Baking, Foody things, Uncategorized

Pumpkin pie recipe

I was asked on instagram to share my pumpkin pie recipe and as it’s a family favourite I thought it would be a good one to add to the blog.I’ve been thinking recently I’d like to publish the blog one day to pass the recipes and story if our journey down to our kids when they are older.I love using sweet pumpkins for our pumpkin pie so home grown varieties are usually better but any old pumpkin will do.You can either boil the pumpkin to make a pulp or roast. Either way will be delicious!Pumpkin pie recipePastryI use a basic shortcrust but you could use whatever you favourite recipe is

  • 2 CUPS (300G) PLAIN (ALL-PURPOSE) FLOUR
  • 145G BUTTER
  • 2–3 TABLESPOONS ICED WATER
  1. Process the flour and butter in a food processor or using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs., add enough iced water to form a smooth dough. Knead very lightly then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to use, roll out on a lightly floured surface until 3mm (1/8 in) thick.

To bake blind – to produce a crisp tart shell ready to be filled with wet ingredients – top the pastry-lined tart tin or tins with a piece of non-stick baking paper that extends past the edge of the tin. Fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice or beans. Place on a baking tray and bake in a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the pastry is golden

Pie filling1&1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1/2c sugar of choice2/3cup milk powder2 eggs1teaspoon cinnamon1/2tsp ginger1/4 tsp ground cloves1/4tsp nutmeg1/2cup creamMethodMix all the ingredients together until smooth. If mix is too stiff add a little water.Pour into prepared our crust and bake at 180C for 40minutes or until mix is giggly and not sloppyLeave to cool then complete cooling in fridge to set.Enjoy!

Uncategorized

Winter

Winter has come fast and fierce but still we are not getting enough rain. Part of me is thankful as it means it’s easier to get outside and get jobs done but the other last is worried for our water supply and what summer will bring.

The days are very short herein winter. It’s pitch black and freezing until 7:30 when it’s still freezing but we can at least see.

We still need to get out and get the animals jobs done but the kids opt more often than not to stay inside until midday when it warms up a bit. By 3pm it’s getting dark and cold again and we need to go back out and lock everything up for the night. It gets tedious but as we feel it flying by I know it won’t be for long.

We’ve been doing lots about the property my bit of landscaping for the kids area is nearly finished and I think I’ll have just enough of the oak chip from the fallen tree to finish it.

Next will be the sandpit and I’m debating building a pallet sandpit over the natural rocks because the high winds here will blow the tarp away and the cats will definitely poop in it!

The young pullets have all started laying again and we’ve forgiven the chickens for the Two months we had to buy eggs. We’ll be looking in to getting our egg stamp so we can sell excess eggs and hopefully make the chickens self sufficient by using the money for their feed.

The pigs are getting huge and we are looking forward to turning that area into garden. The butcher will be here late July just in time for us to get garden beds ready for spring.

Dane’s been working hard at getting a little barn fixed up for our rabbit program.

The doe we were given a few months ago is due and our other doe we’ve just joined with our buck. He’s got a rare cyst developed in his eye that the vet will remove but with advice that they will likely grow back so we’ve had to move the breeding forward just in case we loose him.

Today we for some jobs around the property knocked over . Getting the burn piles done and bringing up old tyres for a landscaping project. Again I longed for a woodchipper but that’s something that will need to wait a while.

Anyways that’s all for now we are keeping well, happy and healthy!

Uncategorized

Autumn Equinox

We are past the Autumn equinox now and the days are a muddle of hot then cold. We are still resisting putting the fire on for the cold days but are aware that our woodpiles need to be doubled to get through the cold Tasmanian winters.

I haven’t been posting much in social media recently as I’m trying to focus my energy in family and creating crochet and felt items for the big market I’m having a stall at in July.

I’ve also been socialising far too much knowing soon we’ll all start hibernating and not go out so much.

I do love Autumn in Tasmania we still get some lovely warm days , there’s still tomatoes galore in the garden and plenty of things to forage.

My main focus in the garden now is the tomatoes trying to decide if we pull them up and plant out our brassicas and winter veg.

It’s coming to our one year anniversary here and if you know our story when we moved to this rental Banjo was in a Spica cast and not working. Sometimes much has happened this last year with Embers birth that I feel this year we will put lots of good energy into the place.

We recently got a British giant Doe from littletassieprepper.com and we are planning to fix up a little shed and make a area for her and our Angora buck. They will be separate but have access to get to know each other before breeding time.

Our landlord has also given us permission to get dairy goats so we are busy making plans to do fencing work. I’ve wanted goats for the longest time and I am really looking forward to this next step.

We are getting prepared to pack down our two beehives for winter and will be having help from Tasmanian natural beekeeper Ronnie. She is a wealth of knowledge and I’m looking forward to hearing her advice.

