31 August 2020

The Winter Vegetable Garden

I'm very happy with the way the winter garden is growing this year especially after the dismal year I had last year. 

Mammoth Melting snowpeas July 14th, 2020

August 8th, 2020

Brassicas July 14th, 2020

August 23rd, 2020

The harvest has been small so far. Mammoth Melting snowpeas

More snow peas and a very early asparagus spear.

Red Kitten and English Medania spinach

Violaceo di Verona cabbage, another white cabbage, Red Kitten spinach, Freckles lettuce and another tiny head of broccoli.

I've harvested two beautiful Purple Sicily cauliflowers that grew from seedlings planted last winter but that never made it to maturity before the warmer months arrived. I moved them to another part of the garden not thinking that they would make it through summer, but make it they did and this beauty was the reward for my patience.

I've since harvested another of these as well as a white cauliflower which I think is a Rober, but I'm not sure.

Some harvests have been smaller than some others.
 A tiny head of broccoli

Tiny turnips.

     What could quite possibly be the worlds smallest cauliflower?

Freckles lettuce

Everything else is coming along nicely and in a few weeks, I expect to be harvesting lots of cabbages, broccoli, beetroot, Speckled snowpeas, more cauliflowers, potatoes and carrots.
The beautifully coloured flower of the Speckled snowpea.

I miscalculated how long potatoes take to mature and the spot I had set aside for them was where I will be planting my tomatoes mid-October so they are growing in pots this year instead.

Apart from some very small broccoli heads, the only other problem I have had in the garden this year is whitefly. Normally they arrive at the beginning of winter, stay around for a few weeks and then leave, but this year for some reason they have stayed around much to my annoyance. Luckily, this year I invested in some insect netting which protected my young brassica plants from them as well as the Cabbage White butterfly. They have been a very worthwhile investment. 

I think that's all for now, I will be back next week with another post.

Until then, stay safe and be kind to each other, Jan.

20 July 2020

A Quick and Tasty Vegan Pasta Dish

This is a recipe that I threw together one night with whatever was left in the fridge before the next grocery shopping trip, I hope you like it.

The quantities you use will depend on how many people you will be feeding.


 Sun-dried tomatoes

Basil pesto

Dry toasted pine nuts

Baby spinach leaves

Broccoli florets

Spaghetti pasta

Lemon juice

Olive oil

1 garlic clove (or equivalent minced garlic)

It might not look like much, but it tastes so good.

Fill a saucepan with water and add a good pinch of salt, set it on the stove over high heat and bring it to the boil. Add pasta, and stir to prevent it from sticking together until water returns to the boil. Cover the pot with a lid, and reduce heat to low and cook pasta until it is al dente.

Steam broccoli florets until just tender and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a clean, dry frypan toast the pine nuts until they are aromatic and golden brown. When the pine nuts are done remove from frypan and set to one side.

Place the frypan back on the stovetop over medium heat add some olive oil and the garlic, cook garlic until translucent, be careful not to burn it. Add two big handfuls of spinach leaves, and sautee until wilted.

Drain your pasta, add to frypan along with pesto and stir the pesto through. Add in the sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli florets and stir to combine.

If the dish seems a bit dry pour over a little olive oil to loosen things up, and then squeeze in a generous amount of lemon juice.

 Serve immediately and add toasted pine nuts to each dish. Shake a good amount of parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy!

Please note - You are more than welcome to share my recipes on your own blog providing you link back to my blog and do not claim the recipe as your own.

5 July 2020

Catching Up - It's Been A While

Hello friends, I apologise for being away for so long, but with the horrific bushfires here in Australia at the start of the year, then coming down with shingles (something I wouldn't wish on anyone) and then a worldwide pandemic I haven't much felt like writing. But now that life is slowly starting to get back to normal, I thought it would be a good time to catch you up on what's been happening since my last post.

Due to COVID-19, I was off work for ten weeks as my workplace is a community house and they had all been ordered to close, I have been back at work for five weeks now and I have to say that as much as I enjoyed my time at home I really like where I work and it is good to see my work colleagues again.

