Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Three loaves of hand made bread

Today I felt the urge to have another go at making bread (by hand).

The recipe was out of my NZ Bread Book by Mary Browne, Helen Leach and Nancy Tichborne. Start the night before as you leave the yeast mixture overnight.

I was quite pleased with the results, although I slightly burnt one loaf through inattention..oops! (I cooked them separately). This is what it looked like when sliced and it came up nice as toast:

300ml warm water
1 dsp sugar
1 Tbs dried yeast

Add sugar to water in bowl, then sprinkle yeast on top without stirring. Leave for 10mins to froth up.

Stir gently, then add 3/4 cup bran flakes. Stir, then cover with plastic wrap and wrap in a tea towel to keep warm. Leave overnight.

Next morning, drain the bran off using a sieve over a measuring jug. Check there is 600mls liquid, add more warm water if not. Add 100mg plain vitamin C. The recipe mentions using tablets (crushed) but I could only find flavoured ones, I managed to source vitamin C powder but it was 1000mg per 5ml (1 tsp) so I only used a pinch. Tip liquid into a large warm bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together 1kg white flour, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar. Add 90% of this to the liquid, retain the remainder for kneading. Stir 4 or 5 times with a wooden spoon, then add 1 Tbsp melted butter and mix until it is too hard to stir. Then using floured hands (from the retained flour) mix and tip onto a floured board.

Knead for about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl and cover with plastic film. Leave in warm place for about 2hrs.

Punch down dough, using floured fist in centre of bowl.

Turn out onto board again and knead briefly for 1min, then divide into 3 and shape into loaves. Place on greased trays, and/or loaf tins. Leave to prove for about 30-60 mins until doubled in size.

Finishing: I brushed the plait with egg wash and scattered poppy seeds on top.

Bake for about 20mins, 200 deg C (depending on your oven, mine is a bit hot).

I will definitely try this again, there are lots of variations in the flour that can be used and shapes to be made.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Flowers in the citrus orchard

A few pics taken in the citrus orchard. This is a Makamaka in flower. Part of the shelter hedge on one side.

A hybrid manuka, pretty double pink flowers. Also part of the hedge.

and buttercups in the grass!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Banana choc chip muffins

Muffins are so quick and easy. This is another great recipe from Alison Holst.

2 cups SR flour
1/2 cup choc chips
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt

100g butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 bananas depending on size)

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl.
In another bowl melt butter, then add egg, milk, vanilla and banana.
Combine all together gently, until flour moistened (don't overmix or you'll end up with tough muffins!).
Cook in oiled muffin pans for 12-15 mins, 220 deg C.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kohl rabi - the verdict

OK I cooked up the kohl rabi last night, I picked the other one that I thought was ready so there would be enough. It was a little green and crunchy and I had my reservations about using it but I thought it would be a shame to throw it out without trying it. The first one I picked was nice and white.
Anyway I peeled them both as I thought the skin would be a bit tough. Then I chopped and boiled the bulbs until tender, fried an onion in olive oil added some garlic and then the washed and chopped kohl rabi leaves. These were sauteed (lid on) for a few minutes until wilted, then I added a little cream and pureed the whole lot (including the bulbs of course).

Anyway, the verdict was.... not bad but not delicious. However, I wonder if my kohl rabi was a bit old and tough and that this recipe would be nicer with smaller, younger plants. Or maybe I stuffed up by putting in the greener one. In any case, I have put some more seedlings in the garden so I'll try again in a while. Maybe I'll another recipe also.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homemade mayonnaise

I ran out of our usual mayonnaise and so decided to try making it at home. My first effort was OK, I didn't have a food processor so used good old fashioned elbow grease beating the oil in. The result was a very runny mayonnaise. The recipe I tried used a whole egg, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and olive oil.

This morning I made another version but in a small food processor, using 2 egg yolks, powdered mustard, vinegar and olive oil. It wasn't any thicker but it was a lot easier than beating by hand! I'm not sure how to achieve the consistency I want. I preferred the flavour of the first recipe too.

