Category Archives: Wild Flowers

Too Windy to Fish (AGAIN)

Tomato SaffronRice  Fish Soup

Tomato Saffron Rice Fish Soup

When it’s this windy it’s not nice to snorkel (little wavelets down your snorkel), not nice to swim (little wavelets again), and not even nice to walk (sandblasting of body!), so we had a really quiet day in-Russ doing Sudoku for a lot of the day, me trying to nut out my camera. We treated ourselves to a Saturday lunch of pies from the bakery right over the road-beef, cheese and bacon, and rosemary lamb and veg, but otherwise did nothing. After yesterday, walking 4ks to the Shark Sanctuary and back, mostly through, up or down sand, then a couple of hours fishing, I was quite happy to have a slow day.

Walking to the shark sanctuary 5

Walking to the shark sanctuary 5

I caught a nice little Spangled Emperor (46cm) yesterday when we ventured out for a couple of hours in another not so perfect day. I’d made fish stock the day before so was desperate to catch a big enough fish to make soup. How lucky was I to catch our only emperor otherwise I was taking some out of the freezer!

We often have a Tunisian Fish Soup but I wanted to make something else for a change. I found a recipe using clams and prawns, so subbed our fish, adding in a couple of other ingredients while I was at it.

Tomato, Rice, Saffron Fish Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 60g prosciutto, finely sliced (or could use bacon)
  • 1x420g can whole tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups stock (I used home made fish)
  • Whole fish fillets (enough for two)
  • chopped fresh coriander
Tomato SaffronRice  Fish Soup

Tomato Saffron Rice Fish Soup

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and prosiutto and cook until well softened.
  2. Add the drained tomatoes, ( I scissor them up in the pan) and wine and cook until all the liquid is gone, add in the saffron, cumin and paprika and cook a minute or two,
  3. Toss the rice in and toss around until well mixed then add the lemon juice, bay leaves and stock. Cook about 12 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  4. Add the fillets of fish-thinner ones a minute or so before the thicker ones. Cook for around 3 or 4 minutes (remember they’ll cook on after you turn the heat off).Break each fillet into two or three pieces, serve in deep bowls scattered with the coriander and with crusty bread and butter!

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Sunny Days

Finally a beautiful morning

I woke up at 6 am Friday to a beautiful, sunny, still morning, so pushed Russ out of bed and after a quick breakfast we got out on the Inlet to do a bit of fishing and crabbing. It was like a mill pond and just the right temperature to be out there.

It was great to catch 4 good sized flathead, 2 herring, a tarwhine and a salmon. We caught 5 big crabs but as 3 were females with eggs, we returned those. We stayed out until lunch time but caught most of our fish and crabs before 10 am, so maybe we need to get out of bed earlier more often.

Back home, Russ smoked the herring and salmon while I cooked and picked the two crabs. Most of the flathead was vacuum sealed and frozen but we had a little of it and the tarwhine crumbed for dinner along with some magnificent Thai crab cakes Russ made us.

Thursday was sunny but windy so we went for a bit of a walk to look at wild flowers around the caravan park and along the beach. I’ll include a few photos in the slide show below.

Thai Style Crab Cakes

  • Meat of two large, cooked, blue swimmer crabs (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced finely
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
  • 2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • grated zest of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs (enough so the mix holds together as cakes)
  • Black pepper to taste
Thai Style Crab Cakes

Thai Style Crab Cakes

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together well, then pop in the fridge for about an hour to firm it up.
  2. Form into cakes. Russ made 6 large ones but you could make 8 (or even 12) smaller ones.
  3. Heat enough veg oil to over the bottom of your frying pan, then cook the crab cakes for about 3 or 4 minutes each side or until cooked through.

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Amusing ourselves on windy days

We think this one is a verticordia

We think this one is a verticordia

Too windy to fish again yesterday, we decided on an afternoon drive out to Mt Frankland and a short walk to the summit.

