Making and baking

It has been a week of making and baking here. We recently had our 2 Dexter steers butchered for our own consumption, and some meat for friends. This is our second time round with butchering own own livestock. The Dexters are small and compact and great for keeping the feed in the paddocks down. We bought them in mind of eating them, and have used a mobile butcher. Last time we had a sausage making night with some friends. This time we borrowed the sausage maker, and got to making our own sausages.

Disclaimer: a photograph of raw sausages is never going to look attractive.


The sausages were simple herb and garlic sausaages, made with natural casings.

I made a batch of hot cross buns that were devoured, both by myself and family. This confirmed to me why I try not to buy either hot cross buns or mince pies early in their respective holiday seasons. Once you start, you just can’t stop.

Do you bake any special foods over Easter? I mostly bake buns. Every year I aspire to make a Chocolate Cake decorated with Easter eggs, but once the kids are already hyper and I realise just how much chocolate that will be it just doesn’t get made.

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February: a new start

It just occurred to me that February was full of new starts for us. I looked back through my archives of Feb happy snaps and there they all were: new school, new Kinder, new horse riding venue, new friends, new experiences. I have to say, it has all been a little overwhelming and disruptive. I am longing for the lazy days of summer and no routine.

I have taken over the reins at the new school with the Kitchen Garden. I am undecided about how that is going. There is a fantastic veg and herb garden already underway. There is gardening and then kitchen cooking every week. The kids are so into it. Week 3 is tomorrow – more zucchini recipes!

Amongst that there has been sad news about friends, a concert at the zoo, yabbie catching, a $26.25 challenge, some serious hard waste perusing (and snaffling!), prodcue preserving, the chooks finally laying, our first green/blue araucana egg, committee meetings, picking blackberries, making jam and holidays planned. Oh, and a truck smashing the front of my car off. At least the 3 1/2 weeks in the substitute  4WD meant for some serious hard waste action. All was not lost.

We are keeping it sane with dreams of weekends at home. So precious and coveted at the moment: Ella for reading, Mia for sleeping in, Ari for trampolining, me for knitting and Jamie for the veg garden. It’s the weekend dreaming that keeps the weekdays sailing by.

Summer holidays

Hello! Did you have a great Christmas and New Year? We did. We have eased ourselves in to 2012 with a week long road trip across some of NSW and back home again. We have another small break coming up – a new adventure. Stay tuned.

The vegie garden has gone mad with pumpkins and zucchinis taking over now that the beans have finished.

We worked into the twilight tonight picking all the blood plums, and hunting for wild blackberries.

I love summer produce. Bring on the tomatoes. I’m not even sick of zucchini yet (tonight was roasted zucchini with parmesan and herbs).

 

 

Makin’ bacon

I have become concerned about the level of nitrates in the foods we eat as a family, such as bacon and ham. We use bacon at least once a week in our cooking, so it makes sense to me to try and find some bacon without nitrates. When I saw a recipe for home-made bacon in “The River Cottage Family Cookbook“, I knew we had to try it out.

My search for free range pork led me to Yarra Valley Free Range Pork. I was so pleased to find  free range pork locally, and am impressed by their website and processing of their pork. The pork loin was ordered and picked up earlier in the week and has been salted daily and kept in the fridge. Tonight was the last night of salting, and I have to say it is looking good.

It is spending the night in our cellar to dry out a little more, and will then be ready for carving. I have high hopes for this bacon. In a sarnie with egg and relish.

Sour cream, the long way round

I recently purchased the book “Home Dairy” by Ashely English. Having read about it on Soulemama, I was thrilled to find it in my local book shop.

Needing sour cream this week, I set about making my own: the long way round. I do believe that adding lemon juice to cream can produce sour cream in a much shorter time frame. But where’s the fun in that!

With a quick flick through the book, all that was needed is buttermilk and cream. Not content with any supermarket buttermilk, this meant I had to make butter to get buttermilk to make sour cream.

Pressing the water from the butter after it has been rinsed.

Seperating the cream in the food processor took no time at all. Once the buttermilk was collected, the butter was rinsed. The water needed to be pressed out of the butter before the butter was ready. Easy. Salt optional.

Buttermilk.

With the buttermilk acquired my Home Dairy ground to a halt when I discovered the sour cream needs to stand for 12 hours. I will make this tonight and leave it overnight. Off to the next culinary adventure now. Bacon!

A girl and her veg

I don’t like gardening. I don’t even pretend to like it. I’m all about the harvest.

You can find me picking off snails, weeding, watering, or filling my basket with produce.

You can hear me saying “Oh, we need leeks, chinese cabbage and brussel sprouts. Did you get kale? Those kale chips are divine”.

You can find me snapping pics of vegie seedlings.

You will not find me planting, digging or toiling in that soil. I made it clear when hubby planned that vegie garden. “You grow it, I’ll turn it into a meal”. Pasta sauce, pickles, jam, chutney, steamed veg, kale chips, spaghetti squash. I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me, waiting for those vegies to grow.