Tag Archives: beetroot

2020 Arrived

So I’m finally siting outside after 6 weeks (?) of not being able to even open a window or a door without a P2 mask or respirator on.

The air quality still isn’t brilliant, but it is better. It’s going to take a while before we have excellent air quality again. The bush fires are still burning and until we get significant rainfall, they are going to continue to do so. But today the wind is blowing from a different direction and for once the air purifier for inside the house isn’t going mad whenever a door is opened. NO2 has been the problem of recent PM2.5 and PM10 haven’t been as bad but they have been far from ideal. NO2 is associated with vehicle exhausts normally and innercity pollution but bushfires, forest fires etc are the original source of fossil fuels and thus also produce it. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is a brown gas so it’s visible and also has been leaving both of us dizzy and generally out of breath. It is still around now, we’re just ignoring it, it is all we can do!

As you may have gathered, the drought hasn’t broken. In fact, its worse. Here we simply haven’t been getting the rain at all. Last month, December, we got less than 5mm in total for the month. To date, this month, we’ve had exactly 1mm of rain. Putting that into perspective, if the shearing shed was 30m by 15m, that 1mm of rain will have added only 450 liters of water to our water tank. So, given that thinktanks in NSW says that the average daily water consumption per person is 340 liters at have and another 150 liters at work, for Canberra residents, (https://www.rwcc.nsw.gov.au/save-water/average-water-use/), that’s not a lot of rain collected over the course of a mouth. It’s a good thing that we are masters at recycling water nowadays!

But all that said, I’ve had to let most things in the veg plot die sadly. Some things have hung on by the skin of their teeth, like the sweetcorn. But I doubt it will produce anything because it is very stunted and only just flowering. The sweet potatoes are in pots anyway, so get the occasional bit of help. The potatoes are struggling and also get help. The courgettes just gave up completely and died so after the 3rd attempt and failure, I also gave up on them but I do have one or two squash that are still fighting so they get watered from time to time and obviously we are doing what we can to keep the rhubarb alive. There are a couple of tomatoes that are alive and producing tomatoes though nothing like Grandad’s tomatoes! But I don’t have a greenhouse to start the plants off early in and protect them from the late frosts we get here. And no matter what I do, I always end up with long leggy plants with leaf curl! The grapevine is covered in grapes mind you and the new olive tree I bought to act as a pollinator for the other olive tree I have happens to have been pollinated when it was at the nursery and has a handful of immature olives on it! The poor lemon tree is really struggling though and any spare water is going its way. it has dropped so many leaves and lemons that it is mostly bare branches. And there is no apricot, apple or pear harvest at all this year. The fig trees also are hanging on, just. We may yet get a fig harvest from them because they fruit continually rather than like apples and pears that flower once and fruit once a year.

Right now the place is the same colour as the sky has been for weeks on end, brown.


After many attempts at sitting on eggs (maybe 5 attempts) since the start of the season, we finally let our bantam (Stacey) sit on a clutch of eggs. But it was on the proviso that we were hand rearing the chicks because any chicks she raises are feral and you can’t even hand feed them let alone handle them. And I just don’t do feral chickens or bantams! In the end, she ended up on 2 clutches of eggs 1 week apart because I couldn’t bring myself to remove the growing 1 week old embryo’s that were crossbreeds (and not just between varieties of chicken but also between sizes). We were not expecting the eggs she sat on initially to be fertile, let alone develop but 3 of them did so we have some really odd combinations to come! One is an Old English Game bantam crossed with a standard sized Gold Lace Wyandotte. And 2 are a pencil laced Wyandotte bantam, crossed with a Standard Gold Laced Wyandotte. The 2nd clutch she was sitting on were purchased pure breed eggs and are bantam Silver Laced Wyandottes who are gorgeous little things!

