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Lemon Myrtle Shortbread

Saturday, 31 December 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

I have discovered my new favourite tea, Lemon Myrtle. It is absolutely divine! It tastes just like it smells, and its aroma is sensational. Oh, I am gushing, aren't I? For a long time now, my first love in tea, has been Liquorice, closely followed by Peppermint. I first heard about our native Lemon Myrtle from Morag, over at "Our Permaculture Life" it is a beautiful native tree (Backhousia Citriodora), and its aromatic, glossy green leaves, smell like a potent mixture of lemon and lime.

Lemon Myrtle loose tea leaves and tea bags. I have used the loose leaves in this recipe, but when I get my own tree, I will be making glorious tea from its leaves.

It is a low maintenance, evergreen, that likes a sunny to half shade position and will tolerate a light frost. I have wanted this tree for a long time now, and today, I am going to buy one, with some money given to us, by my Mother in law for Christmas. I can't wait to have this beautiful tree in my garden. Like all plants in my garden, this one will be going into a pot, it's a large one, that I have had for ages, the last plant I had in it was the potatoes and it will need a good scrub with some bleach before I plant anything else in it.

Now, on with the recipe. I was going to make this recipe as part of my "12 days of Christmas" posts, but I just ran out of time. I finally made these little shortbreads yesterday afternoon, and they are almost all gone, already. They are a gorgeous little, buttery shortbread with a hint of Lemon Myrtle, I knew I would love them and every one else did as well. They are easy to make and if you use two sheets of non stick baking paper to roll the dough out, there will be no tears in the kitchen. I have to admit to having the air conditioning on yesterday, as it was a particularly hot day. I don't think the dough, with all its butter, is one that would be easy to handle in the heat. So my tip is, make them in the cool of the very early morning or in air conditioning.

Ingredients for Lemon Myrtle Shortbreads, clockwise from top right-
1 tablespoon rice flour, 1/4 cup of icing sugar, 185 grams cubed butter, a very big pinch of dried or fresh Lemon Myrtle (for my tastes, next time I will add more) 2 cups plain flour

Sift the flour, rice flour, icing sugar and dried Lemon Myrtle into a bowl

When it is sifted, stir well, to disperse the Lemon Myrtle

Now add the cubes of butter, you don't want soft butter, it needs to be cold from the fridge

Slowly rub the butter into the flour mixture, take your time and it will eventually come together into a soft dough. Knead lightly until smooth. A very light hand is needed here

Roll into a ball

And cut in half, putting one half to the side

Working with one half at a time, re-roll into a ball and press between two sheets of non stick baking paper

Roll dough out to 5 mm thickness and cut into desired shapes

I used a fluted, 4 cm cutter

Put onto a baking tray, lined with non stick baking paper. Keep rolling and cutting until all dough is used

Bake in a 180 C oven for 13 to 15 minutes, but keep checking, as all ovens are different. Mine took 13 minutes to bake to a very light gold

Just beautiful with a cup of Lemon Myrtle Tea

I found this recipe over at "A Hopeful Nature", thanks Meg, for a wonderful recipe

So, tell me, is there a recipe that you just didn't get to over Christmas?

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 30 December 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

I started a frugal list for this blog post, but then it kind of morphed into yesterdays post, about getting back to my normal, frugal way of living. Never mind, I am always thinking frugally so it was pretty easy to write about more. I haven't set foot in a supermarket or shop for any reason as lovely hubby did the grocery shopping, as usual, on Wednesday, while I was at work, and there hasn't been a thing I have needed, apart from our normal weekly groceries. I will avoid going to shops if I can help it.

1. Made a salad dressing out of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, honey and oil. I never buy salad dressing as I always have these ingredients in the house and just make it as I need it. 

