Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fruit and a Friendly Snake

January has been hectic and relaxing at the same time somehow? We have been coming and going a lot but that has meant lots of time with family that we don't often spend a lot of time with- the girls have been loving it. While we have been at home in between it has been just that, at home, no playgroup, no meetings and very minimal shopping. It is nice just to have time at home.

Over the last couple of weeks the fruit trees have been ripening and this year it has been a good harvest. We have had plenty of plums and this week a great crop of apricots to harvest. Lots have been eaten fresh and some have been bottled for later. This year I did some of the plums with rhubarb- really yummy with quite a heavy sugar syrup. I did some plain apricots yesterday and will probably do more next week. I have lots more of the smaller size 20 Vacola jars this year thanks to my dad who picked up a few boxes for only $10 at a clearing sale last year- a real bargain!!

Yesterday we had our first snake in the yard for the summer, luckily it was a carpet snake. We usually get one each year, I think it may be the same one. This is a picture of it a few years ago heading under the netting and into the aprioct tree, couldn't get one yesterday as I had to run inside with Lyssie- I tend to panic a bit. I was just glad it wasn't in the apricot tree when I was picking apricots yesterday!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Menu Planning

I have always had a vague idea in my head as to what we would eat from week to week, but I have never sat down and really nutted it out before. I simply made a list of the fresh produce we have this week and things that need to be used in the fridge and freezer. From that I made a list of the possible dishes we could have. Then each day, depending on how I was feeling I picked one. It wasn't exactly rocket science, but was quite rewarding as it meant less shopping and less waste.

This is how our week went
Sunday- pea, mint and zucchini risotto with lamb kebabs
Monday- BBQ Tandoori lamb with boiled baby potatoes and sauteed zucchini
Tuesday- pasta with fresh pesto and procuitto
Wednesday- cous cous salad with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and spring onions (to take out to share)
Thursday- Apricot chicken curry with carrots, zucchini and mashed potato
Friday- Spicy lamb kebabs with yoghurt dip and stuffed baby gem squash
Saturday- Vegetable curry (onion, potato, zucchini, carrot, pumpkin) thanks to a great Stephanie Alexander recipe from The Cooks Companion (think this one will be a regular as anything can be added depending on what is in season or leftover in the fridge)

Will certainly be sitting down later to nut things out for this week- only up until Friday as we will be heading to the coast for a few days with all my family- yay!

A batch of pesto ready for the freezer

The first of the mulberries from a lonely tree near an old shell of a mud brick home on the other side of the farm picked on New Years Day, managed to get back yesterday without the kids and pick 5 litres to freeze for later, hopefully will have time next week to pick another batch

My first two loaves from a great book my sister gave me for Christmas, it is called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day- we have been eating it for a week now and it is fabulous!

Little Gem Squash with Cous Cous Stuffing

Little Gem Squash with Cous Cous Stuffing

4-6 little gem squash or other zucchini
olive oil
small onion, diced
clove garlic, chopped
small zucchini
chopped quite small
1/2 red capsicum chopped quite small
1/2 cup cous cous
1/2 cube Massel chicken stock
fresh basil and oregano, chopped
100g feta, crumbled

Prepare squash- cut off tops and scoop out flesh. Steam until just tender.

Fry off onion and garlic gently in olive oil, when soft add capsicum and zucchini, continue to cook until they too soften, season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile add cous cous to half a cup of boiling water with stock and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes. Fluff cous cous and add to onion mixture with the feta and chopped herbs. Stuff into little gem squash and cook in the oven for 15 minutes on about 180*.