After breakfast and before our drive, Russ had a go at making us a loaf of caraway rye bread for our lunch. It was a great success and yummy as open sandwiches of leg ham, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese and red onion.

Mt Frankland is about 30ks from Walpole through big trees, farmland and along sealed and unsealed roads. The term “mountain” is used loosely-we were gradually climbing the whole way as we drove to the car park, then it was a 1.2 km return walk to the granite rock summit. The last 200 metres was a steep walk up (then down) over 300 steps and two near vertical ladders. All well worth it though as it gave stunning views of what’s known as the Walpole Wilderness-over 300,000 hectares of often untouched bush land.

Brown Tree Creeper

Brown Tree Creeper

At the car park, we got out of the car to the most beautiful bird calling somewhere nearby. It sounded like a bell. I looked down to see a little brown bird right at my feet making all the noise. At home we looked him up in our bird book and found he was a Brown Tree Creeper. We saw some climbing the trunks of trees looking like little woodpeckers and quite a few on the ground where they apparently spend quite a bit of time. They certainly weren’t shy.

After the walk to the summit, we took a 600 metre return walk to the Wilderness Lookout. It was a magnificent steel structure through the tree tops at the base of Little Mt Frankland (a smaller granite rock), for more views of the wilderness. We had this whole place with it’s huge information shelter, bbqs and amenities all to ourselves to enjoy.

Walking to the summit alongside Mt frankland

Walking to the summit alongside Mt frankland

Off home, we decided to take an alternate route down Copeland Rd as we’d seen both ends of it on our drive out. The word “road” was also a loose term with it not much more than a goat track in places. We had branches scraping the sides of the car and whipping the windscreen for most of the 12 ks.

Russ's Smoked Fish Pie

Russ’s Smoked Fish Pie

Last night Russ cooked us a delicious and warming smoked fish pie, using our own smoked fish. It was a great finish to a great day out.

This morning, we toasted the remaining rye and caraway bread and topped it with Donnybrook tomatoes and avocado for our breakfast.

Peaceful Bay

Peaceful Bay


After lunch (it was still too windy to fish) we took a drive to Conspicuous Cliff and Peaceful Bay. The beach at Conspicuous Cliff was deserted apart from us and another couple and really beautiful. Peaceful Bay is a tiny town consisting of several streets (First to Fourth Street and and the grandly named dirt Central Avenue), a caravan park and shop/office, fire brigade and emergency services shed. The fibro holiday shacks all have names like digabringabeeralong, sootz us, peace and quiet, the love shack, this’ll do, etc.

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Wet and Windy in Walpole

Banksia

Banksia

Russ and I took a quick drive up to the Knoll near us here in the caravan park last night to see if we could spot our missing crab nets from the shore. I always have my camera with me so what would have been a 10 minute trip turned into 45 minutes, taking photos of trees and rocks up there.

Samphire or sea asparagus on the knoll

Samphire or sea asparagus on the knoll

I actually love hunting out the tiny plants that are often so easy to miss, but my camera is difficult to focus at times so apologies for some not so good photos. Back at home (well the van) I love to get out our flower books and identify them if I can. I think we figured out all but two-one “blue wild flower” and one “yellow Wild flower”. I’m

Rock Triggerplant

Rock Triggerplant

the same with fish-and it pays to know your fish when the Fisheries are around.

Still no sign of the nets, but we replaced them last night for $20 all up for the two including bait holders. My life alone is worth more than that, so if you add in Russ’s life too, it’s a small loss!

Last night, Russ cooked a lovely dinner of crumbed flathead, tarwhine and tommy ruff we’d caught in the morning, along with homemade wedges. I made us salad of tomatoes avocados and capsicum bought at a farm-gate, feta cheese and strawberry vinaigrette bought from Albany market

It was raining, windy and cold here today, so after a long, leisurely sleep in, Russ is doing some laundry (it’ll go in the drier for once) and I decided to turn half the pumpkin (which was 3kg or 6.6lb) we bought into soup. I’m making a Moroccan “style” soup so if it isn’t authentic, no one can give me grief over it lol. I bought some new Ras el Hanout (a sweetish Moroccan spice mix) and Harissa (a hot paste) when we were in Melbourne, so today seemed like a good day to get using them.

