Mystery solved!

I posted about the extremely ugly pumpkin that appeared in my veggie patch forgetting that I had planted seed for a Japanese pumpkin. While going through my box of seeds I found this.

The penny dropped and I remembered I must have planted some of this seed. A quick google search led me to this site about Japanese food culture which quite clearly explains my monster to a tee. I’m glad I discovered this and will now have to check out how it tastes. Sounds interesting.

What discoveries have you made with interesting or strange food growing?


Groundhog day dinners.

I used that title based on the movie of the same name making the assumption that Groundhog Day meant just repeating the same thing day in, day out. Apparently it stems from some poor little critter sticking his nose out of its burrow everyday to do a quick weather forecast as to whether winter is over or not. Well for this little critter, winter is obviously getting closer as the summer season in the garden is over. It’s been a mixed season, great tomatoes and capsicums/chillies but that’s about the best we’ve done. No pumpkins, well one and that’s quite scary. No corn, limited beans, limited zucchini (that’s not a bad thing), cucumbers have been ok and I didn’t have much else in. Time for some serious work to boost our gardens nutrition I think. Anyway it means at about 5.00 I think maybe a quick pasta dish would do and it has been ‘doing’ far too often!

Dont get me wrong, I love pasta but because these throw together meals have been done without much thought I was sick of picking out tomato skins and not really having any depth of flavour. Tonight will be different! I chopped up zucchini, onion, 4 different capsicum varieties and some chill and did a very quick fry off in garlic oil. I then chopped up the tomatoes and cooked ever so slowly for about 45 minutes with lots of garlic oil, garlic, some sulca biber (pepper paste), chilli and S&P. I then actually pressed it all through a sieve to remove the skins etc.

A toss of the veggies through the pasta with chopped basil and oregano, drizzled with some more garlic oil, can’t go wrong. this was much better that the ‘quickie’ I was getting so sick of. I find I’m adding pepper paste to many dishes now just to add a bit of zing!

 Now, as for our one and only pumpkin!

In My Kitchen-At Home & Camping

I’ve been doing all sorts of things over the last month. We had a couple of weeks camping at Depot Beach on the South Eastern NSW coast and when the rain persisted just a bit too much to maintain comfort, we headed inland to explore our Nation’s Capital, Canberra for a couple of days. We’ve had Easter and mixed in to all of that an obvious change of seasons leading to some very necessary jobs in the vegetable garden (I’ll be doing a separate post about those after this). A big thank you to Sherry from over at Sherry’s Pickings for linking bloggers who are happy to share what’s going on in their kitchens each month. So first up I’ll let you have a peek at our holiday/camping kitchen, some of which is what we ate along the way.

We both love pies, it’s always a necessity to check out bakeries at towns as we pass through to see the calibre of their pies. This heritage bakery in Milton was great to see for the historic building but that’s about where it stopped. One interesting thing was that this is totally cashless. I don’t have a problem at all with this concept but gee it slows down the service lever when the staff spend so much time explaining to the many customers who did seem to challenge their reasons. It also added to confusion when the EFTPOS  system wasn’t working. As I said, nice building!

At the opposite end of the spectrum we bought a pie at Poppy’s on Wallace at Braidwood. These would have to be the best pies we’ve ever bought. Mr ATMT said he never wanted to eat another pie again unless it was as good as this one.  Sorry, the pic was purely a grab as we ate walking down the street.

Back at camp we all know how much I still need to bake while on away and I played around with a new technique for baking our bread. I guessed that the camp oven fitted nicely into the top of our Ozpig and it worked really well.

The first loaf hit the top of the camp oven so I improvised and used a saucepan as a lid for the second loaf. Worked a treat! Before we headed off to Canberra I used up all the last bits and pieces to make a lovely camp stew. Left over roast lamb, bacon, vegetables, tomatoes, red wine and of course sourdough for soaking up the juice. While in Canberra we went to the massive farmers market at the racecourse on Saturday. What a wonderful market! Silly for us to buy fresh produce, so I had to make do with these delicious bombolini (doughnuts).  Don’t ask how many I managed to taste test! I also picked up a couple of souvenirs of freshly milled flour. This year I want to explore and understand more about grains and whole-wheat. These are a starting point. Then we came home to Easter! Roughly 16 dozen sourdough hot cross buns churned out in one bake. Might go away for Easter next year! Our daughter limits how much sugar the little fella gets, so we had a go at making some dyed Easter Eggs. I was really happy with the brightness of these. Simply a matter of boiling the eggs and rolling them around to crack the shells a little then they soaked in water with food colouring. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours and hey presto! These went into our picnic lunch on Easter Sunday.   I bought myself a little treat at the War Memorial in Canberra as I couldn’t resist the beautiful poppy design.  lovely china mug with infuser and what I think is beautiful artwork of my favourite flower, the poppy.What’s been going on in your kitchen? Pop over to Sherry’s and add a story for us to have a peek at.

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