Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day in the garden

Dylan took this picture today and I thought it deserved a place on the blog! You can see the prepared beds on the left of the shot and the coriander and blueberry on the right.

G is now working on the edging for the beds, while I get as many things in that I still can for the season.
Coming together, if not slowly..then surely! :-) We seem to have so many projects on the go at once!

I got a few jobs done today at last. Mucked out the chickens and put this on the compost piles. Re dug and replenished the compost piles.

We also caught yet another possum last night. Lots around at the moment and they are doing a lot of damage to our fruit trees :-(

Bromeliad flowers

This is the flower on my 'Matchstick' bromeliad - Aechmea Gamosepala. It is one of the plants we brought here from our garden in Auckland and has never flowered until now so it's quite exciting!

A small collection of my jade plants and the nerine still in flower also.

The pond is now full again after all the rain we've been having.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cranberry slice

Here is a really simple recipe (from Australian Women's Weekly) for a sweet treat. In a food processor blend 300g butter, 220g caster sugar and 375g plain flour until mixture just comes together. Add 125g dried cranberries, mix. Press into a greased tin approx 26 x 32cm. Brush surface with beaten egg white and sprinkle with about 2 Tbsp caster sugar. Bake at 150deg C (130 for fan oven) for about 40 mins or until golden and crisp. Cut into pieces and cool in tin.

And the mushrooms keep coming!

G took a basket of the fresh field mushrooms (which we picked yesterday) up to one of our neighbours today and returned with yet another basket full!! These were gathered from our 10 acre block next door. I made some lovely soup, the recipe came from one of our local newspapers. G really liked it and he is not usually a great fan of my mushroom soups!

500g sliced field mushrooms
500mls beef stock (I used homemade veg)
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves

Bring to boil in a stock pot and then simmer for 20 mins. Cool then puree in food processor.

In clean pot melt 50g butter, add 50g plain flour to make roux sauce, cook for min, gradually add 500mls milk and stir continuously until thickened. Add mushroom puree, stir, bring to boil, season to taste.
Serve with chopped parsley garnish, croutons, garlic bread add desired.

I have tried a few mushroom soup recipes but must say this is the best one to date, it was very creamy and would be excellent on a cold winters day. Will be making some batches for the freezer while we have plenty of wild mushrooms available.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Field mushroom quiche

Last night we had this quiche, made with more of our foraged mushrooms. I used this recipe, with a few changes: I didn't have shallots so I chopped an onion, I used 'Colby' cheese (a soft cheddar type), and I also added a few leftover boiled potatoes (cold and chopped). It was a very tasty quiche, will definitely make it again (no shortage of mushrooms at the moment!!).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fungi fest!

G and D went out for a bike ride this afternoon and came across these field mushrooms. Because of the recent rains and hot weather (today was very warm) there has been an explosion of fungi in the country! The majority of these 'shrooms are slightly lighter in colour than the last lot (see previous posts) and not as strong tasting. We had some tonight with Weiner schnitzel (from our own cow), Maori purple potatoes (Urenika) and a green salad.
Anyone have any good mushroom recipes?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Peanut butter cookies

I made these cookies this afternoon. The recipe is from a little book I bought in the UK called simply 'Cakes'. I used to make these back in the days when G and I worked in a call centre together for our team to enjoy while working the 10 hour shifts! (But we had lots of days off as a consequence of the long hours which was great for travelling around the country!).

125g butter, softened
150g crunchy peanut butter (I use Ceres Organic)
225g granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
75g unsalted peanuts, chopped

Beat butter and peanut butter together in a large bowl.
Add the sugar and beat well.
Gradually add the beaten egg, beating well between each addition.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add chopped peanuts. Refrigerate mixture wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 mins.
Roll golf ball sized balls out of mixture and flatten slightly, place on baking paper lined trays. Leave at least 3cms space between cookies to allow for mixture to spread. Bake for about 12-15 mins at 190 deg C or until golden brown. Remove from oven and then cool on wire racks.
These cookies are crisp and full of peanut flavour and went down very well today with a nice cup of tea!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nerine flowers

A bumble bee enjoying the flowers on my nerine bulbs.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Something a bit retro!

Not sure how we acquired this book. Published in 1972.
It has some interesting little snippets in it. For instance, how the Maori measured the progress of the year based on how man and agricultural activities were affected by monthly changes. The Maori new year begins in June. The book states this about the first month - Pipiri - "All things contracted by cold, including man". Here is a link for more info.

Update for the beginning of May

We've had a few personal events to challenge us in the last few weeks and have had to take a bit of time out from the farm projects, so I apologise for the lack of posts of late.
The veg garden is in a state of rest. The raised beds are not yet constructed. However I still have a reasonable crop of rainbow chard, chillies (outdoors in May?), herbs such as basil and coriander. My celery is coming away well, and I've planted some beetroot. Also the artichoke has sprouted a few more buds which we'll enjoy any day now.
We've got a few birds for the table (chickens) in the freezer. Three of them are some of the young birds (about 16 weeks old) and 1 is an old hen that must be about 3 years. Will be interesting to see how they compare (toughness etc). We ate a 3 year old hen a few weeks ago, I cooked it on the rotisserie and it came out very well, not tough at all. And a wild duck which will be enjoyed tomorrow night (it's duck season again).
A friend gifted us a large bucket of wild mushrooms recently, so I made the usual soup, creamed mushrooms on toast, and we also had them in pasta and fried in butter on the BBQ with a steak. Yum!

 I've done a lot of repotting of plants and just have one big cactus left to do, and my frangipani once it has shed its leaves. There were no flowers on it this year and I think that's because it needs new soil and a bit of a booster with fertiliser.

We've got loads of Poroporo seedlings coming up in various pot plants, so in the next few days I need to get on and transplant these. I hope they survive. We want to plant them as short-term hedging, and also hopefully harvest the berries to make jam. Poroporo also has interesting medicinal properties as indicated in this article.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Problem leaving comments on other people's blogs

It's very frustrating when one wants to leave a comment and for some reason after all the typing... nothing happens! This was the case with me a couple of times of late when visiting 2 blogs: and If you guys are reading this - I'm not sure why but I wasn't able to leave comments either using my Google log on, or putting my URL address, or even anonymously.. Weird.. Not sure if anything can be fixed, (it might be something at my end) but I don't usually have a problem when the comments have to be word verified.

Best wishes, especially to Maehegirl

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Green tomato chutney

I used up the remainder of our late tomato harvest today by making green tomato chutney. The recipe (I've not tried it before) is from the March/April issue of Organic NZ (published by the Soil & Health Association).

1kg green tomatoes
1kg windfall apples (I used cooking apples)
500g onions
1kg soft brown sugar
1kg raisins (I used sultanas)
500ml malt vinegar
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric

1. Peel and chop onions, simmer in pan with 1 cup vinegar.
2. Peel, core and chop apples add to pan.
3. Skin tomatoes and chop, add to pan.
4. Add raisins and spice to pan.
5. Simmer until soft stirring frequently.
6. Add rest of vinegar and the sugar, stir then boil for about 15 mins until jam like consistency is reached.
7. Put into warm jars and seal.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lime butter

The Rangpur limes are the most hardy of all our citrus. They are also the first to fruit out of our young and very small citrus trees! The only other fruit we've had so far is a few lemonades.
Anyway, I saw this recipe for lime butter in a great book I have called The Country Store by Stephanie Donaldson.
Very easy to make, it's just 110g butter (more or less), the juice of a lime, a little zest and some salt and pepper. Whizz in a food processor then roll up in greaseproof paper. Slice into thick slices and use on fish. I made 2 lots which will sit in the freezer until needed.