Saturday, December 27, 2008

Update for end of Dec

My posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately, just enjoying a nice quiet holiday period for a change :-)
Anyhow, things are growing in the vege garden. The garlic is about ready to harvest. The next dry day we'll take it up, leave in the sun for a short time and then hang up in our garage to dry properly. I'm hoping to make some nice plaits.
We're getting lots of zucchini now. The Costata Romanesco is very tasty, almost a nutty flavour. Zucchini can tend to be a bit on the bland side but not this variety. A slight downside is that it the fruits are a little prickly but cooking seems to sort this out. The yellow hybrid are nice and smooth, but not many fruit as yet. What I've done so far is grate it up and put in the freezer, to use later in cakes etc. I'm quite impressed by the vigour of the heritage Romanesco. Definitely a winner.
The tomatoes are growing fast, some plants have fruit developing. I'm giving them the odd feed of worm liquid. What I do need to do is set up a barrel for some liquid comfrey fertiliser.
Yesterday I planted a couple of chilli plants (Jalapeno). Bit of disaster with my other seeds, these have just not germinated, I guess I need somewhere a lot warmer/sheltered. I am not giving up however, will just try again now that it is a little warmer. I'll just have to wait longer for the harvest. The Ancho's take 70 days to fruit and the 'Pasilla Bajio' take 50.
We had a lot of mustard growing along one side of the garden, which brought the bees and insects and was good for the soil, also provided a little valuable shelter from the wind. When it went to seed we collected the dead branches and scattered them in the orchard so that we get more mustard coming up there.
At last I've made a decision about where to locate the compost piles, which are now going to go in the middle of the garden so we can readily access the compost. I've started a loose pile which will have to suffice until we have the time to build a permanent structure. We've been buying in our compost, last year it was sheep manure. Also I made up some liquid sheep manure (great smell!) which we've used for the corn, seems to be working well.
Lastly, we bought in a couple of truckloads of nice peat topsoil recently, to use on the vege garden mainly. While this will be great to build up the vege garden, as there isn't a great deal of topsoil, we eventually want to get to a point where we are not having to buy in materials like this. Will just take a bit of planning and effort to reach that goal.
On the chicken front we have 5 more baby chicks hatched out yesterday. The others are doing well. Unfortunately we did lose one more to a hawk as it escaped from the run G built to keep them contained. I'm only letting them out for a short time now and mostly when I'm outside or can keep an eye out for the hawks.
Photos below of our cactus, which has about 20 flowers on it, only 2 or 3 seem to open at any one time however. They open at night (this pic taken early this morning) and only last for 1 night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chocolate cherry tart

Yesterday I had fresh cherries in the fridge and some dark chocolate on hand and wanted to make something a little different for dessert.

I found this recipe online. It was quite easy to make and only required chilling for a few hours before serving.

The verdict: nice, but VERY rich. A small sliver is enough!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Strawberry jam

Today I made some strawberry jam. I used the bread maker as I'd noticed a recipe in the booklet and thought I'd give it a go. The resulting jam was a nice colour and the fruit distributed well, however it is slightly more runny than I would ideally like. I'm not surprised though, as from what I've read, strawberry jam is notoriously hard to set and very easily spoils if you over cook it.
Anyhow, the recipe was 500g strawberries hulled and halved (I quartered most of them as they were a bit big), 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used vanilla sugar) and 1/4 cup jam setting powder (a premixed sachet containing glucose, pectin and citric acid). This quantity makes 3 small jars (I filled a small 200g jar, and 1 1/2 larger jars (300g).
I've got a few other recipes to try, some using lemon juice. The strawberries have slowed down a little with their fruit production right now, so not sure if they just need a boost of liquid fert. or what. Some plants are also starting to put out runners which I guess might account for the drop off in fruit. Any ideas folks? Should we pick off the runners now or later? (we want to get more plants going).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice cream cones

Ever since I've started making my own ice cream I've had a hankering for a waffle cone maker. At last I have obtained one (2nd hand - they don't seem to be available in the shops any more) and last night had my first attempt at making some.

The result was a nice crisp cone. Next time I might turn down the thermostat a bit though as they came out with a dark ring where the element is on the maker. Lower heat for longer might be the answer to a more even colour.

