Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jamie Oliver's Spring Lasagna- Tuesday's in the Kitchen

A Springtime treat for today.
Indeed a thirty minute meal by Jamie that I served with a green salad on the weekend. It's all in season at the moment which is great.
So quick, healthy and easy.
You can even watch the video on how to do it here.

Prep time: 25 min | Cooking Time: 15 min | Serves 6-8 people

A bunch of spring onions
1/2 a 30g tin of anchovies in oil
6 cloves of garlic
700g asparagus
500g frozen baby peas
300g frozen broad beans (or harvested fresh if available)
Large bunch of fresh mint
300ml single cream
1 lemon
300ml vegetable stock
500g cottage cheese (or feta if preferred)

2 packets of fresh Lasagne sheets (12 sheets in total)
Good quality Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried thyme)

how to make

  1. Half fill and boil the kettle. Pour the oil from the anchovies into a saucepan and place on a medium heat. It adds flavour but if you don't like anchovies leave these out.
  2. Finely slice the spring onions and half of the anchovies and then add them to the saucepan.
  3. Crush the six cloves of garlic into the pan and fry for a few minutes ensuring that the garlic doesn't burn.
  4. Trim the pointed tips off the asparagus and put aside, then trim the woody ends from the other side and discard. Finely slice the stems of the asparagus into 1.5cm pieces before adding to the pan with a splash of water from the kettle.
  5. After five minutes, add the peas and broad beans along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well.
  6. Pick and chop up the mint leaves then add them to the saucepan along with the cream. Grate in the zest of half a lemon with a micrograter.
  7. After a few minutes, use a potato masher to mash some of the filling to create texture. Cover with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil before adding 250g of cottage cheese.
  8. Give everything a good stir and cook for a few more minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  10. Take the vegetables off the heat and spoon around one quarter of the mixture into a 30cm x 35cm deep dish (I used two smaller dishes). Top with a lasagne sheet and a generous grating of good quality parmesan cheese.
  11. Repeat the layers of vegetable and lasagne sheets until you have used all of the filling and then top with a final sheet.
  12. Mix the remaining 250g of cottage cheese with a splash of boiled water and then spread over the lasagne.
  13. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus tips then place onto the lasagne. Sprinkle over the thyme along with another good grating of parmesan and a final drizzle of olive oil.
  14. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes until the topping has browned.


I would love to know what you are making- send me a picture- or maybe a link, if you feel like it here or at poppyfoxathome@gmail.com.
I hope you're having a lovely and productive week.

x Mummafox

Words to make you think- Reflections of a 35 year old

Poppyfox has always been a forum for sharing the interweaving and tapestry of my life + although at times it gets deeply personal l in no way want this to become a therapy session. Recently I heard a new song Amazing life live where the second verse just summed up perfectly the internal journey I have been on for some time. I thought l would share the lyrics with you and then share a little about where I'm at.

Amazing Life By Clare Bowditch

You want this amazing life....but you can't decide.
You think you have to be fully formed already, don't ya?
You want this amazing life...but you can't decide....
You don't have to be just one thing,
but you have to start with something.

When you have spent your life serving others within your family, ministry + society, being a counsellor, helper and social worker you take a step back and realise that it is what you have done but isn't who you are entirely. It's one coloured thread to the tapestry. You are more than the sum of those things you just have to redefine your way and choose another road in which to travel that makes more sense to you now.

Turning 30, getting married and taking stock of my work and personal life was a major turning point in my life. A lot of things began to change and I to along with it. It cost friendships, improved my relationship with Ads and as a result made me a better person.
At 32, becoming a mother and stepping away from my career was one of the hardest and best things l ever did. It gave me the space to breathe and look at things afresh but it also left me a little lost and undefined in my role and place in the world. Suddenly my job was not a major part of my life or time, I had little to no income and l was suddenly a 24/7 mother to a little girl that depended on me entirely for her happiness and survival. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling free, in love deeply with a little person and yet feeling helpless at times, sleep deprived, scared and a little unsure of oneself.
Over the course of nearly three years l have learnt to embrace the many shades to motherhood and begun to interweave my dreams, hopes and aspirations between caring for Miss Two and nurturing the new life within, but it hasn't been easy and it's taken time.
I admit I'm critical of myself, suffer mother guilt more than l should, I'm insecure, realise I'm a real nerd + expect myself to know what is next, how I can become exceptional, talented and fulfilled and put pressure on myself to have all the answers. I bounce between confidence, peace and contentment and utter bewilderment and frustration at the cyclical nature of motherhood + family life. But mostly I can say l know happiness and I'm grateful for those times.
At 35, I wonder if we all feel that way and yet don't have the courage to be brave and admit it to ourselves, our loved ones or our closest friends. I figure putting it out there just allows me to weave my story in a new way and carve out a new path for myself. I don't want conventional, I want the freedom to create a new image within my life's tapestry that's honest and a true reflection of who l am + my worth. I feel it deeply and yet l recognise that life moves on, it continues to flow and the current takes me along with it, so l to move on too in the process.