When you can’t go outside because of the bushfire smoke pollution, the only way of hand raising bantam chicks is for them to be inside. So for a while we had the bantam chicks running around like a herdof dinosaurs indoors whilst I hand raised them. Every now and again, you’d turn around to walk across the kitchen and not wanting to stand on this minature beasts, you’d shuffle your feet rather than lift them up off the ground, and you’d accidentally score a have goal with a chick as you superbly kicked it across the length of both the kitchen and dining room only for it to skid to a halt, right itself and came running right back at you! They still haven’t learnt but this weekend gone their cage was moved outside for a number of reasons not least of all the fact that I need to teach them that they are chickens albeit very small chickens, and not puppies or kittens…

2 other chickens were also allowed to sit on eggs. One of our Lavendar Sussexes had her 3rd or 4th attempt by which time we gave up and gave her eggs to sit on. She hatched 4 chicks, sadly we lost another 3 at hatching due to the weather conditions, and then we ended up with another 2 (free) chicks off the lady who I purchased the eggs from. Pebbles, did a really good job on raising the chicks for 3 weeks then decided motherhood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and quit. The chicks were by then pretty independant and as a pack/gang of 6 are fine by themselves. Finally, Speckles, our Speckled Sussex, hatch just 3 chicks last weekend and so far is doing great with them.

The only other excitement has been the arrival of our new sofas. Yes plural. We decided we didn’t like the three seater sofa we had and when Stuart was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, we started looking at recliners because he has to keep his feet raised when he’s sitting down, now. Plus I wasn’t finding the fit or softness of the existing sofa suited my back and had taken to avoiding sitting on the sofa at all. So we now have 2×2 seater sofas and a single chair. with them being a custom order, I needed to think about what we might need as well as what we currently need. They were ordered back in October and arrived just this week. Unfortunatly, they didn’t do any bright cheerful colours in the fabric covers (only in the leather covers which I won’t have), so we went light and are now adding colour with cushions which is almost as challenging because we like the rectangular cushions but currently their covers are all boring. So I now have 5 bright red square cushions that add colour and probably won’t get used as anything except decoration.

We’ve gone hi tech!

And we’ve gone Australian.The old 3 seater which is still in excellent condition along with its foot stool and single seated chair are now on the veranda. We may donate some or all to the bushfire charities to help those who have lost their hermes, but for the moment, they are on the veranda covered with many sheets and throws so we can sit out in the evening or first thing in the morning if the air quality permits.

We’ve been ‘playing’ with trying out cold soups because it has been too hot to eat anything hot (thermally or spicy) or anything “filling”.

Borscht and Sweetcorn Soup
Mango Soup with rice noodles
Avocado and Coconut Soup with rice and chilli fava beans
Beetroot Soup with tomato

One or two other nice but cool dishes have included

Yoghurt, Pomegranate Rice on Oatcakes
Yoghurt, Pomegranate Rice served with Khandvi (spicy chickpea pancake made with yoghurt)

And finally a treat for breakfast over the weekend, which should need no introduction. Pikelets.

I’ve also managed to obtain for free a brand new, unused Pasta maker which has been used with varying degrees of success, several times now.

And finally a Christmas present has been completed for it to join last year’s.

Pickled Eggs

After rescuing 2 additional hens, now that they have settled in, they have become regular layers. In fact they both lay everyday now without fail. Some days, out of the 5 hens that we have that could be laying at the moment (so excluding the mother hen with 2 chicks) we actually get 5 eggs. Most weeks we are now getting +25 eggs, so I have been looking at methods of preserving the eggs.

One of these methods has been pickled eggs.  It isn’t something I have had in the past, never really being that curious about pickled anything tbh.  But I thought it time to look at my options.  Freezing the eggs is an option, deshelled of course.  Investigation in to this matter suggests that you either separate the yolk from the whites and freeze them in batch numbers you would use, or that you lightly scramble them so that they are thoroughly combined but without any air bubbles in them.  However, a distinct lack of freezer space until we get a deep freeze means that this is only really a viable option in very small numbers as a test method.  One reason for doing this is that during our winter, the girls will most likely stop laying and our egg supply run out.  Plus it will help me deal with a surplus of eggs.

