Sunday, September 01, 2013

Whole Orange & Chia Cake/Muffins

We had oranges to pick from our young citrus trees this year, for the first time.  They were a little on the 'suck your face inside out' tangy lol so I decided to try this recipe that I had been wanting to try for a while - Whole Orange Cake, by Rhonda over at Down to Earth.

It reall is as it sounds.  The whole orange (minus the seeds) goes in the mix...

Nanna mixing

new tin

I also like the idea of Orange & Poppyseed cake, but with no poppy seeds and wanting to include more chia, so came to be 'Whole Orange & Chia Seed Cake/Muffins'.  I did also have a go at doing a friand tin that had an embellished flower thing on it, but this recipe isn't the right one as a more dense mix is called for.

It's a good recipe and turned out really well - though some silly forgot to get the 'finished' photos before everything got eaten!  If you have a favourite orange and poppyseed recipe please do share :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Where to... Organic, Fairtrade, Free Range.

Having appreciated other people's link lists, especially those that live somewhat near where I am, I thought I would do one in return.  A few people have asked 'where do you get xyz' and I thought this could be a good way to put a list of links together that I can add to as new stuff is experienced.

Thing to remember is it's not often that you can tick ALL the boxes.  Ie it might be organic but it's not local, local and free range but not organic, organic but the packaging isn't ideal etc... and of course there's always the other factors of accessability, cost, convenience... so I guess it's that ol' balance thing.  Do it slowly and work out what works for you and be okay to change things up as you need to.

Also, there are a HEAP more places to get things - these are just the ones I have been to and bought from and been happy with and that come to mind right now.  I'll keep adding.

  • Meat - Redtail Ridge - fantastic (seriously awesome) beef (they do lamb, chicken, olive oil, honey etc as well but I my choice is the beef).  Previous posts here and here on quality and great customer service.  You can taste the difference.  Bulk order means you get a flat rate across the board - same price per kilo for mince and (very good) sausages right through to scotch fillet, rump and so on.  For example, it might be $15/kg for all your beef.  That means yes you pay $15/kg for excellent organic mince and sausages but you also pay $15/kg for scotch fillet, roast, rump, etc... pretty good I think especially when you think what the price per kilo is for reasonable (non organic) mince in the shop and then the price of rump and scotch etc
  • Real Food Co-op - I have so far only done my fruit and veg with them (and was very happy with it) but they also do pantry staples, dish liquid, powder etc and they deliver/courier or you can pickup.  Sign up for a yearly membership and then orders are done fortnightly, with the order list options being released a few days before. Choose between organic or non-organic.  You can also find them on Facebook.
  • Bulk - Springer Foods - organic flour 25kg bags + a heap of other stuff.  You do have to pick and choose as they are not an 'organic' place and supply to the general good industry.  However, bulk organic flour, WA made, is hard to come by so I get that and our other (mostly not organic but I'm working on it!) dry goods in bulk from them.
  • Chocolate - Fairtrade/Organic Chocolate - Cadbury Dairy Milk Fairtrade (not all Cadbury varieties are Fairtrade), Green & Blacks (owned by Cadbury, I believe) Fairtrade organic available in Woolworths, Coles and an excellent range (above what WW and C offer) at Mr Fresh Carine.
  • Barambah organic blueberry yoghurt - they have other varieties but I am hooked on this one!
  • Grocery - Mr Fresh - good range of organic 'grocery' items ie coffee, most of the Green & Blacks chocolate range, cereals, coffees and tea etc  The little Carine Glades shopping centre also has a bakery that sells good sourdough bread (New Norcia and other) and a good little Health Food Shop.  The butcher there uses all their own-grown veg in their products.  The butcher looks fantastic and though I am yet to try it, I hope to soon enough!
  • Milk (in glass) - see the previous posts here and here.  It's not just about us (plastic v glass, homogenised or not, organic or not) but about the animals too - the cows and their calves, especially if the calves are boys...
  • Milk (organic) - IGA Nollamara sell Margaret River Organic milk in plastic and another brand I can't think of at the moment.
  • Moo Goo strawberry lip balm - 'The Vitamin Outlet' at Stirling Central sells it and a good range of 'health food store' stuff.
  • Biome - just a great place to find 'stuff' that's eco friendly and people friendly!
  • Vege Spread (instead of Vegemite and the kids now prefer it, available generally), Anathoth jam (available Woolworths). 
  • Organic Lollipops - Organic on Charles and most health food shops.
  • Gaia soothing cream - great for bites, blemishes on the face etc. Available chemists, health food shops and sometimes in Woolworths.
  • Organic Care shampoo and conditioners (including a dandruff one and a kids one) - available in Coles and Woolworths.  These are quite reasonably priced.
  • Avalon Organics shampoo and conditioners - available health food shops
  • Ecostore soap, dishwashing liquid, bathroom soap on tap etc available Woolworths (and maybe elsewhere).
  • Drink bottles - Klean Kanteen especially the ones with the stainless screw cap - no plastic touches the water and you can taste the difference.
  • lunchboxes - stainless steel, see my previous post with reviews, sizes and links here, here and here.
  • Tea and Coffee - Nature's Cuppa Fairtrade organic tea and Nature's Cuppa Fairtrade organic coffee.  That's the instant one and I'm told it tastes quite good.  Plunger stuff we used to get another Fairtrade/organic one but haven't done the plunger thing for a while and I don't have a whiz bang machine so no idea on those... though I can't imagine that the 'caps' ones are very eco anything..?
  • stainless steel cups by Ecococoon.  Have heard of troubles with the painted ones - paint peeling, so we have all stainless silver.  Anyway, they replaced all of our plastic drinking cups.

