Moonscape Chocolate

ChocStrawbs

Home made organic chocolate and home organically grown strawberries.. what an awesome combination of flavors 🙂

There aren’t too many folk around that don’t like chocolate. I know there are some, though I am not one of them. I am not addicted to the stuff, but I do enjoy a lovely sweet treat. But nowadays I will only indulge in my own homemade chocolate.. like the one above. I am actually munching on as I type 🙂

Coconut oil, raw cacao powder and raw honey are my base ingredients and I go on from there. There really is no end to the combinations you could use. I am yet to experiment with using essential oils. Having used nuts, different seeds & dried  berries, I never get tired of the plain chocolate, just like my moonscape one below.

Jaacey’s Moonscape Chocolate

I like to experiment with my creations, as you may have read in my previous posts. I recently created a very nice chocolate treat with a divine coconut centre. The feedback I have received thus far is pretty good.

One comment being..
‘It’s the best you have made so far, I’ll have more of that, thanks’.

Another..
‘Thanks for the chocs, they were awesome!’

I will write more about that one another time, as I feel the need to tweak my recipe a little, but I promise to share it with you.

Another one of my successful chocolate endeavours was this one …

jaacey's choc

A cranberry, hempseed & coconut sugar indulgence. Very nice!

I keep the chocolate in the fridge, but when it is eaten at room temperature it has a very nice chewy texture, not unlike fudge – just delightful.

I recommend that you give it a go, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with your own homemade creations.
It really is so simple to make.. it literally only takes minutes. The longest part of putting it all together is waiting for it to go firm.
I have been know to dunk a banana in it, while the chocolate is still warm, Mmmm … so nice, that is another delightful combining of flavours. But you could use any fruit you like.

Go on give it a go 🙂
There really is no comparison!
You may just end up like me, reluctant to buy any other factory made chocolate again! I do have a few ideas locked away in the grey matter, but I think I will leave the telling of those for another time.

Happy choco-lateering! 😀

My Cultured Life

What do you get when you cross oolong tea with a scoby ?

Booch!

Who makes their own booch ?

WTF ? .. I hear you all say, what is booch ? … AND.. what is a scoby ?

Booch is a wonderful cultured drink, with loads of probiotic goodness and if you do it right, tons of fizz.. made with tea, sugar & a scoby!
I finally got around to purchasing my booch jar from here and now I have it on tap, YAY!

Booch on tap

Booch on tap

Prior to this I was making my kombucha in small batches, this was of course fine but it soon became apparent that if I had to keep doing it this way, I wouldn’t keep making it. I found it a little fiddly & time consuming. Mainly as I was making it frequently, so when I found my booch jar all was well with the world. With minimal effort I now have this health elixir on tap.

My booch is made with oolong tea & raw sugar, yes all organic of course .. & the most important part, a scoby.
The scoby otherwise known as ‘the mushroom’ or ‘fungus’ is an amazing combination of friendly bacteria and yeasts. Scoby is an acronym for ‘Symbiotic Culture of friendly Bacteria & Yeast.
The scoby feeds on the sugar in the brewed tea, creating a beverage full of health giving properties, such as probiotics, vitamins B & C, enzymes and amino acids.

While I enjoy the flavor of my brewed booch straight from the tap, I also derive much joy from experimenting with other flavors, such as raspberry, lemon and ginger etc.
This is done via a second fermentation process, simply by adding grated ginger, berries and/or lemon juice and the peel to a bottle and leave it to sit on the bench for a couple of days to develop the flavors. Virtually any fruit or flavor can be added at this stage.
Once daily I open the bottle to release the pressure, doing this over the sink of course.. & in a couple of days I have a lovely refreshing, healthy fizzy drink.

Lemon & ginger, second ferment booch.

Lemon & ginger, second ferment booch.

While I was at it, I also did a second ferment with some kefir. I added lemon peel to a jar of freshly strained kefir milk… it’s as simple as that 🙂
Actually to the one below I also added a few drops of orange & turmeric essential oil.

Second ferment kefir milk, lemon flavor.

Second ferment kefir milk, lemon flavor.

I have been making kefir with fresh raw milk for many years now and also soft kefir cheese. Creating yummy dips with it and adding the whey to smoothies and my awesome cultured vege recipes. My venture into the cultured vegetables is a fairly recent one and so far I have had a great run with them all, other than my latest which was a tomato sauce.

