Monday, July 27, 2009

Update for end of July (nearly)

Well we've had 3 great days in a row, sunny and calm, it's been great to enjoy being outdoors again. We've even been eating al fresco at lunchtime.

While the weather is just perfect for all those gardening jobs, G has had to divert his attention to other higher priority tasks that equally require good weather. At present he's building some shelves so we can re-arrange our gear in storage.

I will take over planting duty for the remainder of the strawberries... yes, we are still working with them! Also have a few trees to stake that have taken a tumble with high winds and wet ground. It also won't be long before it'll be time to get seedlings going for the summer crops we want. All though there won't be a great variety this year (time constraints with the new baby arriving), we'll still want tomatoes, beans and salad ingredients. Also have to put in some potatoes.

I did a little walkabout of the property today, got a few photos, as below.

The globe artichokes are doing well, very bushy, hopefully they'll produce well.
Calendula is coming up everywhere in the vege garden.

The orchard is looking nice with all the mustard in flower. We haven't got on to pruning the trees as yet, some of the nectarines are a bit on the large side.

The cabbage trees by the chicken area/pond where it is boggy are doing really well, getting quite tall now. Maybe they'll flower this year.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oat biscuits

I made these oaty biscuits some time ago - see here. This time I used standard rolled oats rather than the larger oats. However the recipe actually called for oatmeal, so next time I might try whizzing the oats first, so the texture would be different again.
In any case they turned out well and no doubt won't last long in the cookie jar!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bad weather halts progress in the veg garden

Well we've woken to another stormy morning, heavy rain and gusty wind, so it looks as though the garden will have to wait a bit longer for any more attention, shame.
Since I am nearing the end of my pregnancy now, I really don't have the energy to do much around the place these days, so G is the one left trying to get the job done and as he works full time his time is limited. Never mind, he's managed to get quite a lot of the strawberry plants in the ground which is the main thing.
On the food front, we're steadily munching our way through our meat supplies, the occasional roast lamb or pork, and a goat curry here and there. Also roast chicken, I've done this on the rotisserie in our little oven and it came out well. The duck not quite so well, possibly not quite worth all the effort of procuring, especially since they take rather a long time to pluck (more so than the chickens). We have a couple left in the freezer, might give them away to our French neighbours for turning into pate.
Earlier in the week G came home with a large bag of oranges from a local tree, so I've been making juice, using our whole fruit juicer, just have to peel the citrus first and then pop them through the chute, out comes lovely frothy orange juice.
Some things I've made in the kitchen this week: vanilla ice cream (just got a new supply of lovely fat sticky vanilla beans), blackberry yoghurt ice blocks for D, and banana and choc chip muffins.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Strawberry fields forever

Or so it seems anyway!
Some of the new mounds that G has created for our strawberry plants. They'll get a topping of sawdust as mulch in due course.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Homemade pasta

At last I found the time and inclination to try out my new pasta machine. I made wide ribbons - pappardelle - I tried some dough through the cutting blades but the noodles turned out too narrow for the recipe I had in mind, I guess these are for making fettuccine and spaghetti. Anyway, once I had put the test dough through several times to clean the machine, and practice handling the pasta, I got started on making the noodles. The dough is just 1 egg and 100g flour per person, whizzed in a food processor until it comes together slightly then knead on a floured surface.

I made a simple pasta sauce using chopped red onion, a little chilli, some chopped smoked bacon, white wine, cream, sea salt and pepper. The pasta took a minimal time to cooked in boiling salted water (about 2mins). After draining the pasta I added it to the sauce, and served it with some grated parmesan and a green salad on the side.

The taste of the fresh pasta was amazing, much superior to using 'fresh' pasta from the supermarket. I can see this pasta machine will be getting a lot of use!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tamarillo chutney

We were given a big bag of tamarillos the other day and as I had no homemade chutney or pickle in the pantry, it seemed the right thing to do with them was make up a batch. This recipe (a new one for me) was out of the tremendously useful book 'A NZ Country Harvest Cookbook', by Gilian Painter.

1.5kg tamarillos
500g onions
500g apples
1/2 cup crystalised ginger
2 cups vinegar (I used malt)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp mixed spice

Peel and chop tamarillos, onions and apples. Put in large preserving pan with all other ingredients. Bring to boil and cook until thick. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. This quantity made 9 average size jars (approx 300g each).