Then there's the 'drool' list - things I'd like to try but haven't yet/won't be for a while for various reasons!

We are definitely not completely organic/homemade household, far from it...  it's just trying to find that 'balance' that works on any one week or month.  It's also just a slow and mindful process of gradually finding the 'better' thing to exchange for the current thing.

That will do for the list for now, updates as I find 'em!  oh and PS... if you haven't donated blood in a while and if you're able to, please do book an appointment and share some of your good stuff for those who need it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Real Foods Co-op - First Order

It's been a while between blog posts.  Things have gotten busy(ier).  I popped on to share this: Thanks to Bruise Mouse over at Living a Little Greener, I was put onto the Real Food Co-op.  I received my first order Friday and am very pleased.  End of the week, work and collecting children etc and home and here is all this wonderful fresh stuff.  If you're looking for a good value Co-op I definitely suggest checking these guys out.

This is what my order consisted of.  These are the BIG boxes - the long ones.  At least twice the length of a standard tomato box.  One box is a friend's (she ordered with me and we shared the courier cost) but the rest are ours. 

 Oh and not in the picture are these, below.  The apples and the yoghurt.  I've not tried this yoghurt before, usually buying the Barambah blueberry organic yoghurt - which is a real taste - a different taste to 'usual' yoghurt but a taste I now prefer... so I will be keen to see if this one takes to my tastebuds just as well.

8kg apples waiting...
Needless to say, I have been, and will be, busy - bulk making, baking, organising and meal planning to make the most of the fresh ingredients.

There is a 'pantry staples' order run, as well as the f&v.  The f&v includes dairy products and milk, as well as fruit and veg (your choice of organic or not) and in my lot this time I got 4kg of strawberries.  yum.  The pantry staples order I've yet to do, but they do also offer things like eco dishwasher powder, biodegradable cling wrap etc.

So between Real Foods, Springer Foods (for my 24kg organic flour, 20kg golden syrup etc) and a Woolworths order, and perhaps the occasional trip to Mr Fresh for the Barambah yoghurt, and the Sunnydale and Bannister Downs milk in glass, I think I could be quite set for efficient, aware and more enjoyable grocery purchases.

Thanks again to BM for putting me on to the Real Food Co-op.  Up next, the results of the 'jam making session'..!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Lemongrass Haul and 'free' Magic Pudding celery

This lemongrass plant, gifted from a friend's garden many years ago, was quite neglected and definitely part feline as it had several lives and near-plant-death experiences before it was planted in one of the bath tub gardens.   Lucky lemongrass.  It went nuts in there.  Completely loopy and grew and grew, getting thicker round the girth very fast.

