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A day of cooking in the woodfired pizza oven

On Xmas Eve last year my husband finished building our woodfired pizza oven and we cooked our first pizzas. It’s been great fun feeding pizzas to friends and family over the last 6 months. Today we decided to light the pizza oven before dawn, so that we could cook in it all day.

So the husband lit the fire at about 4.15am, and then went fishing. I went out just after 6am and put a few more logs on the fire.



I said good morning to the animals and gave them breakfast too.




after making a coffee I went back inside and starting preparing meals to cook




I made 2 lots of dough, one for pizza and one for focaccia. I made 2 different bean dishes, makings for 2 quiches, some Anzac cookie dough, and some dough to make some lovely chewy big salty pretzels. I’m never made them before and they were tricky to handle! I’ll make smaller ones next time. They were like bagels in that they are boiled briefly first, then baked. a new favourite I think.



BBQ beans, and a cannellini bean bake


leek and rosemary focaccia having it’s final rising

The last log was put in the fire at about 7.30am. so by 11am it was ready for pizza



5mins later it was ready to eat!


then time for the giant pretzels

they had 2 risings, a quick boil, then into the oven for about 10 minutes


hmmm not very pretzel shaped……..


some post lunch snoozing by the fisherman, and some reading and sewing for the rest of us


then at about 3pm it was in with the focaccia, the quiches and the Anzac cookies






after. kale, parsley and leek quiches.

then at 6pm, the freshly caught dart fillets with their secret recipe lemon “rub” went in for 15mins.


this was dinner with some salad. delicious.

and finally at 7.30pm. a vanilla cake took 15mins to bake.


The oven is still hot enough to bake, but we’ve run out of fridge and freezer space!

We have some meals and lunches for the week, some food in the freezer and all with an armful of wood, an early morning, and a relaxing day at home. t

Thanks for reading 🙂

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time to read


i am gathering my books up ready to return to the library, where i have many more waiting for me on the hold shelf. i think i may have over-estimated how much time i have to read over the next few weeks!

how i loved having time in the summer holidays to read. i have struggled to get through 1 or 2 books in the last two weeks since being back at work; in the holidays i read 3 or 4 books a week, plus magazines, cookbooks, blogs – bliss. the children participated in our local library’s annual Summer Reading Challenge which was epic. a group of no more than 40 kids aged 5-10 yrs read over a 1000 books in 5 weeks!

after mornings at the beach and in the pool, the children and i would spend a few hours in the hot time of the day just reading. there were books piled up on every space, bookmarks became scarce, my kobo e-reader was regularly loaded up, comfy chairs were moved closer to windows, and a house gone quiet would mean we were reading. sometimes together, sometimes alone on beds. 2 days without power in the recent bad weather meant even more reading time!

my children seem to have inherited my love of reading a few books at the same time, which makes for a heavy bag on library day.

what are you reading?

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being a working mother means eating single working girl dinners sometimes

ImageThis is my first year of being a working mother. Ok ok, dont panic – you know full well that I have always been a workiing mother, but this year I am working outside the home and being paid for it.

I love the interraction with adults, I love discussing things other than my children and the contents of their lunchboxes. I love that my kids have adapted so well to me working (although I am still able to take them to school and pick them up – yes I know how lucky i am). I love the warm feeling I get that I am contributing financially to our family’s lifestyle. I love having a little money to spend on “stuff”.

What I don’t enjoy so much is the rushed feeling I have nearly all the time. How nearly every sentence I speak to my children contains the works “come on, hurry up”, or “we’re late”, or “I don’t have time”. I am sad that my blog, my handmade label PenPals, the housework, interesting meals, and coffee with friends have all come to a complete halt.

I am hoping to balance this all out, reach some compromises with tidy rooms, prepare more simple meals that are kid-friendly, make plans to see friends, book a holiday, and talk to my children more about having plenty of time.

In the meantime, my single working girl dinner of many many years ago of tea and toast is back – maybe just for this particular Friday night.

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What do you get up to?

This is what I get up to twice a month – a craft group called Crafty Coasters. We get together once a month in the evening, and the other get together is at a local cafe – a different one each time as there are so many fabulous coffee spots around about.

So if you’re local to the Gold Coast and would like to join us, you can find us on Facebook as Crafty Coasters. If you’re not able to come along with me, why don’t you start your own group !

What do you get up to?

