Monday, 18 June 2018

Scrumptious Silverbeet Parcels

While the broccoli has amounted to not much at all, and the kale is being munched on enthusiastically by creatures unknown, the silverbeet is leafy and abundant as always. Until I started growing silverbeet myself, my only memory of it came from a Nana who would boil it 'til it was limp and a sludgy kind of greeny-grey. Ugh! Luckily, I now know that silverbeet does not need to be like that and it's become a firm favourite as an easy-to-grow and versatile veg. There's a lot of silverbeet ready in our garden now and so I've been picking it regularly and making some scrumptious savouries with it.  

Scrumptious Silverbeet Parcels

These flaky filo pastry parcels, filled with silverbeet, spring onion, feta and herbs, are a version of Hortopita.  Hortopita is a type of traditional Greek pie. I was inspired to make these parcels after seeing them featured on a cooking segment of Gardening Australia recently. Here is the video segment and the recipe is written out underneath. The only change I made was to use chopped spring onion, instead of brown onion, because that's what's growing in my veg patch right now. 

These Hortopita parcels were a great way to use the silverbeet growing in my veg patch right now. Here's how they came together in my kitchen:

 Washed  silverbeet fresh from the garden. 

Warmed & wilted silverbeet and herbs with spring onions and feta.

Buttered layers of filo pastry.

Folding triangles to encase the filling.

Golden and delicious parcels from the oven.

Piping hot, flaky and absolutely delicious. A scrumptious way to eat what we grow, to use what's abundant and in season in the veggie patch. 

What are you growing right now and what are you cooking with it?


Saturday, 16 June 2018

Whirlwind Weeks

As I write this, there's pea & ham soup bubbling away on the stove. Muffins, fresh from the oven, are cooling on the kitchen bench. There's two loads of washing on the line and the swish and swash of the washing machine is still keeping time in the background. There's half-unpacked grocery bags scattered on the floor near the kitchen bench. (I'll get to them later!) A broom is propping up a wall close by too. I have been playing catch-up while working non-stop since getting back from our recent holiday and today it is so lovely to slow down to the cadence of our home once again.

Freshly baked Zucchini Slice Muffins.

Homemade biscuits fill up the jar again.

A scrumptious Silverbeet Impossible Pie for dinner.

The contentment I feel today, in resetting myself to the quiet rhythms of our home, reminded me of some lines from one of Kylie Johnson's beautiful poems:

"we holiday in the spaces
of our home -
in soup and conversations
in washing up bubbles
and zucchini ..."

A letterpress print of this poem, from Kylie's anthology, Count Me the Stars, sits atop an old dresser just inside our front door. I see it every time I come home. Words that remind me that our home offers up a retreat, a protected haven away from the wider world where there is meaning in very ordinary things like soup and soap bubbles and homemade biscuits in jars.

While many people thrive on full-time work outside of their homes, and there are many others who have no choice and have to work just to cover the cost of living,  I know that is not me anymore. While I love the relief work I do, and the extra $ come in very handy,  I can feel depleted and disorganised by it when work days stretch to weeks or months. What turns my compass needle to north again is home and I am grateful to know that and to have that choice at this time in my life. So, even though today's to-do list is long and I probably won't finish half of it, I am going to relish being home today. I have missed it.

Are you spending time at home today too?


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Lovely Little Bay Beach

A short stay in Sydney followed on from our trip to Melbourne. Halfway home! While we walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and looked up at the architectural sails of the Opera House, introducing our son to these iconic Australian landmarks, it was a beautiful little beach, not far from where we were staying with friends, that created favourite memories.

The very lovely Little Bay Beach.

After days of exploring hustling and bustling cities, the sand and the rocks and the water of quiet Little Bay felt so peaceful. An afternoon spent wading through shallow ocean water, rock hopping and collecting tiny pieces of sea glass from the shore were nature's restorative antidote to that busy-ness of city days. It was such a perfect afternoon. An Autumnal blue sky, the line of our Earth's horizon so clear and defined, the way sunlight and shadow fell onto the rocks and the crisp clear water of such very gentle waves. Time slowed right down and drifted away...

Another view of the beach. 

 A little rock "bridge" to cross.

The rugged & rocky headland from above.

Rocks sculpted by nature.

Light and shadow on swirly-coloured rocks.

Gently lapping waves.

Our afternoon spent exploring lovely Little Bay together reminded me of the wisdom of Richard Louv's words, written in one of my favourite books, about the place and importance of nature in our lives and our children's lives:

"We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love of this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist." 

                                                                         ~ Richard Louv ( from Last Child in the Woods)

Rock hopping fun!

An afternoon when "Dad" took him across the rocks and around the headland; when he leapt "great" distances from one beach rock to another; when he felt that cool ocean water lapping at his toes and when he found more pieces of his precious sea glass. Those moments now form part of my son's childhood memories, of his family and of nature. I hope he'll always feel the presence of nature in his life.

Do you make time for nature in your life?