Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Orange Crush

  1. REM Orange Crush - soundtrack of my youth 
  2. A different kind of Orange Crush. Swooning over 10kg mixed box of delicious citrus sent straight after picking, from the grower to us. Purchased from Fresh Citrus Direct. Amazingly sweet navels, tasty pink Cara Cara oranges, unwaxed lemons, perfect mandarines and tangy tangellos and grapefruit. A box of sunshine, lasted us 2 weeks and we've just ordered the next one, 15kg this time. 
  3. Navel Orange
  4. Cara Cara Pink Orange, my favourite in the box
  5. Caramelised oranges on pancakes
  6. Orange and onion salad - slice thinly and serve with a vinaigrette
  7. Peels - saved because they looked to good to throw away.
  8. Vinegar and orange cleaning solution
  9. Happy little ones
  10. Monkey boy
  11. slices of peel that have been cooked in water for 2 minutes - three times to remove bitterness
  12. Drying candied orange peel - in the oven and then overnight on the rangehood. recipe here
  13. Made 2 jars of candied peel, a delicious treat and great hit of Vitamin C
  14. Next time I would save some in the orange syrup to add to a cake - maybe for Christmas cakes
  15. Drying peel by the fire to act as fire-lighters, the oil really glows. Got the idea from this great blog
  16. 25 uses for citrus peel - who knew? Next on my list - lemon tart, lemon butter, and marmalade.
  17. How you dance to the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons - such a disturbing ending
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

I wish I'd planted more citrus when we first came here, there is nothing like freshly picked oranges in winter, even if it is a little cold for them to do their best. I have a Kaffir lime, cumquat, tahitian lime, a finger lime and two small lemon trees, they're remarkably tough, although look a little sad this time of year. I think a Cara Cara Orange would be a tasty addition.

For more on why you shouldn't throw out your orange peel visit

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Stroll in the Garden

When I visit someone's house I love to be taken on a guided tour around the garden, big or small, neat or messy, it matters not. I was privileged to get a great guided tour recently when dropping off my daughter on a play-date. There were seedlings thriving in the hothouse, newly planted beds, chooks, vegies in abundance, and problems to solve... I was in gardening heaven. When my partner returned to pick up our daughter he came home with her and a bottle of a milky coloured spray. It was some Envy to put on my citrus to help protect them from frost (I'd mentioned they were looking a bit sad). My friend had mixed up too much and didn't want to see it go to waste. A whole world of plant care I knew nothing about, apparently its good for using in the hotter months too.

Inside is interesting, but outside is where its really at for me. My Nannas were big on a garden tour too. We would have a cup of tea, perhaps a scone or a cheeky bit of slice, make ourselves comfy, and then receive the most delightful offer "Want to come on a stroll around the garden?" Their gardens ever changing landscapes always had something to delight in and learn from, there was something beautiful in flower, a tiny bulb or a haze of smoke bush, a bed of pansies or a beautifully scented rose, a plant name to learn, and often something to eat on their well tended fruit trees. They knew how to delight in the little things and their enthusiasm was infectious. One lived in Ballarat and the other hailed from Merbein (near Mildura), very contrasting climates, each presenting their own unique gardening challenges. After a visit you never went home empty handed, a bulb dug up, or a cutting taken, a jar of jam or pickles.

Why don't you come for a stroll with me.

Here's a little visitor from my garden yesterday, you'll need good vision to spot him, this Scarlet Robin was the highlight of my day.

Monday, July 8, 2013


I've had a touch of blogitis, here is a look at what we've been up to.

At school there has been a complete rejuvenation of the extensive vegie patches, with new manure enriched compost and brick steps to stop the children compacting the soil. We planted lots of garlic, peas, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli... each class now has a vegie patch space to care for and a crop rotation system was devised. The place has never looked so organised thanks to some very dedicated volunteers.  A couple of the prep dads put together this wonderful tin man with mint hair, he is the envy of all of the other grades.

  There was a magnificent winter solstice with stories, soup, wood fired pizzas and a huge bonfire. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture in the daylight but a huge tee-pee stood proudly over the fire.  Each stick had been lovingly decorated by the students with bits of old fabric.

 There has been much crafting indoors and some quality time with teddy.  He even joined in on the June birthdays and had a party of his own.

 Our Schleich animal collection is one of the most played with toys in our house, and a peacock proudly joined the gang. 

 There has been lots of colourful soup, pink cauliflower soup, orange pumpkin soup and yellow corn soup have all been on the menu.
 The middle child is now obsessed with Harry Potter, great to see him passionate about books, although its quite obsessive.

The bread-maker has been getting a renewed workout, these cinnamon scrolls were one of our favourite creations.

 Mr Bowerbird had a sticky date pudding cake for his birthday and we had a beautiful day celebrating at a Kyneton winery.

 For my party there were Trentham spuds baked in the Coonara and a mushroom cake decorated with marshmallows and slices of apple. I shared a party with a good friend and was humbled by the generosity of food and gifts people brought along.

For wonderful detailed instructions on how to make this cake see the link above.  The chocolate cake recipe seems very weird but is actually very tasty and generous in size.