Saturday, July 23, 2011

Preserved lemons

Yoo-hoo! Netball has been cancelled today due to very nasty weather so I've been given back a day I wasn't counting on. Every day seems to be spoken for lately, so this is a priceless gift!
I'm planning to nick into town to return some (very) late library books, pick up some zips and thread for some projects I'm planning and buy the 13 year old some clothes. He has grown at least 6 inches in the last few months - he looks me square in the eye, and I am 5'9" - and nothing fits him. When he spent his school holidays wearing his school trackpants - because they are the only ones that fit - it's time to do something, Mum.
I'll probably then make a start on preserving some of the citrus we have out there. You'll hear me whingeing about our lack of success with stone fruit (fruit fly), but citrus - we can do that without too much angst.
I'll get the kids to squeeze lots of lemons for freezing. I'll cut up some limes, lemons and oranges and soak them for marmalade. Then I think I'll make another batch of Moroccan preserved lemons, based on this recipe:

1kg lemons
Sea salt
Bay leaves
Lemon juice

Wash the lemons, dry and cut into quarters.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of sea salt into a sterilised preserving jar.
Dip the lemons into salt and pack them into the jar. Tuck a few bay leaves in as you go.
Pour in enough lemon juice (from about 8 lemons) to cover the lemons.
Seal, and leave for 6-8 weeks before using in tagines, chicken dishes and salad.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Podcasts to prune by

We have over 100 grape vines, all that need to be pruned around this time of year. Painstaking stuff. Guess who got that job?
Actually, it's not too bad. I pick my days - nice sunny ones, preferably. There's something kind of soothing about doing the same thing over and over, and you can look back along your row to see how much you've done. Still - it takes me hours -something like 8.
This is where I thank my lucky stars I've come into this job in the age of podcasts. Here are a few of my favourite podcasts to prune by:

This American Life - each week this show presents 3-4 stories on a theme, mostly centred around stories of "normal" Americans (ie. not movie stars, shock jocks and Barack Obama - not that they are abnormal, necessarily). You don't need to be American to be rivetted.

Planet Money - another podcast from US Public Radio. Complex and wide-ranging enough to appeal to my inner economics geek, but engaging enough I believe for anyone with the slightest interest in the way the world works. Great stuff.

The Life with Roy and HG - and for something completely different. I spent many Sundays afternoons listening to Roy and HG burble on about sport on JJJ-FM whilst writing university essays. That was a long time ago, ahem. They were funny then, they are funny now. It helps, though, to have a working knowledge of rugby league, which I suppose limits their audiences to those in NSW, Queensland and maybe, maybe New Zealand. Princes of the leg-pull.

Life Matters - If I am at home at 9am on a weekday, I'll put this on ABC Radio National. Now I am working 4 days a week, I don't get to listen, but hooray, can podcast. All sorts of discussions on all sorts of life matters. And you can choose the segments you listen to.

There are others but that enough for now. I've linked to each website, but you can download all of these as I do on iTunes.

Any other must-listen podcasts out there? I'm always on the hunt for new ones.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blustery day

Heavens above! Is a blowing a gale out there!
Yesterday afternoon I drove home from town after dodging half a dozen fallen trees and branches on the road. When I got home, I found our silky chickens out and about - their chook house had blown over. Fortunately, they didn't seem too shocked by the experience.
I rang Action Man, telling him to be careful on the way home - he used it as an excuse to knock off early. He didn't want to be stuck in Wollongong.
When he got home around 5pm I said, "Next the electricity will go". It always does when we have a bit of "weather". The electricity gods heard, because not 10 seconds later - bingo.
So we got out the candles and torches. I cooked on our gas stove and on the wood stove. Here is the dinner table set, under flickering candlelight. AM said I wouldn't get a decent photo without a tripod. Well, I would use a tripod, if I could find it in the dark.
I washed dishes by candlelight, then we sat and listened to the quiz on the ABC. I did a sudoku, then we finally went to bed around 8.30pm.
The electricity came back on about 11pm - thank you electricity guys out there in this wind. It's still blowing quite a bit, but it looks like I'll post this before the electricity goes off again!