The first week of staying at home I didn't really do much more than wander around aimlessly, but the second week I got stuck in and I did a massive decluttering of my house, every single room (apart from my daughter's bedroom and her craft/art room) has had a thorough decluttering and deep clean. I have decluttered enough stuff to fill the boot and back seat of the car which is amazing seeing that I did a declutter about six months ago. It took me a good two weeks to finish the decluttering/deep cleaning, but it was so worth it as the house feels so much lighter.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

After getting the house in order I turned my attention to the backyard and finally ticked off all those jobs that I had been meaning to do but had been putting off, why do I do that?

I spent some time in my vegetable garden putting in new brick borders along the path, I removed the plants that had died over summer from the flower garden and pruned those that needed it, and I planted out my winter vegetable garden (I will be writing a garden update post soon), and everything is looking very healthy.

The two bright spots in this year so far have been the long-awaited marriage of my second daughter (she is the oldest of my twin girls) in mid-March on Kangaroo Island. She and her husband first met in high school and have been together ever since and they celebrated nine years together one month and three days after their wedding. The day of the wedding itself was cool and overcast but it didn't affect our spirits and the wedding its self was beautiful, very simple, but perfect for my daughter and her husband who are both easy going and don't like a lot of fuss. It was only a small wedding with just close family and two of their closest friends from high school.

It was a beautiful day!
We stayed on the island for five days which is more than enough time to see everything. We stayed at Rose Garden Cottages and we could not have asked for better accommodation, the couple who own the cottages have renovated them beautifully and anything you could want has been provided for you even down to the Vegemite just in case you forget your own. I can highly recommend the cottages if you're looking for somewhere special to stay. The wedding was actually held in the gardens of one of the cottages that's how nice they are.

The only negative thing I could say about the island is that it is expensive if you ever plan a trip there make sure you take everything you think you'll need as groceries are about three times that which you would normally pay as everything has to be brought over from the mainland.

The other bright spot this year is that I became a great aunt again for the fourteenth and fifteenth time when my niece gave birth to twin girls in early June, and just like my own girls they were born two and a half months early, both girls are doing fine, putting on weight and hopefully they will be home with their parents very soon. My niece and her husband had been trying for three years to have children and to find out they were having twins was just amazing news. I am so, very happy for them.

I think that is just about it, for now, it's good to be back posting, and I will be back to regular posting, at least once a week from now on.

 Before I go tell me how have you been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? For myself personally, being an introvert and a homebody nothing really changed apart from the fact that I couldn't go to work.  I did find going to the grocery store a bit stressful as not everyone was willing to stick to the social distancing rules so I started ordering my groceries online, something I will continue doing for the time being.

 Now that restrictions are being lifted will you be going back to your "normal" life or are there things you were doing during the lockdown that you will keep on doing.

Until next time, stay safe and be kind to each other, Jan.

27 January 2020

I'll Be Back Soon

I'm just popping in quickly to let you know that I'm not well, I have shingles, the pain is intense. I'll be back as soon as I'm feeling better with a new post.

Until then, stay safe, Jan.

29 December 2019

Christmas 2019

Well, that's Christmas over and done with for another year. My Christmas day was a bit different this year as it was the first time in a long time that I didn't host it.

My daughter and her fiance bought a house earlier this year and they decided that they would like to host Christmas at their home which was lovely for me as the only thing I had to do was bring fruit, some cheese and crackers. I have no photos to show you as I was busy just enjoying time with my family.

We've already started planning for Christmas next year, which will be more than likely spent in Brisbane at my youngest son's house we are looking forward to it and hoping that it will be a lot cooler than it was this year.

We don't buy gifts for everyone in our family, but we do do a Not So Secret Santa every year and every year it gets harder and harder to find something that I would like. When I was browsing my Pinterest a few weeks ago this print came up in my feed and although it's not my usual style of art something about it appealed to me and I requested it as my gift, I'm thinking of buying three more and hanging them above my bed.

How was your Christmas Day? Are you already making plans for next year? Let me know in the comments.