Wok Tea Smoked Chicken Noodle Salad & Weekend Roundup

After a busy weekend doing a site clean up and moving the last few things that were in the old kitchen to the temporary kitchen in a bedroom, I wanted a nice dinner and as I’m trying to be a bit conscious of healthy eating and maybe even losing some weight (so I can eat up big in Turkey!)  I chose a vietnamese style salad. I’ll come back to this after the weekend roundup!

Weekend roundup.

As mentioned, things are getting serious with the exteno and the last items that were in the kitchen have been relocated to the spare bedroom that we will use until the new kitchen is done. This should work well, the only things I haven’t really addressed is how we are going to manage water and dishes. We can now start on stripping the old chimney with no worries about the mess getting into everything. Not sure why I think that matters? There is mess in everything else! It will evolve, I’m not that worried.

IMG_3279
Fridge and freezer relocated
IMG_3278
Small prep area with my precious ‘toy oven’ in the corner.

A quick wander around the veggie patch and some exciting harvests beginning to come in. Things are a little out of control, but tomorrow I’ll go out with gusto and get stuck into it. You can really tell summer is here!

IMG_3265
Tigerella tomatoes in greenhouse. Should have a couple by Christmas.
IMG_3269
Cucumbers galore!
IMG_3261
So many raspberries this year. That makes me happy!
IMG_3259
Harvest of lettuce, peas, cucumber, potatoes, eggplant, beans, beetroot and look at that little red thing. Yes, first tomato of the season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weeks bread bake was based in Chad Roberston’s sesame country loaf. I used 20% rye and 80% Callington Mill light flour, 70% hydration. This is a lovely loaf! Smells wonderful and I notice that the sesame flavour has developed well from yesterday until today.

IMG_3284Back to the Tea Smoked Chicken Vermicelli Noodle Salad.

I’m trying to use up as many of the things I have in the freezer and pantry as much as possible. I’d spied some Mirboo Pastured Poultry tenderloins hiding in there and thought they might smoke well.

Mirboo Pastured PoultryI marinated (or is is marinaded?) the tenderloins (500ish grams) in a mix of approximately:

  • 40ml soy sauce
  • 40ml Chinese rice wine
  • 1 desertspoon extra fine rice flour
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • a few slices of ginger
    Leave the chicken in the marinade a couple of hours or overnight.

IMG_3272

 

 

 

 

 

Lightly sear the chicken, just enough to brown the surface. Tread lightly here as the chicken will continue to cook while smoking. Prepare the vessel you are going to smoke the chicken in. I use a wok for this.

Line the wok with 2 layers of foil, add the ingredients you are going to create the smoke with. I used

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup raw rice
  • ¼ cup tea leaves (I used some I wasn’t sure of what it was and that I would never drink, oolong is popular for smoking)
  •  sliced ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • about a tablespoon of pink peppercorns

IMG_3293

Mix these together so they are evenly distributed. I added the pink peppercorns last minute, after this was taken!

IMG_3294

I use a bamboo steamer for smoking, I line it with baking paper with holes cut out so the smoke circulates well. Like cutting out paper dolls and snowflakes when you are little!

IMG_3297Place the chicken into the steamer, light the gas under the wok (low heat) and when smoke starts appearing, put the steamer with lid on into the wok. Make sure there is a bit of a gap between bottom of steamer and the wok. I let smoke for about 15-20 minutes and this mix resulted in the best smoked flavour I’ve done so far. The pink peppercorn taste take came through really well.

IMG_3299The base of the noodle salad was simply

  • vermicelli noodles (I had soaked these in boiling water while chicken was smoking).
  • 1 long red chilli finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • some peas and beans I harvested yesterday. The larger peas I shelled and left the young ones whole. I zapped them in the microwave for 1 minute.
  • Carrot finely cut
  • A sauce made from lime juice, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar and a splash of soy.

