Preserving Summer: The Benefits of Canning and Preserving Produce

FREE chapter of Canal House Cooking, Vol. 4 below!

The bursting flavors of summer fruits and vegetables can be made to last all year by canning and preserving them. Canning can brighten your pantry throughout the year, extending the life of perishable produce and utilizing those fruit and vege ‘gluts’ that can sometimes occur when growing food at home.

Quince Jelly Recipe, Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe, Mandarin Marmalade Recipe

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BBQ Mutton with Lemon Pepper and Oregano Recipe

This was tonight’s dinner. Absolutely fantastic. We cooked these on our gas BBQ. Simple yet delicious!

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“Stuff Owns You”

“Wash it, dry it, fold it, iron it, have it cleaned, repair it, wax it, dust it, pack it, sweep it, paint it, pick it up, put it back, hang it up, file it, store it, insure it, oil it, shelve it, stack it, separate it, rearrange it, protect it, service it, recondition it, untangle it, refill it, polish it, refinish/remodel it, or display it. SOME ALTERNATIVES: REFUSE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE, GIVE IT AWAY, SELL IT, RECYCLE IT, COMPOST IT, OR BURN IT FOR FUEL.

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Another Year in Space

We are getting our lease renewed! So glad, takes away a bit of stress. I was tinkering with the idea of more study next year, but will put it off a bit longer and keep working/saving in 09.

To celebrate, I did the dishes.

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Love

Yellow flowers from Canaan are the best kind.

Love Cats

I can see why humans and cats have stuck together over time. In winter they act quite conveniently like a hot water bottle that you don’t need to fill up. They snuggle up to you and help keep you really warm.

The only problem is that often Fritz doesn’t want to sit near me, he wants to sit on me. He used to just sit on my legs. Recently, however, he’s taken to jumping up on my body, rather than the couch, and making himself comfortable. First it was my legs, now he jumps right onto my stomach. A bit uncomfortable with his little prodding feet.

He is growing up to be a very cute cat though, and much more inclined to come and seek cuddles than he did before. He seems to do as he’s told more as well, and actually seems to listen to the ‘Stay’ command now when we open doors.

Now, if only I could train him to give back rubs and clean the house…

Books Update

Today I finished ‘The Music of Dunes’ by Mike Williams (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2006). It was hard to put down and overall a total pleasure to read. I have to say though, everything I’ve read so far by Western Australian authors I’ve loved. I’m so impressed – our writers are producing some damn tasty fiction. But this book in particular, it really nourished the soul. It’s also one of the few books I’ve read lately that has had a happy ending.

If I wrote a book I’d want it to be like this. Well crafted, effortless to read. Full of beautiful imagery, emotion, a bit of philosophy, good humor, good music, good food. It gives value to the simplest but the best things in life. It was nice to read a story about characters who value the same stuff in life that I do. I also loved all the references to familiar music, musicians, and artworks. The adventures of Queen Anne (the protagonist’s cat) were hilarious.

So to update:

So far (in this challenge) I’ve read…

1. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Phillip K. Dick
3. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
4. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
5. In the Skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje
6. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
7. Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah
8. Gilgamesh – Joan London
9. Careless – Deborah Robertson
10. Milk and Honey – Elizabeth Jolley
11. The Music of Dunes – Mike Williams

Now I’ll finish reading:

The Well – Elizabeth Jolley

…Then I’ll return all my books to the library on Monday (oops – they’re overdue a few days) and hire some more.

I hope to hire ‘Old Jazz’ by Mike Williams, which apparently precedes ‘The Music of Dunes’ and is linked to it.. or at least the protagonist is the same guy. I really enjoyed reading Ondaatje’s ‘In the Skin of a Lion’ and then ‘The English Patient’, so I was excited to find out that there was another part to ‘The Music of Dunes’. If I can find a copy of ‘Old Jazz’ at the library I’ll be reading them back to front, but oh well. I’ll probably read them more than once anyway.

Books

Over at librarything I’ve started up a book challenge for myself – to read 50 books by the end of the year. A bit unrealistic, but here is what I’ve read so far:

1. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Phillip K. Dick
3. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
4. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
5. In the Skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje
6. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
7. Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah
8. Gilgamesh – Joan London
9. Careless – Deborah Robertson
10. Milk and Honey – Elizabeth Jolly

Now I’m reading:

11. The Well – Elizabeth Jolley (about 2/3 way through)
12. The Music of Dunes – Mike Williams (about 1/4 through)

And on-and-off I’m reading:

White Noise – Don DeLilo (about 1/3 through)
No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan – Robert Shelton (about 1/3 through)
Come In Spinner – Dymphna Cusack (about 1/4 through)

As you can probably see, my taste in books varies. I love post-colonial fiction and Australian fiction, and also really enjoy speculative fiction and some biographies. The theme that tends to tie the books I read together is generally that they’re quite gritty, realistic, confronting, and bare the ugly but profound bits of life.

My last lot of books were mainly chosen for having stickers on the front like ‘Premier’s Book Award’ or ‘National Book Award’. I also often pick books because they have an interesting cover or title.

And I Wonder, Still I Wonder, Who’ll Stop the Rain

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Creamy Potato and Leek Soup Recipe

We bought some organic potatoes and 2 leeks from the supermarket the other day, and it was a chilly enough for something warm, so I decided on a dinner of potato and leek soup. It tasted pretty luxurious once topped with a slice of bread and cheese, and toasted under the grill. Filling and satisfying, potato and leek soup is a frugal classic that never fails to impress!

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