A Late Lunch

Leave a comment

We were out and about for several hours today and since we did not start early, this included lunchtime.  Rather than stop for takeaway food, we opted to continue our quest which included buying timber and hardware as well as ordering a garden shed.

So, it was almost 3.30pm when we arrived home so I decided to make a main meal.  I am not sure whether to label it as a late lunch or early dinner but we had a delicious mushroom and bok choy risotto.

2020-05-11 01

Risotto is one of those wonderful one-pan meals that you can make using pretty well whatever ingredients you have on hand to add to the arborio rice mixture.

Here is a recipe based on what I made today but you can be as adventurous as you like when it comes to the flavours.

Mushroom and Bok Choy Risotto

Ingredients

1 cup arborio rice
1 onion, finely diced
Oil
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 large bok choy
2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Water

Lightly saute the onion in a small amount of oil in a large pan (I use a wok).  Add the dry rice and toss until coated with oil/onion mixture.  Add stock powder, paprika and 1 cup of water.  Gently simmer, stirring occasionally and add more water as it is absorbed – about 1/2 cup at a time.  The rice will become cooked and somewhat creamy in consistency.

Meanwhile, separate the stalks from the leaves of the bok choy.  Finely slice the stalks and saute in a separate pan.  Finely shred the leaves.  When the rice is almost ready add the mushrooms, bok choy stalks and leaves.  Stir to combine and add seasoning as required.

Serve in bowls.  The risotto can be topped with shaved parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for a vegan option.

NOTES:  I generally only add a maximum of 2 ingredients to risotto otherwise the flavours can be overwhelmed.  Other options include pumpkin and spinach, green bean and sundried tomato but you are only limited by you imagination.  You may choose to omit the paprika and substitute a can of crushed tomatoes instead of some of the water.

Gifts From the Garden

Leave a comment

When you have a productive garden, there is frequently more available than you can reasonably use.  So, we are often giving away produce to family and friends.

It is not all a one-way street and we are grateful for goodies which are gifted to us in return.

My sister and brother-in-law recently gave us a large pumpkin and some chillies.  The pumpkin was put to good use and you can read about it in this earlier post.  I used the chillies to make a bottle of sweet chilli sauce.

2020-05-09 01

A few days ago we visited my brother at his newly-purchased inner suburban unit.  I hardly expected that we would come away with fresh produce when he had been there for barely 3 weeks.  However, I was surprised to find myself returning home with a container of macadamia nuts which we had collected from the back lawn of the unit block.  This bounty is falling from a tree overhanging from a neighbouring garden.

2020-05-09 02

Also, some friends gave us a quantity of rosemary.  We have planted some cuttings so that we can add this to our own garden and I stripped the leaves off the remainder and dried it in the dehydrator.  Once it was dried, I ground it and then mixed the ground rosemary with Himalayan salt and I now have a jar of rosemary salt which will be be perfect for seasoning.  I am looking forward to trying it on some oven-baked potato chips.

2020-05-09 03

I was watching Gardening Australia last night and saw a segment about making your own Lemon and Rosemary Hand Scrub.  I am going to get some more rosemary from my friend and try that one out.  The recipe and details will be a future blog post.

 

 

Rethinking in Retirement

Leave a comment

No, I am not rethinking the fact that I have retired.  I am very happy with that decision.

I am talking about rethinking previous habits and two examples spring to mind.

When I was working in the city it suited me to have my cut at a salon close to my workplace.  Once I finished work I did go there a few more times by incorporating my haircut with another reason for a trip to the city.  I always intended to review this practice and change to having my haircut in our local town.  My hand was forced by the impact of the coronavirus as a trip to the city is simply out of the question at the moment.

I am fortunate to have an acquaintance here who is a hairdresser and is happy to visit and do haircuts in the client’s home.  So, yesterday was the day.  It was actually 14 weeks since my last haircut so I was looking rather shaggy.  I am very pleased with the result.  Thanks, Anni.

2020-05-08 01

Similarly, we had always had our car serviced regularly in the city as it suited GMan to drop it off and collect it when going to work.  That is no longer the case and today we took it to the local service centre in our town.  The ute had been serviced locally for a number of years and there was no good reason not to take the car there, too.

I am sure there are other habits and routines that we will change in retirement.

Cooking Day

1 Comment

Today I cooked.  I was inspired by the large pumpkin I was given yesterday as well as the chickpeas I had cooked yesterday.

The first job was to pack up the baked beans I had cooked overnight in the slow-cooker.  I had some for breakfast as well as these 3 jars to go in the freezer and half a jar which are in the refrigerator to be used in the next few days.

2020-05-04 01

I then cut up the pumpkin.  The 2 trays of sliced pumpkin have been basted with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic syrup.  These will be used on pizzas. Some of the larger pieces will be cut up and added to the chickpea and vegetable curry while the remainder will be become pumpkin soup.  I pre-roast the pumpkin as it is easier than peeling it and I find that it also enhances the flavour.

