Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Devilled Sausages

This is such a tasty and frugal meal and one that I love.  In the past I used to use one of those packet mixes but then I started making this version and I will never go back as the flavour of this is so much better and it is really no more effort.

With so many sausages to use up from our cow I will be trying to come up with some interesting uses for them.
This is one of those meals that uses just a few basic ingredients and will be enjoyed by all the family.

Devilled Sausages

10 - 12 Sausages
1 Large Brown Onion, thickly diced
2 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced
1 Tsp Mustard Powder
2 Cups of Beef Stock
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Soya Sauce
1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce

Brown the sausages on all sides and then set aside.  In the oil from the sausages cook the diced onion for 5 minutes over a medium heat then add the apple and cook for a further 5 minutes stiring often to ensure the apple does not burn,  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combine then add the sausages back in and cook on a low - medium heat uncovered for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced.

Serve with Mash and vegetables.

Monday, 30 March 2015

RDI - Recommended Daily Intakes

Do you read labels when shopping for food?  Do you take any notice of the RDI recommended daily intake percentages?  Do you understand how they apply to you?

For a while now I have been meaning to look into the concept of these recommended intakes and how they actually apply to me and to others.

Most nutritional panels that list RDI's base the % on a daily kJ intake of 8700 kJ but with 3 in 5 Australians (that's over 12 million people) being overweight this is probably more than is required for most people.

For example I need to loose another 5kg which means I need only 6900kJ per day and once I reach that target I will only need to 8500kJ per day to maintain that weight based on my current rate of exercise.
Hubby on the other hand has a very physically demanding job and needs 13500kJ per day just to maintain his weight.  This has been very apparent recently as he has just finished working 14 days in a row and has lost 6kg in that 2 week period.

To calculate how many kJ you need click here and calculate

In today's society it is fairly common place to see people sitting down for a cup of coffee with something on the side such as a muffin, biscuit or piece of cake.  
But I don't think many people would be aware of the exercise you need to do to offset the kilojoule intake of what does not seem to be an extravagant treat.
To offset the energy intake from a capppucino and muffin you would need to run at a high intensity for 20 minutes,  or at a moderate rate for 35 minutes, or walk for 81 minutes.

What I find frustrating is that on many nutrition panels the ingredients that have an RDI % listed often do not list the % for the items I feel are most important such as salt and sugar.  The panel in the picture above came from a box of wheatbix and as you can see  it contains 81 mg per serve (2 wheatbix). An adequet daily intake of between 460 - 920mg and a recommended intake of up to 1600mg per day is what is recommended (National Health and Medical Research Council).
That means that at the lowest range of the scale just 2 Wheatbix is already providing 17.6% of your RDI as an adult and based on the higher intake it is 5% of your RDI.  Are you surprised?

I really encourage you to work out what your actual kJ requirement is because it will make using the nutrition panels really work to your benefit.

How do you feel about the RDI information?  Do you use it?
Do you know How many kJ's you need?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Preparing For Camping

We are heading off to Girraween National Park camping for 10 days tomorrow and as we are both busy right up until we leave I have been doing a few things to prepare for our trip.

I like to do a menu plan for the entire time we are away because I have found in the past if we do not do this we end up with more food than we need and there can be waste.  To help with preventing waste I also plan for one day less of food than we need as I have found that we often have a few days where we just eat 2 meals and have some snacks.  We always have a few tins of things in case we need any extra meals.

While we are away we need 10 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches and 10 Dinners plus snacks and this is what is planned:

Breakfast: Bacon and Egg English Muffins x 2 Days, Bacon, Eggs and Baked Beans x 2 Days,
Bacon, Mushrooms and Haloumi, French Toast and Berries x 2 Days, Porridge x 2 Days.

Lunch: Jaffles (toasted sandwiches) x 4 Days, Salad Rolls x 4 Days and 1 day we will go out for the day so we will eat out that day.

Dinner: Sausages and Salad x 2 Days, Steak and Salad, Satay Chicken Kebabs and Grilled Veg, Baked Potatoes and Coleslaw, Nachos, Pasta with Chorizo and Pesto, Salmon Patties.

To this there will be fruit, nuts, crackers, cheese, olives and hommus for snacks and a few bottles of wine for the evening.

As I have planned to have french toast with berries a couple of mornings I stewed up some frozen mixed berries and a couple of nectarines that had gone soft.

