Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My growing obsession…

They say ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones’, but what about those who live in polycarbonate houses on the other hand? They can throw stones to their hearts content right? Well maybe not, but ok let me explain. I received my birthday pressie a few months early this year and that present is something I have long dreamed about having. My very own greenhouse! Woot-woot! The reason for the earliness of the gift is that my birthday isn’t until September (or the beginning of spring, as it where in the southern hemisphere) and my main reason for wanting a greenhouse is to allow me to garden and protect my existing plants over winter. Aaaah see it all makes sense now does is not? Yes is does not…Wait what? You know what I mean, early gift equals plants safe and happy over winter. So anyway I am now the rather content owner of an aluminum framed greenhouse that has poly-whatchamacallit-thing-a-ma-bob paneling. Yay! I must say it has been a godsend over the winter months. No more running around, moving & covering plants every time we have severe frost warning. Nope, I simply moved all my most frost sensitive or juvenile plants into the greenhouse where they can overwinter without fear of the elements. It also allows me to get a head start on my veggie seedlings and I’ll probably just permanently grow things like my tomatoes, chilies, capsicums and eggplants in there to extend the growing season.  Also want to try my hand and growing a mango tree in a large container in the greenhouse as well. The possibilities seem endless… 

For anyone wanting information about the type of greenhouse I purchased, here's the link:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

'Only a ginger can call another ginger, ginger' ...Tim Minchin

I have been asked many times in the past by several individuals for my recipe for  'Steamed Ginger pudding'.  I've been making it since my teens and it's my Mum's favourite dessert, and so it's the recipe that I have become famous for (or possibly infamous for)  at family gatherings.  Seeing that it is Easter Sunday tomorrow I was once again asked to make it and thought I'd better stop procrastinating and finally blog my recipe too. So here goes nothing...

My Steamed Ginger pudding recipe…
The finished product..Yum!

3 cups self-raising flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

175 grams unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

400g Jar of Stem ginger in Syrup (I like Hong Kong ‘Tung chun’ brand usually available from Chinese supermarkets or Sri Lankan Spice shops.)

4 eggs
1/2 cup lukewarm milk.


1.       Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF)

2.       Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

3.       In another mixing bowl cream butter and sugar and beat well. Add eggs one a time mixing thoroughly.

4.       Remove stem ginger from the jar carefully with a fork, saving he remaining syrup left in the jar for a later step. Either chop up ginger with a knife or pulse in a food processor until chopped. Pulsing is necessary otherwise you will end up with a paste, which is ok but you lose any texture.  Add chopped ginger to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.

5.       Add sifted flour/baking powder that you set aside earlier and warm milk to the mixture and mix until combined. The mixture should be a soft dropping consistency. If the mix is too dry you can always add a little more milk if needed.

6.       Pour the ginger syrup that was left in jar into the bottom of a well-buttered baking dish (I find a 20cm square tin cooks the most evenly) and then carefully spoon your batter mixture over the top.  Cover the baking dish with foil.

7.       Place baking dish into another larger baking tray and then pour enough water into that tray to come halfway up the sides of the dish.

8.       Bake for about  1 ½ to 2 hours at around 180ºc (maybe 170ºc if fan forced, depending on your oven) until the pudding feels firm and springy to touch in the centre and has loosened from the sides of the tin.

9.       Carefully turn out into a plate and serve hot with cream or custard or vanilla ice cream.

Note: if there is any syrupy cake (after baking) stuck to the bottom of tin I just scrape that off and spread back over the top of the steamed cake, as per the image below. 

*Variation: If you are real ginger lover like me add a heaped teaspoon of powdered ginger when sifting the flour for an extra ginger kick!.
Close up shot of steamed gingery goodness.
My preferred brand of 'Stem ginger in Syrup'. 

I like this brand because they use young ginger in their product.  I have tried other brands in the past and was not pleased with the results as old ginger was used which made for a hotter-too spicy flavour.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Constant (chocolate) cravings...

Had a bit of chocolate craving yesterday, but wanted whatever I ate to be healthy yet still quick and easy to make. Then I remembered a post in my facebook news-feed by 'Grass Fed Girl' for a 'Nourishing Dark Chocolate Gelatin Pudding' ...  I didn't have any chocolate in the house so tried a cocoa powder variation. I also altered the amount of gelatine as I wanted a more smooth and silky texture and not a jelly consistency and used coconut cream rather than coconut milk for extra richness. I had a box of 'Natvia' (A Stevia-Erythritol blend) that I'd won in a competition a while back so I used that to sweeten it. Here are the the results...

I call my version: Quick and Easy chocolate and coconut pudding.


2 tsps. Gelatin powder
1/3 cup hot water
60 g Cocoa powder
1 400ml can coconut cream
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Natvia (or honey/agave if you prefer) 


Dissolve gelatin in hot water and set aside. Blend the remaining ingredients in another bowl until well combined.  Add the dissolved gelatin into the mix.  Pour into 4 ramekins and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until set.

Couldn't be easier am I right? ...I hadn't planned on blogging about it but as it turned so delicious I had to share. The photo above isn't particularly great sorry. I think next time it might also be nice to decant into drinking  glasses rather than ramekins for better presentation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I see red, I see red, I see red..!

I had a gift voucher lying about from a hardware/nursery store that was given to my for my birthday last September.  I went there last Saturday with the intention of only buying some much needed gardening supplies, which I did do by the way, but while meandering around the nursery section there I happened upon a most unusual fruit tree. I had just enough balance left on my voucher after getting said ‘much needed supplies’ that is, to purchase it.  There was only one tree left and who was I to tempt fate? Zoink!... Straight into my trolley.  The fact that the tree looked rather advanced as well and already had a tiny fruit on it also helped convince me that it must be purchased immediately. The fruit tree was an ‘Australian Red Centre Lime’ AKA ‘Australian Blood Lime’.  It’s a Hybrid of a Red finger lime (Microcitrus australasica) and a Rangpur lime (Citrus × limonia). A Rangpur lime is in itself a Hybrid, between a mandarin (AKA as a tangerine) and a lemon.  The resulting combination being a stunning red skinned lime!!.  As soon as I arrived home I transplanted it into a larger pot and added some organic liquid fertilizer & Epsom salts to the potting soil. I’ve done my part, now to hope like mad that the tree doesn’t suffer to much transplant shock and loose its precious fruit.

Fruit on tree when purchased...

Fruit and flowers...

The tree in its entirety...

The label... This is what the the mature fruit will look like... Purdy huh?!