Citrus Season

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Although we grow a range of fruit and vegetables, it is the citrus harvest that can be truly overwhelming.  We have 3 orange and 3 lemon trees as well as a mandarin, grapefruit and lime.  The lemons are the least prolific,  I manage to use the limes as they are ready, we eat the mandarins but the grapefruit and oranges are simply too many to manage.

So, we juice them and freeze the juice in 2 litre ice-cream tubs for use throughout the year.  I had a citrus juicer attachment for my food processor which has worked admirably for a number of years.  However, last year it became obvious that it was failing.  On closer examination, I discovered that several of the plastic cogs which drive the mechanism had broken.  As the season went on a few more broke until the attachment was pretty well useless.

Over the past 6 months or so we have researched and discussed our options as it is clear that we need to have some sort of electric citrus juicer.  I contemplated buying a replacement attachment for the food processor but it did not appear identical to the original and there was the small issue that it would only last a few years before ending up in the same state as the existing one.

We finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a commercial-grade citrus juicer from Ceado (an Italian brand).  We picked it up last week and I have now re-arranged my appliance cupboard to make space for it.

Here it is – bright, shiny and ready to use.

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With the lid opened you can see the reamer cone and the press which holds the fruit in place.

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We have been picking limes and a few lemons in the past couple of weeks, however, the purchase is very timely as the grapefruit are ripening quickly and we will be picking them by the bucketful within the next few weeks.

I know that the juicer will get a real workout and I look forward to sharing the results with you.

Something from Nothing (Almost)

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About a week ago I made Thai Beef Salad for dinner.  The first step was to marinate some thinly sliced beef which was done the day before.  I did not not have a recipe for the marinade but it did include lime juice, olive oil and fresh chillies.

On the night I quickly pan-fried the beef before adding it to the salad.  The meal was truly delicious.

However, the essence of this post is the residue that remained in the pan.  After dinner I added a cup of water to the pan and heated it gently to lift the remnants of beef marinade.  This resulted in a rich and tasty ‘stock’ which I allowed to cool and then froze.

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Today I thawed this to make gravy.  All that was required was a sprinkle of herb salt and 1 tablespoon of arrowroot blended with a little water and I had a delicious gravy.

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A simple yet tasty meal – sausages with mash, peas and carrots topped with gravy made from last week’s pan residue.

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End of Easter

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Well, it is nearly 2 weeks since my last post and I honestly cannot remember what I have been doing, apart from to say that I was totally occupied by my paid work in the run-up to the Easter break and I spent a most enjoyable Easter with various members of my extended family.  There was not a chocolate in sight…………….however, 4 generations of my family were able to enjoy a shared lunch on Saturday.

GMan, my brother and I worked hard to earn our lunch as we positioned and concreted these 3 posts in place.

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This followed on from the 6 holes they had dug the day before.  It is all part of a project which has spent several years in the ‘dreaming’ pile and has now started to come to fruition.  You can read about it here.  We hope to have the other 3 posts positioned and concreted next weekend.  I am busily working on the design of the rest of the construction and hopefully it will not take too long to complete.

There were some other fun and games as my brother-in-law extricated a visitor from the hen house.  He had been there for a couple of days and we think he was looking for a warm, dry spot to digest what looked like a substantial meal.

Anyway, it was time to move along…………

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And off to a more appropriate spot………………….

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Today was quieter and an opportunity to catch up on some jobs at home so that I can start the working week with a clean slate.  I am pleased to report that all of the washing and ironing are done as well as some voluntary admin work completed.  I even made time to do a little bit of sewing.

I hope you had a safe and relaxing Easter break, too.

Rescued Fruit

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Even though I do my best to minimise my waste on a personal level, it can be very difficult to control the waste that occurs in other facets of my life, most notably my workplace.  I work in a corporate office and there are instances where there is catering ordered for business lunches and so on.  I generally try to make sure that any leftovers are not wasted.  Last week there was a small amount left on a fruit platter which I retrieved with no particular plan in mind.  I decided to put it in a container in the freezer with a view to using it for smoothies at a later date.

Yesterday morning I removed this frozen block of mixed fruit which included a couple of types of melon, strawberries, grapes and a few blueberries.

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Into the blender…………

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I added juice of a lime and a banana and blended it until smooth.

About 1/3 of the mixture was added to a small amount of water and became part of my breakfast.