Then the stewed fruit was then returned to the bag the berries came out of and frozen flat to make for easy storage when camping.

We have a camping fridge/freezer that we switch to freezer mode for longer breaks and we use it to keep meat frozen and to freeze ice bricks.
I separate the bacon into packs of 2 rashers/1 meal.  This means you only need to defrost one portion at a time and the rest can stay frozen.  I also do the same with Kabana, I cut it down to one portion and vacuum pack it,

Last week I cooked up some Chilli so I packed some in a takeaway container to freeze for one of our camping meals.  As much as part of the camping experience is the campfire cooking, I still like to have a few meals that just need to be heated and served.

We have a house sitter coming to look after Jessie, the chicken and things here so we can head off and relax without any worries.
I have planned a few posts for the time we are away and I hope you all have a safe and happy Easter.

Do you menu plan for when you go away?
What have you got planned for Easter?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Spanish Eggs

This is a recipe that makes good use of the summer vegetables we commonly grow.  It is really tasty and makes a great breakfast or brunch dish and a tasty dinner too.  I make mine with chorizo but you could use a smoky bacon or leave the meat out for a vegetarian version.
The quantities I have noted are approximate and usually vary every time I make it depending on what I have on hand.

Spanish Eggs

1 Chorizo Sausage
1 Brown Onion, diced
2 Capsicums, diced
6 Fresh or 2 Tins of Diced Tomatoes
1 Tbs Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper
6 Eggs

Start by dicing the chorizo into small pieces and fry in a small amount of oil over a medium heat so that some of the fat renders out.  Once the chorizo is cooked remove from the pan and add the diced onion and cook until translucent.  Increase the heat and add the diced capsicum and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the smoked paprika a cook stirring continuously for 30 seconds before adding the chorizo back in.  Finally add the diced tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.  Season well with salt and pepper then make hollows in the tomato sauce mix and crack in your eggs.
Cook until your eggs are to your liking.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Raw Milk Petition Update

Yesterday I posted about the raw milk battle that is brewing in South Australia. Today I received an update advising that for the petition to be tabled in parliament it needs to be in a set format.

The good news is that it is as simple as printing out the petition signing it and getting anyone else you know to sign it and putting it the post.  You have until Saturday April 18 for the petition to be received so print out a few keep them in your car, in your handbag and take them everywhere you go.  Encourage others to sign them too and spread the word that we want the right to choose.

So for the cost of a 70 cent stamp you can make sure your voice is well and truly heard.

MP to table our Petition in Parliament

Please print this out and fill the page with signatures including your own and then post back to the address outlined.

To print out the petition click here

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Raw Milk Petition - Please Send The Below Email To The Local Ministers

You may or may not have an interest in consuming raw milk but if you support our right to choose what we eat please take part in this email petition.

It will not require any more effort than a quick copy and paste and even if you cannot send this email at the requested time please take the time to send it.
We need to show our support for farmers and to make sure the government knows we want the right to choose for ourselves what we eat.

The email list includes that federal and SA government ministers and I will be including the QLD minister for agriculture too agriculture@ministerial.qld.gov.au

If you want to know more about raw milk in Australia Liz over at Eight Acres wrote a great post about it that you can read here which also includes a lot of other links to related articles.

Here is all the information you need to participate in the timed, email protest in support of the Tyler Family (Moo View Dairy in SA), who are returning to court on March 23rd to defend criminal charges for 'selling' raw milk via herd share. 

Please save the below template email into an email ready to send on Monday, and re-post and share within your networks. To be effective we need participation.

If you want to tell the government that we don't accept our farmers being turned into criminals and that we don't accept our government making arbitrary rules about our food system then please help the cause by doing the following:

ACTION: send the below email to the below Federal and State Ministers.
WHEN: 10 am, 23 March (the coming Monday)

WHO: minister@maff.gov.aufarrer@aph.gov.au,mawson@parliament.sa.gov.auplayford@parliament.sa.gov.au,cheltenham@parliament.sa.gov.auenfield@parliament.sa.gov.au,

EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: Our farmers are not criminals

Dear Sir/Madam
With today's court appearance of Mark Tyler in SA as a result of his herd share, raw cow's milk is firmly back in the headlines. We have heard it being decried and demonised in the media. But the reality is raw drinking milk can be and is produced safely under appropriate legislation world-wide. Prohibiting it, as is done in Australia, merely turns farmers into criminals.
Only Australia, Canada and Scotland prohibit the production and sale of raw milk for human consumption. Every other country in the world has enacted legislation to protect herd shares, put guidelines in place to ensure safe production of raw milk, and even to oversee the commercial sale of this milk (including most States in the USA). Although Scotland prohibits the sale and production of raw milk, it is still available to purchase via mail order.