Anyway, it wasn't hard to make so I will keep trying until I can find a recipe for a thicker mayonnaise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kohl rabi

I've not grown or eaten Kohl Rabi before but I was intrigued so put a few in. Here is one I harvested today.

Will add a post after I cook it.

Red cabbage

OK here is a red cabbage I picked for our dinner tonight. There are a few more smaller ones which aren't far off ready too.
I like to bake the cabbage in the oven for about 1hr, chop and wash first then I just add a little sugar, vinegar (to preserve the colour), chopped apple, sultanas and salt and pepper. Delicious.


Yay our first strawberry harvest! Nothing beats the taste of fresh sweet spray free strawberries.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More about potatoes

The Ilam Hardy potatoes we harvested the other day are really delicious. We have another row of plants, plus 2 rows of Moonlight, a waxy variety. Also have 2 bags of seed potatoes ready to go in for over summer, Jersey Bennes and Rua are the varieties.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Potato harvest

Yesterday G harvested some of our potatoes, variety is Ilam Hardy, a floury potato. We estimated the row he dug up yielded about 15kgs but without scales this is just a guess. A few were a little green from being too near the surface but overall the harvest was good, some nice big spuds in there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seed sowing at sunset

We were out in the orchard tonight, there was hardly any breeze and what a beautiful sunset. G started sowing the herbal ley.
On the weekend he mowed the remaining grass and then I raked and dumped the clippings onto the hedge border. We estimate the orchard is about 1/2 acre in size. We might need to get some more seeds to cover it because what looked like a lot to start with probably isn't enough after all. Mustard and lupins are the predominant plants.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A gourmet gift

We were visited by our neighbour during the week, a Frenchman, who brought us a gift, homemade pate. It came in a smart glass jar. Only the day before we had been talking about pate and how we (I) should make our own, it's not hard and the taste and quality is above anything sold in shops. So here we were the next day taking possession of a fine pot of pork pate.

To go with the pate, I made a foccacia loaf. I made the dough in the bread maker, then baked it with rosemary and sea salt on top.

The pate was delicious. It had quite a lot of green peppercorns which gave it a nice flavour.
Thank you neighbour!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


The mulch spreading continues, the orchard is looking good now that each tree has been defined.

The border by the fence for the hedging looks good too. In a few years this will look so different. It'll be nice to have some privacy from the road, even though we don't get much traffic.

The flax by the pond is coming into flower. Citrus orchard behind.

The ladder makes a good climbing frame, so long as Dad is there of course!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mulch spreading and zucchini loaf

G has put mulch around all of the fruit trees. The wind is a very strong Northwesterly today. Not very conducive to going outside. And now it's raining to boot.

I have planted out the zucchini seedlings, and am looking forward to when they are ready to start harvesting. Last season I grated and froze some zucchini which is handy for putting in an easy (and healthy) cake. Also a great way to use up the zucchini which are sometimes quite prolific!

Anyway here is the recipe:

1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 cup grated zucchini

Add the boiling water to the dates, nuts, baking soda, butter and sugar, stir and leave for a few minutes to cool.
Add the flour and zucchini. Mix well. Scoop into a greased loaf tin and bake for about 50mins in a moderate oven (around 160C).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Windy weather

I haven't been outside to do anything much since I've been sick for a few days with a nasty virus, but it has also been awfully windy here on Cabbage Tree Farm. The wind was blowing strong Northwesterly today but the sun was out too.
G has been wonderful, getting out there and digging holes with the post-hole borer, and then planting more trees. Today he put in lots more manuka along the hedge up by the orchard, to give us some privacy from the road and protect from the wind. I'll get out there and take a photo asap. Now we can put down the mulch in this area, probably a 2m wide strip right the way along the fence which is quite a few metres long.
The seeds I sowed a couple of weeks ago are doing well, I will need to get them in the ground soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Red sky at night...

...Shepherd's delight.

Another beautiful sunset the other night.

On the weather front here we're getting a bit of sun now and for a few days haven't needed to turn on the backup electricity for the solar hot water in the afternoon which is always a good thing, especially with power prices due to be hiked up once again...

The ever present wind still howls though, at the moment from the southwest.