Monday, August 30, 2010

Ferment Hotcakes

Following on from my last post where I tried my hand at sourdough hotcakes, I wanted to give one of my Dad's recipes a try. So here is my version of Dad's Wholemeal Rolled Oat Hotcakes (ferment) circa 1974.


1 cup meal (not sure what he actually meant, I used 1/2 cornmeal & 1/2 almond meal)

1/2 cup plain flour

1 1/2 cups wholemeal SR flour

2 tbsp wheatgerm (I left that out)

2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
Milk (how much Dad?) I used about 1 1/4 cups

1 tsp compressed yeast (I used 1/2 tsp dried yeast)

1/2 cup rolled oats
50g ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) I didn't have any, so not used


Soak rolled oats and ascorbic acid in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a bay and add beaten eggs, milk and yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup water, then add rolled oats in water.

At this point I mixed the lot together, Dad didn't mention doing that but I'm sure he meant to

Cover with a cloth and stand for 45 minutes

Stir mix again and stand for 10 minutes

Cook on hot plate

All ingredients combined

After 45 minutes resting

The finished product

Dad made a comment on his recipe 'very good' and they were good.
Perhaps a little on the heavy side, next time I will use half wholemeal and half plain flour and the ascorbic acid to see if that lightens the mix.

Hope you have a great day

Cheers Lisa

Friday, August 27, 2010

What's for breakfast

I've been wanting to try to make sourdough for some time now, but have been put off by stories of failures etc. Anyway I finally made a quick overnight version the other day, using dried yeast as part of the starter (cheating I know).

I found a recipe for Sourdough Hotcakes at Food Vancouver , here are the results!

Quick sourdough starter

I had wondered if the jar was going to be too small and guess what it was LOL. Thank goodness I secured the cloth over the top.

The batter - its looking at bit stringy

Not sure about the lack of liquid ingredients in this recipe, I had to add about 3/4 cup of milk to get the batter to a mixable consistency. This over mixing resulted in rather tough hotcakes. Think I might send them a quick email and ask if they left out anything :)

The end product - Sourdough Hotcakes

Due to over mixing they were a bit rubbery, but the taste was really nice, definitely a bit of of a sour tang there. Shame I didn't have any maple syrup, just had to settle for butter and honey.

I found a recipe of my Dad's for ferment hotcakes, so I'll give that a try next. Now I wonder what else I can do with sourdough starter...lookout maybe a loaf of bread!

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recycling and renewable buildings

Whilst watching Dateline on SBS last night, I saw this fantastic story about a couple and their renewable home in Brazil. You can watch the story here Renewable House

What an inspiring couple, not only building sustainable homes but providing employment for the poorest in their village.

I'd love a house like that, so much character and a bit quirky to boot!

Update on bamboo toothbrush - fantastic idea, however not soft enough bristles for my sensitive gums :(
I'll have to try and find a brush with a replaceable head.

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday cook off

Did the usual trip to the local markets this morning for our weekly fruit and veg. Again no organic man at the first market so no garlic or eggs...rats!
I did however buy my first mango for the season, technically not local as they traveled from the Northern Territory but they smell wonderful.

Next weekend I'm planning on going to the Northey Street Sunday Markets for my dose of organic and permaculture goodness. I love going there, beautiful organic produce and a very inspiring permaculture market garden to wander through.

My lovely partner Tony has decided that we should incorporate a few raw meals a week into our diet, (thud!) yes that was me falling over in shock. Who would have thought my meat eating bloke would be interested in RAW food. I must admit he is happy to eat salad, so I'll just try and expand on that to begin with. I think this is the reason he is keen to try raw food and the fact that it might be good for his health and waistline. Robyn is the daughter of the manager of the gym we go to. The whole family are glowing with health and fitness!

Today I had a bit of a cooking day, starting with some bread baking, our favourite at the moment Light oat and wholemeal.

Now that the weather is warming up I fancied a cool drink so a batch orange and passionfruit cordial was in order. I have bottles of orange juice and passionfruit in the freezer just for these occasions.

Last but not least dinner, I must confess I nicked this combination from the local bowls club, I had this for dinner the last time we dined there.

My version of grilled haloumi with green salad and a sweet chili and lemon dressing

1 block of organic haloumi
Mixed green salad (this had different varieties of lettuce, baby spinach, mint, parsley and snow peas)
Cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Prepare the salad, wash the greens well and either spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry on a tea towel, place in a mixing bowl, add sliced snow peas and tomatoes that have been halved or quartered, mix to combine.

