discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A simple life give away

It's action stations here in my kitchen with Mr. GW doing a little reno and installing a 15 draw stainless steel cabinet with a wooden bench top.  I'm so excited!!  Nothing like stainless steel and draws to get a girl pumping! Did I mention it's anti-fingerprint proof - there is a cleaning OCD god!
I'll post some pics another time but I'm in the mist of a huge declutter.  I've got 5 big bags for good will (how good is purging!!) but I thought I'd see if anyone would like this litte book "The Simple Life" written by Rhonda Hetzel from one of my fav blogs down to earth.  Just leave me a comment on why you would like it and I'll pick a winner in a few days.  It's a shame I couldn't give away the armful's of Delicious mags and cookbooks that have been untouched for years...

Friday, 17 April 2015

Ricotta, pea and mint fritters

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!!! But what's that saying - better late than never!  I had the best of intensions to do a cook-a-long with the lovely Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella (yes I'm a groupie but I just love her writing style that is so personalised and the recipes she posts just speak to me :) so there) but I'm a few days late of the deadline.  
Nevermind, better luck next time, hey.  Here is my spin - of course I changed the recipe up a bit but I brought ricotta instead of fetta for the recipe as I got a bit muddled up and I didn't have any curry powder :) mine are also heavy on the mint.
I fiercely cut back my mint a few weeks ago and look at it now, blooming sensational!!  I just adore adding fresh mint to lots of my dishes, especially into salads or a few sprigs chopped up mixed with hot greens is to die for. 
Pssst...can I just draw your attention to my beautiful sunny yellow eggs!!!

My recipe goes a little something like this:
Ricotta, pea and mint fritters   makes 12
1 x 350g tub of ricotta - drained of any liquid
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas - defrosted
2 googey eggs
a good handful of fresh mint roughly chopped
4 spring onions finely sliced
2 tbspn of plain flour
lots of salt and pepper
  • Mix all together - I squished some of the peas but left some whole.  
  • Heat oil in a fry pan - I used coconut oil, around 2 tablespoons per batch.
  • Place a heaped tablespoon into the fry pan once the oil is hot, but not too hot it has to be just right, so try medium to low gas setting for a few minutes.
  • Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side and pop onto paper towel to take up any excess oil.

Serve any way you fancy!  They are also great the next day either cold or give them a quick reheat either in the fry pan without any oil or in the microwave for a minute or so.

I am desperate for some lemons from someone's, anyone's tree so to substitute I used some balsamic glaze to add an acidic hit which worked a treat.
I had them for brunch today with runny poached eggs and some garden ripe tomatoes - ah-mazing! And a great carrier for the eggs just like toast.

I'll make sure I'm on the ball for the next cook-a-long and can't wait to see what Lorraine comes up with....I hope it's nothing like the Daring Bakers challenges she does!

Ciao, Jan x

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Coastal ripple blanket - Ta Dah!

I'm on a total crocheting binge and word is spreading around my family so I have a few victims to help feed my addiction.  One of my aunties wanted a shawl sized blanket to take with her on her beach walks now that winter is fast approaching.  I suggested a coastal ripple blanket style that I had seen on Attic24.  I had no idea how to do this but I was sure I could find a tutorial that would get me hooking it fast.

I much prefer a visual tutorial over a written pattern so this tutorial here did the trick.  Gosh though, I filled up the swear jar and used up the patience of a saint trying to get it at the start - no tears but lots of pulled out hours of work, never the less I cracked it!  The pattern, once mastered, is really quite rhythmic and I wonder now how I took so long to 'get' it - must have been a blonde week :)

This photo really hurts my migraine brain!
For those of you interested, and for my own future interest here is the low down on the making of the blanket.... 
I wanted to mimic the colours of and around the ocean - sand, sun, sea, and sky.  I'm finding it tricky to get my hands on a good array of coloured yarn, but I finally settled on Myboshi from Spotlight.  It's 30% merino wool and 70% polyacrylic, machine washable and used a 6mm hook
I ended up doing a foundation chain of 204 + 3.
One ball of myboshi 50g did 2 rows of 207 stitches.  In total I did 4 rows of each (except for the dark orange) using 2 balls of each.  The boarder took 1 and a bit balls of the dark blue.

