With both myself and Mr ATMT being out of action due to injury and surgery, it is very frustrating sitting at home looking at what should be done and can’t be. We decided to make a trip to the Springvale and Dandenong Markets because I needed a few staples for Asian cooking that we just can’t get here in Gippsland. I also love the feel of the places, different cultures, great variety of foods and busy, busy, busy people everywhere.
I bought a couple of new Kiwi knives, these knives are the absolute best value in the universe. I’ve mentioned them before but I am still in awe of how good they are. I bought this lot, total price $12.00ish. The one in the middle looked like it would be great for scoring bread dough. Didn’t disappoint me which I’ll cover later in this post.
Tomato season begins in earnest:
It is time to plant up some of the tomato seeds that have germinated. This is the first lot, 75 in total, another 200 or so to go. I am in desperate need of more coffee cups, milk cartons or similar to plant into. I put a request in the school newsletter last week so with a bit of luck I’ll get some donations this week. Once potted up they are going into the greenhouse for developing.
I’ve been bored and frustrated trying to create really nice bread in the ‘Toy Oven‘ so today I thought I’d have a crack at baking bread in the BBQ. I gave my sourdough starter a bit of a workout this week as it seemed a bit weak, (that’s the only thing able to have a workout here at the moment)! I cooked the loaves in cast iron pots, one camp oven and one pseudo Le Crueset. Boy, I’m glad I had this idea. This bread looks great, has great crumb and crust is beautiful. Only downside is there are a couple of hotspots where crust has burnt, but not badly. A bit of tweaking and I think this will a regular way of baking our bread. The added bonus of being able to cook 2 full size loaves at the one time is great.
I had planned on making gyoza dumplings for dinner but we had some for lunch at the Dandenong market. Plan B in place! I just love Pho soup. I made this last night using the stock I made on the wood oven top last week and it hit the spot on a cold, wintry night. Irony was, we couldn’t find bean sprouts anywhere at the asian markets or big supermarkets. I actually found some at the local fruit shop and what was most surprising is they were fresh. Just have to have bean sprouts on ya Pho! Check out he beautiful clarity and deep colour of this stock.
This weekend has been lovely. Almost tea with my son and his girlfriend at their new home (no dinner because all the take-a ways were closed!). They are doing a great job giving a sad old post war weatherboard home a makeover. Three weeks in and it’s amazing what a difference some cleaning, pruning (major) and TLC can do to a house. Lovely seeing them looking at things from a different view as owners rather than taking everything on face value as normal. We then spent some time on our property that we are still trying to sell at Fish Creek and re-instilled some love there. Hopefully enough to trigger a sale, but things are so slow over there I’m not holding my breath. Think I may have to re-assess how we manage that!
While in India, we had the fortunate experience of tasting ginger tea at breakfast while staying in a hotel in Delhi. It was purely accidental that we poured from this particular pot as the ‘western tea’ had not been served at that time. I love accidental discoveries and after some lengthy interpretation with the staff we vaguely got the gist of how it was made. Googling answered my questions and it is a common beverage in many Indian households. I had a go this morning at making it and yes, it was sensational. I followed the recipe on ‘Show me the Curry‘ website and was very happy with the result. Nice start to the day indeed. Sorry but photo is a bit fuzzy!
Not Pho, not hot pot but an attempt to marry the two. I had wanted to make pho but didn’t have bones for stock. Thought about a hot pot (or as Cam would disrespectfully say, Ho Po) but didn’t have a clay pot that would fit into our mini oven, so I tried to marry the the two together. Marinated chicken as per the recipe at recipe.com added some extra stock and put the whole lot into the slow cooker and let it go. 2 hours before tea I added some chopped bok choy and then served with fresh spring onions, rice noodles and finely chopped spring onions. I would add some star anise and chilli next time but it was very, very nice. I can really understand how these meals based on rich stock with, lovely spices and fresh vegies are soul food for so many. So fresh and healthy too!
The ‘Phot’ required Shiitake mushrooms and I realised that since we have been away and not tending the logs too well, my shiitakes had actually dried on the logs!
What the heck, cut the dried ones from the logs, reconstituted in hot water, sliced and added to the slow cooker. They were sensational!
All good! This was a really nice dish. Broth was flavorsome from the shiitake and other spices and seasonings.
Jobs I didn’t get to!
Had a master plan this weekend to plant the onion bag full of bulbs that I took from the last house and to install the auto-openers on the greenhouse windows. Don’t you love it when you have a list and manage to work hard but don’t see one item from the list completed? Started out with the goal to plant the bulbs, went to compost to get some planting mix and realised that the open bins are struggling due to encroaching tree surface roots. I have never had much success with open compost bins, they dry out, roots invade and I find them difficult to turn. I am a fan of the ‘Geddye’ style bin. Easy to use and turn with a curly compost turner. Easy to manage moisture levels and worms seem to love the environment. Ahh, the bulbs will have to wait till next week!