The Ins and Outs of the weekend.

The in’s- In the kitchen.

This weekend’s kitchen round up includes, jerusalem artichoke Trial #3, new test for cooking sour dough, delicious breakfast in the (what may be one of the last opportunities) beautiful morning sun.

Jerusalem artichoke Trial number 3.

My nieces partner who just happens to be a damed fine chef, graciously shared a couple of recipes for JA’s. I was hesitant to share them but I saw the recipe for this on the website of Jones the Grocer as well, so figure it mustn’t be too secret! Link for recipe-

Jerasulem Artichoke Soup Recipe

This recipe has L’Orto di beppi marinated garlic in olive oil as a major ingredient. Jones the Grocer are the most likely to stock this, but the closest  store, Chadstone, is about 2 hours away from me and no way anyone down here is likely to have any marinated garlic in any shape or form so I improvised and roasted a full head of my garlic and mixed it with some olive oil and white wine vinegar. I love roasted garlic, it adds a really deep, mellow dimension yet still gives a good garlic taste.  No idea of the comparison to the listed ingredient but it tasted good to me! Other improvisations I made to the recipe are: I used my stock which is mostly vegetable based and darker, so the soup will be darker.  I made some ‘chips’ from a bit of JA as a topping garnish, I also toasted some beautiful, freshly picked walnuts my friend gave me (thanks Richard) and sprinkled these, some thyme and freshly ground pepper on top for serving. Toasted some of yesterdays sour dough, rubbed with oil and garlic and yummo! We have a winner! Still a bit flowery for me but really nice. Thanks Bec & A!

Jerusalem artichoke soup.

Playing with sour dough.

I have been fortunate to find a blog by an amazing woman who posts the most delightful, informative and practical ideas regarding everything she does with preserving, making bread and baking. Every post of hers I read, makes me feel like I want to jump up and give it a shot. Well Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, I have jumped up and given this a crack! With only having my ‘toy oven’ to use for bread baking I found the top was sometimes getting a bit dark due to the frequent kicking in and out of the top element. Celia mentioned she used a Falcon Enamel Cooker for cooking her high hydration (wet) doughs. My niece had also mentioned a couple of weeks ago she used an enamel pot for cooking her ‘faux sour dough’, synchronicity at large here, better get one! I divided the dough in half,Sour dough Proved the dough and one went into the silicon bread tin and the other into the new enamel pot.

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I wasn’t that confident that the pot would actually fit in the oven, perhaps I should have tested that first! Breathe easy, it fits! Interesting, the pot loaf is actually darker and flatter than the tinned loaf. Haven’t cut the tinned loaf yet but the pot one is fantastic!

Sour dough

Breakfast in the sun.

What better way to start the day than a yummy breaky consisting of everything bar the bacon & mushrooms coming from our kitchen and garden. The mushies did at least come from Gippsland Mushrooms. I discovered them at the last Warragul Farmers Market. Mushrooms were cooked in a little butter, added some garlic, white wine vinegar, p&s and a little stock. I also threw some kale in with them to take on the flavour. Couple of poached googies, toasted sour dough toast and a cuppa. All is good on the world! Should have wiped the dust off the table though.

Breakfast

The Outs.

Plantings:

I flew into the Yarragon market on my way to Melbourne yesterday hoping that John from ‘Herbalicious‘ was there, even though it was a bit before opening time. I was in luck, grabbed some borage I want to plant for attracting bees and use as decorative garnishes. Those blue borage flowers are beautiful, no wonder the bees want to stick their heads in them! I was very impressed with the quality and great range  of John’s stock, so hoped I would be back in time to have a better look. I was, also picked up some ruby mustard, miners lettuce (winter purslane) and chervil. Think I might just be getting quite a few plants here.

HerbaliciousAlso planted some spinach, leek seedlings, carrot and kale seed and stuck a few garlic cloves into some gaps in the garlic bed. This photo shows the dibber I use for helping plant so many things. It belonged to Mr ATMT’s grandfather and is beautiful in the hand. Every so often I give it a light sand and soak in oil and it jumps back to looking like new. I love using it and it is really nice thinking of Grandpa Cray, he has been dead for many years now and the blue lake beans I plant are direct descendants of seed I saved from his at least 20 years ago. Love that!

DibberThe broad beans are going ok but broad beans tend to flop and need support. I have placed some stakes at the corners of the bed and slipped some 100ml spacing wire over the stakes. The broad beans can grow through the wire and I can just move it up or add another level if needed as they grow. Especially good to prevent wind damage which broadies are prone to.

