Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Gnomes of Preston

I love garden gnomes. They're cute, creepy, disgusting and charming all at once. Such popular characters, they even have their own Liberation Front.

There is a $2 shop in High St that has the largest collection of gnomes for sale that I have ever seen - you can be flashed gnome bum from one little guy and be gestured at rudely by another. I love them all. I only have two, Gerald and a yet-to-be-named sexy lady gnome. Here are some you can find for sale in Preston:






Gnoming is hard work, so I stopped for an obligatory sausage roll at my favourite veg*n bakery afterwards...nom nom nom!


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Addictive Breaded Mushrooms with Horseradish Sauce

A couple of weeks ago, at around seven in the morning, I received a text message from my auntie (who lives in the US) that went something like this: "OMG I just made vegan fried portobellos! Fattening but incredible, SOO GOOD! Call me for the recipe!" And call her I did. Now I am addicted! The good thing about this recipe is that it is oh-so-simple, customisable and SOO SOO GOOD!

       Ingredients for the mushrooms:

  • Your choice of mushrooms, as many as you can eat in one sitting (you should eat them straight after cooking)
  • Oil for frying
  • Plain flour
  • Breadcrumbs (I get mine for $1.80 a bag from La Panella)
  • Egg Replacer (I use Orgran's No Egg)
  • Salt / pepper / onion powder / nutritional yeast / garlic salt to taste

       Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayo (I use Kingland brand)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of prepared horseradish
  • 3/4 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • salt and white pepper

First, make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and adjust to suit your taste. Set aside in the fridge.

Next, set up three bowls - one with about a cup of flour, or enough to coat your mushrooms, and the second with about double the amount of breadcrumbs. (Salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, onion or garlic powder can be added to the breadcrumbs to give the breading extra flavour.) Mix up a few eggs' worth of egg replacer and put that in a small bowl or cup, deep enough to fully submerge the mushrooms.


For the mushrooms - if you used the cheapo white mushrooms, they can be kept whole or quartered, depending on how big they are. Portobellos or Swiss Browns should be sliced about 1/2" thick.

To bread the mushrooms:

1.) Fully submerge mushroom in egg replacer
2.) Transfer to flour bowl and coat in flour
3.) Submerge mushroom again in egg replacer
4.) Transfer mushrooms to breadcrumbs, cover in breadcrumbs and press them into the mushroom.
5.) Move breaded mushroom to a plate, ready for frying

Bread all of your mushrooms, then heat up your oil. You can deep fry, or, if you're short on oil, shallow-fry. (I shallow-fry 'cos I'm cheap!) Fry the mushrooms until they are a crisp
golden-brown and fish them out with a fork or slotted spoon. The mushrooms should then be transferred to a plate lined with paper towel, to mop up excess oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt if you have some, otherwise just some salt flakes.)

Serve with the sauce and eat straight away!


Monday, 26 September 2011

Container Planting for Cheapskates

Plastic pots are expensive. Even more so are terracotta pots. In my garden, to plant mostly everything that I wish to, I will need a total of about 15 pots. If the average price of the pots I want to purchase is $8, that makes about $120 I would be spending on (plastic) pots. Terracotta would be closer to $250.

At this moment in time, that is too much money. So, I have decided to go cheap and nasty. Plastic buckets. From Bunnings.


To minimise tackiness, I got only two colours of buckets - dark green and dark red. Six of each to start with, for a grand total of $4.32. I used a 6mm drill bit and a sharpie to mark where the holes would go, for a modicum of precision.
I placed the bucket on the ground, upside-down, and stood on the rim to hold it steady. I drilled about 8-10 holes into the bottom of each bucket, careful to avoid the very center - which is the weakest part of the plastic - so that no cracks would form.

                     IMG_1962 IMG_1964
So, there you are, cheap - if not a little bit ugly - pots. Tomato seedling + bucket + a bit of dirt = less than $5!