Turning Produce into Delicious Delights!

Jalapeno Chilli’s

Well I have once again restocked my pantry with delicious sweet chilli sauce. Two things I never buy from the store anymore are sweet chilli sauce and tomato sauce. I ended up making a double batch yesterday with these chillies weighing a wonderful 1/2 kilo. Chillies are very easy to grow over the Summer months. My favourite way to use them up is like this, or I freeze them, for over the Winter months. Normally I grow the bell chillies, it was lovely to pick and chop these larger ones. I find myself having to wear my reading glasses more these days, when preparing food, chopping etc. which feels like a nice safety precaution when chopping chillies! One time I was chopping away and a chilli seed flicked up into my eye! I was here alone and my eye was on fire, I didn’t know what to do, I actually thought I might have permanent eye damage it was so painful. But good old logic and commonsense kicked in and I rinsed my eye out in the shower and the pain eventually settled down, however I definately do not want to go through that again! The kids always laugh when I bring it up, I always start it off with “Now did I tell you about the time I got a chilli seed in my eye?!?” : )

In the pot ready to boil

This is the size I like to get my chilli, ginger and garlic. I like to have some chilli seeds but not too many. I chop it all up roughly then put it into a handy little blender I’ve had for a while, where you pull the string and it chops everything up, the more you pull the string the finer it gets, it’s wonderful and easy to wash up. There is a picture below it’s called a Pull Chopper. My recipe comes from Sally Wise’s book A Year On the Farm. I love this book and I love Sally’s recipes. I have adapted mine slightly to suit my taste.

My Gadget!!

We run on stand alone Solar out here, so things like this that work well and require no power are great! Having said that, even if I had conventional power, I would still love it, it’s just so practical and handy, oh and tough too!

Sweet Chilli Sauce

  • 250g long red chillies, chopped into 3 pieces
  • 4cm piece ginger, very roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled ( I use about 2-5 large cloves)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups white or cider vinegar (I always use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 tbsp extra vinegar ( I find I have to use a bit more sometimes to get it to a nice thickness)

Place the chillies, ginger and garlic in a food processor and process until chopped finely, but not so much as to turn it into a paste. Then place it into a saucepan with the sugar, vinegar and salt.

Bring to the boil, stirring, then cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the cornflour and vinegar paste and stir until slightly thickened. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately.

I have left the chilli mix in the pot until the next day often, made it one day, then reheated, thickened and bottled the next. Sometimes it’s just too hard to fit it all into the one day. This recipe makes about 750ml.

This is the finished product after doubling the recipe, I ended up with 9 lovely jars full!

When my husband leaves for his day’s work at about 5am I always make my way down to the chook pen, to let the geese out and feed and water everyone for the day. Well this morning, when I made it round to my little bird bath to refill with fresh water, I couldn’t work out why the water was so dirty. Usually you have feathers or bird droppings, not muddy water. Well the mystery was solved! I was in the vege patch doing a bit of weeding later in the morning and throwing bits over the fence for the geese and there they are with their beaks in the bird bath having a drink! How clever must they think they are to suddenly work out this new trick!

A Sunflower reaching for the sky!

I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who have subscribed and or are following my blog. I’m enjoying this so much and to think that people are wanting to come and visit with me here is such a blessing, so thank you!

Carrot Cake and Homegrown Produce

Today I decided it was time to pull out all of our carrots, which as you can see really should of been pulled out a long time ago. I have more coming through in the garden, these ones were grown in the styrofoam boxes found in the fruit and vegetable section at the supermarket. They work well for carrots here in our hot climate, they are an ideal depth, you can keep them in a cool part of your yard or garden and give them all the water they need. I find I always leave them in the ground too long though. I think I just love to know I have carrots in my garden. This year I am making a promise to myself that I will pull them out while they are still young and sweet! It has to be one of the most satisfying vegetables to grow and harvest, my 10 year old loves to pull them out. This was one of his chores this morning. At first he didn’t because he thought surely he had heard wrong, I had to reassure him, yes we need to pull all of the carrots out.

With these ones I will grate some for quiches/baking and chop/blanch the rest for different dishes. One thing to remember when growing carrots is, they do not like too much nitrogen and I personally never fertilise mine while they are growing. I try to start of with a soil that is loose and friable and not too rich. The hardest part I find is getting the seed to germinate, they take longer than a lot of other seeds 14-21 days and you need to keep the soil moist this whole time. I like to grown mine in partial shade in the warmer months.

