Talking, baking and planting

I've spent a few Saturday mornings on Skype recently chatting away to people I know through this blog. It's been a lot of fun and many of the women I chatted to said they enjoyed it too. We were all in our own homes, many of us had a cup of tea or coffee and it was like meeting up at the coffee shop with the girls. So I've been thinking I might make it something I do just to socialise. I wonder if there are six people who want to chat on Skype for an hour on a Saturday morning (Brisbane time). You can ask about bread, or cooking, or mending, or whatever, or we can just socialise and get to know each other. Isn't that a great idea! I'll start it in April because I still have a writers chat and a bloggers chat coming up. When they're finished, I'll pick a date and if you comment here or follow me on Instagram, you can email me and let me know you're interested. I think we'll have a great time.

ADDED LATER: Please not, I'm not taking names now. In April, I'll let you know when to contact me via the contact form on the right.

I made a new bread recipe yesterday. Well, I suppose I can't call it a new recipe, I just added oats to my normal bread.  I ground it up in a small food processor and substituted one cup of ground oats for one cup of flour.  I wonder why I waited so long to do that, it was fabulous.  Here is the link to one of my bread posts with the bread recipe.

Here in my heartland

I intended to post yesterday, and wrote something to accompany a video I made of Gracie running around the house like a ratbag. When I tried to post it Blogger didn't like it so I walked away.

Sleeping angels and carrot cake

All the grandkids were here on Saturday and stayed for a sleepover. They ran around like headless chooks in the afternoon, Eve watched a little bit of Peppa Pig, the boys watched Dan TDM, they had a drawing competition and played with Gracie and the Lego. I made lasagne for dinner but only three of us ate it. Eve filled up on avocado and bananas and Alex had grilled cheese on toast and some milk. They all slept in the same queen sized bed and when I went in to check on them at 11, all I could see were three tiny angels resting their sweet heads in a bed way too big for them.  😇😇😇 They slept soundly until 7am.

Pottering along

Rye flour has always been expensive but now it's expensive and hard to find.  Most places have rye premix but I don't like using that, I prefer pure flour. So when I dug out a small chicken from the bottom of the freezer yesterday, I was very pleased to find a bag of rye flour.  I made up a loaf yesterday and it's delicious.  I used to bake bread every day. Now it's maybe twice a week but it's still an important part of my house work routine. Supermarket bread, and often bakery bread, contain preservatives and I'd much prefer to eat food without it. Preservatives keep bread on the shelves longer and it stays soft longer when you bring it home. When our bread is three days old, I toast it.  After baking bread and when the loaf is cold, I slice it, put it in a bag and store it in the fridge.  If I keep bread in the bread bin during spring and summer mould grows after a couple of days so for now, the bread stays in the fridge.

Sending much love to Sun Ja, Sunny and our Korean family

Hello to our family over in Korea - Sun Ja and Sunny and the rest of the extended family.  I found a photo you probably haven't seen and then I searched for a few more of us all together.  I thought you'd like to see them.  We're thinking of you and send much love across the ocean.

Remember this Sun Ja?  The day after Jamie was born and you made your special bone broth and seaweed soup for Sunny.  I think it was the traditional Korean soup mothers have after their baby is born.

Ducks and garlic

I meant to show you these delightful photos I took, then forgot all about it.  The ducks visited us last week, I was inside when Hanno yelled out "Ducks!!", I went out and was surprised to find an entire family on their walkabout.  Of course Hanno fed them, they had a rest and off they went into the bush on the other side of our little dead end street.  It's always a treat seeing all the visiting birds we get here but this was something really special.

Starting the vegetable garden

The garden is overgrown with flowers and herbs and the soil is rock hard in places. Hanno has the sprinkler on to make digging easier.

Every day that passes by brings our 2019 vegetable garden closer to reality. There was a time when we'd (mainly Hanno) get stuck in and the set up was fast and efficient.  Now that we're older and slower, we do what we can, usually one big job a day, and that is inching us towards our gardening goals. Yesterday Hanno pulled out weeds and raspberry runners under the big trellis next to the chicken coop. We're going to plant beans and cucumbers there this year. We'll save two healthy raspberry runners for a life in pots. Having the raspberries transfer from the garden to pots takes them into my realm, but more on that when I actually have them in my clutches.  Hanno also weeded a couple of smaller patches, pruned the potted roses and watered the soil to make it easier to dig, which will probably happen in the coming days.

Cooking from scratch

I think I'm a little ahead of myself when it comes to the transition from cool summer food over to warmer and heartier autumn meals.  We're in the last week of summer here and I'm longing for my favourite season to start with her cooler nights and warm days. I'm always conscious of the need to create nutritious food for my family and when Jamie is here on the weekends, I love serving him the same kind of food that his father grew up on. So maybe a little earlier than expected, I've been making lasagne, breads, soups, and today - corned beef, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower.

Seven years old? Really!

My first book, Down to Earth, is seven years old today, it was published 22 February, 2012. My editor, Jo Rosenberg, said she thought the book would sell for a long time and yes, it's still in the book shops and selling well. It helped me get to know so many people I would never have met otherwise and opened up many opportunities. Penguin sent my sales figures yesterday. So far, Down to Earth has sold 23,056 copies. 

A collector of buttons

My mum was a collector of buttons. She loved roses and magnolias and preferred raw vegetables much more than cooked ones. She was a dedicated family woman, a loving mother to her two daughters and a frequent helper at our school. She was quiet and gentle but fearless when something upset her. One day, she saw the local priest walk out of the pub across the road from our school. Oh boy! Stand back.

My mother, Jean St Claire - 1919 - 1993