Chick Peas, Pulled Pork, Tortillas, Bread and Garden.

Yep, it’s been a busy weekend! I love it when you get to achieve everything you set out to, it is incredibly satisfying. It certainly helped that the weather was absolutely beautiful. After 10 days of non stop rain and misery the sky was blue, no wind and the temperature got to about 19 today.  This is my son’s dog enjoying the warmth as did we!

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I’d been feeling a bit under the weather Thursday and Friday so it was great that I felt energised and raring to go for the weekend. First up I chooffed off to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on some goodies. This market has developed well and even though we are entering winter, there is still a great range of produce and a really strong sense of community from every one who attends or sells there. I love it! I bought some beautiful organically grown carrots (see recipe later) and leeks from Thorpdale Organics  (forgot to take a pickie), organic milk and paneer from Miranda Dale Dairy, chicken from Mirboo Pastured Poultry, Eggs from WillowZen, who claim their pullet eggs are sensational poached. I’ll report back on that later! Apples (I always forget the business name but they are very friendly),  Mushrooms from Gippsland Mushrooms, Saffron grown in Mirboo, just up the road, chorizo sausages and surely something else! No need to go into those awful big ‘not so super’ markets at all!

With the shopping stowed away I spent a couple of hours in the veggie patch trying to bring a bit of control back into it. I hadn’t done much over the last few weeks and found it very therapeutic getting out there and getting stuck into it. I tweaked the area where last season I had put a bath to grow some potatoes. It is now a better use of space and gives me a spot to put a chair so I can just sit and contemplate. It also means the worm farm and compost bin are easier to access.

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Some gravel fill in between the pavers and some bee attracting flowers planted, it should come up quite well. I also gave the greenhouse a good clean up. I noticed there was quite a big build up of muck on the panels which would be reducing the mount of sun coming in. With the cold season I need to capture as much warmth as possible,  so some hot water, truck wash, broom and a good high pressure blast of water and it is back to looking loved.

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Belated Mothers Day Lunch.

We were in Sydney for mothers day, so the kids came home today for lunch. I was really happy with today’s  meal. I often don’t enjoy eating what I cook but thoroughly enjoyed these dishes. Eating while sitting out in the lovely sunshine consisted of:

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Spicy Pulled Pork– Pulled pork is such an easy and cheap way to feed a group. I put a pork shoulder in the marinade/rub  in the slow cooker pot Friday morning before I went to work, put in fridge until Sat night then turned the slow cooker on low and it was beautifully cooked by Sunday morning. I do cover the meat with some baking paper to keep it moist while its cooking. It just falls apart and is so juicy and tender.

Spicy Pulled Pork

The recipe had ‘Cebolla en escabeche’ (picked onion) as an accompaniment. The pickling being achieved by soaking onions in lime and orange juices. I didn’t have limes so substituted green lemon juice and it was fine. Love the colour!

Cebolla en escabeche

Last week when I was at Herbies Spices in Sydney we sampled a lentil and kidney bean dhal using his ready made blend. I bought some of the blend and used it to make a chick pea dish to go with lunch today. So easy, add some oil/ghee to a pan, add 1 finely chopped onion and soften, add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend and cook out for a minute or so. Add drained chick peas (2 X 400g cans), tomato passata (I bottle mine in beer stubbies so that would be 375ml), 1/2 the juice from the drained peas and cook until required thickness. I also threw in a couple of the last cherry tomatoes. If too thick, add a little water to thin. You can also add some yoghurt but I didn’t and it was still lovely. Served with coriander on the top. Beautiful.

Chick Pea Dahl

An interesting side dish  I made was a carrot and radish (turnip) salad only I couldn’t get radishes at the farmers markets so I used young turnips which have a similar spicy element to them. Put the carrot and turnip through the V-Slicer, took about 2 minutes to make. Winner-It was really nice!

radish and carrot salad

Home made tortillas, Annabel Langbein’s recipe of course!

Tortlllaswhich were used as a wrap for the pork, chick peas and side salads. Some greek yoghurt, bean sprouts and tomato relish as well and it went down really well.

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Lastly are a couple of photos of the pretty spider webs I saw when I ventured out early Sunday morning. Hope your weekend was as fulfilling as mine!

