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Easy Bun Cha Recipe

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I am really lucky, Roy has been cooking up a storm since Isla has come into our home and I we have eaten Bun Cha pretty much each time he comes home. I am loving it. Fresh salad, meat, noodles and delicious dipping sauce. I can’t complain, way better than my meat and three veg dinners which can get a little tired some times.

Nothing beats fresh tasting food and to make it even tastier is when someone else cooks for you. I blessed to have a hubby who loves to cook and to try new dishes. This one is winner and I will keep asking for it. Roy seems to think it doesn’t take too long to make either so here is his recipe for easy bun cha.

Does your hubby cook for you and if so what does he cook?

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Bun Cha Recipe
 
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Author:
Recipe type: asian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 500g pork mince
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lge spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 100g sugar
  • 35ml fish sauce
  • 35ml rice vinegar
  • 35ml lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 chili (optional), finely diced
  • 65ml water
  • Grated carrot
Instructions
  1. To make the small meat patties combine the pork mince, red onion, sugar, spring onion, egg and fish sauce and mix well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before forming the patties into 50c piece size rounds.
  2. Cook the pork patties in a hot frypan with a little peanut oil, 2 minutes on each side.
  3. For the dipping sauce; place the sugar, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chili and water into a small saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Place a little grated carrot into dipping bowls for each person and then pour over the dipping sauce.
  4. Assemble the bun cha on a plate with the pork patties on top of a bed of vermicelli noodles a side of greens and the dipping sauce on the side. Eat with a pair of chopsticks and don’t forget to dunk everything on your plate into the sauce.

 


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Its been a month since last time I visited my folks. Since then the weather has dished out some pretty nasty frosts and killed all the grass off along with any crops. The colour has changed and I love it and teamed up with an afternoon pink sky its just stunning. Before I left we did a big walk around the paddock with Isla in the wheelbarrow.  It was a nice break for me after I had finished my curtain making. I still have one section left to do on one of my curtains as I ran out of hanging tape stuff. However I have hung one half of my curtain in the shed to see how it looks and see if I did an alright job. So far It looks pretty darn good. Lucky Its hanging as its going to be cool tonight too.

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broccoli, potato & Silverbeet soup recipe

Some nights the cooking inspiration runs a little thin and I can’t think of much too cook. With a huge veggie garden we tend to go through spurts of veggies which need to be used. This is how this soup came about. I loved it so much I thought I would share it with you.

We used the last of our spuds, some broccoli florets and silverbeet that did not sell at our farm gate. Cooked them all up and whizzed them. Staying with us at the time were our good friends Benjie and Hugo who were about to go off to France. We always seem to eat cheese when we are with them, pasteurized yes, though we all dream that we are in France eating the real deal. Anyways, with some triple cream brie on the table, they hungry folk decided that the soup could do with a few little chunks of cheese. Well, well. It was not too bad.

When we took the leftovers out of the freezer last week, we did the same thing. Brie and soup equal goodness.

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Broccoli, Potato and Silverbeet Soup Recipe
 
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Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lge onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 400g potato, chopped
  • 450g broccoli, chopped
  • 8 lge leaves of silverbeet
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Croutons to serve
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan melt the butter and soften the onions on a medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for a further minute till fragrant.
  2. Add the potato, broccoli and silverbeet. Cover with chicken stock and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Using a stick blender puree the mixture making sure not to leave any chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve hot with croutons and some crusty white bread.

 

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Last weekend we had Dennis a farmer from down the road come up to our place to expand our vegetable garden. It was time to make a new bed – turns out that my measurements were all wrong and we have ended up with 18m x 10m new patch of freshly turned soil. As our soil is super clay like and often has large hidden boulders its best to use an excavator for the initial turning. Dennis used a ripper to turn the soil. All that is left is for Roy and I to go through pull out all the weeds, add mushroom compost some chicken shit and hill it up ready for planting at the end of August. The Ekka holiday is looming and I am not ready.

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Since we brought Isla home we established an afternoon evening routine pretty early on. Hoping that this would help get the little wiggle monster to bed easier. Some days it works others it takes an extra few hours of attention before she finally settles and goes to sleep. Each afternoon once the sun has gone behind the hill which is about 3pm for us at the moment, I load Isla up in to the wheelbarrow in her car seat and head on down the hill. We take a quick stop at the chook pen to check feed and water then to the veggie patch.

