Saturday, 31 October 2015

Beautiful Blueberries

I was gifted a blueberry bush a couple of years ago and  have been lovingly tending it since. I potted it up in a large terracotta pot and positioned it where it gets the morning sun and it's been in that pot, and in that position, since. I've topped up the soil with good quality potting mix occasionally, watered the bush with seaweed extract every now and again and mulched this acid-loving blueberry with pine needles and lucerne mulch whenever needed. I pruned it once too! 

In return for my care, it is now fruiting. Plump, blue berries are ripening and they are delicious. To me, they taste a little like mulberries when I eat them straight off the bush.

A plump and juicy blueberry waiting to be gobbled up!

Frozen berries, like blueberries and raspberries, are very expensive to buy. We do have them here to use sparingly but how wonderful to have our own blueberries to top our porridge with...if they aren't gobbled up between the garden and the kitchen!

Our Breakfast Porridge

1 cup porridge oats
2 cups milk
small handful fresh or frozen blueberries
maple syrup or honey
dessicated coconut
chia seeds

1. Place the oats and porridge in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the mixture bubbles and               thickens. (Don't let it get too dry!)
2. Spoon out portions into bowls.
3. Add a generous drizzle of maple syrup or honey.
4. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of chia seeds.
5. Sprinkle with as much dessicated coconut as you desire.
6. Top with blueberries.
7. Sit down somewhere in the morning light and enjoy this nutritious start to the day!


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Fragrance in the Garden

I have a cottage style garden. Within our garden, there are lots of different plants that surround our house.  Some have pretty blooms, some are edible, some are for the birds and butterflies and bees and some are just for me!

At the moment, two of my favourite white flowering plants are blooming and their perfume fills the air. I love nothing more than walking past and breathing in the heady scents of gardenia and jasmine. 

The creamy white flowers of the gardenia that surrounds a retaining wall in my garden.

The starry blooms of the Chinese Star Jasmine that covers our side boundary fence.

Do you have any favourite fragrant plants in your garden? Did you plant them just for their sweet perfumes?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Homemade Quinoa Muffins

I was looking for something delicious and different for my husband's packed lunches during the week. I found a simple, nutritious recipe for quinoa muffins in Eleanor Ozich's recipe book, My Petite Kitchen. In her original recipe, she adds sun-dried tomato to these muffins but I added sweet roasted pumpkin and finely snipped chives from our garden instead. Yum!

 A one-bowl mixture.

I mixed together some leftover quinoa, eggs, grated cheese, chunks of roast pumpkin, chives and a twist of sea salt. I then placed spoonfuls into a muffin tray and baked them until the egg set. Quiche-like and so easy!

Mmm! The freshly baked muffins.

My husband always takes a packed lunch to work instead of buying it. This saves a small fortune if you think about how much it costs to buy lunch five days a week! It does mean a bit more time in the kitchen in the mornings packing it up with a fresh salad but I know it's healthy, that it tastes great and that it saves us money. Do you take your own lunch to work too?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Our Special Place

Do you have somewhere you go, out in the natural world, that replenishes you? That you return to time and again because it nourishes you, slows you down and touches your heart? A place where, as soon as you are there, you feel at peace? I have such a place, an island off the coast from where I live, that I first visited over twenty years ago and that I've been returning to every year since.

Home Beach, North Stradbroke Island.

North Stradbroke Island, off the South East Queensland coast, is my special place. I feel a strong connection to "Straddie" even though I am only there for a few short weeks each year. As soon as I am on the barge heading out across the bay to her shores, I feel an inner exhale that I know signals the beginning of a deep contentment. Life's pace slows down to what feels like a natural rhythm and the days follow a languid routine of walking, swimming, picnicking, reading and sleeping.

Now too, we have our beautiful boy to share this island with and he has come to love her as much as we do. He jumps in her waves, explores her beaches and rock pools, climbs up and then comes tumbling down her great sand dune. All the while, he is forging and deepening his love of nature.

It won't be long now and we'll be back on our beloved Straddie again. I can't wait!