

All I know, is that when you have a smear on sourdough it is a burst of sunshine in your mouth ! 


Mandarins and Macadamias: Mother Nature's M&Ms

Wandering around the backyard with a basket in hand, there are so many delicious offerings to be found!

I am starting to call this area 'the food forest' because there is always something to snack on.

The Macadamias are starting to fall from the tree. They are in a green pod which breaks open to reveal the hard brown shell. Inside the nuts are creamy and lovely tasting - a true Aussie Bush Food !

I add macadamia nuts to banana bread instead of using walnuts.


Garden Update

 Considering that we were away on and off for almost three whole months, our garden is going quite well.
 Broad beans are starting to burst out. Not a single one has made it inside - they are all eaten raw in the garden.
 Even though the chooks jumped the fence when we were away and dug up the potato plants there have still been enough for me to go and scratch around and pull out enough any time we need some for a meal. We had them slow roasted last week when we had friends visit and they were beautiful!
 The strawberries have started to go mad. I am so glad there was enough rain while we were away to keep the garden functioning.
There are also tomatoes, corn, climbing beans, celery and lots of herbs coming along. Hopefully I will have some great photos to share soon.


Bread Recipe - Cafe Style

I made this bread a couple of days ago. It was meant to be a long bread roll. As it rose on the tray before baking it grew as wide as both my hands put together. I thought I would continue, warning everyone that as it rose in the oven, be prepared with an escape plan in case it grew out the oven door and began to overtake the kitchen.

Although it was nothing like I planned, it came out looking lovely and sure smelt good. After a few taste tests and then a few more ( just to determine the correct use for this style of bread) we decided it would be perfect to make garlic bread with. We would just slice it up, toast it a little and then spread with a mixture of butter, crushed garlic and Italian herbs and pop it into the over for a few minutes to brown up. Beautiful cafe style garlic bread!

....... and just for the purposes of further testing - you can also through it into the toaster and spread it with vegemite..........delicious!


Use two bowls. In the first bowl put a cup of boiling water, one tablespoon of butter, 1/2 tsp salt and one tablespoon of sugar. Leave aside until it cools to luke warm.

In the second bowl put 1/4 cup luke warm water, one tablespoon dry yeast and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.

When ready, mix the two bowls and stir in about 3 cups of plain flour. Leave it to rise for about 40 minutes and the roll out flat onto a floured board and then roll it up until it forms a long sausage. Cut three to four slices across the top and leave on a baking tray for another 30 minutes. Paint the top with a mixture of egg and milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

If you do have a go, make sure you come back and leave some feedback. I am sure you will have a way to improve this trial recipe. Maybe you would like to try it with wholemeal or a multigrain flour.
Part 12 cups boiling water2 T butter2 T sugar2 tsp salt Cool to lukewarm.Part 21/2 cup lukewarm water2 T active dry yeast1 T sugar


Last Night's Meal

With what feels like thousands of eggs on hand the obvious choice for dinner last night was a quiche. This one has a little bacon and handfuls of herbs ( basil and coriander) and shallots. It was very tasty indeed.

We combined it with some home grown corn and beans. The corn is SO tasty. We always leave it in the husk and put each cob in the microwave for three minutes and then take them out and peel the husk and silks off it. They come off really easily and the corn is cooked beautifully. It is crisp and very very hot!

Maybe it is all in our mind, but things that come from the backyard seem to taste so much better. Is it the freshness? Is it because they are organically grown ? or is it the secret ingredient of the joy factor that comes from knowing that you grew it, you picked it and you then took the twenty steps back to the house and cooked it ?

Sad to say that some things didn't survive the huge amount of rain we had while we were away. While we were in Sydney for five days we had over 90 mls of rain.... and I was worried about getting someone to water the garden !! My poor butternut pumpkins became completely waterlogged and just dropped off the vine and the chook house turned into a swimming pool. At least the seeds I planted before I left were up when I got back.

Here is one of our chooks. I thought I would give her a little spot in the limelight considering their wonderful contribution to our food supply.


Garden Update

You can menu plan all you like, but sometimes the garden will dictate what is for dinner.


