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Life on two acres of arid dirt, on the edge of the Australian outback.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

sugarless date and coffee log ~ simple and extremely delicious!

Hello friends,

This recipe was given to me by my mum.  Now because this cake is so nice,  I felt you all would love to know about it. Our family favourite is sure to become a favourite of yours too J

Oh, and there is no sugar! That is good thing right?


Date and coffee log

2 cups of chopped pitted dates
1 cup of strong black coffee (I used 2 teaspoon of coffee)
1 heaped cup of SR flour
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Place dates in medium bowl and cover with hot coffee. Cover and let stand for three hours. Add SR flour and walnuts to the date mixture.  Stir until combined. Spoon into log tin and bake 30 minutes at 170C (150C fan forced) or until cooked. Leave in tin to cool.  Slice and serve with butter. YUM!

If you make this cake I would love to know what you think of it?

See you soon,


Friday, January 11, 2019

recipe for vegan stuffed zucchini boats and parmesan cheese

As promised, here is the recipe for the zucchini boats I posted about recently. This is a vegan recipe so if you want a different version just google zucchini boats, there are oodles of recipes for them. The original recipe can be found here.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • 2 medium zucchini or one large
  • ½ to 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (I may have added a lot more because I have homegrown dried oregano)
  • 1 pinch of crushed chilly flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped vegan feta cheese 
  • 1 slice of grain bread made into crumbs 
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the pulp and seeds, leaving some of the flesh behind in the shell. 
  • Dice the scooped out zucchini into small pieces and place in a bowl with the onion, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, basil, oregano, crushed chilly flakes, breadcrumbs, olive oil and 1/2 cup of  vegan feta. Stir to combine.
  • Divide the mixture evenly into the two zucchini halves and sprinkle the top with vegan Parmesan cheese.
  • Place into a baking dish or on a tray. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft.
  • Bake uncovered for 5 minutes more or until it slightly browns.

I served the zucchini with sweet potato chips and salad. Serves 2-4 people.

And if you are interested, Vegan parmesan is made like so;

  • 1 cup unsalted cashews (150 g)
  • 4 tbsp brewer’s or nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
Grind all together in a Nutribullet or similar blender and use as you would parmesan cheese.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

mum and dads garden

Hello friends,

Since my parents have moved closer, we get to visit regularly with them. I feel so privileged to still have them in my life. 

So this afternoon we went over there.  When I say over, I mean they live over the other side of the hills from us. These hills are the beautiful Flinder's Ranges. It is about a thirty minute drive from here.

While we are there, they like to show us how their garden is progressing.  My mum and dad have green fingers for sure.

Dad mixes all types of manures together with the soil and this is the resulting veggies!

Tomatoes galore! Mum will be making relish this coming week J

Here is a new strawberry patch. A couple of years ago I gave mum all the strawberry plants from my garden, as I was renewing the bed. At the time they hadn't really set up their gardening area so she just plonked them in the soil, and from those first plants they now have another patch. The first year the millipedes ate most of the strawberries, but this year they have beaten the pests and have had heaps of feeds of yummy strawberries. The plants are starting to send out runners now and soon I will be bringing some back home to grow.

This is the old patch now.  It all started with just a few strawberry plants! The strawberries have slowed down at the moment but will be back soon, there is still the odd few growing.

Silver beet patch.

Huge zucchini plants growing in the ground. We have been eating so many zucchinis! My own, and mum and dads.

On the other side is another area that is like a jungle. There are rock melons (cantaloupes).

Tiny tomatoes.

Cucumber vines winding their way through the tomato plants. Look at all those flowers!

The jungle!

 Can you spot the long cucumber? It is a burpless one.

Another one.

There are also apple cucumbers.

More zucchini bushes.

Dad trying to find some apple cucumbers for us to take home.

Out the front of their log cabin there used to be lawn. They hate lawn! So they smothered it with a huge piece of  tarp and left it there for ages. Once spring arrived, the tarp was removed and dad dug up the soil and added manures. Now there are pumpkins where lawn used to be.

They have been set back a little with the hot weather we are having.

Climbing up the railing of the decking are seven year beans. Mum has always grown these no matter where they live.

Looking down across the paddock to where there are some fruit trees planted. Dad had to cover them completely to keep birds out!

Some pickings today.

Dad has offered up his land to the neighbour to run his sheep. Because of the drought they are short on feed.  Dad had stubble leftover from reaping his poor crop, so to lesson the fire danger risk, he has sheep to mow it down.

Such a great sight to look out the kitchen window and see sheep!

What we brought home.

What I made with some of them. My favourite salad,

to have with these zucchini boats.


Next time I am up there I will take some photos of their goats and chooks.

My dad is 83 and mum 79. They have ten acres to keep them busy and they are loving it! My dad has never retired and has no intentions of doing so, this life has given them both purpose J

See you all soon,

Thursday, January 3, 2019

out in the garden

Hello friends,

The veggie patch is doing really well with the plants loving the new structure, soil and rain water on tap.

Hubby has been doing pipework.

There are heaps of flowers on the tomatoes. Not sure if they will set because of the heat we are having at the moment. There is fruit already on the plants so that is good.  Apparently the heat will slow the ripening though as the plant conserves energy.

I have picked one zucchini and there are others growing nicely.

I have a couple of capsicums already although the plants are quite small. One of the plants suffered with the heat and I am not sure if it will be okay. It is still alive at this stage.


The rhubarb is growing slowly.

These are rogue plants.  I thought they were cucumbers, but now thinking they may be pumpkins. I will need to wait and see J

Also some rogue eggplants have popped up.

The silver beet is mostly for the chooks, as there is no green around for them to eat.

The other young capsicum seedlings have finally started to grow.

Baby spinach is not doing so well.  I think it may not be a summer plant.

The potato is struggling with the heat but is still alive, I think I will move it under better shade.


Delicious sweet tommy toes.

Do you pick the tiny zucchinis that don't pollinate? I do. I put them into my cooking rather than go to waste. We have been enjoying yummy zucchini bread lately.

We have grapes! Hopefully I can beat the birds to them. We might have to put net over them this year.


The mandarin tree has had the big chop! It was getting so huge and laden with so much fruit that the branches were snapping.  I froze a heap of mandarin juice this year and we are still enjoying it with our breakfast in the mornings. You can see my compost bins in this picture.I have put a bowl in the top of the blue one with water for the birds and wildlife.

Our nectarine tree has fruit again.  We chopped it back a couple of seasons ago and it was set back a little but now it is producing again. I don't know if we will get any of the fruit as the hungry birds are helping themselves. First time in all the years we have lived here. There is not much native fruit and feed around because of the drought so they are coming in to see what I have on offer.

The limbs from the mandarin tree, these are going to be mulched and put around the trees.

Recently I re-potted these dragon fruit.  I am so pleased they have finally sent out new shoots but it seemed to take for ever. I thought I may have put them in the soil upside down (oops), but it appears not. I got these cuttings from a grow free cart in town.  I have two more in smaller pots and I am waiting for them to shoot.

I have brought the pot plants in from the veggie patch as it is just too hot to leave them there. The soil in the pots dries out so fast. I don't know what I am going to do with all the tomato plants that have come up by themselves. I have so many already!

My son has a large fig tree in his yard and he is going to pull it down to build a shed. So last year I took a piece and plonked it in a pot and thankfully it has taken off. I also gave mum a couple of pieces and they are growing well too.

I couldn't resist taking this photo of a succulent that grew from one little leaf.  They are truly amazing plants and grow oh so well.

Not a good picture, or garden related, but I went for a walk last night just before dark and this is what I saw when I walked out our driveway. There was a mother kangaroo and her joey munching on the couch grass out the front. Hope they don't get hit by traffic as they are quite friendly and come in for water that I put down for them. The male that used to accompany them sadly died from being hit, we found him dead one morning on the road L

And this was the sky when I turned for home. It was a beautiful sight!

So today is 45C (113F) and this is how the veggie garden looks.  Back to tent city! We have had extreme hot weather this summer with temperatures mostly in the 40's. Last week we were the hottest in the South Australia at 47C (116F)! And to top it off we had two days in a row with these horrible temperatures. The second of those days was extremely windy and the hot wind is what will burn the plants quickly and contribute to bushfires getting going. Luckily there were no significant fires that day. It was already 35C at 9am this morning. It is going to be a long day....

Today will mostly be spent inside except when I go outside to check on things in the heat.  Usually it will be at lunch time and mid afternoon as that is the hottest part of the day. I have laid water all around our block for the wildlife and watered and shaded everything I can. 

On the upside, I will get to do this blog post and I might just get started with sorting out some of my clutter! The pantry needs tidying after all the Christmas activity. I may even get to do some craft work!

Have a great day everyone, and keep cool or warm where ever you live on this beautiful earth.

See you soon,