2. I used the dressing on a big tossed salad. Most of the lettuce leaves were picked fresh, from my veggie pod

I have planted the veggie pod out with mixed lettuce, silverbeet, amaranth, chilli seeds and perennial coriander

3. We had the salad with the rest of the roast meats from Christmas day, to use them up. No waste, ever!

4. Made a frittata, for yesterdays Breakfast, with some leftover chopped roast veggies and some ham from Christmas day. I picked the parsley and garlic chives from my garden to go in the frittata

5. Made some Bentonite Clay Toothpaste for my Daughters Partner, with ingredients already in the house. He is quite interested in an alternative to everyday toothpaste 

5.1. Made a jar of Mixed Roasted Nut Butter for my Daughter and Partner to take back home with them. I just buy a packet of ALDI own brand mixed roasted nuts and blitz them with a little honey and oil, perfect!

5.2 Cut up and froze, in a single layer, on some baking paper, a couple of daggy bananas. I will use these in a banana cake or banana pancakes

So, that's my frugal list, I'd love to hear what you've been up to, on the frugal front.

Back in to the swing

Thursday, 29 December 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

With all the lead up to Christmas, it is a relief to get back into the swing of my normal, simple life. Not that I strayed too far from the frugal path, preparing for our family Christmas. I definitely didn't go crazy with gift buying or go to the Boxing Day Sales, it's just not for me. Everyone, that is special to us, received a really beautiful, practical gift that they wanted and needed. Nothing superfluous or frivolous, just thoughtful gifts, that bought them joy.

I went back to work yesterday, but have the rest of the week off, plus the weekend and the public holiday on Monday, makes for 5 days off, so it still feels a bit strange and I have to ask myself what day of the week it is. Despite this, I have settled back into frugal habits that just come naturally to me.  I started last Monday when I was tidying up after Christmas day, I kept all the gift boxes and bags to re-use next year, most of the gifts that were in these, were from grateful clients of lovely hubby and son.  I am not going to buy anymore wrapping paper next year, I will be making Christmas Sacks to avoid more rubbish going to landfill.

All the laundry was washed with this home made laundry liquid. I am so impressed with this one and will continue to use it for a long time. It is so economical to make.

I hung all the washing in the sun to dry, we haven't had any rain of late, which isn't good for the garden, but great to get the clothes dry.

Cleaned the toilets with this home made toilet cleaner and plain white, own brand vinegar, works a treat and no nasty bleach in sight.

Used this home made weed killer to get rid of this nasty weed. I am always on the look out for this invasive weed and use this weed killer by just pouring it on. I poured it on the weed in the morning, before going to work and this is what it looked like by the afternoon, already starting to die back.

Used this home made, recycled, self watering pot to plant out some Jalapeño chilli seeds. The little container was from the Introduction to Permaculture I did last year with Morag Gamble. These simple little containers work wonderfully well.

I dug out this worm tower from the back of the veggie garden. It really wasn't working or being utilised in this spot. I have plans of looking for a recycled planter, to put this in, and plant around it. I think it will work and the nutrients that come from the worms, just doing their thing, will be great for the herbs and veggies, I plant in it. This is the idea here.

I removed two Red Paw Paw trees that I had raised and planted to the left side of the veggie garden. It wasn't a good spot for them, not enough room to have four of these Paw Paw trees in such a small space. I also removed a rambling and almost had it, self seeded tomato plant that had grown out of the, now removed, worm tower. I fertilised the garden with worm tea, dug it over and laid down mulch. I planted out the empty space with some Chia and Chilli seeds.

These are the two Red Paw Paw plants that I dug out, they will go to work for a couple of co-workers that wanted one.

I made a couple of jars (one has already been eaten on sandwiches with ham for lunches) of
Tomato relish with these home grown tomato's. I still have two self seeded tomato bushes that I just let ramble, I find the minute you start fussing over tomatoes they turn up their toes. I just keep picking the ripe ones and once I have enough for the relish I will make some more

These are pumpkin plants that I have raised from saved seeds, I will select the strongest one and let it ramble along the side of the house.

 I tidied the tomato plant that was rambling along the pineapple plants so they could see more sunlight. These are pineapples that I grew from tops of bought pineapples, I just screw the tops in and let them do their thing, it's a long wait for a pineapple but it's fun and it's free. I also have a basil plant that is going to seed so I just flopped it down into the garden for the seed to fall into soil. I always have basil growing this way. 

