Food & Drink Magazine

Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 Link-up - April 2014

By Slowlivingessentials
Hello once again! It's nice to be in this space again. April saw our weather turn and a sudden need for firewood and woolen tops where previously there were swimming towels and thongs!
 Join me as I reflect on the past month and progress made in our everyday lives under nine banners. Feel like joining in? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post written using these nine categories, in the box below anytime during the month of May and enjoy hopping over to like minded blogs to see what others have been up to.
For more details on this blog link-up, please see this post. 
April 2014
{Nourish} I love when the cooler weather hits and dictates bonfire season! Fire restrictions were lifted and suddenly our town was marked by plumes of smoke rising from little pockets through the trees. This change in weather also announced woodfired oven season. Having been way too long between firings, it was so nice to enjoy cooking with our big outdoor brick oven this month, and using the smaller chiminea and campfire for intimate gatherings on weekends.

Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

Home cooked woodfired pizza and homebrew pale ale - a match made in heaven!

Baked apples were a new discovery for the woodfired oven, they go so well in it - producing a wonderfully tender, apple with a caramelised crust that oozes golden, juicy goodness! So, so good. We have also been returning to warming soups and slow cooked meals, and I am finding this way of cooking so very convenient. Slow cooked pulled pork served with stewed local apples, lamb shank and vegetable broth and good old hearty vegetable soups are my current favorite sources of comfort in the kitchen these days. Oats are also big on the menu for me, and with cutting back on wheat for health issues, I am finding I that oats are still totally ok for me, which is great because I love having a big steaming bowl full for breakfast on these frosty mornings! They keep me going for hours..

Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

Baked apples - a seriously good addition to any woodfired oven baker's repertoire 

{Prepare} Somehow, I don't know how, I managed to keep on top of all those beans that we had last month, so my preserving was focusing mainly around preparing meals and freezing them. We had nowhere near enough tomatoes to bottle this year, which was a bit of a disappointment, but this has motivated me to try all the harder (earlier?) next summer. 
{Reduce} I have been 'making do' in the garden this month. Pulling old, not in use climbing frames out for growing peas on and repairing areas of edging and fencing where we could really do with new. I bought a second hand rabbit hutch and with a few minor adjustments, am using it for a mobile chicken tractor for my silky mama hen and her (fast growing!) chicks. Opp shopping also proved fruitful for an upcoming child's birthday present and a warm jacket for myself. 
{Green} Mushrooming season hit our area this month and it was with great delight I took to the mountainside, pooch falling in step beside me, to comb the piney earth for edible treasures. Forgaging, fresh air and walking for leisure while exercising the dog, is there a greener way to spend an afternoon with such entertainment value? 
Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

Biking is still happening and I am advancing into territory I have not traveled before - slopes and gravelly back roads, pine forest tracks and bush bashing with chains flying off, all new experiences that enhance my exploration of our local area.  It's amazing how many hills a person notices once they start biking! I could've sworn we lived in a fairly flat part of town, but apparently not!!
{Grow} With the frosts came the slowing down of the beans and other summer veg. Old zucchini plants were pulled up and the beds dug over to be replaced with broad beans, peas and very soon, garlic. Several chooks are having a moult so egg numbers are also down.
What was surprising was finding a secret stash of potatoes where I was sure I had previously harvested. How is it that you can miss a spud the size of your hand the first time around? Very weird. Perennial leeks are also back and kale is getting to a harvestable size, and we watch and wait in anticipation for the first broccoli. Oh, and we have lemons! The lemon tree is at long last producing some decent sized fruit!
Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

{Create} Autumn always makes me want to dye things! Maybe it's the crispness in the air that makes my mind shift towards all things woolly and warm and then thinking about colours of such woolly things that does it. I satisfied a small urge by redyeing a cowl and some fingerless mittens that I had knit some time back and just wasn't happy with the color. They were a bright green and just not me, so after a soak in the pot, came out a deep gray/blue which I am much happier with. Unfortunately no pic of the knits, just the dye pot I'm afraid! The spinning wheel has also been out and treadling, it has to be the cool weather, yep, I'm absolutely sure of it. ;)
Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

{Discover} I recently picked up a couple of copies of PLY from my spinning group's library and fell in love with this publication! Created by Jacey Boggs, who I think is just amazing, I was completely absorbed from cover to cover.  Michael Pollan is also on my bookshelf at the moment with 'Cooked' and number one on my reading wishlist at the moment is My Darling Lemon Thyme - a cookbook focusing on gluten, dairy and sugar free that looks just soo good, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! (hint *mothersday**cough*hint)
Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

{Enhance} Being on the receiving end of this category is always nice. I was at a spinning friend's house this past week picking up some preserving jars that a local preserver was offloading and she asked if I'd like to take a look around the garden. After the immediate yes (and subsequent hour and a half tour plus leaving three times, three times I say, before I actually passed through the front gate), her and her husband sent me off with a wealth of new gardening facts, a bottle of their homebrewed apple wine, a big bag of allium bulbs to plant and another bag of early cropping tomatoes for me to save for seed! Gosh, I just love it when gardening folk connect, we all talk the same talk and walk the same walk!
Out and around town, I was also excited to come across a magical little door that had recently appeared. What fun to see this on my biking travels! Too special..
Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

{Enjoy} Over the school holiday portion of the month, I took my youngest daughter away for a camping weeking up on the Murray River. Glorious weather, good company and simple camping style made for a great time away. We also had a beautiful family gathering here at our place on the Easter weekend, with my family and nieces and nephew. Again, great company, the woodfired oven, campfire, toasty marshmallows and mulled wine made for a memorable, relaxing day. I love this kind of gathering!
Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

 How was your month?

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