Monday, December 2, 2013



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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Great Day at the Show

The heavens opened as the train pulled into Showgrounds station. I had thought I would get there half an hour early to have a bit of a look around, but after about ten minutes of jostling with umbrellas and showbag filled prams in the rain I decided to head straight back to the Earth Carers tent.

A fabulous permaculture display, including a hen with four 7 day old chicks.

Beautifully painted tins displayed on an old step ladder.

Salvaged teapots are a great way to show off plants.

I hope you manage to get to the display and have a look at all of the information. 

Take care

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Earth Caring at the Royal Show

It's that time of year again. Third term is over and the Perth Royal Show is here.  

The weather was perfect for the opening of the 8 day agricultural show. 

In the Mouse House, one kiddo loves the Show while the other shudders at the thought of it. So after organising for him to go to a mate's place, the rest of us headed off. 

I was rostered on for a three hour stint at the Earth Carers tent so made the most of the spare 20 minutes before my 2pm start time. I knew what I wanted to see so we headed straight there. 

The cakes, jams and preserved are something that I get more and more excited about the older I get. 

You know the Show is keeping with the times when dukkah has a category. 

It was great to see the pavilion was full of interested people admiring the skill involved in each of these. 

I left Mr Mouse and Baby Mouse and headed over to where I needed to be. Another great display had been prepared by the Earth Carers groups (MRC, WMRC, EMRC) with lots to see and do. 

The garden bed and planting containers have all been made from materials found in rubbish pickups. 

The very popular worm information display. 

(I am planning to make one of these. I just need to get some pipe to put in it. Bulk rubbish happening around here very soon.)

Pallet gardens are great for small areas.

It was a gorgeous afternoon spent speaking to amazing people. So many are interested in the message of less waste and are either already doing fabulous things or need that little bit if information to get started. 

I also managed to sneak a peak at the sheep dog trails opposite. 

I'm off again this afternoon so will hopefully be able to get a few more photos. 

Hopefully if you are in Perth and are going to the Royal Show you are able to wander up to the tent and have a look around. 

Take care. 

This post has all been done on my phone. Fingers crossed it works. Later today I will get a chance to come back and include some links. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Becoming Bike-Friendly

My local shopping centre isn't one of those large department store/chain store hubs where everyone in a 10 kilometre radius spends hours wandering aimlessly looking at stuff they really don't need. It consists of an IGA and half a dozen or so small independent (mainly family run) businesses. Only the locals would know it exists as it isn't on any main roads. It always surprised me that the carparks were full when most of the customers probably live within a kilometre or two.

I mentioned to one of the store-owners about a year ago that I was amazed there were no bike racks. His main argument was that you weren't supposed to bring bikes into the centre. I figured that you weren't supposed to bring cars into the centre either but there was still somewhere to park.

Imagine my excitement at walking around the corner and seeing new bike racks.

No more locking my bike to the main gates or one of the lamp poles.

Is your local centre walkable or ridable? Is you local centre bike friendly?

Take care

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where is 'Away'?

I was at the local supermarket this evening when I overhead a mum talking to her daughter about how she had bought plastic cups because that way she could thrown these 'away' and not have to worry about any washing.

These sorts of comments always leave me feeling a little sad. I wish I had to confidence to go and ask her, "Where is away?"

The answer to this always depends on your local council. It depends on your bin system, the plastics recycled in your area, as well as making sure it goes into the recycling bin rather than household rubbish. If these cups are used at a function at a park or the beach and put in the bin there, in my council these would go straight to landfill.

(If you live in the Western Metropolitan Regional Council in Perth and want to know more about where your rubbish goes, think about an Earth Carers course starting 11 September.)

So plastic cups come from petroleum which is transported to be processed, turned into cups, transported to a warehouse, then to a shop, then to a function, generally used by one person for that one function, thrown 'away', and either sent to landfill or perhaps recycled. This is just a very brief chain of event but I hope it give a bit of idea about the extraction of the resources, manufacture, transport, use and disposal of the cup. Remember that a lot of this transport would include vast distances perhaps to different countries for this cup to be used just once.

I think that using a ceramic mug or a glass is a much nicer way to consume a drink anyway. I still have some that I was given when I left home 20 years ago!

I have come across some great graphics talking about waste produced and energy used. Although the data is from the US with a much higher population that Australia, it still gives a good picture about the extent of the problem on this one planet.

The Plastics Breakdown
Savings in a Cup

So my questions to you, where is your 'away'? Do you know where your household waste goes? Where is your recycling sent?

If you don't know the answers to these questions, please contact your council and ask. They may even have a tour to show you your local landfill site or recycling facility.

Take care.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Birthday Sponge Cake

A sponge cake always makes me think of the Australian movie, The Castle, as do rissoles. "What do you call it, love?"