In any case we each gobbled one down with a generous scoop or 2 of home made vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Puriri trees

Our small bit of bush is largely comprised of totara, manuka, kanuka and putaputaweta trees. We have a sole kahikatea, and unfortunately no kauri. A few years ago we had it fenced off so that the sheep were kept out and it is slowly starting to regenerate. The other day we put in a few puriri trees, even though we have some seedlings starting to come up they are pretty small. The ones we planted are about 1m high. They look pretty when they are in flower (red/pink) and provide food for the native woodpidgeons (kereru).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Then there were 7

I went down to feed the chicks this morning and counted them up. Only 7 there this of the brown ones has gone, oh dear. Yesterday there were definitely 8. For the last couple of days I've been letting them out of their cage with mummy hen so they can free range with her in the coop. The coop is well fenced so I don't think that a stoat could have got in.. although we do see them around the farm. We've got stoat traps set up on the outside of the chicken wire fencing. As yet we've never caught any though.
Hmm, maybe a harrier swooped down and got the chick, probably more likely since they regularly scavenge in the area.
Today I've kept them inside their cage, as much as I like seeing the harriers gliding around I don't want to risk losing any more chicks. Will go down later and let them out for a bit but only while I'm around.

Pumpkin muffins

Just in case you thought I'd run out of pumpkin recipes.................... HA!

This is another one from the NZ muffin queen Alison Holst (book called Marvellous Muffins).

2 cups SR flour (I used plain plus 4 tsp baking powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups grated cheese (strong cheddar is best for flavour - I used 'Vintage')
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl mix 1 egg, 1 cup milk and 1 cup cooked mashed cooled pumpkin.

Add wet ingredients to dry, mix briefly then divide into oiled muffin pans (I use olive oil from a pump spray bottle).

Bake around 210 deg C for 12 mins.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cochin coconut fish curry

I saw this recipe on a DVD called Planet Food - A Taste of South India. I used a Kahawai fillet from the freezer.

Cube fish, put in a dish to marinate in lime or lemon juice, a little sea salt and about 1 Tbpsn turmeric. Leave for 30mins.

Slice x1 large red onion
Crush 5 or 6 cloves garlic
2 green chillies sliced length ways - I used red chillies chopped as was all I had on hand.
A small amount of ginger sliced into tiny sticks

Fry chilli, garlic, ginger and onion in a pan with some oil.
I used about 1/2 tsp curry powder but the recipe called for curry leaves.
Add 1/2 tsp turmeric, coconut cream (just the watery liquid to start). Add fish, some salt, reduce heat, cover and cook for 7 mins.
Add thicker liquid of coconut cream, some tomatoes (I used halved cherry), cook for a couple of mins longer.
Serve with rice. I added saffron threads with mine at the start of cooking, then some butter stirred in at the end.

The verdict: very nice. Perhaps I'll try a different species of fish next time, as the kahawai was fairly 'meaty' rather than melting in the mouth. Also probably much better with fresh fish rather than previously frozen.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


8 chicks have hatched out this morning. They are mostly Araucana/Indian Game crosses. 5 are brown and 3 are grey/black. It will be interesting to see what they look like when they mature and also what sex they are!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hey - look up at the sky!

Just caught a view of the crescent moon with 2 planets above, Venus and Jupiter. Since I don't have a super duper camera, I can't do it justice.
However, this great astronomy blog - Astroblog - gives a very fine description.
Oh, since writing this post a large cloud is now obscuring the view. Hopefully it will clear again soon. Check out the sky if you can.

From Comet Al's here is a good picture.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I've been given an award.. again

Actually 2 more (see icons below). Thanks Liz from Goings on at the Mad Bush Farm.

In likewise fashion, I would like to pass on these awards to the following blogs that I view from time to time:

Astropixie - "Things and Stuff Astronomy and Life"

Goosepark - Some beautiful flax weaving and details about geese rearing

Tiny Mantras - For all things astronomical, great links

Farmlet - blog about small farm life also in NZ

Nite Sky Girl - cool astronomy blog

Zucchini flower

Great morning here, the zucchini flowers are all on show. This one is on a Costata Romanesco plant. All the zucchini plants have been getting noticeably bigger in the last week which is good.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New seasons zucchini

Today I harvested the first of the zucchini. They are pretty darn small but I just couldn't resist. Variety is 'Costata Romanesco' supposedly a very tasty Italian heirloom. When I can harvest enough of these babies I would like to try them fried whole with the flowers on.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Herbal ley

