Saturday, March 17, 2012

Update for mid March

The hops are ready so I've been picking them and frozen lots in zip-lock bags for future use. I've also dried some for use in sleep pillows, have made one for myself and will start on more soon. I'm also hoping to make some beer soon, when I get my brew bucket I'll get started! Will be my first attempt at brewing so wish me luck!

We are still getting a reasonable amount of grapes and passionfruit. I made some grape jelly but unfortunately it didn't set well. Maybe I should have added some pectin instead of the lemon juice, or maybe I just didn't boil it long enough...

In the veg. garden we're getting tomatoes, chillies, herbs, greens (rainbow chard and silverbeet), beans, carrots and the other day D picked 6 cucumbers off his vine!

I've planted broccoli, cabbages, kale and cauliflowers and covered them with netting to keep the pesky cabbage butterflies off. In the empty pig run we've sown sugarbeet, mangel, silverbeet, turnips, beetroot, spinach. I've bought  more seeds to sow (for us!):

I've not grown parsnips or brussel sprouts before so that will be interesting! The 'Majestic Red' carrot got a good review in this month's NZ Gardener magazine so thought I'd try them out. Broad beans are always a useful crop, if we don't eat them, the new pigs will and they are very good for the soil.

I'm waiting to get some more farm milk to try my hand at mozzarella, haven't made any more cheese since the last lot of ricotta a few weeks ago.

Off to make ice cream, gingernut biscuits and some focaccia bread for lunch!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another year wiser?

Well I hope so! Yep it's my birthday, another year on the clock!

As I was working last night I didn't do anything particular, slept a bit then when the rain stopped G and I had a walk around the section planning improvements and checking on the trees and plants.

Since I am the cook here at CTF, it is MY kitchen, I made my own birthday cake! This one is a Hummingbird cake using this recipe which contains pineapple, banana and passionfruit. G pronounced it the best cake I had ever made so that's good!

My lovely sister sent me this fabulous cook book, which won Dutch Cookbook of the Year:

Will be trying out the cheese recipes ASAP!

Looking forward to mastering gnocchi making..

The book has a huge variety of recipes, I'm going to love trying out as many recipes as I can. Maybe I should do a Julie and Julia?! Thanks so much S xx

And these lovely leather gardening gloves from my dear Mother xx:

Not sure how long they will look this new and pretty!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Passionfruit time!

We have loads and loads of passionfruit, so I am busy freezing as much as possible. Apart from using standard ice cube containers, I also have a couple of silicone trays, which my sister gave me ages ago. They are designed for freezing portions of baby food. I'm now putting them to good use for freezing handy portions of passionfruit pulp. Being silicone, it makes the job of removing the frozen pulp easy, then I put a whole lot in zip-lock bags.

We are also enjoying it fresh of course. And scooped over homemade vanilla icecream with just a tiny drizzle of golden syrup.....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Calendula salve

I've been wanting to make up a batch of this healing salve for some time now. What do I use it for? Mostly for cuts and scratches, but also I've been putting it on insect bites too. Might not stop the itching that well but I figure it can help the skin! Actually I found out from researching remedies for insect bites that ice is the best home remedy.

Anyway, back to the salve. Fortunately I had sufficient calendula flowers in the garden:

It was very easy to make. I used my slow cooker to infuse 2 cups of petals with 1 cup of olive oil for a couple of hours. Then I strained this through some muslin into another container. I melted 1/4 cup beeswax pellets using a double boiler, then checked the temperature of the wax and heated the oil up (gently) a wee bit more so they were roughly the same temp. Then I added the oil to the beeswax and whisked it up, added 10 drops of lavender oil and poured into clean, dry pots. This quantity of ingredients made 5 little pots. It sets fairly quickly, putting it in the fridge helps to solidify even more.

I'm storing them in the fridge too, although I guess you could just keep them somewhere cool - has been quite hot here as we are at the end of our Summer and we don't really have anywhere that's very cool!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rustic fare

Just a quickie, as I wanted to post these photos of some food we enjoyed this week here at CTF.

Ham and kumara frittata

I made this ham and kumara frittata for dinner one night. The ham was from our own pigs, (we still have a couple of hams left in the freezer), and I added a little zucchini and chilli from the garden. Frittata is a great way to use up a lot of eggs. You can put in whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand.

We were also lucky to receive another pot of freshly made pate from our lovely French neighbours - merci beaucoup!

Homemade pate