Creative Harvest-There’s an Artist in my Food Garden.

Tomorrow and Sunday we open our back garden as part of the Baw Baw Sustainability Network, Food Gardens Open Day. Thirteen gardens throughout West Gippsland are opening, each garden will also have an artist displaying and in some cases creating within the garden. Luckily we have managed to hold off damage to too much by using copious amounts of shade cloth to protect. Gardens are open from 10-4 Bothe days with entry being $5.00 per garden for 5 for $20.00, tickets available at each garden.

The focus  I’d like to share is getting the most from your available space by using climbing frames and showing how you can integrate food plants as part of your normal garden or courtyard space. 

A  shot of the veggie patch from up high.Full details of all the gardens and the artists appearing at each one are available from the Baw Baw Sustainability Network website.

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2018 Sourdough classes now available.

For details of my Introduction To Sourdough Classes so far for 2018, please go to my Simply Sourdough Trafalgar Facebook Page. I have created 2 sessions so far but if you would like to organise a private class for groups of 4 or more I can easily accommodate that. If you don’t have Facebook and would like more information about the classes please email  me at simplysourdough@aussiebroadband.com.au 

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Christmas Wrap-In My Kitchen & of course, the Gingerbread House.

Well I’d have to say this has been the loveliest and most ‘Christmassey’ Christmas in quite a long time. We held our now traditional backyard Christmas Eve gathering of friends and family, it was a little cool but not so bad that we couldn’t stay outside. Such a relaxing evening and I get a kick out of planning and preparing food for the night.

I try to make things that are simple but have just a little wow factor when served. This year we had potato and pea samosa from the lovely Sandra’s blog Please Pass The Recipe. They are made using spelt flour for the pastry and were an absolute hit. Didn’t remember to get a pic of the inside, but trust me, they were delicious!

We also had the “If I don’t make them the family will kill me” Annabel Langbein Pakora. For the recipe click here. These are also vegetarian and are made with besan (chick pea) flour and beer batter, for the filling I used cauliflower, peas, pumpkin and zucchini then served with a simple Indian style mint dipping sauce. Once a year I bring out my little el-cheapo deep fryer for these, it then goes back into to cupboard for another year.

Then there were the mussels with nam prik (Thai chilli dipping sauce) and topped with  cucumber salsa. Last year I made Turkish Stuffed Mussels and my poor dodgy hands took weeks to recover from the pain of opening the mussels. These were easy peasy, the recipe is from Annabel Langbein’s Simple Pleasures cook book.There was a couple of huge platters of assorted breads, dukkah, antipasto, dried fruits and cheeses. This is some of the breads including  potato and roasted garlic focaccia, pizza filled baguettes, plain baguettes and an olive parmesan batard.I made yet again Celia’s Tupperware Meatballs. These are from the River Cottage Cookbook and I love the seasoning and spices, served purely with greek yoghurt sprinkled over. Winner! By the time I got back from grabbing my camera, they were gone. These are great as they can be made ahead then frozen and just reheated in the oven. This pic is from a previous time I made them but they were cooked in a tomato sauce as a main meal then.I had planned to serve chicken tikka kebabs too, but the food intake had slowed down so I left these and we had them Boxing Day along with some left over pakora mix that I cooked on the  griddle. No where near as nice as the deep fried version but ok.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Day was lovely, beautiful weather, very relaxed and all but my daughter in law were there for lunch. She joined us soon after lunch so the whole family were together which is a first for a while. Lunch was hosted by my son and his partner and they did a great job. I did take a bit of a contribution to lunch………….he lives only 10 minutes away so no problem  transporting, put it down as meat resting time.

Roast turkey, roast pork, roast potatoes, plum pudding, tomato and onion layered bake, gingerbread house, gravy, brandy sauce.

The turkey was stuffed with crumbs made from my bread, capsicum, thyme, 2 eggs & salt and pepper. So easy, so delicious, we cooked the turkey and pork in the Weber at home. I’d made gravy from roasted bones and veg a few days before, stored it in a milk bottle and reheated it at Cameron & Graham’s place.We sat outside under the shade of the trees, ate, drank too much and of course there was the gingerbread house to demolish (see below). My mind had been tossing a couple of ideas around as to its demise and it went reasonably well. We probably could have gotten a bit more mileage and a few more cracks but it is what it is.I received a pack of these beautiful beeswax wraps from my D.I.L as my Kris Kringle gift. They work really well and as a bonus they are made by a local business. Little Bumbles have a range of plastic free shopping and storage items and they are beautifully presented. Love their catchphrase! Another local item I have In My Kitchen is a jar of Grandmas Delights Tomato Chutney. I cannot believe I actually ran out of both my sauce and tomato relish. I cannot remember how many years it would be since I bought sauce, but its been a long, long time. I refuse to buy that crappy, plastic bottle, mega factory made stuff, so was thrilled that our local IGA stock this. Was good, not as good as mine of course, but definitely good.

And now we close the year, the post and In My Kitchen for 2017 with the now famous annual demolition of the Gingerbread house. Very “straaylan’ to use the iconic Hills hoist as the  moving mechanism and the weapon my son used to ‘hack’ the house is his Japanese Samurai sword (demo only) which he bought back from Japan when he was an exchange student. Once again it proved a little upsetting for little Charlie, but I imagine in a few years he’ll be coming up with his own ideas on how to do the demo. There are views from 2 different angles here just to make sure you don’t miss a thing! Thanks to Sherry from over at Sherry’s Picking for her linking up of bloggers and thanks to everyone who shares their posts or takes the time to read ours. Happy New Year everyone.

 

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Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Someone in my Facebook Group (Sourdough Baking Australia & New Zealand) reminded me the other day about Chinese scallion pancakes. I hadn’t made these for such a long time and she had tweaked her recipe to include sourdough discard, so I thought this worth trying. My usual go to source for Asian recipes, is to the fabulous Dumpling Sisters, I was introduced to them by Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial quite a few years ago and I haven’t bought a dumpling wrapper since! I had some spring onions (scallions) that needed to be picked, so this was a perfect opportunity for them to be put to use. I also had a fairly large amount of starter left over from yesterdays bake so all the more reason to try these pancakes using sourdough starter.

I adjusted the recipe , actually I pretty much threw it out, but this is what the Dumpling Sisters recipe turned into using sourdough starter (100% hydration). This would make enough for an army, so the recipe could be halved with out any problem, I also think rolling the dough out for its first roll using a pasta machine would work well.

  • 460g plain flour
  • 200g unfed sourdough starter (use up discard if you have any)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 18g Sunflower oil (any neutral flavoured oil would work)
  • 150g warm water

Mix everything together until well combined then turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth. This pic is before the kneading! Cover and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Once rested, break off ‘golf ball’ sized pieces. I rolled the dough into a log first then just cut bits off.

Shape the pieces into balls and roll into a squarish thin piece.

I did a pre roll first which gave the pieces time to relax a bit before I did the big flattening roll out. Brush the surface of the dough with oil and sprinkle sparingly with salt and scatter scallions over. I was warned that they may need quite a good dose of salt but I obviously went a bit too far with it!Roll the dough into a log,

Then depending on which way to final shape you choose (see Dumpling Sisters link), roll the log into a snail. Tuck the tail underneath, let sit to relax the dough for about 10 minutes.

Squash the snail with your hand then roll into a flat disc, the Dumpling Sisters suggest for crispy, roll thinly, for thicker to use as wraps or for a more chewy texture, roll a bit thicker. I wanted thin so they were rolled out to about 3 ml.Cook the pancakes on a lightly oiled griddle or in a pan, keep heat low so they do cook right though.  Cut into pieces and dip into sauce of your choice, I just went for simple old sweet  chilli sauce.These were good but I was a bit too heavy-handed with the salt, I actually think they would be nice with sour cream as well as the sweet chilli sauce. We enjoyed ours with a platter of goodies and some bubbles while we put up our Christmas Tree.

 I can’t really remember how they compare to ones made the normal way, but it was a great way to use up some things that would have been wasted otherwise.

I am also really pleased to say that I have a new computer, I had been struggling with my poor old Mac for several months which is part of the reason I haven’t posted much. I couldn’t upload pictures! Well, now I’m back up and running, I might get to actually post one of the several draft posts I’ve got sitting in the dashboard but couldn’t use.

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In My Kitchen.

Where oh where do the days go? I just seem to puddle around, not seeming to achieve very much at all, but then I reflect and think about the luxury I now have by being able to do things at my leisure, when I want and to a certain extent on my terms. A big thank you to Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for linking us In My Kitcheners, I need a kick up the butt to post lately and this linking up helps with that!

I haven’t really got a lot to report about whats been going on in my kitchen, we have been out and about a lot, illness has played its toll on a few and our exteno work has become a priority to finish so we have been going full speed on a few jobs around here.

The most exciting activity In My Kitchen has been that I have now done four sourdough classes which have been very popular and a lot of fun as well as a challenge to do. I don’t get much of an opportunity to interact with people since I left work and this is a great way to do that. It is extremely rewarding seeing how the participants react to their creations and especially rewarding when you see some extremely successful bakes once they get home. Still tweaking the format for the day but it seems pretty good and I have only had positive feedback far.

