Food : Sophie’s apricot coconut tart


This recipe comes from the very lovely Sophie’s blog, Shine Little Light. She’s a bit of a baker, the old Soph! She published this recipe on her blog last year. And of course, because those yummy apricots are just coming into season, I figured it was all pointing in this direction. Mmmmm, coconuts & apricot…. Enjoy.


So a baking urge came over me and it all had to do with the amazing stone fruit that is in season… I searched all the usual places for an enticing apricot pie recipe, but without luck. In the end I made this one up. I made wholemeal pastry because I was all out of plain white flour, but you could go either way – though I like wholemeal because it adds a semblance of healthiness to any dessert (which of course means you can eat more of it!) It’s pretty bloody nice I have to say but it must be accompanied by vanilla ice cream on a warm summer night.



You Need
* 240gs plain or wholemeal flour
* 180gs butter
* 1 tblsp cold water
* 1kg apricots, washed, cut in half with the stones removed
* 1/2 an orange’s juice
* 100g brown sugar
* 50g white sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1 cup dessicated coconut
* 1 cup of ground hazelnuts (or other nuts probably)
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 60gs butter
First make your pastry. Rub the flour and butter together until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the cold water and knead it into a dough. Cover in a clean plastic bag (cling film is the devil) and pop it in the freezer for an hour (or the fridge for longer).
Preheat the oven to 180.
Wash and chop your apricots and put them in a bowl with the orange juice, brown and white sugar and cinnamon. Roll them all round together so the apricots are covered.
To make the topping mix the last set of ingredients together and rub in the butter.
Lightly grease your pie dish and roll out your pastry to a few mm thick. To be honest, I totally suck at this and ended up just patching it all together and squishing it into my pie dish!
Pop your apricots in it and make them cover the area nicely, make sure you drizzle all the orangey sugar mixture over them too. Then sprinkle your topping over it all and bung it in the oven until the apricots are soft. I think I cooked it for about 40mins…

Meet the Sponsors for December


Welcome to December! I’m sorry, but the question has to be asked ~ have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I know I haven’t! I bought some beautiful things about two weeks ago, and was feeling rather pleased with myself at the time, but seem to have lost momentum… ;S

Lucky I have these lovely sponsors to give me ideas. Thanks guys!

I’ve got some beautiful new sponsors for you to meet, and some familiar faces too.

Do you love fabric and pattern as much as I do? Irina from Chulabird (who I featured a little while ago here) has some fabulous ones – I’m still in love with her Autumn Swirl (below). You can find this and other great designs from her in her Spoonflower shop.

chulabird – autumn swirls – large, white


Next up is Cassie, of the lovely blog CassieJene. Full of DIY crafty tips, musings on motherhood, she’s also just started a great series titled “Creative Parents in Business”. AND she’s just welcomed a new arrival to the family! She is also the head and hands behind accessories shop Rainbow Lollies.

Cassie Jene (Rainbow Lollies) – slippery cufflinks


Welcome back to Priya from Peacocks & Paisleys. Priya is a proud supporter of Fair Trade and uses small artisan block printing workshops in India to produce her beautiful house linens. You can find Peacocks & Paisleys here.

Peacocks & Paisleys – autumn lotus – sheer curtain


Welcome back to the lovely Kirsten of PaperByForgetMeNot, with her extensive range of stationery, including notebooks, handmade cards, gift tags and more. Such cute things – how about these Rudolphs??  You can find more of her work in her Etsy shop here.  .

PaperByForgetMeNot – Rudolph gift tags


Middlemost (who should be no strangers to you now, surely!) will be heading off to Sydney THIS WEEKEND for Finders Keepers! If you’ve only just found this blog, and/or Middlemost, let me tell you that Janine spends a good amount of her time making clothing and accessories from vintage fabrics, buttons, and other bits and bobs. I’m loving her quirky combinations of laser-cut earrings on curious backgrounds. If you can’t make it to Finders Keepers this weekend, you can find her on her Facebook page.

middlemost – earring sets


Hello again to Holly from Country & Co! Holly is the brains behind this online marketplace, showcasing regional artisans from around Australia, but especially around  the Cowra region. You can find a wide selection of good on Country & Co – everything from furniture to jewellery and wonderful hand-crafted condiments, such as this intriguing Chilli, Peach & Watermelon Jam Sauce from Niela – recommended for roast duck and the like!! Sounds divine. You can find Country & Co here.

Country & Co – Chilli, Peach & Watermelon Jam by Niela


Tess from Planet Treasures adores colour! And uses lots of semi-precious gems and Czech glass to create her bold jewellery. Guaranteed to make a statement, you can find Tess’ distinctive work in her Etsy shop, PlanetTreasures. 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 – turquoise howlite & red coral bracelet


Sophie writes a sweet blog called ShineLittleLight (so-named as she worked for some time as a Lighting Designer for a major theatre company).  The blog covers all sorts of things that happen in her life – you know, puppies, vegie gardens, major floods that devastate their house – that kind of thing. Lately, she is busy working on a movie as Assistant Production Manager – but that’s yet another story. ANYway – she’s also a keen cook, and a vegetarian, and she is inclined to put up a heap of recipes on her blog such as her Gran’s Fruit Tea Cake.

