Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Autumn - Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

Yeh, we are officially in Autumn now :)
My husband reminded me of this, while I was lamenting how cold it felt this morning..(coat weather).
So it got me to thinking about soup!! Last year at the tale end of winter, I discovered a recipe for Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup, I don't remember where ?..maybe Pintrest?  or a magazine? I loved it so much, especially how quick and easy it was to make and it freezes well too.


My recipe is very similar to the above link (hers has zucchini and leek, instead of onion.), and also a lovely recipe for Sage Scones :)

Here's my recipe:

~ Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup ~

1 head Broccoli - divide into florets
1 large potato - cubed
1 onion
Olive oil - 1 teaspoon/Butter - 1 teaspoon)
4 cups of chicken broth or 2 teaspoons of chicken boullion powder dissolved in 4 cups of boiled water
1/2 a small wedge of blue cheese
1/4 cup of cream
salt and pepper

Heat the butter and oil together. Saute the onion till softened. Add the potato, salt and pepper and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the potato is almost tender (about 10 minutes). The add the Broccoli and cook till tender.
Puree the soup, adding in the knob of blue cheese in the last batch. Return the soup to the pan, add the cream, adjust seasonings (salt and pepper.)
Serve in bowls with some extra Blue Cheese crumbled on top.

I serve it with homemade wholegrain bread - toasted and buttered - delicious.

'Only the pure in heart, can make a good soup'
Ludwig van Beethoven

*** God Bless and Keep warm now :) ***

Monday, 4 March 2013

March 2013

** SUMMER **

My grand daughter Lily, enjoying a Summer strawberry..:)


~ her favourite ~

~ What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~ (John Steinbeck)

Yes its been a while since I last posted, but life has been busy. Its been a wonderfull, blessed summer, a great Christmas and New Year and now the garden is producing a bumper harvest too. But the most exciting news of all, was our daughter Katie married  her sweetheart John on February 23rd :)


~~~ One of my my other loves....(the garden) ~~~

The garden has outdone it self ...(which amazes me)....even while I was so busy helping katie with wedding preparations in those final weeks, and couldn't water it as often as required, it still flourished abundantly !! Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Corn, Beans, Leeks, Carrots, Herbs, Lettuces, Radishes, Peppers, Chillies, Kale, Pumpkin, Silverbeet.....
I also couldn't water very often, as there is a drought in my area and we were rationed to only watering every second day :( so the vegetable garden would get the most, then the fruit trees, so the poor flowers have sorely suffered. There is a lot of powdery mildew, and yellowed leaves..not very pretty...anyways here some: Garden Updates (Progress and Canning):

So far I've made Zucchini Relish (like I always do), 2 batches and we've been eating Zucchini Fritters, with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of my home-made Plum Sauce.

I use an extra egg in my recipe, and basil and parsley, instead of cilantro (as my husband doesn't like that herb). I also enjoy these fritters with a side of bacon - Yum

Corn: the corn grew well, we just ate it boiled, with some butter smeared on top. I didn't freeze any.

Beans: Wow the beans have been amazing....I love Beans !!!
In Spring I created a Bean Support out of Bamboo Poles, and the beans grew up the suspended strings. We've been eating beans as a side vege all summer and I have frozen and salted a lot of them. Here's a friends recipe, she shared with me, for preserving/salting beans.

Salt Cured Beans

1kg Green Beans (Young)
225g sugar
500g plain salt (not iodised) 

Method:   Slice the beans  thinly on an angle, or use a proper bean slicer gadget.  Mix with the salt and sugar, toss well and leave overnight spread out in a plastic dish.
The next day, brine would have been drawn out of the beans. Place the whole lot, beans, brine and all into a wide mouth crock or preserving jars. Cover tightly with glad-wrap and store in a dark place, or they can be covered with some sort of lid, and also weighted down in the jar, so they stay submerged in their brine (but Diane doesn’t bother about this step).
How to cook salted beans:  Rinse the beans in a sieve under cold running water. Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain and repeat this process one or two more times, depending if they still taste salty. They should be cooked and taste fine at the end of this process.


Wow the Tomatoes have outdone themselves! I did prepare the soil well, plenty of manure and rotted down compost etc. I sowed most of my garden from seed this year, (started the seedlings off inside in little planters on the window sills)..The house looked like a mini garden centre :)

I planted several different varieties, this year, Hierloom, Beefsteak and one which was called 'Siberian Tomatoes'. They are a frost resistant variety and also ripen in cooler weather :) They actually cropped quite heavily and were a sprawling variety. The cost initially was $7.00 a packet (phew) ..and it didn't include many seeds, but they all sprouted. I have saved some,by spreading them on a paper towell and drying them, and label which ones they are).The yellow tomatoes in the picture are especially sweet and juicy :)

I have canned Tomato Relish, Tomato Sauce, Pasta Sauce and Salsa this year..phew and now I am about over canning tomatoes for this summer !
I was especially happy with the Salsa recipe, very easy to make too.

Tomato Salsa

(The above image is from simplyrecipes site, and that recipe looks good too :)

My own recipe is below..enjoy :)
8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups green peppers
1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 x 425g can tomato puree
1 x 350g  can tomato paste


1. Mix all together and bring to a slow boil for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is cooked.
2. Seal in jars and cook in hot water bath for 10 minute.
3. This is a medium salsa. This is also a chunky salsa so if you want a smoother salsa cut your veggies into smaller pieces.
4. Yields 3-6 quarts or pints.

Back to the garden produce...

Raspberries: I planted the Raspberry canes (given to me from my friend Jane, about 2 years ago. This year they have down very well, and I have picked a few small bowlfulls. The other evening we went  to a 'bring a plate' evening , so, going along with my frugal, simple theme, I decided to bake a cream sponge cake and fill it with sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries from the garden

Here's pics and my recipe:

** Never Fail Fairy Sponge **

4 eggs
3/4 Cup Chelsea White Sugar
1 Tbsp flour in cup. Fill up rest of cup with cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp boiling water


Seperate the eggs and beat 4 egg whites with 1 Tblspn of boiling water until stiff. Add 3/4 cup sugar slowly. Beat until dissolved. Mix in yolks one at a time. Put flour in a cup, fill up the rest with cornflour. Sift with baking powder. Fold into mixture. Put into two sponge tins, which have been buttered, lined with baking paper on the bottoms and floured around the sides, to prevent any possible bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes.
Drop sponges on bench when taken out of oven.

300 ml cream (add 2 teaspoons icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla - whip together)
Jam - berry or plum
Icing Sugar

Cool the sponge cakes, spread jam on the top of the base, spread over the sweetened whipped cream cream, dot with raspberries and place the other cake on top. Dust the top with sifted icing sugar..voila :) - Enjoy

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way
I have to go to bed by day.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

~ Some Beans I let dry on the vine...
thankyou beautifull garden for your bounty,
but most of all, thankyou Lord for your unfailing love and provision ~
Its a blessing to open the refrigerator and see Plum Jam, Marmalade, Plum Sauce, Salsa, Tomato Sauce and Chow Chow Pickle..all waiting to be used and all prepared by my hand at a fraction of the cost, if I had purchased them from a store.But more than that, they are prepared with love and are organic..its gotta be better for one :)
God Bless - and Happy 2013 :)
~ Linda ~

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