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Posted in Bread, Flowers, In The Garden, Lemons, Mushrooms, Nature in the garden, Recipes, Recipes, Seed Raising & Propagation, tomato pickles, tomato recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

In My Kitchen-May

It is now 9.43 pm and literally 15 minutes since we walked in the back door after spending Friday, Sat and most of today in Sydney, our state of New South Wales capital city. I’m probably too late for the IMK deadline so I’ll just do a brief summary of what’s in my kitchen (or will be after my weekend in Sydney).

We flew in around midday on Friday and jumped into a taxi to the Chef’s Warehouse that we have heard Celia frequently mention and shown us the delights she has acquired there. My goodness, I am so glad we don’t live too close! I focussed on only buying things I know are hard to source at home and that I could fit into my hand luggage and came away with this little lot. Some clay cookware which I’ve been wanting to get for tapas and breakfasts, in particular spanish eggs. A Really fine mesh skimmer, some bakers linen for using as a couche (once I have an oven I can fit a baguette bigger than a hot dog roll into). A lovely wooden spoon and,

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some new wine glass racks that have a wider base than the ones we use now. This was quite funny as the lady at Chef’s Warehouse didn’t think we’d get them onto the plane as they might be considered ‘dangerous’. She very kindly gave us some bubble wrap we could wrap them in and post home which we had every intention of doing until we got to the airport with our package ready to post and there was  nowhere to post it. A quick discussion with the security people and we were okayed to carry them. Lucky!

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I attended a spice appreciation and blending class at the renowned ‘Herbies’ in Rozelle. This was great but will take too long to cover here, a separate post about that later. I did bring home some special spices and the blend I made up as part of the session. Now to think of a way to use it! I also picked up a lovely new bowl at ‘The Essential Ingredient’, another one of my online shops. This is an extremely short post but after a busy weekend I really need to hit the hay and dream of  how I will use my Sydney souvenirs In My Kitchen!

Thanks again Celia for the link up! Head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see some other interesting kitchens.

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Posted in In My Kitchen, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Weekend Roundup-Spicy soup and reno update.

We have so much on the go at the moment we don’t know our arses from our elbows! With having finally sold our Fish Creek Property,we’ve been working to empty and clean there ready for impending settlement this week (everything crossed!). Both of us are really under the pump at work and finding it heavy to handle, might have to review that very soon I think!

We have also felt a bit like the reno has hit a bit of an impasse, so we made a concerted effort to do a few jobs. Mr ATMT started painting the snug and I have been hanging the wallpaper to the bottom of the walls. Coming together nicely, the bottom colour will be a matching tone of the top colour but lighter. Think dark blues and mustard seed tones for drapery and accessories. It actually looks more a coffee colour than it is in the photo!

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We have been searching on Ebay for ages waiting for a suitable sized gas log fire to go into the lounge room fireplace. As much as it breaks my heart (kidding) to remove the lovely white bricks that are circa 1960, we will get over it. This is the fireplace with the modern brickwork. I know,  gorgeous, why would we want to remove it?

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We finally managed to secure a gas log fireplace in an as new condition for a couple of hundred dollars. Much better than a couple of thousand! We opted for gas log (this unit has faux coal) in this fireplace as we already have 3 other wood fires. It’s a welcome option on the nights when it’s not really cold but you need some warmth and a sense of fire. Now to source a mantel fitting to the era of the house. The unit included a cast iron insert that the burner will  sit into. This photo just shows the burner with the faux coals. As these fireplaces were built more for coal than wood it should fit the style of the house really well. Bit excited really!

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With the cooler weather setting in, especially at night, it is soup season. We could live on soup I think. We are very partial to potato and leek soup but on checking the supplies in the cupboard and the harvest from the morning I opted to make a potato, onion and red lentil spicy soup. This was delicious and so easy.

Spicy Potato, Onion & Red lentil soup for 2 plus.

4 potatoes, 4 medium to large onions, 300 ml stock (I used home made veggie), 1/2 tspn cumin, 1/2 tspn garam masala, 1/4 tspn chilli powder (or more if you like a bit more kick), 4 garlic cloves, 1/3-1/2 cup red lentils, S&P and extra water. I also added a couple of shiitake mushrooms I’d picked in the morning.

Peel and roughly chop potatoes, peel and slice onion, peel and roughly chop garlic. Heat a little olive oil in a pot and add onion and garlic, cook till clear then add spices, cook a few more minutes then add potatoes. Mix around then add the stock, lentils and enough water to cover the lot. Bring to boil then stir and turn heat down to a gentle simmer. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are cooked and start breaking up. I served this with parmesan, chopped thyme and some sourdough croutons. Mr ATMT managed to make the croutons! Simply cut the bread into the size of crouton you want then place on a tray in the oven at about 160 until they are dry and crisp. This is a great way to use stale bread of any description. Hearty and warming for 2 tired souls on a cool night! What’s your favourite soup?

