Sunday, 29 June 2014

WIth Camera in Hand (2)

Hi everyone, I'm back with this week of photos. The weather has been particularly wintery here with it being cold, wet and very windy. There hasn't been a lot of rain it just seemed like it because of the wind. Needless to say it has been an indoors week, which is probably just as well seeing it's the end of the financial year tomorrow and I needed to get the business accounts up to date.
So this is my week.
I've been working at this for part of the week and procrastinating about it for the other part, hence no new blog posts.
Mr Happy is NOT a reflection of how I feel about bookwork, blaaaahhh yuck.
The beginning of the shortest day
The You Tube Saturday/Sunday DJ
Play time for Lulu & Holly (neighbour) while the sun's still shining. 
The end of the shortest day, YAAAYYYY for longer days.
 A "farm" walk
The above photo edited (B&W, crop & flip)
The sparks fly getting a job done before the crappy weather sets in for the week.
Purple leafed Wattle coming into bud.
Those white specks are snow at Shelley on our way to Wodonga, brrrrrrr.
What do you do when you have an idea and no pencil and paper? You down load a sketchbook app for your phone.
(Sketchbook MobileX, free version, if you're interested)
 Inside job for the boys - before
 and nearly finished.  
A brief bit of sunshine but
this is more reflective of the weather this week.
A hand portrait while I have fingernails
(Yep, usually bite them) 
Something in the mail for me (a late Mother's day present). I like surprises.
Hand embroidery with crocheted edges brought for show & tell at Craft Group.
That's the photos for this week and as you can see not much craft, cooking or gardening going on but I hope to remedy that this week. 
I will be back soon with a couple of posts that are nearly ready so until then

I would love your feedback. You can either comment here, or you can also comment or follow me on Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird


Saturday, 21 June 2014

With Camera in Hand

Hi Everyone. How's your week been? Mine has been pretty good.
I've decided to trial something new, a weekly roundup in photos. I got the idea from Pinknits blog, who does a 'Sunday Snapshots' every week. I think it will be a great way to do at least one post a week quickly, so you can see what is happening, or what's catching my eye and I won't have to write too much(the time consuming part). Most of the photos will be taken with my Iphone which I carry around with me most of the time, like most of you I suppose, so it's easy to capture moments. About the only time I don't have it with me is when I'm gardening. Some photos will be taken with my DSLR but I'll label them. If you would like more information about anything in the photos just leave a comment and I'll reply or do a seperate post about the subject matter. Your chance to have a say about what happens here.So here we go.

With Camera in Hand (1)

 I received this BEAUTIFUL book of photographs (B&W) in the mail. I ordered it after seeing this TED Talk. It wasn't cheap but so worth it for someone that loves great photography. 500+ pages of inspiration.
I made this birthday cake for a best friend, Orange Honeysuckle Cake. Nothing healthy about this one and oh so delicious. Proves I do make naughty cakes.
Lulu catching the morning sun.
 A frosty morning and a bit B&W editing.(DSLR)
Same morning drenching the herd.(DSLR)
And ended up in the neighbours garden capturing the lilies, that shouldn't be flowering in winter. (DSLR)
The start of a morning walk. 
 Birds on a wire or two 
UNnoodle Chicken & Veg Soup (see previous post)
 Working with an idea
 'Granny' is growing.
Excited about the launch of a new fashion label.
(more sneak peeks on Instagram @_cherrycollins_)
Receiving a pretty package from 'Naomi Loves'. Inside her book 'Airmail', a free gift for following her blog.

Freezing my but off here, watching the Federals girls training hard.
The fog settling early on the creek. Not a good sign.
So that's my week in photographs, until next time


I would love your feedback. You can either comment here, or you can also comment or follow me on Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

UNnoodle Soup

ME: You do realise that this is not just a food blog don't you?
YOU: Yes
ME: Good that's a relief.
YOU: Why do you ask?
ME: Cos I'm here again with another recipe.
YOU: So?
ME: Well that's two in a row and I don't want you to think that's all this blog is about.
YOU: For goodness sake just write the post.
ME: Okay.

Being a relatively new to this blogging caper, it's very much a learn as you go sort of thing. Before I started I had no idea how long it took to do a post. Taking photos, or remembering to take photos, when the light is good (particularly for cooking posts), setting up shots and editing, all take time. And for me the writing is also quite time consuming too as I'm not a natural writer (words don't flow in an orderly fashion from my brain), so I have to do a lot of editing sometimes over a couple of days. These are skills that I'm hoping to improve and streamline so I can do posts more efficiently, and I'm enjoying the challenge.
That sort of brings me to today's post because I've had to prepare it quicker than I normally would. I put a picture of this Asian style soup on my Facebook page, asking if anyone would like the recipe. I thought I would have a bit of time to prepare the post but no, what with on thing and another, some people thought I had already put it on the blog and were very eager to have the recipe. So here I am posting another recipe when I normally like to mix up the topics).
This recipe is based on a vague memory of a soup made on the TV show "Good Chef, Bad Chef" and is super easy. When I make it I don't measure anything. You know, like those recipes your Mother used to make that she could never give you exact quantities for. It was just a bit of this and a bit of that. Now I find I also make lots of things that way and have to smile to myself when my kids ask me for some recipes because I haven't a clue about quantities, it's just what feels right. Anyway I've done my best to write a proper recipe.
UNnoodle Chicken & Veg Soup
(Serves 4)
1 chicken breast fillet
5 cps water
1 Tbsp soy csauce
1 garlic clove (sliced)
2cm piece ginger
¼ teas chilli flakes (optional)
1 zucchini 
2 cps thinly sliced/chopped vegetables (eg carrot, capsicum, celery, corn, broccoli, etc)
Put the chicken fillet, garlic, ginger and chilli flakes in large saucepan and cover with water. Add the soy sauce and bring to a gentle simmer.Cook for approximately 20 minutes.
Take the chicken fillet out and slice into small pieces. Remove the garlic and ginger with a slotted spoon or through a sieve, chop finely. Add back to the stock along with the sliced vegetables and any of the chilli flakes that may have been removed in the straining process. Bring stock back to a gentle boil. Taste the stock and add more soy sauce if needed.
While the vegetables are cooking prepare the zucchini UNnoodles by peeling it first (discard the peel) and then shaving it into long strips with a peeler (or you can get a gadget (see picture) that looks like a peeler with teeth that cuts really thin strips). Only shave the zucchini down to the seeds.
When the vegetables are nearly cooked (this should only take 5 minutes, if you like them a little firm), add the chicken and UNnoodles and cook for about a minutes (don't over cook or the UNnoodles will break up). Serve.
Use rice noodles if you prefer.
Add 1 or 2 teaspoons each of lime juice, palm sugar & fish sauce for a more Thai style flavour.


I would love your feedback. You can either comment here or you can also comment or follow me on Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird

Until next time when I will share something other than cooking.



Sunday, 15 June 2014

Innocent Chocolate Cake

Hi everyone.  Who's for delicious, healthy and guilt free chocolate cake? Did you think there was a hint of sarcasm to the post title or that is was tongue in cheek? Well no, when I developed the recipe I didn't want to call it guilt free or healthy so I decided that innocent was an appropriate alternative.
The recipe was inspired by a friend who follows mainly a Paleo diet, so that means no sugar, no flour, no butter and lots of other things. She does indulge every now and again, on special occasions. I wanted to take a sweet treat to her place one evening so I thought I would take on the challenge of making something that was yummy and basically fit her diet.
So with my own basic cake formula (which I'll work on sharing at a later date), I decided on the ingredient replacements; dates for the sugar, almond meal (I grind my own almonds) for the flour & oil for the butter. Add some cocoa, because everything tastes better if it's chocolate, vanilla, eggs and you have the ingredients for one healthy chocolate cake.
A bit of soaking, blending, beating, mixing and baking. 
VOILA "Innocent Chocolate Cake" was born. 
This is a great everyday cake, as it satisfies those cravings for chocolate and something sweet without the guilt factor. For me it is wheat free and for that matter it's also gluten free.
Now I don't want you to think I'm a complete wowser when it comes to baking. On special occasions I still indulge in the decedent much less healthy cake options and  I'll share them with you as well but for today it's Innocent Chocolate Cake.