I have put some of those carrots to good use! This is such a delicious carrot cake. It’s an old recipe from a NZ cook Simon Holst the son of Alison Holst. I love the cream cheese icing it gives it that extra something special. I keep mine in the fridge and it just keeps getting better with age, I actually prefer it after a day or two. It will keep for a good two weeks, so if your worried that a whole cake will spoil in your home, that it won’t get eaten in time, you might like to try this one. And remember you can freeze individual portions.

I like to make as much as I can from scratch. It’s partly to do with the fact that my body just doesn’t like all those preservatives in the packaged food. But also it just tastes so much better in my opinion. And once again I am providing for myself and my family. My pantry always has the staples, so I know there will always be something that I can make. I have always loved to cook, ( I do still enjoy a night of now and then), however cooking to me goes hand in hand with gardening. You are creating, providing and always learning. Becoming self-reliant and ensuring both you and your loved ones are getting the best of what you can offer or provide. This can look different for each of us. But even if it’s something small like a cherry tomato plant on your balcony or lettuce in a pot. Herbs in your kitchen, I guarantee it will bring you a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. These simple things can lead to making sauces and pesto. Fresh food from your home to your stomach!

Carrot Cake

  • 1/2 Cup Canola or Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 3 Cups Carrot (grated)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 Cup Cold Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1-1 1/4 Cups Icing Sugar
  • Chopped Walnuts to decorate (optional)

Preheat Oven to 180 degrees celcius

Place the oil and eggs into a large bowl and whisk. Then add grated carrot and mix through. Sift the following into the wet mixture, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir until evenly combined. Line a 23cm tin, pour in the batter and bake 25-35 mins. My oven takes around 40-45 mins so check yours at the half hour mark to see how it’s coming along.

Once it’s cooled beat your cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar with a hand mixer until it’s smooth. Ice your cake and if you like decorate with the chopped walnuts. Place it into the fridge in a sealed container and you will have something lovely to enjoy for the next few days or the next few weeks, depending on your home and schedule!

I hope you give it a try and enjoy it!

I am so grateful to Rhonda at the Down To Earth blog (down—to—earth.blogspot.com), I have followed and learnt so much from Rhonda over the years. I have all of her books, they are wonderful! To have Rhonda say she likes my blog and to share it on her latest blog post I would have to say has been so incredible for me. We all have people hopefully, who inspire, encourage and teach us different things in our lives. I am feeling very grateful to have someone who has inspired me in the different seasons of my life, encourage me in this way with my latest endeavour. To share a part of my story with you and what I have learnt, and to hopefully inspire or encourage others. Or perhaps help in some small way as we go about our days.

We have gone from 4 to 3 Guinea Fowl, but they are now happily scratching around in the chook run.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Miracles and Thankfulness

Well we have had something truely wonderful happen here at our farm! I am so happy to say that everyone of our 10 dams are full!!! It’s just amazing, a miracle! A storm came through on Saturday night and gave us 70ml in just half an hour or so. We have had empty dams now for easily 2 years, and to look out of the window on Sunday morning to see them full was just incredible!! We couldn’t believe our eyes! I even had a little radio interview on our local station, I couldn’t believe that either, but it was so lovely to share a little of our story.

Like many others we have struggled through the drought. Wondered what the future will look like. Lost cattle, sold cattle, watched them struggle to survive and watched my milking cow Bessie just give up. We were mentally and physically exhausted at times. I remember the days I looked forward to night-time, it was just such a relief to not look outside. Now on the other side of this we have green grass in the paddocks, the dams are full and I have a new milking cow Maudry. So very thankful for all these blessings.

What a lovely sight!

It certainly can be a land of extremes, sometimes we wonder why we do it. But at the end of the day we just love it. We love the land, the quiet and solitude of country life, working with livestock and having all of our other animals. Growing food for ourselves and always hoping for that water that brings life. We see and hear life bursting from everywhere with precious rain. Something that we never take for granted the smell, sight and sound of rain, and all that it brings.

Some of our calves coming through

This was a quick snap shot taken a couple of weeks ago when we got our cattle in to treat them for fly and worm, and tag calves etc. It really is a family effort, we all have our jobs and if each person does their bit, the day flows nicely, well as nicely as can be, sometimes the cattle don’t always want to co-operate, but our herd is very quiet, the biggest problem we have is the occasional one that wants to stop and not move! And the odd grumpy cow that wants to be with her calf. All in all not too much to complain about.

It’s encouraging to go into the new year this way, I hope wherever you find yourself today and in the days ahead, you find moments that bring you hope and encouragement too.

Tomorrow I can’t wait to share with you my favourite Carrot Cake recipe, it’s simple and it’s delicious!!

