I love the way that sometimes things gather their own energy and take on a life of their own. A few weeks ago I went into the Fowlers Room looking for extra space to put ‘stuff’ while the floors were being done and made a hasty decision that I certainly didn’t need all of the Fowlers preserving bottles I had stored there (Fairy, you’d be proud!). When the kids were little I bottled tomatoes, pears, apples, grapes, puddings, apricots, pineapple and anything else that was in season and cheap. The reality was that I would never use those jars again, so it was time to say goodbye. I took one photo, didn’t count them and bung an ad on Ebay saying something generic like “Fowlers Jars assorted sizes $1.00 each or $10.00 dozen”. Had no idea how many I had of each size. Within half an hour I received an email from a prospective buyer who was happy to take the lot. At this point I thought I should do a stocktake! 144 bottles, that’s 12 dozen jars! I didn’t include any of the size 20’s or the tiny ones, nor the pudding jars as I still use them.
Interesting that the photo has mostly size 20’s! Anyway, the buyer turned out to be the people who own Tarra Valley Foods in the not too far away town of Rosedale. They produce a huge range of pickles, chutney, jams and other great preserves and wanted the jars for pre-processing needs. I had a delightful time chatting to them for ages about gardens, preserves, old bottles and other things. They have a display of historic bottles in their store and are really interested in history of preserving. Subsequently they dropped off a great big bag of quince a week later and then rang and offered some prickly pear fruit to me. How could I refuse? A couple of years ago I heard an interview on ABC RN with a man who cooks for a school and one of the dishes he mentioned was a ‘prickly pear sorbet’. It sounded delicious and I stored it in my grey matter for one day when I would have the opportunity to try it. This could be it! I love the way when you link into local networks there is a domino effect that can bring benefits to all parties.
Prickly Pear Sorbet Review (Recipe at link above)
I had been looking forward to making this for so long that I probably was a little overloaded with expectation. I chose to make chocolate cheesecake to serve the sorbet with (recipe is at this link) as our dessert tonight. It was very nice, not too bitter or sweet and a good repeat again recipe. Now the sorbet.
First up, peel and juice the prickly pears, these are the little suckers.
I found it quite easy to peel them, sliced off each end, cut a slit in skin from top to bottom of fruit and using a small plastic spatula worked under the skin, gently peel off the skin. Bit blurry, sorry.
I had read somewhere that you could put them through a passata machine which I tried but it was a total failure. It just gummed up the works. I found it easier to just blast them with the bamix then put through a sieve.I put the juice in with the prepared syrup and then into the ice-cream machine which obviously hadn’t been in the freezer long enough as it just didn’t freeze. No drama, just poured it into a shallow plastic container and back into the freezer giving it a stir every now and again. I knew it wouldn’t be completely frozen by dinner time but just decided to call it saubet instead of sorbet! Half sauce, half sorbet, (chuckle, chuckle). Anyway, the verdict by all is it was OK, nothing to rave about, tasted very much like normal pear and rockmelon or watermelon blended. Wouldn’t drive for miles to pick them, but pleased to have given them a go.
I read about a South African dish using mince in one of the blogs I follow and thought it sounded interesting and worth a shot. This dish was lovely, great cold weather soul food! I didn’t add sultanas as they are not a big hit with some here and I could only get minced beef, not lamb but it was still lovely. I think it will be even better tomorrow on toast! Served it with mashed potato and carrots in mustard and treacle, everyone was pleased with this delicious dish and happy for me to make it again. Bobotie recipe.
Reinvigorating the sour dough starter.
Before I left for Sumatra I put my starter in a jar in the fridge and now needed to re-kick the natural yeast activity. Onto the radiator for initial warming.
Fed with some more flour. Popped into a clean basin to sit and do its thing.Things have cooled considerably on the weather front so I need to ensure temperature stays warm enough to allow the yeast enzymes to grow. I lit the wood fired stove for the first time this season but had started proving a batch of bread before it was fired up so I had to come up with a warm place to prove the dough. No worries, the slow cooker was on with some pumpkin soup simmering away so I piggybacked the dough on there.
I cooked the bobotie and bread in the wood oven, gee it was nice to use an oven that fitted a proper sized container in it and not use the toy oven. Might have to have a slice of this toasted with some leftover bobotie tomorrow!
It really is Autumn!
My friend delivered some freshly picked field mushrooms she finds in a secret location. These became breakfast cooked by Mr ATMT, butter, red onion, garlic and mushies cooked for a while then some milk was added and cooked till reduced. Beautiful, the real sign that Autumn is here!