Meet the sponsors : May

 

Goodness! Almost halfway through May…. Dunno about you, but despite my best attempts to write lists and prioritise, I still struggle to keep up….¬†But hey! I’m NEVER bored, and that’s a good thing ūüôā

ANYhow! Enough of me – I’d like to introduce you to this month’s batch of wonderful sponsors.

A brand new fresh welcome to Libby of Crimson Pear! Libby is a web designer who can do everything from tweak your current site or blog to giving you a whole new look, and with her graphic skills she’s up for designing you a simple logo to a full re-branding. She has a range of WordPress themes ready to go as well as several collections of social media icons ready for you to slip straight onto your site. AND she’s a dab hand at pretty surface designs. Phew! You can check her out at¬†crimsonpear.com.au

crimson pear - mobile ready wp theme

crimson pear – mobile ready wp theme

 

Welcome back to Holly from Country & Co – a platform for regional artisans to showcase and sell their goods. Country & Co represent an incredibly varied range of goods, from jewellery to furniture to artworks to food. One of Country & Co’s shops is Orange Pekoe, a blender of artisan teas. How’s this Lady Grey Special look? Divine, if you ask me. You can find them, and a heap more at¬†CountryandCo.com.

countryanco - orange pekoe - lady grey special

countryanco – orange pekoe – lady grey special

 

Sophie and Tim’s little blue house is taking shape nicely, after the devastating flood that swept through a little more than a year ago,¬†filling the house with muddy water to halfway up the windows. ¬†Sophie shares the progress on her house, home gardening adventures, vego recipes and occasional puppy cuteness on her blog¬†ShineLittleLight.blogspot.com.au.

shinelittlelight's house

shinelittlelight’s house

 

Welcome back to Tess from Planet Treasures. You KNOW she loves colour! Tess uses lots of semi-precious gems as well as Czech and Venetian glass to create her bold jewellery. You can find her Etsy shop at PlanetTreasures, and if you happen to be in the Blue Mountains, you can also find her work in the very lovely craft cooperative, The Nook in Leura.

planettreasures - venetian glass earrings

planettreasures – venetian glass earrings

 

Hello again to Katia from Plushkacraft – a sweet blog full of craft tutorials, biz tips, and other wonderfulness that she spies around the world. What about these new pencil cases and notebooks she’s made? All hand embroidered in cross stitch – one of Katia’s favourite stitches. You can find her at¬†plushkacraft.com.au.

plushkacraft - notebooks and pencil cases

plushkacraft – notebooks and pencil cases

 

Lastly, but not leastly (surely that’s a word?) of course there’s Janine from Middlemost. Janine makes a range of things, from clothing and accessories in wonderful vintage fabrics, to quirky combinations of laser-cut earrings on curious backgrounds. Her collages and handmade packaging is special.¬†You can find her Facebook page¬†here.

middlemost - vintage fabrics for dresses

middlemost – vintage fabrics for dresses

 

Thank you once again, to all these lovely people for continuing to support tractorgirl. You should go support them too.

Cheers, Julie x

 

Food : Kidney bean soup

 

red kidney bean soup

red kidney bean soup

 

The weather where I am has taken a definite turn for the cooler! Bring on the woollies, the open fires, and a big bowl of hot soup. My partner and I invented this many years ago when we were wanting something warm and tasty, and were on a bit a chilli kick. It’s SO easy peasy, and I tell you, it’s back-of-the-throat kind of bliss – you’ll probably want to eat the lot.

Although this version’s not vegetarian, it can be made so, if you substitute the bacon with ¬†carrot and onion. Enjoy!

 

Kidney bean soup

2 1/2 – 3 rashers of bacon
(or vegie version, 1 carrot & 1 onion, sliced)
1/2 red capsicum, sliced
440g tin of tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
2 tblspns tomato paste
2 cups stock
1 1/2 cups water
2-3 chillis, or to taste
1 tspn dried oregano
1 400g tin kidney beans
1tspn salt

Saute the bacon (and/or fresh veg) in the pan, then add all other ingredients. Add salt, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Sometimes I also add in a pinch of sugar, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes.¬†That’s it!

 

Food : Beetroot & yoghurt dip

 

beetroot

jam-packed with the good stuff – antioxidants & nutrients galore. high in fibre, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, sodium, and folates, and you can eat the green leaves as well

 

I love beetroot. They taste rich and earthy with a subtle sweetness. And just look at that great colour! They are fabulous in so many ways – roasted with heads of garlic, sauteed chunks with butter, raw matchsticks in a green salad with avocado, cooked with a variety of other root vegetables and fresh herbs to make borscht. Shall I keep going?

One day recently I was feeling a bit middle eastern-y and had some of these beauties on hand, so I came up with this. It’s easy-easy-peasy, and I served it with falafel, tabouli, baba ganouge, on home-made pitta breads.

 

beetroot dip

beetroot dip

 

Beetroot and Yoghurt Dip

2 medium beetroot, cooked (scrubbed, but not peeled)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup thick greek yoghurt
100g fetta, crumbled
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaf

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Add a little olive oil if the mix is too stiff, and adjust the salt and lemon juice to taste.

Actually, you can adjust the amounts of any of the ingredients to taste – just whack it all together and taste it as you go. Oh, but you must garnish it with coriander leaf.

You NEED some pitta to stuff this into with (or without) some falafel. They’re easy – home-made bread is always the go (mmmmm! can you smell it baking?). Pitta bread recipe is here.

 

Food : Hot Cross Buns {without the cross}

hot cross buns, delivered by the easter fairy

hot cross buns, delivered by the easter fairy

 

In my part of the world, it’s Good Friday, Easter. And even though I wouldn’t call myself a Christian (or anything else, for that matter), I still am in love with the delectable-ness that is the hot cross bun. Fragrantly spicy, richly warm and yeasty, served straight out of the oven with lashings of butter – who can resist that? ¬†YUM.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. This recipe is one that I’ve adapted from the recipe book that came with my¬†{ahem} breadmaking machine… Yes. Sometimes I let it do all the hard work, before I take the dough out and shape it before proving and baking. Please don’t think I’m lazy though, because really I’m not. I’ve just got other things to do. Like Pinterest

 

Of course, these are good for any time you feel like something rich and yeasty with currants and cinnamon in your life, not just Easter.

 

HOT CROSS BUNS

Buns –¬†

455g plain flour
1 tspn salt
4 tspns dried yeast
250ml warm milk
50g sultanas
50g currants
50g butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tspn mixed spice
1/2 tspn cinnamon

The cross –¬†

Make a paste from 1/4 cup flour mixed with a little water. Put the paste into a small ziplock plastic bag, and snip the tiniest bit of corner off to make a disposable piping bag. Pipe the paste on before baking.

 

Method –¬†

Preheat oven to 200 deg. C.

Mix all ingredients together to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth (or let your breadmaker do this part). Leave it to rise for an hour or so. Knead it again thoroughly, then  divide dough into 16. Roll each section into a ball and arrange them on your baking tray. Place a sheet of baking paper over them, over cover the whole in a teatowel while they are rising. Leave them to rise for another hour or so.

If you would like to pipe on a cross at this stage, put the paste in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle. (I’ve been tempted on occasion to pipe on little cranky faces.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they’re nicely browned on top. While they’re baking, make a glaze by mixing 1 tblspn sugar, 1 tblspn gelatine, and 1 tblspn hot water together. (This glaze is also optional.)

If you wish, brush the hot, cooked buns with the glaze, and then leave to cool for a bit on a wire rack.

You must eat them while they’re still warm, or else you’ll make the Easter Bunny cross.


{Of course, any kind of home-made bread is delicious. If you’re a bread-making virgin, you might like to start with my total favourite basic loaf, here. It’s EASY, I promise!
Cheers, J x}

 

Food : zucchini bhajis

 

bhajis

bhajis

 

Zucchini Bhajis

Bhajis are a type of fragrant and spicy vegetable fritter, originating in India. These ones are zucchini and onion, but they can be made with other vegetables, and they are seriously good.

Those of you who have been around for a bit will know I put this recipe up on my Facebook page some time ago, but seeing as how it’s autumn in Australia now, and many gardens are bursting to overflowing with late zucchini, I thought I would spread the bhaji love a bit further and re-post the recipe here.

 

The recipe is adapted from Robert Budwig’s The Vegetable Market Cookbook. They are really simple to make – despite the long list of ingredients, it’s just mix & cook.

 

***

Zucchini and onion bhajis.

Serves about 4 people.
2 large onions grated (use a food processor with a grating disc to make this task a breeze)
450g zucchini grated
1 1/2 tspn cumin ground
1 tspn ground coriander
2 fresh green chillies, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic crushed
1cm piece ginger, peeled & grated
2 cups plain flour
1tspn ground turmeric
1/2 tspn garam masala
1 tspn salt
3-4 tblspn water.
oil for deep frying

Mix all ingredients together to make a stiff mixture. Drop spoonfuls into hot oil & cook until golden brown. Wonderful served with cucumber raita, mango chutney, or even sweet chilli sauce.