Since I started buying organic food, I have become more conscious than ever of wasting any precious (and expensive) nutritious food. This has resulted in some creative uses of leftovers which – even if I say so myself – have been delicious and many times downright inspired.
Today’s lunch was a simple gem of leftovers and summer herb garden alchemy.
I had some leftover roasted tomatoes from Sunday and some left over garlic bread from Monday night. Both too good to waste. So I made my own roasted tomato bruschetta.
I chopped up the tomatoes which had been roasted in olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper, added some finely chopped red onion and picked some fresh basil from the garden.
I fried the leftover garlic bread in a frypan on medium heat until both sides were golden brown.
Then I added the basil – torn into small pieces – to the tomato and onion mix, stirred it well and spooned it on the top of the garlic bread
It turned out remarkably well, I even indulged a little la dolce vita and poured myself a small glass of red vino to wash it all down – another rustic and delicious meal of leftovers!
I had a wonderfully quiet Christmas with just a few family around me. Mr D went with his father for a couple of nights so I had a much needed, relaxing break. Just enough to recharge before the madness began again with my good friend Rita arriving from chilly Ireland on the Wednesday after Christmas.
After 10 daze of pure indulgence and uncharacteristic partying, I am finally beginning to return to a normal schedule. I am still struggling with inspiration. I’m sure it will return soon.
I created this version of Rumballs on Christmas eve and have made two delectable batches of them ‘cos one batch just wasn’t enough! They were a huge hit with family and friends and I will definitely be making them again. They are chock full of yumminess and fairly boozy, so parental guidance is recommended for the littlies.
I actually caught Mr D with his fingers in the bowl saying “yummy mum, mmmmm yummy chocolate….” when I walked back into the kitchen after answering the phone… After a small panic attack because I’d already added the rum, I covered the mixture and popped it in the fridge out of reach. Thankfully he didn’t appear drunk, he always slurs his words a bit… :-0!
300g plain sweet biscuits crushed
1 tin condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut
6 tblsp good quality cocoa
1/4 cup raisins chopped
6 tblsp dark rum
250g block of good quality dark cooking chocolate, like Green and Blacks or Lindt
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except cooking chocolate
2. Refrigerate for several hours – overnight is best.
3. Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
4. Melt chocolate either in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave.
5. Use toothpicks to pick up the rumballs and dip them into the melted chocolate and place onto baking paper.
6. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm – this doesn’t take long.
Here is an awful picture of my rumballs they actually look a lot better than that in the flesh and taste – amazing! My beautiful Irish friend loved both my rumballs and my margarita’s so much, she decided they were worth combining and popped a rumball on top of her drink! Cheers!
Finally, I have been able to get through all the madness of Christmas and the New Year and write a post about the arrival and construction of the chicken coop and the arrival of the much anticipated chickens.
The coop arrived on the Tuesday before Christmas – just in the nick of time – I had arranged to pick up the chickens the following day! Not much time to attend to any problems we may have encountered with the build!
The coop was flat packed in 2 boxes and I needed a hand to assemble the pieces. So, with speed and haste my trusty new assistant Ms A (another Ms A – this Ms A hails from the U.S of A.. . seems like everyone wants to live in Australia!) arrived. As Ms A only had 2hrs to spare we were pushed for time should anything go wrong. We discovered that the chicken house didn't have an inbuilt floor so had to make an emergency dash to the hardware store to purchase a sheet of wire mesh to build the coop on top of. I bought a packet of cable ties to tie the coop to the mesh so it would be vermin and dog proof.
The instructions were a single piece of A4 paper with 4 diagrams – the coop in various stages of construction with some arrows with letters and numbers indicating which screws went in which pre-drilled holes. Shit.
At first Ms A and I just looked at each other in disbelief! We decided to pull all of the pieces out of the boxes and place them around the site, leaning them against fences and potted plants in roughly the orientations they would be fixed in. Then we spotted the small knobs of dowell sticking out of many of the pieces and the corresponding holes on other pieces – success! This made the assembly much easier, the coop fitted together easier than expected and we put it together in about 1.5hrs, including the trip to the hardware store. I was really impressed how easy it came together in the end – and it really looks as good as the one in the picture from ebay!
Wow – Completion!
And the biggest bonus of the build… Mr D i mean Farmer D, got to make a farmhouse and a shed out of the boxes at the end of the build! Yay for cardboard boxes!