The herbal ley has come up well. Predominantly yellow flowering mustard, but the lupins are also in there just not flowering yet.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More on the gardening scene

I am ashamed to say that I've only just started putting in my tomato plants. Way late this year. The seedlings I tried to get going a while back just didn't do well, since I have no really suitable area to raise them. With all the strong cold winds things have been a bit tough going for the poor old seedlings. So we purchased some plants but for one reason or another I just didn't get around to putting them in the ground. Today I managed to plant and put in stakes for 6 (3 were 'Russian Red' and 3 a hybrid called 'Ace'), which is small progress as there are about a dozen more to go, some are unidentified ones that seeded in the garden and I dug up, also x1 'Black Krim'. I'm hoping we'll get a late summer!
I do have some 'Roma' seedlings now successfully growing although still a bit small to put in the garden.

No real success with my chilli seeds - I only have 2 Jalapeno chillies of reasonable size. None of the Thai Hot came up, so I'm trying again. The eggplants (aubergines) also did not come up. It's just not hot enough, I need a greenhouse for those.

Also have today purchased more seeds:

Coriander 'Slowbolt'
Basil 'Sweet Genovese'
Basil 'Fino Verde'
Chilli 'Ancho St Luis'
Chilli 'Pasilla Bajio'

Yet another broccoflower post!

I know I've put a few posts on about harvesting broccoflower, cauli and broccoli, but I just had to let know that this biggy was 2.2kgs! Guess I'll be cooking up some more broc. and blue cheese soup, and probably a bit more broc. cheese too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Banana ice cream

I found this easy recipe, which requires no eggs. Our hens have decided to stop laying so we're only getting 1 egg a day which isn't very good. Means that I can't do much baking or make most ice cream recipes. One hen is broody and sitting on some eggs, so we'll hopefully have chicks any day now. Some to eat and some new ones to lay more eggs.

Anyway, I digress.....

Banana ice cream, using the ice cream maker.

3 bananas, pureed using a stick blender.

In a bowl, put the banana puree, add 375ml cream and 100g caster sugar and blend until combined.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn until thick, then freeze in a container.

Manuka and manuka honey

See here for more info about what makes manuka honey special.

Here are a few more pics.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A little while back I posted a recipe for homemade digestive biscuits and mentioned the type of oats I used as being 'Steel Cut'. Turns out I was wrong. I think what I used was just thick cut rolled oats.
This video here at Harvest Eating dot com shows what Steel Cut oats look like.
Mine still take a while longer to cook than the usual rolled oats however.


This morning I took advantage of the soft ground from the overnight rain and put my beanpoles in. I tried to do this a few weeks ago but the ground was rock hard so I didn't get very far!
I put 4 bean seedlings in. There are 2 each of 'Shiny Fardenlosa' (a green runner bean) and 'Market Wonder' - a NZ heritage climbing bean with a wide yellow flat pod. I just love fresh runner beans. I did freeze some last season but they are never the same as fresh. 2 more seedlings to come up yet, they went rotten so I resowed them, variety is 'American' also a NZ heritage climbing bean with flat wide green beans and with purple spots.
The ground still needs to be mulched as the surface gets very dry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The manuka trees are in flower

Our bush backdrop is dotted with patches of brilliant white, the flowers of the native manuka tree. I like the way the colour of the bush changes depending on the time of year. Early September and there are patches of yellow from the flowers of the Kowhai tree.

The cabbage trees are also in flower right now.

Here is a photo of a manuka:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fish pie with kumara and pineapple

I made a kumara and smoked fish pie from the recipe posted here on Goings on at the Mad Bush Farm. I didn't have a tin of pineapple rings in the pantry, but I had crushed pineapple so used some of that instead. I also put some grated cheese on top of the kumara topping, before putting the pineapple on. It was very tasty and the pineapple really gave a lovely flavour. I think I prefer the taste of kumara to potato when combined with smoked fish like this in a pie. This was a real hit in our household. Sorry no photo as we ate it straight away! I will definitely be making it again. Thanks Liz.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Banana plants

Down in our bush area there is a nice clearing where we put some cabbage tree and flax plants (in bags) when we first bought our land. Some of these got planted around the area later on and others we planted around our stream edges and in boggy areas.
We also used the area to house half a dozen Abyssinian banana plants that we purchased at an A&P show. The bananas took root and have done extremely well. They are not an edible type, but used more for shelter in a subtropical orchard. The clearing is not where we intend to have our main subtropical orchard but since a) it is a good spot since the ornamental banana is doing so well and b) we have no shelter whatsoever as yet for our main subtropical orchard, we decided to plant the edible banana there too.