Other than that we plod along. I’m looking forward to slowing down, making plans for the next year.

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Wholemeal honey cake recipe

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while. In fact I’ve got about ten mentally prepared blog posts waiting!

This honey cake was one I took to a friends gathering a few weeks back and we loved it so much I knew I needed to write down the recipe before I forget!

I adapted this from the River cottage everyday cookbook recipe. There’s only slight changes I use less sugar and instead of almonds on top I used pimentos and served with home made ricotta. If you want the original recipe I highly recommend buying Hughs book as there’s lots of really great recipes in it.

Honey Wholemeal cake

Ingredients

300g butter – I use salted and don’t add extra salt to the batter

4 eggs

80g brown sugar

150g wholemeal flour

2tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

150g ground almonds

50g pimentos (or almond flakes, walnuts ect)

4 tablespoons Honey

Method

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease your cake pan. I use a round springform pan but whatever you have on hand is fine. I save my butter wrappers to use for greasing and baking

Put softened butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together then beat in eggs one at a time and add a spoonful of flour with each egg

Fold in ground almonds then add in remaining flour ,baking powder and bicarb. You can sift it if you want a lighter cake.

Scrape the mix into your prepared pan and bake in the oven for 35-40mins or when the knife comes out clean

Take from oven and while the cake is hot poke holes all through the cake with a skewer and drizzle honey over.

When cake is cool top with ricotta and pimentos then drizzle extra honey over the top.

Enjoy!

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Tasmanian Bush fires

We’ll we’ve had quite a unplanned adventure the last few weeks when we really would have rather been in the garden!

Dane had been working long hours at the orchards while I was holding fort with the kids at home. We were both so exhausted and barely able to say two words to each other before falling asleep of the evening.

I remember putting Banjo our 4 year old to bed one night when there was a huge bang of thunder.

Thunder storms are unusual in our part of the world and this one was powerful. We saw lightening strike at the end of our street then all was quiet.

The next morning we noticed smoke and checked the fire site online to discover the lightening had started several fires across the state and a fire at the end of our street.

Luckily they got the fire on our street under control fairly quickly, The kids loved seeing the helicopter fly low over the paddocks and put their siren on for them.

Quickly we went back to our normal routine of work, kids and chaos not knowing what the next weeks would bring.

We were excited when Dane finally had three days off and had lots of plans to do garden and bee jobs.

One of the Fires in the Tahune wilderness had grown larger so we vaguely kept a eye on the TFS alert page and listened to the radio for any changes.

We spent the morning collecting chamomile to harvest and I noticed I had lots of messages. When I checked I saw we had been upgraded to emergency level and advised to leave the area.

Our next few hours were spent wrangling chickens, packing essentials and listening to the fire news which was sounding ominous and saying the fire was quickly growing.

Eventually that afternoon we got to the evacuation centre where we slept 2 nights inside and 3 out in a tent we borrowed from friends.

It was very stressful being away from home but it showed us how special our community is. We made new friends in the evacuation centre and had lots of offers of help from friends which we really appreciated.

We are now back home and while the fire keeps burning , we remain on advice warning and the sound of the helicopters send us ridged. The smoke has cleared and we feel safe to get back to business.

We feel very lucky we could come home. We are devastated for the wild life but the firefighters did a amazing job preventing any human lives being lost and few homes destroyed. We feel for those who lost their homes many being uninsured artists who’d built their place with love not money.

The process has taught us a lot the importance of being prepared. The importance of community and also what in our lives is important.

Homesteading, Uncategorized

Beeswax lipbalm

A few weeks ago on instagram I posted about rendering down the old wax from our beehive to have on hand for making home products.

This was a messy but not difficult process and quite easy I just had to make sure we did it very early on a cool day before the bees got too interested.

We used a bucket , old electric frypan and a muslin cloth.

I wrapped the old comb in the cloth and secured with a rubber band then filled the frypan with water and put the comb filled cloth in when the water was boiling.

The bucket was filled with cold water and when the cloth had emptied of wax I poured it off into the cold bucket and left it to set.

Once set I remelted the wax disc to clean it from any let over dirt and then poured it through a coffee filter into the paper cup moulds to set.

We were all in desperate need of new lip balm the wind and hay fever season chapping our lips.

After much searching we decided on doing a simple coconut oil, beeswax and essential oil balm.

  • 2 tablespoons grated beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 20-30 drops essential oil
  1. Melt beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler stirring constantly until melted.
  2. Remove pan from heat
  3. Add essential oils
  4. Once you’ve added the essential oils fill your containers. We used some old empty lip balm tubes and small glass jars.
  5. Let tubes sit at room temperature for several hours until cooled and completely hardened before capping them.

