Friday, 29 November 2013

The vegie garden...update

The first seeds we planted in October into our permaculture vegie garden were corn and beans. We were so excited to see these little guys spring forth from the ground shortly after. Our first crops.

We were then fortunate in the weeks to follow to be blessed with sufficient rain and warm steamy days. All favourable conditions for a quick growth spurt.

I can not believe how much they have grown. I can almost taste them...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Small Breeds Expo

We went to a small breeds’ expo on the South side of Brisbane last Saturday in the hopes of learning a little more on some little additions for the farm. It was quite a hot day and not as many exhibits as we would have hoped. But we met some great farmers keen to share their knowledge on small cattle breeds such as Boran, Banded Galloways and Dexters. We discussed at length the options of milk versus meat cattle and the breeds which favourably combined the two.

Of interest to us was the Dexter. We were told that the Dexter cow can be milked 2 to 3 times per week. A seemingly perfect option to supply our family with milk and cheese, fits in with our busy lifestyle as we are not wishing to move into dairy farming. We were told the Dexter has a milk similar to goats milk and often used to make similar style cheeses. Given our small acreage size we could consider starting with 1 cow in calf along with a steer. Initially as company for the cow then with much appreciation will supply us with meat. The plan would be to introduce a further cow in calf approximately 6 months later – providing us with an annual supply of milk.

 Image courtesy of Dexter Cattle Australia Incorporated
More research is needed but an interesting start.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Homemade Pizzas

I have always enjoyed making pizzas but until about 12 months ago bought my pizza bases, mostly out of convenience. Then I stumbled across a really simple recipe in a magazine (which I now can’t locate) but luckily have committed to memory.

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe (2 bases):
  • 1 ⅔ cups of OO Flour
  • ¾ cup of luke warm water
  • Satchel of dry yeast
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Extra flour
Method: Put a pinch of sugar (I use raw) in a heat proof jug, then add the water and yeast. Allow it to ferment for 7 minutes. During this time you can add the flour and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. After the 7 minutes elapses, add the yeast/water/sugar mixture to the flour along with the olive oil.
Using a fork mix the ingredients until combined. You know it’s ready when it starts to stick together. Don’t worry if it is a little wet or a bit dry just add either flour or water to get the balance right.

Flour the workbench with a little extra flour and start to knead the dough. You do this by folding the sides in on themselves and using the heal of your hands start to stretch the dough. Add extra flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands or to the bench. Continue to knead for about 8-10minutes. Consider it your arm work out for the day. I find it therapeutic.
Once done flour the mixing bowl and place the dough back within. Add a little sprinkle of flour to the top of the dough (proofing).  Place a dry, clean tea towel over the bowl and place in a dry warm place. I usually put mine in the microwave. Allow about an hour for the dough to rise.

Now here’s the fun part. Punch the dough. Yep, one good punch in the middle. Then roll the dough back out onto a floured bench. Knead for a further 2 minutes.
It is now ready to cut in equal halves (although lately I have been stretching mine to make 3 bases).  

Roll them out using a rolling pin into 2 circular shapes.
Now I cook my pizzas in the BBQ on pizza trays so the method I use is a small amount of canola spray to oil the trays (whilst they are cold) place the dough on top and then my favourite toppings. Load it onto the BBQ, close the lid and about 15minutes later – presto yummy pizzas.

My favourite toppings at the moment are:
  • ham and fresh pineapple from the farm down the road, for the kids
  • goats cheese feta, roasted pumpkin and pine nuts
  • Prawn, chorizo, garlic and chili – delicious


I often enlist the kids to help with making pizzas and have started to teach my son how to throw them. Not as scary or as messy as it sounds. You toss the rolled out dough a little into the air, catching on the back of your hands increasing their diameter. It was a skill I learnt working in a small pizza shop after school back in the day. To me the bases are a little lighter for it and its fun watching others learn .

Do you have a favourite homemade topping?
Bon appetite

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Secret Garden

I think for me it will be like Christmas the day we move into our new home. Discovering all those items lovingly packed and stored. Spending time unwrapping them and finding new and special places for them to call home.

Earlier today I was moving some things around and came across a large old cast iron key I had picked up at the Eumundi Markets. I discovered it in a little vintage store and at the time it had brought back images of the key out of a favourite tale of mine from when I was a child. The Secret Garden. A book I am looking forward to rediscovering during the ‘unpack’.
I think this key should take pride and place quite fittingly on the library shelves. What do you think?