IMG_3300I discovered my mint pot which had been doing well was moved at some stage during the slab stage and it was beyond saving for tonights meal. Lucky for me we have a great local fresh fruit & vegie supplier where I knew I would not only be able to get fresh mint but I could also get organic carrots grown by the wonderful Thorpdale Organics. Never had to buy mint before and like buying lemons, it just shouldn’t happen! Grabbed some fresh limes too, but sadly they didn’t have bean sprouts. That’s my chilli, didn’t buy that!

IMG_3282
Trafalgar Spud Shed, Thorpale Organics

Bean sprouts are one of those things that I hate buying because it is hard to get fresh ones and they come in plastic bags. You usually only use a small amount from the bag and the rest gets fed to chooks or composted. Whenever I try to grow our own they work well but I can’t seem to co-ordinate having them ready with when I need them. Maybe Tammy from over at Gippsland Unwrapped has some tips of getting these without plastic packaging. Dandenong Market sells them not packed but that wasn’t an option today.

The end flavour of this meal was great. Succulent, juicy, stunning flavour of the chicken and this went together well with the vietnamese inspired noodle salad with loads of fresh herbs and a tangy sauce. I would definitely give smoking in a wok a try, it is easy and the results are sensational!

IMG_3305

 

Winter doldrums so let’s get cracking inside!

Wow, the weather has been woeful here in Gippsland! Your wouldn’t venture outside unless you absolutely have to. So we didn’t! Breakfast in the lounge, looking out at the rain, hail and wind. Not inviting to venture out at all.

IMG_1576

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend has been a good opportunity to start preparing for when the back half of the house comes off. Forget the fact we haven’t yet got a date locked in, forget the fact we haven’t had council approval. I just had to do something that made me feel as though we are moving forward cause it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. I am over the stinky old kitchen cupboards so what the hell? Off to that very large green shed to buy a couple of shelving systems. These things are very handy and once the reno is done they will be able to go in the shed/garage or be sold. Makes life easier at the moment and I need that.

The spare bedroom that had a robe in it that we’ve used as a pantry cupboard, has had the robe moved out to store other crap elsewhere, the bookshelves that were useless have been removed and we have put two sets of shelving in. One as a pantry storage and the other to take most of what has been in the revolting kitchen.

IMG_1577
Old bookshelves about to come out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1595
Book shelves replaced by this unit. The cupboards on the left will be where my ‘toy oven’ and toaster, kettle etc will go while the reno happens.
IMG_1582
This shelving unit replaces an old robe that had been used for pantry supplies. This stores about double than the old unit and you can actually see things!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these units set up it meant we could start removing some parts of the old kitchen. I suggested Mr ATMT hold back a bit as I’m not sure what gaping holes will be exposed if we just knock the lot down and with temperatures at minus 5 I’d sooner stay warm. We have a history of opening a bottle of something and becoming very creative with demolishing. As I age, I’m more cautious, so we’ve started with removing the doors and drawers first. Eeeew, it’s disgusting! The light is on in the ‘toy oven’ as I’m drying some of my sourdough starter as described by Celia. Seems to have worked pretty well. Why should I be surprised? Everything Celia does works well, she is one amazing lady!

IMG_1591 IMG_1592

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still managed to do a couple of bread bakes. I made pumpernickel

IMG_1589

and a couple of loaves of Chad’s Robertson’s basic country loaf. These are 30% rye, 70% hydration and I’m happy with how they have worked.

IMG_1587

For dinner tonight I made lamb kofta using Rick Stein’s recipe from his ‘India’ cook book. Served with a yoghurt, mint and cinnamon sauce and some home-made chappatis, it was a treat to just sit in front of the fire and enjoy. I must admit I found it a bit daunting thinking about what we actually have yet to do at this place. I’m sure a bit of sun will make it all seem a bit better.

IMG_1610

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to remind myself that this is meant to be a fun project, I’m not really feeling that  at the moment. I do however, know that things could be a whole lot worse, a reality I’ve experienced way too close to home over the last couple of weeks. Although I’m grumpy and frustrated I do appreciate our good fortune in relation to health and family. With a bit of luck the wind will drop, the sun will come out and I’ll be able to get outside tomorrow.