The edible banana has had a tough life, we bought a plant years ago in Auckland and planted it in our garden there, but it was in the wrong spot, too dry and probably not enough sun. So it never gave us any bananas. When we sold up and left our house in Auckland to move here, we brought a few suckers with us in black plastic garden bags. Only 1 has survived. Unfortunately I can't remember what variety it is, but I think it may be 'Lady Finger' (very small bananas). In any case we'll be very happy if we get any edible fruit. Hopefully it will now thrive!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Smoked fish

Here is a photo of the smoked fish. It was seasoned with sea salt and a little brown sugar before smoking. Tastes delicious.

G caught another 6 fish yesterday (5 grey mullet and 1 kahawai) when he took the net in and decided to buy our own fish smoker today. We'll be trying it out soon and I'll post the results.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bread rolls

I made some grainy bread rolls this morning using the recipe from Joanna's Food.

For the flour mix I substituted a blend of wholemeal and strong white flour, then added 60g of a mix of sunflower seeds, wheat bran, kibbled rye and ground millet. The rolls came out very well, nice and 'nutty'.

I had mine with some cold chicken and homemade coleslaw using a red cabbage and carrots from the garden with some homemade mayonnaise. Delicious.

Potato harvest November

I dug up the remainder of our potatoes today. They filled an empty section of our worm farm container. Not a huge amount but it will see us right for a few weeks in addition to the bag I'm still going through.

We've got 3 rows of Jersey Bennes planted and coming up. Seed potatoes of 'Rua' to go in next.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


G had a very successful time with the fishing net yesterday and hauled in 15 mullet! His friend is smoking them today and will divvy the fish up between him and us. Yum, haven't had smoked fish for ages. Does anyone have any good fish recipes to share (for smoked fish or plain)?

Chocolate ice cream - the verdict on day 2

Well overnight freezing of the chocolate ice cream I made in the ice cream maker last night proved to be just what was required. It was delicious!

Now I want to try out the strawberry ice cream recipe, just need those strawberries to hurry up and ripen........come out sun where are you.......?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ice cream maker

Although I make vanilla ice cream on a regular basis, there are some recipes I've seen that call for the use of an ice cream machine. So with summer approaching (any day now, err when the cold wind stops that is....) and the thought of strawberry ice cream at some stage soon, I purchased a machine while we were out and about doing some shopping yesterday.

The machine is one that requires pre-freezing of the inner canister and prior preparation and chilling of the mixture. I chose the recipe for chocolate ice cream, since I had just the right amount of chocolate on hand, a nice dark mocha. The recipes in the booklet all require egg yolks only, so I guess I'll be making a pavlova any day now to use up all those egg whites, what a great excuse. I can put some of our strawberries on top. Anyway, I digress.......

The mixing took about 40mins, the booklet says it's ready when the paddle starts turning both ways, this was only to a soft scoop stage, but as we prefer our ice cream harder I put the canister of ice cream in the freezer for a further 30mins as suggested.

The verdict: nice but too soft! We've left it in the freezer to have tomorrow night instead.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rain at last

We've had dry weather for quite a while now, plus a lot of strong wind which is very drying also. This morning however the rain came, which is good news as the soil was getting pretty dry up in the vege garden and I was getting a bit concerned, especially as I haven't yet finished mulching all the beds with sawdust. Seems that when I have both the time and the energy, the wind decides to get stronger, so filling the barrow with sawdust becomes too much of a battle!
Anyway, this should do the veges and strawberries a bit of good.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homemade digestive biscuits

This is a recipe my Mother sent to me from England some time ago. I used Steel cut oats rather than rolled oats, mainly as I bought a bag in error...doing my usual snatch and grab technique... and they do take a lot longer to cook for porridge so I prefer rolled oats for that. However, I think they gave the biscuits a nice texture so I'll use them again in this recipe.

