Saturday, December 20, 2014

birthday cake and handmade toys

Happy 2nd birthday to our delightful and happy, ray of sunshine, Archie.

Dark chocolate quinoa flour cake with almond meal from this recipe. I made a Chocolate Coconut Cream Ganache from a can of coconut cream, icing sugar and cacao. Topped with fresh boysenberries and blueberries and sprinkled with icing sugar. We just love chocolate, nuts and fresh seasonal fruit around here. Ganache icing and cake decorating inspiration from The Kind Cook.

Birthday cake garland was made with Japanese Washi Tape, twine and two kebab skewers.

ROAR says T-Rex from Peppa Pig. I found a free pattern at a Hungarian blog MintaMokus. Thank you Helga! I used 100% wool felt from one of my favourite craft stores, Indigo Inspirations.

This was the perfect last minute handmade gift. I found this very rewarding to make and Archie was over the moon. I'll definitely be making more handmade felted toys for the children and for gifting.

A Steiner Doll made by Tibetan refugee and local Indian women from Dolls for Tibet. Archie is just enarmoured by his friendship doll, Peter. I also bought a pair of pyjamas and a knitted cardigan and beanie in hopes to help with bedtime and keeping warm clothes on in Winter.

I had plans to make some Christmas Tree decorations and stockings but that definitely won't happen until after Christmas. I guess that's what the school holidays are for and I'll be ahead of time for next year.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and see you in the New Year!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Baba Masa (also known as my mother) rolling dough on top of a tablecloth to make Burek - a pastry that can be stuffed with savoury or sweet fillings.

Stretching out the pastry by rotating the dough and stretching until very thin. 

Chopped Kale, Nimbin cheese grated, free range egg, diced onion and Danish Feta.

Pastry stretched out by hand in a round shape and cheese and spinach filling line the top.

Slowly lifting the table cloth upwards will wrap the pastry around the filling in to a long column shape.

Place the dough filling in to a round baking dish and curl it in to a spiral shape and drizzle with lots of olive oil (not shown here).

Just out of the oven!

Best served with natural yoghurt.

Burek is a cheese and spinach pie that my mum (Baba Masa) has been making us since forever. My cousins who grew up in the Former Yugoslavia call it Pita. There are many names, shapes and fillings depending on where you come from. Some times we would be treated to lunch at a traditional Burek cafe in Newtown where you had the choice of meat, potato, pumpkin, soft cheese and spinach Burek and ending with a sweet apple filled Burek.

The dough is usually handmade filo pastry shown here at heneedsfood but my mother has always made a heavier dough.

The tricky part is not the stretching out of the dough until it is paper thin and wide as a big round tablecloth. No, the tricky part is learning the recipe and quantities from my mum. She grew up completely off the grid and with little schooling. Family recipes were never written down and you always made do with what was available. Even though she has lived in "the lucky country" for a long time making do with what you have is ingrained in her DNA.

We've had this same conversation since I moved out of home 20 years ago.

" Hi mum. How did you make that Burek the other day?"
"Just use what you have and taste with your mouth." (season to taste)
"Yes I know mum but what did YOU use and how much?"
"I used whatever I had...a bit of spinach a bit of cheese. Salt. Don't forget the salt."

My mother often cooks with 'wild spinach' picked from paddocks and in between houses close to her home. Only forage if you are very good at identifying edible plants. My mother has foraged out of necessity since a little girl and would often get chased by bears in the woods when hunting mushrooms. (Imagining this makes me think of the children's show Masha and the Bear. ) Anyway, my point is I can safely say she knows what she is doing. Also check with your local Council that they have not conducted their weed spraying program on your newly discovered wild leafy greens.

This is how we made it on the day.  The ingredients are approximate and the method is traditionally taught by watching a family member and by practicing over time. A seasoned dough maker or home pizza dough maker shouldn't have any problems. However a first time dough maker might end up with a gluey dough mess but this is how we learn to become good dough makers.Yes? 



