Crackers, pesto and for the love of good honey- ELC #9

Eat Local Challenge  || cityhippyfarmgirl 

Super duper easy rustic style olive oil crackers, with a carrot top pesto, creme fraiche and a little salt on top.

I had a proud moment with this one, all local, easy, seasonal, very frugal and kid friendly. Yes, kid friendly was the ultimate winner for me. They were gulping them down!

Bliss honey- south coast NSW || cityhippyfarmgirl

They were also keen on getting their hands on this honey. Honey is always a favourite staple in this household and local harvested honey always seem to crop up just at the right time, (like when we are about to run out.)

This one will be drizzled on natural yogurt for an easy after dinner dessert, popped into smoothies, spread on toast with tahini and baked with an oaty combination in the oven. Every drop used.

So where did it all come from?

flour- Demeter Farm Mill

olive oil- Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

carrot tops- Rita’s Farm, Kemps Creek

lemons- Champion’s Organics, Mangrove Mountain

creme fraiche- Pepe Saya

Honey- Sth Coast NSW (bought when we were visiting the area)

Eat Local Challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Interested in taking the Eat Local Challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

Eat Local Challenge #8

Eat Local Challenge #7

Eat Local Challenge #6

Eat Local Challenge #5

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Iced Vovo Cupcakes

iced vovo cupcakes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Mostly this is a household of wholemeal spelt, raw kale salads, buckwheat, sourdough and whatever is fermenting on the benchtop at the time. Occasionally all of that goes out the window and something like the Iced VoVo Cupcake comes along though.

I knew I wanted to make them. I’d been dreaming of how I would do so, but the right time just hadn’t come along yet.

Then it did.

The time was right and Iced Vovo Cupcakes was a surety.

You might have heard the squeals of delight from the pint sized ones as I put these on the table, (I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard them.)

iced vovo cupcakes recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Iced Vovo Cupcakes

150g butter

2 eggs

150g (2/3 cup) sugar

2 tsp vanilla

300g (2 cups) self raising flour

125mls (1/2 cup) milk

Marshmallow Topping

100g marshmallows

small amount of raspberry/strawberry jam

extra desiccated coconut for sprinkling

Cream butter and sugar. Add in vanilla, beaten eggs, and milk together than fold in flour. Bake in lined cupcake tray, 180C for about 25 minutes. (Or until light golden in colour.)

Marshmallow topping

In a bowl, microwave 100g of marshmallows for 30 seconds. The marshmallows will be soft, mix them around a little and then cool for about 5 minutes before you put them in the piping bag. Too hot and they will drip off the cake, too cool and they will just end up a sticky mess. Pipe them on, leaving a small hole for the jam up top. Pop them into the fridge to set them for 10 minutes. Add half a teaspoon of jam into the hole and sprinkle a little coconut on top.

Ready to eat!

iced vovo cupcakes || cityhippyfarmgirl

for the love of enamelware

enamelware || cityhippyfarmgirlenamelware || cityhippyfarmgirlI recently added to my enamelware collection and I’m loving them as much as the original lot I got last year. Technically I got these for camping, but they have snuck into everyday use as well. They are light, easily stackable, (well not the mugs.) I can also put just about any food in them. Loving that!

The only slight unhappy side, if you drop them, they can chip. While this doesn’t effect their use, to my eyes it’s a constant reminder with the dish in question, of that time I was rather clumsy and dropped a whole strawberry crumble on the kitchen floor…sad face indeed.

strawberries || cityhippyfarmgirl

strawberries || cityhippyfarmgirl

blueberries || cityhippyfarmgirl

How about you? Do you use enamelware? Old stuff or new stuff?

If you look after your pieces (as in don’t drop them from a big height!) I suspect they will last far longer than I will. My grandmother still uses some select items that have been gracing cupboards for over her life time and her mother’s. Far more impressive than my chipped Ikea bowls.


 If you would like to buy some enamelware, I highly reccommend

Odgers & Mc Clelland, Exchange Stores- Nundle and

The Lost and Found Department.

Both small companies run by some super duper lovely people.


the art of conversation…where on earth has it gone?


Sitting on the bus I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was different. Slowly looking around me I suddenly realised, the bus had an energy. It was animated in here, there were people acting like, well real people.

Not signed into their electronic devices like my usual bus rides. Faces staring into tiny lit screens as a bus load of robot clones would.

No. On this bus ride, there was a wonderful vibrancy. There was life.

People were reading paper paged books (I know!) they were talking, a toddler gently traced circles on a window as his mother lovingly leaned into him. The kiss that she placed carefully at the back of his neck, going completely unnoticed as he was so intent on the passing view.

