Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sunday afternoon kitchen frenzy

After working all morning, the afternoon was a whirlwhind of kitchen activity.

First, I made some farmhouse cheddar.

Then I made a tea loaf. Then to make best use of the oven and some of the whey from the cheese I made 3 loaves of english "muffin" bread.

Then it was time to clear up the mess, and soak some kidney beans for tomorrow nights chilli.

Finally I made some dinner - Moroccan lamb casserole. Hope it tastes as good as it smells!

Now, where's my glass of wine..........

Saturday night pizza

Ham, red pepper, mushroom, chilli bbq sauce and capricosa. Side salad of home grown greens with lime olive oil and raspberry balsamic. Lovely!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Some gardening, and a recipe

On Friday morning we had a brief period of sunshine. With more rain forcast ocre the next few days I took the opportunity to stock up on my vitamin D and also plant some herbs and flowers.

First up, some marigolds and love-in-a-mist (nigella) on the citrus mini-swales.

Then some nasturtiums to mark the line of the water pipe so I don't dig through it again (!) and a few more nigella's in the orchard. The plum tree is leafing up nicely again after it's radical winter haircut!

Next do some more planting in the herb and medicinal herb garden. I now have valerian, lemon verbena, broad leaf parsley, sage, 2 types of thyme, oregano, common mint, spearmint, pyrethrum, nigella (you can use the seeds) and feverfew planted out. The german chamomile and goji berry vine are still waiting for homes, and the echinacia are still on the seed mat inside.

The first shoot from the yacon's has appeared, and I have flowers on the first planting of snow peas.

And most importantly Freddie is on guard to keep those sheep a safe distance from the fenceline. Important work :)

After all that gardening a tasty dinner was in order, and preferable one that used cabbage (as I had 2 to eat from the garden before they bolted). I decided on a recipe from Osakasuz over at Aussies Living Simply - Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savoury Pancakes).
  • The proportion of cabbage to other veg about 75% to 25%
  • Finely shred the cabbage, finely slice any other green veg or other veg you want to use. This time I went for mushroom and red pepper. Grate the carrot if you're using one (I wasn't)
  • Make up a basic pancake batter but use stock instead of milk and no sugar (or water and some stock powder)
  • Add the pancake mix to the veg so that the veg are well coated - but not floating
  • If you like some meat or seafood then cook bite sized pieces of meat or seafood and then add the veg batter on top to make a thick pancake. I used some home made bacon. Cover with lid to help it cook
  • Turn once during cooking - you can see I cheat by quartering the pancake before turning!!
Serve with the sauce of your choice - I like soy and sweet chilli, but you can use whatever takes your fancy!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Broccoli and Bacon Quiche with a rice crust

With some of our broccoli harvest I made a broccoli and bacon quiche with a rice crust. The rice crust part I got from a recipe in BBC Good Food Australia. The rest I made up!

  • Cook 3/4 cup of brown or white short grain rice until tender and set aside to cool
  • When cool mix in 1 beaten egg and press into a pie dish
  • Blind bake at 180 for 15 mins

  • I pan fried some bacon, onion for about 5 mins, then added some red pepper for a few more mins then broccoli at the very end. Allow to cool
  • Beat 4 eggs
  • Grate in some cheese - I used chilli peccorino and parmesan and a bit of colby because that's all we had!
  • Add some herbs of your choice - I used thyme and french tarragon
  • Mix in the cooked bacon, onion etc
  • Pour into the crust and bake for 40-55 mins at 180. It depends how deep your quiche is.

Enjoy warm or cold.

Monday's harvest

Yep, the purple sprouting broccoli has gone mad - from zero to 500g in 3 days. I'm thinking a broccoli and bacon quiche might solve a few lunch dilemmas for the week.

I have never had much success freezing broccoli so I'd rather eat it or make something with it. Fortunately the weather will be cooler and maybe raining (YAY!) over the next few days so it might not bolt as quickly as my other greens.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Margo and Jerry 'do' Floriade

Just back from a mini-break in Canberra where we visited Floriade, Kathmandu outlet store (for our new summer T-shirts at clearance prices - last year's fashion? we don't care!), cycling shops (yes, we have lycra...or at least Jerry does), markets, dinner with friends from Sydney, and generally had a relaxing time.

Here's a peek at this year's Floriade display


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Who ya gonna call?

Nope, not ghostbusters....the man with the mini-digger and augur!

When it's a choice between weekends of shovelling and then wheel arrowing uphill, and hacking away at matted garden beds and digging holes OR getting a man with a machine to do it all for you in 4 hours...well, it's obvious which choice we made :) . And this time the augur only hit one water pipe!

The "snake paradise" of matted vine and rosebushes and shrubs was not long for this world....
Now it's a citrus grove (2 oranges and 2 more lemons to be planted - to go with the lemon and lime we already have), and either this year or next I will plant some camellia sinensis to try my hand at tea making!

While you're here Jim, could you move the soil from the circle bed?
A bit of soil in each tree hole, and the rest down by the chicken run to make the chicken food beds, and a few scoops by the bike shed for another bed. Et voila! We're back to the compacted clay base for the pool the original owners had on the spot. We've decided that it's no good for growing, so this will be the outdoor kitchen and eating area (solar oven & solar dryer this year, cob oven next year!).

Speaking of moving soil........
The digger was small enough to get into the yard on the other side and move many loads of soil and compost to fill the new wooden beds Jerry made over the last few weeks. MUCH quicker than barrowing. Jerry's even filled one of the beds already!

All in all, a good day's fact I think we will have the weekend off!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Monday's harvest

Gosh, Monday again!  That means Phillip Glennister on the tele (Ashes to Ashes) and a big bowl of veges and rice or noodles as Jerry's playing football (the "proper" roundball one!). Today's harvest for dinner was the first of the purple sprouting broccoli (rather late this year), some coriander from the greenhouse, and a lovely pointy spring cabbage - my first for the season. I also retrieved 5 eggs from the girls....who are still annoyed about being locked up in their new coop!

Tonight I've decided to treat myself and include some home made bacon in my meal. I'm soaking it for an hour or so to make it a bit less salty, as I dry-cure my bacon, and this one was a bit salty. Of course, I won't be using all of this bacon! A slice or two will be plenty for flavour.

On the agenda for tomorrow - making a loaf of sourdough, so I've fed 'Harry' and he's bubbling away on the bench in preparation!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

For the meat lovers

Now THAT, my friends, is what I call a proper a T-Bone steak (from a "proper"cow)!  And big enough for 2, although Jerry would have loved to have it all to himself!
Hope you all had a super weekend.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

ooooooh aaar cheddar (with a Somerset accent)

Here it is, the last bit of my first organic farmhouse cheddar. Nearly forgot to take a picture!

There was a lot of liquid under the wax, but the cheese seems fine. It has a strong cheddarlike flavour, and a crumbly texture. In all not bad for my first cheese (although it's the second one I've eaten, as the Caerphilly was ready first).

Overall verdict, not bad. Of the two hard cheeses I've made and tried so far I think the Caerphilly was my favourite. Although my all time favourite is still the goats milk fetta I made a month or so ago.

And yes mama-in-law I will be making more cheddar for your visit  :)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The sun's out - no time to rest

An unexpectedly sunny day, and a garden free of scratching chickens meant it was time to get on with some new garden plans.

Plant up some lobelias, and got started on the herb and medicinal flower garden (spearmint in the tub, pyrethrum and prostrate thyme at the front).

Planted out some mustard leaf, and admired the asparagus..
Jerry wasn't being idle either - this morning he helped our mate Dave take out the bathtub. Water had been getting behind the shower end and the frame had rotten, causing the bath to sink further, causing more water to get the idea
We even found the base of the old shower ... quick call Time Team for the excavation  LOL

Then after lunch he continued making up new garden beds
After all that work there was just time to pick a few bits for tonight's roast - including one of 3 parsnips I managed to grow from a whole packet of seeds!!!

Now I just have to clean all the floors and tidy the kitchen. By then I'm SURE it will be wine o'clock  :) Have a good week everyone
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