Broad Beans support Broad bean support

The cuttings I took from some sweet potato and the ginger root I’m trying to sprout are beginning to look more like they will work. The tiny little speck of green in the bottom right is the ginger.Sweet potato and gingerSomeone pointed out to me that you can take panorama shots on your phone. Well I’ll be danged, gave it a go and here’s my panoramic view around the patch. Might have to play a bit more with this function!Panorama

 

 

 

 

Jerusalem Artichoke Trial No 2

Bit more success this week! One of the recipes I found in my quest for learning about Jerusalem Artichokes was this kale and JA gratin recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it seemed good as I had kale ready to harvest as well.  I had bought a 2kg forequarter of lamb from Wayne The Great intentionally unstuffed as I had something I wanted to try in the back of my mind. Because we are now ’empty nesters’ I cut the meat in half and put 1/2 in the freezer for another day. I unrolled the joint, made a stuffing of sour dough bread crumbs, lemon zest, rosemary, salt and pepper and some mushrooms. Stuffing in, re-rolled the lamb and prepared the remaining accompaniments.

Lamb forequarter stuffing IMG_4245The harvest today included kale, beetroot, parsley, rosemary, the first oranges of the season, jerusalem artichokes, lemons and eggs.IMG_4247Dinner was roast lamb forequarter (shoulder) with lemon, rosemary and mushroom stuffing, kale and jerusalem artichoke gratin, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, roast beetroot and snow peas. The gratin ended up with some mushrooms in it as well because they fell out of the fridge and I couldn’t be bothered putting them back in. It was a real juggle tonight trying to manage cooking everything. Put the roast and veggies into the cast iron casserole but had to leave the lid off  so it fitted into the ‘toy oven’. Of course my bread dough then decided it was ready (after a 24 hour slow rise) to be cooked, so I had to take the cast iron cooker out, put it in the BBQ along with the gratin and put the bread in the oven to bake. Twas time for me to sit and relax!

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Mmmm, will it fit?
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Phew! Didn’t chance the lid too.

IMG_4258 IMG_4260 Made a gravy from the pan scrapings, blanched  the snow peas and served. Not the prettiest plating up but it is Sunday night TV dinner! Mr ATMT actually said it was the nicest roast he’s ever had. Now that’s saying something!

The Reno Update.

After some serious issues with paint blistering and peeling, we are finally getting somewhere with the original fly wire doors. Sensible people would probably have had replicas made to match the design but us no, have had them rebuilt, but painting has proved to be an issue taking far longer than it should have. Getting there now though!

IMG_4235The Anaglypta wallpaper we are putting in the hallway has arrived so now I have to take a deep breathe and ‘man up’ to applying it. Decision was that it should be me  due to Mr ATMT’s more heavy handed approach! Stay tuned for updates.

 

 

Jerusalem Artichoke Trial No 1

Ok, I’ve got this big bucket full of Jerusalem Artichoke, what on earth do I do with them?Jerasulem ArtichokesGoogled for recipes that would seem to be suitable, IMG_4223 Decided tonight I would give the Roast Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and lemon recipe (link below) a shot. I will try and make all four chosen recipes using different techniques over the next week or so, just to get a better picture of how these artichokes behave. The recipe said to boil the JA’s for 10-15 mins until cooked but not soft. Don’t know if it was because they were so fresh but 2-3 minutes into the boil and they were soft. There was a floral aroma around the work area that I couldn’t quite make out. I’m quite sensitive to fragrances and I didn’t like what I was sniffing. I tasted the JA’s while raw and they were just like water chestnut, crisp, not too starchy and quite OK. Maybe the cooking brings out an aromatic  fragrance not noticeable in the raw state. The whole time I prepared, cooked and ate this dish I had the feeling that took me to when food has been in the fridge and something like quince or mango had permeated everything. Didn’t really feel comfortable about it. I served the dish on a bed of rice noodles topped with some finely sliced carrot.

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Roast Chicken & Jerasulem Artichoke This is the recipe link but I’m not uploading it onto my recipe page as I don’t think it is worthy.

Best part in my opinion was that I got to serve the first broccoli of the season. It was beautiful, outshone everything else I reckon. Mr ATMT thought the dish was fine but I was just ok with it.

Broccoli

 

The broccoli is really starting to come on, really looking forward to using it. Think the protection nets I put in place early in the season have helped dramatically with protection from bugs and other munchy critters.

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