Self-Crusting Corn Quiche

The Crepe Myrtles are starting to flower

I would have to say Quiche is one of my favourites. It’s fuss free, easy to use as a snack or as an addition to a meal, nutritious and a great way to use up those surplus eggs. In my last post I mentioned how wonderful goose eggs are. Well that very afternoon when the boys were collecting the eggs and putting our feathered friends away for the night, a precious surprise lay hidden behind the compost bins, a goose egg! I’m delighted! They are wonderful to cook with and make the most amazing Impossible Pie.

A chicken egg/goose egg

The guinea fowl are settling into their new home. They are funny things to watch, it’s lovely to have some again!

Well with my egg bowl bursting, I decided to make this delicious Quiche and I thought you might like to try it too.

Self-Crusting Corn Quiche

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Self-Raising Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 425g can Creamed Corn
  • 1 1/2 Cups grated Tasty Cheese
  • 1/2 Red Capsicum
  • Shallots or onion
  • Bacon Rashers ( 2-3)

Heat oven to 220 Degrees Celcius.

I used red capsicum and shallots because that’s what I had on hand in the garden, you can use whatever suits you. I chopped up my capsicum, shallots and bacon and fried them off. While they are cooling mix your first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. Stir in your corn and cheese, then add your ingredients from the frying pan. If you have any parsley on hand that would be lovely too.

Pour into a lined lamington tray or whatever quiche dish you would like to use, it should be around 20-23 cm in size. Bake for 20-30mins, or until the centre is firm. Serve warm or cold.

I find my mind starting to wonder to things like our youngest going back to school and our oldest son leaving home to start university and all that entails. Finding my routine again and I guess starting a new season in life where we will have only one of our three children left at home. Life keeps moving and changing, and with it so to the structure of our days. But with those changes come new beginnings and new experiences. Life is never dull, and much like a garden where one thing ends something new and exciting awaits!

Ants, Aphids and Learning New Things!

Well one thing is for certain, we never stop learning! I have recently made a new discovery, we have struggled to get rid of infestations of aphids and scale on some of our fruit and ornamental trees. It puzzled me why, when we have so many beneficial insects in our garden, why???? Why were these friends of ours not fighting the war in the rest of the garden? Well the answer is ants! Ants have their role to play in the great cycle of things, however if you have ants on your trees, they are more than likely harvesting food, and that food is the sugary secretions from scale and aphids. These busy ants take it back their nest to feed their colony. And not only are they harvesting but they are protecting the aphids from predators (gardener’s friends). So in order to have any hope of controlling aphids or scale you must control the ants.

In the photo above you can see I have put tape just under where the tree forks, then smeared a thin layer of Tree Guard, this is a type of glue available where you buy or order your gardening products. The ants disappear, they can’t stand it! Then something amazing happens, all those wonderful insects that love to eat aphids and scale come and do what they do best, feast on them!

Soldier Beetle

I inspected my Bush Lemon tree that was just loaded with ants before I applied the tape and glue. It now has so many different insects and wasps all over it, taking care of the pests for us, amazing! I always thought the ants were a problem, I just didn’t realise how much of a problem they were. They are only doing what is natural and ants are important in the grand scheme of things, however in my opinion the tape and glue is a wonderful idea because you are not wiping out an entire ant colony, you are simply deterring them.


We are enjoying a bounty of mangoes from the garden at the moment. They are smaller this year but still delicious! My goal when we first moved to this farm 8 years ago was to have enough fruit trees to supply our needs year round. I am slowly beginning to reap the rewards as the garden matures. Each season brings different challenges and some years are better than others, overall though we are becoming more and more self-sufficient in our own small way.

We have also had some new additions to our farm 4 baby guinea fowl. Thank you Gayle! I will try and get a photo soon, they are still settling into their new home, last night was their first night here. The geese are very interested in these new additions, walking around their home, trying to get a look at these new babies! I would have to say if you are wanting a pair of body guards for your young, geese are a very worthwhile addition to the family! Ours are very lovely, we have 2 females and I have never regretted purchasing them. I love to watch them walk around the garden and carry on with their antics! And their eggs are amazing!

Buckwheat (white flowers) so easy and beneficial to grow in your vegetable garden, marigolds, clover and lucerne.

