A really bad smell is – In My Kitchen!

Yes, not a stunning way to start this month’s IMK post! Most of Celia’s lovely IMK participants over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  share pictures of their delightful, gourmet treats, stunning new cookware and trinkets collected from afar, but no, not me this month! Due to my own stupidity and carelessness, the kitchen is full of foul smelling, black smoke which is due to this,

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I stupidly put a Tupperware lid on top of the toaster and this particular toaster starts when the button is ever so lightly touched. I’ve hated this toaster since the day we got it and I now have a justifiable reason to get rid of it. It’s full of melted plastic that dripped down into its guts. Bye bye toaster! Next one will definitely be a good old push the lever down style.

On a lighter note, some other happenings this month In My Kitchen are:

IMG_1370The first firing up  of the wood fire stove this season. As much as I love the idea of this oven, the total inefficiency of it is why I don’t use it often. It takes a couple of hours to get to about ‘moderate’ temperature and I just hate seeing wood wastefully ‘go up in smoke’  without some return.  It is lovely though, on a miserable winter’s afternoon to listen to the crackle and feel the radiating warmth. I am planning on putting in a wood fire which also has  a baking chamber in it when we do the new kitchen/family room. Haven’t yet decided if this will stay or go and if it goes, what will fill the space.

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And there is a great big mess! Glenda over at Passionfruit Garden has been doing some posts about using pumpkins in cakes and loaves and it made me think about a nut loaf my mum used to make. Mum wasn’t a great cook which might be why my dad bought her this book, 2 and a half months after they were married in 1943. Mum did cook, but like most post war Australian wives it was basic yet filling food and ‘tea’, not dinner, quite often sat on top of a saucepan full of water with the saucepan lid covering the plate while it ‘stayed warm’ for hours until dad was ready to eat it. IMG_1371

I love this book, it has all the requirements a modern-day 1943 housewife should have and hints and tips on how to be a great homemaker. Nothing quite as OTT as The Good Wife, but it is interesting reading and the recipes are reliable and sometimes quite humorous. Luckily it was tagged to come to me when things were divided up. You can see by the way mum noted it as for me, she wasn’t a subtle person!

Good wife

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, back to why there is a mess in my kitchen. Inspired by Glenda, I decided to see if I could recreate a nut loaf that tasted like mums. I checked with my niece and she didn’t have the recipe amongst the ones she inherited and the one Glenda shared didn’t seem to be quite like the one I remember, so I searched Google and came up with this recipe that seemed more like the one I was looking for. Sure was close! I used brown sugar and upped the butter a bit and also added a teaspoon of mixed spice.

Nut Loaf

Cooked in an old nut loaf tin and the excess in a small loaf pan covered with a foil tent, It was a good start to searching and finding the lost memory. Not quite there but certainly on the way.

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Quite a few IMK posts ago I mentioned we were looking for a tea that was as enjoyable as the tea we brought back from our trip to India. This ‘Good Morning Tea’ from Lupicia is proving to be a really enjoyable tea with plenty of flavour. Like my new tea cosies? I knitted these over a few nights while sitting in front of the fire. Knitting, winter and fire go so well together. I’m not really (in fact not at all) an artsy, crafty sort of person apart from a little knitting now and again.

That’s me for In My Kitchen this month. Thanks Celia for hosting these bloggers and joining us together. Go over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and check out what others have going on in their kitchens. I bet they smell better than mine!

Paneer Jalfrezi-With Raab! Yum.

Dinner last night was a take on Rick Stein’s paneer jalfrezi a recipe from his “getting better with every recipe I try“, ‘India’ cook book. This recipe is basically an indian curry stir fry of peppers and tomatoes but as there was a shortfall of peppers in our kitchen I added extra green capsicum and some broccoli raab. Funny, I hadn’t heard of ‘raab’ until I read Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial‘s post today and she mentioned broccoli raab in her post. It looked  suspiciously like what I was growing and had picked to use in this dish. I had planted and grown seed labelled as Broccoli ‘Sessantina grossa’, guess what? Yep, broccoli raab. I’m much more excited about it now, just thought it was a scrungy variety of broccoli until I researched it more closely.