 

 

Piesties, Sourdough, Pain & Shit Shuffling

Please forgive me for the expletive in the post title, but there is no other way to describe things so accurately. With the back half of the house about to be removed (so I can have my long-awaited kitchen), we have a shed full of ‘stuff’ that will surely be used some day, and lots more ‘stuff’ that came back here from the property we sold at Fish Creek, I decided all we were doing was shuffling shit to different spots. OVER! Time to make decisions and get rid of ‘stuff’ that is most probably never going to get used by us. So now that we have the new little shed up,

Black Shed

and are shuffling stuff about, it is time to seriously cull anything we are never truly likely to use. Three different piles are being created –

  1. Get rid of by using either free-cycle, buy/swap/sell sites, op shops or tip
  2. Definitely should keep, in which case these items will go into the new shed
  3. Need to sort out and decide. This section includes tools and things we have acquired from others. I decided we didn’t really need 6 painting extension poles, so into the scrap metal for them! Most of this pile will probably go to the mens shed and tip I think.

It’s very exciting to know that we might actually be moving forward with this reno but I’ll hold my excitement in until it actually is underway.

Piesties, not a pie or a pastie.

I’ve given my Sat night dinner this title, it came about by starting to make shepherds pie from leftovers from our last lamb roast, I had cut the lamb up and stored it in a zip lock bag in the freezer.

IMG_1524

I’m not a big fan of Shepherds Pie as I like meat with a gravy to be encased in a pastry shell, or served on toast. Out of the freezer came a couple of frozen pastry sheets. I mixed the chopped lamb with onion, carrot, peas, rosemary, mixed herbs and a little (shut your eyes and skip this bit!) Gravox powder, purely as a thickener with colour, it is Sat night after all! I cut the pastry into squares that would fit into my tapas dishes and filled the pastry with the lamb mix.IMG_1525

The pastry was overlapped and at this point I decided to name them piesties as it looked more like a pastie than a pie.IMG_1527

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now here is the interesting bit! Yesterday, when I went to our great local fresh fruit and veg supplier  which we all affectionately call ‘The Spud Shed’, I got some purple potatoes (spuds).

Yes, purple. This not beetroot, it is a potato.Purple potatoes

I was keen to see how they cooked up and wondered if they kept their purple colour once cooked. I’ve grown purple beans and they turn green when cooked but had no information about how purple potatoes behave. I had an inner giggle when I pictured having purple mash on top of our Shepherd Piestie so thought I’d give it  a go. But guess what?

Purple Mashed PotatoPurple potato stays purple when cooked! I made this mash by boiling the spuds as usual and when cooked added some goat cheese, S&P and milk. I loved  it but Mr ATMT preferred the standard white mash in top of his Piestie. I sprinkled finely chopped rosemary on top and served with tomato relish. Beautiful flavour.

IMG_1532Pain-too much of it.

To all of the people I care about  who are dealing with awful situations (and there are just way too many) including death, long term physical impairment, diagnoses that are not positive and loss. I wish I could offer you a magical way of just washing all the pain away but sadly I can’t.  I can only offer support, love and a helping hand if you need it. Please ask,  it is sometimes a tonic to us both to be able to help.

Sourdough

I think I have just about worked out the idiosyncrasies of my new gas Pizza Oven. This weekend I tried 2 different styles of sourdough. One was Josey Baker‘s hearth sourdough but I used rye rather than whole wheat starter. This loaf was the first one I cooked in my new Sassafras La Cloche bread baker. Very happy with the result too.

I also made Chad Robertson’s basic country loaf. Im finding this is becoming a well loved staple. I make it using 80% bread flour & 20% rye flour mixed to about 68% hydration. Just always seems to work! I like that. The photo below shows from L to R Chad loaf, peek of the ‘La Cloche; behind the Josey Baker Hearth loaf and on front another loaf of Chad’s.

IMG_1542

I have a few issues with the bottom of the loaves getting a bit overcooked but I think I have a solution to that. Stay tuned!

This week, my first phase of cutting back on my work commitments begins. Mondays are now MINE! I have reduced my hours and will continue to do so as some very exciting times are ahead of us.