Been Out Back at the Outback House

I have now returned home after going out to Dubbo in western New South Wales to visit my grandmother once again. While I was out there I had the opportunity to visit the Outback House. Ever since the series was shown on ABC a couple of years ago I have been wanting to visit the area, but it is privately owned and was only opened on long weekends and special occasions.

The television series depicted participants from modern day heading back in time to a working homestead in 1861. The property, named "Oxley Downs" was 'built' as a replica of the homesteads of the day. You can see more about the series here I was really drawn to the series because it is very close to where my grandparents built a homestead in the 1930s.

What struck me straight away was the self sufficiency of life. Exactly how my grandmother had described to me. They raised and killed their own meat and grew all their own fruit and veg. My grandmother also grew wheat and took it to the mill to swap for bags of flour.

The homestead was so simple yet so beautiful. It had a hallway that went straight through the building with rooms off to each side. First door on the left was the dining room which doubled as the classroom and office.

The first door on the right was the parlour which has comfortable chairs and small tables and a piano.

The last two rooms were the bedrooms.

I was so intrigued by the kitchen. So primitive, yet highly functional with a separate storage room or larder.

The garden was a huge area that really grew everything, all in together. It was magnificent. There were no neat little rows, it was more a permaculture style. The owners told me to take what I wanted and although I wanted to dive in with a wheelbarrow, I respectfully took a few things that I thought I would be able to continue the heirloom breeds from by saving the seeds.

What really struck me was that in comparison they did it so tough, although they knew no different. They baked and made EVERYTHING. They grew EVERYTHING.

When I arrived home I went to make some rock cakes and suddenly realised how lucky I am. I have refrigeration. I can freeze my vegetables and meat, I have a microwave if I want the butter to melt faster, I have an electric oven. So a more self sufficient lifestyle would be so EASY in comparison. It is so easy to bake bread, make pasta, make jam. Yet..... it seems that we have been tricked into a consumerist lifestyle where even baking a chicken is too much work when it is far more "convenient" to get a pre-cooked chook from the supermarket!

So, my perspective has certainly changed......... I rose early this morning and made strawberry jam. I then had it on a slice of home baked bread from the bread maker, toasted in my electric toaster and I had a cup of tea boiled in my electric jug. Being more self sufficient is suddenly so easy is comparison.

I sat and thought joyful thoughts......


Strawberry Picking

Yesterday the boys and I went with some friends to Ricardos strawberry and tomato farm near Port Macquarie, about 45 mins from home. We got to pick as many strawberries as we liked and then just paid for them by the kilo.

They gave us all buckets and a pair of scissors to neatly cut them off the plants.

The plants were growing in a polypipe frame about seven feet tall and were very healthy looking.

We finished off the day by going to a nearby park where the kids had a swim in a sheltered area just back from where the river meets the ocean. A lovely relaxing day for all....... now...what to do with a huge load of strawberries.........minus the 50 or 60 we ate last night!


Getting Ahead Again.

With the last visitors waved goodbye yesterday morning I turned my mind back to 'getting ahead'. It was terribly hot the day before so in order to be able to bake up a storm I had to get up really early and turn the oven on before it got too hot. I woke at 5.20am ready to start the day. By 9am it was game over, just too hot for cooking!

The lamington recipe that keeps incarnating into different things has done it again! From lamingtons to slice, to cake and now to muffins. I just stirred in some blueberries that a friend gave me from her recent 'pick your own' adventure.

I also made a huge lot of crackers to replace water crackers, Saos and Saladas. I adapted the lavash crackers recipe I have used before. I roll the dough out with the pasta maker to make it quite thin which is fine for a cracker to use with dips but for something more like a water cracker or crispbread style I just fold it over. To speed up the process I roll out the dough, lay it across a baking tray and slice it with the pizza cutter.

They come out of the oven crisp and golden brown. Now I need to harvest some sweet basil and make a great dip to go with them.

Yesterday was the first day that I let the girls out to roam. I had been told to leave them in their enclosure for a while so that they learn where home is before I let them out. They were a little hesitant at first but soon began enjoying their surroundings. I noticed how they picked the bugs off the cucumber leaves. We don't use any sprays or pesticides and generally run with the philosophy that there is enough for us and the lady bugs, as well as the fact that they seem to only munch on the leaves. But the chooks, well they had a picnic feast! I will let the girls wander around the garden beds. I know that the benefits will outweigh the fact that they will scratch around. I will protect anything that I don't want destroyed by them.