As well as adding the ‘raab’ I also had some pre soaked yellow split peas that were prepared for another dish, I ran out of puff for that, so they went into the pan too. I cut back the chilli powder in the recipe by half and the curry flavour was beautiful, just right. Served with steamed rice, but I would love to have tried it with some fresh naan or flatbread.  That can wait until next time when I make it with more peppers and tomatoes when they are at the peak of their season. I love any dish with indian  paneer cheese (similar to a heavy cottage cheese) in it and the split peas added a nice textural change. Worked out well and tasted delicious.

Paneer jalfrezi

Countdown to Kitchen Lift off is imminent – IMK June.

Woo hoo! Very excited here at ATMT. After 3 long years of trying to sell our property at Fish Creek (Fishy), which is a quirky and delightful town close to our fabulous Wilsons Promontory (The Prom) on the southern tip of Victoria.  We have just had settlement, money is in the bank and we can now proceed in ernest with the reno at this ‘New Old House’. Very sad to be losing the association with the property that I ran as a self contained accommodation facility for about 12 years, but I want to put some energy into this project now. This photo is of the iconic ‘Fishy Pub’, famous for the fish on the roof!

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So, what is in my kitchen this month?

PLANS, PLANS, PLANS! Although we have been preparing for this time for a while, we didn’t want to get to bogged down with the detail until we knew how many $$$$ we had to play with. Massive price reduction to sell meant that what we could do here was affected.  Since we moved in (2 years) and while the Fishy property was on the market this place  has been listed as a Heritage Protected Property, so have had to go through planning approval for any changes. That’s all done, now we need to get final plans drawn up and the building permit issued. When that’s done, we are aiming to start in Spring, couldn’t handle no back half of the house in winter! If I was really optimistic, I would be saying things like I hope to have a kitchen by Christmas, but I doubt it. So consequently in my kitchen are plans and wish lists. I’ve been collecting pictures and ideas that will all be used for tips and ideas in the final mix. If you look closely, you can see a little  spot on the plans marked ‘Kitchen’!

PlansBecause I’m so excited, I got a bit carried away thinking about how I will be able to bake things like croissants, puff pastry, more than 6 sausage rolls and maybe even 2 loaves of bread at a time. My bench top Sunbeam Pizza Bake N Grill has done well, but gee, I’m over it! So, to assist in making all the lovely pastries I plan to make, I decided I needed a good heavy-duty rolling-pin. Probably should have checked the measurements first! The one I ordered online from Amazon is what I will label as my “2 & 1/2 wine bottle pin”. Love it even though it is a monster!

IMG_0966We are still on the quest to find some tea that was as delicious as the assam tea we bought while in India. Not having much luck but when in Melbourne last weekend we bought home a few to try. There are also a few  tomatoes that are trickling in from the greenhouse.

IMG_0969We went Melbourne to celebrate Mr ATMT’s 60th birthday last weekend (Post coming later) and I did the clean out the fridge “what can I use up to take as nibbles routine”. Quite amazing what you can throw together when you have to. These were the most beautiful marinated mushrooms I’ve ever had. Quartered the mushies, cooked in microwave for about a minute and a half. Meanwhile into a pan went some olive oil, about 6 garlic cloves and a chopped up chilli. Heated just enough to slightly cook off the garlic and bring out the chilli oil. This was then poured over the mushrooms, seasoning generously with salt and pepper, the lemon zest of  1 lemon and about 1/2 a tsp of the leftover Spicy Tibetan Sauce I made to go with the Rick Stein Curry I made earlier in the week. Into a container until we used them and they were beautiful. Shame the photo is fuzzy!

IMG_0940I also found some leftover lamb mince, so I threw this in with some chopped rosemary, onion, garlic S&P and an egg to make little meatballs. Served with my tomato relish they were lovely.

IMG_0944Some brownies packed to go with our cuppa, these were made using Annabel Langbein’s brownie recipe. Once again a never fail!

IMG_0951I’ve recently been reading a few different bread making books and currently have Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water and Salt  on loan from the library. Good read so far.  I’ve split ‘Phoenicia’ in half to make a rye starter as well as a basic white. She’s happy with the separation.

IMG_0973Well, I didn’t think I had much to report this month and yet now I feel like I’ve been waffling on for ages. Because we are heading into the wintry blues I thought I’d close with a shot of some of the vibrant colour we experienced in India.

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Thanks Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for your hospitality and generosity with the IMK community.

