The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Making the most of food that comes your way.

I just noticed that at exactly this time last year I was posting about using up abundance! Well, this is because we are mid summer and this is the time I am most likely to get free or cheap fruit and some vegies too (and if I'm lucky a box of tomatoes!)

 It is a big chance to fill shelves with jam, make pies, stewed or poached fruit, cakes, muffins etc to supply us all through winter. Plus enjoy fresh fruit, smoothies, salads and pavlova covered in fruits! The thing is making the most of it! It is a huge opportunity to save and help the rest of the year.

The downside is it all usually comes at once in large quantities. And I never say no if offered fruit or the chance to harvest fruit from a tree. Wild horses couldn't keep me away!
I know this season comes at different times as many ladies are reading from the US. And not everyone gets free fruit, it might be more a case of when things are at their very best price for the year or an amazing special. But when it is an abundant season and free things might come our way make the most of it!

There are a few things we can do to be ready. All year I save up jars. Also foil trays and boxes or anything else that might be good for packaging cooking. And knowing this time is coming I try and use up things in the freezer and clean and tidy it so I can fit as much in there as possible.

On Friday I posted a picture of some peaches we have. I had three buckets of peaches and I have a bucket of plums coming this week.  I also have zucchini and spinach.

The peaches were not quite ripe. To keep an eye on them I spread them out on platters on the dining room table. They ripen faster than you think and if you turn your back they end up wasted. So each day I pick out the ones that have ripened.

We are eating fresh peaches just as they are. But if I didn't use them up in other ways we wouldn't get through them. I gave Chloe and Lucy a dozen each as well. Knowing I have plums coming I want to get the peaches made into things or I will be under a mountain of fruit. (good problem to have though...)

Yesterday I made peach cake. This is delicious and so quick and easy. This recipe will use up stone fruits. I have used plums, nectarines and peaches all perfectly in this. And you can cover the top of the cake as thinly or thickly with fruit depending on how much you want to use up. The recipe is here...  Use up fresh fruit cake. This is how it looked.  I served slices with cream drizzled over.  And I made a spare as a gift for today and also several to freeze. In winter these are so handy.

Today I poached some peaches. I just wash them and fill a saucepan. Add a cup of sugar and some vanilla extract. (that is optional) Cover. Bring to a thumping boil and turn off. The residual heat will do the rest. Served with ice cream, cream or custard these are amazing. And I fill some containers with these and pop them into the freezer.

Another easy desert to use up stone fruit is a cobbler... The recipe is here here.  In my old post I made it with apricots. This time I am using peaches and later in the week I will probably use plums. Plums look lovely as the pie is deep pink! This is a chance to be able to give lovely pies away as well as freeze some for during the year.

My go to pie to use up vegies or leftovers such as ham, cheeses, eggs etc is either Impossible Pie or Zucchini Slice. Both seem to thrive on variations according to what you have. Plus no pastry to make!

Impossible Pie is just wonderful. I usually serve it with a relish and salad. I never call it impossible pie. I call it something like "Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Tart"or something I make up according to the ingredients I have. Sounds fancier :) When Chloe was little she declared she didn't like quiche. After that I called it egg and bacon pie. She ate that quite happily! So there is a lot of power in the name!

The ingredients are
4 eggs
2 cups of milk or cream or evaporated milk or any combination of these.
1/2  cup flour. Really just about any flour will do.

Wizz these together.

Place your added ingredients into a well oiled pie dish. These can be-
one or two chopped and fried up onion,
bacon, ham,
chives, parsley,
sun dried tomatoes, spinach,
roast sweet potato or pumpkin
cheeses... grated, left overs chopped up, crumbled feta,
sliced tomato, cherry tomatoes, sliced zucchini or grated zucchini...
anything you think that sounds good... I have to say roast pumpkin and feta is a good combination.
Any combination of any of these! The whole point is to use things up! I really add a lot of ingredients.
Pour over your eggy mix and bake in a med. oven until puffed and golden, about  an hour or a bit less, keep an eye on it.

Serve warm but once cold it is lovely for lunch boxes.

The other use it up special is zucchini slice.

The basic recipe is -
An onion or two, fried,
a little ham or bacon or sun dried tomato,
chives or parsley,
6 eggs,
a tub of ricotta cheese (500g)
1 cup SR flour.
1 large zucchini grated. (or about three smaller)

Mix your wet ingredients. Then stir in your onion, ham, grated zucchini etc.

(You can add spinach instead of the zucchini).

Pour into a lined (use non stick baking paper) baking dish or roasting pan.

Bake 45 mins in medium oven. It will plump up and be light golden and look a little like a souffle.

This cuts into lovely thick wedges. Serve with salad and relish. Also wonderful for lunch boxes.

My aunt phoned me tonight and I have plums to collect! So I will post what I do with them later and also my easy jam making recipe. I still have about 4 dozen peaches...

My husbands lunch box for tomorrow has "Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Tart" and Zucchini Slice with salad, piece of Peach cake and a fresh peach. :)

What a nice start to the week! I hope to make the most of what ever comes my way as long as produce is coming in. Sometimes I have ended up with a huge amount of something and I have had to search for suggestions. If I have an ingredient and not enough ideas I use where you can type in your ingredient and it gives you a huge selection of ideas. There are many sites that do that but I used Taste as all the recipes I have ever tried have been very good.

Have a wonderful week full of abundance and good things! xxx


  1. Some lovely ideas there, Annabel. The only problem I find when it is so hot is that I don't have enough energy to do all the preserving. You are off to a great start for the week and I hope it is a good week for you.

