Whatcha been doin’?

We have been cooking.  It feels comforting to be cooking.  I am getting really bad cabin fever which is a grand effort on seven acres.  I know just about everyone else is worse off than me but ….. grrrrrrrr.

It is not just because of the coronavirus.   A few years back, we leased our house in Perth.  This was because looking after two houses was getting to be a real pain in the arse.  Instead, we stayed in our flat when we visited Perth.  The flat worked out perfectly until we got the puppies because, unfortunately, the flat is carpeted throughout.

At first, we didn’t even bother taking them to Perth.  I went a couple of times to see my sick sister.  Each time, I drove back after an overnight stay.  Christmas was the first time since we got the pups that we went to Perth together.  At that stage, we thought we could contain them in a play pen and on the balcony.  That did not work.  Next time, we covered the whole flat in tarpaulins.  All I can say is, “Thank goodness, we did.”  They were sort of toilet trained but those skills just didn’t translate to the flat.  It was enough to drive us back home ASAP.  And now, we are not allowed to go to Perth :(.

Stocking up the pantry with the excess summer crop has real purpose this year.   While totally understanding it is not necessary, it feels good to be doing it.  Notwithstanding my brain telling me to stop being silly, all that hand sanitiser and social distancing is making me feel very vulnerable going to the supermarket.  It is enough to make you want to stay at home and eat from the pantry.

Luckily, the summer crops are still producing which is allowing me to keep busy. Yesterday, I made a batch of tomato sauce, using the same recipe as I have previously.  Here is the link.

The kiwanas (prickly cucumbers) are going mad, as I knew they would.  But, alas, you can’t preserve them like you can tomatoes.  I picked these yesterday and I could have picked double the number.  We are eating one most days but there is no way we are going to be able to eat them all.  If you are reading this and live in Bridgetown and would like some, please, let me know and we will drop a few off to you.  Trust me, they are really nice.

They look like this inside and taste like a cucumber.  You remove the thick peel – the outer skin is quite hard – you only eat the jelly seed part.  When I was a kid, we used to call them prickly cucumbers.  I don’t know why, it seems I am the only person who had these as a kid.  I have no idea from where my parents got them.  In those days, we had these, along with apple cucumbers.  Even back then, I preferred these.  Come on, people, give them a go.

I also made a double batch of Lunchbox cookies.  I have already written two posts on these biscuits. One in 2013 (here is the link ) and another in 2015 (here is the link).  Both times I said I was making these biscuits because I had some old 2003, yes 2003, mandarin marmalade that I was trying to use up.  The lunch box cookie recipe uses ¼ cup of marmalade.  At the end of the 2015 post, I advised that I only had 1½ jars left!  Well, after I made this double batch, IT HAS ALL GONE!!  I did it!. That is the first and last time I will be making marmalade 😦 .

Remember the extra scoop of red kidney beans I bought the last time we were in Perth?  Well, they came in handy when I made a big batch of chilli con carne recently.  I have been craving chilli con carne for ages and intended to make it when I bought the beans.   Here is the link to the recipe, if you are interested.  I cooked up one kilogram of mince which made enough for four meals for us – three went into the freezer.  We will be eating all this food for ages 🙂 .

Another old favourite which we have had recently is noodles with chicken, coriander and peanuts (here is the link).  When I say old favourite, I really mean old.  We have been making this recipe for more than 20 years.  I adapted a recipe from the 1995  Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, Sensational Stir Fries.  It is one of a very small number of recipes we have, at least, once a month – I think it would rank only after spag bol and a pasta with a simple tomato sauce as our most frequent meal.  It is a very simple recipe but absolutely yummy.

Post script:  It is raining!  I am so excited.  It is the first rain we have had for months and months and months.  We have four tanks and three are totally empty and the last one, which we use for the house, has only 3 or 4 rungs left.  We have been using this water very carefully – only the vegie patch is being watered now.   The rain, even if it is not enough to go into the tanks, will freshen up the other plants and put a bit of moisture into the paddock.  This may result in a bit of cover so when the real rain comes, it does not take all the top soil with it.


What we’ve been cooking … September (and October) 2015

021copyI know I said I was going to do one of these posts every month but I did forewarn that it may not happen due to a lack of discipline on my behalf.  As I mentioned, I am retired and thriving on the lack of discipline.  In any event, I decided there was no point writing a post about what we’ve been cooking when we haven’t been cooking much.

It is Spring and we are always busy outdoors in Spring.  As I mentioned last year, Spring is all about mowing, preparing for the fire season, renovating the vegie patch, fertilising the roses and the fruit trees, etc.  When the sun bears down in mid-Summer and I refuse to go outdoors, there may be more happening indoors, but not at the moment.

Because of the above, it has taken me two months to accumulate enough to warrant a post. Continue reading

What we’ve been cooking … August 2015

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Even though I seem to spend half my life in the kitchen, I didn’t make many favourites last month.  We sampled quite a few new recipes (most of which weren’t post-worthy)  and we have eaten quite a bit of ho-hum food of late.  As a consequence, there are only a couple of old favourites to report for this month’s round up of What we’ve been cooking. Continue reading

What we’ve been cooking … July 2015


First cab off the rack for this month’s round up of What we’ve been cooking is pumpkin, cashew & coriander soup.   No wonder pumpkin soup has made an appearance with all those pumpkins under the house. Continue reading

What we’ve been cooking … June 2015

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I have had an idea to do a regular post like this for ages.  I ran the idea past Maus and she assured me that the idea was ‘boring‘ but I have decided to proceed, nonetheless, as I think the idea good.

I have been writing a blog for 3 years now and, whilst it is good to try new things, the reality is I have old favourites that we make, time and time again, and some of the new recipes I have posted, I want to make again.

So what I have decided to do is: once a month, tell you what previously posted recipes we have made in the last month.  I don’t know what I will do if, in one particular month, there aren’t any – we will have to wait and see.  After a while, I am sure there will be  repeats but that is good.  You will soon get an idea of which recipes we love the most. Continue reading