Australia, on the other hand, has not only prohibited the sale of raw milk for human consumption, the State of Victoria has also gone to the as yet unheard of step of insisting that a bittering agent be added to raw milk, with other States indicating they may follow suit.

It has also been strongly indicated that this will include milk produced as part of herd shares, i.e. milk consumers obtain from cows they legally own. In one foul swoop, Victoria has managed to alienate many small dairy producers and make these farmers criminals overnight...for no other reason than milking their cows and providing a safe and nutritious product, or allowing herd share owners access to milk from the cows they (the consumer) own.
Several raw milk producers within Australia have already developed a framework for safe raw milk production, which they utilise in their own dairies. These steps towards reducing risk include regular testing, routines around cleaning and inspecting cows prior to milking, stocking densities, distribution chains, feed requirements, etc. These measures mirror legislation in place in other countries, including New Zealand, England, USA, and others.

Despite this, raw milk continues to be prohibited in Australia. To add insult to injury, raw goat's milk (a substance FSANZ has deemed a high risk product and similar in risk assessment to raw cow's milk) is legal to produce under license in all States except Victoria. Raw cheese production is slated to become legal this year. Yet raw cow's milk continues to be targeted and prohibited.
The truth is, yes...all raw food carries inherent risk. No raw product can be 100% safe, 100% of the time. One only has to look to the recent Hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries to see an excellent example of this. Pasteurised dairy products are also not without risk. Take, for example, a listeria outbreak in 2013 linked to soft cheeses produced by Jindi Cheese company that caused two deaths, numerous illnesses and one miscarriage. There is risk associated with many foods. However, by working with producers, guidelines can be put in place to minimise risk to consumers from raw milk.

Both local producers and those world-wide have clearly demonstrated that raw milk can be safely produced. Prohibiting raw milk merely serves to drive its availability underground and creates a raw milk black market. Consumer safety is compromised in this situation because safety comes second to avoiding intervention by authorities. By putting appropriate legislation in place that regulates the production and distribution of raw milk, safety levels are maintained, consumers are protected, and small farmers are able to earn a living without being branded criminals. The rest of the world has demonstrated this can be achieved. Surely it is time Australia steps in line with the rest of the world?

Our farmers are not criminals. Please support your local farmers by supporting a rethink over raw milk legislation. Please do not buy into media hype over raw milk safety. The rest of the world produces this product safely and Australia can too. 

Please help bring this issue to light in a positive, constructive fashion, so legislation can be developed and Australia can move forward with raw milk production.

Voters are demanding that raw milk be legalised. We hope we can count on your support to start this process.

Insert: Your name, State, Postcode

Friday, 20 March 2015

Strange Growths In The Garden

After the rain the other week I noticed that we had some unusual fungis coming up in the mulch.

With Hubby being an Arborist we use tree mulch on the non - veggie gardens and we often have unusual looking fungi growing.
This is a new one that I have not seen before and I was quite intrigued by the make up with what appeared to be a glossy sticky top and a fine net like wrap around the trunk.
Hubby was also amused by the fact it was quite phallic looking.
The netting was very delicate and when I tried to touch it it broke so I stopped touching after that especially since I was unsure if it was toxic.

Have you had anything strange or unusual appear in you garden before?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Beef And Lentil Curry

I found this recipe in an old magazine and decided to give it a go.  The magazine did not specify the country of origin but I suspect it is from the India, Myanmar or northern Thailand region.

This curry has a sauce added at the end which gives it a real tangy punch.

The recipe calls for Chuck steak which comes from the shoulder and is ideal for curry's as it contains lots of connective tissues and collagen which partially melt during cooking and make the meat tender and succulent.  You can use any cut of stewing steak for this recipe.

Beef and Lentil Curry


5 Long Red Chillies
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Fish Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside until serving.


