Greening suburbia

No-knead loaf with coffee grounds

A recent visit by friends from Sydney and a conversation about minimising food waste inspired me to save:

  • oil from marinated feta
  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds

I have reused the oil to make my own marinated feta. With the egg shells I made a tea to give succulents a boost. Also, combined banana skins, coffee grounds and eggshells in the food processor to make fertiliser.

How to make your own natural fertiliser using kitchen scraps

DIY fertiliser

Two of us drinking two to three coffees a day produces a lot of grounds! Not wanting to throw away the excess, I have been experimenting with what to do with them. This has successfully included grounds:

One of the friends from Sydney told me they had coffee bread at a restaurant. A quick search online yielded bread made with coffee liquid, not the grounds. Some discussion boards decried the idea, saying that the end product would be gritty.

Hey ho, throwing caution to the wind I added grounds to my latest batch of no knead bread. During fermentation the dough rose more than usual. Not knowing how well the loaf would retain its shape, I opted to use a loaf pan.

The loaf has been an overwhelming success. Being moist with an open texture and a slight espresso flavour, it is very dark brown in colour and grit free.

We have had it sliced with butter to accompany lunch and toasted for breakfast; avocado looked and tasted delicious on it.

Avoidance

Since moving to Brisbane we have:

  • redecorated the guest bedroom
  • had three ceiling fans installed
  • painted the courtyard
  • hung pictures
  • taken delivery of the materials for a deck (January project)

Also, I have made three unsuccessful job applications and almost finished writing a step by step guide to baking bread that I plan to release as an eBook.

We have both celebrated birthdays that step us towards sixty. In what seems like a blink of an eye, we marked twenty five years together in December by enjoying a lunch at StokehouseQ, overlooking the Brisbane River. As you can see from the photo, one is not too old to sit on Santa Nicolai’s lap. Thank you to the BrisBears for making us feel so welcome.

All of the above is no excuse for my apparent avoidance of blogging. Instead, spending mindless hours scrolling through Instagram posts. Rest assured, I have given myself a severe talking to!

Taking this opportunity, I wish my dear readers a wonderful festive season.

Robert x

A timely bath

How true the adage that you don’t know what you have until it is gone. Showering is convenient, quick, economical, eco-friendly, and healthy. It has been part of my daily routine for the last four decades.

After eight years we again live in a house with a bath. Yesterday, I took the ‘plunge’ in making use of the modern plastic tub. Lying on my back; knees bent, in water that was not deep enough to cover my ever expanding stomach and arms wedged against my sides, thoughts of childhood bath time drifted through my mind. Especially the rose tinted memory of my grandparent’s vintage 1920’s bathroom in Warley, West Midlands, UK.

The room had dark brown linoleum floor covering, cream painted walls and gleaming white fittings with chrome taps. These were no frills taps; tee shaped from the side, they were connected through the back of the square porcelain sink and the end of the claw foot iron bath. The water flowed from the bottoms, nothing as fancy as spouts. The horizontally mounted, cross headed taps with small white porcelain discs, indicating ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ resisted when they were turned, emitting satisfying grinding screeches followed by soft pops.

It seemed that water gushed with the force of fire hoses, even though it took forever to be deep enough before I could slowly lower myself into this gargantuan steaming vessel. Once inside, the bottom and sides would feel icy against my skin. Also, the enamel was a little rough from eons of scouring with Vim powder. Time scented with the fragrance from Radox salts drifted up towards the ceiling. Dreamily I would exit when my fingertips had puckered and the grey soapy liquid had become chilly.

Even with its shortcomings, the contemporary experience of fifteen or so minutes, spent splashing about in late afternoon resulted in a physical and psychological calm that lasted well into the evening.

Lunch destination

When walking Stan at the weekend we often include lunch at a cafe. We had our favourites in and around Leichhardt including, Monté, Capriccio, and the Pig and Pastry.

After collecting a set of keys and remote control for the aircon from the real estate agent we tried out the Little Hideout Café, Balmoral.

Delicious food, great coffee, and friendly service combined with outdoor seating make for a perfect destination that is 20 minutes walk from home.

Unexpected turnaround

Our ISP, iPrimus let us know that the phone and ADSL would be connected on Friday 31 August. After receiving notification of the number, we connected the modem/wireless router. Based on experience I was unsurprised to find that neither the Internet nor telephone was working; from all four outlets in the house.

At 8:30 am on Saturday we sought assistance from iPrimus. After escalating our enquiry they let us know that we would receive further information in the next 24 hours and that we would be liable for $165 if the fault was due to our equipment. It is not the first time we have received this warning, on all occasions our equipment was found to have been functioning perfectly well.

At around noon there was a knock at the door. A burly ‘Field Technician’ (FT) from the phone company who provides infrastructure, bustled into our home brandishing meter adorned devices, with cables dangling. After poking and prodding, emitting high pitched noises and making himself comfortable on our soft furnishings he went to the ‘exchange’ to fix the problem. The FT returned two hours later, fault fixed, somewhat exasperated by the time it had taken.

To say we were gobsmacked would be an understatement; fixed on the same day!

Day three of our new life

Day three of living in Queensland, coincidentally the first day of Spring in Australia.

Wednesday

The day was taken up with cleaning the house in Sydney, as Bob and Daz from Mullumbimby Removals did a sterling job of packing our household and garden into the truck. After eight hours, we were pleased to see it begin it’s ten hour journey, north.

We wasted time waiting around for the real estate agent to take back the rental property in Leichhardt. He didn’t show as he “had a lot going on”; tell us about it!

Brisbane boys, Wade and Ben made our Virgin Australia flight enjoyable, delivering us to Brisbane at 8:30 pm; exhausted. The Colmslie Hotel, Morningside provided respite from the day’s trials.

Thursday

10:00 am, the unloading began. Thankfully, Bob and Eddie (Daz’s replacement) had a couple of helpers. Only six hours from arrival to payment.

In addition to moving boxes and furniture we ticked off the day’s goals of assembling the bed, sofa bed, and daybed.

Friday

We spent the day:

  • Installing the fridge’s innards;
  • Assembling racking in the garage;
  • Getting the espresso maker working;
  • Unpacking boxes; and
  • Arranging plants, so that they could be watered. The picture, above is the result.

Saturday

Today, a sore lower back is limiting my ability to do very much.