Sunday, January 27, 2013


When looking at the oranges at the supermarket this morning I suddenly clicked at the power of my actions. There were some wrinkly looking, yellow NZ oranges or some plump, bright and unblemished USA ones. What to buy. Then it occured to me. What the heck are we doing with fruit that really only keeps for a few days all the way from America when we have some perfectly good oranges from up the road.
A few revelations have occured in my medium sized brain this week. More than usual. And all pretty fundamental to how I want to live my life. The biggest being 'that just because things are the way they are or seem the norm, doesn't mean that they are right'.  
As I've been looking more into the concept of self sufficiency or even just workling less and living a healthy happy life I've realized there are a few adjustments that need to be made.
I currently work around 25 hours a week, but working less doesn't mean life is any easier. I have definately noticed there can be a slower pace and more satisfaction in the daily routines and tasks that I do. When some one say's "I don't have time to plant a bunch of tomato plants and water them" I say "I don't have time to go to the supermarket when I need some." I suppose it's all choices and preferences.
I don't want to feel controlled by what I have to do to get by or what I need to pay for. This does mean there are sacrifices to be made. This has all seemed fine while the weathers been warm and there's plenty of fun to be had outside and with friends. I am however a little worried about the implications this will have on me in the winter. When the days can be grey and unmotivating and things just seem a little more grim. But I think the current way of living isn't and never is going to be sustainable.
Things that I need to or have changed are...
- biking to work and only using the car when its a necessity
- reducing 'entertainment' cost's such as shows, travel, movies and outings
- not eating out (toooo much)
- eating seasonal, local food and growing your own
- having less things and reducing the ongoing cost's they all take
These will all challenge me and I'm sure I'll flake at times but the mentality change has been refreshing and I'm much more aware that the systems in place that seem harmless may not be a very healthy option.
Even buying tomatoes and corgette's in the middle of winter might not seem like a biggie but the oil required to get them halfway across the world and the markup you have to pay are backwards steps in trying to cut down cost's and our foot prints. This looks like an insignificant thing but its the expectation we have created and it spreads across most area's. We can and we do have everything here and now even if its against's natures rythms.
I suppose all I ask of you is to question your action's and maybe see the significance in what you do.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Meade
And for the record, my NZ orange I ate this morning was the sweetest juiciest one I've had all summer.

Some treats you might find in your garden if you feel like giving it a go

All the best, Al x

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Almost A Harvest

As the recent weather has picked up it's game, we've been treated to a few gems in the Muirson kitchen. We un-intenionally shared our lettuce and strawberry crops with the chickens and have munched our way through the rocket and coriander in some yummo salad's. I am constantly suprised when I go out there and my once little green leaves are now nestling veges and hanging fruit.

There have been a few failures, the carrots are no where to be seen, the chickens dug up the seed potato's, chch proved to cold for the basil and capsicum and the brocolli was swarmed with butterflies. However the pumpkins, cauliflowers, courgettes and beans are all cranking. The Tamata's. Well they are another story. I am left awake at night thinking of different ways to use the abundance we are soon to have. A roadside stall on Hoon Hay road may be in order. There are trusses and trusses of giant tomatoes still awaiting there final coat of juicy redness.


The tomato's that have ripened up early are pretty darn sweet. I think I may have scrunched my face in a combination suprise,pride and because they genuinely had too much flavour for my face to handle. A few have developed blossom end rot, but this can be tackeled with a bunch of lime well watered into the roots. The zuchinni's are also finding their way into our kitchen early. With too many than we can handle I've whistled up a spiced zuchinni cake with a lime cream and pistachio's

I seem to feel slightly anxious when I see the bare dirt where my failed vege's were. A sense of failure and dissapointment I think. This little Muirson plot is helping me comprehend my minute amount of control I have in life's turns. It still doesn't get old seeing a fully grown zuchinni from what was such a tiny seed.

Which leads me to the next solution for when your zuchinni plant decide's to give you heaps of fruit at once. A delicious refreshing cake that definately won't dry out.

Spiced Zuchinni Cake, with a Lime cream and pistachio's

Ingredients -
1 ¼ cups  flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon minced crystallized ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup vegetable oil
1 apple stewed,drained and well mashed
2 eggs
1 cup shredded zucchini (2-3 zucchini)

Lime cream -
200g cream cheese (the hardblock)
50g butter softened
3/4 cup of icing sugar (less or more depending on how tart you want it)
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime

1/4 cup of pistachio's chopped

  Directions -   Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

Line and spray a smaller scale cake tin
In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, crystallized ginger, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
In another bowl combine oil, well mashed stewed apple, eggs and sugars; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini; stir until thoroughly combined.
Pour into cake tin
 Bake at 180 degrees C for 30-35 minutes or until a cake needle inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Once the cake has cooled
Using an electric mixer beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth, add 1/2 of the icing sugar and half the lime. beat well and taste. Add remaining ingredients according to preference

Top with pistachio's and your favourite flowers


Keep refridgerated and covered. It's even better the next day
Enjoy x

Holy Feast

Christmas day is always changing. People, places, families, traditions and the food are constantly evolving. I was excited to be on the contributing end this year and realized the reality that I'm getting older. It's an exciting and daunting task to grow old, but I suppose it's compulsory really. So along with the cooking comes food shopping. It felt strange walking down the isle's of the outragelously busy and pricey fruit and vege shop when I had been working so hard on the vege in my own backyard. It seems its all about timing and learning as I go. Hopefully this christmas to come I will be able to get the timing right so there are plenty of homegrown treaties ready in time, in an attempt to cheat the annual christmas bankruptcy.

On the table -

Minty New Potato's
Rocket, Feta & Grilled Apricot Salad
Mediterranean Tomato & Basil Salad
Hearty Homemade Rye
Mum's Herb Crusted Lamb with Red Wine Jus
and a Free Ranger Leg of Ham
All of this digestion was aided with a refreshing elderflower sparkle


After the mandatory digestive nap we delved deeper into our gluttony with Margs mean dessert. Lemon tart, almond and mascarpone trifle, raspberry and dark chocolate tart, fresh raspberries.
I hope you all have a few extra rolls surrounding that belly, but thank the Lord for the beautiful summer sunshine that gets us outside to balance it all out.

Love Al x