I am notorious for not following recipes, I like to add and change things most of the time. It depends on what I have growing in the garden or handy in the cupboard already. Well I didn’t do this with my latest new project, I followed the sauce recipe to the letter .. and I don’t like it. Will go back to the drawing board with that one and try again soon.
One thing I have found with the wonderful world of culturing, there doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rules. I have always used the whey from kefir cheese and my creations taste good.

Cultured Veges: carrot broccoli & capsicum - red onions & black pepper - tomato salsa.

Cultured Veges: carrot broccoli & capsicum – red onions & black pepper – tomato salsa.

I hope me sharing a little of my journey into producing these fascinating probiotic yummies, has sparked something in you. Here is a couple of interesting places to read about and help whet the appetite for creating your own cultured masterpieces. Enjoy!

I wish you all .. Peace, Love and plenty of Booch Juice 🙂

Cultures For Health
Anne’s Kombucha
Naughty Naturopath Mum

A Gardeners Nightmare

The temp reached 33 degrees today, it was hot.. at least working out in it was. For most of my few hours out there I was able to work in the shade, though I still managed to change the color of my skin rather dramatically. Even after making up my own lovely all natural ingredients & toxic chemical free sunscreen, I forgot to put it on. But in my defense, I had planned to stay out of the sun majority of the time and lucky I did just that or I would be a very sore girl indeed.

Anyway that’s another story, back to the gardening nightmare – couch grass, pronounced ‘koo-ch’.. it is the bane of every gardener’s garden. The roots go on and on seemingly forever & they can grow and spread in complete darkness. Nothing stops it.
I refuse to use chemicals to remove such a pest as it would be a complete waste of time and money. You only line the pockets of the greedy multi-national company’s who make the rotten stuff. It lasts for a couple of weeks and then what ? ..  it has to be re done. Waste. Of. Time.
Besides it looks hideous with all this dead brown lifeless mess. Not to mention the damage that is done to the life of the soil from the hideous liquid. I’d much rather look at ‘out of control’ green couch grass any day.. that is, if I wasn’t able-bodied enough to get down & pull it out by hand and with the help of a few tools.

I began my work in a relatively small part of the garden, where the couch grass was invading in amongst my lavender and soapwort. There is a red rose growing in that area also, one that I transplanted a year or 2 ago and also foxgloves. There are daffodil bulbs down amongst the couch roots as well.. a few of those were disturbed in my quest to eradicate the invasive grass. I put them back in the ground of course, as I am expecting a lovely display from the daff’s come next Spring.

As I went on my merry couch grass root hunt I remember changing my thought patterns somewhat. Instead of cursing & grimacing at every stubborn & challenging piece of continuous grass there was, I chose to be delighted with the smell coming from the lavender bushes I was working next to, as I was weeding in and around them. I also took note on how much they had grown in the 12 months since I planted them and that got me thinking of what I will do with all the beautiful fresh new lavender buds next time around.. I want to add them to my fresh juices, among other things.

I was also extremely happy to discover 5 small lemon trees growing, that I hadn’t noticed till I began hacking away at the darned couch grass.
So all in all I had a wonderful productive day. Digging out couch grass will never be a favorite pastime I know, but it pays to look at things from another angle at times.. one with a happy slant. And in changing those negative thoughts about the couch grass to positive ones it was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours out enjoying the golden sunshine.

I also got to witness one of my beautiful apricot water lily's opening up - It was a good day!

I also got to witness one of my beautiful apricot water lily’s opening up – It was a good day!

The Wee Orphans

The chicks that Big Black Hen left behind are thriving.. they are oblivious to their biological mothers demise or at least it seems so. I say biological mother, but she could be one of approximately 7 others that could claim that title. I will say, for the sake of argument (from whom you might say ?? .. lol) .. the other mothers, hehe.. that she was the hen that sat diligently on those eggs until hatching time.. so she earnt the right to be called their Mama.

The Araucana babies.. love the hand. The hand feeds them, waters them.. and also removes the poopy litter (not they have a real care about that) .. they’re main concern is where the next feed is coming from.

In the morning, every couple of days I pull out from the ground a fresh clump of grass that I ‘plant’ in the corner of there little house.. they’re cheeps of ‘freaked outed-ness’ was hilariously funny, the first time I did this.. as I hide the roots in the corner of their abode. It was however only temporary as their inquisitive nature over came their initial shock horror.

The little creatures are growing up.. their wing feathers are forming. It will only be another week of living inside with us & then they will require new living arrangements.. out under the verandah, where they will grow into teenagers of the fowl world. Once fully feathered, they will be introduced back into the big chooken pen from whence they were born.. but that is another story.

