Sunday, May 31, 2009

The garden fence

We've started constructing the walls of the fence around the veg garden, using old corrugated iron sheets that we've acquired from various places. Will be painting this once it is all put up. Already makes a big difference cutting out the cold wind.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Delicious duck pate

Once again we were the lucky recipients of some delicious pate from our French neighbours down the road. A few weeks ago we'd given them one of the ducks that G shot.

I don't have the exact recipe, but I know this contained hazelnuts, green peppercorns, orange zest and a dash of Grand Marnier. Absolute heaven - we munched our way through quite a substantial chunk of it on crackers the other night.

I've only ever made pate from chicken livers, so I'd be keen to find out how it's done, this pate is more like a terrine that requires cutting rather than able to be spread. To receive a treat like this as a gift once in a while really is fantastic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fruit tree season

It's that time of year again. We've been scanning the catalogues for interesting fruit tree varieties to add to our orchard. We have a couple of local heritage figs on order from Koanga nurseries, also an apple called 'Monty's Surprise', heralded as "the best anti-cancer eating apple in the world". We already have quite a few apple trees but couldn't resist adding this one, especially since we have the space! Would also like to get a couple of pear trees, and maybe try growing some apricots, not sure how they will fare in our northern climate but we won't know until we try!
Have decided to use feijoas as hedging along the citrus orchard to offer some protection from the winds. We were going to put up a shelter fence, but it makes sense to plant something edible! We'll have tons of feijoas in years to come, but maybe that'll be when it's time to dabble in homemade winemaking!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beware - Best Foods mayonnaise contains GMOs!

I was interested to find out whether my favourite mayonnaise - 'Best Foods' brand, contained any GMO ingredients, so sent off an email via their website. I got the following reply:

Hello Bridget,
Thanks for writing!
It is our policy that any of our products which may contain ingredients created through the use of biotechnology, be proven that their safety to consumers and the environment is fully established.
Biotechnology has the potential to help meet the demands of people for everyday products that are more environmentally friendly; that involve less processing; that are more functional; that taste better; that last longer; that provide added nutritional benefits; that are customized to an individual's lifestyle; and that are currently available. Biotechnology is important to Unilever (Lipton etc,) because it helps our mission as one of the world's largest consumer goods companies to continue to deliver innovative products that our consumers tell us they want. Products resulting from biotechnology have been used successfully and safely for many years - for example: in the pharmaceutical industry.
We are also committed to the provision of the best possible information to the consumer. The FDA has had a sound labeling system in place for biotech foods since 1992. Under that system, biotech foods must be labeled if they are found to be significantly different from their conventional counterparts, or if they contain allergens. This is the same basic program that safeguards the conventional food supply in the United States.
Since there is no difference between plants or foods derived from biotechnology and those not derived, there is no clear reason to label either respectively. All of our products are labeled in accordance with the rules and regulations of the federal government.
It is our responsibility at Unilever - and a responsibility we take very seriously - to make certain all of our ingredients are safe. We
believe biotechnology is already significant and that its development will continue to bring major benefits to society as a whole.
Thank you for your interest.
Your friends at Unilever Bestfoods

What a load of old horse manure! So basically I can take it that the answer was YES! and not only yes, Unliever obviously doesn't believe we the consumer need to be told whether a product contains ingredients that have been genetically modified! AMAZING! But then again, if they indicated as such on their packaging, then maybe consumers wouldn't buy it and that's probably what they are worried about.

Of course, the Best Foods mayonnaise is probably only one product out of many products on our supermarket shelves which already contain GMOs. I think one has to take the assumption that most or all soy would be GE'd and probably most canola oil. Unfortunately these 2 ingredients are put into many pantry items these days darn it. It makes me really angry all this fiddling with our food.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fried chicken and kumara chips

Last night we had some of our own chicken. G culled another 3 birds yesterday, this was a young cockarel and the 2 hens have gone into the freezer. We did the chicken pieces in the deep fryer, using the same recipe as for fried rabbit that I've done previously, slow cooking first. The only difference was I used lemon thyme instead of standard thyme. Also we did some kumara fries using our own kumara. All very nice.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pic of kumara harvest

The kumara harvest weighed in at 13kgs. Not a huge haul, but we got quite a few large ones. Maybe the growing conditions weren't quite right, as the soil was very dry, even though it should be free draining for kumara, perhaps just a bit too dry. Or maybe we could have left them in the ground for a little longer. Not really sure. In any case, we've got enough to keep us going for a while here! Watch this space for upcoming kumara recipes!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kumara harvest

G harvested our kumara crop today, several kilos (will post photo asap) which will see us right for a while. This one in the picture was the biggest and weighed in at 1.2kgs!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dinners and garden/orchard stuff

I cooked up one of the ducks, just did it in the slow cooker, with some stuffing (cranberry and apple) and a little dripping, it turned out really well.
Feeling generous, we gave the other duck away to a neighbour.
On an exploration of the freezer I discovered 2 ducks from last year, so these will need eating up soon.
We also butchered (that's the royal 'we', I actually mean G..) another chicken, an old Indian Game hen. I prepared this bird the same way as the young cockarel, by slow cooking first then roasting for a short time. Again this was successful, the meat was firm but not tough and very tasty.
The next day we were given some field mushrooms, so I made chicken and mushroom pasta for dinner with the leftover meat. Then I made some stock from the carcass.

On the farm front, it's great to have the rain, topping up the water tank nicely but it has prevented a lot of jobs from getting done outside. The veg garden is now seriously neglected.
We called in at Koanga gardens the other day and picked up some Maori seed potatoes 'Urenika' and 'Kowiniwini'. I've grown these a long time ago and looking forward to growing them again, in addition to some 'standard' white potatoes, not sure which varieties as yet. Also picked up a copy of their fruit and nut tree catalogue to see about adding to our orchard. Haven't made any decisions yet, although I would like to get one or 2 pears in and maybe a couple of fig trees.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Duck on the menu again

The intrepid hunter returned home this evening after a walkabout with 2 ducks for the dinner table, the first successful shoot of this year's duck season. Yay!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The best things in life are free

yes that's true, but what about chocolate???

This is not the first brand of chilli chocolate I've tried, but unfortunately it's not a 'flavour' very commonly available in the stores and I've been looking out for it for some time.

So I was very pleased to see that Lindt now make a chilli chocolate.

Fortunately G does not like it so I have the whole bar to myself. Even so I want to eek it out for as long as possible, rather than scoffing the lot in a hurry I've been savouring one square each evening!