I've been busy planning new blog posts in between caring and enjoying Miss Two and our many adventures over the last few days. Getting sewing organised for tomorrow when l head to my mum's for an afternoon of creativity. I'm hoping to get set up for tomorrow and a full day of sewing on Thursday when mum can watch Miss Two as I sit at the sewing machine. Over the weekend l started creating a pin board of ideas for the launch of the Poppyfox Etsy shop next month it'll be part of the baby shower party to celebrate two new adventures in my life Tully and the Poppyfox shop.
The Etsy shop has been in the making since April along with my bags being at Threads of Nature in Croydon Hills, but with the timing of being pregnant, suffering shocking all day sickness (forget people calling it morning sickness) + learning how to juggle family life, play dates and all that goes with having a busy life it's taken a while. Instead of beating myself up over how much time things take l have had to give in to the mystery and just go with it remembering it's all part of the journey.
There seems to be endless things for me to learn with sewing and creating but overtime l have enjoyed designing my own bag patterns, beginning to create contemporary + vintage inspired quilts, bags and creations for our little people. I've still got Charlie Slings, bunting and pinnies to complete for the shop.
I've got rainbow crazy crayons ready to wrap, Amber Totes finished in reclaimed and new fabrics + plans on creating little people harem + lounge pants, a slip dress and a wrap skirt for the shop too. I'm going to take things slow and see how it all goes. There is no point in burning out before things have even started.
Instead of rushing things which l have made the mistake in the past of doing, l have listened, dreamt, planned and taken my time. As an ex-control freak it's been liberating and scary to give up control and let it all take it's course.
At 30 weeks pregnant l understand that l need to go slowly, care for Miss Two, Ads and myself and stop to enjoy life a little. Soon we will be a family of four and it's going to pick up in pace a lot. I need to get ready for it.
So l have enjoyed spending time with those l love, going back to school (blog school), overhauling the Poppyfox blog, reading and exploring new blogs,being inspired, falling in love with pinterest, getting a lot of reading in with the new Patricia Cornwell novel, Frankie magazine and some crafty morsels from the public library to get me in the creative spirit, being creative + have sat in quiet meditation and sometimes not so quiet reflection and thought about my amazing life because Clare's right I don't have to be just one thing, but you have to start with something and go from there.

I wonder where you are at?

x Mummafox


Glenda Ninnis has left a new comment on your post "Words to make you think- Reflections of a 35 year ...":

Love you Mandi... Every time I read your blog I hear your heart and you have a beautiful heart. I CAN'T WAIT to do life with you once again, when we move closer. You are an inspiration... when you weave everything you are and do together, you are a tapestry of inspiration. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Black, white + green- Monday Link love

I officially love Spring.
The sunshine, the warmer weather, spending time outside and all the new possibilities that come from seeing new life emerge from a cold winter.
Such potential.

Here are a few lovelies l want to share with you today.
All things Cactus + Room ideas with a touch of green herehere, here and here.
Cardboard DIY inspiration here here and here.
Black and White love here and here + Owls here and here.

So many creative + inspiring possibilities it just makes you want to create, 
nurture and nest.

x Mummafox

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The great garden experiment #4

A Garden Update + DIY on seedling planting.

It's spring here, the suns shinning and everything is lush and green. But it's also Melbourne so it rains and we sometimes have four seasons in one day.

We have been enjoying regular harvests from the garden of spring onions, silver beet, kale, lettuce, parsley and coriander. The coriander, kale and silver beet are all going to seed with the heat but that is to be expected.
After the planting out of seedlings + seeds over the last month things are still small in size but healthy.

I have a variety of tomato plants all at different stages of growth to make sure we have tomatoes over a longer harvest period. The tomato plant at the front door is flowering and I can't wait til the first tomatoes can be seen. I bought two more organic varieties from Ceres the other day a Principle Borghese variety that is a mid-late harvesting variety with small plum shaped fruit with tomatoes growing in clusters of 7-10 fruit on the stem. Great for salads, roasting and also to dry for sun dried tomatoes. I also bought some organic basil seedlings as l have never had much success growing it from seed in Melbourne conditions.

The two Diggers heritage capsicum plants are flowering and I planted another dozen sweet mixed capsicum seedlings in the garden together to help them survive the summer winds by growing together and I'll also use small stakes to minimize the risk of stalks breaking. I would really like to try preserving this year to ensure the pantry is full of lovelies for the winter recipes and slow cooker. I'm getting excited about learning how to make passata in the new year from Laura's family just like the Italian Nonna's make.

The cucumbers + yellow and green zucchini's are harding off in the garden to ensure they survive a hot summer. Although the cats next door dug up two of them so they were lost unfortunately. I wish l knew how to get cats to stay off my veggie patch it's really annoying. I'd like to get my revenge, I'm going to try laying orange and lemon peel and coffee grounds over the soil where l have planted the seedlings the smell might be a deterrent as l have heard they don't like citrus + I'm going to do a string line or mini teepee around each planting to deter the cats from digging. I'll let you know if it works.

Potatoes are taking on foliage growth but I won't know how successful the planting til harvest time, it's hit and miss for this vegetable.
The garlic bed is looking good but rather boring to look at with just the green leaves growing above the ground like grass, yellows naturisms at least provide some colour.
Corn is sprouting through the soil near the potatoes and I'm excited to see it take on height and use the potato wire for support. There is nothing better than corn on the BBQ with a nob of butter for dinner when it's hot and we have the opportunity to eat outside. I confess the backyard is full of weeds near the fence line and l have to do a major overhaul of the area but it's always wet out there.
The Strawberries, blueberry, lime tree, raspberry plants and broad beans are all flowering ready to fruit. We are going to plant out the thorn less Boysenberry plant to celebrate being pregnant with Tully. It'll be his plant in the garden and we should enjoy harvests for many years of the lush fruit.
The first planting of snow peas, peas + climbing beans are blossoming and we should be harvesting within the next 7 days. The second planting of seeds are pushing through the soil and growing their first leaves.

The Sunflower seeds haven't shown themselves yet except for 3 little green sprouts but I'm hopeful the garden will be full of sunflowers and native birds come summer. I planted these out early as l needed to plant my garden in a grid to ensure l had space. Having a little garden space is hard when there is so much to plant during Spring/Summer. I bought organic hertiage pumpkin seedlings from Ceres last week but haven't got a clue where they are going to go. Should have thought about that before l bought them! Perhaps in two locations away from short growing crops, hmmm. I loved wandering through the Ceres nursery seeing all the little chicks walking around amongst the plants. I dream of having my own chickens but alas l live in a two story unit with minimal garden and space.

As it's getting hotter and the garden will experience stress from high winds and heat it's really important to use sugar cane mulch or pea straw over the ground in a 5-10cm coverage to help hold moisture in the ground and ensure that when it rains water is retained in the garden and doesn't just evaporate. If you are watering, water when the sun is setting or early in the morning to lessen the likelihood of leaf burn and sunstroke of plants.

A DIY Update:

On planting lettuce seedlings:

It's important that you harden these off before planting them out in the ground. This just means putting them in the punnet where you want to grow them and leaving them for a couple of days, well watered. This helps them adjust to the garden's environment and climate and minimises the risk the seedlings will go into shock and wither. Gently dig over the soil where you want to plant them. Use the back of a hand shovel and make a hole in the soil. Place the seedling in the hole and bring the soil up to the seedling with your fingers and press down around the plant, this helps stabilise the seedling in the soil and doesn't hurt the fine roots of the lettuce plant. Water in when the sun is not high and there is no chance of seedling burn.

Planting Pumpkin Plants:

Pumpkins need lots of room to explore, grow vines and leaves and creep along the ground. I have decided that they can live near the garlic bed and also in a pot by the carport that way l can stake the vine around the other tubs and get use out of my garden while they grow. Pumpkins will grow in full sun or partial shade. They love an organically rich free draining soil mixed with manures and compost.
Whilst l bought a punnet of seedlings if you are growing pumpkins from seed it's easiest to directly sow your seed where you want your pumpkins to grow. Create a foot wide mound of soil about an inch taller than the surrounding soil. Plant 3 or 4 pumpkin seeds as deep as your first knuckle. It's important to thin the seedlings down to 1 or 2 plants.
In caring to the pumpkin patch- Pumpkins are very susceptible to hot days. Make sure you keep the water up to them on warmer days, otherwise you'll see the pumpkin leaves wilting in the sun. Feed them fortnightly with a potash and liquid manure drink or worm wee diluted 1 part to 4 parts water. The main disease problem with pumpkins is powdery mildew on the leaves (which eventually kills the plant) so avoid watering overhead in the afternoonn.
Harvesting pumpkins In 3 to 4 months after planting. Using a knife cut the pumpkin from the vine. Make sure you leave a good 4 to 5 inches (10-15cms) of vine connected to the pumpkin so it dries off properly. This minimises deterioration to the pumpkin during storage meaning it doesn't go mouldy and rot. Pumpkins can easily be kept in a cool dry place for 6 months.

A Link love for dealing with pests in the garden:
Keeping bugs from your Veggies naturally over at Veggiemama with guest blogger from Cooker and a Looker a great little blog l just found out about this morning.

Let us know about what's happening in your garden. Comment here on the blog or contact us and tell us what's in your garden, attach a link to your blog if you have one + send us some photos so we can share your gardens with others to poppyfoxathome@gmail.com.
If you have questions or gardening tips and advice share it with us.
We'd love to hear from you.
Happy Gardening Everyone!

x Mummafox

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Blog reading list...#Blog School Homework

I've gone back to school and joined Blog School at justb run by Pip Lincolne from Meet me at mikes. It's inspired me to plan and get more organised with my blogposts, the layout and the overall blog design for PoppyFox. I've spent much of the late afternoon + night doing my homework for Week 2 thinking about why + how I write my blog. What it means to me, what's important in my life + what I want to share with you all.  
Part Two of our homework was to write a post about our blog reading list....so here it is:

My top 10 blogs that are crafty, beautiful and inspiring-

(in alphabetical order)

justb http://www.justbaustralia.com.au
kit & nancy http://kitandnancy.blogspot.com/
Llevo el invierno http://llevoelinvierno.blogspot.com/
Meet Me at Mikes http://www.meetmeatmikes.com/
naughty shorts! http://naughtyshorts.blogspot.com/
one sheepish girl http://onesheepishgirl.blogspot.com/
Smile And Wave http://smileandwave.typepad.com/blog/
thrift. nest. sew. http://thriftnestsew.blogspot.com/

The long Bloglovin reading list:

a little gray http://alittlegray.blogspot.com/
Apartment Therapy http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/
Dear Stephen King _http://dearstephenking.wordpress.com
dottie angel_http://dottieangel.blogspot.com/
Founded 1967_http://founded1967.blogspot.com.au/
handmade charlotte http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/
heather nette king http://heathernetteking.blogspot.com
MadamInsideOut http://madaminsideout.wordpress.com/
maggie and sparrow http://maggieandsparrow.blogspot.com/
Making it Lovely http://makingitlovely.com
moopy & me http://neststudio.typepad.com/moopy_me/
My Girl Thursday http://www.mygirlthursday.com/
retromummy http://retromummy.blogspot.com/
rockMYroll http://www.rockmyroll.com/
sfgirlbybay http://blog.lepetiteflea.com
simplesong http://simplesong.typepad.com/home/
Skunkboy Blog http://skunkboycreatures.blogspot.com/
So Fawned http://www.sofawned.com/
Sweet Verbena http://sweet-verbena.blogspot.com/
tea with lucy http://teawithlucy.blogspot.com/
The Design Files  http://www.thedesignfiles.net/

Some of the little treasures l've found so far from blog school:

Campfire Craft_http://campfirecraft.blogspot.com.au
Her New Leaf _http://hernewleaf.com
Life In a Pink Fibro_http://lifeinapinkfibro.blogspot.com.au
Little Green Shed_http://littlegreenshed.blogspot.com.au
Make Do Sew_http://www.makedosew.com
My Rainbow Vintage  _http://myrainbowvintagehome.blogspot.com.au
Styling You_http://www.stylingyou.com.au
This Grand Life _http://www.thisgrandlife.com.au
Veggie Mama_http://www.theveggiemama.com

                               x Mummafox

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