The Orphanage

This is the chicks home.. they will be here for another week. They will then move outside under the veranda into a 4 x 4 wooden apple bin. They will still have the ceramic heat lamp, 150 watts, until they’re fully feathered. Of course if we get more of those 40 degree days, the lamp won’t be necessary.. but right now, as I fight myself to not be lighting the fire & I might add that we are in the middle of Summer here in Aus, it’s January for goodness sakes.. those hot days seem far, far away!

They love the hand.. the hand does everything for them. It brings food ...

The hand is their lifeline, stand in mother.. it brings food & water.. it appears suddenly from nowhere, but only after a whistle has been heard. I whistle to them, I cannot replicate a hen of course, but they know when they hear my whistle that food is soon to appear. It must appear to them as though it falls from above.. The Chicken Little story comes to mind right about this time…

From past experience with raising chicks.. they do remember this whistle long after they have joined the backyard flock. I have had some jump onto my shoulders years later … they do remember who I am.

They fight for position on 'the hand'.

Checkout the developing wing feathers.. the cute little beasties won’t be babies for long.  … and I reckon that Lavender chick, standing up high on the hand will be a male.

R.I.P Big Black Hen

I had been late to harvest my garlic this year, I was actually late getting it into the garden bed also, so I didn’t think it would mind an extra few weeks in the ground. As it turns out, the recently dug up garlic bed became functional for another use. I dug deeper into the bed base and made the final resting place for one of my favorite hens.. a large, black Araucana. Very sad!
Sprinkling some lime around the hole I had dug, I gently put her in position. I covered her in a thicker layer of lime before adding the dirt, as this will deter those foxes from digging her up, as well as help with breaking her decompsing body down quicker.

Big black hens final resting place, in the garlic patch, by the lemon balm

This situation made even sadder for the fact that in her death, she orphaned 6 babies, these chicks being only 24 hours old. Another sad fact is that this was the beginning of motherhood for her. After sitting diligently for 21 days on her eggs, she won’t get to raise them now.

Orphaned babies checking out their new abode, seemingly oblivious they'd just lost their mama

It makes it all the more harder to handle when it was our fault that this had occurred, it was that one time we’d forgotten to shut the door behind them, but that is all it takes for that orange predator to strike. They cannot be blamed I suppose, they have mouths to feed including their own.. but there are so many wild rabbits around. Take a couple of those & leave my chooks alone!
Ironicly though, they never actually managed to escape with my hen, the fox had been discovered.. I wish it had have been sooner. However, the beasts discovery was early enough to protect the rest of my vulnerable flock, for this I am thankful.

My big black hen was lying motionless on the floor of the pen, her babies cheeping their beaks off from their hiding places. One by one we discover them by  torch light & holding 3 together, wrapped in our pajama’s..  they’re tucked up as though I’d just been picking plums or peacherine’s without a basket.
I mentaly work out where all the brooder gear is, it needs dusting off  &  it will be set up in the dining room..  to house these cute little cottonballs on legs.

As it was 1.30am, I put mama hen in a safe place for tomorrows burial.. in the garlic patch.
I wanted to cry, I was mad.

What is your all time favorite breaky ?

Another indication that Spring is here is being able to eat one of my favorite breakfasts ever. It is very simple, but extremely tasty..

If I am not indulging in one of my glorious green, kefir, fruit smoothies, then I am feeding my face with tomatoes!  Yes, tomatoes on toast.. yum.. yum.. yum!
I can just see some of you rolling your eyes and saying, ‘How boring!’ … but no, you couldn’t be further from the truth!

Toasted pieces of rye sourdough, smothered with butter and top with red slabs of sliced tommy’s, NO salt & pepper thanks.. OMG.. thats what I will be doing within the next few minutes.. add to that a large cup of green & nettle tea with raw honey and I am in heaven.

It is way to early to be picking them from my own tomato bushes, as the seedlings are only 3 inches high. Must possess myself with patience for another few months.. BUT, my wonderful local organic fruit/vege & grocery shop, The Village Green sells them. So until I produce my own I am happy to purchase them from Tim & Marina.

My tomato of choice this morning is the Roma. I grew these last season, lovely & prolific they were too. This year I have a couple of yellow (& the name escapes me), low acid ones on the go & College Challengers.
I actually have an abundance of tomato seedlings this Spring, as some chilli seeds I were given, have grown up as tomatoe’s.. haha :O  Will be a surprise to see what type they turn out to be 🙂

Just one of the simple pleasures in my life !