After lunch, the rain eased, so we took a drive out in the Mt Franklin National Park, down Centre Rd, Deep Rd, Ordinance Road and onto the Fernhook Falls and Rowells Pool on Beardmore Rd. We were out in the park for 4 hours and saw 3 other cars-it was a fantastic afternoon. I took 200 photos but will just post a few of them to the slide show along with some from last night The the Knoll

Moroccan Style Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, peel and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon harissa paste (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1.5kg pumpkin, peeled chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2x400g cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon mint
  • 2 teaspoons honey
Moroccan Style Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup

Moroccan Style Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup

Method

  1. Heat the oil and cook the onion until tender, add the garlic and cook a minute more, add the Ras el Hanout, Harissa and cumin and cook a further minute.
  2. Add the pumpkin and stock and bring to the boil. Cook until the pumpkin is tender.
  3. Blend with food processor or stick blender. Return to the saucepan. Add the chickpeas and heat through.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, honey and mint.
  5. Serve in bowls with yoghurt mix spooned over.

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This week in Perth

50 yo Holden ute celebrating the 50th Kings Park Festival

50 yo Holden ute celebrating the 50th Kings Park Festival

Blair arrived home Sunday from his days away at the AFL grand final, and Leah from a visit to friends in Sydney on Monday. We cooked Blair a roast of beef Sunday night, then decided on take away fish and chops Monday night.

Blair had to fly out to a mine site Tuesday night so I cooked the three of us left at home an asparagus and prosciutto pasta dish I found on a blog I follow. Asparagus is right in season here at the moment so is fresh, plump and delicious (a bit like me). The sauce was excellent so I’m posting a link to it Pasta With Asparagus & Ham.

I pretty much made it as written but did use prosciutto, and sautéed the asparagus (which I cut a bit longer) in the fat rendered from the prosciutto.

Fringe Lily

Fringe Lily

On Wednesday, Russ and I headed to Kings Park here in Perth. It’s a 1000 acre wonderland of nature in the middle of the city, and not to be missed if you ever get the chance to visit here. With it being the middle of spring now, the wild flowers are out in full force and a photographers dream. I managed to take over 300 photos during our 5 hour visit. The park is beautifully maintained with concrete and bush tracks throughout it, great swathes of green lawn, fountains, lookouts for spectacular views of the city and Swan and Canning rivers below, restaurants, cafes and plenty of parking throughout. We finished our day in the park at Botanical Café where we met our DIL Deb for coffee and cake. 5 hours only gave us a small look at the park, so we’ll be going back soon to see some more.
Flowering Gum

Flowering Gum

Wednesday night, we cooked Leah and Blair and Asian style dinner of our favourite caramelised pork belly, Vietnamese stuffed squid and an Asian coleslaw (you’ll find those recipes here on previous blogs). It was a great dinner (if the cook can’t say so herself!). We bought stall free, sow meat from Coles for the pork belly and I have to say it’s the best we have used for the dish-give it a try if you get the chance. It was relatively low fat and absolutely melt in the mouth.

Thursday (yesterday) morning was beautiful so we went for a walk along North Floreat beach. It was nice to see lots out enjoying the day and even a few hardy souls braving the water-I’m convinced they must have been Tasmanians on

North Floreat Beach

North Floreat Beach

holiday as no local would go in the water yet I’m sure.

