Sunday, August 17, 2008

Winter Veggie Soup

This is my very simple quick but delicious winter veggie soup. The secret is the fresh tumeric - nothing like the powdered stuff, and a lovely thing to keep in the cupboard with the ginger and garlic. The other secret is having one of those groovy "v-slicer" julienne things that make chopping up stuff really small super quick.

You need:

  • 1 potato

  • 1n onion

  • 1 carrot

  • fresh ginger and tumeric

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 chicken stock cutes

  • Nettles and coriander - or other fresh greens


  • Julienne 1 onion into a saucepan

  • Add a generous slosh of oil (I use macadamia but olive or anything would do)

  • While heating up, add some grated fresh ginger and tumeric

  • Saute gently until onion is soft and translucent

  • Julienne the potato and carrot - add these too

  • Add hot water and 2 x massels "chicken style" stock cubes and bay leaf

  • Bring to boil and simmer while you go outside to pick greens

  • Pick a big bowl of nettles, fresh coriander and anything else out there

  • Chop or snip these into the soup just before serving


(yes, still with the nettles!)

Beanie #2

Beanie for Mr Duck Herder.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stories and Presents

A few weeks back I was passing the Cougar (aka Pa Kettle, Mountain Man etc) an apple muffin and without thinking proceeded to tell him about how the apples were from Robin in Bungendore's ancient old apple tree and how the flour was biodynamic spelt flour from wherever, and how the fig jam, if you would like some, is from Carolyn across the road and she has the most lovely tree and this and that until the Cougar laughed and said "that's the thing with you duckie, everything you eat has got a story" and you know, he's RIGHT and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Mr Duck Herder teases me sometimes saying "It is just food" when I present him with some home grown gift from the gods bounty lovingly prepared with an assortment of other carefully chosen or lovingly gifted ingredients. And you know, he's WRONG.
Food that is grown with love and prepared with love IS love.
And when you think about it, living a more elegantly frugal life creates a million opportunities to slow down and be more fully present, and when you are fully present, your life is unimaginably full of PRESENTS!
Now if you will excuse me, I am off to have another cup of tea and some more freshly baked bread with some of Arthur's amazing grapefruit marmalade.
that is all

Friday, August 15, 2008

this morning

Nettles being friends with broadbeans. It is hard to believe these fellas grow so well when the weather is so cold!

Naughty ducks - hide their eggs every morning.

Beanie #1

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ode to nettles

This post is for nettles. Once more for the people at the back, I LOVE NETTLES. I introduced them into the garden especially. I love how they come up by themselves in winter, and how I have something yummy and green and super healthy to put into all my dishes all winter long.

When the parsley gets low from over picking, my lovely lovely nettles are still there.

I use them in cooking almost every night, I use them for making face cream and hair conditioner. I love them!

Did you know nettles are INCREDIBLY high in iron?

How do you harvest nettles? With washing up gloves of course. I have it down to a fine art:
  • put on gloves
  • grab scissors and a container
  • walk up to veggie patch - being careful not to step on any fluffy chickens or ducks.
  • with bowl in one hand, snip nettle stalks so that they fall into the bowl.
Eating nettles:
  • Wilting the nettles - by cooking them gently or pouring boiling water over them - will take the sting right out and you are left with a sweet and most delicately flavoured green.
Easy ways to eat nettles:
  • snip nettles - stalks and all, into soup just before serving. Stir briefly to ensure nettles have wilted.
  • snip nettles - stalks and all, into eggs for scrambled eggs.
  • Use nettles in place of silver beat in quiches and tarts.
  • snip nettles into boiled potatoes prior to mashing. The heat from the potatoes is sufficient to remove the sting.
  • Use nettles whenever you would use spinach or silver beet - except raw!

The stalks are very tender - not like silver beet at all.

Growing nettles.

They seem to be pretty tuff. I transplanted my plants from the community garden (where they grow wild in winter) a few years back. I think sometimes you can find them in paddocks where sheep have camped, or self seeding from bags of sheep poop. The little ones I have don't seem to be very high- maybe 30 -40 cm, and don't really sting very much - which is lovely!

They love moist soil. They seem to do OK with shade. The seem to self seed and reappear each winter. So I can not really take much credit for them at all!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I was always taught that when the trees lost their leaves during winter, it was their time to rest - that they were essentially hibernating.

Watching and coddling my fruit trees over the seasons, and loving the claret ash and other deciduous trees in the garden, I am not so sure. No sooner have the trees droped their last leaves it seems that they are already busy preparing for bud burst. There is a lot of action in there - little buds forming and swelling - little flowers and leaves to be.

Not much of a rest. Not a lot of nothing going on in there if you ask me.

In other news, there are many new friends here in the garden:

  • A Sturmer Apple

  • A Vista Bella Apple

  • A Goldmine Nectarine

  • A Coes Golden Drop plum.

  • 2 of the darkest red hybrid tea roses - a Papa Meiland and an Avon (promptly nibbled by naughty ducks)

The apples are on dwarfing stock, and have been planted on my new trellis at the community garden.

Pictures to follow some time soon.

that is all.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

rug #2

In other other news, here is rug number 2. I am loving this rug very much. I am loving the wonderful purple colours.

bin a while

I have a confession to make. I have been blogging on ANOTHER site!

It's for a good cause - it's me job 'n all. I decided that having a project blog would be much more interactive than a boring old website. Plus - I would have to pay someone to maintain the website, and I would rather spend the $$ on the project.

Anyhoo, work is quite busy at the moment, which also explains my absence a bit. Wonderful, exciting, scary and busy.

In other news, I must say this farm hunting business finds us traveling in all sorts of country and terrain. Here is some action snow storm shots from up behind the Tinderry's. Mr Duck Herder and I had a lovely day, and met some lovely people, and saw some very cute farms. Living at 1100 meters however, might be a bit beyond (above?) us.

Beautiful. cold. but beautiful.