Friday, December 20, 2013


EVERYONE who has chooks in the back yard reckons their girls produce the best cackleberries with which to make scrambled eggs.

As do I.

And I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and give you the recipe:

2 freshly laid eggs
1/2 cup of milk
fresh baby spinach
fresh basil leaves - chopped roughly
olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sourdough bread

Beak eggs add milk and combine until fluffy
Place a splash of olive oil in the pan
Add chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and half  the basil and gently toss until cooked
Place bread in toaster or even better, under the grill
Carefully pour in egg mixture over the mushrooms and tomatoes, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste then using a spatula, push the mixture back on itself as it cooks
When cooked place spinach on toast then lift scrambled eggs on toast

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


CHOICE, the consumer's lobby today announced their key wins for consumers in 2013, including the NSW Department of Fair Trading announced in December that it would champion a national crackdown on dodgy free-range egg labelling after CHOICE made a complaint earlier in the year.

This is an important step towards an enforceable free-range egg standard in Australia.

If you can, consider having a couple of chooks in your backyard.

Here's the label for the egg-cess bounty from my feather riot...

Gidget’s Cluckingham Palace
Fresh laid free range eggs from the happy hens: 
Gidget, Layne. Ledger, Laura and Hilda.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


MAKING meringues is always a hoot.

It's easier than working out what to do with all the left-over egg yolks if you are not planning on whipping up mayonnaise afterwards.

Last night I had fun baking mini-pavlovas for the fire brigade barbecue tonight.

Listening to 3RRR, drinking a diet ginger-beer and keeping an eye on the chooks to make sure they did not invade the bean patch, it's a pleasant way to spend a sunny summer evening.

As I'd already made the chocolate spice and vanilla butter cakes, the oven was well heated so I could easily lower the temperature.

To check they are cooked, gently tap the meringue - it will sound hollow if it is done.

While a large pavlova looks spectacular, for a buffet I prefer to make single serves so people can help themselves.


4 egg whites
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 TBL spoons sifted pure icing sugar

Beat egg whites, Salt and sugar until thick, glossy and firm - about 10 minutes
Gently fold in icing sugar until fully combined
Line flat trays with baking paper 
Pipe into small swirls
Bake in a low oven - around 100 degrees for about an hour (every oven is different so keep an eye on them to ensure they don't brown.)
Fill with cream and scatter with blueberries or grated chocolate

Monday, December 16, 2013


ERADICATING bamboo can be a thankless task.
So thank goodness for the feather riot.
Before the combines attack of mattock and chook
After the hens and the mattock
Looking at the bare earth down the pathway behind my studio and chook run, it's a testament to those cheeky chooks.
The before photo which was taken from the other end of the path shows the triffid-like jungle the bamboo had grown into
These hens have been working hard.
As have I - swinging a mattock is a great core and upper-body workout but it took ages to cut down the bamboo and then dig out the roots.
The bamboo poles were then left to dry out and cure and as you can see from the photo above, are perfect for staking tomatoes and beans.
There's still the occasional bamboo shoot, but by the time the hens have a nobble and scratch it's all over red rover.

Friday, December 13, 2013


PANCAKES are one of those you can 'feel them doing you good' breakfasts.
Particularly when made from fresh eggs collected a few minutes earlier.
No-fail pancakes
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup wholemeal SR Flour - sifted
1/2 cup SR flour - sifted
Beat eggs and milk until frothy
Gently add flours
Combine until creamy
Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes
Heat non-stick pan and grease
Use a table spoon to drop small amounts of batter in pan
Serve with lemon and sugar or berries
Note - the chooks will love the scraps!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


IS there anything more fun to do in the kitchen than baking biscuits?
They are simple to create, use eggs from my hens and emit such a lovely fragrance as you pull them from the oven!

This morning I had the old sunbeam mix-master working overtime as I made cakes, Anzac and butter biscuits before work for an afternoon tea for a friend.

Easy to bake but they make an impact as everyone love loves gifts from the heart.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


KEEPING your backyard chooks happy is the key to getting great eggs.
Ensuring they have a constant supply of cool and clean fresh water, food and a relaxed environment all make those cackleberrries extra-good.
Free-range is the go but foxes, even in urban areas, can be a problem.
Lat night a galpal on acreage at Bellbrae called to say her flock of hens were being stalked by a fox. So confident was this it predator, it was even turning up while she only 10m away putting out the washing!
Now she is going to build a totally enclosed run to keep them safe.
As my yard backs onto the Bellarine rail trail which can seem to be a fox highway at times, so I don't allow the gals out in the garden unless I'm there.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


ONE of the loveliest things about walking or cycling to work is looking at what everyone else is growing in their gardens.
Roses rambling over fences, lemon trees showing their bounty as you walk past a gate, even tomatoes soaring a good couple of metres up, in this case. even growing above the lattice nailed to the timber fence. 
While dashing along Carr St last night, I stopped to admire this tomato which was enjoying the sunshine. It was taller than I am (not hard at 5'3") and covered in flowers which bodes well for a later summer harvest.
I can understand why people want privacy in the gardens, but sharing your trees, shrubs and flowers looks and scent is one of the great benefits of gardening all year long.

Monday, December 9, 2013


ALL states bar Victoria will affected by new regulations to come in next year which may mean the end to the sharing of backyard eggs.

An article in the WEEKLY TIMES said from November, selling, trading or giving away eggs produced in your backyard could be banned.

Well, I for one am appalled.

This is serious as it means that backyard chook keepers like me who give away eggs (and those who also sell), will have our egg trading restricted.

My hens produce 4-5 eggs a day and the majority are given to friends who are unwell or I use them in my baking.

The WT article said all states and territories have signed the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code and each state has had to draft its own legislation.
It added so far Victoria has an exemption from the stamping requirement until November 25 next year and an ongoing exemption for duck and quail eggs.

Friday, December 6, 2013


IF it's Friday then it's pancake day at my place.
Sometimes friends come over before work for breakfast - it's a fun way to catch up without the craziness of juggling different lunchtimes and is a lovely start to the day.
Nothing beats dashing out to the chook shack and checking if Gidget and the gals have laid eggs so i can make up a batch of flapjacks.

This morning's chilly temperature called for a wholemeal / white flour combo which my breakfast guests enjoyed with lemon and sugar.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


AS an avid recycle fan, I love trawling op-shops, garage sales, roadside hard rubbish and online sale sites.

It's a great way to obtain marvellous items at little coats while being sustainable.

Usually I'm on the lookout for gardening items, books or cooking gear - yes, yes, seven Sunbeam mix masters is enough, I know.

But last week i manged to score the holy Grail of bargains - a Technika 900mmm working gas cook top, fan forced oven stove for a song.

A friend opened a new restaurant and decided to sell off through Surf Coast Secondhand their old cooking appliances.

It gets connected tomorrow morning at 7am - cannot wait to get baking!