I spend most of my time here attempting to water the garden the best I can. Some days I am successful others not so much. Its a great spot for an afternoon tea session that’s for sure. After I have harvested the days pickings we head on back to the chook pen. We sit there and watch the chickens fight over food, grazing and then going to roost for the night. It can be quite eventful. Once the chooks are all secure for the night we then head back to the house.

By this time it’s about 5.30 in the arvo. Time for a quick feed depending on the day. Bath time is at 6pm every night. Then its roll around on the bed time topped off with dinner. Then we read two books – too many cheeky dogs and trouble for trumpets. Usually we don’t get all the way through trouble for trumpets, it has too many words and not enough page turning according to Isla. Then I give her a last top up before bed. At this moment I hope that she goes to sleep and stays asleep. Sometimes I win and other time I am up for several more hours while she fights the sleep.

Anyone got any super tricks for getting a bub to sleep at night? She is a good sleeper once she is there but it’s just the fight I want to reduce.

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Who loves bath time? Yes Isla loves to play in water, just need to find a decent salt water pool near by to take her for a good swim.

 

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Growing your own food is feast and famine for certain veggies and I reckon our Asian greens keep us on our toes all the time. Yet again we have loads of the stuff along with freshly harvested ginger. This dish puts both of these veg to a good use and creates a healthy dinner.

The ginger dipping sauce  is one of my favourites. What ever is left over can easily be added to stir fry’s or even added to a bowl of rice – yum. Roy and I love simple food and usually the simple stuff is the easiest to make too.

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Poached Soy Chicken w Ginger Sauce
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Asian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 50g ginger, finely grated
  • 1 lge spring onion, finely diced/sliced
  • salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 chicken breast
Instructions
  1. To make the ginger sauce combine the ginger, spring onion, salt, sesame oil and peanut oil. Leave to sit for at least 30minutes so the flavours permeate the oil.
  2. In a large saucepan place the soy sauce, rice wine, fish sauce, sesame oil and sugar and mix. Add the chicken breast and bring the mixture to a steady simmer and cook for 13 – 15min or until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Slice the chicken and serve on a bed of rice along with some Asian greens and the ginger dipping sauce.

 


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Strawberry Frangipane Recipe

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Frangipane’s are so versatile you can use any combination of berry and citrus and they always taste so good. Tomorrow is my birthday and though I have to work at least I have a sneaky little snack to take with me to get me through the day. I will be doing a few talks at the Queensland Garden Expo this weekend, so if you are in the area do stop by and say hello.

I have also noticed that our frangipane is ridiculously yellow from our chooks eggs. We have a mixture of corn in our feed which makes the yolks super yellow also I reckon its the bugs they eat while free ranging our paddocks.  Anyways a frangipane should washed down with a good cup of tea and a dollop of cream. Mind you a dollop of yoghurt also works just as well with the citrus flavours that are hidden inside.

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Strawberry Frangipane Recipe
 
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Author:
Recipe type: cake
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • • 125gm Butter
  • • 125gm (1/2 cup) Castor Sugar
  • • 225gm (1½ cup) Plain Flour
  • • ½ an Egg (beaten)
  • • pinch of Salt
  • Filling
  • • 125gm Butter
  • • 125gm (1/2 cup)Sugar
  • • 3½ Eggs
  • • 125gm (1/2 cup) Almond Meal
  • • zest of 1 Lemon
  • • 125gm Strawberries
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180'c
  2. Base: Put all ingredients in a bench top mixer and combine till a dough forms
  3. Line a 27 x 18cm slice tin with baking paper, pressing the dough to cover the bottom and sides, allow to rest in the fridge
  4. Filling: Melt butter and cool
  5. Beat sugar and eggs till creamy in a bowl
  6. Add orange zest and butter and mix
  7. Add almond meal and mix ensuing there are no lumps
  8. Pour in the filling topping with the strawberriess pushing a few into the mixture
  9. Bake for 35-45min or until golden
  10. Dust with icing sugar before serving with a good dollop of cream

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Welcome to another round of the Garden Share Collective. I am happy to report that the GSC is now one year old, we started off with only seven people’s gardens and now we are a family of forty from around the globe. This coming year I have changed how you will view posts about other gardens. At the bottom of this post will be a photo grid of other gardens, if you have something to share just click on the submit button below it.