2 1/2 to 3 cups of plain organic flour
1/2 cup of warm water
2 tbls olive oil
1 free range egg(always)
1 teaspoon of salt


1 bunch of organic kale or spinach
1 brown onion finely chopped
1 cup of Nimbin Natural Cheese grated
1/2 cup of Danish Feta crumbled by hand
1 egg
1 teaspoon of salt


Preheat oven 200°C. Mix together flour, olive oil, egg, salt in a bowl and slowly add water until you get a doughy mass. Use less or more water if necessary.

Put the dough on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and pliable. Similar to pizza dough. Put in oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Rest for 30 minutes.

Mix chopped kale, chopped onion, grated cheese, feta, egg and salt in a bowl.

Place the dough on a table lined with a tablecloth. You will be stretching the dough out on the tablecloth as shown in the pictures above.

Drizzle some olive oil on to the stretched out pastry and line the filling at one edge of the pastry as shown in photo above.

Lift the table cloth gently upwards to roll the pastry around the filling in to a sausage shape. Shown in picture above.

Place the rolled pastry in to a round baking pan in a spiral shape. Drizzle olive oil over pastry.

Bake in the oven for 35 mins to 40 mins or until golden brown.

Enjoy your Bureck, Pita or cheese and spinach pie, however you want to call it. Just make sure you serve it with plain yoghurt and a light salad if desired.

These photos were taken in our old place. We are still unpacking and sorting out our new house and clearing the yard from over grown gardens as it is snake season. Can't wait to share our new place soon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

taking stock september

Joining in with Pip's Taking Stock Snapshot. Here's my shorter version...

Smelling daffodils! A reminder that Spring has arrived as we continue some wintery habits such as tending to the wood heater. The snow season has been extended to mid October so we are not yet out of the wintery woods.

Watching our afternoon visitors, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, and their delightful joeys. Spring time brings new life and an opportunity for new beginnings!

Reading The A to Z of Home Remedies for Children's Health. An online course based on Chinese Medicine that gives you the knowledge and tools to help boost your child's immunity. I wish this course was available seven years ago for my first child. Every parent should do this!

Making Ossco Bucco, recipe from the above course. Nutrient dense stock is made from cooking the meat in water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I use Melrose or Braggs) onions, mushrooms and carrots. Served on white rice; brown rice is too hard on children's digestive systems. Less is more in Chinese Medicine and "clean" slow cooked casseroles instead of "rich" type casseroles are very good in calming inflammation such as eczema or on-going colds.

Feeling excited and anxious at the same time as we prepare to move house. We had a unique opportunity to live in a little village in Kosciusko National Park but now it is time to move on.

We'll still be living in the Snowy Mountains region...for now. This is where we began our lives as a family and we have seven years of precious memories here. I'm definitely looking forward to a new chapter in our lives and especially the decluttering of our things! It is a bittersweet time.

Knowing we will miss all this open space!

Loving the hard work put in by Rob to keep up with our vegetable garden. Garlic bulbs have been broken up and planted in our enclosed garden beds. In a couple of months we'll have a bumper crop to harvest. See our snow covered garden last month.

What are you taking stock of this Spring?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

a snowy evening

Our region was hit with a wind storm with gusts up to 150km/hr. Inevitably we lost electricity because a tree blew over and hit an electrical cable. Through our window we watched a team of service persons fight against the wind to repair said cable. Then we watched the evening replacement service team work tirelessly against the ferocious wind and darkness until we got too tired and cold to watch anymore and retreated to the wood stove.

We had no electricity on and off for a couple of days and one full night. Needless to say we are very grateful for the first world comforts we get on a daily basis. Even though at this time of year I often complain about how cold I am inside the house and about the continual hanging and drying of clothes in my lounge room!

So I wrote a positive letter commending said team for all their efforts and returning our home comforts. As the old saying goes, "One good turn deserves another."

Then we had a snowy evening and all was calm again.

How has your July been?

