A Very Productive Weekend…

What a fantastic weekend!!! So productive, yet so enjoyable and rewarding.

Friday evening kicked off with a visit from my son and his girlfriend.  My son was so excited about my suggestion for dinner.  One of his favourites and so simple to make.  The best thing was being able to use the produce out of my garden.  I bet you’re wondering what this favourite meal is?  Grilled zucchini and eggplant on Turkish bread with tzitziki.  Sometimes when we cook it up together it doesn’t even make it to the plate.  Instead we stand around the BBQ chatting and eating as it cooks.  Perhaps this is why I love it.  The fact it gives me an opportunity to chat with my 19 year old son about everything but the food is good also.

Later I made my first batch of plum jam.  I bought approximately 2kgs of plum from a roadside stall for $4.  Plum jam is my favourite and I just couldn’t resist.  I made a second batch on Sunday and it tasted divine.  I couldn’t help myself and I shared the fruits of my labour with friends as well.

The yummiest jam…Plum Jam

I can tell you it didn’t just stop at plum jam.  I have reclaimed my dehydrator and had a go at making my own chilli flakes from my home grown chilli.  I utilised them in the 4.5kg of pickled onions we made up.  It was a very simple pickling spice made up for the vinegar.

Pickling Spice

For every litre of vinegar…

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1tsp chilli flakes

1sp coriander seed

1 tsp mustard seeds

These are added to the warm vinegar before adding to the onions.

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Pickled Onions

We did a couple of  jars for a friend who likes his hot stuff.  With that we added a couple of fresh chilli to the jars.  Now its a sit and wait for approximately 3 weeks until tasting.

One of the General Inspectors bought into work some of his home grown garlic and I took a bag.  With the garlic I had a go at making garlic powder as my partner required some for the marinade to make his beef jerky.

Next it was onto the sausages.  Oh yeah we even threw sausage making into the weekend.  First time I had ever made sausages and I have to say it was so much fun.  We made 4.5kgs Greek lamb and 4.5kgs Burgundy beef sausages.  Later in the evening we actually cooked and tried a couple of the smaller sausages.  DELISH!!!

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Sausage Making

With the rest of the mince we made 3kgs of hamburgers.  My partner puts the mince through the sausage maker and into mettwurst skins and freezes.  Once frozen he then cuts it up with a band-saw and there you have the perfect shaped hamburger.

In amongst all the produce making I also made a trip over to Big Bend.  This is a beautiful spot on the Murray and quite popular.

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Big Bend Lookout

I have been engaged to do an arborist report for a shack owner.  I must say I love this kind of work.  I also loved the fact I could take my fur baby Artoo on has first work assignment.  He enjoyed it so much.  He swam in the River pretty much the entire time I was at the shack.  This dog is crazy about water!!!

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Artoo on his first assignment

 

The one big lesson I learnt this weekend is I need to start doing the things I love and feel passionate about.  My work life balance needs to be a priority because at the moment I seriously think I have it all wrong.  This weekend was certainly a wake up call.

Here’s to finding a healthy balance.

Take Care

Shaszi xx

Monday Catch Up…

So I’m starting to get a bit of an idea how I would like to structure this blog.  I’m thinking on a Monday I’ll do a bit of a catch up with you and fill you in with what’s been happening in my world.  Later in the week I would like to share a piece that I have taken the time to do a little research on eg. zero waste, native bees, recycling etc.  Leave a comment below if there is a subject that you are interested in.

Well this weekend was an absolute scorcher! By 9:45am on Saturday it was already 37 degrees Celsius.  By mid afternoon under the verandah it reached 47 degrees.  Let’s just say by 9am we were indoors and watching the cricket (a quick shout to the Aussie boys for winning the Ashes 4-0).  However that did not stop us from doing a little bit of gardening.  Most importantly ensuring everything was well watered.  We even managed to do some harvesting and we were very excited to pick our first apple cucumbers.

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Another fantastic harvest from the garden

 

For dinner I made a salad showcasing our home grown produce.  The cherry tomatoes just burst with flavour.  The best thing though was actually being able to share our produce with friends.  We gave away a bit of everything and kept what we would use within a reasonable time frame.

