And the Cleaning

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When I cook I invariably make a mess.  In fact, we have a standing joke that I cook and GMan cleans up.  I must admit he is very good at doing the dishes and I think he spent the majority this weekend washing dishes.

I finished off yesterday’s efforts this morning by portioning up the refried beans for the freezer as well as cutting and pureeing lots of mangoes to go in the freezer.  Mango preparation is a messy, sticky business.

In between all of this GMan is experimenting with making sourdough bread and he cooked the first two loaves this evening.  I think that is a work in progress which will not be discussed any further until we have some more successful attempts.

After we had dinner it was time to tackle the last of the dishes and eliminate any mango residue from the benches and splashbacks.

The kitchen is now sparkling and my final step was to mop the floor.  Everything is ready to go for a new week.

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Lots of clean and clear surfaces.

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I remember reading about minimalism that clear surfaces simply afford possibilities.  I love the truth of this statement.  From an uncluttered sofa which invites you to sit and relax to a clear kitchen which is just brimming with the opportunity to prepare meals this logic can be applied to virtually every surface in your home.  It can be a powerful tool in creating a mindset that embraces a simple, uncluttered home and life.

 

The Sharing Economy

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Sharing is one of the things that I believe is central to living a simpler life.  Sharing can take many forms from inviting someone for a meal, giving away excess produce or sharing a burden by simply being there to listen.  In many ways, our society has moved away from a collaborative approach to many things and I think we have multiple opportunities to encourage more co-operation within our communities.

There are aspects of social media that are less than desirable and the way some people choose to use it is downright awful.  But all is not lost.  Today I have been able to make contact with an online acquaintance who is looking for items that a member of my family has to give away.  This will be a win all round – items will be decluttered from one home and become materials for someone else involved in a community project.

A neighbour also recently asked online for assistance in how to pick mangoes.  We were able to offer the use of our fruit picker with a telescopic handle.

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So today we worked together to harvest a huge number of mangoes.

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Rather than one person trying to pick, process and store a couple of hundred mangoes we have shared the work and the harvest.  Additionally, the fruit picker is available for others to use.  There is no point in everyone having one sitting in the shed when it is only going to be used occasionally.

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Thank you, Patty and Chris.  We were delighted to be able to help and are especially grateful for your generosity.  Looking forward to mango chutney, sorbet and smoothies as well as yummy fresh mangoes!!

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What have you got that could be shared with a neighbour or friend?  What do you need that someone else may have?  Don’t be shy.  It never hurts to ask and you don’t know what the outcome will be.

Foodie Friday – No Recipe Needed

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What do you understand by the term ‘salsa’?  Is it the spicy tomato mush in a jar or finely diced fresh ingredients?

Here is the definition from the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia.

“Salsa is the Spanish term for sauce, and in English-speaking countries usually refers to the often tomato-based, hot sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those used as dips.”

When I had an abundance of fresh mangoes a few weeks ago, I found a recipe on the internet for mango salsa.  It included diced mango, red onion, coriander and lime juice.  As usual, I improvised and used mango, brown onion, parsley and lemon juice!  It was delicious served with grilled salmon and vegetables.

Dinner

Many of our home-grown fruit and vegetables lend themselves to a salsa-style preparation.  I have made several combinations using tomatoes, avocadoes, corn and mango as the bases.  Salsa is a great accompaniment to fish, chicken or barbecued meats.

Last night I made a corn and tomato salsa which helped to turn a couple of humble grilled sausages into a special meal.

Corn & Tomato salsa

The ingredients were frozen corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, parsley, onion, lemon juice, black pepper and chilli powder.  The quantities are whatever you have but only a small amount of finely diced onion and a pinch of chilli powder are required.

What do you think?

Mango Madness

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First it was the figs that I dried, then the corn being blanched and frozen.  Today’s glut is mangoes.

We have 2 mango trees, one large one that is about 20 years old and does not fruit.  I have no idea why there are no fruit and I am not sure how long we will maintain a non-productive fruit tree when the space could be better utilised.  The other tree was planted about 3 years ago and has produced a few mangoes last year and this year there are 2 that have reached mature size so we are waiting for them to ripen.  So the glut is not from our own trees.