So I divided it up on the weekend and cut a bunch to give away (via trimming off the tops to lessen the transplant shock).  Plenty of plants for potting up, putting in different spots where there are bare patches and putting just one 'piece' back in the original bathtub.  It will be thick, lush, healthy and in need of dividing again very soon!  I am yet to make the ginger and lemongrass tea that my friend N makes, which is one of the few herbal type teas I like.  Many I like the smell of but not many I taste!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Home Made Custard and Chugly Apple Tea Cake

R has recommeded this recipe several times and I've made it a couple of times.  However, with requests by Master8 all through summer of 'can we make custard this winter?' ... well it was a perfect opportunity.  So, home made vanilla custard from this recipe at and some 'Chugly Apple Tea Cake' as it's now known at our place.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting on Carrot Cake

While I was visiting last week, I was lucky enough to take home some limes (thankyou H).  Tonight I used them for a recipe and emailed:
I decided I would have to recipe hunt to figure out what I wanted to make with them.  Tossed a few ideas around and then today decided that I had some Philly cream cheese in the fridge so I'd make a carrot cake with lime cream cheese frosting (instead of lemon cream cheese frosting).  Suffice to say if the cakes don't hurry up and cool there won't be a lot of icing left... taste testing, you see ;)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Milo Bars, Blueberry Mini-Breads and L.O.Quiche

Despite the several hours of baking already this week, most of it wasn't for us and the rest that was was gone so it was time to bake again for the freezer.  I like to have muffins, biscuits and slice in the freezer ready for school lunches, impromptu visitors/afternoon tea etc.

Milo slice coming out of the oven

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Uncle Toby's Porridge 'Quick Sachets' - Home Made Version and Costing

Brooke bought the Uncle Toby's sachets to take on camp with her.  They are little single serve sachets, six to a box.  These are a new thing for us.  We usually do porridge the the 'old fashioned' way as opposed to sachets, and I get my oats in 25kg bags.  In winter time this just means getting up a few minutes earlier and put the porridge on the stove (make enough to serve 6 people), or Brooke gets up and makes it on the stove top and stir stir stir.  Otherwise it's toast or Weet-bix for breakfast, sometimes poached eggs or pancakes or home made muesli (Michelle Bridges recipe).  Now and then we get a 'weekend breakfast', which is a box of Sultana Bran, or Sports Plus or whatever, and they can have it on the weekend.  Mostly it's because otherwise the cost is a bit nuts so this way they still have the variety (and appreciate it) without it breaking the grocery budget.

Uncle Toby's on the left, mine on the right

Friday, May 17, 2013

Home-made Plum Jam via the Breadmaker

Having previously done mulberry jam on the stovetop and with Master 4 asking could we make jam, I thought hey, let's give the breadmaker a whirl.  I don't like how the breadmaker makes bread, instead I ask it to make dough and I finish the bread by hand and then into the wall oven... and I intend to have a go at sourdough by hand ... but I didn't know what I thought of how it made jam so thought it time to give it a crack!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meet 'The Girls' (the chook ones)

Here's the girls as the current flock stands.  Our shire regulations permit a maximum of 6 chooks, so 'come on down' girls and let's meet the people!

Comby/Combless (Leghorn).  So named because compared to the other girls she has much less of a comb. A middle of the pecking order kinda gal who just goes about being a chook with the occasional 'reminder' to a lower order chook.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Another Way to 'Keep' Food

Or should I say, another way to 'deal' with food.  We can keep food in the ground in the garden, in the fridge or freezer, we could possibly 'can' or bottle our own, we can air dry things like herbs, and we can bake but the other thing I never really paid much attention to is drying food, as in, with a food dehydrator.

This post on the Milkwood blog got me thinking and then oops I clicked on this link and I was stuck.  Exacalibur indeed.  Another thing to add to my 'dreams are free' list.  With the Excalibur, such a short use of resources (electricity, which can be offset somewhat by grid solar) in a long term use machine (the dehydrator) using food you are happy to use (organic apples, say) and that results in a much more economical outcome - for example instead of $40 a kilo for shop bought dried apples (and their numbers in them) you can pay even maybe $10 a kilo for organic apples and you still come out waaaay in front even if you include the electricity cost.

I would probably have a crack at fruit leathers, dried apples, prunes, semi-dried tomato and whatever else I think we would eat.  My only question is how to store the dried foods for, and how long they store for?  Do you dry foods and if so how?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Chooks & Extended Yard... and a few issues.

But not the kind of issues you'd expect, when blending in new chooks to a current run.  The most recent chapter in the chook story goes like this.  About 4 weeks ago, we were down to 4 girls after losing Bacon (Isa).  Left were; Nicoal (Australorp), Comby/Combless, Spots and Snow White (all Leghorns).  I was making the decision on what breed to choose for the new chooks.  We were adding to the chook family mostly because the laying was almost non-existent for the last 6mths or so, so I figured they were getting on a bit but also because I thought it would just be good, and the kids were looking forward to it too.

Mud (Isa) and Comby (Leghorn) in the new 'chooky garden' part of their run

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