Last night Russ and I and Blair and Leah, walked to local restaurant Dividos’ for their Balkan night. It was apparently a recreation of the feast of St Andrew of Constantinople. The four of us shared a really homely meal of entrees, mains and desserts. I especially loved the entrees of stuffed pickled cabbage rolls, feta and mint pastries and pumpkin pastries, mains of roasted baby lamb, macaroni cheese, and a moussaka of rabbit and eggplant. We had heaps more dishes, but they were my favourites. Dessert was so so. We had some lovely Spanish and French wines and dessert wines to go along with it all to. It was a wonderful night.

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A long time between blogs

Wheat

Wheat

It’s been a long time between blogs, but that doesn’t mean life’s been quiet.

We had a wonderful time on Monte Casino near New Norcia minding the animals for Pam and Carson whilst they holidayed in Bali. Tic the dog won our hearts, and managed to let us spoil her rotten with nights inside by the open fire, duck egg omelettes for breakfast, and tours of the farm in the ute with us.

Farm fresh eggs inc two duck eggs on thebottom   left

Farm fresh eggs inc two duck eggs on thebottom left

The 26 chickens layed around 18 eggs a day, the ducks one each, so it was eggs on the menu for us and Tic most days. Poached, fried, scrambled, lazy, omelette, salad-we had it all! I also found time to make another quadrupled batch of Maggie Beers Tomato Saffron Relish using the last of my Carnarvon tomatoes.

Whilst on the farm, we took a few drives to find some of the wild flowers the area is known for, visited the Benedictine monastery at New Norcia and went to town (Moora) a couple of times. We also had to make a quick visit into Perth to vote in the Federal Election (not that our votes helped the outcome). We mistakenly thought we’d be able to do our out of state voting in Moora, but no, the closest poling booth to do that was in Midland, Perth!

Pam and Carson and kids arrived home from a great holiday in Bali, we spent two nights with them then headed into Perth to stay with Blair and Leah leaving our van and boat stored at the farm in a super(phosphate) shed.

Cosmo looking happy and relaxed

Cosmo looking happy and relaxed

Leah had recently had a foot operation and we were arriving to help with cooking, shopping, driving her to and from appointments and to work and back. She is unable to drive for 6 weeks at least, so all of that is continuing. We are also here to look after Leah’s elderly cat Cosmo as they have a busy time with travel coming up. Cosmo is 16 and in pretty good health right now but he’s kept that way with daily insulin injections and thyroid tablets. He’s also quite particular about what he likes to eat these days so needs someone that knows him to care for him. We did our first baby sitting job over the WA long weekend just gone-everything went just fine!

We haven’t visited a market or done any fishing, but we have managed to cook some great meals-curries, home made lasagne, chicken pot pies, roast pork and beef, lamb and barley stew, Sardinian Lamb stew, saffron and leek fish pie, lots of asparagus with it in season, beef lok lak…… Lots of warming winter meals, as the weather here seems so cold after the northern part of the state.

Leah hosted a baby shower for daughter-in-law Deb on September 22nd, so we gave her a lot of help with the shopping and cooking for that and the organising of a few games. It was a quiet party with 12 of us enjoying a few tasteful games (no chocolate in nappies for Deb!), some great food and a few bubbles for us un pregnant guests. Deb got some gorgeous gifts for baby!

Kate and Giselle at the shower with the  food monster in the back ground!

Kate and Giselle at the shower with the food monster in the back ground!

We’ve also found time to visit the Mint, Perth Aviation Heritage Museum, our doctors, dentist, hairdresser and have the car serviced and the heater repaired. Also had a bit of a spend up on much needed clothes. The Mint was a bit forgettable-just a talk on the history, then a gold pouring demo (which was quite good). Other than that, it’s really just a retail store in a lovely old building. The Aviation Museum was every plane and war buffs dream. Lots of lovingly restored planes, or models of various planes, all lovingly cared for by the volunteers. I especially loved the big, beautiful Catalina (sea plane) housed in the first hangar. We spent three hours looking at the exhibits, but a real enthusiast could spend days-there is so much to read and see.

Catalina

Catalina

With October looming, we’re looking forward to celebrating Blair’s 40th and the arrival of Deb and Todd’s first baby.

