Friday, 21 September 2012

Carrot Cake

Feeling like baking yesterday after seeing Ree Drummond's Carrot Cake recipe I searched for my file of recipes, the one covered in the Ninja Turtle contact. Not to be found so I used Ree's recipe which is much like my own and I added a handful of sultanas and gave a small handful to Twitch as they're one of his favourite treats. I used a large loaf tin and a little too much cinnamon but cinnamon is good for you, right?
I also used 50/50 wholemeal and white flour and 1 1/2 cups of raw sugar in place of Ree's ingredients. Vegetable oil is used in place of butter and as I have large tins of olive oil(not virgin pressed) for soap-making it was probably a little less costly than a cake made with butter.

It made 16 serves altogether and I've frozen 12 of them, very handy for unexpected visitors or a sweet toothed moment!

Off to look for that file, it goes back many years and is quite special to me.
Have a great weekend, do you have any special plans?
Love from Sue

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Out In The Garden

I've been spending at least an hour a day weeding, mainly the 'lawn' but also the back bed where a million Cape Lilac seedlings are determined to create a forest.

There's a couple of plants I wish I knew the names of. One because it's beautiful and one because it's an absolute menace! Beauty first...the bees love it and it's pressed up against my study window for me to admire...

Now the Menace...must be related to the rubber tree as it bleeds copious amounts of sap when I break a branch, I've pruned it very severely as it sends out suckers and was taking up a large area...

It's leaves and fruit...

The other oddity in this garden is the chrysalises of the hairy black caterpillars that were everywhere when we moved in...they've obviously been living here undisturbed for years, crawling up the fence to begin their metamorphosis into what I think is the big brown moths we have in our area...

Off to the bin for you...there must be hundreds in each clump...

This huge asparagus fern takes up a whole bed but Twitch loves to eat it and as long as it stays there that's OK...I watched The Day of The Triffids Part 1 yesterday and am looking forward to Part 2 today...a great film and a lot of knitting!

The potted plants are thriving, there are tomato flowers now and I think my rosemary seedlings have 'taken' too.

The weather has gone from sunny yesterday in these photos to pouring down and cooler today, I think it looks a good day for the slow cooker to get busy.
Hope your garden is bringing you some joy this week, it's nice to take the time to look and appreciate Nature's goodness.
Love from Sue

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Not some vintage undergarment but something you need to have wireless internet connection apparently.
Our 'system' has run well for 3 weeks and then suddenly stopped, Joe was on the phone for hours yesterday and tried several upgrades...he'll be at it again today! The sweet thing was that I got up expecting not be able to get on-line but Joe had lugged my big pc tower/monitor/keyboard and set it up on the dining table with the ethernet cable running across the pelmets above the windows and secured by what looks like DH Lawrence and Anthony Trollop (and I was going to read that today!).

Now that I'm here I don't really have anything to say other than it looks like another beautiful day and I hope you all enjoy it!
Love from Sue

The view from the dining room window...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

At Home

Rhonda has written an especially meaningful to me post today, have a look here...

Her words washed over me and then began to sink in as I realised that after the recent upheaval here it takes a little while for a house to become a home. I have been off shopping for home wares such as doormats and squeegee window washers, bolts for the lawn-mower and a couple of nice microwave dishes with lids. I've felt a little guilty about spending this money but now I see it's OK...these items are gradually making this house our own home, helping me to keep it clean and the garden looking good and hopefully productive this summer. We've gone from a small duplex with only 5 windows to a larger house with 8 full sized picture windows and 3 smaller ones so you see that was one challenge on my to keep these windows looking as good as new. Now I can wash them with warm soapy water and simply wipe them dry with this wonderful 35cm squeegee blade.
Back yard and some of "those" windows and weeds...

I baked my first loaf of bread at this house on Sunday and I've made two batches of soap here. The laundry liquid I made several months ago has served me well all this time and I'll make some more later this week. My sewing machine is set up nicely in my "study" and I used it for the first time to repair a nightdress and some PJ pants that needed new elastic. I've knit several wash cloths, wrist-warmers and am working on a baby jacket now. I've planted thyme, sage and taken cuttings from Deb's rosemary bush. Tomato seedlings are thriving and the lawns have been mown and I'm gradually weeding out the prickles. Basil and rocket seeds are ready to go and we've been enjoying our fresh dill in salads and fishcakes.

We have peace of mind here, a lovely welcoming house and garden that are truly on their way to becoming a real home for us.
Looking pretty...