Hokkaido Milk Toast (Japanese style), Lentil Curry and Lamb Momos

I was a little selfish this weekend, (yes, it’s all about me)!  Although I was conscious that there was plenty to be done  with our reno and in the garden, I opted to do a little cooking. I was in need of a change from the normal weekend sourdough bake so I made some Hokkaido Milk Toast (Japanese style) bread that looked interesting.

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This bread is reputed to be soft and fluffy, suitable for sandwiches and more typical of the supermarket fluff on shelves in the major ‘not so super’-markets. Very interesting method used to make this dough. You create  some tangzhong, which is exactly like making glue from a bit of flour (50g), 5 times quantity in water (250 ml) and cook over heat until 65 degrees or lines form when stirred. This is then cooled and added to an enriched yeasted dough, kneaded by machine and shaped, proved and baked. The result was not disappointing even though I misread the recipe and added the entire amount of tangzong. A bit of tweaking with some extra water and turned out OK. The bread had a distinct sweet aroma while baking and I thought this would prove to have a sickly sweet flavour but no, it was fine. Will definitely try this again, it was a nice change and my occessional hit for some vegemite on fluffy bread was satisfied!

Milk toast dough Vegemite bread

Lamb Momos with Tibetan Chilli Sauce.

I’ve borrowed Rick Stein’s India cook book from the library, so I’m test driving as many recipes as I can before it goes back. This way I can see if I like it enough to invest in buying it. I don’t buy a lot of cookbooks these days unless I know the food is going to be good and that I can go on a bit of a journey when I read it. This book certainly takes me on a journey. The photos put me right back in India and I can hear the crazy sounds and noise of the buses and traffic. The colours are stunning and I remember the smells and hustle & bustle that is everywhere in India. I made the Lamb Momos (Nepalese Dumplings) with Tibetan Chilli Sauce last night and tonight the Spicy Lentil Soup with Squash (pumpkin) tomato and green beans. Golly those Tibetans must have a strong constitution! This sauce was very fiery but also had a really good flavour. The momos dough was beautiful. I loved these but I think I’ll cut way back on the chilli next time!

Lamb momos

Momo Yum!
Momo Yum!

Tonight I made Rick’s Spicy Lentil Soup and once again it was beautiful. I had to make a few comprises as I couldn’t get either fenugreek or asafoetida anywhere locally. Will put those on my list for my next trip to Dandenong Market. I opted to leave off the tarka topping due to lack of fenugreek, but it didn’t detract from it’s delicate flavour. I served this with rice but I think it would be good, (although not traditional) with cous cous or even cooked with pasta in it.

Rick Stein's Spicy Lentil Soup

Zen with our brunch!

As I’ve mentioned before, we really enjoy our Sunday morning brunches, especially when we can eat outside. Today just made it into that category and I got to cook some pullet eggs I bought at the Warragul Farmers Market. What are pullet eggs you ask? These are the eggs laid by chickens who are just coming into laying age, the “P” plate chook you could say. Not as big as normal eggs but don’t be deceived by that! The flavour, colour and creamy texture of these eggs was beautiful. Free range farmed at local Willow Zen Farm,

Willow Zen Pullet eggs.
Willow Zen Pullet eggs.

I look forward to having them as a regular brunch item. I poached the eggs and served them on my sourdough toast along with mushrooms that were cooked in butter/olive oil with a  small chilli finely chopped and in the pan. Some chopped coriander, ground pepper and a dash of white wine vinegar stirred through before serving. Look at the colour of those eggs!

IMG_0882 Poached eggs

Out in the garden.

I discovered a few hidden bunches of grapes in the berry hut this week. This variety is a slip grape, put the grape near your mouth and slip it out of its skin! With a  lovely hint of honey flavour, it was indeed a pleasant discovery!

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The other exciting discovery was in the greenhouse. I didn’t think I would have any success with growing sweet potatoes. Yes, I’ve had plenty of green on top but getting tubers is difficult in this cool climate. Well lookie here…………………

Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes

I might just have some success this year!

 

 

 

 

 

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?

In My Kitchen December.

Yet again I cannot believe how quickly this has come around. Thanks Celia, for hosting this forum, you inspire so many of us with your “down to earth” approach and sincerity!

So what’s in my kitchen this month?

