Archive for Mar, 2013

Autumn rabbits?

This was meant to be an Easter post but circumstances conspired.

This shouldn’t be overly surprising: we don’t celebrate Easter. At least not at the same time as most of the world.

It’s autumn here in Canberra. The days are getting shorter and cooler, and the ground is looking forward to its leafy blanket. It’s harvest time too and we’re enjoying tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, figs, berries and stone fruit.

With chickens moulting, there are few eggs to be found, and I’ve not seen a rabbit in a while. The imagery of spring, so relevant in the northern hemisphere, is seriously out of place here.

But what’s a parent to do when the shops are full of chocolate bunnies and eggs? Even though we can tell our kids that the festivals of the northern hemisphere are six months out of phase here, I wouldn’t want them to miss out on anything tasty! And the point of celebrating the sessions as they happen is not about privation.

Here’s what we’ve done this year. While chocolate spring is in season, we’ve stockpiled it’s gooey bounty for the real, southern hemisphere spring: September. And for right now, we’re celebrating the abundance of autumn with something slightly more seasonal.


Punnet of raspberries, melted chocolate, and some sticks


Drizzle a little chocolate into each raspberry and insert the stick. Pop them in a tin.


It’s fiddly but goes faster than you’d think. Pop them the fridge to set.

Once set, dip in the remaining molten chocolate.


Three-year-old had great fun with this.

I call them “raspberry pops”, but three year old thinks “chocolate raspberries”is more appropriate.

We bought our raspberries this year but hopefully our canes will be established enough next year that we have our own to use.

End of today’s tiling


Here’s where we got to. Lots of cutting tomorrow, which slows things down, but only about 25 tiles before the tiling is finished!

Tiling update


This is where we broke for lunch: about one third done on our final wall! Once you get started it gets faster: that first row is the slowest.

Toddler dinner straight from the garden

French toast with our own eggs, strawberries and tomatoes.
Excellent and fast dinner. I love the autumn harvest time, even though this year’s harvest hasn’t been great.


Rainbow chard on a sunny afternoon

Our prolific silver beet and rainbow chard


Cooking with silver beet

Silver beet and rainbow chard were our best performers this year. They seem to be pest resistant and they are nutritious and quick to prepare.

This seasonal sage and pumpkin pasta dish exemplifies it:
Fry a small onion in a knob of butter with about a tablespoon of chopped sage. Keep the heat reasonably high so it all browns nicely. Once brown, throw in about a cup of finely diced pumpkin. Butternut works really well. Let it cook for about 5 mins, stirring so it browns evenly. Add a small pinch of nutmeg and half a cup of white wine.

As this is reducing on a lowered heat, either slice your washed silver beet into ribbons, or just hack at it with scissors. Pop it into your colander.


Cook the usual quantity of your preferred pasta. When it’s done, simply drain the pasta through the silver beet in the colander. This is enough to cook it. Mix through, and dress with olive oil



To finish the sauce, stir 2 tablespoons of sour cream and another 2 tablespoons of chopped sage through, thin to the desired sauciness and pop it on the pasta. 


Top with parmesan, crumbled feta, and/or pine nuts.

I hope you enjoy this with your home grown silver beet!

Moulting season

Edit: Lets try that again with photos that actually work.

Autumn is moulting season for chickens.
The chickens look like this:

Moulting Season1
The chook yard looks like this:Moulting Season2


And there are no eggs to be seen.

This morning I’m feeding my chickens a little pick-me-up in the form of a hot mash with some poultry spice.

Moulting Season3

This is just their normal feed (lauke extra egg or showbird breeder) with a couple of table spoons of poultry spice (from a friend, I can ask her where she gets it if anyone is interested), and a kettle of boiling water.

Moulting Season4

Happy chickens

Moulting Season5

Spot the intruder

Moulting Season6

Our new mouse hunter thought he better check out good smells coming from what the chickens were having for breakfast.

Moulting Season7


Slow progress…

Managed to get a bit more done on the laundry this weekend, despite sickness and extracurricular activities. The floor tiles are all down now, and I’ve started the wall tiles:


(‘scuse the mess: I’ll get a better pic soon)

The tapware is coming along too:


Now we have a gooseneck tap with a spray nozzle. No sink yet though.

Can’t believe how long it’s taking, but it will be a great improvement when it’s finished.

Most of a floor

Here’s where we are on Sunday afternoon:


some fiddly cutting:




A few more cuts to go and then I can get on with wall tiling.  It was great to walk on the tiles I laid yesterday: makes it feel like we almost have a floor!

Horror reduction

It feels like progress is being made. Started tiling today:


One row


Progress up to the quesadilla break


End of today’s tiling

I’ll have to wait till this set dries because I need to kneel on these ones to do the last bit.

The next bit involves cutting tiles which I have done before but have no fond memories of. Last time we did meters of diagonal cuts:


and they are trickier than orthogonal cuts. We’re only making orthogonal cuts for the laundry.

It’s starting to look good but there’s so much to go before it’s finished. After floor tiling comes wall tiling, grout, plumbing, and cabinetry.

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