Thursday, January 5, 2012


I'M AN AUNTY!!!! ....Well, to a fur baby that is. My brother and sister In law finally got their puppy after a looooong wait. He is just the cutest little fluff ball, I reckon he'd fit in a teapot!

To celebrate Cooper's arrival, I baked him a special doggy treat...COOPER COOKIES thanks to Martha Stewart's Dog biscuit recipe on her website.

I did tweek the recipe a bit... I replace wheat germ with rolled oats, and instead of liquid stock I used 2 teaspoons of powdered chicken stock. I also added a Tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese and instead of the oil and to make up for the lack of liquid from the stock I used 2 free range eggs. Then I mixed some more powdered sock with another egg and brushed the biscuits so they browned nicely and were irrisistable for a little doggy.

 Here's the link to Martha's recipe: Homemade Dog Biscuits.

Harrison and I delivered the cookies to Cooper. We think they did the trick because Harrison had him won-over the minute we walked in the door and the two of them chased each other around the floor and drooled on one another until they were both exhausted.

 "This little fluffy thing is great fun mum!"

"Hmmm, those bikkies are good are they Cooper? Glad you like them. Do you mind if I just try a little piece...?" (Yes, mummy intervention was required)

Martha actually has lots of lovely pet crafts on her site, Cooper is going to be a very well-off dog on his birthdays and Christmases. 

- xoxox Pinky

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Green Tomato Chutney

It's been a productive week for me but I haven't even gone anywhere near the sewing machine. With the hot weather and all the rain we received before Christmas we've had an absolute bumper crop of zucchinis and tomatoes in Grandpa's garden. Being our very first season of growing our own vegetables, there are a few bugs to iron out, literally and figuratively speaking! We got so excited about our Heirloom Tomato mix (seeds bought from that when they first started sprouting, we didn't have the heart to pull them out. We have of course learned from our mistake and had to rip out several plants last weekend so the stronger ones had room to grow without disease threats and lack of nutrients. The good news is we saved all the green tomato fruit ( 3 + kgs worth) and I was able to make Green Tomato Chutney last night YUM YUM!!! I used a recipe from my Nanna's cookbook of  60's newspaper clippings and handwritten recipes, see below for details.

Weighing the tomatoes, yes there are a few red ring-ins!

My finished Chutney in the Oooo lala new Italian canning jars I bought from Spotlight (jar brand: Quattro Stagioni).
(In the background you can see a glimpse of the giant tub of zucchinis that I need to bake, pickle, puree and freeze over the next couple of days :s)

Green Tomato Chutney

  • 1.5 kgs of green tomatoes 
  • 3 large brown onions
  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • 2  & 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 6 x 250ml jars with lids
  • Large Saucepan
  • Ladel for filling jars
  • Wide mouth funnel if you have one
  • Extra large pot that will hold all your jars
  • Round metal rack to fit inside extra large pot
  • Rubber gloves
    Step one: Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and quater any large ones taking out the stalky bit. (I used a mix of large and cherry sized tomatoes). Put all of your tomatoes in a big saucepan. Dice your onions nice and small and throw them in the saucepan too. Add the vinegar and sugar to the saucepan and set it to boil gently on the stove top for an hour or so until the tomatoes are all mooshy and it's bubbling thickly like a witch's cauldron :)

    Step two: While your tomatoes are doing their thing, prepare your jars. clean them well in hot soapy water. Sterilize them in a dishwasher (boo hoo, I don't have one) or an electric sterilizer ( Yay! I have one of these for my son's bottles) or you can boil your jars and lids in a big pot on the stove if you prefer.

    Step Three: Mix your flour, curry powder, chilli powder, mustard powder and salt together in a small jug. Add the water gradually to avid lumps making a nice smooth paste. Add this mixture to the saucepan stirring it it well as you go. Leave to boil for a further 5 minutes.

    Step Four: While the jars and tomato is still hot, using rubber gloves to protect your hands, fill the jars to 1 cm from the top. Use a damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar if you spilled any (I always day I will buy a wide funnel to avoid this issue). Screw the lids on firmly.Depending on how much your liquid boils down, you will get 5 or 6 250ml jars full. I got 5 and a half jars last night so the half jar went straight in the fridge to be used on meals this week.

    Step 5: My Nanna never did this step, but it's best to do it to ensure that your chutney doesn't spoil. You don't want anyone sick or yourself sick from spoiled chutney, otherwise you'll be greener than the tomatoes you started with. To kill and bacteria and to vacuum-seal your jars, place a round metal cooling rack in a big pot  and fill with warm water (you don't want to go putting hot jars in cold water in case it causes breakage). Place your jars in the pot, sitting on the rack and NOT touching each other (this can also cause breakage and poor distribution of heat). Make sure the water level is 5cm ABOVE the top of your jars. Bring the water to the boil, once boiling set a timer for 15 minutes. Check the water level regularly during boiling to make sure it doesn't expose the tops of the jars, if the level is getting low, top up with boiling water from a kettle ( I prep my kettle when I first put the jars in just in case). Once 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat and let your jars cool in the water. Once cool, dry your jars off, label them (contents and date made is always a good idea...unless you like to play "the what's that green stuff I found in the back of the cupboard and how old is it guessing game" with your grandkids 40 years from now. 

    For mor info on food safety, canning how-tos, recipes and equipment advice I use It's an American site so I have to scrounge to find Australian equivalents locally but the info is excellent.

    Share your Chutney and enjoy :)

    xoxox Pinky