I just had a crack at making some Elderflower Cordial. I have no idea what this should look like, taste like, or how to use it. I planted an Elderflower plant last year with the intention of making some Elderflower Champagne I’d seen on the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage Program.

IMG_6557 IMG_6559The plant has grown exceptionally well, and it is really pretty but when I was Googling for some recipe ideas it was mentioned that it is supposed to have a fragrance. None that I could whiff! Pressing on, I made a cordial based on a recipe from the prestigious Lake House at Daylesford. Result is it is just VERY  lemony in taste, with not much else. Quite a substantial amount of citric acid which would add to that.Nice as a lemon cordial but should there be more to taste?IMG_6597 Also in my kitchen is a packet of supposedly true Wasabi powder. We have been buying Wasabi coated peanuts from our local supermarket but they are not going to stock them for much longer, so I’m hoping to re-create them. Any tips?Wasabi PowderJust outside my kitchen is the garlic I harvested tonight from the asparagus bed.  I love giving garlic as part of christmas gifts and this years crop is great! This is about a third of the crop.IMG_6610 Got some huge bulbs, this one is sitting in a one litre milk carton to show size.IMG_6630 Still stopping to smell the roses occasionally.IMG_6657 This is a sourdough cake starter. When I was at the hairdressers she packed me off with a bowl of her “Herman the German” friendship cake mix. I had never heard of it but because I like playing around with bubbles I took on the challenge. We also had a piece that she had made in between the colour and the cut and it tasted quite good. Almost puddingy. I am having trouble finding time to get to making it though, so I just keep feeding it along with my bread starter.IMG_6662With the giving season upon us I’ve got some onions that I will pickle to go into gift hampers. I love pickled onions and I’m quite fussy about their “crunch” value. This  recipe, Grandma’s Pickled Onions  has proven to be a trusted one to achieve a good crunch. You can spice it up or down to suit your own preferences.IMG_6590I am calling out to any IMK participants who may live in Delhi or who are going to Delhi to assist in my attempt to source our favourite tea.

When we visited India last year we came away with a kilo of the most beautiful black tea purchased from a spice store in Delhi. I have attempted to source some locally but no joy. I’ve also tried to purchase online but no joy there either. We’ve been to specialist tea stores but they haven’t been able to match it. If anyone just happens to be going to Delhi or lives in Delhi and may be able to source some Black tea from Mr Anshu Kumar, I would love to communicate to see if we can arrange a mutually agreeable arrangement to.IMG_6093

Wishing everyone a happy and safe festive season, I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings. I may even get a kitchen!

 

Indulgence!

Due to MR ATMT having an allergy to any kind of seafood/fish, I very rarely prepare fish at home because it is a pain having to remember to be meticulous with separating anything that has had contact from the fish for fear of causing a reaction. He’d better not upset me!

I was lucky enough to be given a couple of freshly caught fish and decided I’d treat myself to cooking it  using the asian smoking method. I pretty much followed a recipe I found at Feasting at Home and it worked really well.

First up was to make some 5 spice blend to go in the marinade. That’s nice and easy.

Five Spice Recipe:
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 whole star anises
2 teaspoons peppercorns

Toast all in a skillet over medium heat until just fragrant, 1-2 mins only. Grind in a coffee grinder until smooth.

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Then to make the marinade:

4 cloves garlic whole

3 Tblspns fresh ginger- sliced

2 tsp Five Spice (store bought or make your own… see below)

¼ Cup neutral oil

4 Tblspns soy sauce

2.5 Tblspns brown sugar

1 orange (¼ C fresh orange juice and zest, divided )

Put the whole lot into the blender and whizz until all smooth and processed. Place the fish into a container and cover with the marinade. I left mine overnight.

I dragged my Indian karahi out from under a pile of ‘stuff’ on the verandah to make the smoker. Lined the base with 4 sheets of foil, and added:

3 Tblspns of rice

2 Tblspns loose leaf black tea

2 Tblspns sugar

2 Dried red chilies

Stir these together to get an even mix, place a cake cooler over it ensuring there is some clearance between the smoking ingredients and the steamer or whatever you use.

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Put the marinated fish into your steamer, (I placed a bit of baking paper under them) put the lid on and place the wok over a fairly high heat until a good amount of smoke appears. Turn the heat down and continue for approx another 5 minutes, turn down again and then another 5 minutes. Fish should be cooked by now. It may have taken a bit longer for mine as I was cooking outside and the breeze was playing with the heat! I then placed it on the grill for the shortest time, just to colour the outside.