Do you like the size of the rhubarb leaf in my garden. I have chopped the large leaves out to encourage the crowns to grow stronger and thicker as I grew them from seed earlier this year. You can see how much the rhubarb has grown in a month below. We had a total of 16.5mm of rain last month its nothing to gloat about at all. However I have had a tank full of water to keep the soil moist. The weather has really been trying with strong drying winds, cold nights and the odd warm day with not much rain. Not the best growing conditions. This month I have also been struggling with a plague of aphids and disease – bean mosaic. So things have been getting pulled out of the garden all over the place and the veggies have slowed their growth.

The days will soon start to get longer again and summer will be on our door step in no time I am sure.

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Last month I took a photo of our broadbeans in hopes that they might start producing. Well they did – one lousy bean, can you believe it. I have heard that they dont like nitrogen rich soil, since this is what you are usually aiming for when growing leafy greens I am not sure what to do to make the soil less nitrogen rich. The cool thing too is that the sweet potato growing in among the broadbeans is also doing really well.

Its amazing what water and fertilizer can do for a garden. Even with a lack of rain, you can see the difference in growth in our bottom bed. I have watered the garden every two or so days and fertilized once at the start of the month with dynamic lifter type stuff. Also sprayed with dipel to keep the cabbage month down. As they do love brassica’s. Also turns out we planted a lot more cabbage than broccoli as you can tell by the photos.

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Grosse Lisse – seriously one of the most prolific tomato harvests we have had from one plant. Also the bugs have seemed to miss this tomato plant.

Snowpeas looking healthy, we are now picking over 1 kilo a week from our plants.

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Darn aphids. If you can see the tiny grey/black looking things on the flower of the broccoli, well these culprits are what is damaging my garden this winter. They came in their millions and have decreased in numbers over the past week and a half as the lady beetle population has gotten bigger. I have tried to keep on top of spraying them too – I used eco-oil. Still we have them and they brought a disease with them. Bean mosiac, which is a virus that makes the leaves of either bush or climbing bean yellowy then goes hard and brown. It also makes the beans deformed and tougher which is not pleasant to eat. So I saved only one row of beans which don’t have the disease and hope like hell that all the new ones that have come up don’t get it either.

The strawberries have put out their first flower. The runners are slowly getting bigger and stronger however I noticed that they have black spots which is no doubt from watering the leaves and leaving them overnight. Must check it though at some point but all the new foliage is looking really good and healthy. I am just stoked to see a flower and who knows I might even get a strawberry before the crows take them.

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PLANTING: This week I am hoping to plant out two or three trays of seeds for our next round of planting at the end of July start of August. I will be sowing – cucumbers, zucchini’s eggplants, peppers, more beans, silverbeet, beetroot, cabbages and a sneaky round of broccoli.

HARVESTING: Tomatoes (black russians, cherry cocktails and grosse lisse), lebanese eggplant, snowpeas, silverbeet, kale, rhubarb, zucchini’s, beetroot, broccoli and asian greens. Looks like our lettuce is good to go too

TO DO: I am going to be extending my garden, this month I have to get someone in to turn the soil, so we can start cleaning it up and hilling it for planting. Clean out the last of anything that has any disease or aphid infestation on it and get rid of it. Fertilize and spread compost and get the soil ready for more planting. Its time to start thinking about spring time growing and summer.

 


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After the Storm

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Last weekend Isla and I headed off for Kingaroy to visit my parents again to get some much-needed work done. I have worked on my talks for the Queensland Garden Expo which will be on next weekend.  The weather was cold and miserable last Saturday until a storm came over and blew it all away. I have always said that the best time to take photographs is after it rains. Plus its even better if it is teamed up with a killer sunset.

My Dad, Isla and I took a stroll around the paddock, while dad fiddled with taps and checked on fences he had Isla in the other hand. The dogs followed us around along with the house cat who doesn’t want to miss out on the action. Lucky for me Isla loves being outdoors, weather permitting this was the perfect time to take a little adventure.

Below are some snaps I took around the farm. Nothing is more fascinating to a photographer than bits and bobs in the perfect light. Enjoy.

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Isla, Dad and the Cat. It was all laughs taking this photo. Silly cat.

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