Make the dressing by combining the sweet chili sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper. Mix well, taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary.

Cut the haloumi into 1 cm slices or just a tad thinner, dip slices into a bowl of fresh water, this helps remove the brine the cheese is stored in.
Pat dry, then lightly dust the cheese with seasoned flour, drizzle over a little olive oil.
Heat a grill or frying pan, when hot cook the cheese slices for about 2 minutes each side, till nicely browned.
To serve, pile up salad on the plate, add slices of grilled haloumi then drizzle dressing over the salad. The meal was completed with a couple of slices of lightly toasted bread.

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Friday, August 20, 2010

Marble cake and puppies

Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to visit some friends who's Great Dane bitch had had her first litter of puppies. The pups are two weeks old now, all 18 of them! Yes that is correct, 18 puppies. Its an around the clock task to ensure they all get a good feed from Mum, each feeding time taking around three hours. I take my hat off to Louise and Peter and their three kids, what a job. Silly me I forgot to take my camera, suffice to say it was like a sea of squirming little bodies. So cute.

Knowing that a homemade cake would not be high on their list of priorities, I decided to give this recipe a go. My Mum use to bake this cake for special occasions and I believe the recipe came with the cake tin.

Continental Marble Cake
3 1/2 oz melted butter
5 oz SR flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons warm water
3 eggs
8 oz caster sugar
grated rind of a lemon
2 oz milk

I would suggest using a stand mixer for this recipe

Grease and flour a fancy ring tin (the actual tin Mum used was a spring form ring tin)
Preheat oven to Moderate (180C)
Sift flour and a pinch of salt together
Beat eggs until foamy
Add sugar and continue mixing until thick and ribbon like
Gently fold in flour, lemon rind, milk and melted butter, don't over mix the batter
Mix the cocoa and warm water together until dissolved
Take out 1/3 of the mixture and add the dissolved cocoa mix
Pour the remaining cake batter into the prepared tin
Spoon the chocolate batter into the tin and gently swirl the mix with a knife to achieve the marble effect
Bake in a moderate oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 5 - 10 minutes then remove from tin.
When cold, place the cake on a rack over a plate and drizzle thin chocolate icing over cake to decorate

1 cup of pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon of butter
1 - 2 tablespoons of milk

Place icing sugar, butter and milk in a mixing bowl, sit in a larger bowl or kitchen sink containing hot water. Mix well, continue mixing, add a little more milk if it is too thick. The icing should run off your spoon but still be thick enough to coat the cake.

The texture of the cake is spongy, different to a cake made creaming butter and sugar together. Lovely and moist with a hint of lemon.

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I try my hardest to recycle most things that come into our home. That philosophy even extends to bringing home (rubbish) items from my work place to use at home. I'm sure my partner and my workmates think I'm slightly nutty, always asking can that be recycled?

Unfortunately the only recycling that goes on at work is paper and cardboard. Forget the rest, we don't even have a council recycling bin for cans and bottles...shame! The amount of plastic and packaging that comes in and out of our shop each week makes me want to cry, and we are only a very small business. I can't imagine how much waste is generated by a large business.

I now limit the amount of stuff I bring home to the following -
  • chook/bird food sacks - great for collecting weeds in or storing compost etc
  • the cotton string from these sacks
  • plastic treat containers with screw top lids - used to store homemade washing powder and cleaning products
  • plastic net bags
The cotton string and net bags are used to make scourers for use when washing the dishes. I'm sure if I keep collecting the string I'll have enough to knit some dishcloths as well.

Here is my little tutorial on how to make a kitchen scourer. I did a very similar post at the Down to Earth Forum some time ago.

Materials needed

Net bags - some are from work others have been saved from the fruit and veg market
Cotton string from bulk feed bags or flour bags or two strands of 4 ply cotton yarn
Size 5.5mm knitting needles

How to

Cut the net bags into 3cm/1 1/2" strips, then cut the strip once to form a long piece, tie the pieces end to end, trim the excess net at the knots, then wind into a ball.
You need about one and a half bags per scourer
Tie the cotton strands end to end (trim the knots as you go) to form a long piece of yarn. Wind two strands of cotton yarn into a ball, same length as the net yarn.

Using the net and cotton yarns together cast on 16 stitches or more and work in garter stitch (knit all rows) until the desired length is reached, cast off and work in the ends.
You might need to add more cotton or net as you knit, just tie ends together and continue on.