I invited my bestie and her kiddoes over for cake and kiddy champange (non-alcoholic)  with strawberries yesterday. Being after school I didn't want to make a cake that was too heavy and left kiddoes not wanting dinner.

Following Hugh's Victoria Sponge and Curtis Stone's icing recipe I had a birthday cake ready for when the birthday girl walked through the door.

Simple ingredients, home laid eggs and a topping of fresh fruit makes a pretty good cake in my opinion.

What do you put on a sponge cake?

Take care

PS There are a few more photos over at Instagram.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I came across this amazing video this morning via Kiddley that I just had to share.

It leaves me speechless.

Check out what the Landfill Harmonic are up to over at their website.

What do you think?

Take care

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Garden greatness

Last year I had a go at growing beetroot and was relatively happy with the result. We harvest a couple of nice sized vegetables and ate them with that feeling of pride you get when you know you have grown it.

I was out the front looking at the abundance of leafy greens and thought I should pay a little attention to the beetroot that have been pretty much neglected.


On the menu tonight will be roasted beetroot, feta and spinach pizza. Can't wait.

How is your garden growing?

Take care

Here is the cooked beetroot. I just love the colours, and the taste was fabulous.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Second Sourdough Success

I don't think the first was a fluke. Woohoo!

I got another sponge started on Saturday night and last night pulled this out of the oven.

I am loving how easily this is working for me. Fingers crossed.

Here is a quick run-down of what I am doing adapted from River Cottage Sourdough. (These instructions are probably just as much for myself in case I forget.)

The night before, start the sponge with

  • 100g starter (the original recipe says 100ml)
  • 250g bread flour
  • 300ml warm water
Mix this together to form a paste and leave covered with a cloth overnight.

In the morning, pour sponge, 300g bread flour, 10g salt and a slurp of olive oil into the bread maker. I set this on the dough cycle for about 15 minutes to do the kneading. Have second cup of tea for the day. (Very important step.)

Place the dough in oiled bowl and leave for quite a few hours until doubled in size. The time will vary according to the dough and the temperature. 

Take the dough out and place on a floured bench to very gently knock down and shape. Place loaf in tin/banneton to rise for the second time. This will take a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 250 C.

Spray loaf and inside oven with a little water. Place dough in the hot over for 10 - 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 200 C and continue cooking for 25 - 35 minutes depending on type of loaf. Spray inside oven again with water.

I have been really impressed with how this has worked (twice!) and following this method, I really think that sourdough will fit into our lifestyle as it can be left during the day to do its thing.

(Thanks cityhippyfarmgirl for all of your help and encouragement to get this up and running.)

Take care

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sourdough Success

I am constantly impressed with the lovely sourdough loaves that come out of the kitchen of cityhippyfarmgirl. I enjoyed having a go at this style of bread when we were living in Berlin, but since our return to Perth, I hadn't managed to start again. It was part not feeling like I really knew what I was doing but also that fact that adding a bit of yeast is so quick and easy.

It felt like time to give it another go.

By following instructions from here I got the starter underway about a week ago. Day by day I have added a little more flour with equal amounts of water and watched my baby grow before my eyes.

Last night I started by preparing the sponge. This isn't how I remembered doing it last time but thought that Hugh wouldn't do me wrong.

The sponge after 12 hours.
I did cheat a little as I put the sponge, flour and oil in the bread maker to do the mixing. I never seemed to be able to get this just right when I was making it last time. After about 12 minutes I took it out and gave it a token knead by hand.

About 5 hours later it had certainly more than double so took it out, gave it a very gentle pat down and pulled it tight into itself. Using the gorgeous banneton that I bought in Germany, I set the loaf to rest for the second time. This took about 2 hours and I was almost too scared to gently tip it out.

But I did.

I was so excited that I hadn't dropped the loaf and made it collapse that I forgot to slash the top. About five minutes into the back I quickly gave it one slash across the top. Mental note to self: Don't just do one slash as it looks a bit rude.

The finished loaf came out of the oven about 40 minutes later and the bigger mouse commented on how it looked like a work of art. I was pretty impressed myself but that is high praise coming from my biggest baby.

I did restrain myself and wait for it to cool. I was so happy I did. It would have to be one of the best loaves I have ever made.

Perfect accompaniment for the pot of pumpkin soup sitting on the stove.


Take care

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mid Afternoon Munchies

It is amazing how the mid afternoon munchies can sneak up and catch me completely by surprise. One minute I am happily doing whatever it is I am supposed to be doing, the next I am trawling through the pantry and fridge like a woman possessed. I thought I would be one step ahead of the munchies last week and be ready for the attack.

Straight after lunch a popped a head of garlic in the solar oven in preparation for a Roasted Garlic Hummus. The weather was gorgeous and I only needed and hour or so to get the little bulb oozing its garlicy, sweet goodness.

I slid each soft little piece out of its skin. The aroma was amazing.