I have been working in the garden, trying to keep on top of things, I think I’m getting there! That mental list that we all have each day. But as time has gone on, I have learnt to let go and accept that each day is different. If everything on that list doesn’t get checked off, that’s okay, tomorrow is another day. And I want to enjoy the task that I’m doing, give it my full attention, rather than constantly thinking of every other thing that needs to be done. Life is filled with daily tasks, whether you live on a farm or in town. Go to a job or stay at home. We all have set missions each day. I believe it’s important to do whatever it is we are doing to the best of our ability, but also to be kind to ourselves. Enjoying those little things that bring us joy. Sometimes I just stop and watch the little wrens in my garden, or sit and take in the flowers and bees around me. It could be something as simple as your child quietly reading a book, at dinnertime when there is complete silence because everyone is enjoying the meal you have prepared! What an achievement that is! It’s something to stop and appreciate whats around us whatever that might look like for each of us. Some days are harder than others but with each new day there are precious gifts, if we are able to look, to be aware and have the eyes to see them.

In The Kitchen

Well here we are it’s Friday and another week is finishing and the weekend is just around the corner! We have had some cooler weather and some more light rain, which has been such a relief after some very hot and humid days. However the humidity and heat that we dread has made the grass in our paddocks really start to take off and grow, which is wonderful. We will be even happier to see the dams full enough to let our cattle into all of our paddocks but all in all it’s just so lovely to have green all around us again!

With the cooler weather I have been back in the kitchen baking one of our favourites to have with a cup of tea. I thought I would share it with you today, it’s so simple, keeps well and tastes great.

Five-Cup Loaf is the name of this loaf, it only makes a small loaf so if you want something a little bigger just double the recipe, but keep an eye on the cooking time.

Ingredients are 1 Cup (175g) Self-Raising Flour, 1 Cup (35g) Bran, 1/2 Cup or a good handful of chopped Dates (or mixed fruit if you prefer), 1 Cup (230g) Milk, 1 Cup Soft Brown Sugar.

Place all ingredients into a bowl. Stir and leave for about an hour.

Then place into a small loaf tin and bake at 180 Degress Celcius ( 356 Degrees Fahrenheit) for an hour, but check yours as the time gets near, all ovens are different and have their own personalities!

Lovely with a bit of butter and a cup of tea!

I don’t know about you but I have kept my hand written recipes in all sorts of different books over the years. You can buy lovely tins now with recipe cards that you write on which always catch my eye, but I just don’t find them big enough or as many in the tins as I would like. I finally found a solution! I was watching a lovely American lady on youtube a little while ago who was sharing a recipe and she went on to show her audience how she stores her recipes in a wooden box on index cards. And I thought what a great idea and they are so cheap, here in Australia you can buy a packet of 100 for about $10.

These are how I store mine in a basket with some old recipe books holding them up for now. You could use any sort of container. And if you are really efficient, number them so you can go straight to whatever recipe you want (I haven’t done that yet) but it makes a lot of sense.

Looking down into part of my orchard

I hope you all have a beautiful and safe weekend. Feel free to leave a comment, or share how you like to keep your treasured recipes.


This is the time of year I like to slow down on the growing and try and put back some goodness into the soil. This I find challenging, because I’m always feeling the need to grow as much as I can for as long as I can. But I know that the benefits will be there as the weather cools and the vege garden is at it’s most productive time.

Here in this part of Australia, we can grow almost year round, the heat from December through to March can be at it’s hottest though. So in countries where they put their garden to bed over the Winter, I almost feel like this should be a time for us to do the same.

Green manure crop of soya bean, tomatoes that have come up on their own and other bits and pieces.
All chopped up and I have added comfrey and Arrowroot leaves for extra goodness ( I left the pretty pink Zinnia)

This garden is ready to mulch and left to break down. I have grown alot of green manure crops over the years in my garden, things like mustard, barley, broad beans, premix blends. When you have a large garden like mine it’s a good way to cover a large area with minimal cost.

Arrowroot (Gets a beautiful bright red flower in the warmer months)

Comfrey and Arrowroot are handy additions to the garden. The poultry love it too. I find the Arrowroot extremely hardy whereas the comfrey needs some shade and extra water. The other thing I absolutely love to grow in the cooler months and is very similar to comfrey is borage, the bees just love the flowers! And once you have grown it, it will keep coming back all on it’s own when the conditions are to it’s liking.

Another way that I feed my soil and have seen the benefits to my vegetable garden is keeping a big bucket in my kitchen (with a lid, it can get smelly) and place all of our scraps in there that the chooks are not given for example potato peelings, onion skins, banana skin, egg shells, tea leaves, all that sort of thing. And when the buckets full, dig a hole and throw it in! Easy and free. To me I think of my whole garden as a worm farm, I feed it, I mulch it and I keep away from chemicals.