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Posted in Baking, Bread, Garlic, Mushrooms, Potatoes (Spuds), Recipes, Renovation, Shiitake, sourdough | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Shout out for kitchen tips and hints!

#design #kitchens #appliances #baking #reno

Ok, planning of our kitchen has begun! Not sure when it’s going to actually happen, but it will, so I want to be ready.  I’m looking for tips re good & bad ovens, freestanding vs under bench or wall mounted. Combo vs separate microwave. Steam oven, is it a wank? At this stage I’m looking at 2 normal size under bench ovens beside each other , I really can’t wrap my head around $7-$8000.00 for an oven with reviews no better than a $1000.00 one. Fridges, cooktops and range hoods, energy efficiency, noise levels when operating, knobs and handles etc. With dodgy hands ease of knobs and dials is essential. Any other tips such as cupboards vs drawers, or the second small bar sink I’m considering adding would be greatly appreciated. Sink in island bench vs sink in countertop. Love the sleek look sinks but I reckon you need a pretty decent draining board, especially when a lot of heavy pots get used. 2 drawer dishwasher vs normal dishwasher, it just goes on and on but I think a lot of you have probably wished you’d done things differently and I’d like to know about it.

From what I’ve been researching it certainly doesn’t equate that the more $$$ you spend equals more quality when it comes to white goods. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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Goat Curry, Pulled Pork, ganache and….

I haven’t ever cooked goat before, so when we were at the Dandenong Market last week I could not pass up buying some ‘goat curry’ cuts when I saw it. I knew I wanted to try it either as an Indian curry or as a middle eastern tasting dish so onto the internet. The first recipe I found when I googled was Rick Stein’s Goat Curry so that was that settled. I love Rick Stein, haven’t made many of his dishes but he just seems like a delightful man.

We weren’t disappointed at all. I thought the flavour might be a little light on because there is minimal spicing in the recipe but no, it was delightful. Served with rice, greek yoghurt and some of the leftover flour tortillas from Fridays Lunch.

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Friday’s Lunch

Let’s just say one of my better lunches! Pulled shoulder of pork made with a rub of salt, cumin and Garam masala, . Before I went to bed Thursday I chucked it into the slow cooker on low with a cup of stock, some onions, garlic and star anise. Removed from slow cooker about an hour before serving. I served this with a simple tomato salsa made of tomatoes, capsicum, black pepper and spring onions and an asian flavoured slaw salad that was really nice. Some Annabel Langbein flour Tortillas that were used as wraps, some plum sauce and tomato pickles on the side as well. Was really lovely, tasty and light.

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Dessert was not so light! Brandy snap ‘shells’ with chocolate ganache, quince that had been slow roasted for about 7 hours with sugar, cinnamon and star anise. A plop of double cream on top, yummo.

Quince brandy snaps

I resisted having another serve of this for breakfast so I compromised,

Banana, ganache sourdough

Sourdough toast spread with ganache and mashed banana. That is better for me isn’t it?

Posted in Bread, Capsicum, Fruit, India, Quince, Recipes, Recipes, sourdough, tomato pickles, Tomatoes, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

In My Kitchen- Oh dear another month gone by!

Not too much happening here at the moment – just seem to have lost my mojo! Thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this forum. Never cases to amaze me how some people churn out the most wonderful dishes and have stocked in their cupboards some lovely little gems!

This month the Autumn season was in full swing and consequently there are changes in what is available to use in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to have some beautiful quince dropped off to me by George & Jenny who own and operate Tarra Valley Foods in Rosedale Victoria. They make and sell a huge range of preserves, all of which I have tasted are wonderful. If you are ever heading down the Princes Hwy towards the NSW border, make a point to seek them out! They also have a great range of preserving history displayed. These little beauties are headed to become quince jelly and I’ll also do some oven slow poached quince. Lightly spiced with some lemon, star anise and cinnamon it makes a lovely desert.

Quince

We spent the Easter break camping at Castlemaine, an historical town in the area where gold fever was prominent in the formative years of Australia. This region is full of lovely old architecture and there are also some great markets to be visited.  I really like the Wesley Hill Market as it has a great range of fruit & veg, preserves and also a great eclectic assortment of crafts, preloved goods and it generally has a nice buzz to it. I picked up these,

Wesley Hill Farmers Market

The Splitters Creek olive oil I bought last time we were there was beautiful, didn’t even taste test this time, hope it’s still up to the mark! Tried to find a link but sadly they don’t seem to have any web presence.

The two other bottles are a Persian style pickle and some garlic which has been pickled using date vinegar. No idea what will I will do with them but it seemed like a good idea at the time!

Before we left I had made dumplings from scratch. Had never made the wrappers before and they were a great success. Won’t stress over that again, just takes a bit of time to roll the dough out.

Dumpling wrappers

The left over dumpling filling of pork, ginger, zucchini, spring onion and sesame oil made nice little meatballs to go with our always favoured camping breakfasts. This breaky was sourdough toast (Celia’s starter of course!), poached egg, dumpling stuffing meatballs and grilled tomato served with tomato pickles and a really strong brew of tea.

Camping breakfast

Now to make a cuppa and take a peek at what’s in everyone else’s kitchen this month!

 

Posted in Bread, Garlic, In My Kitchen, Preserving, Quince, Recipes, tomato pickles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Hangin’ in the hammock. Spelt, flowering gums & books.

What an absolute cracker of a weekend  it’s been weather wise! Autumn is my favourite season, but  I especially love it when the weather has been as lovely as the last couple of weeks. We’ve had cool, almost balmy nights, sunny days ranging from 18-30 degrees with just a slight breeze, promises of cooler nights advancing by the dew that’s on the grass and cars in the morning and the golden tinge of colour change in the leaves of the trees. Perfect camping weather, hope it holds for a few weeks.

I was not going to miss the opportunity to enjoy this weather while I could, so in between all the weekend chores and jobs I took time to retreat to my beloved hammock and have some ‘smell the roses’ time.

If I was asked to make a short list of my favourite things to do, reading, camping and hanging in my hammock would be top of the list. If I can do all at the same time I’m in heaven!

I recently borrowed a book from the local Mobile Library and although a very different genre to my beloved crime mystery I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book was ‘The Briny Cafe’ by Susan Duncan and it is a nice story based around some Aussies who live off shore from the mainland and have a strong community  that they cherish and we get to share their lifestyle. I loved the tone of Susan’s writing and have since read the sequel, Gone Fishing which I found just as delightful. So, on to reading her ‘memoirs’, Salvation Creek which I have also enjoyed immensely. Close to my heart, we all are or have friends in the same places she has been and I felt it a very honest and light-hearted approach to disclosing her unbelievingly difficult experiences. Close to the end of the book, I was in between stretch and folds of my bread dough, stirring of the tomato and plum sauces so I treated myself to a stretch in the hammock with a ‘coldie’ (aka chilled beer), my book and a relaxed attitude. Heaven!

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Coming back in between tasks, I picked a few things to go in our dinner that I hadn’t planned. Lemons, lemongrass, capsicum, zucchini and some potatoes. Found some chicken in the freezer  so we had a chicken, lemon, lemongrass, capsicum, zucchini, thyme and potato bake. Threw in some small tomatoes to add sweetness and served on rice cooked with lemongrass and some star anise. Wasn’t a dribble maker, but it was fresh, tasty and hearty.

IMG_0407 IMG_0411My sourdough bread bake this weekend was a 50% spelt flour mix, in a 68% hydration dough. We bought this flour at Callington Mill in Tasmania last September, its best by date has passed but it looked ok, smelled ok and performed well in the loaves.

IMG_0449While lying in my hammock I was positioned so I could keep peeking at this beautiful flowering gum. We had to remove a large flowering gum tree when we moved in and I hated doing it. This one is a smaller grafted variety and the shape of the leaves, buds, flowers and I presume  the resulting gum nuts are so beautiful. Not usually a pink kind of girl! First time its flowered, beautiful.

IMG_0427As I’m putting this post together there is a leg of lamb in the slow cooker laced with 2 heads of garlic, lots of rosemary, a cup or so of balsamic vinegar and a bit of brown sugar and stock. Smells beautiful! Will let you know how it goes.

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Ahhh, love Autumn.

 

Posted in Bread, Capsicum, Chickens, Garlic, Home, In The Garden, Nature in the garden, Potatoes (Spuds), Preserving, sourdough, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments