Thursday, 26 July 2012

Salad days.

Its the middle of Winter.....................
Its cold, wet and miserable outside.................

All I want is hot comfort food, soup, chicken pie, banana muffins, coffee and hot chocolate.................

But guess what i still have some salad greens growing in the plot.


A quick dash to the plot between the showers and downpours...........

Oak leaf and Cos lettuce .....................

Young rocket leaves ........growing under the cold frame.


Just perfect with ham and spicy pumpkin relish in rolls for lunch.


With the longer days and plenty of rain I've noticed little lettuce seedlings popping up everywhere so the cycle continues.....................

Joining in with VP and the 52 week Salad Challenge  

Monday, 23 July 2012

Harvest Monday

I decided to try Daphne's recipe for refrigerator pickles with this weeks cabbage harvest.

I added the last of my red onions, peppercorns and a couple of small slices of fresh ginger to the pickle juice. In one jar a also added some sliced carrots.

I also harvested herbs/greens and used them to make a very very simple quick meal.


Mint, parsley,coriander, spring onions and young rocket leaves, chopped.
Cold tandoori chicken (last nights left overs) sliced.
Add herbs and chicken to hot skillet and cook quickly in a little olive oil,garlic and lemon juice.
Add to Cous Cous and stir through.

We also collected 35 eggs for the week !!! Big effort from the girls considering its been very cold and wet.
 Over the last month i have been trying a new grain mix called Eggs for Sure and its working a treat !!

Unfortunately the Medlar paste/jam didn't work out...........always next year!

For more eggciting harvests visit Daphne .                                                                      

Friday, 20 July 2012

Frost and Fruit Trees.

This year we seem to be experiencing many more frosts than usual and as my new veggie plot is totally exposed to the elements I recently had to make some quick frost covers as the reported overnight temperature was LOW........

Most of the crops I grow over the winter period are pretty frost hardy but a few crops including  lettuce, spinach, coriander and broccoli I felt needed some added protection.

I found some old black irrigation pipe, cut it into lengths and then pushed it straight into the soil on either side of the row of plants to make hoops.

Over the hoops i placed lengths of frost fabric (20 meter roll $10, Bargain!) and secured them with clothes pegs, making sure the fabric didn't touch the plants.

Thank Goodness i got them made in time as we had 3 mornings in a row of -6C 

Our Dam even had a complete layer of ice over it.................  

After the row of cold nights we experienced heavy rain and drizzle on and off for a week, freezing cold, muddy underfoot and 2 dirty dogs hanging around the back door looking at me with their big eyes saying let us in, let us in......

Just all a bit depressing, funny I never really noticed last winter being like this but maybe that's because i was busy training for my walking trip in Italy and had something exciting to look forward too.

Ok so i headed off to our local nursery for some cheering up (after much reading up) and choose some fruit trees for our new orchard. 2 apple, 2 pear, 2 plum and a quince and a cherry.  
The nursery has a great selection of bare- rooted trees, I'm sure I could fit in a few more.....  and then next door is a fab Cafe(full of vintage wares and organic produce) which serves great coffee and the best ever jam drop biscuits...........perfect for a Winter's Day. 
We already have quite a selection of fruit and nut trees at our Farmhouse which we crop and also for our guests to enjoy, these new trees have been chosen mainly for future cooking and preserving...............

Last weekend we hosted a family get-together on my husband's side, he is one of seven children so there were 14 plus 3 cousins and their partner's. All up we had 12 stay for the weekend and on Saturday night we cooked for 19 ...........very loud, lots of laughs and it rained most of the time !
 Come Monday when all was quiet and clean I looked through my cookery books for recipes to use lemons, which Sister in law Kathleen (now favourite) brought along with her.

I made Moroccan preserved Lemons, a first for me so will be interesting to see how they taste in about 4 weeks time.

1kg Lemons                    75grams sea salt           2 large bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick             2 small fresh chilies        juice of 8 lemons
olive oil

Wash lemons in hot water,rinse and dry,
Cut each lemon in quarters,length ways.  Place 1tb salt in bottom of large jar.
Dip each piece of lemon in salt and carefully pack into jar, add bay leaves, cinnamon stick and chilies.
Pour in enough lemon juice to cover lemons.
Top with a little olive oil, then seal.

Leave in a warm sunny spot for 4-8 weeks before opening.


I still have some lemons left so this weekend I'm going to make lemon curd and marmalade.........................

                            Hope you all have a great weekend !!



Monday, 9 July 2012

Monday's Harvest

Produce harvested from the plot this week has been very low,
a few leaves of chard, lettuce, parsley and one cabbage.

Total of 18 eggs from the Girls.

For interest I thought you may like to see my new veggie plot its about 6 months old. Notice the tap/hose on the left hand side , imagine my surprise and excitement when i found hubby installing it one afternoon!!!!
 Makes watering so much easier...............
 We had the dam cleaned out and enlarged to provide plenty of water over the summer months for the plot and new fruit trees.

Only problem being that I keep enlarging the garden which is pretty easy as the fence is made up of wire panels held together with cable ties and steel pickets.

    Sometime in the near future a more robust and higher fence will be built to keep out our early morning visitors.............................

   View from the bedroom window, one of a mob of kangaroos enjoying the                        new shoots of grass emerging from the side of dam. 

To see what others are harvesting from their plots head over to Daphne's     
a world of wonderful produce,recipes and ideas......................                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Cooking from Scratch

One of the things I love most about Winter is the extra time I have to spend in the Kitchen, as its dark at 6pm that gives me at least 1 1/2 hours to prepare, cook, read a book and have a cuppa or a glass of wine..........

Over the last few months i have been noticing the term "Cooking from Scratch"
and it got me thinking .............................

How many meals a week do i cook from scratch, that is cooking a meal without using any processed food products and with my own home grown produce.  
 We do eat quite a bit of meat and organic chicken which we buy from our local butcher and any additional veggies i buy from the local supermarket.

So looking back over the last week I think i can class most of my breakfasts, only half of my lunches and 5 of our evening meals as Cooking from Scratch.

First up at the start of the week we enjoyed roast chicken with roast potatoes and steamed carrots, peas and cabbage. Homemade gravy using a little of the 
chicken juices a tablespoon of flour and water.

Next evening i stripped off the remaining chicken which i put aside, and then the carcass went into a large pot along with the usual, onion, celery,parsley,salt and pepper to make stock for soup later in the week.

Ok so a quick look around the veggie plot i found some young leeks, parsley and pulled up 1 sort of medium carrot.
The chopped leeks and carrot along with a red onion and clove of garlic went into the fry pan for a couple of minutes.
I then added the chopped chicken and 1/2 cup corn and peas.
then added 1/2 cup chicken stock with a tablespoon of cornflour mixed through.     
 Stir altogether and cook for a few minutes.      Cool.

While the filling was cooling i made shortcrust pastry, rolled out thinly and lined a large muffin tin to make 6 individual pies.

 Small slit in top and cooked for 30-40 minutes
 at 200C                                                  


 Hubby asked for seconds ......good sign !                                                                    

Later on in the week after a morning of chopping, carting and stacking fire wood i must admit they made the perfect lunch.

What are your favorite pie fillings?

Joining in with Robin at The Gardener of Eden. Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Harvest Monday

Its been Wet and Windy, there's been heavy rain and drizzle, grey skies and lots of mud...............

Best Place to front of the fire with a good book!!

I was most surprised to find my young hens starting to lay, perfect little white last week 16


                                     A couple more cabbages


                    And a couple of young leeks for my chicken pies.

Joining in with Daphne  Sharing the harvest with others from around the globe.