Saturday, May 24, 2008

Baking Day

It is the last day of my holiday, and I celebrated by getting into the kitchen to bake a loaf of bread from scratch, using the very helpful tutorial from the ALS website ( .

In the picture you can see the last slice of my Lemon and Poppyseed cake.

There is a chicken roasting in the oven right now, and as soon as it is done, I will be putting another cake in. I am planning a date loaf to use up some dates etc that I have in the kitchen at the moment.

I am sorry my holiday is almost over. I get such joy out of the simple things I do at home, that I wish I could afford to cut back to half time and spend more time doing these sorts of things.

My working life is very challenging and it takes up so much of my time, but at the moment, with my two adult children still at home and still students, I don't think we can afford for me to cut back yet. It is part of the plan, however and one of the reasons I work so hard on living simply and watching our spending is to prove that we could live on less cash.

So I need to keep on making sure that when I do have time for simple things, I make the most of it.

I am determined this winter to do more of:
  • scrapbooking
  • sewing
  • reading
  • gardening (well, it needs to be done and the weather is not so bad here that you can't spend some time out of doors)
  • exercising (same as last point)
I am going to spend less time doing:
  • watching TV
  • eating the wrong things
  • shopping
I will use this blog to keep myself on track!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lemon and Poppyseed cake

I am on holiday this week. Whenever I am on holiday, I turn into a 1950s housewife! I don my apron and I get into the kitchen and enjoy myself enormously cooking up a storm.

I love my kitchen. It is very highly decorated with my favourite things. There are, as you can see, lots of plates on the wall. I collect decorative china plates and a lot of them are from Australian Fine China.

There are my collections of favourite tea caddies and Arnotts biscuit tins.

This week I have made one of my all favourite cakes: Lemon and Poppyseed! I took it to morning tea for my elderly relatives and found that they loved it!

I think I got the recipe from one of john's cousins. The hand-me-down recipes are best, don't you think?

Lemon and Poppy Seed cake

125 g butter, softened
grated rind 1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
2 tblspns poppy seeds
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup Greek Yoghurt

Lemon syrup: 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup sugar, zest of one lemon, juice 2 lemons

Preheat oven 160 degrees C. Grease a 20 com tin, line with paper or use springform.
Beat butter and sugar until light, add lemon peel gradually.
Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended.
Stir in coconut and poppy seeds.
Fold in sifted flour alternatively with greek yoghurt.
Spread in prepared tin.
Cook 1 hour or until cake pulls from side of tin and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.

Make the syrup by stirring sugar and water , peel and juice over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Pour hot syrup over hot cake. Cool in the tin.

This is even better the next day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Book Club reads "Affluenza"

It was my turn to choose a book, so I chose "Affluenza". The Book Group usually reads novels, so I was a bit unsure about how they would take to it.

One of our group was very unhappy as she felt the book was somehow offensive to her lifestyle. "I have a big house, so shoot me!" she said. The chapter on how much Australians spend on pets upset her too, as she has a dog which has cost a great deal of money recently.

In the hurly burly of the book club I did not know how to respond to her. I could tell she was angry buy a discussion about her personal choices and how to evaluate them was beyond me.

Another couple have recently planned an overseas holiday, and seemed to feel as though they needed to justify that.

Several others, however, were really excited about the insights into how advertisers manipulate us into buying things we don't need. One person declared "I am an impulsive shopper!" and recognised that she often buys craft items in excess of what she can use. This woman has a daughter who lives in the country, grows vegetables and scrimps on electricity use. I think the book helped the mother understand her daughter more, and she promised to pass the book on to her. I hope that the book brings them together more into a more simple lifestyle.

One of the things I tried to explain was, even if people are not worried about climate change and its links to our excessive lifestyle, that being aware of the pressures to spend, spend, spend can help them use their hard earned money better.

All in all I feel it was worth the risk of making the choice to read this book with my book group. I took a risk of seeming to be pushing a barrow, but I think we had a good discussion.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Home care not housework

Today is Saturday, my husband is away, and I am at home. I have chosen to see today as "Home care day" rather than housework day.

Today I choose to care for my home as a way of expressing my love for my family, and my own self-respect.
Caring for things we have shows that we value them, and if they are cared for they last for years and we enjoy them for years.
The picture is of some pretty china I have found in the op shop over recent times. I like it and it gets used when I am doing Afternoon Tea with all the trimmings. I use my pretty china and my op-shop found napkins, and we enjoy some home baked delights.

I love my home. I value it and I want it to be clean and tidy.

So today I have brought in some washing and washed some more.

I have cleaned the fridge inside and out.

I have wiped over the kichen cupboard doors.

I have emptied the bins and taken the recycles out.

I replaced my peg bag with one I made in about 10 minutes on the sewing machine.

This afternoon I will be making chicken and vegetable soup. We will eat it with scones from the freezer and I will put some away in small containers for lunches during the week.

I am also going to do some baking -probably a date loaf.

I am determined not to go near the shops, not even the op shop, so that I can stay home and enjoy it.

My day -Home care Saturday.