They must have loved their little romp in free range land, because....... they rewarded me with my very first egg!!! ( ***tears of joy*****) We proudly showed it to hubbie who replied 'it's a bit small - you might have to give them some steroids!'. Hmmmpph. I replied with ' if you want bigger eggs, go and get yourself an Emu'. lol.

It's a mighty fine start girls, don't listen to him. Bigger is not always better. You will get there!


The Future's So Bright.........

Yesterday I was chatting to a lady who I haven't seen for a while. She asked me what I had been doing since I left my paid job.

I started to tell her that the time had actually flown by really quickly and I had this real sense of not achieving as much as I had hoped to with all my suddenly found extra time.

I had hoped that I was going to make some 'real headway' in my life! I told her that I guess I had done 'a few things', like built garden beds and started growing all sorts of different vegetables and herbs which has now paid off in that we have lots of things to eat in the garden.

 I had also began making lots of things from scratch including bread, water crackers, dips, cakes, biscuits and then other things like soap, cordial and cleaning products.

I said we were getting closer to finishing off the chook house and I had been able to do extra activities with the boys which I really enjoy.

I have been writing on my website, talking on local radio about the stop food waste campaign and doing interviews with journalists. I had got all the washing/ironing under control and was enjoying going to aqua aerobics , I had also started teaching album making classes from my home and had been doing some photo restorations. I told her that I had also just about finished a book about my Grandmothers wisdom applied to my modern life.

WoW! then I said, ' well, when I put it in a list like that it certainly does sound as though I am getting somewhere'.

Then I stopped. and I thought. and thought. Yes, it has been a while now since I left 'work' and when I look back at the wake behind me, there has been a lot happening.

It's just that most of the tasks I do on a day to day basis are quite repetitive and are sometimes taken for granted. When I look, however, at the beautiful tomatoes that are growing on the bush and know that we started them from a tiny seed, I can see how far we have come..... and how bright our future really is.


Spring Garden Update - Messy Peas and Harvest Joy

The soil warms and the plants SPRING to life.

Last week and the week before we had awful weather. Our peas, which were about 5 feet tall were laying flat on the ground because of the terrible winds that we had been having. We also had a huge amount of rain which seemed to last for days and days. We thought we may lose all the peas so we decided to just pick the whole lot up and tie it up as best we could. It appears today that some pieces which were broken or bend have started to die, while others still have good fat pods on them

The plant is a huge bundled mess, but we will just let nature takes it's course

The rest of the garden is coming along well and we are very excited about the temperature of the soil rising. Beans which he had given up on have now awoken and since the rain the corn has doubled in size

Last night we went to a bbq with friends. Our contribution was the salad and it gave us great joy to go and pick a lettuce from the backyard. We joked about our 'harvest ceremony' and of course, had to take photos.

We had to add 'bought' capsicum, cucumber, tomato, carrot and red onion. We live in hope for the day when the whole salad will come from the backyard. If we keep getting great days and steady rains it may not be that far away.


Soaring diesel costs push truckies to the edge

Picture from Food Magazine

Did you see the 7.30 report on the ABC last night ? If not you can see it here: or read the transcript here: You can also google 'trucking industry strike' for the latest in news articles.

It seems that fuel prices are crippling many of the truckies. We have heard drivers saying that every time they go to fuel up it adds $100 to the bill. The difficulty for us as consumers is that EVERYTHING comes by truck. Most things you find on the supermarket shelf have travelled many hundreds of kilometres to get to the store. Eating Local suddenly becomes extremely important.

In all the articles I have read and watched the drivers are talking about a strike, 'go slow' or blockade on the 28th of July. There has already been one ' go slow' on a Sydney Freeway. The Transport Worker's Union say they are not in support of a strike, however other industry groups have formulated a list of demands to present to government.

Online forums are buzzing with people talking about their husbands, brothers, sons and cousins who are truckies that are going to strike. Diesel prices have risen 50c a litre since October and their runs are now unsustainable.

