Friday, 21 July 2017

Inspiration in the Show Pavilion

I could spend hours in the pavilion at our local show. The others leave me to wander through happily while they go to find their own bliss. (Rides and ice-cream, of course!) All the homegrown fruits and vegetables, baking, crafts, paintings, photographs and flowers displayed on trestle tables, prize ribbons adorning some but not most, are just so inspiring to me. Here are some of the interesting entries that I found in the pavilion at my local show this year:

A prize winning, knobbly pumpkin.

A spiralling rug knitted from material reclaimed from old T-shirts.

Wedges of delicious shortbread ... I think the judges must have sampled a few!

Lovely colours in pretty crochet work.

A little circle of ripe red cherry tomatoes.

Jars of lemon and passionfruit butters. Mmm! 

A sweet little handmade doll.

A cushion made from repurposed denim. Complete with pocket!

A juicy homegrown grapefruit.

Vibrant crewel embroidery work. 

Gorgeous and fragrant blooms in their individual "vases".

There are so many talented people who live in our community! I always leave with a lots of ideas of what I'd like to grow or make or cook or learn. 

Do you go along to your local community's annual show or fair too?


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Red Lentil, Bacon & Sweet Potato Soup

A nourishing soup on a cold Winter's night, served with toasted sandwiches or some fresh bread and butter, is a simple and warming meal. 

 Soup & Sandwiches

This particular soup is a firm favourite here. It is quick and easy to make from simple and wholesome ingredients. It tastes delicious and freezes well. My recipe is an adaptation on this one for a Lower GI Ham and Red Lentil Soup.

Red Lentil, Bacon & Sweet Potato Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 rashers bacon, trimmed and diced
3 stalks celery, washed and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1.5 Litres vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
500mLs water
1 & 1/4 cups of red lentils, rinsed and drained
black pepper 

1.  Heat oil in a heavy-based soup pot over medium heat.

2.  Add crushed garlic, onion & bacon to the pot and fry lightly until onion is soft. Stir often.

3.  Add celery and carrot to the pot and cook for few more minutes stirring regularly.

4.  Add stock and water to the pot. Bring to the boil at higher temperature and then reduce 
     heat to medium again.

5.  Add red lentils and sweet potato and simmer (turning heat down if you need to) until 
     lentils and sweet potato are tender.

6.  Season with a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.

7.  Garnish with finely chopped parsley if you wish & serve with fresh bread and butter or 
     perhaps some toasted sandwiches.

When it is cold or frosty outside, a bowl of homemade soup is something to look forward to. I find that the warmth of that soup not only fills our tummies but reminds us too what it is to be safe and warm inside on a cold night. 

 Do you have a favourite Winter soup that you make often for your family?


Monday, 17 July 2017

Sunday's Baking

I often bake in the morning on Sundays. I might make batches of biscuits, little muffins, a simple slice or occasionally a cake of some kind. These are then ready to pop into lunchboxes for the morning and afternoon teas to come during the week ahead. It makes things a little less hectic on weekday mornings!

It was a rainy, cold start to yesterday's Sunday, so while I was baking the oven warmed the kitchen and that tantalising smell of baked goodies wafted throughout our home. This is what I baked, with recipes at the links below each photograph:

(The distinct, spicy smell of these baking is just divine!)

 Simple focaccia with crispy cheese.
(You can top focaccia with cheese or herbs or olives...)

(A healthier version of an old favourite.)

Slice Notes:
I substituted 1/4 cup of brown rice flour for the 1/2 cup almond meal in the slice recipe simply because my son's school in a nut-free zone. I used ordinary, everyday jam instead of the chia jam suggested too and it all worked out just fine.

We ate slices of the focaccia, still warm from the oven, with lunch. It is the first "bread" I have made for a very long time (as I tend to bake flops rather than loaves;)  It was very simple to make so I think it might become a Sunday staple...topped with cheese or maybe herbs or olives and always sprinkled with sea salt. The gingerbread cakes and the slice were "sampled", of course, before being whisked away from my rather enthusiastic taste testers. 

Do you bake on Sundays? What do you make for the week ahead?