Thursday, 6 February 2014


It has recently occurred to me that I have now been blogging for nearly seven years.  Seven years! In that time my life has changed almost beyond recognition.

Back in May 2007, when I wrote my first blog post, we had been living in our original red house in Melbourne for over eight years. I thought we would live there forever.  My four children ranged in age from 4 to 13 and I was a full-time, stay-at-home mum, although I did do small amounts of paid work here and there.

Moving forward seven years and we have lived in Adelaide for five and a half years. The kids are now 19, 17, 15 and 10.  One is at university, two are at high school and the youngest has recently entered the fifth grade.

Not long after we moved to Adelaide, I started working 4 days a week, an enormous change on top of the even bigger change of moving interstate with four school-aged children.  This year, life will change again as I will be studying full-time (although thankfully, I am also reducing my work hours).

In seven years I have changed in many ways, yet the important things remain the same.  I love my family and its health and happiness is my first priority.  Food, home and garden are still at the centre of my being.

With my daughter, sister-in-law and niece in Sydney, December 2013

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A Lacklustre Summer for Vegetables

Despite some successes, this has been a frustrating summer for vegetable growing at our red house.

While the self-seeded crops - celery, cherry tomatoes and pumpkins - are thriving, the rest have been lacklustre, to say the least.

My climbing beans grew abundantly, but have yet to produce a single bean.  Likewise, the cucumbers and capsicums have been slow.

I'm not really sure why this has been such an average year.

The soil is better than ever before, thanks to now three years application of worm castings, compost and blood and bone meal.  Although rainfall has been low, we have diligently provided adequate water.

What have been your recent successes and failures in the garden?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Greek Yogurt with Brown Sugar and Almonds

A popular breakfast treat at my favourite cafe is a glass of Greek yogurt sweetened with brown sugar and topped with chopped nuts.

The combination of flavours and textures is irresistible: crunchy nuts; tart, creamy yogurt; and sweet brown sugar at the top and bottom of the glass that, after a few hours in the fridge, becomes a caramel syrup to be stirred through the yogurt.

As there are only three ingredients and no cooking is required, this recipe is quick and easy to prepare.  For variety, you could substitute honey for the brown sugar and use other nuts, such as pistachios or hazelnuts, to replace the almonds.  For a middle-eastern touch, you could add a little rosewater or orange flower water to the yogurt.

Greek Yogurt with Brown Sugar and Almonds (makes 5 serves)

1 L unsweetened Greek-style yogurt
brown sugar
raw almonds, chopped roughly
5 glasses (around 1 cup/250 ml capacity)

Put a heaped teaspoon of brown sugar at the bottom of each glass.  Spoon in yogurt until close to the top of each glass.  Top with more brown sugar and scatter with chopped almonds.  Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Beautiful Robe

Since we moved to Adelaide five years ago, we have tried to holiday somewhere different every summer, to experience as many places as possible in our new state.

We are currently visiting Robe on the south coast of South Australia and I don't ever want to leave. Robe has it all: quaint historic buildings, pristine beaches, breathtaking scenery, great caf├ęs.

Our resolution to go somewhere new each year may be about to be broken.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve

Today has been a delightfully relaxing Christmas Eve; a little wrapping of gifts, a few hours leisurely cooking, a Christmas Eve church service.

Our Christmas Day will be simpler and quieter than usual as there will only be the six of us.  I treasure every moment as I know the day will soon arrive when one of the kids will choose to spend Christmas at another place, another table.  With every Christmas that passes I wonder if this is the last one where we will all be together.

I wish you a merry Christmas filled with fun and laughter and shared time with family and friends.  May you be filled with the joy of the season.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

—Clement Clarke Moore