As we were going out on Sunday I noticed several mangoes lying on the driveway of a property not far from us.  I knew that the was a mango tree in the front yard but I can honestly say that I had never noticed fruit on in previous years.  Since the owners are not permanent residents I contacted them to see if I could collect any fallen fruit.  With a positive response to my enquiry I headed off to pick up the fruit this morning.

I discovered that there are actually 3 mango trees and there was an abundance of fruit on the ground.  2 supermarket bags were filled with rotten and decaying fruit which I took home and put in the compost.  The usable fruit filled 5 calico bags!

Mangoes
Some of the fruit were very ripe and others were partly damaged so it as important to salvage what I could before they deteriorated any further.  I decided the quickest and easiest solution was to puree the pulp and freeze it.  Remember, that I had picked the fruit before 6am and I still had to go to work.

Mango in blender
After 30 minutes of furious preparation and a blender I had 2.5 litres of mango puree ready to store in the freezer.

Mango puree
I have taken one of the remaining mangoes as part of my packed lunch and there are still 38 mangoes on the kitchen bench.

Of course, there are still dozens on the trees.

I am really glad that I made the effort to contact the owner of the property as it would have been a shame to see all of this fruit go to waste.

How would you use the mango puree?

Slow Living – March

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This year I have joined with Slow Living Essentials so here we are again with a review of March.  This will be interesting as we spent 16 days on holidays.  We took a road trip to NSW, Victoria and Canberra and enjoyed a relaxing time.  If you want to know where we went and what we did you can see more here.  Meanwhile, I will try to fill in the categories below.

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  While it was not spectacularly interesting, we did manage to feed ourselves each and every day.

{Prepare}  The first half of the month was spent preparing to go on holidays.

{Reduce}  The contents of the refrigerator and freezer were reduced to almost zero before we headed off on our holiday.

{Green}  We took our picnic set and our own food for lunches when we were travelling so no takeaways and no disposable containers.

Lunch

{Grow}  The seedlings which we planted towards the end of February continued to grow while we were away and we are now picking and eating the bok choy.  We are also reaping the fruits of self-sown cucumbers.  These came up from cucumbers that fell and rotted from the summer crop.  This is the second year that we have had a follow-on crop of cucumbers.  The great thing about growing them in autumn is that the cucumbers are not as prolific nor do they ripen as quickly so we are generally able to keep up with them.

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We also harvested a pineapple and mangoes.

2013-03-10 012013-03-06 01{Create}  The holiday theme is evident again in this suit bag that I made to transport the suit that The Duke wore to a wedding while we were away.

 

{Discover}  New places and new adventures.

Woodside Beach

River

{Enhance}  Sadly, death was the catalyst to renew some friendships that had languished.  We were reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of nurturing relationships.  However, there was happiness as well.

The happy couple

{Enjoy}  We did enjoy our travels and recharged our batteries so now it is time to get back to the things we do every day and I hope my slow-living round up for the end of April is a bit more interesting.

Winter's day

Til next month………..

Marvellous Mango

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We have a small mango tree which we planted about 4 years ago.  This is the first year that it has fruited and I am not sure whether it is due to maturity or simply the unusually warm, dry summer that we experienced up until the middle of January.

The tree is an R2E2 variety which is grown commercially here in Australia and has large fruit but the fruit we have picked are as large as any I have seen.

2013-03-06 01Regardless of the reason, we have enjoyed the half a dozen large fruit.

2013-03-06 02The flesh is smooth and firm with a fairly thin skin which is able to be peeled with a knife.This is one cheek or side of the mango.

2013-03-06 03Here is the cheek diced and ready to pack in my lunch.  The remaining portion is covered in the fridge and will be used over the next couple of days.

Mango harvests are subject to seasonal variations so I will have to wait and see whether this season has been a “one-off” or whether we will enjoy home-grown mangoes each year.

I love eating seasonal produce, particularly those things with a relatively short season.  Half of the joy is in the anticipation.