Thursday, July 29, 2010

Double rainbow

Driving home yesterday, I had to pull over to take this shot as it was a very vivid rainbow (double in fact), although I don't think I've done it justice with my little 'point and shoot' camera!
The weather has been pretty excellent for winter, we're having some lovely sunny days, with a little rain showers here and there.

And this photo is of our local beach:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I knew it would happen.......

Needing rather a plentiful supply of eggs for various cooking assignments, I purchased x2 dozen from my local organics shop.
And what was waiting for me when I got home?!......Yep you guessed it...

The first egg of the season from one of my Araucana hens.
No show as yet from the Brown Shavers or my Indian Game hen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blueberry pancakes

One of the things I look forward to on the weekend is brunch. Today we had blueberry pancakes with bacon. Dylan loves them too, here he is enjoying some for a snack!

The recipe I use is from a book called 365 Recipes for Babies, Toddlers & Children by Bridget Wardley and Judy More. This is quite a good book, with lots of nice recipes for kiddies meals, but I don't use it all that much as I think it's better to try to get our little man to eat what we're having for tea (unless a very hot curry etc!). I don't want to make him any fussier about food!

Here's the recipe:

1 egg
200g natural yoghurt (I used greek)
70ml milk
1 Tbsp oil
130g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb. soda
about 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh if in season) blueberries

In a bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients. Measure the flour and add the bicarb, mix well with a fork before adding to the mixture. If required add a little more milk to thin the batter. Add the blueberries.

Fry in a little oil until golden brown and cooked through. I made a double batch this morning as D loves them, and have frozen the leftover pancakes to eat another time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sprouting grain for chooks

I read about this some time ago and have only just got into doing it. Just takes a wee bit of organisation!

I bought 3x 10L buckets with lids which are the white sprouting buckets and already had an old yellow paint bucket (it's clean on the inside honest!). I also bought 4 small 5L buckets and drilled holes in the bottoms of these so that they can drain out the water but retain the grain.

Basically the system works by soaking grains (I'm using wheat but have tried corn, all sorts of other grains could be used too) for a day and night then put into a sprouting bucket and put the lid on. The 3 sprouting buckets are rotated according to the day and I reuse the sprout water 3 times before emptying it into the chooks drink water. They seem to love both the sprouted grains (which are apparently several times more nutrious than non-sprouted grains) and the water.

Now girls, where are the eggs?!

Citrus fruit bonanza

Our lovely neighbours W&P came round a few days ago and brought us a large bag of assorted citrus fruit, freshly picked from a family member's garden. Lucky us! The haul consisted of Lisbon lemons, small oranges, limes and a few lemonades.

I've made a small batch of lemon curd (honey) already and have earmarked the rest to make a mixed fruit marmalade, orange whiskey marmalade and a lime curd.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spiced crab apples

It's crab apple season here and as I've already made several jars of jelly and with some fruit leftover, decided to look for a recipe to use them up (although the pigs would eat them, in fact we have been feeding them some).

Anyway, I found this one:

2 1/2 lbs of small crab apples with stems attached
1 1/2 Tbps whole cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbps whole allspice
3 cups vinegar *I used white but cider would probably be better*
6 cups sugar
3 cups water

Wash crab apples and remove blossom ends. Run a needle (I used a wooden skewer) through so that the skins stay intact (didn't work for me, but I think I needed to reduce the heat). Tie the spices in a piece of muslin. Combine vinegar, sugar and water in a large preserving pan. Bring to boil and boil for 5 mins. Add half the crab apples and simmer (slowly with lid on) for about 10 mins until the fruit is cooked. Remove fruit to a large bowl. Repeat with remainder of crab apples. Then tip hot syrup over the apples (now in the bowl). Cover and leave for about 12-18 hours (I left overnight in the fridge).
Pack crab apples into hot preserving jars, reheat syrup and pour over crab apples in jars, leaving 1/2 inch gap at top. Seal. Then process in hot water bath (first time I have ever done this believe it or not!).

Note: Apart from the fruit splitting, which I realise was caused by too vigorous boiling instead of a gentle simmer!, I was pleased with my first bottling efforts. From what I've read, the crab apples go nicely as an accompaniment to meat. Seems fairly common in the USA. I look forward to finding out if they're tasty.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is this really winter?

You wouldn't think so looking at this photo! This was the scene yesterday up in Whangarei. We've had some beautiful clear days lately up here in the 'Winterless North'.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stunning winter sunset

This was the view from our place tonight, what an absolute stunner of a sunset.

I put the frost cloth back on the citrus again tonight just in case, but not sure it is quite so cold as last night.

Pigs at the trough


Here they are speedily devouring a selection of tasty cooked up veg scraps, leftover bread, porridge and crab apples!
If you look closely at the photo you can see the frost on the grass. We've had a couple of quite heavy frosts in the last couple of days. Beautiful clear sunny days in between though.
Here's another frost photo:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Winter's morning

This was the view of our property yesterday morning. We've had a few days of stormy weather recently, so it was nice to have a bit of sunshine and calm.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Four-legged ploughs!

The pigs have made short work of turning over a large area in their enclosure! Fortunately this is what we envisaged and are happy for it. Not so good if it was your prize lawn however!!