 Yes Rhonda, it really is "easier at home" and thank you for your encouraging words as always.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Easiest "Roast" Chicken Ever

I took the plunge recently after being told many times that I could cook a whole chicken or roasting piece of beef/pork in the slow cooker or crock-pot. Some techniques suggest putting the chicken on a bed of screwed up aluminium foil but I dislike this idea for several reasons.

So with a little more research(how easy is everything with the world wide web at your fingertips?) I twiddled several recipes to come up with this 'rough guide'...

You'll need
1 large whole chicken, patted dry and lightly brushed with oil
a whole lemon
a whole onion, roughly chopped
a mix of your favourite spices and herbs, yesterday I used

2/3 t paprika
2/3 t garlic powder
2/3 t mixed dried herbs
shake of pepper

Rub the spices onto the chicken and place the lemon into the cavity
Scatter the onion in the bottom of the cooker
Place chook upside-down on the onion
Cook for 4-6 hours on auto
That's it! No liquid needed as the chicken provides it's own.

I added some halved potatoes after 2 hours and could have added carrots etc if this chicken hadn't been so big!

Cooked now, the meat literally falls off the bones as it is so tender...makes it hard to get out as you'll see from the last photograph but it is sooo delicious, the lemon taste is very subtle and the lemon is tender enough to eat, makes me think of Chicken Tagine so I'll try some chick peas in there next time.

We'll be eating this chicken all week I think, there'll be soup, perhaps an easy curry and last week I made a lovely chicken pie with added vegies and a sheet of puff pastry from the freezer.

Yesterday was Jessica's last soccer match of the season, next up will be teeball for hopefully 4 of my grandchildren.
If you're suffering from colds or flu please take good care of yourself, seems a very nasty virus is doing the rounds in Perth at the moment.
Have a great week where-ever you are,
Love from Sue

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Indulge Me?

It's not often I can get photos of Twitch asleep and I think these are just sooo very cute. He thinks having fitted carpets is the best idea ever!

He also enjoys laying in the doorway between the two main rooms...a foot in each camp methinks but quite a hazard for his humans!

Later that day...the great outdoors...

 You can also see what a weed filled mess the back "lawn" was a couple of weeks ago. I've pulled a ton of weeds out and mowed it now so it looks OK from a distance lol We've had really rough weather the last 2-3 days so gardening has been out of the question. Instead we've kept the house warm and our tummies full of soup and a nice chicken pie, I also made a lovely cheese and spring onion Impossible Pie which is roughly as follows

4-6 beaten eggs
2/3 cup of milk
2/3 grated cheese
3 sliced spring onions
2 tablespoons of flour
salt and pepper

Mixed everything together and bake in a buttered pie dish for about 35-40 minutes on 180C.
It's nice hot or cold and great picnic food as it firms up nicely.

I do hope you are staying warm this week, it is in fact Spring but Winter is not going without a fight!

Love from Sue

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Happy Birthday, Priscilla

Wishing our beloved daughter a very happy 29th birthday today in Ottawa...she and Will went out for dinner on Saturday to celebrate. xoxo

If you didn't already know Priss has cancer and this is her blog and story so far, it's daunting stuff but we are still hopeful of a happy outcome for her and her wee family.

Here she is with daughter, Kyra, and still loving her "newsboy" hat from here...

Hope you have a wonderful week, Sweetheart.

Happy Birthday and many more!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Hot on the heels of Father's Day comes Dad's 79th birthday so we wish you a Very Happy Birthday and many more. This year's gifts are based on comfort not excitement but you know you are much loved nevertheless

Dad's 70th birthday with two of his six great-children, Jacob and Jessica...

Dad modelling the Great British Sun-hat earlier this year...

and Dad and Mum on their honeymoon in London, 1955

With Father's Day yesterday I came to realise just fortunate I am to have a wonderful father and also that he is still with us, so many of my friends have already lost their dads.
In particular, Kaylene's father has been missing for 14 yrs now, last seen in the eastern states, here is their 'story' perhaps some-one will encourage him to call them, the Vietnam Veterans Assoc has also joined the search and sent a letter to all their members.

Well I'd better get dressed and go and say Happy Birthday in person,

Have a great week every-one
Love from Sue

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Happy Father's Day all the wonderful dads out there! Especially my own dear Dad and my uncles.

I'm off to watch Jessica play soccer this morning and will see my own Dad tomorrow which is his birthday!

This link is to a very encouraging report from Canada regarding the deeper involvement of fathers in their childrens' lives.

Thinking of Mum and Unka Tom as they remember their Mum born this day in 1904. Much love xx

Enjoy your weekend
Love from Sue