Don't even talk to me about the boarder...I had to pull it out many times - I stupidly started and almost finished it on the wrong side (lesson learnt, won't do ever again!!) but to make it a straight boarder instead of a continuation of the wave it is tricky.  There is a tutorial for it on Attic 24's pattern or you can google/youtube it, but its basically increasing and decreasing - I ended up just making it up - starting at the top of the rise it's 2 sc, 3 half dc, 1 dc, 1 tr (you are in the bottom of the dip, now head back up the to the top) 1 dc, 3 half dc, 2 sc,   Let me tell you it is a nightmare to do on the foundation chain end, and if by any miracle you are reading this and have found a way that is easy, please share it with me!!!  The sides are just 2 dc into each row - into the last of the dc on each end, capiche? I'm not sure I follow either!!! hahaha 
Now it's time to start my next one :)

Ciao, Jan x

Monday, 6 April 2015

In my kitchen ~ April 2015

It's that time again, time for In my kitchen where I hook up with 
Celia from Fig Jam and Lime cordial along with hundreds of other food obsessed bloggers from around the world.  If you love to see what's in other peoples kitchens, pop over to Celia's blog and get stalking!
Lots of things have been happening in my kitchen this month.  April would have to be my favourite month of the year - crisp mornings, sunny days with some rain and cold nights and lots of produce coming in to be made into treasures.  So here we go.....
Our girls have been laying the most beautiful eggs, well 2 are and 2 aren't as far as we can tell.  It's like Easter everyday at our place!!
I must admit, I was a little shy at eating our eggs for about....5 minutes, but then I poached them and I have never had such perfectly poached eggs, I almost cried!  
We have been letting the girls out to free range most afternoons and you can see here our cat Coco keeping an eye on them....not long after this photo was taken the cat was attacked by the chooks!!  Phew, I was a bit scared Coco might attack them but no, she knows where she is on the pecking order now.  I have to keep a good eye on these girls as they could whip through a pot of rocket in seconds flat!!  We love sitting and watching them, funny little entertainers they are.

I've been pickling beetroots but I used a new method to preserve them this year.  Mr. GW and I are always trying to shorten our preserving ways if we can without ruining the end product and this way worked a treat.  I peeled and quartered the beetroots, put them into the jars raw and made up the pickle liquid and poured it over them, adding some mint and peppercorns.  
I then placed the jars - I used Hoyts pickled chilli jars that are 430g size - them into a big pot of cold water and let it come up to the boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes and then drain off water and let them cool.  So much less mucking around and they are beautifully tender.
I keep 2 big pots of basil along the back porch and they thrive there, protected by the wind and in sun for most of the day.  Sadly they are coming to an end so I've been try to preserve them in different ways.  Blitzing them with some nuts, in this case macadamia & walnuts, with extra virgin olive oil to make a mock pesto lasts for ages as long as you keep the pesto covered in oil in the jar you put it into.  
Lots of Parsley and basil garlic butter for the freezer for later.  These parsley stalks will be frozen to make stock another day.  I love adding a slice to fry prawns, to scramble eggs, on top of a steak, or to make a potato heavenly...the options are endless really.

Now the nights are colder, it's perfect red wine weather :)
I've been reading this Ottolenghi cook book over my breakfast.  I just love his use of fresh ingredients - very inspiring.
I was sent these darling little earrings from a friend - they are little tomatoes - aren't they just sweet!
We've been playing uno in our kitchen and let me tell you that Miss 8 yr old is a very cunning player!!
I've been making these baked cauliflower flowerettes (recipe here) and used some of the hundreds of zucchini that are still coming in - I also added chilli to this recipe.
And lastly in my kitchen, we have made a batch of apple cider to use up our poor apples that have been attacked by codling moth this year....never fear though, the chickens should have them cleaned up for next years blooms.
This bad brew takes around 45 days.  It's just apple juice, sugar and some brewers yeast we got for a few $$'s off the internet.....can hardly wait to see how it turns out.

What's been happening in your kitchen? If you want to leave me a comment I'll pop over and check out what you have been up to this month.

Ciao, Jan x

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