Taking a leap of faith…

A little snapshot of what’s been happening over the last few months

So the last few months I’ve flown underneath the radar.  Essentially my world has turned upside down and it really has been for the best.

At the end of January I decided to resign from my high stress job and focus on restoring my health and well-being.  It wasn’t an easy decision but it was becoming clearer that my health was suffering to a point that it was making me physically and mentally ill.

In the time I have had off I have thrown many ideas up in the air and it as been wonderful experience to be able to do just that.  Everything from community volunteering, writing, making craft, making cupcakes and setting up a nursery.  Nothing has been set in stone but perhaps for someone like me that is a good thing.

One thing that I am growing more committed to is how to become more sustainable and self-sufficient in a regional town.  I have been researching urban examples of this but the context is usually based around more metropolitan living arrangements.  For me this is still useful as I don’t have acreage but living in a regional town presents its own issues like access to resources and services.  However it invites you to be more creative and be more in contact with your local community.

I’m currently in the process of turning my very productive spring/summer veggie patch over to hopefully a very productive autumn/winter veggie patch.  If I cannot grow it I’m trying to find local supplies and with that I’m finding some interesting things.  I managed to get hold of quinces the other day and had a go at making quince paste.  Mmmmmm quince paste and cheese.

I am also having a go at making a sourdough starter.  My first attempt was a bit of a failure.  However I’ve done a little more research and I should have another one ready to start by the end of the week.  Once I’m in the groove with it I’ll post the recipe/manual of the starter and any subsequent recipes I might try with it.

My partner and I are also about to embark on an adventure.  We are going to be travelling half way around Australia in a few weeks so I am sure there will be plenty to come on that.

Feeling great to be writing once again and there is so much more to update you all on but I must be off for now.

Take care for now.

Shaszi xx



A Very Productive Weekend…

What a fantastic weekend!!! So productive, yet so enjoyable and rewarding.

Friday evening kicked off with a visit from my son and his girlfriend.  My son was so excited about my suggestion for dinner.  One of his favourites and so simple to make.  The best thing was being able to use the produce out of my garden.  I bet you’re wondering what this favourite meal is?  Grilled zucchini and eggplant on Turkish bread with tzitziki.  Sometimes when we cook it up together it doesn’t even make it to the plate.  Instead we stand around the BBQ chatting and eating as it cooks.  Perhaps this is why I love it.  The fact it gives me an opportunity to chat with my 19 year old son about everything but the food is good also.

Later I made my first batch of plum jam.  I bought approximately 2kgs of plum from a roadside stall for $4.  Plum jam is my favourite and I just couldn’t resist.  I made a second batch on Sunday and it tasted divine.  I couldn’t help myself and I shared the fruits of my labour with friends as well.

The yummiest jam…Plum Jam

I can tell you it didn’t just stop at plum jam.  I have reclaimed my dehydrator and had a go at making my own chilli flakes from my home grown chilli.  I utilised them in the 4.5kg of pickled onions we made up.  It was a very simple pickling spice made up for the vinegar.

Pickling Spice

For every litre of vinegar…

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1tsp chilli flakes

1sp coriander seed

1 tsp mustard seeds

These are added to the warm vinegar before adding to the onions.

Pickled Onions

We did a couple of  jars for a friend who likes his hot stuff.  With that we added a couple of fresh chilli to the jars.  Now its a sit and wait for approximately 3 weeks until tasting.

One of the General Inspectors bought into work some of his home grown garlic and I took a bag.  With the garlic I had a go at making garlic powder as my partner required some for the marinade to make his beef jerky.

Next it was onto the sausages.  Oh yeah we even threw sausage making into the weekend.  First time I had ever made sausages and I have to say it was so much fun.  We made 4.5kgs Greek lamb and 4.5kgs Burgundy beef sausages.  Later in the evening we actually cooked and tried a couple of the smaller sausages.  DELISH!!!

Sausage Making

With the rest of the mince we made 3kgs of hamburgers.  My partner puts the mince through the sausage maker and into mettwurst skins and freezes.  Once frozen he then cuts it up with a band-saw and there you have the perfect shaped hamburger.

In amongst all the produce making I also made a trip over to Big Bend.  This is a beautiful spot on the Murray and quite popular.

Big Bend Lookout

I have been engaged to do an arborist report for a shack owner.  I must say I love this kind of work.  I also loved the fact I could take my fur baby Artoo on has first work assignment.  He enjoyed it so much.  He swam in the River pretty much the entire time I was at the shack.  This dog is crazy about water!!!

Artoo on his first assignment


The one big lesson I learnt this weekend is I need to start doing the things I love and feel passionate about.  My work life balance needs to be a priority because at the moment I seriously think I have it all wrong.  This weekend was certainly a wake up call.

Here’s to finding a healthy balance.

Take Care

Shaszi xx

When life gives you oranges…

The temperature of late has been glorious.  However this weekend it was not the temperature, it was the wind.  Oh my goodness the wind was horrendous!! The wind was certainly not conducive to any type of gardening. The orange tree in my backyard decided to start dropping oranges left, right and centre.  I just couldn’t bare to see all these oranges go to waste.  So I got my thinking cap on as there were way too many to eat over the next week without getting a sore tummy.

So many oranges


So in the end I decided to zest the oranges and then juice them.  I would the zesting in two different ways.  Large pieces of zest cut with a knife (to make orange cleaner) and small pieces of zest done with a zester (I’ll freeze and use that zest for baking).

Zest for the orange cleaner


After I have zested the oranges the next job was to juice them.  I decided to measure the juice into 1/4 cup quantities and used my silicone muffin tray to freeze them.  I use a few cake recipes that have orange juice in then and usually require 1/2 – 1 cup of juice.  This way I only need to take out what is required.

So juicy


I found a really simple recipe and I have heard of others trying it.  So let’s give it a road test.  I’m hoping it will work as I am trying to find sustainable homemade cleaning alternatives to all the chemical products that seem to inundated our homes.

Here is a quick recipe with pictures that I have tried out.  I would be very keen to hear if any readers have tried this and what their feedback is.  Alternatively if you, like me, have never tried this please feel free to share your thoughts.

Orange Peel Cleaner

  1. Fill a jar (I’ve used a repurposed coffee jar) with orange peel.


2. Once the jar is full of orange peel top up with white vinegar.



3.  Place lid on jar and stand for two weeks.  Give a shake once a day.



4. Strain into a spray bottle and use. N.B. I have noticed on a couple of recipes that it refers to using the cleaner with water to a ratio of 1:1. I will err on the side of caution first time round.