We love our tea, we decided quite a few years ago to revert to using ‘real’ tea made with tea leaves in a pot. I have never once regretted this decision, it is a nice process putting it all together and taking a moment or two to ponder  while the tea brews. This tea was a gift and it is from our favourite tea shop TeaLeaves in Sassafras. This shop has an amazing range of teas, pots, accessories of all descriptions and is quirky and interesting to visit.    It’s not in my kitchen yet, but come next week it will be. This year’s garlic harvest, somewhat smaller than previous years but hopefully still enough to get us through for close to the next 12 months. One great thing that is In My Kitchen, is the lovely book by Emilie from The Clever Carrot  I first had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ Emilie quite a few years ago when In My Kitchen was hosted by the lovely Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial Emilie’s book, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple is a great book, easy to read, clear and just gets to the crux of where you need to be. No elaborate hoo ha, no unnecessary race fillers just great information, great recipes, easy on the eye pictures and it is something I would recommend to any sourdough enthusiast. I have not heard one (and I’ve had a lot of feedback) negative about this book. I actually bought the eBook version too. This pic shows the cover and  Emilie’s  low hydration and high hydration loaves which I asked to compare. These bialy’s were made following Emilie’s recipe (apart from the filling) to a tee and they were sensational. These are filled with caramelised baby leek and onion, red capsicum, thyme and feta. Time to do the Christmas tree again, I laughed when I read Celia had a tree full of years of memories and I mentioned that I had this great idea that every year we would get the kids one special tree ornament and when the time came for them to leave home they would have ornaments to put on their own trees. Well guess what, now we only have lights, the bloody kids have nicked off with all the ornaments!  Anyway, here we are with the snack platter and some liquid refreshment as we sit back and enjoy ‘the lights’.Finally In My Kitchen is one little fella who loves his food, especially dried fruits, bread and in particular Ree’s Fruit Bread Toast. Here he having a picnic on the floor as it was awful outside. Yep dates are on his top 5 list! Thanks Sherry for taking on IMK this year, wishing everyone a happy Christmas, I look forward to seeing what everyone is up to in the New Year.

 

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In My Kitchen

At the risk of seeming somewhat obsessive about baking with sourdough, I tried to find some photos I’d clicked over the last month that included something else. I wasn’t very successful I must admit!

Anyone that knows me, know that I loathe football, actually I’m not really fussed about any sport, but football just irks me beyond belief. I fail the good Aussie test by all accounts. So when Mr ATMT went to our friends to watch the great game, I happily played in the garden and once the game was over headed around there with a platter to share. I literally threw some ‘stuff’ together and it was delicious. Our oranges, pickled onions and sourdough crackers with parmesan and rosemary and a few bits from the deli as well as some nuts and dried fruits. I didn’t realise you could buy things like roast beef slices in the deli! Shows how often I shop. Oh, some ciabatta I made in the morning went with the cheese well. Meat and 3 veg, a rarity here but sometimes it just hits the spot. A friend had given me a cabbage and our butcher has the loveliest crumbed cutlets (with real crumbs). Some mustard carrots and mash, can’t go wrong! Can’t help it, a couple of my sourdough loaves. I’ve been playing with spelt and different grains and it has been great fun. The oranges have just about finished for this season but we still have a few more mornings of juice left. I have planted 2 more orange and 2 more mandarin trees, as we seem to just keep eating them if they are available. Our little grandson has had a great time picking mandarins and eating them straight from the tree. This breakfast is made up of our orange juice, eggs a friend brought to us (thanks Keryn) and served with bacon and maple syrup on the Italian Corneti (or Italian croissant) I made using the recipe in Carol Fields book ‘The Italian Baker’. It’s made using yeast, not sourdough so I’m off the hook with that one! I’ve decided I prefer ‘normal’ croissants as this dough has eggs added which I find a bit too rich and strangely enough, adds an ‘eggy’ flavour. And the most precious of what’s In My Kitchen this month, is our brand new (well 2 1/2 weeks old now) grandson. Here is is 4 days old and has changed so much already. It’s a bit addictive having these babies around!So that’s it from me ‘In My Kitchen this month’, I’m still trying to get to the links that Sherry has over at her blog Sherry’s Pickings of last months kitchen peekers. Thanks Sherry for sharing, I will get to it eventually!

So it’s nearly time to plant the tomatoes, make the Christmas Pudding and plan how this years Gingerbread House Demolition is going to be done.. Always open to some good creative ideas about that one.

 

 

 

 

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Marriage Equality Interlude

I can’t write a post about this topic because it breaks my heart. Thanks Francesca for helping me out! With tears in my eyes I repost this, why it even on the agendas I will never understand……

ALMOST ITALIAN

Last week I noticed a photo posted by my friend, Adam, on the day of his wedding anniversary. What a beautiful and romantic gift. Adam cross- stitched this tapestry to give to his husband of ten years: the pattern was digitally converted from a photo. The romantic photo was taken at The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria. I’ve never asked them if this was the moment of the marriage proposal.

Cross stitched by Adam as a wedding anniversary gift.

Later that day, Barnadi made a cake to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They enjoyed a beautiful meal together at their home in Melbourne, along with their cat and dog.

They’ve celebrated their wedding anniversary twice. Last January, they commemorated their Wedding Reception anniversary which was held in Melbourne, Australia, while this month, they’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of their ‘civil partnership’ held in Bath, Britain. At the…

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