Winter veggies

Got enough from the garden tonight for dinner – broccoli, bit of spinach before the bugs eat it, odd beans and a lone pea, and was very keen to see my baby carrots but still very baby!!

My garden is in need of a lot of TLC at the moment the nasturims have taken over and just gone wild.

Time to pull everything out and prepare beds with a good feed of compost and chook manure in time for fast approaching spring.

May be a few weekends job! This weekend is source the manure – time for a drive around the surrounding country towns! Also time to get into my compost and see if my chooks have left me any worms (as they keep sneaking in there even though have blocked it off – they know they are not allowed in there!!).

Time for dinner now!



Love home made pizza on the weekend!

Don’t have much in way of food in the fridge at the moment but felt like something tasty for lunch, so raided the garden and found enough supplies to make a delicious pizza!

Home made pizza dough I had portioned and frozen (so easy to do in advance – I always have some on hand). Little tomatoes on their last legs from the fridge, pepperoni and cheese.

Home grown ingredients – pizza thyme, basil, shallots, 1 tiny capsicum (that’s the last of my capsicums) and rocket!! Also had some homemade relish for the base!!

Delish!! (with Andrew away for work have currently lost bit of interest in the cooking dept lately- back into my craft and currently doing an online sewing class!)….



Quiche for lunch!

A friend dropped in today and I whipped up a yummy quiche and salad for lunch. Perfect for a winters lunch.

Counted 8 home grown ingredients in today’s lunch!! – really achieved my goal today of 3 home grown ingredients in our meals.

They included:

  • Quiche – eggs, parsley, chives and made the pastry but didn’t include that in the count.
  • Salad – baby cos lettuce , rocket, cucumber.
  • Drinks – mint and lemon in iced water.

Ok for the recipe – which the quiche filling itself is out if my head / what mum use to kind of do and I have improvised it / whatever’s in the fridge! Pastry is mum’s recipe!

Pastry – no roll


  • 90g butter
  • 2 1/2 tbs milk (I just use a bit to the consistency want)
  • 125g self-raising flour (I use more about 150-175g to get a good amount of pastry for the dish)
  • pinch salt

Put butter and milk in a saucepan and heat gently until butter melts. Remove from heat. Sift flour with a pinch of salt in a bowl and add melted butter. Mix with wooden spoon into a ball.

Put into lightly butted and floured pie/quiche dish. Kneed out with hands to form a base and build up around the insides of rim of dish. Fill with your choice of filling (see mine below). Bake in 180-200 degree oven till cooked. Our oven is terrible so I put in on 200 degrees and bake my quiche for 45 mins. I was given a good ceramic quiche dish – invest in a good one, I use mine all the time.


  • bacon – I use about 3-4 short cut rations
  • onion – diced, or I use shallots if have them
  • mushrooms – sliced

Cook the above off in a frypan with season until just done. Place in pie dish on top of pastry base. Spread a bit of cheese over bacon mix – I use whatever I have tasty chedder and bit of parmarsen and sometimes I add some brie etc….depends on your wish fat content!

In a seperate bowl crack and wisk 5 eggs (or use less if they are big eggs). I season with salt and pepper.  Add some cream or milk or both. You want a bit more liquid than the eggs to ensure you have a good amount (but not too runny) to fill your pie dish up. Add fresh herbs, I use parsley and chives. Pour this liquid mixture over the other ingredients in the dish. Bake approximately 45 mins in 180-200 degree oven. May need 40-50 mins just check – you know when it is cooked when it is a bit browned on top.

Serve with quarter of tomato or fresh salad.  Great for winter lunch, picnic (served warm or cold) or a Sunday night dinner (we have eggs for a lighter Sunday night dinner!).

Chicken and leek pie recipe

This pie is a winner!  I improvised a bit too (as I normally do with recipes!)…..added a handful of grated tasty cheese, seasoning and home grown parsley and chives (chopped up) to the mix.  Will include in the method below when I added these extra ingredients – think it gave it a bit more taste. My pie dish is 22cm diameter. Be enough for 2-4 people depending how hungry they are – be warned it is a yummy pie so you might get some takers for seconds!!