IMG_6441I made a little concerned that the smoke flavour may have been a bit on the strong side but it wasn’t. As Goldilocks would say, “It’s just right”.

I picked some lettuce, snow peas and thai basil and chives. Cut up a cucumber and tomato, making a stack piling everything on top of each other. I then placed pieces of the fish on top,  sprinkled with some chopped thai basil and chives  and then added a squeeze of lime juice. Some grilled sourdough that I had spread some feta cheese onto and it made the most beautiful lunch.

IMG_6442I took spoonfuls of the salad and placed it onto the bread and savoured every mouthful. It was delicious.

IMG_6449Now to VERY carefully clean up my trail of fishy stuff, unless of course Mr ATMT upsets me!

 

 

Long weekend that was-for some! Family celebrations are fun!

Amazing to think that a whole country can come to a halt based around a race horse, but yes, here in Australia we can. I have traditionally been a great Melbourne Cup Day celebrator, but this year there has been so much happening that I didn’t even give it a thought! No sweep tickets, no TAB bets and not even watching the race. Hang my head in shame! The Melbourne Cup is always run on the first Tuesday in November and it is a public holiday for the people who live in the state of Victoria. It has turned into a time when many take the Monday off creating an extra long weekend. Not so for me.

Our son and his fiancé celebrated their engagement with a rather large party on Saturday night and you could not have asked for more disastrous weather conditions. After a beautiful Friday of 28, no wind and balmy conditions the cool front confronted with avengance. Temp slid down to about 13-15, rain was horizontal and the wind was just horrendous. All the planned outside arrangements were put on hold and thankfully our gracious hosts opened their home so the celebrations could continue inside. No mean feat for about 130 people! I had been cooking at every available opportunity for the party and it all went down well, especially the spicy (very) small sausages and the Indian pakora I made. IMG_6179 Just love this Indian pakora recipe of Annabel Langbein. I’ve made it a few times and always served them freshly deep fried but this time I made them ahead of time and reheated before serving. Wasn’t sure how that would go but it was fine. Batter wasn’t as crispy as when fresh but flavour was still good. IMG_6181Served with a minty yoghurt sauce.Cauliflower pakoraThe beautiful couple, though I think Dave may have had a beer or two by now!

IMG_6195Our daughter has a great sense of design style and does some beautiful cake decorating, she contributed this lovely 3 tier chocolate fudge cake decorated with little daisy flowers. Looked lovely and I must admit we are munching on it as I write this post!10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_nIt was a great party and a great reminder that it is so special having these happy times and celebrations with those we love.

 

 

Paneer, Pears and Green Manure,

On my last visit to the Dandenong Market I bought a packet of Paneer cheese to have on hand when I felt the need to use it. Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese, easy to make but sometimes you just don’t plan ahead of time, so having some ready made is handy. One of my many favourite Indian dishes is Mattar Paneer (Mutter Paneer, Matar Paneer), but I have only ever ordered it at a restaurant or as take away. Mattar Paneer is a vegetarian dish with peas, lightly toasted paneer in a spicy tomato sauce base. Now was the time to have a ‘crack’ at making it. Took the bull by the horns and googled a recipe that I thought would be suitable and less than an hour later we sat down to a truly delicious version of Mattar Paneer.  Sorry photo a bit dodge! I followed the recipe pretty closely apart from using a ‘stubby’ of tomato passata as the tomato content, I wasn’t sure if they meant large or small green chillies, so I used 3 jalapeños and instead of all that heavy cream I did 2 greek yoghurt/1 cream. I was worried it would be a bit too spicy initially but it mellowed out to a beautiful smooth flavour. Definitely a do again recipe, Link below.

Mattar Paneer Recipe

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Pear Tree

While doing a ‘tour of the estate’ last weekend I noticed my espaliered pear tree was looking quite strange on one branch. Notice the discolouration or purpling of the bottom branch?

Espalier Pear

Closer inspection led me to see the tiniest little piece of tie wire sticking out and I wondered it this in fact being ring barked from an early supporting piece of tie wire. It made me think of when as a kid you squeeze around your thumb and the blood is trapped making it look purple (or was I just a very strange kid?).