This has a major impact on us as householders. I do not blame the truckies, as there are numerous issues which must be addressed for them. Regardless of how those issues are resolved or played out, the matter of importance for me is the impact on households. Ask yourself this question..... How long can you sustain your household without going to a shop ?


" Truck drivers are planning a nationwide two-week strike that could limit the supply of food and fuel. Requesting better pay and conditions, the organisers, led by the Australian Long Distance Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, are asking truck drivers to strike for two weeks from July 28.
The planned strike could have serious consequences on food industry supplies.One of the transport company owners said that the stoppage would highlight the impact the economy would be subjected to if the industry was to collapse. “On day three of the stoppage shops will run out of food, on day four service stations will run out of petrol, on day five we will run out of [drinkable] water … and on day 10 industry will shut down because there will be no power,” Hervey Bay’s Peter Schuback said. "

SOURCE: Food Magazine: Food and Beverage Industry News

Be wise. Apply the 6P principle. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Always make sure that you have sufficient supplies on hand to lessen the impact of any events which prevent you from obtaining food. You never know what these events may be: power shortages, floods, storm damage, sickness in the family, trucking strikes, petrol shortages. Having a good supply in your cupboards is a great insurance policy.


Eating Local - A Successful shopping trip

I went to the local farmers market yesterday.

 It's only one once a month at this stage, although there were quite a few people there yesterday so, here's hoping it will become more frequent.

Yesterday I got some great stuff including the usuals like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, bananas etc. I also got some lemon myrtle soaps and essential oil and a ginger herbal drink.

The prices were really good. These products come from the Colonial Herbal Company, makers of Norfolk Punch. They are located at Kendall, a small community just up the road.

The picture is of some local oysters I got for Hubby. He made "oysters kilpatrick' for his dinner last night - that's where you add worstershire sauce and bacon and then grill them.

I am not an oyster fan, but he loves them! ( The kids and I had spaghetti bolognaise LOL)


Home Made Wraps

This is the first time I have tried to make a tortilla or wrap as we call them. It was surprisingly easy! This wrap is for number 2 son's after school snack. It has home grown lettuce and tomato that I bought at the local Farmer's Market on Saturday, so it definitely fits within the 100 mile radius. You

may recall the challenges that I am having with the 100 mile diet - scroll down to categories at the bottom of the page if you have missed the posts.

Tortilla Recipe
2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm milk.

I just mixed it all together and let it all sit for a while.

 Then I broke it up into balls and rolled them out really thinly on a floured bench.

I them 'scooped' them up with an egg lifter and put them in the frying pan. I only used a tiny spray of cooking oil and had the pan as hot as it would go

. It only took a about 20 seconds to cook each side. Number two son said they taste better than the packet ( God love him ! ) and as he is only six I am sure if they weren't he would have soon let me know.

I used to buy the packet of ready made wraps.

We often have them in the summer time. I marinate some chicken breasts cut into strips in ginger, coriander and lemongrass with a little soy sauce and then cook the strips on the barbecue.

They are great for guests because you can lay out a smorgasbord of salad and everyone can make their own wraps. I have one friend from Sydney who loves them, but she is particularly sensitive to food chemicals and comes out in an itchy rash when we have them. I guess if you can stick a food product in a plastic bag and have it sit on the shelf for 3 or 4 months it must have something in it to preserve it.

I can't wait until she tries these wraps. I hope she loves them.


Warning: Soap Box Moment

Tomorrow is number one son's 9th birthday and tonight I dropped by our locally owned independent toy store 'Mal's'.

 Mal showed me the Lego catalogue and told me that anything with a star next to it means that he is unable to order it in because they only supply it to the two large department stores in my area.

Well............. I was horrified.

Those Goliaths are going to put my little  David out of business if they keep going this way.

 All I can say and I shout it from the roof tops, is SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES.

 I have seen it in a town I used to live in where the only fuel is distributed by those companies who are associated with a food store.

Once the independents are gone, the market is owned by the Goliaths and there is no competition and they set the prices.

Fuel in this town was 12 c a litre more expensive than the nearest town.

