Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plastic Problem

I am very lucky to live where I live. I am about a 15 minute walk from a stunning coastline and beautiful white-sandy beaches. As a kid I grew up not far from where I am now and have memories of beach swimming lessons in the Christmas holidays. I'm not really a big ocean swimmer now but I do love being near the water. Afternoons on those hot Perth days are spent waiting for the sea-breeze to come in and cool everything down. I didn't realise how much I took the beach for granted until I moved away to my first job all those years ago where the nearest beach was over 300km away. 


It is always lovely to read about other people's beach experiences and how that expanse of blue just helps clear the mind.

Cityhippyfarmgirl reminded me of a video I saw recently about the effects of plastic on the creatures of the deep. (Just a warning: this video does contain images of dead animals). There are too many questions to ask about how and why this happens and I really wish I knew the answer to fix the situation. The simple solution is to dispose wisely but when some people still put recyclables in their household waste bin at their own house, it is not surprising that plastic ends up in waterways and other public spaces.

In the words of the Dalia Lama;
Peace and the survival of life on earth as we know it are threatened by human activities that lack a commitment to humanitarian values. Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed and lack of respect for the earth´s living things.

Do you live near the coast or a waterway? Do you notice a lot of plastic?

Take care

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's time to think about the garden

With Summer officially over it is time to start fantasising thinking about the cooler weather ahead. It is hard to imagine when it's tipped to reach 37 today.

The garden beds have been cleaned out and are now ready with new layers of straw, manure and compost.


I have my beds in the front yard for a few reasons.

  • With the chickens out the back, the leafy greens wouldn't stand a chance.
  • The front yard gets much better sun most of the year, although it makes summer growing almost impossible.
  • I encourage the neighbours to help themselves to the excess as the rocket, spinach and silverbeet generally go crazy.
Last year I continued to have a great crop of rocket. I had let the plants go to seed and then harvested the seeds. I did the same at the end of last year ready for that time when the cooler days would come. The seeds have dried out and are just about ready to be planted straight into one of the beds. I'm sure there will be some scorching days in the next few weeks but hopefully these will only be here and there.


I will just scatter the seeds into the bed with some compost and cover with straw. It will pretty much sort itself with a bit of water.


Thanks to cityhippyfarmgirl for mentioning the recent bread post. A big hello to those who have come across via her post.

Once again cityhippyfarmgirl has inspired me to get baking and a foccacia dough is sitting, proving as I type. It's not sourdough but I have promised myself to get it up and running again. 

Take care

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Back to the Real World

Having been home a week and the kiddoes having finished their first week of school is leaving me with the feeling that we had never been away. Only for the fact the Mr Mouse is still to return I know that not everything is back to normal yet.

While we were away there was no need to bake bread as there were amazing artisan boulangeries on just about every corner. But the experience left me totally inspired by all of the talented bakers/artists and had me really excited to get back in the kitchen.

I spent some of my evenings away researching different types of bread and looking at ways to vary basic loaves. Knowing that school would be only days away once we returned, I wanted to have some morning and afternoon tea ideas planned out. (Nerd!)

Onion and Cheese Filled Loaf

I wish I could remember exactly where I first saw these loaves. I have always loved the idea of a plaited loaf, but to me, this is much better in that it is easier to fill. 

There are so many different ways out on amazing websites, so this is really just to get you thinking and heading across to those who really know what they are doing.

I made up half of the Jamie Oliver Basic Bread recipe letting the bread maker do all of the hard work for me. 

While the dough was doing its thing, I cut up some onion and cooked these for about half an hour. After these had cooled, I added them to some grated cheese and added some salt and pepper. That was the filling done.

After it had proved I divided it into 3 equal pieces as I wanted to make 3 little loaves. (In hindsight, 2 larger loaves probably would have been a little better.)

The first piece was rolled out very gently to about half a centimetre thick. At this stage I very carefully transferred the dough to a piece of baking paper. It is too tricky to move the dough once it is filled.


Spoon the mixture in the middle third of the dough leaving some space that the top and the bottom.


Cut the corners out, making sure to cut on an angle.


Make and equal number of angled cuts on both sides of the filling.


Pull the top over.


Start folding alternate sides over the filling.






Before you fold the last two pieces over, fold the bottom up then fold the last two pieces, tucking the last one under the loaf.


There are so many fillings, sweet or savoury, that you could use depending on tastes and what you have in the fridge. I was thinking that puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) filled with fruit would also look, and taste, really good done like this.

Take care

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Slowing Down

Whenever we are away from home, daily life seems to slow down. Although we may be checking out all of the local sights we don't have a timetable to follow or appointments to make. 

The job of organising and preparing an evening meal becomes a lot more thought-out rather than trying to work out who will be home when and how much time do we have. 

My days here start with a cuppa and a look through recipes knowing I will be heading to the local markets mid morning. Market shopping is a great way to practice my very basic French.

One of my first purchases (I did the same in Berlin) was a stick blender. Soups are such a great way to fill the kiddoes with vegetable and with all of the gorgeous breads, who wouldn't want to wipe up the last bits at the bottom of a bowl. 

The first soup was a delicious Potato and Leek number. The recipe says cream but there was no way I was letting the créme fraise go to waste. 


Another meal that didn't need just 5 minutes to prepare, but could take all day if I wanted, was a variation of Spanikopita. I had some puff pastry in the fridge so just used this recipes filling. I must say it was even better the next day.   


Better head off and get dinner sorted. It's only five hours away. 

Take care and slow down. 

PS I will add links to the recipes when I can get computer access. I am writing this using the app only phone. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Adventure in Angoulême

The end on 2013 was pretty quiet on the blogging front with family and work all getting pretty busy before our adventure in France. 

Mr Mouse left Perth a little earlier than the rest of us and will stay a little longer when we head back for the start of a new school year, but we are happy to spend 6 weeks together exploring this part of the world. 

Not many words to accompany today but letting you know that there are some photos over at Instagram.  There is a button in the right side bar. You might like to head over and have a look. 

Take care and more posts soon. 

Keeping warm with freshly cooked churros and Nutella. Yum. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Walkability

Hello

I know it has been a very long time but I think of here often. Life just seems to speed by and all too often I am climbing into bed at the end of a day getting ready for a new one to materialise.

I just wanted to leave you with a video that I saw a little while ago but has really stuck with me. Being car-free was so freeing when we lived in Berlin.




Try it out. Leave a comment as I would love to know.

My suburb's score is 58.

Take care.
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