With the carrots from the co-op, munchies averted!


Little Eco Footprints had the same idea last weekend. My next attempt will be using sprouted chick peas. (Check the comments at LEF). Has anyone else tried this way?

Take care

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Super Sunday Slice

In my Real Food Co-op order I made sure to include some medjool dates. Yum. And then following a trip to Kakulas Sister in Nollamara (thanks for the reminder, Libertine Eats) I had everything necessary for a Raw Choc Almond Slice. I made a few changes (almond oil instead of flax oil, agave syrup instead of sugar and honey) as well as adding some goji berry bits on the top. 

I think that this would be a great way to use some of the almond pulp left over from making almond milk. At least it gives me an excuse to make this delicious slice again.

Do you make almond milk? How do you use the pulp?

Take care

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Food Co-op

After reading a post over at Little Eco Footprints about food co-ops I thought I would have a look around where I live for one. I'm not a fan of shopping (food, clothes, anything)  so the idea of being about to buy the pantry staples without stepping foot inside a supermarket filled me with a feeling of relief.

It didn't take long and I managed to find a group and one of the pick-ups was in the next suburb! It was meant to be. I am now a member of the Read Food Co-op.

The first pick-up was last night and I was really excited to see what was inside the box. (Even though I had ordered each item, that was over a week ago and, as you might know, I have a memory like a chicken.)

There is amazing selection of seeds, nuts, rices, fruits and vegetables (organic and conventional) and more.

With all of the recent chilly weather here we have certainly had our fair share of soups, stews and curries, and a craving for green and crunchy has started to surface. Enter sprouts.  A mix of mung beans, adzuki and buckwheat (bought through the co-op) are soaking on the bench.

Is there a co-op near you?

Take care

PS Just a reminder to have a look into the Earth Carers course if you are interested.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

For the love of pie.

I love a great food autobiography. A Homemade Life (blog) and My Berlin Kitchen (blog) both fit into this category and I had been on the lookout for another when I came across Making Piece (blog).

I wont go into the story as you can find a lot of reviews and videos online for that.

I must say that reading the book certainly got the pie juices flowing and as I finished reading on a chilly Sunday afternoon I closed the book and headed straight for the kitchen.

My mum was bought up on a farm with its own orchard so as children, my sister and I never really had any of the frozen pies from the super market. Ours were always make from scratch and tasted amazing.

I followed this recipe which is included in the back of the book and started with the pastry. This would normally involve a food processor but following Beth's 'orders' in went the hands.

The flour, butter and vegetable shortening ready for me to make a start.
It all came together beautifully.

The dough divided into two, ready to be rolled into the top and bottom of the pie.

Bottom rolled and ready for the filling.

One of Beth's timesaving tips is to slice the apples straight onto the pie crust.

Ready for the oven.

Don't you just love that teatowel!


I love that feeling of satisfaction that comes from making something like this from scratch. The pie, along with some homemade custard, was dessert for Sunday night as well as breakfast for a few mornings this week.

What's your favourite pie filling?

Take care

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Earth Carers

Just a quick post to let you know that the next Earth Carers course is about to start with the Mindarie Regional Council.  If you live in the northern suburbs of Perth and want to find out more about waste, this is a great free course. I particularly loved meeting like-minded people who lived in my area.

Take care

Monday, July 29, 2013

Almond Milk Green Smoothie

The cold weather (cold for Perth) has really taken hold lately and, with the recent school holidays, the desire to stay at home snuggled in the warmth of the kitchen, very little exercise has taken place. With mornings just above 0 and rain it has been way too easy to jump in the car for the normally walkable destinations. My trousers have slowly been feeling a little tighter around the waist and leaving the warmth of bed up in the morning was becoming more of a struggle. I explained to Mr Mouse that I was feeling like a blob of playdough.

Today was the day!

With kiddoes off to school, I headed to the beach for a walk. The fresh sea air was exactly what was needed to clear out that wintery feeling.

Last night I was surprisingly organised enough to soak some almonds as I had wanted to make some almond milk. This is something I have tried a few times (inspired by Plastic Free July) and have liked but generally forget to get the almonds on the go the night before.

I followed the steps from here and soaked one cup of almonds overnight.

Soaked on the left

I rinsed the almonds about 12 hours later and added these with 3 cups of water (I find 4 cups too watery) into the blender. With a dash of agave syrup this was blended for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a paint straining bag that I bought from the hardware store, I strained out the liquid.

The remaining pulp will be dried and there are numerous recipes out there for how to use the leftover almonds. That's a whole other post.

Almonds milk made!

I'm not a huge fan of the milk on its own but as the base of a smoothie I am sold.

With all of our recent rain, the spinach has gone crazy. Armed with a bunch of the baby leaves, an apple, ice cubes and almonds milk, I was ready for breakfast.

I can feel the wintery brain-fog lifting already.

Take care
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