2020-05-04 02

Meanwhile I moved onto the curry.  As well as the chickpeas and pumpkin this also had stalks of choy sum and half an eggplant diced.  I ended up with a total of 8 serves (4 meals for GMan and me).

2020-05-04 03

I had other plans for the choy sum leaves and the other half of the eggplant.  Using this recipe for Eggplant Lasagne Rolls as inspiration, I made a dish of lasagne using the finely shredded choy sum leaves mixed with half a tub of ricotta that I had in the refrigerator layered with the sliced eggplant and a rich, herbed tomato sauce.  This is ready to be baked for dinner tomorrow night.  I will add a mixture of flaxseed meal and parmesan cheese to the top when it is almost cooked.

2020-05-04 04

One pizza was for our lunch today which we enjoyed.  The other one is ready for the cheese to be added, cooked and eaten another day.

2020-05-04 05

All of these dishes were made using a combination of ingredients I had on hand in the pantry and refrigerator with produce I had been gifted and what was growing in the garden.  One of the most important aspects is to ensure that nothing goes to waste.

Finally, I made some more spreadable butter blend.

2020-05-04 06

Although the title of this blog post is ‘Cooking Day’, it occurred to me when you have access to fresh produce from the garden (either your own or kind friends) there is always something to do.

More about my other food adventures another day.

Winter Beds

2 Comments

Although we live in a temperate sub-tropical zone, there are still distinct seasonal variations and we respond accordingly.

Two nights ago we experienced our first cold (for us) night when the temperature dropped to 6C (43F).

The prospect of this temperature was enough to convince me that the very lightweight summer doona would not be sufficient.  I retrieved the feather doona from the wardrobe in the spare room.  For me, it is not only about the physical warmth of the feather doona but the colours I use which reflect the cooler weather.

During the summer the bed is made up using light blue and white bed linen and I love the fresh, cool effect that this brings.

2020-05-03 01
Although the fabric is no heavier, the darker coloured linen makes the room feel cosier as the weather cools.  I changed the bed yesterday and substituted the winter bedding.

2020-05-03 02

My bed was not the only one that noticed the effects of the cold night.

The cucumbers were planted late in the summer but we had been fortunate to have a great harvest.  However, overnight the vine went from being lush and green to looking quite shrivelled in parts.  It does not like the cold nor the accompanying strong westerly winds.

2020-05-03 03

With the prospect of several subsequent cold nights, I decided to remove all of the mature cucumbers and clear out the vine.

The haul was surprisingly large.

2020-05-03 04

The vine and trellis are now removed so it is time to clear the weeds and prepare the bed for a cool season crop.

2020-05-03 05

What heralds the change of seasons at your place?

Small Things

Leave a comment

Not everything I do is a massive project, like the photos.  It is often all the small day-to-day jobs that can make a real difference.

Today is a case in point.  Last week I received a birthday parcel from my younger daughter who lives in another state.  She had made me a decorative embroidery which was mounted in a frame.

2020-04-30 01

I have now hung it in my sewing room alongside the one she made a couple of years ago.

2020-04-30 02

The other small task I completed was mending a pair of GMan’s jeans that he wears when working in the yard.  I no longer have a mending pile so when he showed them to me I mended them straightaway.

2020-04-30 03

You can see more of the story on the inside.  The blue patch had been done some time ago and then they split again immediately below that patch.  So, today I added the green patch.

2020-04-30 04

Here is an old post with a bit more detail about my rudimentary patching methods for clothes that are worn in the garden.

 

 

Photos – Another Milestone

1 Comment

There have been no blog posts for a few days but I have been beavering away in the background.

In my earlier post I mentioned that I was not ready to attack the large box of photos.  That resolve did not last for long and I decided that I needed to work on those as well as the digital files.  So, I began scanning.  This did not turn out to be as onerous as I had originally imagined.  The reason for this was that many of the hard copies in the box had, in fact, actually already been scanned.  Nevertheless, it meant that I needed to cross-check every photograph to ensure that it had been scanned and do those that had not previously been scanned.

Therefore, I am excited to report that all of my photos are now scanned and saved on the computer.  I still have a long way to go before I can declare that this project is finished.  The next stage is to work on culling any duplicates or poor quality images.  Once I have a curated collection for a particular folder they will then be numbered and named according the convention I have deemed suitable to ensure that the preferred sequence is maintained.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit testing as the various piles of photos took over the desk, the end of the kitchen bench and even some of the floor of the study.

One of the real highlights of this project has been the re-discovery of forgotten or rarely seen images.

2020-04-29 01

2020-04-29 02

2020-04-29 03

2020-04-29 04

2020-04-29 05