Thursday, 29 December 2011


season's greetings..

and best wishes for peace and happiness in 2012

x jane

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

christmas decorating..

'tea with hazel' style..

kitchen window sills

dining table

sitting room

kitchen bench 

the cook 

Friday, 9 December 2011

panzaria salata, tzatziki kai psomi

i decided to go greek yesterday and make pantzaria salata (beetroot salad) and tzatziki (yoghurt dip) because i had five more well and truly pickable beetroot and i spied my first mature enough cucumber evading detection under a few leaves..and i made psomi (bread) too to dip into the tzatziki and olive oil and lemon dressing..

i made two separate salads with the with the beetroot themselves and the other with the beetroot leaves..

beetroot salad 1

4-5 medium beetroot
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/3rd cup of fresh orange juice
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

remove beetroot leaves and put aside for second salad
wash beetroot well and peel
cut into quarters or smaller if large
place in a baking dish and add remaining ingredients
cover with foil and bake at 200 deg c for about an hour or until done
remove to a serving dish and serve warm or cold

beetroot salad 2

beetroot leaves from 4-5 beetroot
1 garlic clive finely grated
olive oil
lemon juice
feta cheese

wash the leaves well until there are no traces of sand and dirt
remove the larger stalks and cut into approximately 8 cm batons
cut the leaves into large shred
put the stalks into a large saucepan and add boiling water just to cover
cook with the lid and simmer until the stems are just tender
drain and return to the saucepan and add the leaves
cook over moderate to high heat turning the leaves often until soft
add the garlic and the salt, lemon juice and olive oil to taste
remove to a serving dish and add cubes of feta
sprinkle with extra salt and drizzle with extra olive oil
serve warm or cold

i made a fresh 1 litre batch of yoghurt for the tzatziki 

tzatziki recipe

approximately 400 gms plain yoghurt
1 small cucumber grated (peel and/or deseed if necessary) squeezed of its juice (i drink it)
1 clove of garlic finely grated
olive oil
lemon juice

rinse a piece of muslin in boiling water
squeeze the water out and line a colander with the muslin
put the yoghurt in the lined colander over a bowl
place on a plate (to catch drips) and cover with clingfilm
place in the fridge for several hours or preferably overnight
when the yoghurt is ready place it in a bowl and add the cucumber, garlic, salt and lemon juice to taste and a tablespoon or so of olive oil and stir well
put into serving dish and drizzle with a little more oil and sprinkle with sumac

i keep the whey from draining the yoghurt for bread making

there are numerous variations for making tzatziki such as:
adding finely crumbled feta
adding finely cut dill
omitting the sumac
using kalamata olives for decoration instead of the sumac

i made my usual loaf of bread but i replaced half of the water in the final dough with 'little creatures' beer which i boiled before use to deactivate any live yeast and burn off the alcohol and i retarded the dough overnight in the fridge..i removed it from the fridge in the morning and because it was quite a warm day the dough was ready for its final shaping after 4 hours..and it was then ready to bake after 3 hours proving.. 

and dinner last night was a veritable greek feast..x 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

when i'm not quilting..

i've been reading a lot of fictional books..or truth be told i am re reading books that i read decades ago..most of them were by chaim potok, a jewish author, whom i admire a lot..but i also re read the 'outsider' by albert's been an unexpectedly satisfying much so that i've ordered half a dozen more books from my local library by authors such as tolstoy, satre and isaac beshevis singer..

novels and i didn't like each other much for many many years..i went from being an avid reader devouring a book a day type avidness to having no interest at all..the change in my reading appetite was a consequence of 10 consecutive years of study where my reading became polarised and i developed an unnatural liking for contorted neuronal gymnastics..but we're friends again novels and much so that it seems like we never grew apart..

i've been gardening too..a few weeks ago i pulled out all the past it's best stuff and planted tomatoes,


and climbing beans..

yesterday i harvested my garlic

 and i noticed that my three year old passionfruit is flowering and fruiting well

i've also planted celery, cucumber, rocket, lettuce, eggplant, basil and coriander..the feijoa has it's first offspring, the two year old pomegranate looks as if it might just bear fruit this year, the elderberry is smothered with flowers and rhubarb planted in winter is looking just like the one i pulled out thinking it was a green variety..i've since learned from a nursery person that rhubarb takes a few years to pink up..

i haven't been cooking anything of note lately except that i made christmas puddings about a month ago with a friend of mine..we have been making our puddings together for over 30 years and we haven't missed a year in all that time.. 

my maternal grandmother daphne's recipe

i made two smaller versions..
one for this christmas and one to have in winter
happy december everyone..x