If you want a  thicker lip balm use more beeswax during the melting process.

Happy making

Uncategorized

Possum proof plants for bees

We’ve been discussing our future here and what we’d like to do. We are in a great rental and we have decided we would like to sit down with our landlord and make a 5 year plan to ensure we are safe to establish things and build infrastructure.

Now we have bees we really want more bee friendly flowers but as we only have the netted orchard area at this stage and we are using that to grow food and herbs it means space for ornamentals is limited due to the rampaging local wildlife.

I’ve been trying to think of ways around this and in my googling ‘plants that possums don’t eat’ I found some results through a PDF file from town and country gardens called ‘Possum proof plants’

Some of the plants listed are already thriving in our garden but not all are safe for bees.

The Rhododendrons are a worry as the flowers can create ‘mad honey’ once used in wars to take down enemies through poison and hallucinations but from what I read the bees tend to avoid it when they have other options and we should be safe (stay tuned!)

White Lillies, lilacs, Iris and daffodils are some ornamental thriving in our garden but what else could we add?

After going through the list and checking which of the mentioned plants are safe for bees these are the ones I’ve chosen for our garden.

My only concern is that some are not safe for any future livestock. I’m not worried about the poultry as they avoid most of the poisonous plants here already naturally (They even eat the foxgloves leaves a little for self worming!).

If we do get goats in the future they won’t be in the areas the ornamentals are so hopefully everyone will be safe!

After we’ve spoken to our landlord we’ll start making a plan for a ornamental garden surrounding the house.

Bergenia cordifolia

Perennial growing approx 30cm high and spreads to 1m. White or pink flowers in winter, it is
excellent as a ground cover, rock garden or border plant. It is easy to grow, and will tolerate a wide
range of conditions, however it prefers semi-shade and moist, rich humus soil.

Acanthus mollis (Bears breech, Tasmanian angel)

Evergreen, soft wooded perennial which grows in an upright clump to approx 1m x 1m. The dark
green, glossy leaves are lobed and toothed. Purple and white flowers appear on tall, erect spikes
from November to January. This plant has weed potential, so should be planted where it can
spread. A great ‘filler’ in a large garden.

Viburnum opulus (snowball tree, cramp bark, Dog berry, guelder rose, )

Viburnum opulus is European cranberry bush. This viburnum shrub grows roughly 10 feet tall and wide. Like many viburnum shrubs, it grows well in full sun or part shade and adapts to many different kinds of soil. Viburnum opulus grows even in consistently moist or wet soils. Once established, this viburnum also shows good resistance to drought, heat and pollution.

Multi-season interest is a hallmark of Viburnum opulus. White flowers up to 3 inches across appear in late spring and early summer and resemble lacecap hydrangea blooms. The blossoms fade to form pendulous berry clusters that ripen from green to bright cherry red by late summer. Typically berries remain on the shrubs through fall and winter until birds eat them the following spring. Green leaves turn shades of gold and red-purple in fall.

Hydrangea

The most commonly grown hydrangeas are a must have shrub for shade – planted in the ground or
pots. Flowers are mainly blue, pink or white and are ball shaped or lacecap form. You can change
the colour of the flowers by altering the pH – pink in alkaline soil, blue in acidic. Pinks and blues can
be intensified using chemicals resulting in mauve, purple and red blooms. They like a fair amount of water

Chaenomeles speciosa (japonica, flowing quince) we already have these here so will propagate them from cuttings

This drought tolerant deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub grows 8 – 10ft with equal or greater spread.
The ‘Flowering Quince’ has a very dense jumble of spiny branches and has white, pink or red
flowers in late winter / early spring. They make a good bonsai specimen. These are the first flowers to bloom after winter and provide food for the bees.

Snow in summer

Great in hanging baskets, this evergreen, drought tolerant, fast growing ground cover spreads to 60cm
in a sunny well drained position. It has furry silver green leaves with masses of white flowers living up
to the common name ‘snow in summer’. Grows well under roses, and looks great planted with
succulents.

Crataegus laevigata ‘Pauls Scarlet’

Image result for Crataegus Paul’s Scarlet tasmania

Deciduous tree, 5-20 ft (4.5-6 m), low branching, rounded top, dense thorny (to 2.5 cm long) branches. Leaves alternate, simple, glossy green, rounded 3-5 lobed, serrulate, of variable size. Flowers double, scarlet with a tinge of rose, very showy

Other plants I’m interested in

Salvias

Crepe myrtle

Daisy, natives and other varieties

Poppies

Native Sarsparilla

Fairy fan flowers

Correas

Grevillis

Pin cushion tree

Bottle brush

Banksia

Sedum

Butterfly bush

I’ll add more as I come across them but that’s all for now 🐝