1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Onions
8 cm Piece of Ginger peeled and grated
8 cm Piece of Galangal peeled and grated
2 Cloves of Garlic crushed
2 Birdseye Chillies deseeded and finely chopped
3 Lemongrass Stems, Bruised *See Note
10 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1/2 Cup Grated Palm Sugar
2 Tbs Ground Turmeric
2 Tbs Ground Coriander
2 Tbs Ground Cumin
2 Tbs Sweet Paprika
1 Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 kg of Chuck Steak
1/2 Cup Fish Sauce
2 Cups Red Lentils
1 Cup of Toasted Desicated Coconut 
2 Cups of Coconut Milk
Fresh Coriander and Basil to serve

Get the curry on the go and then when it is cooking you can make the sauce.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and cook the diced onion until lightly browned.  Add the ginger, galangal, garlic birds eye chilli, lemongrass and lime leaves and stir for 2 minutes then add the dried spices and cook for another 2 minutes stirring the whole time before adding 4 cups of water, the beef, fish sauce.  Bring the sauce to a boil and  the reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally.
After 2 hours add the lentils and coconut and cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.  Once the lentils are cooked stir in the coconut milk bring it bake to the boil then remove from the heat.

Spoon into serving bowls or over rice and top with fresh herbs and chilli dressing.

Note: Using Lemon Grass

If you have not used lemongrass before you need to trim off the base and the green tops so you have about a 15 cm stalk.  You then need to discard a number of the outer layers until you are left with the fresh pale inner stalk.  In this recipe you just bruise the stalks (I whacked mine with the pestle from my mortar and pestle on the chopping board) and add them whole to the pan but other recipes will call for you to slice the lemon grass finely.  You can watch a demo here.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Beef Chilli

This is such a great dish and be used for many different meals including Chilli Con Carne, Nachos, Tacos, Chilli Beef Pie, Mexican Lasagna, Baked Potatoes Topping, Enchiladas and many more.

You can make this recipe with mince but my favourite cut of meat to use is Beef Brisket.  The Brisket comes from the lower part of the chest and needs to be cooked on a lower heat and for a longer period of time and has a wonderful flavour and texture.

If you get a whole brisket from your butcher you can ask them to trim it for you or you can take it home and trim off any silver skin which will become tough when cooked.  You Also need to slice across the grain of the meat or you will end up with stringy bits of beef.

This recipe also uses Dried Chillis which you can get from international food stores or online and it is worth the effort.  For this recipe I would suggest Ancho, Poblano or Chipotle Chillies as these have a great flavour without being too hot.  If you can't get hold of these you can add some extra smoky paprika, some cayenne pepper or leave it out altogether.  I would not suggest using dried Asian chillies as these tend to be quite hot.

Beef Chilli

2kg Beef Brisket sliced into 2.5 cm  pieces (or use beef mince)
500ml hot coffee (or beef stock if you are sensitive to caffeine)
3 Large Dried Chillies
2 Heaped Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Heaped Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 Heaped Teaspoon Dried Oregano
2 Fresh Bay Leaves (or 4 Dried)
2 Red Onions
3-4 Fresh Long Chillies
2 Cinnamon Sticks
10 Cloves of Garlic
2 x 400 gm Tins of Diced Tomatoes or fresh equivalent
3 Tablespoons of Molasses or Dark Brown Sugar
3 Red, Yellow or Orange Capsicums
2 x 400 Gm Tins of Kidney Beans or or equivalent

Make the coffee and soak the dried chillies in it to let them re hydrate.  Meanwhile put a large casserole pan on a low heat on the stove top and add some oil (I used beef tallow) the cumin,paprika, oregano, bay leaves and diced onion and fry for 10 minutes stirring often or until the onion is soft.
De-seed and chop the fresh chillies, chop the re hydrated diced chillies and add them to the pan along with the cinnamon sticks, garlic, and a splash of the coffee.  Then add the rest of the coffee, some salt and pepper, the tomatoes, molasses and the beef.
Cover and simmer for 3 hours stirring occasionally.  After a few hours use a couple of forks to break up the meat and pull it apart.  Then add the diced capsicum and beans and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as required.

Serve with rice, salad, tortillas or as part of one of the suggestions above.

This makes a big serve but it freezes well and is great to have on hand for a quick and easy meal.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Chicken Has A Swollen Wattle

Last Thursday I noticed that one of our hens had a very swollen wattle and it looked like she had a grape hanging off her face.

I suspect she got stung by a bee or a wasp as the other side was not swollen and she was behaving normally.  Swollen wattles could also be a sign of foul cholera but I was pretty sure it was just an insect bite  or sting.

