Sunday, March 28, 2010


Thought I would share a few recipes with you this week.

Minted garlicy salad dressing
The first started with a problem -our autumn garden had no 'leaves' for salad! What to do? I took a head of broccoli and a head of cauliflower from the fridge and, after cutting them into little pieces, blanched them in hot water for about a minute.

Then I went out to the herb pots and harvested some mint -a good handful.
I whizzed it in the blender with a gloop of home made Greek yoghurt and a clove of garlic. The quantities are a bit vague =you want it to be able to coat the veggies. I reckon about 3 tablespoons would do it.

Then I added a pouch of chick peas from the freezer, (I cook then up in batches and freeze until I need them) which I popped in the water I had used to blanch the veggies, to warm them up a bit.


The next recipe is from I don' t remember exactly, but I know that it is attributed to Peter Singer.

Dahl is the staple diet of millions of people in the world. Don't let them have all the fun!

1 tblspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic (crushed/chopped)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tspns curry powder (more if you like it)
1 cup small red lentils
1 cup water
2-3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tin tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tblspns lemon juice

In a large saucepan, saute the garlic for a minute then add the onions and cook until they are beginning to soften.
Add curry powder and cook for a minute.
Add lentils, stir a bit and then add water, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
Bring to boil, turn down very low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add chopped tomatoes, and simmer until thick (10 minutes?)
You want soft lentils and it should be not-quite-porridge in consistency.
Add coconut milk and lemon juice.

Serve over rice -with broccoli and cauliflower dressed in minty, garlicy dressing!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Be Careful What you Wish for-storms in Perth!

No photographs in this post today-I was too busy trying to keep safe as I drove home from East Perth, through the tunnel, down the freeway during the "Perth Apocalypse Storm" last night.

It was a blessing to be stuck in tunnel for a while, as there were hailstones like large 'tombola' marbles falling at the entrance.

Later I had to dodge water which had closed off three lanes near Hutton Street.

Then when I got off at Erindale Road because I had heard that my exit had no traffic lights, I drove right into a storm which was overhead with driving rain causing visibility to shut down to less than 3 metres, high winds shredding the trees on the side of the road, and overhead lighting! I mean it really was overhead!

We had some water bank up in the gutter at the back of the house, where the patio roof meets the house roof, and that is a problem which we have every winter, so nothing too unusual there.

We had a large puddle by the front door which caused DS and DD some anxiety before I got home, but it cleared quite quickly.

My new veggies -planted last Sunday -all look in fine fettle.

Can't say the same for the rest of the northern Perth suburbs where I live. Our hospital is damaged, there are at least 6 schools and colleges which will not open today.

Across Perth we have over 75 traffic lights not working today and over 80,000 customers without electricity.

After 3 months of summer drought -the driest on record-this is a spectacular way to have the season break!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

National Quilting Day!

Apparently the 20th March is National Quilting Day, according to the National Quilting Association and even though it is probably an American idea, what the heck -I am happy to celebrate my favourite new hobby.

I have been enjoying my new project very much. It comes from this book: Material Obsessions by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.

I am using a jelly roll like the one in the picture below. The fabric is Moda Botanicals from Jellyrolls2Go

This fabric has really inspired me to move out of my usual boring colour schemes. That is a good thing.
My DD commented that 'you could drown in that colour!"

I have done 5 blocks -there are six more wonderful ones to go, what fun!

Happy National Quilting Day everyone!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Waiting for rain

We had the hottest night on record for Perth in over 30 years on Thursday last week. It has been hot and hotter. We had a band of cloud mover over the city and it kept everything hot and humid, night and day. We have been longing for a change!

Is there a breeze out there yet? Is that the wind chime I can hear?

We have been watering this little tree in the park behind our house. The big trees are OK, but this little one needs support. So far, so good but I feel the whole park needs a good dousing with water.

The birds are now struggling to find food -the pink and grey galahs do a lot more ground feeding at this time of the year, digging into the soil for grubs. They look funny when they come up with grubby faces!

The birdbaths we have around the house are popular -we have birds visit regularly for drinks and for baths too. Yesterday I watched in great amusement from thekitchen window as a mudlark (a medium sized black and white bird) splashed about in the birdbath to such a degree that he was in danger of falling out!

I think I am now officially ready for autumn to begin. We have emptied the veggie beds and are getting ready for autumn plantings.

Wait! A few drops of rain are falling!

Hopefully this is the start of something good.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Water! It is getting harder and harder to get.

The CSIRO announced this week that the south west of WA is likely to see a 40-50% reduction in rainfall over the next 30 years or so. This is the continuation of a 'drying trend' that has seen the rainfall over the last 30 years reduced anyway. Predictions are that the climate bands are moving south, with Perth likely to look more like Geraldton's climate over the next 30-50 years.

Our government has been aware of this for some time, and has one desalination plant already in operation, with another to come on-stream by 2012.

Desalination is an expensive way to get water. If there was another way we would do it. There is also the worry of highly concentrated brine being discharged into the oceans, after the process is complete.

Water will be in short supply and expensive. That means we will need to be strategic in our use of water, especially as gardeners and householders.

I have just got my water use bill, and whilst we are shown as using less water than the average in our suburb, I am disappointed. There is a long way to go.

We have a spot for a watertank, as you can see, but no water tank there as yet. In our mediterranean climate, where we have summer drought and winter rain, it is very difficult to build enough water storage on a suburban block to carry us through the summer. The best thing to do with a water tank is to plumb it into the toilets, and use the water in the winter time (when the tank will fill many times) for toilet flushing, so that it can reduce the overall dependence on scheme water for a house over a year. This is a complicated thing to do in our setting, with an older house.

We have instead opted for re-jigging the reticulation in the garden to go entirely to dripper irrigation, which has proved effective. It guarantees less evaporation, and our front garden is showing the benefit in particular.

One nice surprise is that the pomegranate we thought had died in the heat, is this week showing signs of sprouts at its base, which is a great result.

The next task in our drive for water efficiency will involve removing our 1970s versions of toilets, to make way for much more water efficient models. We are saving up and hope these will be installed before next summer. After the garden, the toilet is the next most water hungry place in a suburban home.

I wonder if the rains will come on time this year? We usually look for the break of the season at Easter. Fingers crossed!