Here’s a really simple breakfast recipe Pam made for us, then we made again using those gorgeous farm fresh eggs. It’s hard to give exact quantities but you’ll soon figure it out! If you use bacon, line your muffin tin, then cook a few minutes before adding the other stuff.

Lazy Eggs

  • Eggs (as many as required)
  • Ham or bacon
  • Diced tomato
  • Diced onion
  • Grated Cheese
Lazy Eggs

Lazy Eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220c
  2. Grease as many holes in a deep muffin tin as you require eggs (one or two each usually).
  3. Line each hole with ham or bacon rasher.
  4. Drop in a little diced tomato followed by a little diced onion, an egg, season with salt and pepper, the sprinkle over grated cheese.
  5. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the egg is done to your liking. Serve on toast if you like.

Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large leek, cleaned and sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg
Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Method

  1. Bring the stock to the boil and reduce by a third. Add in the thyme and pepper and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and cook the leek gently until well softened adding in the garlic in the last couple of minutes.
  3. Add the diced chicken and cook for around 5 minutes or until just cooked through.
  4. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes then add the stock whisking as you do so. You want a fairly thick sauce, so you may not use all. Add the cream and parsley.
  5. Grease 4 pie dishes (mine were 2 cup) and divide the mix between them.
  6. Top with rounds of puff pastry decorated anyway you like, prick a couple of times with a fork, then brush with beaten egg.
  7. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the temp to 190c and cook for 20 minutes more or until nice and golden.

We ate ours with a mash of potatoes, broccoli, peas and mint sauce It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe and part of one of his 30 minute meals. It was great too!

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The Ultimate Farm Gate

Fun with Jess and Lewie in the canola

Fun with Jess and Lewie in the canola

Sunday night after travelling from Carnarvon to S Bend Caravan Park south of Geraldton , we enjoyed a yummy chicken pumpkin and rocket risotto for dinner. The pumpkin, basil and rocket used all came from Carnarvon farm gates.

Yesterday, we drove from The S Bend to Pam and Carson’s at Monte Casino farm just outside New Norcia (132ks from Perth). We are here for a week to chook, duck, dog and goldfish sit for them while they have a family holiday with Jess and Lewie in Bali. We stopped along the way to photograph a few wildflowers, but south of New Norcia should be better.

Pink Poker Grevillea

Pink Poker Grevillea

Carson kills and butchers his own sheep, and they’ve put aside a few lamb shanks in the freezer for us, plus suggested we can use any lamb we want through the week. Right now I’m cooking us a couple of shanks.

Pam has about 25 hens, and at the moment they are producing around 20 eggs a day. Pam said to brush up on our egg recipes, because they’re all ours!

The farm is lovely at the moment with thousands acres of canola and wheat looking fantastic. We took a drive around last night then went on up to “Goat Hill” to watch the sun set over the farm. It was absolutely stunning.

The farm owners have a couple of big old horses and I’ve been told by Grant that I’m welcome to take either of them for a ride when ever I want. That sounds like heaven to me.

Chicken, pumpkin and rocket risotto

  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup diced butternut pumpkin (about 1 cm cubes)
  • 250g diced chicken breast, about 2cm dice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, brought to the boil, then held at a simmer
  • 2 tablespoons (or more if you like) toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 bunch rocket
  • about 15 large basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper, lots
Chicken, pumpkin and rocket risotto

Chicken, pumpkin and rocket risotto

Method

  1. Heat the oil and sauté the onion until it’s tender. Add the garlic and sauté a couple of minutes more. add the rice, pumpkin and chicken and stir until the chicken changes colour.
  2. Pour in the wine and cook stirring until it evaporates. Start adding the chicken stock about a half cup at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until each 1/2 cup has evaporated.
  3. When the stock is gone and the rice and the pumpkin cooked, add in the remaining ingredients. Toss until the rocket is just wilted then serve. We had extra parmesan on ours.

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