So... I am even more passionate now about keeping local people in business, whether you buy your eggs off the lady down the road, or attend your local farmers market or barter with friends.



Eating Local - Farmers Market.

I finally made it to the local Farmer's Market. It is not on every weekend yet as it is a relatively new idea for the town.

It was terrific to see local producers and growers selling their own wares. There was everything from eggs to moisturising creams.

I was really impressed by a local group who are doing whiting fillets in the form of rissoles and sausages.

They had some cooking to try and they were beautiful!

What a brilliant idea to help families eat more fish. The fish are caught locally and they even handle the manufacturing about 30 minutes from my home.

Considering the aversion my husband has to imported seafoods, I think he will be impressed not only by the taste but by the fact that it is all local.

So, looks like there are more local foods that what I first thought. It's just a matter of doing your homework.


Cooking From Scratch

As you have probably noticed, I REALLY enjoy cooking from scratch.

It brings me joy to put the effort in and be rewarded with tastes that far surpass that of the bought alternative. There are health benefits, in that I don't add any 621, 379, 202 or any of the other ingredients I see on packet foods and there are financial benefits, meaning it is so cheap to cook.

Over the weekend I made the following:

- chicken and sweet corn soup

- special garlic bread ( as No 1 son calls it. Th picture is of him helping to make it. )

- chocolate self saucing pudding

-orange cordial

- coriander and cashew dip for a dinner we went to.

and thoroughly enjoyed it.

In keeping with the local food challenge, something we really struggle with, I can say that the only local food was the oranges. Sad, but true.


Food (glorious) Food ???

 As you know, we too have been to a Sue Dengate seminar and that is the basis for my non-preservative approach to things.

When I first read Sue's book and checked out her website it really struck me. I explained to hubby  that all we had to do was eat like it was the 1950's. I shop with her little wallet reminder of which additives to avoid and when you do, you end up cooking things from scratch and the few packaged things you have in your trolley are the products that have been around for some time and have remained unchanged.

If you have young children I really suggest you download her material from the website and have a look. I have two boys aged 6 and 8 and I would certainly not class them as naughty or hyperactive in any way.
 I just know how different they are when they have an accumulation of junk food. Son no. 1 is very placid and gets dark under the eyes and lethargic and sad when he has overdosed and son no. 2 gets really emotional - crying, angry and ends up wetting the bed when he has overdosed. When they eat the pure way ( only avoiding numbers not salicilaytes and amines) they are calm, even tempered boys.

Tonight on ABC Radio National I was listening to a broadcast about imported food.

 The USA and Japan have recently formed committees to investigate the safety of imported food. Recently Chinese seafood, toothpaste and toy trains ( of all things) have been deemed toxic by US standards. I find it really interesting to look at Seafood in the supermarkets since the legislative changes now mean that the country of origin must be displayed.

 What better reason to eat locally !!!

Hubby was talking to a fisherman today from a fishing town near our home and he said they are now feeling the pinch because of the imported seafood. Do you know that it is OUR fault ?

We always want things cheaper. What price are we willing to pay to save a few cents ? Are we willing to put our local businesses out of work so we can save a few cents ?

 Are we willing to ingest unknown toxins to save money.

 I challenge you to THINK before you BUY.

Read the label. What list of additives is in your food and where is it from ?


Local Food Month

Crunchy Chicken ( ) has set a challenge which I think is really interesting.

As you all know, I have been approaching most topics on this website from the viewpoint of old fashioned living rather than an environmental one. It seems, however, the benefits flow from all viewpoints once you take action, that is, health, wealth, environment etc.

So eating locally was something that was done automatically in my Grandmother's day because it was logical. Food was often grown and made at home and goods were sourced locally because it was the backbone of the community.

So, if I was to support my local community and do the 100 mile diet I could (technically) purchase products that are in a 160 kilometres radius. ( is the metric conversion pushing it a little ??? ) I would need to extend the boundaries a little I think because there are simply no towns in the area.

 I am on the Mid North Coast so I would need to extend to Coffs Harbour out to Scone and down to Newcastle. Hmmmm I think this is going to be extremely difficult. I will start doing some research to see what is around the area.

 I guess the value of the challenge also lies in investigating what is around your local area. I will keep you posted.

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