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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for April, 2008


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Freedom Academy is hosting the current Charlotte Mason Carnival. is hosting the current Homeschooling Carnival, Visions of the Future.


Some years ago, my sister and I did a trip around Europe. We spent a week attempting to ski in Austria (we were learning, and there wasn’t much snow). One of my favourite things from that portion of the trip was the Gulaschsuppe that was frequently served for dinner, and that we often chose for lunch (it was pretty cold, even though the snow was sparse!) On my return, I kept meaning to investigate a recipe so I could make my own, but never did. It came to mind just recently, so I was inspired to attempt it. Google is my friend, so it was quite easy to find a recipe—of course, it is now nearly ten years since the trip, so it’s hard to be sure how accurate it was, but it was certainly tasty enough to keep making:-)

Gulaschsuppe based on this recipe from Epicurious
serves 6
4 slices bacon, chopped
700 grams steak, boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 2 centimetre cubes
1 tablespoons oil, olive
2 medium onions, (about 300 grams) chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons paprika, (preferably Hungarian sweet)
¾ teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ dessertspoon vinegar, red-wine
1 ½ dessertspoon tomato paste
1 litre stock, beef (bouillon)
440 milliliters beer, dark, (guinness)
¼ teaspoon salt, (skip with commercial stock)
1 capsicum, red, chopped fine
2 large potatoes, russet (baking)
In an 3-4 litre heavy pot cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In fat remaining in pot brown beef in small batches over high heat, transferring it as browned with slotted spoon to bowl.
Reduce heat to moderate and add oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, and flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and tomato paste and cook, whisking, 1 minute. (Mixture will be very thick.) Stir in broth, beer, salt, capsicum, bacon, and beef and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 centimetre pieces. Add potatoes to soup and simmer, covered, occasionally until tender, about 30 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

It was pretty good, but I’d like to try wine instead of beer, and possibly a little more paprika (or maybe a little hot paprika as well as some of the other recipes suggested). It may be worth adding some carrotsand celery, just for a more balanced meal. It’d probably also be worthwhile trying longer, slower cooking (perhaps in the oven?) to try and get the meat more tender and shreddable.

More Carseats—Safest Seats

I’ve just come across the brochure at this link, which may prove helpful for anyone looking at carseats (in Australia, at any rate.)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 1, Block 4, Dorothea Term

Introduce phonograms ‘sh’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Pluvia, Pluvia (Rain Rain, Go Away)
Veni (Come)
Il Mange du Pain
S’il te plait (Please)

English Studies
Schippetitaro‘ from The Violet Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Two Maidens‘ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Lion and the Gnat‘, ‘The Leap at Rhodes‘, ‘The Cock and the Jewel from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Spring Morning A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Ash Grove
Composer: George Frederic Handel
Work: Messiah
Artist: Rembrandt van Rijn
Work: The Night Watch
Music: Long/Short (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) The Wishing Song
Art: Crayons
Colour and Patterns (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Week 5, Block 3, Boronia Term

Yep, we pretty much did nothing!


Carnival of Homeschooling
Principled Discovery is hosting the 119th edition of the Homeschooling Carnival, the Bag Lady edition.

This Week

Our plans for
Week 5, Block 3, Boronia Term
Break Week.
We really need a break. I’ve done pretty well on keeping up to date until just recently. But not so much right now:-(


Week 4 Block 3, Boronia Term

He’s taken to Laetus Natalis with great glee:-) I think he knew it by the first day:-) Otherwise we’ve been reading a bit, and singing.


CM carnival logoCarnival of Homeschooling

In the Sparrow’s Nest is hosting the current Charlotte Mason Carnival.

The Nerd Family is hosting the 120th edition of the Homeschooling Carnival.

Freezer Food

I have a collection of recipes that I like to do batches of and freeze. Recently I’ve given some of these away, so I thought it would be good to have a post that gives the cooking information—it doesn’t always stay very clear on some of the containers in the freezer. (I also have links to most of the recipes, partly for allergy reasons, partly so people will have the recipes if they like them:-) )

Broccoli and Anchovy Pasta
One freezer bag of broccoli florets
One ziplock (usually) bag of green/brown mush
One packet pasta (orrecciete or shells, usually)
One pouch of grated parmesan (if I’m properly organised!)

Cook the pasta. A couple of minutes before it’s done, add the frozen broccoli florets.
In the meantime, heat the green/brown mush. You can either microwave this, or fry it up again (it’s probably a good idea to thaw it first, if that’s the case!)
Toss the mush and the pasta/broccoli together, then serve. Sprinkle with the parmesan.

Sausages and Lentil Stew
Thaw and reheat (in a saucepan, oven or microwave). Cook some potatoes, and mash them. Serve the stew over the top. We generally work on about 1 1/2 sausages being an adult serve—at least for starters:-)

Sarah’s Mac and Cheese
This can be reheated in the microwave (depending on the container), or tipped into an appropriate stovetop container and heated. Alternatively, place it in some sort of baking dish/casserole (you will need to thaw it first), sprinkle with some grated cheddar cheese and baked for 20 minutes.
(If there doesn’t look to be enough, cook up some more pasta to stir through.)

Italian Casserole

Container of casserole
Bag of pasta shells
Pouch of poppy seeds (assuming I’m organised)
Cook the pasta shells. Drain and toss in a bit of butter and the poppy seeds. Thaw and reheat the casserole (in the microwave or oven). Toss together and serve. Accompany with a salad.

Curried Sausages
Cook some rice. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. This is also really good the next morning served on toast.

Thai Green Curry (I haven’t given this to anyone as it requires extra fresh ingredients, but I do often have it in my freezer, so I thought I’d include it anyway.)
Ziplock bag (usually) of curry paste
Fish pieces
Tin of coconut milk
(Extra requirements, rice, 1 chopped red capsicum, good handful of top and tailed snowpeas.)
Cook rice. Thaw the fish and curry paste. Place the curry paste and fish in a wok or (deepish) frypan and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tin of coconut milk and boil for about 4 minutes. Add the chopped capsicum and continue to boil for about 3 minutes. Add the snowpea pieces and boil for another minute.
Serve over rice.

Adas Polo (Meat and Lentil Rice)
Thaw and reheat. Depending on the container this can be done in the microwave. Serve with green beans.

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4 Block 3, Boronia Term

Introduce phonograms ‘t’, ‘y’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Laetus Natalis, Tibi (Happy Birthday)
Siste! (Stop!)
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
Lentement! (Slowly!)

English Studies
Don Giovanni de la Fortuna‘ from The Pink Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Elder-Tree Mother‘ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Raven and the Swan‘, ‘The Two Goats‘, ‘The Ass and the Load of Salt‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Disobedience A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Ash Grove
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Work: Night on Bald Mountain
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: The Mona Lisa
Music: Timbre (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Hot Cross Buns
Art: Watercolour
Painting Skies (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Week 3 Block 3, Boronia Term
Puggle has been really focused on Milly-Molly-Mandy this week… We have read the poems, and sung (Laetus Natalis is a hit:-) ), and read a couple of fables, but the week seemed to disappear.

Car Seats

So, I have a Toyota Corolla Seca (1992/1993). Interior width (between armrests) in the back seat, 126 cms. On average, car seats are 50 cms (we measured… it’s pretty consistent!) Currently we have two car seats. Obviously a third is not going to fit.

We looked at cars, we measured their rear seats. None (well, one exception) that we were looking at were 1.5m wide. After checking the first three dealers, we ducked in to a baby shop to check the availability of narrower seats. It turns out there are two. There is a Newborn to 18 kg seat (the Compaq/Compaq Deluxe, 45* cms), and one booster seat (the Hi-Liner, 40* cms). We were planning to move Bilby into a MaxiRider (50 cms) so that Cygnet could use the newborn seat we currently have (although, if we have to get a new newborn seat, she could probably stay in her current one (50 cms) ). Either way, that would get us to 135 cms. The widest of the options was 134 cms. We figure that some of those measurements were generous enough to give us the extra centimetre, but probably not to get us to 131 cms (the most common width). Of course later, we realised that we could get that by putting both Cygnet and Bilby in Compaqs–that would get us down to 130 cms!

(*I went back to check on the precise measurements, and also, how high above their base the widest measurement was… The Compaq is 43 cms at 19 cms above the base, the Hi-Liner is goes to 44 cms at 23 cms above the base. Sadly, the armrests at the back in my car are 22 cms above the seat, so it’s still not going to work for my car.)

Who knew it would be so hard to fit three children in a car!

(The exception? Toyota Tarago. Which seats 8, we could have three in car seats requiring attachment points, plus two in boosters, plus another. But yes, we could fit our current two carseats, plus a new carseat of average size, side-by-side in the second row.)

No Time for Bread!

chicken/corn/breadReading Calli‘s plans for the day, I noticed she had soup and bread listed. Just what I had planned. Then I realised that while I had planned bread, I hadn’t actually considered it in the scheme of my day:-( I commented as much, and that I didn’t really feel like Foccacia (my usual quick bread) would go so well with soup. She pointed me towards this recipe.

No-time Bread
4 ½ teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ cups water
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
In a bowl put the yeast, sugar, and water and let it sit.
Heat the oven to 230˚C. Put a Dutch oven (or one of these alternatives) in to warm as the oven heats. Get out your flour, salt, vinegar, spray oil, and anything else you need.
Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to bubble up, add 3 cups of the flour as well as the salt and vinegar and beat for several minutes with the paddle. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and beat for seven minutes. Alternately, knead vigorously for five minutes, or until the dough becomes extremely elastic. This will still be a wet dough, but not goopy. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom.
Oil a microwave-safe bowl and transfer the bread dough to it, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and put in the microwave for 25 seconds.
Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes.
Microwave for another 25 seconds, then remove.
Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.
Shape into a ball and plop into the preheated pan. Quickly slash the top with a knife. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature hits 100˚C.

While I don’t think it will become my first choice for a loaf, it was certainly nothing to sneeze at! It worked really well as a soup accompaniment, and was pretty forgiving (Bilby has become not at all keen on me being in the kitchen, while she realises it means food, she wants it now! As a result I’m trying to do things quickly with her becoming more and more distressed, so I was pretty sure I’d skimped on the kneading… It probably could have been better, but the loaf was none-too-shabby in any case!)

We had it along with Linstar‘s Chicken and Corn Soup

1 litre chicken stock
1 litre water
2 chicken breasts, skin off
2 cobs corn, kernals removed, cobs saved
1 cake long life chinese noodles
Poach the chicken breasts in the chicken stock, with some additional salt and pepper. When they are done (10-15 minutes), remove them and add the water and corn cobs. Shred the chicken.
After 15 minutes or so, remove the corn cobs and add the shredded chicken and corn kernals. Add a salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the noodles and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Serve with crusty bread.

(Actually, this isn’t the quantities of chicken and corn we used, rather the quantities I intend to use next time… it was rather more dense than I felt it needed to be.)


Carnival of Homeschooling
A Pondering Heart is hosting the 119th edition of the Homeschooling Carnival, the Working Out edition.

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