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Wonky Lego Building Blocks Birthday Cake with missing letter, Y. Not Pinterest worthy but Mr Seven declared it to be the most awesome cake ever. Music to his mamas ears.

Simple buttercake with real ingredients: butter, sugar, free range eggs, vanilla extract and organic flour. Baked in a square pan, cut in to rectangles and squares, topped with marshmello's and covered in buttercream with Hopper natural food colouring.

Old fashioned party games: Egg and Spoon Race, Popcorn Relay Race and Knights and Dragons. Lots of running around for a small group of energetic soccer buddies.

Persistent, Creative, Energetic, Sensitive, Enthusiastic
 A friend to all!
 A great help to his mum and dad and always there for his little brother.

Happy Seventh Birthday!

We shouldn’t ask “What does a person need to be able to do in order to fit into the existing social order today?” Instead we should ask “what lives in each human being and what can be developed in him or her"— Rudolf Steiner

Friday, July 18, 2014

winter mornings

While the little one eats breakfast in his highchair by the wood heater...

And the bigger one looks for his elusive school beanie...

Mama captures the morning frost before the mid-morning arrival of Mrs Thaw.

Welcome King Winter to the Southern Hemisphere!

Hope you are all staying warm and well nourished.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

autumn days

 Chasing the sun after a few dreary Autumn days.

Autumn Nature Table. This time up high, away from little fingers.

Easter Buns from this wonderful book, Baking Bread with Children.

 It's not even my birthday! he exclaimed excitedly. Handmade pillowcase. Helpful tips here.

 These two always working hard around the house together.

 Even the little one helps out. Bless him!
 Capturing these precious days at home. This is an important mama job, yes?

How are your Autumn days?

Saturday, May 10, 2014


:a short walk through the forest :: a steep climb to the lighthouse
 :: a breathtaking view from Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
 :: a magical family day out.

It felt like we had traveled to another country. From kangaroos at our back door to pelicans at our front door. From a lake full of rainbow trout to a lake full of fresh farmed oysters. A family road trip for two blissful weeks in Forster, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

There's a very friendly atmosphere in caravan parks. Walking by neatly spaced out caravans and campervans you always get a cheery hello - just like in small towns where you say "g'day" to almost every person that passes you by.

We arrived home on a holiday high and had grand plans of selling everything we own and buying a caravan and traveling around Australia for a year. After some number crunching we realised it's not as cheap as we thought. Also, where would I put all my crafty stuff? What about the veggie garden? Could we have a mobile veggie garden growing in the trailer? Okay, we can't take the trailer. Oh that's right, I really just want to move to a property where we can have chickens. Could we just go camping in the school holidays? Yes, this seems like a much better idea.

But there are some major issues in the camping community. Caravan parks have moved towards attracting more clientele by catering for younger families with facilities such as games rooms and jumping pillows and the entry fees reflect these "extras." Many grey nomads have invested in upfront costs in self sufficient caravans and motor homes and rely on free or low-cost camping areas which are under threat. Both types of camping styles would make it fun yet keep holidaying affordable, except for the initial cost of a second hand camper van, yikes!

For now the shorter and colder Autumn days has brought us back to reality and we are busily preparing for the frosty winter ahead. And next summer? Perhaps a "staycation" will be our only choice.

Do you stay in caravan parks? Are you an RVer? Have you been affected by any of these issues?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

daily life

Heirloom tomatoes enjoyed fresh on sourdough with butter. Lebanese zuchinni's too bulbous to make Kousa Mahshi. Disappointing. Must speak to my "live in" gardener about that. Nevertheless, waste not want not. To the morning omelete you must go.

Painting old frames ready for snaps taken from my new DSLR canon. Happy 10th Anniversary says he to me.

An uplifting surprise win (after a glum few weeks) from one of my favourite reads.

 A great collection of books found at the tip shop.

Washing vintage linen on a sunny day. Thinking of sewing projects such as repurposing in to this or this.

Preparations in Autumn...looks like we will be spending another winter in this draughty house.

How is your daily life?