And with that I have been trying out pickled egg recipes.  I have tried 3 so far, and all 3 have been OK but they have lacked flavour and not really been that ‘pickled’ to be honest, so I am modifying them, next time I make up some fresh pickling solution that is.  I can’t see why, after less than a week, I need to make fresh pickling solution for new eggs.  We have eaten the eggs that were in the pickle solution so why do I need fresh?  And so with that, I have adapted a few recipes and conducted some eggsperiments (sorry).

First time around, I did 18 eggs.  This second time around I have added another 12 eggs to the old pickling solution and will know in a few days time as to the outcome.

The first is Beetroot Pickled Eggs which turns the eggs purple.  Great fun and wonderful to look at and you get some pickled beetroot as well!

Beetroot Pickled Eggs


  • 6 eggs (uncooked)
  • 1 uncooked beetroot, chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 250ml beetroot cooking water (or more apple cider vinegar)
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thinly
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 3-6 green cardamom pods
  • 1-2 star anise


  1. Boil the beetroot for around 30-40 minutes in as little amount of water as possible. Retain the water and allow the beetroot to cool slightly.
  2. Whilst the beetroot is cooking, steam the eggs for around 20 minutes, before placing in cold water and allowing to go cold.  (Steaming reduces the chances of the egg shells cracking during the cooking process btw.)
  3. Next, peel the hard boiled eggs and place them in the bottom of an airtight jar. If you can’t get all 6 eggs in one jar, go for 2 and add a few more beetroot pieces or more apple cider vinegar if needed.
  4. In a saucepan, add the apple cider vinegar, beetroot juice (if using), onion and sugar with the cardamon pods and the star anise. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Put the mixture through a sieve (optional).
  6. Pour the apple cider vinegar mixture over the eggs. (Adding some of the beetroot pieces and onion slices pushing them in between the eggs will help enhance both the colour and flavour and also give you some pickled beetroot and onion in the process. I also added the cooked spices as well because we like them.)
  7. Ensure that the eggs are covered completely. If not, add some more apple cider vinegar to the jar to ensure they are and mix carefully.
  8. Now simply seal the jar(s), place the eggs in the fridge once cold and leave for at least a couple of days, ideally a week for the colour and flavour to penetrate the eggs.

If you don’t have access to raw beetroot, you can use pickled or canned beetroot instead and simply omit step 1, retaining any liquid for use.

Next came Curried Pickled Eggs.  And very nice indeed they were.

Curried Pickled Eggs


  • 6 uncooked eggs
  • 425 – 500 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thinly
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 3-6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (make this a nice one)


  1. Steam the eggs for around 20 minutes, before placing in cold water and allowing to go cold.
  2. Meanwhile, add the apple cider vinegar, onion, sugar, cardamon pods, mustard seeds and curry powder into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 5 minutes before removing from the heat and allowing to cool slightly.
  3. Now peel the hard boiled eggs and place them in the bottom of an airtight jar. If you can’t get all 6 eggs in one jar, go for 2 and use more apple cider vinegar if needed.
  4. Put the mixture through a sieve (optional) if you don’t want the spices or onions to end up in the jar with the eggs – personally we kept them.
  5. Pour the apple cider vinegar mixture over the eggs.
  6. Ensure that the eggs are covered completely. If not, add some more apple cider vinegar to the jar to ensure they are and mix carefully.
  7. Now simply seal the jar(s), place the eggs in the fridge once cold and leave for at least a couple of days, ideally a week for the colour and flavour to penetrate the eggs.

The final one, I haven’t named yet, but has all the flavours of my favourite Indian Curry dish (homemade of course!).


  • 6 uncooked eggs
  • 425 – 500 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thinly
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds (yellow, brown or both)
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsps. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp noble paprika (sweet paprika)

The method is exactly the same as for the Curried Pickled Eggs and they pretty much come out the same colour.  I have also been investigating a herbed pickled eggs recipe and I will let you know how that turns out in the New Year.