Monday, January 30, 2012

Savoury Impossible Pie

I love Swiss Chard. I love everything about it. I love its colour. I love growing it and I love eating what I've grown.
I also love making Impossible Pies. They are soooooooo easy.
2 cups lactose-free milk
4 free range eggs
30g butter, melted
1/2 cup unbleached, organic plain flour (use spelt or other if required)
1 cup grated tasty cheese (hard yellow cheeses have negligible lactose)
3/4 cup pre-cooked Swiss Chard (or silverbeet)
1/2 cup drained & chopped char-grilled capsicum
130g creamed corn
the green part ONLY of 2 spring onions, chopped
Preheat oven to Moderate, 180C. Lightly grease a deep, 25cm pie plate
In a large jug, whisk together milk, eggs & butter. Season to taste
Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a well in centre, gradually mix in milk mixture
Add half the cheese, plus Swiss Chard, capsicum, corn & spring onion
Pour mixture into pie plate
Sprinkle with remaining cheese
Bake 45-50 mins until firm
Serve in wedges with salad of choice

Vegie Patties

As ever, please make sure you know your own tolerance threshold :)
400g white skinned potatoes
1 large zucchini (gourgette) coarsely grated
250g orange sweet potato, peeled & coarsely grated
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup flatleaf parsley or coriander or similar herb of choice
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
120g spelt flour (or other flour of choice)
Crisco Sunflower oil (no anti oxidants), for cooking
Preheat oven to 200C
Line baking tray with baking paper
Place the potato & zucchini in a colander, using hands to squeeze out as much moisture as possible
Put into a large bowl, add the carrot, sweet potato, ginger, parsley, salt, eggs and 80g of the flour
Stir well until well combined
Cover & set aside for 15 mins
Take 1/4 cup of mixture at a time and form into patties
Roll in the remaining flour to coat both sides
Heat a small amount of the oil in a large fry pan over medium heat
Cook the patties in small batches for 3-4 minutes on each side
Transfer to the prepared tray and bake for approx 20 minutes
Serve with a small salad or favourite side


And so it continues! Thankfully, this story has a much happier outcome. Our youngest animal is a cat, aged 9 years ... and here he is. My DH is totally in love with this cat and when Sputnik got very sick 2 weeks ago, we feared the worst.
Sputnik is a Scottish Longhair and he is a very big cat. His coat went off first. It became lank, thin and 'stary'. He started to lose weight, couldn't miaow and one morning he was drooling with obvious breathing difficulty. Straight to the vet! Within two minutes she told us he had some obstruction in his throat and she would operate immediately. Of course, we were terrified about leaving him there and of what the outcome might be. By mid-afternoon we had a call to say that Sputnik had some sort of cyst in his throat which was filling with fluid and it was pressing on his windpipe, hence the breathing prob. The vet said she had only just been able to pop it with the tip of a scalpel. The area was close to the main arteries and facial nerves, so she'd been loathe to 'dig around too much'. She had no idea of what had caused it and she wasn't sure what his prognosis was. We went to pick him up and paid just over $500 for the treatment ... I think DH might have paid $5000 by this time ... he was overwrought. For the first 36 hours, Sputnik was very sore and quiet, but he was happy to sleep on his Daddy's bed and just be left alone. Then his miaow came back, followed by a voracious appetite! How he managed to scoff down the beef mince we were feeding him, with such a huge wound and painful neck/throat amazed me. He is now recovering very well. His coat is silky, thick & lustrous. Looks like he might have used up all his 9 cat lives on this one! We are delighted he is well again; and getting better every day.