The finished scourer, great for the kitchen or bathroom.

I always wash them in plain soap before use, as the cotton can sometimes be rather dirty. Mine are washed weekly with the dishcloths and tea towels.

Unfortunately the plastic net will not breakdown but at least its been reused and kept out of land fill for a considerable amount of time.

Still in the recycling theme, here is my new toothbrush.

The Enviro Toothbrush to be precise. Made from bamboo and polymer bristles. The toothbrush can be composted with your normal garden waste. Pretty fancy hey!

I reuse all our old toothbrushes for cleaning etc, but there comes a time when you run out of uses for them.
Here are some other useful ways to reuse your toothbrushes and a great toothbrush recycling idea for the kids.

What unusual items do you recycle?

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Family fun

Oh I feel terrible, I've really been neglecting my blog these past few weeks. My boss has been on holidays so I've had to cover two extra shifts a week, not leaving much time to spare.

To keep things ticking over till I have more time next week and to give you a bit of a giggle, I decided to post one of my favourite family photos. This would be circa 1974 judging by my lovely hairstyle. The photo was taken for an article in our local newspaper, advertising the yoga class that my family attended. Thankfully the photo didn't make the paper, my sister and I would have died from embarrassment!

As you can see we didn't do the normal run of the mill family activities.

My sister, Dad and Me

The family that contorts together...............?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My new girls - chooks that is

Its been about two and a half years since we had any chooks or ducks, gosh I've really missed them. As we were in the process of moving to Tassie we had to rehome our little bantams and ducks. That dream is on hold for the foreseeable future, so I'm going to try my best to 'Bloom Where You're Planted'.

Here they are

Left - two Light Sussex who are about 9 weeks old, then two Barnevelders 8 weeks old, bit of a size difference

Our solo New Hampshire - We were very tempted to get a second

Isn't she sweet

All snuggled up for a sleep after breakfast

These girls will be housed in our old duck shed, being standard size they will be too big for our chook tractor. We'll use that as temporary housing over the garden beds when we want the soil enriched and turned over.

Now I need to think of names for them....

Monday, August 9, 2010

My garden

I don't often mention my garden, really there isn't much to talk about, apart from neglect.

My potted herbs all need re-potting but are doing ok, except for the sage that is under constant attack from grasshoppers. The mandarin tree gave us a lovely crop this year as did the cherry tomatoes. I even have a couple of self seeded tomatoes growing nicely.

At last I finally have something positive to report, things are happening out in the backyard. Trees have been trimmed, plans have been made, beds are under construction, a free shade house found a home in our yard and the best news of all, my chickadees have finally arrived....hurray!

We picked up our little feathered friends late this afternoon. Five eight week old girls, two Light Sussex, two Double Laced Barnevelder and one New Hampshire. I'll post some photos tomorrow, its so exciting!

Cheers for now

Friday, August 6, 2010

Free for the picking

Look at these lovely lemons

My dear Tony found a lemon tree in a park whilst walking the dogs, I tried one and it tasted wonderful. This morning Tony and the two dogs returned to the park to collect some more.

Picture this, a 40 plus year old bloke with two dogs in tow, carrying a fishing rod to the park (he needed something to dislodge the bounty). Thankfully he changed his mind and decided to find a branch in another park to do the job.

These lovely lemons are destined to become lemon curd and to be used in a cheesecake, that Tony has volunteered me to make. I'm thinking white chocolate and lemon curd. I had hoped to make my own quark for the cheesecake but I've just run out of time. Next time!

Don't you just love finding these little freebies

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Green and super clean - part 2

Following on from my green cleaning post the other day. Scouring powder - this is great in the bathroom and kitchen, very easy to make and use. 1 part washing soda 4 parts bi-carb soda Mix well and store in an airtight container. I use a flour shaker to sprinkle it around the bath or shower recess. Apply with a damp cloth or you could make it into a paste with water and apply to stubborn stains. Rinse well after use. I've been trying to find a homemade wool wash recipe for ages. At last I found this one, they say its good for pet bedding as well. I've not used it yet, hopefully tomorrow. Wool wash 300g soap flakes 200ml methylated spirits 50ml eucalyptus oil Place soap flakes and metho in a wide mouthed screw top jar, add oil and stir well. Use 1 tablespoon per garment, mix with a small amount of hot water to dissolve, then add to washing water. I only made half the amount today, enough to try it on the dog beds and some woollens.

