Saturday, May 26, 2012

edible front garden update

Here is the mango seedling we are hoping to plant in a few months' time.  Our dear friends grew it from a seed from their mango tree for us.  They also gave us a seed to try to grow, but so far it hasn't even sprouted.  We are not natural gardeners yet.

We also planted a few other plants lately, this is a tropical nectarine:

 This is a plum, I am not confident it will fruit here, as we are unlikely to have enough cool nights to set fruit. It is throwing out heaps of new growth, so at least it is happy.

These are two new tropical peach trees : an Anzac peach and a China flat. So far they seem happy with their new home.

Unlike the peach we put in recently, which grew a little, and now looks very sad:

We have also popped a cherry in, again we aren't confident it will fruit, but they are lovely looking trees, and it will be a feature near out letterbox we hope: 

Recently Miss 4 asked if these are carrots [growing on our chilli bush, no less!!].

 And the poor quince, is now a twig, dry and broken.  I'm not sure if it's worth trying again.  But I SO want to produce my own quince, so I can make my own quince paste!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My favourite savoury muffin recipe

This recipe is so easy I keep it in my head [it's the only one I can confidently say is in there].  SO easy and SO yummy.


Place in a bowl:
2 cups SR flour [can be gluten free or regular]
2 cups grated cheese
2 tablespoons chopped ham/cooked bacon

In a jug:
2 eggs
make up to 2 cups with milk
whisk in 2 tablespoons oil

Gently add the wet ingredients to the dry, DO NOT OVERMIX.  
Bake in a moderate oven 180C for 10-12 minutes for mini muffins, 18-20 minutes for regular muffins, 25 or so minutes for Texas maxi muffins.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


My standard cookie/biscuit recipe is super-easy.  They always work, and this recipe makes 60-90 biscuits depending on the size, so I can bake once and freeze some and have home made gluten free goodies for ages.

Gluten free cookies

500g butter
1 x 395g tin condensed milk
1 cup sugar
5 cups gluten free flour mix
5 teaspoons baking powder [sometimes I forget this and they still work ok]
Preheat oven to 180.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Beat in condensed milk.  Add the flour & baking powder and mix on low speed until smooth.   
Roll about 2 teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on baking paper-lined trays.  Press a couple of chocolate chunks into the top. 
Bake for 12-15 mins or until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on the trays.  Store in airtight containers.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

my new strawberry patch

This is my new strawberry patch.  We are hoping to have a lovely crop over the coming months.  Two different varieties will hopefully extend our harvest... but we will need to net them to keep the birds [and little hands] away.  The last time I tried to grow strawberries Miss 2 [who was 1 at the time] and the chickens both kept eating the fruit while it was still green.  This patch is fenced from the chooks [and the toddler] so I am hopeful we will eat the fruit of our labour this attempt!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gluten free baking - a collection of recipes

Recently a friend asked me for a collection of my gluten free recipes, so she could learn to bake gluten free.  I directed her to my blog, but then realised it is very difficult to find all the recipes here.  This is a list of the gluten free recipes I've featured here on my blog so far:

beautiful quick and easy nut slice
mud cake
choc chip cookies
peanut butter biscuits
super-easy healthy chocolate muffins
marbled chocolate cheesecake slice
chocolate fudge cake
My world famous brownies
raspberry white choc muffins
melting moments
quick microwave fruit cake
wacky cake - basic gluten & dairy free cake
pecan pie


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I thought you'd like to see a bridesmaid dress in action

This is one of the three dresses 'in action' walking down the aisle at the wedding.  They turned out very well. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

an amazing insect we found the other day

Today Miss 9 discovered an amazing bug in the garden.  Sitting on a rosella branch was this beautiful orange and metallic blue insect, guarding a clutch of perfectly formed pale pink eggs. 
So we got on to google to try to find out exactly what it was.

It took a little while, but finally we discovered this is the cotton harlequin bug.

It's official name is Tectocoris Diaphthalmos.

According to this site the bugs are quite maternal and look after their eggs and young.

This is a spider we found on a nearby branch. It was also interesting, but has nothing to do with the hibiscus harlequin bug.

Apparently they suck the sap from hibiscus and related plants.  They are a problem for cotton crops.  Typical insecticides deal with them.

We think we'll keep this one - she's not doing any harm to my ridiculously large rosella crop, and it will be fun to watch the eggs hatch.  Besides, we are trying not to spray insecticides/poisons in our little oasis here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gluten free carrot cake

I was given this recipe many years ago when my eldest was first diagnosed with coeliac disease.  It is a really lovely cake, and it always seems to work perfectly.  Noone believes me that it's gluten free when I serve it.  I happen to love carrot cake because of the frosting: cream cheese frosting is something wonderful.  I always make a double-batch of cream cheese frosting, because you need a really thick layer on a carrot cake, and because there has to be enough for me to lick the bowl!!


Recipe can be made a day ahead.  Suitable to freeze.

 1 cup [125g] soy flour or chickpea [besan] flour
¾ cup [110g] maize cornflour [100% corn]
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 cup [200g] firmly packed brown sugar
1½ cups [360g] grated carrot
1 cup [120g] chopped walnuts
½ cup [125ml] extra light olive oil
½ cup [125ml] sour cream
3 eggs, beaten lightly

125g cream cheese, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1½ cups [240g] pure icing sugar

Preheat the oven to moderately slow [160 C].  Grease a deep 20cm round cake tin and line base and sides with baking paper. 
Sift flours, baking powder, soda, and spice into a large bowl; stir in the sugar, carrots and walnuts. 
Stir in the combined oil, cream and eggs until smooth.  Pour the mixture into prepared pan and bake in a moderately slow oven for about one hour.
Stand the cake for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.  Top cake with Orange Frosting.

Orange Frosting: Beat the cheese and rind in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar until smooth.