Friday, February 20, 2009

Mmmm... cinnamon scrolls ....

I never intended this blog to have much baking in it - after all, I never baked anything until a few months ago unless it came out of a box - but here we are, another recipe!

Its just my style- not too many ingredients, simple instructions, no mixer required, and if it ends up looking messy you can say it was meant to be! Oh, and yummy with a cup of tea.

This recipe is in Linda Cockburns book 'Living the Good Life' about her quest to not spend any money for 6 months. (Its a great read, quite funny and full of inspiring ideas, though I'm not tempted to give up my spending just yet...!)
I have never made dough before so was pleasantly surprised that my first effort really worked, my 'dough ball' more than doubled in size in about an hour. Lots to roll out, this recipe made 12 large scrolls and around 8 smaller ones.

Cinnamon Scrolls

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
500g plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
approx 1 cup water

Microwave sugar, butter and cinnamon until melted. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar and enough water to turn it into a dough.
On floured bench knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
Return it to bowl, cover with tea towel and set aside until doubled in size.
Preheat oven 180c, knock dough back then roll out into rectangle around 1cm thick. Spread melted cinnamon butter across dough.
With sharp knife cut into 3cm strips. Roll each into a scroll and place on greased tray. Bake until golden (around 15-20 mins on 180c)

*(I also added sultanas to this recipe, sprinkled on top of the cinnamon butter)

I am really pleased with my first effort, although the cooked dough didn't 'puff up' as much as I had expected, they are still a nice texture and taste good, perfect with a cuppa!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yes, we have no potatoes .....

Garden update for this week...... some good - like the tiny grape tomatoes, not many of them but they are so sweet .... and some not so good - we decided to see what potatoes have grown since we planted them way back in Oct last year (see here )

The cage method revealed - nothing. Not a thing. Not one spud! We did have a few healthy looking plants for a while, then waited until they died back as we were supposed to. But there was nothing at all going on in there other than a worm-farm in a cage. Today I dug through the larger no-dig spud-bed down the fence line and again found nothing except decomposing straw. Hmm. Disappointed :-(

Luckily we have a lovely neighbour 2 doors down who gave us a bag of hers last week as she has just grown sooooo many she can't use them all! Of course she left with some fresh eggs ;-)

On the up-side my trial-seed-saving parsley has germinated! (And it only took 2 weeks which I think is pretty quick for parsley) At rough count I think there is at least 20 seedlings which is great. I'll pot them on in a week or so (just a pity there'll be no lovely potatoes to put the parsley on!)
Other planting - 6 purple king beans plants into the patch to replace the ones eaten by the bowerbirds. Pumpkins and eggplants settled in well, happy with the 8 days non-stop rain we've had. Rain also responsible for rotting a few of the tomato plants, being constantly wet does not make them happy :-(
Edibles this week - few tomatoes, various herbs, rocket, chillies. And 24 eggs last week :-)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Frantic baking ..!

We have been having hot days here for over a week- (high 30's) which has NOT made me want to cook anything at all. When its 36 inside the house the last thing I want is the oven on! But yesterday I just had to do it ..... I've had no biscuits or cakey things for over a week* (long time for me) so it was on with the oven early in the morning before the day got too hot.

* I decided last year to stop buying shop-bought biscuits, and only make my own.
This was a BIG deal for me as I do like my biscuits (!) but was committed to doing it after finding out that a lot of commercial biscuits -including tim-tams- use palm oil (you can read more about why this is a problem
HERE ) I really surprised myself by sticking to it now for over 3 months and I truly don't miss them. The rest of the family prefer home baked biscuits too and have never asked for any shop ones.

I made 24 lovely choc-chip and banana muffins, and a big quiche for lunch with ham, tomato, feta and basil. The thermometer only went up 1 degree during the frantic-bake-off (!) and I used 10 of our eggs which were stacking up and 2 over-ripe bananas no good for anything else.
Basic Muffin Recipe -
3 cups SR flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
170g melted butter
(add fruit/choc chips/cinnamon etc for flavoured muffins)
  • Mix flour and sugar in a bowl (and any other dry ingredients if using). Mix melted butter, milk and eggs together, then add to dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
  • Spoon into buttered muffin pans and bake at 200c for 20 mins/until golden.
  • Cool on wire rack (if you can wait!!!)

Last week in the garden

A quick upate of what's new in the garden ....

The veggie patch has been looking decidedly sad recently, so it was time to pull out the old and try something new. We harvested what must have been the world's smallest carrot crop - after months in the ground we pulled out around 15 teeny tiny carrots, the biggest of which could possibly be called a baby carrot, the others even smaller! At least the kids enjoyed pulling them out and we all had to laugh at the size of them. We ended up eating some of them raw- a mini-snack (!) and the chooks got the really tiny scrappy ones.

I think they hadn't had enough water, as deep down the soil was quite dry and no worms. (Together with the 'chooks in the patch' experience) Oh well, mark that one up to experience!

I had some butternut pumpkins (5) and a sugar-baby watermelon that our kids had germinated in containers, along with a couple of capsicums and tomatoes. We dug over the ground again, added a bag and a half of cow manure and few handfuls of blood and bone, and planted the new round next to a few eggplants.

They've been in a week now and looking good - survived the heatwave we've been having and still standing.

Oh, I did find out what has been eating our green stuff - bowerbirds. I had suspected them but caught 3 in there last week, tearing away at beans, silverbeet and the new pumpkins. So now we have the chicken fence all around, and a bird net over the top. I stopped short of putting a lock on!

The other side of the patch will be planted out when this lot germinate - also last week (can you tell the kids have started preschool ??!!!) I started off some cauliflowers, purple king beans (to replace the bowerbird-eaten ones), cherokee wax beans, rainbow beetroot, and the parsley seeds I saved earlier.
I wasn't sure about the cauli's so just sprinkled loads of seeds in.... at last count there were 50 germinated seedlings! Oops! I might be looking for cauli recipes later ......

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Doggy biscuit?

I just had to post this - yesterday my daughter (3) was eating a rice cracker when she shouted out "mummy, I made a dog!"

It just looked so funny!

Solitary Confinement ...

Well good news on the chooky-front ...Rosie is finally back with the gang !

We put her in 'the cage' on Sunday, very basic no-frills-cheap-motel style accommodation after the chooky palace she is used to! Raised lock-up cage with food, water and a perch. Thats it. Poor Rosie :-(

And as if thats not humiliating enough, we had a storm the next night and my hubby had to run out in the middle of the night and find something waterproof to cover the cage- so she ended up with a Thomas Tank Engine playmat roof on .... Oh, the indignity!

I think the idea is they should be in the cage constantly for 3-4 days, but I let her out with the others for a bit free-ranging (even prisoners get rec time!) The first day she went straight back to the big house and onto the nest. No messing- I put her back in the cage until the next day.

She has been ok when outside the past 2 days so I think the broodiness has finished, so it was 3-4 days. She's back in the big house tonight with her friends, and when we checked was settling in the 'sleeping end' with them (laying/nesting box is at the opposite end). Hopefully will start laying again within a week.

Glad its over - I felt quite mean every time I walked past her- they're good at the guilt thing!