    1. Thanks Nanna Chel. This last week we have been lucky with mild weather but yes many times it is hot! We had a week of humidity which we dont normally get. I found it terrible for energy! Also my hair wouldnt go right! Normally we have hot and dry. If thats the case I just do a little bit each day and use the microwave as its cooler. You have a good week too! xxx

  2. Thank you Annabel, these are wonderful ideas for making the best use of what we have. I hope to have some time to get to some local farm shops and stalls this week for fruit and vege. So these recipes will come in handy. I am writing this morning draped in an old tea towel that was destined for the rag bag, I have wet it and put it in the freezer and now have it draped over my shoulders to keep cool and delay putting on the air conditioner for another few hours. Queensland muggy one day humid the next! LOL. Hope you are able to keep cool over your way.

    1. Dear Sherri, I was just saying to Nanna Chel that we had some humidity and its not usual for us... I felt so lethargic and my hair wouldnt go right! lol I saw on the news Brisbane had a hot night... so Im thinking it must be really hot!
      Also in the heat if you use the microwave to make jam that helps as it is quick and doesnt heat up the house so much. It works for chutney, relish etc as well.
      I hope it cools off for you and you have a lovely week xxx

  3. Many thanks Annabel for sharing your recipes. I just happen to have a zucchini or two that need using up, so that will be first on my list to try. No idea how I have reached this ripe old age and still not made a zucchini slice :)

    I love how you use up your food in so many interesting ways, and really appreciate you sharing the recipes.

    Thankfully, it's been cooler here today. Hope it cools down a bit for you ladies.

    1. I hope you like it Mary, I think they are yummy.
      My plums arrived today and they are really lovely. And I have two more buckets of peaches!
      So starting on jam and plum cobblers! Luckily its not too hot here, just nice really. Thank you for commenting! xxx

  4. Thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes Annabel. I have yet to make a zucchini slice this year. You have prompted me to make one for hubby to take to work on Wednesday. And a rhubarb cake as I have plenty of rhubarb to use up too :)

    Sometimes I get overwhelmed with fruit, usually I just stew and freeze and enjoy the whole year through. I used to preserve but it is a lot of mucking around, and as Nanna Chel said not much fun when it's hot. I have beetroot just about ready for pickling. I will wait until the house is quiet as I work better when I am on my own :)


    1. Hi Tania, The plums arrived yesterday and I ended up with another few dozen peaches! Making jam today and not sure what else...
      I think with the freezer, if we have room, thats easier than preserving/canning. I am giving away some, I keep the girls in fruit which they love.
      I really love beetroot. I make a beetroot and feta salad that we love and also we love it roasted.
      I hope it is not too hot for you. Last night was warm here and it feels warm already today! Lots of lovexxxx

  5. Hi Annabel;
    Wow, I am new to your blog, signed up after visiting Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and me. And I love, love, love your post!! It is so funny, I live in Northern Ohio, in the US. It is 32F with an inch or so of snow on the ground. Reading about your heat is wonderful. I plan on saving your post to my recipe file and making many of your recipes this summer. I will make quiche now, using what ingredients I can find. Looking forward to your next post! Hugs, Nana

    1. Welcome Nana it is lovely to meet you!
      I love the sound of your snow. I have only seen snow once!
      Yesterday I ended up with another few dozen really big peaches and two buckets of beautiful plums. The plums need using straight away and the peaches are still firm. All free lovely fruit. So today I am starting off with plum jam. They are a beautiful ruby red plum.
      Thank you so much for commenting. I usually post three days a week. xx

  6. Oh the peach cake sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing...and yes it is winter here in the states.

  7. Dear Annabel, the peach cake with the cream? OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!!! Looks amazing. I am going to make zucchini slice, it sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing such nice recipes! I hope you are managing in the heat. Tell me, when you put glass jars in the freezer, do you leave a certain amount of room at the top before putting the lid on? Also, have you had any problems with the jars cracking or breaking? I would really like to get away from plastics where possible. xxx

    1. Colette I avoid plastics too. Firstly I should say most of my jars are old ones so the glass is quite thick. So try and use good thick jars over maybe modern finer ones. I have never had one break. I have a nice shelf in my freezer I line jars up. Yes leave an inch or so of room for the contents to expand. That is important. I have never had one break or crack. The one pictured went into the fridge hence on gap at the top.
      With the zucchini slice you can make the first recipe full of grated or thinly sliced zucchini and call it zucchini slice... it is cheaper than the second version... I do a couple of onions fried, some ham, bacon or sun dried tomatoes and about 3 or 4 cups grated zucchini and call it Zucchini slice! lol all my various slices come from this one recipe!
      It is not too warm today and I am making plum jam and plum cobblers!
      Have a wonderful week! xxx

  8. Hi Anabel. I rarely get free fruit but on Sunday at church someone bought a bag of plums to give away. I took a few not knowing that Darren had taken some too. I was able to make five jars of plum jam with a few plums left over for my girls to eat fresh.

    Our local fruit and veg shop has discounted stone fruit at the end of the day and I happened to be there at the right time. I'm getting quite a collection of jams and relish in my cupboard. It's feels so good.

    1. I have plums too Wendy as of yesterday. They are the deep ruby ones which Im thrilled with. I am making jam today with the very ripest ones. Then plum cobbler I think.
      I have had good luck with asking people that if I can pick some of their fruit I will make them jam or a pie. Around here there are so many fruit trees and most people let it fall to the ground! Ive ended up making friends with the people at some of the doors Ive knocked on! But the heavily discounted fruit can be almost as good as they need to sell it fast or it is ruined! This time of year is a big opportunity to store up jams and relishes etc. I just love it. Give me an afternoon making jam and I am happy! xxx

  9. Deliciousness galore! Sweet, sweet abundance!

    Hugs and happy highway,

  10. oh I want peaches giggle. This is such a delicious treat. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday hop xo


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.