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Easter – but with veges

(photo and recipe thanks to Dianne Summerville. Find her on Facebook as I Love Sewing – supplies, tutorials and sewing classes)

Here’s an Easter treat that has some hidden veges in it. shhhhh don’t tell the kids.

• 250 gms 80% chocolate
• 2 tablespoons butter or marg
Melt over double boiler until smooth
• 1 cup of puree veg (I used beetroot spinach and pumpkin)
• 1 egg or (2 egg whites)
… Put into a bowl and mix together
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup spelt flour
• ½ cup organic cocoa powder
Mix into egg and veg
Mix in choc and butter, place in square lined pan and bake in moderate oven for 35 minutes allow to cool in pan before cutting. I dusted with icing sugar for the kids and that’s it.

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I am thankful that this year has seen us grow as a family as well as 4 individuals. We now have two children at school, a husband embarking on new studies and work path, and my creative outlet of PenPals has enjoyed some successes – the most special one is a whole bunch of new crafty friends. I have enjoyed my regular stall at The Handmade Market Currumbin, and regular coffees with the Crafty Coasters plus I met a new group of friends that came with my daughter’s first year at school.

I am thankful that lots of trips to hospital with bumped heads, broken arms, broken ribs, ticks – none of which were me – have seen everyone healed and healthy.

I am thankful that I am now ready to launch into a paid job outside the home – I just have to start the search for one 🙂

I am thankful that I live where I live – i just need to visit the beach more often. This coming year I will get there.

Happy New Year ! 

(photo from


Friday’s favourites

There are so many things i am loving today!

First of all – the garden

daisy chains

3 weeks ago, they were just seeds,  the kids are loving the daily growth.

sweetpeas reaching to climb

picking lettuce and rocket for lunch and dinner each day is so great


and then there was some food

i'm addicted to this yoghurt, if i could make homemade so it was like this i'd be very happy

and it’s good plopped on leftover pikelets and blackberry jam

that's not cream, that's yoghurt!

and then there was a little shopping. This family calender as awesome, and really made me so much more organised this year. i remembered playdates, library days, school dress up days, and even some birthdays!

ready for 2012


helmet and gloves arrived just in time for cycling

 I had forgotten how much i enjoyed cross stitch

more xmas decorations like this are in progress in the PenPals studio (sometimes referered to as the couch)

 making felted balls is very therapeutic. what to do with them now?

rolling rolling rolling

 what are you loving today?

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no time to blog – crafting!

Ever since I jump started my (tiny) business of sewing/knitting/crochet I have neglected my blogging.  Also, facebook seems to take over doesn’t it? Because I am photographing stock and loading it onto my PenPals facebook page, I tend to update what I am doing there, instead of here.

But I am back to it. As soon as the next Currumbin Handmade Market is over. It’s the first Saturday of each month however, so it does come around pretty quickly.

In the meantime, we’ve been crafting with friends in the beautiful Spring sunshine. Happy Springtime everyone!

Crafting outdoors is lots of fun

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Comfort food

I think all families have their comfort meals. meals for when everyone is tired, or recovering from illness, rainy sunday nights, and even as leftovers for breakfast (harvey’s favourite breakfast is lefovers from dinner).

I thought i’d share some of our favourite comfort meals. This is Harvey’s most requested meal.

Rice with Lentils (from Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, a book i’ve had for about 20 years). In India this is a main dish and is accompanied by curries, chutneys, pappadams and some yoghurt, either plain or mixed with sliced cucumber, or sliced banana.

We have this with a green salad and some Indian chutneys.

This recipe can be halved.

1 cup dried red lentils

2.5 Tblspns oil or ghee (i use half olive oil and half butter)

2 large onions, sliced thinly

1 cup long grain rice

3.5 cups hot water

1-2 tspns sea salt

1/4 tspn each of ground black pepper, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon and nutmeg


Add oil/ghee/butter to a large saucepan with a good fitting lid. Fry the onions over medium heat, stirring at times, until golden brown (takes 5-10 mins). Remove half the fried onions and set aside. Add lentils and rice to pan and fry stirring for a few minutes. Add hot water, salt and spices. Stir well and quickly bring to the boil.

Turn heat very low, cover tightly with lid, and cook without lifting the lid for 20mins until the liquid has been absorbed and rice and lentils are cooked. Serve on a dish with reserved onions scattered over the top.