ShineLittleLight – Gran’s Fruit Teacake


Jemima started bush-dyeing fabrics many years ago, and loves exploring this medium through natural fibres, especially the gorgeously luxurious jerseys made from Milkymerino – special Merino Wool combined with Milk Protein to produce wool that doesn’t itch! SHe then sews garments for kids and adults from her home near Tumut. You can find MyLiefe on their Facebook page here.

MyLiefie – bushdyed dress


Once again, thanks to all these wonderful supporters of tractorgirl! Go visit these people, check out their fabulous things – support the supporters of tractorgirl, it will be much appreciated.

Julie x

Books + Food : Limoncello and Linen Water – Tessa Kiros


limoncello & linen water – Tessa Kiros


I was lucky enough to receive this utterly beautiful book for my birthday recently. We already have a couple of Tessa Kiros’s other books – Falling Cloudberries, and Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook – which I love, but this has to be my absolute favourite.

As with all her books, Tessa draws you into her world. Born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek Cypriot father, she married an Italian, and has moved around the world and cooked in myriad places. She has now settled in Tuscany with her husband and their two daughters.

This book is a tribute to her mother-in-law, Wilma, as well as many of the other matriarchs that have entered into her life. It is full of their snippets of wisdom, their tips on how to maintain an orderly household, and of course, recipes, passed on through generations. The photographs are something else – richly textured, filled with the treasures collected over time – heirloom silver, beautiful china, embroidered linens, trinkets, old photographs and pretty boxes to keep them in. It is a book full of love and beauty.

I haven’t had a chance to try many of the recipes yet (as I write this I am looking at a large hole in my bench and awaiting the installation of a brand new oven!), and unfortunately, some of the ingredients sound a bit exotic – I’d reckon I’d be hard-pressed to find them in Wagga. Some of the recipes certainly don’t entice me either (celery marmalade anyone? to have with a cheese platter, of course) – but there are some that look and sound divine. Pass me that Torta Tartufata (chocolate truffle cake) now.

Published by Murdoch Books, ISBN 978-1742668789.

Food : poppy seed orange cake


poppy seed orange cake


Do you love poppy seed cakes? I do – nutty with a little crunch, and not too sweet. With the freshness of orange, the richness of sour cream, and finished with a syrup poured over the top and left to soak through, this one’s a beauty.

I have no idea how this recipe ended up in my recipe collection – it’s on a typed sheet, with spelling mistakes and all. Obviously from a friend long ago – maybe you recognise it? If you do, please give me a virtual slap for being such a slack friend. Anyway, thank you for the delicious cake, whoever you are!


Poppy seed orange cake

1/2 cup (125g) butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
125g sour cream
grated rind 1 orange
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bi-carb soda
2 egg whites
60g poppy seeds

1 orange
1/2 lemon
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks, sour cream and orange rind, and beat until light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda and fold into the mixture.

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, then fold into mixture, along with poppy seeds. Turn into a lightly oiled bundt tin, and bake at 160deg.C for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 1/2 hour.

Turn cake out onto a plate with a rim.

In a small saucepan, combine the grated rind and juice of orange and lemon with the sugar and salt. Bring to the boil and boil for 3-4 minutes. Pour slowly over the  top of the cake.

Garnish with extra curls of citrus rind, and serve with extra cream if you really want to go the whole hog.

Food : Mike’s Mum’s tomato kasoundi


How adventurous are you with condiments? Have you ever had kasoundi? It’s spicy and earthy, made with mustard and chilli, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Let me tell you: I love it.

Many, many years ago I lived in a share house with Mike, whose Mum was a fabulous cook. After one of his regular visits to his parents’ place in Melbourne, Mike arrived back in Wagga with this little gem. I knew nothing about kasoundi up until that point.

It was divine; we had it with roasted meat, grilled steak, many varieties of sausages (my partner has a sausage obsession – but that’s another story). Then we moved onto the curries. Meals were regularly based around the question “What goes with kasoundi?” We’ve moved on a bit from there, but we still think it’s delicious.

Generously, his Mum shared the recipe with us, and here, I share it with you.



Mike’s Mum’s tomato kasoundi

100g mustard seed
100g turneric
100g cumin
100g dried chillies
500g garlic
500g ginger
250ml oil
500ml malt vinegar
2.5kgs tomatoes
3-4 tspns salt to taste
2 tspns sugar (depending on tomatoes)

Chop ginger and garlic in the food processor; add spices to blend. Fry mixture for 1 minute in the oil. Chop tomatoes in the food processor, add to pot with vinegar. Cook over a very low heat 1 hour; store in sterilised bottles.