There was a man who had almost given into sleep. As the bus would lean into the corners, so would his body. Swaying just a little further than it should, only to lurch back instinctively, wake him slightly and then for him to fall again into that sleepy warm air bus slump.

There were conversations, a couple kissed, others looked out windows and simply mused on a passing world. Not one person held a digital device in their hands.

I patted my bag with my phone inside rather contentedly and perhaps a little smugly. I don’t need you phone, there is life happening all around me and I intend to soak up every little bit of it.

Weeks later on another journey, again on a bus I wasn’t quite so smug. I had succumbed to the phone, and was using the seated time to read an article I had wanted to during the week. I wasn’t updating a facebook status or doing a bus ride selfie. I was reading an article on suicide prevention and mental illness, so in my head I had rationalised the use of my phone. In my head I was smugly using it justifiably.

It was 8pm and dark outside, while I usually didn’t, tonight I was. Completely absorbed in what my phone had to offer. I didn’t notice the young teenaged boy sit next me. I was aware of him sure, but not enough to even raise my head a little. I had my phone you see.

Do you like the Roosters or Rabbitohs?

Eh?? Oh that’s directed to me?

Err, neither…I replied.

Oh…. Bulldogs or Eels? He quizzed.

Um, no not those either sorry.

Any league team? He asked with slight edge of desperation.

No, not really… (my phone gets discretely shoved into my bag at this stage.)

Any sport? he asks, a little deflated now.

Um… I like soccer? I offer

Great, what team? He says with a little spark again in his eye.

Socceroos? I say.

Yeah, me too! We both seem relieved.

Sitting in silence for a bit and I discretely check out his friends who are standing in the bus aisle. They weren’t dressed like juvenile delinquents, they didn’t look high, didn’t smell or act like they’d been drinking and weren’t graffiting the seats while distracting the other bus riders with idle chit chat. I felt like it was my turn to deliver on the conversation front now.

So where are you all going?

Just up to the local park, he said happily, and again we sat quietly.

A little further on and the bus stopped. The stop was his one and the group of friends tumbled out the back doors, into the early evening. As my teen conversation starter got up to go he said politely, have a good night, it was really nice talking to you.

You too mate, you too… my voice trailed off after him as the doors shut.

My brain was a little confused. I wasn’t quite sure of the last time a fourteen year old boy had voluntarily talked to me in a public spot. Not since I was fourteen myself I suspected.


I got off the bus a few stops later, and patted my silenced phone inside my bag. Yep, still there, I hadn’t been unknowingly pick pocketed. I also hadn’t seemed to be the subject of some odd childhood prank, been filmed and uploaded to youtube.

What I had instead was a tiny conversation that had completely thrown me and to be honest, had made my day. While throwing me and at the same time making me happy, in some ways it also made me a little sad. This was our reality now, instead of a conversation on a bus with a young stranger being a normal thing, it was now such an oddity and something to be scrutinised.

As I walked the rest of the way home, I couldn’t help but wonder. What on earth had happened, to the simple art of conversation?

Stingless Bees (native bees)

splitting a native bee hive || cityhippyfarmgirl

Last weekend I did a one day course on stingless bees (or native bees) with Tim Heard, through the wonderful Milkwood.

Tim Heard is an expert on all things native bees and along with his friend Tony Goodrich presented a course that I haven’t stopped talking about since.

Stingless Bees are amazingly wonderful and I am so looking forward to going further with this. My courtyard, local school, friends…yes, this is definitely going to happen.

Watch this space I reckon. Stingless bees, let’s do this.


How about you? Are you doing any courses at the moment? Got any experience with bees, native or otherwise? Or would you also like to get a stingless bee hive? for a cracking start to understanding what they are all about.

Jump across to Milkwood for more awesome courses to do.

kombucha- and how to make it

kombucha- how to brew it and how to look after your scoby || cityhippyfarmgirl

I hadn’t heard of kombucha before I started blogging. Then I started, and voila, really it was a whole new fermentation food world opening up before me.

I started making sourdough, and the steady supply of all things fermented slowly trickled their way in. There were experiments of pickles, mead and kefir. Whole hearted love for sauerkraut, ginger beer and sourdough, and sometimes there was just talk. Kombucha was one of those talks.

I talked and I talked, until I really had to walk my talk. Kombucha was one of my last men standing so to speak, because in my head I had made it far more daunting than all the others for some reason. I kept putting it in the all too hard to think about basket.

Then something flicked, the idea had fermented enough *ahem*. Water kefir and I had done our dash, ginger beer was already established and I really was ready to move on to another drink. Ready for a new fermentation project to get to know and bring into our family’s life.