Cut up some not so wonderful strawberries and gave them some love in the form of a teaspoon of icing sugar. We finished them with our breakfast fruit and yoghurt bowls.

So, as you can see, I am back into the swing of what makes me happy and makes my home hum along to the beat of the frugal drum. 

Have you settled back into your normal routine yet?


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

Well, Christmas is all over for another year, I always feel a little bit of relief when all that hard work, in preparing the home for Christmas, is over. I love Christmas, it's just a lot of work! We always have a traditional roast for Christmas day lunch, with rosemary roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, cauliflower cheese and steamed broccolini. Lovely Hubby does a rolled pork roast in the BBQ and I slowly roast the rolled leg of lamb in a clay pot in the oven. I love this method of cooking meat, the meat is meltingly tender and you end up with the most amazing jus, to make gorgeous homemade gravy with.

We had enough of roast meat, for another whole dinner on Boxing day, I just had to roast some more potato and pumpkin and steam some asparagus to go with it. For dessert, on Christmas day, we had a Christmas pudding that had been gifted to us by a family friend and I made a mango ice-cream cake, that tasted just like a Mango Weiss Bar! Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the Christmas dinner, I guess I was just too busy and completely forgot! I did manage a snap of Christmas morning breakfast, I made Overnight Creme Brûlée French Toast and served it with fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup. Oh my, it was divine.
What we bought

Shopping from Woolworths and Coles 

Shopping from ALDI

What we spent

Nothling Quality Meats-$100.00(Lovely Hubby has started a barter system with our butcher) They wanted to give us the meat for free, but hubby insisted on paying them at least some money. For $100 we received a 3 kg rolled leg of Pork, a 2.5 kg rolled leg of lamb and a 3 kg boneless leg of ham. That worked out to be 8.5 kg of meat at $11.76 per kg. 

TOTAL-$309.08, that is a lot of money, but it also fed so many people for so many meals

What we ate 

Wednesday-Beef and Mushroom Ragu with Fettucini 

Thursday-Take away from China Corner, it is my Mother in laws treat 

Friday-Tempura Whiting, steamed basmati rice and Pak Choy 

Saturday-Smoked Salmon Fettucini with steamed Asparagus 

Sunday-Christmas Day Breakfast-Overnight Creme Brûlée French Toast with fruit and softly whipped cream 

Christmas Day Dessert-Mango and Macadamia Ice-cream Cake 

The Desert was a hit with everyone 

Tuesday-Ham, Potato Bake with steamed Broccolini

And that's a wrap! Over to you, what was on the Christmas week dinner table, at your place? 

Salmon and Potato Frittata

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

As I have written before, I love to collect recipes and have one huge and two smaller binders that I keep the torn out, scribbled down or photocopied recipes in. Next year I am doing a big clean/sort out /de-junking/minimising of the whole house, top to bottom, every draw, cupboard and basket. As part of that escapade, these recipe binders are going to get the same treatment, so I am starting to go through them to see what recipes I want to keep. This is one such recipe, and true to form it was photocopied from a magazine, probably from work, ages ago. It is a winner, a great little quick and nutritious recipe that is both filling and really delicious.

Ingredients for Salmon and Potato Frittata, clockwise from top right, 7 eggs, 1 medium onion, chopped finely, 2 tablespoons chives or garlic chives, 1 x 220 gram tin of Salmon (pink or red), drained, skin and bones removed and flaked, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 500 grams potato, peeled and cubed into 2 cm dice 

Sauté the onion until transparent, remove from pan and set aside 

Add a small amount of oil and sauté the potato cubes until they take on a little colour, now turn heat down to low, pop on a lid and let steam for 10 minutes or until softened 

Return the sautéed onion to the pan with the potatoes and add the salmon 

Evenly distribute all of the ingredients 

Pour over eggs that have been whisked with the chives, now scatter over the grated cheese 

Cook Frittata on low until almost set 

Finish frittata off under a hot grill

Nice and easy, full of goodness and delicious. Just add steamed greens or a salad for the perfect quick meal. Just what you need at this busy time of year.

Over to you, what is your go to, quick and easy meal, during a busy time?