I caught her and put some arnica cream on her wattle to help with the inflamation but all it seemed to do was attract the dirt.

The swelling has mostly gone and she is still a happy little chicken, just not as pretty as usual.

Have any of your chickens ever had swollen wattles?

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Weekend Kitchen

This past week was quite busy for us hence my lack of posts.  We had people inspecting the house on Saturday morning so had to make ourselves scarce but we had the rest of the weekend to tackle other jobs.
For me I had a list of things I wanted to tackle in the kitchen.

I tried a new recipe and made a Beef and Lentil curry that was very tasty.

I made a batch of Halloumi.

And I made some Mango fruit leather in my dehydrator.  The dehydrator only came with one plastic sheet for making fruit leather and drying herbs so I made a few extras from baking paper.

I just used the plastic one as a template and cut out a few extras.  I was a bit worried at first that the mango would run off the side but it didn't move at all once I had spread it.  To make the mango puree all I did was blitz some of the frozen mango cheeks in the food processor until it was a smooth paste.

The fruit leathers came out really well and they taste really strongly of mango without being too sweet.

I also made a a big batch of Chilli Beef for Sunday dinner and for the freezer.  It can be turned into a range of different meals quickly and easily.

I will post the recipes for the Chilli and Curry during the week as I think they are worth sharing.

What did you get up to on the weekend?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What We Started With 6 Years Ago - A Renovators Journey

When we purchased our property back in 2009 it was a bit of a dump and was in desperate need of some TLC.

What gardens there were were overgrown and the shade house was collapsing.  There was no driveway until we put one in.

The deck had never been oiled and was all grey and mouldy.

The front room had kids drawings on the ceiling and the walls were painted with exterior house paint.

There was no carpet in most of the rooms and most of the window dressings were broken.  The office was painted with exterior paint too.

The main bedroom had a horrible old rattly air conditioner and some of the lovely fake wood paneling that featured throughout the house.  Thankfully Hubby was able to make a massive improvement.

The kitchen had a horrible old recirculating fan above the stove that was covered in grease, and the dinning room was a sea of wood paneling.

The lounge was more wood paneling and a timber floor covered in paint spots and a green painted edge around the entire room.  We were really glad to repaint and get carpet laid.

The bathroom had a concrete floor and old vanity and a bath with horrible wall tiles and a scratched bath and we lived with it for 5 years until we renovated.

Outside the ugly tin sheds were on full display.

There was a number of poorly maintained trees that had been pruned badly and were all misshapen.

The lawn was growing over everything.

The lawn was so overgrown at the back we could not even open the back door and it turned out there was a concrete slab under all the grass.

The property did come with a tractor that we used a few times and then sold for $800.  There were no fences other than the boundary and the cows had been keeping the lawn mowed.

There were no gardens just random trees planted in the lawn, where gardens might have been at some stage in the past.

There was a bent pine tree that was removed as soon as we moved in and an old low retaining wall that we replaced and turned into a fire pit.

I bet you are now wondering how we could see past it all.  Looking back I am not sure either, but we did and we thought it could be a great place to live.  And it has been,
We have put in a lot of man hours and a bit of money (but not that much) and lots of sweat, tears, four letter words and a few god old tantrums too.

So now we just hope it sells in a reasonable time frame so we can move on to our next adventure.

Monday, 9 March 2015

We Are Selling

I will give you full warning that this post is picture heavy.

Over the weekend we finally signed the paperwork with an agent and our house is officially on the market.

These are the photos the agent took and later this week I am going to show you the journey we have been on in photos.

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 1

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 3

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 2

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 14

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 7

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 4

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 10

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 20

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 13

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 5

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 15

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 8

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 11

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 18

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 12

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 19

Sandy Creek Small Acreage For Sale -   Photo 6

The paperwork was signed Saturday, the house was officially on the market on Sunday and the agent emailed me today to advise some one wants to come and do an inspection tomorrow.  We are encouraged by that but do not want to get our hopes up.
The plan is to sell here and move to Brisbane until we move to New Zealand.  It is such a strange feeling to have not jobs that need doing around the house other than keeping things tidy.  But I think it will be a nice change as we have been working hard for so long.  We even got to spend Sunday morning at the beach and enjoyed fish and chips by the seaside, such a treat.

And now the real fun begins, trying to find somewhere to live in Brisbane.