You could change/add the filling with other ingredients too for this pie recipe with the chicken – I was thinking maybe some mushrooms, corn, and mum said peas and leeks are always great in pies! (so on the right track with leeks in this pie!).  Mum made a beef and burgundy pie the other day she tells me – will track that recipe down too! Also forgot to mention this pie only has pastry at the top too (less fattening!) and was great.  I might though however try pastry in the base of the pie next time to try the difference (however will then have to go for a job to burn off extra pastry!).

Home grown ingredients I used for this recipe – parsley, chives, egg (got my minimum 3 ingredients goal!). Growing leeks for the next pie!! (at least they like all our rain!).

 Have added my photos again for this recipe – will make you want to go and cook it now!


  • 1 tbs butter
  • 700g skinless chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat and cut into chunks (depends on the size of your pie dish, think I only had 500g was heaps)
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and thickly sliced (again depends on the size of your pie dish, I used one big leek was heaps)
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat milk (I used a bit more – get the mixture to the consistency you like)
  • 1 continental stock pot chicken (or chicken powder stock, couple good teaspoons be fine)
  • 1 sheet ready-rolled short crust pastry
  • 1 egg (beat for glazing)


1. Preheat oven 200 degrees

2. In a heavy frying pan, melt butter and add chicken. Cook till golden, set aside in a bowl.

3. In same pan cook the leeks without colour but until softened (I added seasoning when cooking the leeks)

4. Add flour and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add milk and chicken stock stirring continuously until slightly thickened.

4. Add chicken back into the pan, reduce heat, simmer gently for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked. (I added cheese, herbs and bit more milk at end – got a nice consistency not too dry or thick).

5. Transfer mixture to lightly greased pie dish. Glaze around rim (and outside of pie dish!) with a bit of beaten egg with pastry brush.

6. Lay the pastry sheet over the dish and mould it around so it holds in place . Brush pastry with beaten egg.


– don’t trim your pastry too much around the edges of your dish as the pastry will shrink, I just push moulded mine in around the edges to seal it. Decorate as you wish with left over pastry as I did. Make a slit in the middle of your pastry to let the air out while cooking. I did make a slit in the middle but when it cooked it sealed up, which I had to cut a slit in the pastry while cooking to let the air out or it may explode! (hence why my pastry looked like it sagged a bit when cooked but was fine).

 – give any left over egg give it to your cat or dog they will love you!

7. Bake pie for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown (as my oven is hopeless mine was in longer – when you get a nice golden colour on your pastry all over your pie is done!).

8. Serve up to your guests and they will be back for more!!!  Enjoy!!

Pie ready for the oven!

Cooked beautifully!!

Basic pizza dough recipe

Making home made pizzas couldn’t get easier with this basic pizza dough recipe – you will never buy pizza bases again!!


  • olive oil, to grease
  • 450g (3 cups) plain flour
  • 1 tsp (7g/1 satchel) dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 310ml (1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • plain flour, extra to dust


Brush a bowl (large size) with olive oil to lightly grease.

Combine flour, yeast and salt in a separate bowl. Make a well in the centre and add water and oil. Use a wooden spoon, then your hands, to mix until combined and a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes or until almost smooth. Place the dough in the prepared bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught free place for 1 hour to prove or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist. Knead the dough in the bowl for 20-30 seconds or until it is smooth and has return to its original size.

Home made pizza dough rising

Makes: 4 x 28cm thin crust pizzas or 2 x 28cm thick crust pizzas. Prep 10 mins, + 1 hour proving time.


Can easily make this in advance and wrap and freeze unused dough portions. I get 4 pizza dough portions when I make this recipe (just cut the lump of dough into equal quarters) and wrap each portion with cling wrap and freeze. The night before I wish to use it, I just take one out of the freezer and put in the fridge until use. We have home made pizza night each Friday night and this pizza dough is great and so easy. I always thought it was difficult to make but I was pleasantly surprised – give it a go and you may be pleasantly surprised too! Make them for friends on a Friday night with a few glasses of wine and they will be back next Friday!


When we go camping I take one of my pre-made frozen pizza dough portions and make pizza for one of our dinners as a treat – always great fun to have pizzas when you are camping! Oh I should point out we bought last Christmas a Webber BabyQ which we LOVE! and comes with us on every camping trip!!  Pizzas cooked in a Webber are much much better than a traditional oven – they cook them just like a pizza oven! We use our Webber at home for our pizzas (and roasts and more!).

