Saturday, May 23, 2009


"Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit"
Orange Scraps ATC via Swap-Bot

"Agent Orange No. 2"
Orange Scraps ATC via Swap-Bot

"But Grandmother, what an awfully big mouth you have!"
Fairy Tale ATC via Swap-Bot

"Mirror, Mirror..."
Fairy Tale ATC via Swap-Bot

"De Goole Bug"
Edgar Allen Poe-inspired ATC
Made for Mari in Spain

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Perfect Pumpkin Soup!

I should probably point out that most of my winter cooking consists of soups and desserts, so over the next two months or so you may find that most of the recipes I put here will be of either soup or some type of comfort-food, because it's what I like to eat when it's freezing cold out.

Autumn here is full of orange stuff: Orange sunsets, orange moon, orange fruits, orange leaves, and orange vegetables!

One of my favourite orange things is pumpkin, and my ma over at Out Back was kind enough to provide me with one of her very own, home-grown butternut pumpkins, so I decided to put it to good use and make some pumpkin soup.

Over the past few years, since discovering that I actually like pumpkin, I have been trying to find a really good pumpkin soup recipe. I hate it when what is supposed to be pumpkin soup comes out tasting like something else, such as onion, curry or potato (the worst offenders!).

However, I searched online for pumpkin soup recipes last week, and from them took some ideas for my own pumpkin soup recipe. Here is what I came up with:

1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn ground cumin seeds
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
1kg peeled pumpkin, diced (I used butternut)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1L vegetable stock
Cream or sour cream to top

I cook all my soups in a slow-cooker. In the crock-pot I put the pumpkin and potato. In a small saucepan I sautee the onion until brown and then add garlic, coriander, cumin and nutmeg and continue stirring over low heat for another minute or two. Then I put all that into the crock-pot as well, before adding the vegetable stock. I then let it cook on low for around six hours, or until the pumpkin and potato are soft.

I then blend the mixture using a hand-held blender, and it's ready to eat! I serve it with either a dollop of cream or sour cream on top, and toasted turkish bread on the side.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Winter Vegetables + Homemade

This winter I am attempting to grow a selection of vegetables, for the first time ever. It's probably true that Winter may not be the best season of choice for a novice, especially considering that where we live there tends to be a lot of frost during the cooler parts of the year. This has meant having to choose my selection of vegies very carefully!

Back in April I decided to try my hand at raising seeds, and did reasonably well (in my humble opinion). I ended up with Spinach, Cauliflower, Red Onion, Baby Carrot, Basil and Parsley seedlings, which went into the ground about a fortnight ago. Then last weekend I purchased some more seedlings from a local supplier and added Cabbage and Brown Onion to the plot. I am now contemplating trying to get my hands on some Broccoli and Snow-Pea seedlings, with the hope of getting them into the ground before the dreaded Winter Frosts arrive.

So far the garden is thriving! All plants are standing and growing well. We can only hope that the good luck will continue and in approximately 12 weeks we will have produce!

We have been very lucky with the weather so far as well. The days have been relatively mild, and we've had a bit of rain. My main concern is bugs and moths: We have so many! They seem particularly fond of the Cauliflower and Spinach so far. I'd like to try and avoid using pesticides on the plants, but this may well be an unreasonable expectation. Will have to wait and see!

Any experienced gardeners out there with tips to share? I'd greatly appreciate it!

I also found the time this weekend to finally get around to making some homemade laundry liquid. It had been on my to-do list for around two months! It did not take as long as I thought it would, which was relieving, and I ended up with 10 litres of liquid that cost me less than AU$1! That's less than 10c per litre, and this stuff actually works! It cleans beautifully, and is great for people who have french-drains, use grey-water for their gardens, or for those who have sensitive skin and allergies, as it has no harsh chemicals.

The recipe I used came from Down to Earth, one of my favourite blogs. In fact, Rhonda Jean over at Down to Earth has some fantastic ideas for simple, sustainable living, so if you havent checked out her blog yet, do so! You wont regret it. This laundry liquid recipe can be found here, but please note that for my mixture I left out the Borax.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lovely Marilyn over at Lavender Cottage decided to give me this super-cute award!

Here are the award rules:
List 7 things that you love and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers you love!
Be sure to tag them and let them know they have won!
You can copy the picture of the award and put it on your sideboard letting the whole world are KREATIV!

So, 7 things I love, eh? Where to start...

one :: autumn sunsets
two :: rain on tin roof
three :: art galleries
four :: day-dreaming
five :: singing along to tori amos songs
six :: laughing
seven :: rice pudding

And the award I am passing on to everyone on my Favourite Blogs list, because they all deserve it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Moroccan Sweet Potato Soup

Photo from here.

This weekend just past I made the most delicious soup!

I found a recipe online for a Morrocan Sweet Potato soup, and thought I'd modify it slightly to make it suitable for vegetarians.

The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients ~
1 brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tspn dried coriander
2 tspns cumin powder
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
600g gold sweet potato, diced
500g carrots, sliced
6 cups vegetable stock
350g chickpeas, soaked & drained well
1/2 lemon, juiced
Turkish bread croutons to serve

I browned the onion in a saucepan, using about 1 tspn olive oil, before adding the garlic, coriander, cumin powder and chilli flakes and let the heat release the flavours.

Then I put all the ingredients (except the croutons, of course) into the slow-cooker and cooked on high for around 6 hours.

Then I used a hand-held blender to mix it all up. This saved me having to remove the soup from the slow-cooker, but you could scoop it out and mix it in a regular blender then pour it back into the pot if you dont have a hand-held one.

Then I left it to simmer on low for another 2 hours.

I made the croutons, simply by cutting some turkish bread into 2cm squares, spraying them with olive oil and putting them in the oven at 200*C for around 15 minutes.

I then took it over to the in-laws and shared it for dinner Saturday night, and there was not a morsel left to take home with me.

This recipe is incredibly yummy!

If you dont have a slow-cooker, click on the picture above and it will take you to the website where I found the original recipe, which is cooked the hard way: in saucepans on the stove. But if you have time for that kind of thing...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Winter Reading.

Picture from here.

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!
How sooner one tires of anything than of a book!
- Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice)

Winter Reading List (May - August)
Pride &Prejudice by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Tales of Mystery & Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Pre-requisites for perfect Winter reading:
1. Must be read on cold winter afternoons or evenings. Wet and windy out is best.
2. A comfortable lounge or armchair, perfect for slouching.
3. A pot of freshly brewed tea in reach.
4. A toasty warm fireplace, lit in the same room.
5. A good book.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Book Review: Spirit Sisters

Spirit Sisters by Karina Machado is a collection of true-life experiences with the paranormal, as shared with her by a selection of Australian women.

The book includes topics such as lucid dreaming, hauntings (including residual), interactions with human and non-human spirits (malevolent and "angels"), doppelgangers, time travel, psychics and mediums, with a bit of science thrown in (quantum physics, psychiatry, & medicine).

I really enjoyed this book. Some of the stories were intriguing and spooky enough to give me goosebumps (which isnt easy to do, trust me!), and others were so moving they brought me to tears. An excellent and easy read for those interested in the paranormal, or anyone slightly curious.

Belongs to my permanent collection, but is available for loan under my Bookcrossing conditions found here.