Thursday, September 1, 2011

A week of tree pain...

Tree lopping is just not my thing.  I simply don't have the arm or back strength to carry it out...that's why I usually pay my gardening guys to do it. But if I want to go away on holidays in October, I need to do this myself.  Eek!

 Here's what I managed to cut all by myself.  It is the correct size to go either in the green bin, or to be bundled and put out for the next Council Clean up.  Either way, it's ready to go!

 What is left to go.  There is still about 1/4 of these 4 trees left to go.  I trimmed some from each tree, mainly so I wouldn't be dropping great big branches on to my neighbour's veggie patch.  I don't think they'd be impressed with that!

 Oh dear, the end of our pergola has collapsed.  That's the second reason why I needed to get rid of these trees.  The first was because they're starting to die, and I don't want termites invading, thank you very much!

More branches to be cut up into size.  This lot of branches attacked me.  Worse than bunny scratches!  And no, I didn't chop these trees down with gloves on.  I thought I'd be brave and 'get closer to nature'. That, and I can't use my pruning chopper tools (awesome, they are!!) with gloves on.  I'm more likely to drop them on my foot, and that wouldn't be so great.

So why isn't Phil chopping these down you ask?  Simply because the last 3 times I have let him loose in the garden, he has managed to nearly slice his thumb off (and I am not good with all!!!). He needs his thumbs.  For programming.  For the space bar.  Meh, he needs his thumbs *.*

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuna, Potato and Cheese Patties

I had written 'Tuna Croquettes' up on my Dinner Planner, but I couldn't find my croquette recipe, so I made my own up.  Hubby (not a tuna lover) had second helpings, so they must have been pretty good.  I think he might have even snuck in a third helping too.

They were rather good, even if I say so myself.

My recipe:-

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 can drained sandwich tuna
  • 1/4 cup shredded tasty cheese
  • 2 tablespoons herbs (chives, parsley, whatever you want to include)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten and set aside in a bowl)
  • Breadcrumbs (lightly salted if you wish, and set aside in another bowl)
  • Oil for pan frying.
  1. Peel and cut your potatoes into chunks.  Microwave until 'mashworthy' (however you do your mashed potato should work - I just put mine in a microwave steamer with a little water down the bottom and zap for 10 mins.  Then I left them in there while I taught music lessons for 1 1/2 hours).
  2. Mash your potatoes, if you haven't already done so.  Add in your drained tuna, shredded/grated cheese and chopped herbs.  I put a little salt in at this point.  There is already some in the tuna brine and cheese, so if you don't want added salt, leave it out.
  3. Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture into your hands.  I have read that wet hands is better to do this, but I didn't bother.  Mine were just fine!  Flatten the mixture out into patties.
  4. Roll the patties in the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumbs to coat.
  5. Pan fry away until golden on both sides.
  6. Makes between 15-20 patties, depending on the size of them.
My 'Team' decided they wanted sweet chilli sauce with these.  I am the exception.  Nothing remotely chilli for me please :D

I didn't cook them all last night as we had to run out.  I put the leftover mixture in the fridge to see if they would be okay to cook today.  The refrigerated mixture was as easy to work with as it was last night.  I didn't mash my potatoes quite to the consistency of absolutely no lumps.  They were workable but not overdone.  They were really easy to coat and didn't fall apart.  I'm not sure if it depends on the type of potato you use - mine were the standard brushed Aldi potatoes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Orange Vinegar Cleaner

I have been doing some reading about this citrus/vinegar cleaner, and how wonderful it is.  I have been using about 1 cup vinegar to 2 cups water (or something like that - probably more like half and half because I can't be bothered measuring) to clean my kitchen benches with, and everywhere else except the bathroom.  I figured I needed something a bit stronger for my bathroom.  Because I was using vinegar already, this seemed like a logical idea.

So on this Blog: there is a wonderful easy recipe to make your own citrus cleaner at home. 

Navel Oranges are in season right now.  We had a huge box of them we have been munching through, so I gave the orders that the peel was to be removed and put into glass jars containing vinegar.  How easy!

This was our second box of oranges - about 1/4 full in this picture.  They were $12 a box and are super sweet, just as fresh oranges should be!  Unfortunately we don't have an orange tree, so this is the next best thing for us - straight from the Grower's Market.

You could use an orange peeler before you use the orange but I found it much easier to use a filleting knife.  My arthritic/RSI-ridden hands prefer this method - it's more of a downward action so my thumbs are much happier!  You want the peel, not the pith.  The peel contains all the oil that you want to infuse with the vinegar, which helps with cleaning.

I started our third jar yesterday.  The first two will be ready this Saturday (I think - or I could leave it for another week if I wanted to).  The third jar began two days ago, so will need a couple of weeks to steep.  They smell lovely and orangy, and after a day seem to lose the vinegar smell.  Or perhaps my nose is refusing to smell the vinegar *winks*.

So the quick run down on how to make it:-

- Grab a very clean glass jar.  With a lid.
- Peel an orange or lemon (or mandarin if you wish) trying to leave as much of the pith off.
- Put the peel into the glass jar and top with vinegar.  Keep adding peel to the jar as you go through oranges until the jar is full to the top.  You want to try to cover the peel so it doesn't end up mouldy. Depending on the size of your jar, one helpful suggestion was to fill a small snap-lock bag with water and place that on top.  It will keep the peel submerged.
- Leave for 2-3 weeks. The vinegar will extract the oil from the citrus peel, and create a lovely concentrate for you.
- Pour half water and half the citrus cleaner into a spray bottle and use away!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week 35 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Plan
Store 5 kgs rice

$20 Plan
Store 10 kgs rice

I put some information up on the different types of varieties of rice up in week 6 of this challenge, when we first stored rice here:

You might like to store 4 kgs of long grain rice, and one of risotto rice.  I like to store some Calrose rice to make rice pudding just to vary our diet (and to use up some milk).

You could also store alternatives like Sago for even more variety.