1 cp dates (cover with water & soak until soft)
200g almond meal (approx 2cps)
1/3 cp cocoa
½ teas bicarb soda
1 teas baking powder
1 ts vanilla
¼ cp olive oil
3 eggs (separated)
Grease a 20cm (8") cake tin with oil, line the base with baking paper and dust the side with a mixture of cocoa & almond meal.
Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl. Puree dates with oil, vanilla and egg yolks until smooth, add to dry ingredients and mix well. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into mixture thoroughly, then gently fold through the remaining egg whites. Pour/spoon mixture into prepared tin and bake at 180C (360F) for approximately 30 mins or cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool slightly before removing from the tin.
I would love you to let me know what you think about the recipe or blog. You can either comment here or you can also comment or follow me as One Earlybird on Facebook or @oneearlybird on Instagram.

Hope you have a fantastic day until next time
 PS. Coming soon, by popular demand, another winter warming soup recipe.






Wednesday, 11 June 2014

What's a Girl To Do?

What's a girl to do when she gets home from her 5 km walk/run, starving hungry and she discovers she can't have her usual breakfast (banana, canned fruit, yoghurt and muesli).

The canned fruit is all gone, there isn't even any in the cupboard and the last of the bananas went to work with the men folk.
The options are grapefruit, I don't think so, too sour with yoghurt, and a less than appetising apple.
What to do?
Think outside that square, you creature of habit, there are other options.
Make some porridge, you haven't had porridge for ages and it's nice with yoghurt and muesli.
Oh and grate that ordinary looking apple and put that in it.
And some sultanas.
Let it cook while you have a shower.
10 minutes later.
Yummy, yum, it didn't disappoint.
One happy girl.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

There are always flowers

       for those who want to see them. - Henri Matisse.
Hi everyone, hope some of you have had the chance to try the soup recipe from the last post.
It is officially winter now and the weather has finally realised what season it is, though it isn't as cold here as it usually is in June. I accidently let the fire go out last night (ie. I fell asleep watching TV and it was out when I woke up) and normally I would relight it before I go to bed but I didn't bother last night, and the house wasn't that cold this morning (normally it would be freezing this time of year). Anyway I have lit it now and that will make sure things stay nice & cosy.
The garden always knows what season it is, even if there are a few plants that are a bit confused by the warmer weather. We have been getting the usual morning fogs that are associated with our area at this time of year, but they have been leading into glorious sunny afternoons just right for gardening. Normally I don't spend a lot of time in the garden in the colder months except to do the essential pruning of roses and dead heading of some of the perennials.
Our garden is geared towards spring, that is when it is at its spectacular best and it is open to the public for the annual Garden Getabout. For that reason I probably don't appreciate the beauty of the winter garden as much as I should, until last week. I was out planting a few things that I had bought, when it dawned on me that there were quite a lot of plants that are flowering or having their moment of glory while they don't have to compete with the spring 'show offs'. So I out with the camera and decided I would take you on a garden walk.
The abutilons or Chinese lanterns are really full of flowers and doing their best to attract my attention.
Some of the camellias are just starting to burst into flower and they will do their best to provide some winter cheer right through to spring.
 Winter seems to be the season for these natives to shine.
And sometimes you just have to look a little closer to see some little pretties, a few of which are taking advantage of the warmer weather to have their last hoorah before the frosts come.
There's no ignoring all the yellow in the garden. It's very cheery and seems to be the dominant colour, particularly the daisies.
I love the cotoneasters for the their red berries and the rosellas they attract.
The last of the roses before the frosts, and they have to be pruned in a month or so.
And even if there weren't any flowers I certainly couldn't ignore this.
 A beautiful sunset viewed through the branches of the Gleditsia or as my daughter once called it, the 'spooky' tree.
So really there is a lot to appreciate in the winter garden. I might do this as a regular monthly post. What do you think? Would you like to see what's happening in the garden on a regular basis? It's something for me to think about.
On the crafty side of life there hasn't been a lot happening (well not by my standards) but I have cracked out the crochet hook and wool. Some of the ladies at the craft group I coordinated want to learn how to crochet, specifically a traditional granny square. I've been crochet for over 40 years and have never made a traditional granny square rug so I thought I'd start one as a sample.
I'll keep you posted on how it goes so until next time