Ring Barked Pear Tree

Got out some pliers and manage to remove quite a length of wire. Bound the wound with some grafting tape and just have to hope I’ve gotten to it in time and don’t lose the branch. I think there is still some hope as there is obviously some sap getting through.

Green Manure Crop

The wicking bed I planted with a green manure cover crop a couple of months ago looked like it was ready to have the crop slashed and turned in. This form of organic manuring is beneficial in returning all nutrients back into the soil. It is a great way to add organic matter and ‘resting’ the bed in between crops. If legumes are in the mix a good source of nitrogen is also an added  benefit. This bed will also get a load of broken down ‘stuff’ when I clean out the chook house next week.

Green Manure readyTrimming Green Manure

Green Manure slashed and turned in

Other Odds & Ends-Jerusalem Artichokes

I planted a couple of tubers early in the season (or was it last spring?) had no idea what they did, how they grew or what to do with them if I got a harvest. I noticed a couple of tubers were protruding from the soil so took that as an indication they were ready to harvest. Quite a pleasant surprise when Mr ATMT stuck the fork in the ground!

IMG_4212 Jerusalem artichokesI now need to find out how to deal with them and have come up with a couple of different recipes I’ll try. Seems to be an underlying theme by experienced though, not commonly referred to as ‘Fartichokes’ for nothing. Stay tuned!

 

 

High hopes weekend.

It’s Friday night and I’m doing a  post of anticipated weekend activities in the hope I may  actually achieve a few. I have many jobs planned for the weekend as well as having everyone here on Saturday for Mothers Day. Looking forward to firing up the wood fired oven and cooking the first roast in it. I got to the oven last weekend with a wire brush attachment on the drill and got rid of most of the surface rust. Cleaned out all the little nooks and crannies of soot and gave it a good coat of stove polish. Looks great and fires up really well. Looking forward to that roast!

Oven 1

Quince jelly and paste.

One of the joys of blogging is that you get inspiration, ideas and reminders relating to all sorts of things from cooking to just about anything you can mention. I had a reminder the other night when reading a post on Slow Living Essentials that it is quince season, I hadn’t thought about it at all as I do not have a productive tree like the lovely one I had at the old place. I love my quince jelly, especially on hot cross buns or as a glaze on chops or chicken and my supplies have run out so that set in place a job for this weekend. Along with the jelly, you just can’t avoid putting aside some quince paste while these intriguing fruit are available. Inspiration from the Slow Living Essential blog that you can make the paste in a slow cooker really piqued my interest. That too is on the list for the weekend! Quince cleaned and chopped in the slow cooker – can’t wait to see how this goes.

Quince defuzzingQuince in pot.

Will keep you posted on results

Go Hilda!

Egg first

We have been getting an egg every second day from Hilda. First two were 90g but tonight she’d produced a whopper 100g one. The girls are settling in very nicely, I am spoiling them a bit with a nice warm Weet Bix mash in the morning and I have bought tins of sardines to feed every now and again to keep the protein levels up. Tomorrow we will let them out for a run and see how it goes.

Warmth at last!

After many broken promises we finally had our hydronic heating system installed during the week. I must say it seems to appear that it will be even better than anticipated. Feel a bit cheated now that it’s been quite warm this week! In order for the radiators to be installed we had to ‘patch’ some sections of the bedroom floor that are severely damaged by borer. A more detailed post on heating to follow.

Borer boards damage

Our builder will begin replacing floor boards, take out a wall to open up the two bedrooms into one large room very soon. We have purchased recycled Baltic pine boards in the hope they will blend with the existing floorboards that are staying. We have to remove the very unattractive 1960’s wardrobe before he starts just in case we find more damaged boards under it. We took the plaster off the wall being removed a couple of weeks ago to get a feel of what the room will be like.

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Right side shot is taken from a video clip so clarity a bit dodge. Still, get the feel of how big this room will be.

Other planned weekend jobs.

  • Have a very overdue cello lesson! I have been very slack with lessons this year, there has just been too much else happening (my excuse) so need to get back into gear.
  • Clean up some of the thick layer of oak leaves that have fallen so far and put into compost after chomping with the mower.
  • General tidy up. It is very easy to quickly become out of control when renovating so need to rein it in.
  • Make another batch of our delightful ginger tea we discovered while in India.
  • Plant something.

Best intentions, lets see how we go.