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The remainder went back in the freezer.  I whizzed it briefly in the evening and we had a delicious fruit sorbet for dessert.

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It is a small but important step to save whatever perfectly good food that I can.  Otherwise, I know it will simply be thrown out.

A Smart Purchase

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I do not often write about my shopping but I feel that the iron I bought about a month ago is worthy of a blog post.  We are all familiar with the concept of ‘smart phones’ and some of their capabilities – turning airconditioning on and off, scanning the contents of a refrigerator to create a shopping, scanning tourist information when travelling and so on.  Of, course all of this is dependent on the other appliances/sites being embedded with the relevant technology.  However, all of that pales into insignificance beside my ‘intelligent’ iron.

Ironing not something that most people get excited about and many do not iron at all but that is simply not in my DNA.  I iron and I want a good iron that functions well and produces the result I want with minimum effort.  My previous iron was not performing so it was time to look for a replacement.  As always, I head to the electrical store and scan the rows of similar looking irons which range in price from $19 ever-upwards to about $160. Then there are all sorts of space-age looking steam stations which run into hundreds of dollars.

This Philips iron does not look extraordinary but the feature which sold it to me is the fact that it does not have a heat setting.  It senses the fabric and heats accordingly.  I hesitated because it sounded too good to be true and we all know where that usually ends up but I decided to bite the bullet and try it.  $149 later and I was the owner of a brand-new, intelligent iron.

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I delayed writing any sort of review until I had given it a reasonable test.  Thanks to the type of clothes we wear (mostly cotton and linen) as well as the sewing I do, my iron is used almost every day.  I have been using it for a month and am delighted to report that despite my reservations it really does work on all types of fabric.  This is what the soleplate looks like after a month of use – absolutely pristine.  The results are also excellent.

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Just in case I have convinced you and you are about to rush out and buy one, this is the packaging.

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A Weekend in the Garden

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For the first time in what seems like months, we actually had a weekend where the weather was conducive to being outdoors.  Lately it has either been 35C or raining or both so gardening has not really been on the agenda.  We were delighted to see a forecast of mostly sunny days with a maximum temperature of 27C.

Yesterday, we decided to firm up our vague plans for a freestanding walkway/pergola to define the entrance to our garden.  The idea is to have it covered with a flowering creeper.  We have had a general idea of what we wanted but now have calculated the materials and so then it was off to Bunnings to buy the 6 large posts for the uprights.  These are now positioned on sawhorses under the house where GMan has begun painting them.

We have marked out the exact location of the posts as you can see in the photo below.

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We are hoping to get the construction started over the Easter break when we have a couple of extra days off.

There will be more updates once there is more progress.

The perfect weather deserted us overnight and we awoke this morning to drizzling rain and cloud drifting past the windows.  However, we did not let that stop us and we braved the overgrown and out-of-control vegetable gardens.  Everything was covered with the wild cherry tomatoes.  I had resolved to pick all the fruit which was ripe and not damaged before removing the plants.  It was a massive job but we successfully cleared the garden beds and planted a variety of seeds.  There are now beans, radishes, spinach, beetroot, lettuce, kale and cucumbers planted.

Hopefully, these freshly dug and planted beds will soon yield a range of produce.

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I don’t have a before photo but suffice to say that this is a vast improvement on how it looked this morning.

It may be a little difficult to see but there is an addition to the area.  We constructed a new compost area in front of the hen house using some panels of pool fencing and some star pickets.  This allowed us to put all of the cherry tomato plants in a single heap.  I also cut the asparagus back and added that to the pile.

The forecast warm weather with showers every day fort he next week should give the newly sown seeds the best possible start so I am feeling quite optimistic.

 

Completed Quilt

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A month ago I wrote a post about making another quilt.  You can read about it here.  Once again, I had a deadline because it needed to be completed by early this week as it was a retirement gift for a work colleague.

I met the deadline and here is the finished quilt.

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This one included some new fabric bought specifically for the project as I simply did not have enough of the chosen colour palette.

I have been busy for the past week or so with finishing the quilt as well as working and being away from home for a couple of nights.  However, it is now the end of the working week and no specific engagements for the weekend.  The weather forecast does not include rain nor super-hot weather so GMan and I are looking forward to spending some time outdoors, particularly getting vegetable gardens back in order and prepared for planting now that the extreme heat is behind us.

I hope to bring you some updates from the home front before too long.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned.