Monday, April 30, 2012

Last of the herbs

My gourmet daughter asked for some herbs from my garden recently. Now, my vege garden is in limbo at the moment. Dead ol' stuff has been removed (well, some of it) and new beds are being prepared. I didn't think I had much to give...but I was mistaken.
There was masses of basil, so I decided to make some Pesto. "Should be easy," I think. Jamie makes a three course meal in 30 minutes, Martha makes gourmet meals within seconds..."I just have to get organised!"
Well an hour and a half later,  and MASSES of washing up, I ended up with just under two jars of pesto. It was quite delicious but, THE EFFORT!

I have included the recipe below, I eventually opted for Jamie Oliver's  version. Jamie's method was a little vague, along with my daggy photos, are my comments and method. My pesto didn't turn out as bright green and moist looking as Jamie's, but it was still pretty damn good.


• ½ a clove of garlic, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
• a handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
• a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• extra virgin olive oil
• a small squeeze of lemon juice
MAKES ONE JAR (I doubled it)


Wash the basil. I found all manner of critters in mine, and whilst they had a meaty, flavorsome note to the palate, I think they are better left out. I also spun the leaves in a salad spinner.
Jamie says, "the really good pestos I’ve tasted in Italy just have them very lightly toasted, to give a creaminess rather than a nuttiness." I did as he said. I had to watch pretty closely, I nearly burnt them.
Jamie says:" Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor". I used a food processor. Add the pine nuts to the mixture.  My mixture turned quite a bilious green. Maybe because it is late in the season for basil? 
 Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil . Now Jamie says "You need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency." BUT I found that I had to add an awful lot of olive oil. It seemed like a couple of cupfuls...I  kid you not. The end result was not as oozy looking as Jamie's, but I just couldn't bear myself to put in ANOTHER cup of olive oil!
Jamie says: Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer. Personally, I don't get the tasting. After a couple of tastes they all merge, and I really don't know what I am supposed to be tasting for.
I use my lovely red jam funnel to fill my glass jars. I was trying to be all "Martha" and sourced some labels to stick on the jars from here, but they didn't turn out very well. As you can see, the colour of my pesto isn't the same as in the shops. I couldn't find a pen, or a pencil, so ended up writing 'pesto' is daggy texta. It took me ages  to wash the dishes. (we don't have a dishwasher) Anyhoo, my daughter lurved the pesto, which is all that matters, but is it just all this effort simply too much effort?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Some nice vessels

My op shopping forays have been pretty sparse lately...but I managed to pick these up from a local RSPCA oppy. They were very easy to overlook, and yet...they  beckoned!

When I got home and actually looked at them with my glasses on, I found a couple were stamped. One has "6 Price 13 Bristol"  and another has "Fowler 919".

The pic is my little homage to Gwynn Hanssen Pigott

There is a little beauty of a stopper that was included. I think they may have been used in an Apothecary shop but on doing a bit of research,  some of them may have been ink bottles.

Originally I was going to sell them on...but as with most things, they are being retained in the house. What isn't? Why can't I let go!!!

And just for the memories, Easter Russian sage and a clear table.

Playing with Sophie

Sunday, April 1, 2012


To continue on my current cake decorating obsession, I picked up this Tala Icing Set from the oppy last week. I love the old icing syringe. It looks like some Victorian immunisation device.

The set came complete with a foldout booklet, and a cutting from a newspaper, circa 1962, Around the House with Susan Worth, addressing the storage of winter woollens. Funny that the cutting was about cleaning rather than cooking. I expected a brilliant cake recipe.

Anyhoo, I am going to get started on my flower decorations today. At I haven't any cutters etc, I will have to make them up, so have decided to begin with a very simple flower, the Frangipani...this may be interesting!

Playing with Sophie today.

Slow and as mindful as a turtle

Although I am back to work, it is at a very slow pace. I really don't know how I used to fit everything into my day! I have rationalised my new pace to some blogs that I started looking at whilst I was recovering from my operation.  I have known about the slow movement and mindful living for years now, but really haven't had enough time to to put those practices into place. Ah the irony!

“Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.”

So now I am concentrating about being rather than doing. In truth , this is a pretty boring post unless you are interested in swamp critters, but one of the reasons that I started this blog was to document my life...however, mundane.

It has rained  every day this year in our neck of the woods. When the sun broke through for about half an hour I took a little walk down to our dam. I look at our dam, every day, but it has been about a year since I have actually sat down and experienced it...and it it only 20 metres from our front door. So here are some pics of what I see everyday from my window.

I have seen up to 20 turtles, on this log...often stacked on top of each other. (Is that turtle sex? If so they must have orgies!) The water looks muddy because of all of the rain.

Today the ducks came along and pushed the turtles off!

When we first bought our property, the dam was covered in water lilies. It was like Monet's garden. I even envisioned a pretty bridge spanning the water.  Subsequent flooding has moved them to the neighbouring dam. We do have a couple left though. As I sat to take the pic I realised there were hundreds of dragonflies whirring around me. It was actually quite noisy. It reminded me of the scene in Harry Potter where he had to get the key from the insects (birds?). I thought they would hit me, but they didn't. I tried to take some arty shots, but they were really quick! Look closely and you can see the shadows of their wings. Pretty darn amazing.

This Darter has been living on this branch for about a year now. When it swims in the water, its body is submerged, and its exposed neck looks like a snake. It scared the living daylights out of me until I realised it was a bird. I thought the dam was infested with snakes!


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