Farmer D's farmhouse in back and shed in the foreground.
Farmhouse in the foreground
I brought the girls home the following afternoon, so the lovely ladies have a beautiful new home. I couldn't resist getting more than 2 chickens so… I've ended up with 4… 2 Plymouth Rocks as I wanted – Verlie and Leila, and 2 Bantam Rhode Island Reds – Mable and Lily. All good family names. They are getting on marvelously so far. They are only 12 weeks old so no eggs yet. Stay tuned, I won't be able to contain my eggcitement (pun intended) the moment the first egg appears!
This is a quick recap and update on the Fish Fight Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been researching and filming.
Basically this is the picture…
Half of all fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back overboard dead
Hugh has been traveling around the UK countryside talking to fishermen, marine conservationists, politicians, supermarket bosses and the fish eating public. The result is a series going to air this month on Channel 4 in UK.
Hugh is looking for public support. You don’t have to live in the UK or even in Europe to support Hugh and his collection of star studded celebrity chefs, actors, comedians and the like on their crusade to change this outrageous waste of food.
Put simply, there are very popular types of fish which have a limit or quota as to how many can be caught and brought to shore. It is unavoidable that many other fish are caught too. These are the poor little mites which are then thrown back (the majority of them dead) as they are the “unwanted” species.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with one of the most popular species of fish – Cod
Hugh, and his supporters aim to have an influence in the new policies which will be negotiated soon. He doesn’t aim to be a policy dictator but help the decision makers to see the consequences of their decisions. GO YOU GOOD THING!
You can join the fight and help support major policy change by signing up for the fish fight here. Go on – you know you want to!
Wow, it’s the beginning of another year. The end of the old. A fresh start. Commitment to changes, resolutions, intentions, dreams. It’s a great time of year here in Australia, the sun is shining, the weather is warm and anything is possible. I love it!
I also love to bring the New Year in with my friends and my favourite cocktail – the Margarita. As my Irish pal Rita is staying with me for a couple of weeks, it seemed especially fitting that we celebrate the marking of time with a cocktail containing her name.
I have to extend my sincere thanks to Rita as Rita is singly responsible for introducing me to a lovable but spectacularly cringe-worthy Irish Band called Crystal Swing with their “hit” single “He drinks Tequila” (which we watched and laughing hysterically at while drinking Tequila-soaked Margaritas). Take a look at the video below for a giggle.
OK, the perfect Margarita – Megsie stylee – goes like this and should have you talking dirty in Spanish – pronto!:
1/3 cup tequila
1/3 cup triple sec
1/4 cup lemon juice
Lemon or lime wedges to decorate
4 Margarita glasses or cocktail glasses of your choice
1. Place tequila, triple sec and lemon juice into blender.
2. Fill blender (to the top) loosely with ice.
3. Blend on high speed until the mixture has no big lumps and looks like a slushie.
4. Shake some salt onto a side plate
5. Rub the rim of the 4 glasses with a wedge of lemon or lime
6. Turn glasses upside down into the salt to rim them with a crust of salt.
7. Pour Margarita mix into glasses
8. Garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime
10. Watch following video…
11. Cringe a lot… Gotta love Mum playing the keyboard!
Several weeks ago I wrote a post about an invasion of fungus gnats in one of my indoor pot plants. Well, I’ve been patiently waiting to see if the vinegar method I’ve been using had any effect on the fungus gnat population. It hasn’t… In the meantime I’ve been researching other possible means of eradication.
Thanks to the most wonderful local organic farmer Terry and his exhaustive knowledge of environmentally sound pest control methods, I have found an eco-friendly solution. Neem oil.
Neem oil is the naturally occurring oil cold pressed from the kernels of the Neem tree. It is a natural antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. The tree has developed it’s own highly effective insecticidal and therapeutic properties to protect itself from insect and fungi. Using a solution of Neem oil as a flush for the pot plant effectively and safely rids the plant of fungus gnats. Neem oil can also be safely used outdoors on the garden to control of two-spotted Mites, Whitefly and Aphids.
Summer is the perfect time to give the bricks on your fireplace a clean. It’s great to get this job completed so you can enjoy your clean fireplace over Christmas and it will be ready and waiting for a crackling fire when the cool weather inevitably makes it’s presence felt in a few months time.
This method is environmentally friendly, simple and effective.
1. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray onto the bricks.