Kombucha, lets do this.

scoby forming

scoby forming

I had two false starts initially. One with a cranky scoby, (I say cranky, because the person who gave it to me was a little distempered and it seemed the scoby had a similar temprament. The scoby didn’t do anything and seemed long past it’s useful date. The second attempt was no scoby and instead, growing it from scratch. This method could have worked, maybe even should have worked but it didn’t and it was time for me to move on.

Then stepped in the lovely Sarah from Remedy Kombucha. Listening to my tales of kombucha woe on instagram, she offered to send me a scoby, would I like one? Well yes, yes indeed I would!

I’d had some of their kombucha at a Sandor Katz talk earlier on in the year. I knew it was good. I knew they knew their kombucha and I also knew if I couldn’t get this funny sounding little fermented drink happening with their help?…well, I may well have to hang up my fermenters flag for a bit.

First up a little info…

What is it?

It’s a fermented tea drink.

Why would I want to make it?

Because it’s good for you, full of probiotics, and who doesn’t like a little science experiment on their bench top now and then.

What is that thing on top? That’s a scoby, and a rather amazing little gelatinous thing that keeps growing more and more layers as time goes on. You can pass them on to other fermenting enthusiasts as a starter, (go on they’ll love you for it.)

kombucha scoby || cityhippyfarmgirl

So did I get it work? Yes, yes I did, and have been happily fermenting and drinking batch after batch of kombucha ever since. Thank you to Sarah for being so generous, helpful and best of all sharing tips on kombucha brewing.

I think I’m rather hooked on this stuff!


* 175g raw organic sugar

* 35g organic tea

* 3.85L glass jar

* Muslin cloth (and rubber band)

* MOTHER (i.e. Symbiotic Community of Bacteria & Yeasts) & feeder (500ml)

Directions (makes 3.5L of Kombucha)

  • Boil 1L of filtered water (let cool until water temp approximately 90 °C)
  • Add tea (steep for between 5 and 6 minutes)
  • Strain Tea
  • Add sugar and stir until dissolved
  • Fill glass jar with 2L of filtered water (room temp) *It’s important to use filtered water (including the water you boil)
  • Add tea / sugar concentrate (i.e. 1 L) to glass jar
  • Test temperature of full jar (body temp is perfect)
  • Add feeder & MOTHER culture (0.5L)
  • Cover with muslin cloth
  • Place jar in a well-ventilated and warm area (24°C is the perfect temp), out of direct sunlight (but not in a cupboard).
  • At around the 3 to 4 day mark a slight film (MOTHER) will have developed on the top of the Kombucha.
  • Leave for 4 to 5 days before taste testing (it’s important not to stir or mess with your MOTHER during these early stages!). An easy way to taste test is to use a straw (i.e. push the straw down the side of the jar past the MOTHER).
  • After approx 7 days the brew will be slightly sour but still fairly sweet (it will be perfect for drinking at this stage).
  • The longer the brew is left the stronger (more sour) it will get. It’s personal preference how long you leave it at this stage – please be aware that if left for a long period the brew will eventually become Kombucha vinegar (and not really suitable for drinking – but great as a vinegar!).

MOTHER ongoing: for the first couple of brews, transfer the entire MOTHER from the previous brew. After your 3rd or 4th brews (once the MOTHER looks healthy and approx. 2cm thick) you can peal the new MOTHER (BABY) that grows on the top of the older MOTHER and use this in your new brew. Alternatively you can just rip the MOTHER in half and add this to the brew (and donate the other half – or make a 2nd brew!).

 If you don’t have a scoby you can still grow your own-

To grow your own kombucha mother (scoby), pour a couple of bottles of Remedy Original (or another unflavoured brew) into a wide mouth bowl, cover lightly and leave on counter for a week or so. You will start to notice a thin film growing across the top of the liquid…that’s your new kombucha mother! You can then use this mother and the kombucha liquid to start another kombucha brew.

* I’m using organic green tea at the moment which seems to be working well. 

kombucha ready to go || cityhippyfarmgirl

Remedy Kombucha is on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter if you would like to know more about kombucha.

The book The Art of Fermentation is excellent if you want to really delve into the world of fermentation. It’s one of those forever books that I will always keep going back to.


Do you brew kombucha? Would you like to give it a crack if you don’t already? 

out of the city…

watch your step || cityhippyfarmgirl

While last weeks post was definitely in the city, this week it was about stepping out.

Way out.

It was a long weekend,

and always one to jump on an opportunity to skip the usual day to day stuff,

we were out of there for a few days.

After far too many weeks of far too many illnesses,

too much busy and one broken arm.

It was time for

breathing in and breathing out…

felt good.

end of the day

Tell me what you’ve been up to lately.

What’s going on in your world at the moment?