At the moment I have tomato plants popping up everywhere.  A legacy from “The Great Gender Fluid Chicken Saga of 2017”.  So we dug up 12 and gave to friends who were after tomatoes.  I love sharing produce and plants.  I love it because it is a great way of bringing people together.

I have also set up a Pinterest account for readers and myself to be inspired and motivated.  I do like this social media platform for inspiration.  I liken it sometimes to a pictorial version of Google.  If you would like to check it out for yourself click here.

Well not much else has been happening due to the extreme heat.  Apart from watching cricket,  doing some of my jigsaw and reading.  Then in the evening taking the Artoo down to the River for a swim.

I hope everyone is managing to be keeping cool (or warm on the other side of the world).  Until next time.

Take Care

Shaszi xx

My top 5 ways to help beat food waste…

So if you are anything like me the  Festive Season has now come to a grinding halt and it’s back to the grindstone.

One thing I took notice of this Festive Season is food waste.  While I know I’m guilty of over-catering (I don’t like people going hungry when I’m the host) I am aware that food should not go to waste.  Here is a quick video that will give you a bit of an insight at just how bad food waste is in Australia…

 

The statistics are at the very least shocking.  So what can we do about it?  I have put a little list together of my top 5 ways to help prevent food waste.  Please, if you have any further ideas feel free to share them in the comments below.  The idea of this blog is not only sharing my ideas and thoughts but to hopefully learn from each other.

MENU PLAN

I’ll confess.  I’m not the most organised person.  However I do try to work out a rough plan with what I’ll be cooking throughout the week.

Be flexible with it!  If someone invites you out to tea or you just don’t feel like cooking what you decided on a few days ago, change it up! I always leave one day on the menu plan blank.  A sudden invite out, leftovers from the night before are not an issue.

SHOPPING

Most people are aware of some golden rules of food shopping.  However a refresher never hurt anyone.

Always go shopping with a list.  I know when I don’t I end up with shopping I didn’t really need and the items that I really needed don’t even make the trolley.

Don’t shop on an empty stomach.  It’s amazing how much ends up in that trolley that you don’t actually need because your stomach has taken control.  This can also apply to taking children shopping (as well as loosing your sanity).

Shop seasonally and locally.  Fruit and vegetables taste so much better when they are in season and shopping locally will help reduce food miles as well as helping out the local economy.

BE CREATIVE WITH LEFTOVERS

So you have some leftovers from last night’s dinner.  Don’t let it go to waste.  Roast meat always makes great sandwiches for lunch the next day.  Or you could cut that roast beef into strips and toss it through some salad.  For people with busy schedules last night’s leftovers could become tonight’s gourmet delight.

Do Something!  is a not-for-profit organisation that works to create and promote positive social and environmental change.  This organisation has created a website called FOODWISE.  This website gives you practical tips to reduce food waste and has some of the country’s top chefs contributing recipes to use items that are patiently waiting in the pantry.  Have a look around.  It may just give you some inspiration for a meal or two.

SEND FOOD HOME WITH GUESTS

Decided to make a big pavlova for your guests?  You and your guests didn’t eat as much as you expected or felt too full from the main course?  Let your guests take some home with them.  In fact insist on it as they are leaving.  Be reasonable with what you might eat the next day and send the rest home with your visitors.  I’m sure they will appreciate it at smoko the next day.

COMPOST

So you have planned,  shopped with a list, been creative with your leftovers and sent food home with your guests.  Let me tell you, there will always be that moment when something doesn’t get used for one reason or another.  That’s ok.  It really is.  Just don’t make a habit of it and please DO NOT put it into landfill.

Set up your own compost system.  Your garden will love you for it.  If you don’t have a garden set up a worm farm and take up fishing.  Find a friend that has chooks.  Many Australian  Council’s now have green waste bins available if the first three options aren’t for you.  Really there is no excuse for food to end up in landfill.

Well there you have it.  Some food for thought.

Until next time.  Take care.

Shaszi xx