Sunflower and Salvias are always a part of my garden
Hollyhocks growing at the wrong time of year!

Flowers and herbs are essential to a healthy chemical free garden. I have calendula, marigolds, salvias, clover, lucerne, zinnias, buckwheat, sunflowers, lemon verbena, basil, dahlias and many more popping up and being planted. This keeps the good/beneficial insects fighting the good fight in my garden and also brings me alot of joy and satisfaction. So many of my plants are left to go to seed and they come back all on their own year after year. Once again minimal cost or no cost really and huge benefits for myself and the garden. The plants get stronger as the seed is adjusting to my soil and conditions, this is why saving your seed verses always buying it in is so important. Each year you save your own seed, that seed amazingly becomes more and more resilient and adapted to your soil and your conditions. The miracle of the created world around us! And you are becoming more self-sufficient, not relying on other people in an ever changing world.

I have a simple Comfrey Ointment recipe to share, if you google the benefits of Comfrey there are many. It is so good for so many things. This is a cream I used to make frequently, to be honest I haven’t for some time, but have been thinking I should get into the habit again. It makes enough for yourself and to share.

  • 80 Grams Comfrey Leaves Finely Chopped
  • 50 Grams Beeswax
  • 270ml Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • Place oil in a pot and add comfrey leaves
  • Bring to the boil then simmer for about and hour ( I usually turn it off after about 15mins and let it sit in the hot oil, then heat it up again for a bit)
  • While the comfrey is simmering grate your beeswax then tip into a bowl
  • Pour your comfrey/oil through a strainer into the beeswax and stir until wax melts
  • Mixture should start to thicken as it cools, place bowl into a bowl or sink of cold water
  • Once mixture is nice and thick put into jars and store in fridge

Happy Gardening!!

Rosella Jam

My Summer Garden

Welcome to my blog! I’m so happy to be finally writing my very first post!! I feel like there is still a great deal to learn, but like most things in life I will learn in the doing or trying. My vege garden is the perfect example of this, you can read and listen and gather so much information, which is so important in itself, but the process of success and failures, trial and error are some of the most valuable lessons I have learnt. Growing food for our family has always been important to me, the simple act of going out and picking food for our table has never lost it’s appeal! I know exactly where it has come from and not a single chemical has touched it. The addition of a reliable water source and an irrigation system ( thanks to my husband) has made life in the vege patch a whole lot brighter! We struggled through heat and drought and now 8 years on from when we first arrived here on our farm we have reached a milestone in our food garden.

Rosella seedlings ready for planting

We’ve had some lovely light rain through the night and for all of today. It seems like so long inbetween rain days around here. We are hoping this Summer will bring good falls that will fill all our stock dams and replenish the water table for everyone.

Thankfully I managed to get all of my Rosella seedlings into the garden in time for the beautiful rain to help them grow, there is just nothing like rain to make stuff grow!

I don’t know about you, but I just love Rosella Jam. Once again I know I’m eating jam with fruit that has not been sprayed with any chemicals and it tastes delicious! I have a beautiful Rosella Jam recipe I would love to share with you.

Rosella Jam Recipe


  • Rosella’s, Sugar, Water, 1tsp Butter, Juice of one Lemon
  • Seperate red calyxes from the seedpods
  • Wash and drain calyxes/seedpods separately
  • In a saucepan add seeds and enough water so seeds are just covered
  • Bring to the boil and cook covered for 30 minutes
  • Strain and reserve juice, seeds can now be discarded
  • With juice returned to saucepan add red calyxes, which have been washed and drained
  • Boil for 20 minutes or until a pulp is formed
  • Measure the volume of cooked pulp and return to pan
  • Add one good tsp of butter and the juice of one Lemon
  • Measure sugar to the same amount as the pulp weighed
  • For example add one cup of sugar to each cup of pulp
  • Warm the sugar and add to saucepan
  • Sugar can be warmed by placing on a tray on a low heat in the oven
  • Stir well until sugar is completely dissolved
  • Boil quickly uncovered for 20 minutes or until jam falls thickly from a spoon when tested
  • Fill sterilised jars with jam while the jars and jam are still warm

I hope this becomes a favourite in your home too.

Tomorrow I will be removing a clucky hen from the main chook house to a quieter area on her own. The loveliness of walking around the garden after rain or hopefully in the rain! Pulling out unwanted weeds, dreaming about what other things I should grow, and enjoying a good cup of tea. Plus all the other household chores that come with family, school holidays and farm life! I hope this finds you well, and I hope as the year draws to an end and a new one begins you are able to find little things throughout your day that bring you moments of joy.