100g wholemeal flour
100g butter
100g oatmeal (rolled oats or the larger "steel cut" oats)
50g soft brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder

Mix the dry ingredients then rub in the butter until "breadcrumbs". Add about 1 Tbsp milk, mix with hands to form a firm dough.
Roll out (between 2 layers of plastic film) to about 3mm thick.
Put in fridge for a short time to firm up, then cut out biscuits with a cookie cutter (with the larger oats this was slightly tricky, I didn't worry too much about making perfect circles).
Bake on greased tray for about 15mins at 180deg C. Cool on rack immediately.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Homemade tortillas and tortilla bake

I found a recipe for tortillas, something I've usually bought in the supermarket for convenience but the downside being they contain additives that I would prefer to avoid. Anyway, the tortillas were so easy to make using the following recipe:

1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water

Mix the above, leave for 10 mins. Then add 1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour and mix, using hands, until the mixture forms a stiff dough.

Divide into balls (I made 9 medium size tortillas) and roll out on a board with more cornflour, until they are quite thin. Place on a plate, separating each with a piece of baking paper.

Fry in oil (I used grapeseed) for a few moments on each side - not too long or they become tough. Drain each one on a piece of kitchen paper.

For the bake, you'll need 6 tortillas.

Make up some tomato based bean sauce, I fried an onion and garlic, added chilli, then a tin of tomatoes (we've finished all of our own frozen ones now), and a can of cannelloni beans, some black pepper and a small amount of oregano. Cook for about 15mins.
I used some chopped up leftover roast chicken from last night, but there wasn't much, about 1/2 cup. You could put more in, say 1 1/2 - 2 cups.
Grate some cheese, about 2 cups. You also need a few dollops of sour cream.

To assemble, line a greased dish with 2 tortillas, then put on 1/4 of the sauce, 1/4 of the cheese, a few dollops of sour cream and 1 cup chicken (or half what you have), put on 2 more tortillas then repeat sauce/cheese/sour cream/chicken. Top with 2 more tortillas, then put on the remaining sauce, sour cream and cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for about 30mins on 180degC.

I've been given an award

Joanna from Joanna's food has considered me worthy of the "Tree of Happiness" award. Thanks Joanna!

I have to list 6 things that make me happy.......

1. Hearing my son (18 months old) say a new word.

2. Working in the vege garden.

3. Cooking for people and sharing a meal with them.

4. Giving away home made presents, like preserves, biscuits, woven baskets etc

5. Flowers, even the tiniest ones on a native tree.

6. Spending time with my husband and son - anywhere but especially outside e.g. the beach, round the farm, exploring the bush.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chicken dinner

Tonight we ate one of our chickens (an Indian Game hen). She kept flying out of the coop, hiding her eggs and we didn't know where so we marked her for dinner one day. Well that day came today.. G did a great job of preparing the bird for the oven. I made a stuffing from fresh bread crumbs, chopped onion, lemon thyme, an egg and some sea salt and black pepper.

We had the roasted chicken with purple broccoli, carrots and potatoes, also some shop bought broad beans.

The verdict: tasty, but a tad chewy although not too tough. The breast meat was best, this bird had done a fair bit of running and flying so legs and wings were not at all tender. She would have been about 2 years old so probably a bit borderline for roasting, the slow cooker might have been a better option, however we fancied a roast.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Broccoflower and blue cheese soup

This morning I picked a couple of heads of broccoflower, which as the name suggests is of course a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.

I made the soup by gently frying a chopped onion in some olive oil, adding garlic and 1/2 tsp curry powder, then the roughly chopped broccoflower, then finally some vegetable stock* and salt and pepper. I cooked it until tender, then let it cool slightly added a good dash of cream then whizzed it with my stick blender. We ate it with some home made foccacia bread.

* I make my own vegetable stock by saving veg peelings - gradually filling a bag I keep in the freezer. When I have sufficient peelings I put these in the slow cooker with some water and leave overnight, then I strain the liquid and bottle into old cream bottles and freeze until needed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our first 100% home produced dinner

Last night we sat down to dinner, I'd put a pot roast in the slow cooker earlier in the day. Then we spent the afternoon down by the water, G put out a fishing net to try his luck again. Was great to get home and have dinner

Anyway, we ate:

goat (shot and butchered by G)

some small Ilam hardy potatoes, a mix of coloured carrots and some broccoli from the garden

Then we had some strawberries for dessert.

N.B. I like crab apple jelly with meat, probably just as well as I have a cupboard full of small jars!

Our first dinner with everything produced by ourselves, very satisfying, as well as being tasty.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A good sized cauliflower

Picked a decent sized cauliflower out the garden yesterday. The green colour makes a nice change to the white of 'normal' cauliflowers you get in the shops. In addition, after I cooked it the colour remained which is a benefit. I made a nice cauliflower cheese for last nights dinner (sorry no photo we ate it straight away!) with some home made bread I'd taken out of the freezer. Delicious.

Monday, November 10, 2008


We are getting a reasonable amount of carrots out of the garden now. There are a mixture of varieties here, we sowed several types of seed*, however there seems to be about 4 different ones white, yellow, purple and orange.
Our first success at growing carrots. However a few things we'll do next time, first of all add sand to the seed to thin it out when sowing. We had a lot of carrots bunched together and thinning out was a mission so we didn't bother. Also we mixed the varieties up, but now aren't 100% sure which is which apart from the purple and white ones..
Anyway they taste great, with really good flavour - especially raw, unlike some bland ones in the shops.

* We sowed:
Lubyana (yellow)
Purple Dragon
White Belgian
Touchon (orange)
Kinbi F1 (yellow)
Scarlet Nantes (orange)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Carrot cake

With a surplus of carrots in the house - I had a bag of shop-bought ones that needed using up and we are now getting our own from the garden (post to come), plus an empty cake tin, I decided to make a carrot cake today.

It was easy to prepare using this recipe and the verdict was "mmmm, very nice indeed".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Olive oil

We are fortunate to have neighbours that have a small olive orchard (approx 120 trees). Even more fortunate as today they gifted us a bottle of their very own cold pressed olive oil (from their harvest last season). The oil is a blend of several varieties, and it's very good.

What a treat.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Saving money around the house

There are a couple of substances hanging around the place of greater value than we may all realise.....

I'm talking about vodka for one. Loads of uses other than mixing with fresh orange juice and lots of ice. I recently started a brew of home made vanilla essence. A small bottle (40-50ml) was retailing for about $8 in the supermarket. After doing some sums, we figured out we could make our own for around a quarter of that price. Seeing as I had plenty of spent vanilla pods to use - I make my own vanilla ice cream - the cost is substantially reduced as I'm using up the 'waste' product. Check here for simple instructions on how to make it yourself.

The other handy substance is good old baking soda. It has numerous uses around the home at a fraction of the cost of yukky chemical products, and we try hard to avoid using chemicals where we can for health reasons.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Country life is good

We've been down in Auckland for a couple of nights and boy is it good to be back home. As nice as it is to visit friends and family, and we also had some fireworks with some friends last night, it's always good to get back to the peace and quiet of the farm. No bright street lights, noisy cars, planes, trains (well maybe the occasional one), dogs, sirens etc.

Life seems noticeably hectic in the city, everyone rushing around in a hurry. We don't miss it at all.

The first thing I did after getting home was collect the eggs and then go into the vege garden to collect a large head of broccoli for dinner. G picked some ripe strawberries for us to munch on. Yum.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cold weather of late

The weather has been unusually cold for the time of year. The southerly wind persists, despite the sun trying its hardest to warm us up. No wonder my tomato, chilli and eggplant seeds have not sprouted. It's not just cold here in NZ but also over in England, with the heaviest fall of snow in the south of the country since 1934 reported recently. Not a peep about this in the papers here, or the fact that London had snow in October for the first time in 74 years.. we found out on the net..

So much for global warming eh...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Spelt flour bread

I've not had a lot of success making brown bread in the bread maker. I purchased some organic spelt flour (amongst some other grains like rye, millet and cornmeal) with the thought of getting busy making bread by hand. So far that has been the exception rather than the rule and the good old bread maker is certainly very convenient time-wise even if it doesn't bake the most nutritious bread. Also G takes his own lunch so we need to have bread on hand for sandwiches.
Anyway the spelt flour seems to perform well.

I have a Sunbeam bread maker and I followed the recipe for white bread 750g size, substituting 200g of spelt flour for the white.

315ml water (tepid if you are not using timer option)
1 Tbsp butter
600g flour (*I used 200g spelt flour)
1 Tbsp milk powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp bread maker yeast (note this is for NZ conditions, other countries may require less or more yeast)

Bake according to your bread maker instructions, I chose a light crust.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spring onions

Today I dug up the first of our spring onions. All the onions are coming along very well now. As is the garlic: