BBQ’d Bread and other stuff.

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.

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Tomato season begins in earnest:

IMG_5154It 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.

BBQ’d bread.

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.

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Favourite soup-Pho

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.

Pho

 

Risotto Report and other ‘stuff’.

I mentioned yesterday that I had heard that risotto can be made using the slow cooker. I must say I am in awe of the people who give these ideas a crack, this was a winner! Maybe not truly authentic but great texture and oh so easy when I have so many other things to do. Basically it was cook off some onion in some oil and butter till it was clear, do the same with 1 cup of Arborio rice. Chuck that into slow cooker with 2 cups of chicken stock, set on high and let go for a couple of hours. I did add a bit more stock after 2 hours then made the mushroom mix to add to rice when time to serve. I picked up some oyster mushrooms and some Shimeji mushies at the Footscray market and I also picked some shiitake from our backyard. Sliced, into pan with 6 cloves chopped garlic some white wine (was going to add some brandy but couldn’t be bothered digging it out of the cupboard. Cooked it for a bit added one of the sliced roasted capsicum I did this morning, chopped some thyme, parsley and grated lemon rind and stirred through the cooked rice. Topped with some parmesan and herbs and it was a great dinner.  I love my slow cookers!

$1.99 a pack at Footscray market. Really nice texture and flavour.
Rice cooked with capsicum added. Waiting for mushrooms and herbs to be mixed through.

Dinner!

Power of smell.

We had an assault of wonderful smells inside today. It started with roasting the red capsicum I bought yesterday,

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went on to the chicken stock I had in the big slow cooker. Bags of chicken bones $1.00 at Footscray market. Each bag had 10 chicken carcasses in it, one bag went to stock and the other into the freezer for next batch. Approximately 7 litres of stock for $1.00 plus power cost of slow cooker.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken carcasses

Finally the smell of the risotto cooking in stock and the mushies in garlic just added another dimension.IMG_9784

Other bits and bobs.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I was having issues with powdery mildew in the greenhouse. I bought some lime sulphur but after some research I was hesitant to use it so I had a go at mixing up some home-made garlic spray. Garlic, baby oil, pure soap and water. Steeped garlic and baby oil to infuse garlic’s beneficial properties, mixed the rest together and diluted with oil. I removed all obvious fruit, foliage and growth that were showing signs of mildew and sprayed. Fingers crossed!

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Another section of brick edging done out the back and some plants in. Very happy with this weekend’s achievements!

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Goal achieved!

The blog I posted Friday set me a target to do a few jobs and I am pleased to have achieved that target. Ticks to all the following:

Have my cello lesson – √

Make Quince paste – √

Tidy up – √

Plant something – √

Cleared some leaves – √ (didn’t mow them, will get a few more together and do all at once).

Enjoy our Indian Tea – √ Sure did, made a thermos full which we sipped throughout the day.

Now as for quince paste  cooked in a slow cooker.

How good is this? I wasn’t too optimistic but am thrilled with the result. No fuss or bother and a much cleaner method of production. I might even make another couple of batches while I’m so keen.

Quince minced

After stewing the fruit overnight I put the whole lot through the tomato passata machine.

Quince Paste ready

Into the pot with equal parts of sugar and just let go for hours, gave a stir every now and again. Took the lid off the pot for last couple of hours. Colour is beautiful taste is excellent.

Quince in tray

Into muffin tray to set. When cooled and dried out a bit the individual pieces should be just a nice size to go on a platter!

Girls go free.

We let the girls out for a run and they had a ball! Explored lots of nooks and crannies and devoured loads of bugs of all sorts. Dust baths were had and they were very curious whenever we were working on something. I’ve also added a photo of the massive egg Hilda lay on Friday.

Hilda dust bath

Egg massive

Mother’s Day Tea.

Had a fun-filled evening with the kids home for the first roast dinner cooked in the combustion stove. I set the lounge room up formally (haven’t done that for eons!), decorated the table with a little bit from each of our mums and grandmothers. My mums brocade white table-cloth, MIL’s antique glass lamp, G/Ma H, lovely little green glass bowl and G/M C’s antique sliced bread jar which we used for nuts. Roast was beautiful and my daughter bought along an apple and blackberry crumble which I am enjoying again as I do this post. While the oven was fired up I took advantage of the heat and put on a big pot of stock to simmer away. Smells great! Not much room between stove top and chimney though! Makes it a bit tricky when lifting the lid.

Stock pot
Everhot combustion stove with stock pot simmering.
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Stock simmering away beautifully

Other updates.

Planting (mostly done by husband) consisted of broccoli seedlings, lime tree, established camellia asakura X 12, Eucalyptus Silver Princess X 3, ginkgo biloba that I purchased from the Monbulk Scout plant sale. Amazing how a bit of dimension to a yard makes it feel so much better!

Camellia asakura
Established Camellia asakura planted to begin framework of hedge which will be seen outside bedroom window.

Last of the ‘very unattractive’ 60’s wardrobe removed, getting very excited about how this master bedroom is going to develop.

Wardrobe last bit

This last bit was pulled out minutes later. That’s about the last (apart from kitchen) bit of house that really holds that old stinky smell gone.

Hydronic radiator lounge

One of our new hydronic heating panels-love it!

Bottles

Couple of old bottles plumber found under the house. The beer bottles has MBCV logo on glass which after googling is apparently from around the 1930’s. Many more under there apparently. Wonder if patients needed a bit of ‘Dutch Courage’ before they entered the clinic!

Strawbs mildew

Mmmm, bit concerned that there is powdery mildew appearing o the strawberries. Organic control is apparently done using some or all of the following, diluted pure full cream milk, bicarbonate of soda, potassium bicarbonate and a canola oil-based product Synertrol. I think this has developed because the greenhouse was closed up on the few rather warm days this week. Must get those auto window openers going!

Have had a lovely afternoon working on design for bathroom reno, watching the very funny movie ‘Death at a Funeral’, eating leftovers from Mother’s Day dinner and occasionally doing something constructive. Hope others have had a lovely weekend too!

Weekend of both taking and making stock.

We have been well and truly under the hammer for time recently with trying to sell two houses, (so we can make improvements to the new one) moving my mother-in-law who is down-sizing and trying to move forward with getting our new property fit for human habitation. That along with the ‘doldrumish’ style weather we are having I just felt I needed to try to take stock. I dutifully made a list of jobs that needed to be done and started ploughing through them, first up was to make the stock for the Vietnamese Pho I planned to ho into once the tasks had been completed. I knew at the end of the day I wouldn’t feel much like cooking so this would be a welcome sight to come home to.

I am trying a method I found on the The Steaming Kitchen Blog where a slow cooker is used to slowly simmer the stock. Makes sense to me!

       

Added some fish sauce and sugar. I also added a stick of celery because there was some in the fridge that needed to be used. Left simmering all day, happy in the knowledge I wouldn’t have to stress when dinner time came. Now to knock off those jobs on my list!

Note:Wasn’t as thrilled with this version as previous ones I’ve made. I don’t think the stock reduces enough in the slow cooker to concentrate the flavours. Was still a pleasant result though.

Tomato Seedlings-time to pot up.

The seeds I planted a few weeks ago have done really well and need to go into a more substantial growing medium. I have been requesting donations from people at work for used milk cartons, wine cask boxes and any other suitable container for planting the seedlings into. So far have I have achieved about a 95% success seed germination rate which is great.

Interestingly, germination has been 100% from my saved seed and the 95% comes from the newly purchased stock. Maybe the different variety has something to do with this.

Next on the list……………..

I’ve been driving around for a week with my car chock-a-block full of ‘stuff’ that we culled from my M.I.L’s house that needed to go to the Op-Shop. Boxes gripped tight, head down, eyes not veering away from the loading stage, I deposited all the treasures. Kept my eyes straight ahead and did not dare look around on my way out as I didn’t want it to just be an exchange trip where I left with my car full of different ‘stuff! Tick that one off the list!

Next…..

Time to check on how the things I have planted at the ‘new’ house are settling in. Spring is starting to show its cheeky grin and I am bursting with the hope that things will do well.

The Update on plantings there.

Raspberries:

Yep, they are doing nicely.

Asparagus:

     Tick to that too!

Spuds (Potatoes):

The potatoes are looking a little bit ‘leggy’ but I am not surprised with the lack of sun we have had.

Garlic and Broad Beans:

            

Going well, broad beans flowering and garlic on track. Fed the bed with some blood and bone and a couple of handfulls of ‘Rooster booster’ pelletised organic  fertiliser. Can’t wait to have a few of those beans with some butter, olive oil, garlic  and a grinding of black pepper !

Back to the list…………….

I have removed a wisteria from the house we are selling and replanted it near where the future greenhouse will go. I am hoping to train it over the old woodshed frame to give a lovely backdrop at the rear of the vegie patch. Just hope it goes OK. Make note to quickly replace asparagus bed border edge with permanent one, not likely to happen once growth is established.

Rhubarb:

Plant me, plant me! I dug up some of the rhubarb for relocation and forgot about it. Seems pretty good so that has just been ‘plonked’ into the general garden space and can be divided later if need be.

See the little shoot starting at the bottom of the basket?

The rewards!

I actually achieved everything I set out to do, plus some. Quite happy with that really, taken stock and made stock at the same time.