Toppings we do easy toppings when camping, things that will travel well and keep. Ham and pineapple (with a bit of oregano) – which we hadn’t had since we were kids is great fun and so tasty! Also do pepperoni and sundried tomatoes and olives (they carry well in jars), with basil. I always take some home grown herbs with us too – love some fresh herbs on our pizzas!

Weekend cook off!!

We received the bad weather from the south – cool, miserable, wet – great weather to be indoors and to cook up a storm!!

Friday night started with a home-made gourmet pizza! … see for the pizza dough recipe. 

Home made pizza dough rising!

Gourmet pizza this weekend was chicken, sun dried tomatoes, olives, plus home grown ingredients – basil and pizza thyme.

Saturday night I cooked Pork belly with sticky Asian sauce in the slow cooker, with home grown asian greens – I grew the Pakchoy, my friend up the road gave me some home grown Kale! served with basmati rice. I wanted to try a new slow cooker recipe – was lip smacking delicious!! Sorry remembered the photo after we ate it! – see page 102 in the August (2012) edition of (Australian) Better Homes and Garden magazine for the recipe.

Picture from the magazine – Pork belly with sticky Asian sauce. Of course mine turned out just like this picture!!!

Sunday saw me making a Chicken and Leek Pie being made (fitting for the weather!) – was my first large pie I have made (have previously made pot pies), was fantastic!! I improvised a bit on this recipe Home grown ingredients – parsley, chives, egg for glazing.

Ready to go into the oven

Cooked beautifully!

The Aussie tradition of having tomato sauce with a pie!…..Pie was delish!!

Then the chocolate brownies had to be made for afternoon tea! This recipe is a Donna Hay, so due to copyright you are going to have to go and buy the cookbook (I don’t want to get sued by Donna Hay!)….these are her Standby Brownies” – easy and fantastic! I am now addicted to them!! Home grown ingredients – 3 x eggs!

Ingredients for Standby Brownies

Ready for the oven

Ready for afternoon tea!

Afternoon tea anyone?!

The Pumpkin Soup is in the slow cooker – this is a Sally Wise’s recipe, easy and delish so go and buy her ‘Slow Cooker’ book 1 from good book stores. This is not one of my pumpkins – still waiting for my pumpkins to fertilise – have one looking promising.  This pumpkin is direct from a Gatton farmer purchased as his gate! Home grown ingredients – well just the chives for garnish!

Easy as Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin in the slow cooker

Perfect for a winters night!! note the home grown chives!!

This week and the rest of the year sees me jogging around the block many times to work off this weekends cook off! Lucky I have a chest freezer too – if you don’t have one go and buy one brilliant for freezing lots of left overs!! (I cook extra and get a number of meals) – use the frozen left overs for a no fuss and tasty meal during the week!

How it started!

My vegie patch started from my love of gardening and also certaintly from my roots – growing up on a sheep property in New South Wales… family and my partner’s family also, are all very big gardeners and always grown their own herbs and vegetables – just the thing you did growing up out in the country in Australia.  Much fresher, cheaper, better for you – and living on a property out of town that was our food source.

My two large vegie beds were made by my partner with non-treated wood. I also have two smaller vegie beds made out of corrugated iron vegie beds (pre made/kit form bought at that large hardware store!) – they were my initial vegie beds while we were working out the sun in the yard.

I practice organic principles in my herb and vegie gardens. I however buy seedlings from a stall holder at the farmers markets (at the Big Pineapple on the Coast Saturday mornings) – don’t think they are organic seeds or propagated organically – however they are strong seedlings and grow very well and very reasonably priced, better than what you can buy at the shops. Also not easy to buy organic seeds, though now becoming more popular – better selection online I find. 

I have been growing some of my own seedlings from scratch – generally the easy vegies like cucumbers, chillies and corn very easy from seed – however some other vegies that are a bit harder to propagate, like carrots I just buy those vegies as seedlings, as they take forever to grow anyway! Will do a post later on about propagating seeds and show you my progress.

Enough typing think it is time to show you some photos of my vegie garden during different seasons to date – I have had my corrugated beds in about 18 months and my wooden garden beds have been in nearly a year.