The past few months have been very difficult in our house. After Jethro left us on Oct 5th, 2011 our Red Heeler X Kelpie dog, Zara, went into a complete funk. She was really depressed for several weeks and when she came out of it, she was crazier than ever. She was always a neurotic dog, but she missed Jethro and her behaviour was crazy. It didn't matter how many times I threw the ball for her, or how much time I spent with her - she had lost the plot. She invented a new game to keep herself occupied and it involved stalking the horses!!! Over a couple of weeks, she went from stalking them to make them run away from her - when she would give chase - to actually hunting them. I was aware she was doing this, so kept her inside with me or chained up when I wasn't outside. One w/end DH had been away and I was distracted when he got home. I heard Zara's tell-tale lunatic barking which told me she was stirring the horses up. I yelled at her, it went quiet & I thought nothing more about it ... completely distracted by DH describing the vintage cars he'd seen over the w/end. I went out to feed the horses about 45 mins later. Diego had a very nasty bite mark high up on one hind leg, with a second not so bad one on the other leg. As soon as I saw it I knew that Zara had got him. It was still bleeding freely so I cleaned it up, treated it & went looking for the dog. DH found her lying beside her kennel and she was also bleeding. I examined her gently and saw that her bottom jaw was broken, some teeth were missing and she appeared to have a head injury as well. I have no doubt that she had 'got' the horse with her first bite, but then he 'got' her when she went back for a second bite ... and he has shoes on. She'd taken a hard kick to her head and face. By now it was around 9.30pm on Sunday night. Luckily I had some Ketamine (a strong sedation) which I had been using when treating one of the horses for a serious eye infection. The horse dosage was 3 mls, so I gave Zara 2 mls. If that was too much for her, did it really matter? She was out of it within 30 minutes and was not in any discomfort throughout the night when I checked her several times. We took her to the vet first thing on Monday morning. The date was 5th December ~ only two months after Jethro left us. She was 12 years and 2 months old. She was a crazy, neurotic dog but we miss her.
R.I.P. Zara.

Lanark Park Scots Dragoon

After Jethro left my life, I was devastated. I knew I would be upset, what I wasn't prepared for was the on-going raw grief and how much I still miss him. My DH was worried about me as I literally cried for days. I couldn't sleep. I needed something to keep my mind occupied; as well as keeping me actively engaged. My retired old (26 yo) Pinto, Diablo, keeps me fairly busy but I decided I might like to start riding again. To make sure this wasn't a whim I went on a few rides at Ironbark Trail Rides and decided I would start looking for another riding horse. DH & I spent days, weeks, driving to look at horses for sale. What a wasted and very frustrating exercise!! There were quite a few false starts and mistakes made on my part. Then finally, after about six weeks, I went to see the boy in the above pics. He was in very poor condition, he hadn't dropped his winter coat yet, his pot belly told me he had a heavy worm burden, his feet & teeth were in dreadful condition ... but I bought him anway! After I rode him and spent an hour or so with him I knew I could not leave him the 'care' of the mongrel who was selling him. The first photo was taken the day after he arrived at our property. The next one, where he's gleaming like a gold ingot, was taken 5 weeks later. He didn't have a name when I got him. 'Palomino' is a Spanish word and we already have Diablo (The Devil). I decided to name the new horse Diego .. so now we have God and The Devil in the back paddock. LOL
I tracked down Diego's background, age and registered name (using his brands and markings) through the Arabian Horse Society. Finding out how old he really is was a bit of a shock, but he is a very young 25 yo. He has put on even more condition since the second pic above and he is looking fan.tas.tic. I ride him 3-4 times a week, but he doesn't cope with the hot days too well so on those days we both have a rest. He is quiet & sensible to ride. His 75% Arabian blood gives him a bit of fiestiness which he hasn't lost. He is good in traffic and nothing much really fazes him. I always feel good when I get back from a ride in the bush and the old boy enjoys it too.

Steamed Chicken With Rice or Noodles

This is an economical recipe. I usually get three meals from it. It's an excellent 'go to' when I am feeling sick and/or have symptoms.
Take a tray of organic chicken "Lovely Legs" which are the thigh either on, or off, the bone. I prefer the ones on the bone as they have more flavour and produce more gelatin.
Simmer the chicken in enough Campbell's Chicken Stock, to cover the meat. Make sure you use Campbell's as there is no onion or garlic in this stock, so it shouldn't cause symptoms. If you are really sensitive, just use water. Simmer on low heat until chicken is tender .. I usually give it 45 mins to an hour. If you are hungry when they are cooked, eat some and put the rest (pot and all) in the fridge. When they are completely cold (overnight), scrape any fat from the top and eat some more. By now they will be gooey, soft and gelatinous. This gelatine is a real tummy soother.
There should still be enough left for a third meal.
I steam some plain white medium grain rice as a side; or sometimes I add rice vermicelli directly to the pot as the chicken is re-heating on the stove top. Slice the green part of a spring onion and some coriander for a very tasty, easy-to-prepare meal.