Not all soap shavings dissolved, it took ages to reach this stage

I found the recipe here What they don't tell you in the instructions is that it takes ages for the ingredients to mix into a gel. I'm talking 30 minutes plus. I think you would achieve the desired results quicker using finely ground soap flakes, not big chunky ones like mine. I'd love to hear if you have any favourite cleaning recipes that I could try. Hope you have a lovely day Cheers Lisa

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pooped already!

I've got a long day today, work from 10 - 6, get home at 7pm then a physio appointment at 8.15 tonight. Knowing that I would be really pushed for time I got up early this morning and made dinner. So tonight we are having pumpkin and vegetable soup followed by apricot crumble and custard.

I surprise myself sometimes when I'm organised, its amazing how much you can get done in two hours.

Yesterdays baking - Double Chocolate and Date Muffins

3/4 cup dates, chopped
3/4 cup boiling water
100g soft butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, almonds or macadamia nuts
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon bi-carb dissolved in 1/4 cup milk (I used yohurt today)
1 3/4 cups SR flour - (I substitute 2 tablespoons of flour with cocoa)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 200C
Place dates in a large mixing bowl, pour boiling water over dates
Add butter in small pieces, stir until melted
Add sugar, nuts, chocolate chips, egg, vanilla essence, soda and milk mixture and mix well
Sifted the flour and cocoa together then gently fold in, don't over mix
Spoon into greased or papered muffin tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

If you feel like being really decadent you could ice these beauties with a lovely chocolate butter icing.

Hope you have a lovely day
Cheers Lisa

Monday, August 2, 2010

Green and super clean

I had a rather productive day today, did the usual bed making, four loads of washing, sweeping and washing up. I whipped up a big batch of vegetable mix for the dogs, portioned that out and froze it. I noticed that some of my cleaning products were running low and needed replenishing , so today was the day.

  • Two batches of washing powder - done

  • Homemade liquid hand wash - done

  • All purpose cleaner - done

  • Scouring powder - ran out of bi-carb, will finish tomorrow

  • Wool wash - I ran out of oomph and couldn't be bothered, added to tomorrows list

I always enjoy having a look at what others use to clean their homes, you can often pick up some new recipes and ideas. Here are my favourites and a new formula to try. Washing powder 4 cups of grated plain soap - I used my homemade laundry soap 2 cups borax - omit if using your grey water on the garden, it can be toxic to the plants 2 cups washing soda 1 cup bi-carb soda Grate the soap - I use an old food processor for this job.

Mix the other ingredients with the grated soap. I then mix the lot in the food processor (small batches at a time) to ensure it is thoroughly combined and in powder form. Much easier to dissolve this way.
I store the powder in recycled dog treat containers - I have a never ending supply from work
For a heavy duty powder - replace 2 cups of plain soap with a stain remover soap (Sard in Australia). I used my homemade soap that I added eucalyptus oil to. To use - dissolve two tablespoons of powder in a small amount of very hot water, mix it till the soap is soft and almost dissolved. I then fill my small container with more hot water and continue mixing till all dissolved. This should only take a couple of minutes. Then add to your machine. For fabric softener, I use three tablespoons of white vinegar and a few drops of lavender essential oil in the fabric conditioner compartment. Homemade liquid hand soap 1 bar of soap - any kind (this one is homemade goats milk soap) Vegetable glycerine 4 cups of water Essential oil of your choice Grate the soap and place in a saucepan with 4 cups of water Stir over a medium to low heat until the soap is dissolved, allow to cool a little. I then add some vegetable glycerine, between 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon. The amount you use will depend on how thick the mixture is. Remember that it will thicken more on cooling. I then add some essential oil, about 5 - 10 drops. I store it in old vinegar bottles and dispense into pump bottles. Shake well before use. If the mixture is too thick add more water. When using homemade soap this mixture seems similar to a castile liquid soap. I've made it with commercially made soap with very different results. More like a thick slimy mess. General purpose cleaner This recipe is based on one I found at Simple Savings. 1L water 200ml white vinegar 40ml detergent 40 ml eucalyptus or tea tree oil 3 tablespoons of washing soda I also add about 8 - 10 drops of Lemon Myrtle essential oil Mix all ingredients together, I store it in a old vinegar bottle, shake well before use. Can be use neat in a spray bottle or mix 1/2 a cup in a bucket of warm water to wash floors and walls. Remember to mark all reused bottles or containers clearly, to avoid any accidents. Blimey I've rambled on too long, check back tomorrow for the other two cleaning recipes. Hope you have a lovely day Cheers Lisa