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.

Fridge and freezer relocated
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!

Tigerella tomatoes in greenhouse. Should have a couple by Christmas.
Cucumbers galore!
So many raspberries this year. That makes me happy!
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.







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


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


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!

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!



Chick Peas, Pulled Pork, Tortillas, Bread and Garden.

Yep, it’s been a busy weekend! I love it when you get to achieve everything you set out to, it is incredibly satisfying. It certainly helped that the weather was absolutely beautiful. After 10 days of non stop rain and misery the sky was blue, no wind and the temperature got to about 19 today.  This is my son’s dog enjoying the warmth as did we!


I’d been feeling a bit under the weather Thursday and Friday so it was great that I felt energised and raring to go for the weekend. First up I chooffed off to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on some goodies. This market has developed well and even though we are entering winter, there is still a great range of produce and a really strong sense of community from every one who attends or sells there. I love it! I bought some beautiful organically grown carrots (see recipe later) and leeks from Thorpdale Organics  (forgot to take a pickie), organic milk and paneer from Miranda Dale Dairy, chicken from Mirboo Pastured Poultry, Eggs from WillowZen, who claim their pullet eggs are sensational poached. I’ll report back on that later! Apples (I always forget the business name but they are very friendly),  Mushrooms from Gippsland Mushrooms, Saffron grown in Mirboo, just up the road, chorizo sausages and surely something else! No need to go into those awful big ‘not so super’ markets at all!

With the shopping stowed away I spent a couple of hours in the veggie patch trying to bring a bit of control back into it. I hadn’t done much over the last few weeks and found it very therapeutic getting out there and getting stuck into it. I tweaked the area where last season I had put a bath to grow some potatoes. It is now a better use of space and gives me a spot to put a chair so I can just sit and contemplate. It also means the worm farm and compost bin are easier to access.


Some gravel fill in between the pavers and some bee attracting flowers planted, it should come up quite well. I also gave the greenhouse a good clean up. I noticed there was quite a big build up of muck on the panels which would be reducing the mount of sun coming in. With the cold season I need to capture as much warmth as possible,  so some hot water, truck wash, broom and a good high pressure blast of water and it is back to looking loved.

IMG_0774 IMG_0770







Belated Mothers Day Lunch.

We were in Sydney for mothers day, so the kids came home today for lunch. I was really happy with today’s  meal. I often don’t enjoy eating what I cook but thoroughly enjoyed these dishes. Eating while sitting out in the lovely sunshine consisted of:


Spicy Pulled Pork– Pulled pork is such an easy and cheap way to feed a group. I put a pork shoulder in the marinade/rub  in the slow cooker pot Friday morning before I went to work, put in fridge until Sat night then turned the slow cooker on low and it was beautifully cooked by Sunday morning. I do cover the meat with some baking paper to keep it moist while its cooking. It just falls apart and is so juicy and tender.

Spicy Pulled Pork

The recipe had ‘Cebolla en escabeche’ (picked onion) as an accompaniment. The pickling being achieved by soaking onions in lime and orange juices. I didn’t have limes so substituted green lemon juice and it was fine. Love the colour!

Cebolla en escabeche

Last week when I was at Herbies Spices in Sydney we sampled a lentil and kidney bean dhal using his ready made blend. I bought some of the blend and used it to make a chick pea dish to go with lunch today. So easy, add some oil/ghee to a pan, add 1 finely chopped onion and soften, add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend and cook out for a minute or so. Add drained chick peas (2 X 400g cans), tomato passata (I bottle mine in beer stubbies so that would be 375ml), 1/2 the juice from the drained peas and cook until required thickness. I also threw in a couple of the last cherry tomatoes. If too thick, add a little water to thin. You can also add some yoghurt but I didn’t and it was still lovely. Served with coriander on the top. Beautiful.

Chick Pea Dahl

An interesting side dish  I made was a carrot and radish (turnip) salad only I couldn’t get radishes at the farmers markets so I used young turnips which have a similar spicy element to them. Put the carrot and turnip through the V-Slicer, took about 2 minutes to make. Winner-It was really nice!

radish and carrot salad

Home made tortillas, Annabel Langbein’s recipe of course!

Tortlllaswhich were used as a wrap for the pork, chick peas and side salads. Some greek yoghurt, bean sprouts and tomato relish as well and it went down really well.


Lastly are a couple of photos of the pretty spider webs I saw when I ventured out early Sunday morning. Hope your weekend was as fulfilling as mine!

Gate cobwebs


Happy Birthday Warragul Farmers Market!

The weekend started magically with me having my monthly visit to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on some of the sensational organic and locally produced providence that is showcased there.

Wgl Farmers Market

The market celebrated their 1st birthday this weekend and it has just grown from strength to strength since its inception. I always think a good market not only offers great produce, but it creates an emotional link within the community. People develop relationships with traders and other community members, they come together to chat, relax, share stories and take home some wonderful things. A feel good experience! This market offers all of this, set in a beautiful location, music by local artists, activities for the kids and some of the best produce Gippsland has to offer!

Warragul Farmers MarketI really look forward to my visit to this market to see what will jump out and ask me to take it home. Some of my favourite and highly recommended traders are, Thorpdale Organics, Gippsland Mushrooms, Mirboo Pastured Poultry, the Apple lady (I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know from where but I always buy her apples!), and after tasting Jindivick Hydroponics tomatoes they are up there too.  Although I didn’t buy  as much as I normally tend to, I came home with some lovely tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, apples and a warm heart. Some of these went into a carbonara style pasta using our home grown broccoli, snow peas, broad beans and herbs, added some of Thorpdale Organics eggs into the sauce and voila, a fresh, mostly organic and made with love dinner. Thanks Warragul Farmers Market!


Flour woes

I reverted to using the ordinary old ‘organic bread flour’ in my sourdough this week and it just cemented how good the flour I brought back from Callington Flour Mill in Tasmania is. Dough hydration was 75% but this flour just doesn’t have to ‘guts’ to cope with that much water so it’s a very wet dough.  I used a portion of the dough into a ciabatta style loaf and will just keep my fingers crossed for what I expect to be a very flat loaf with the rest. Looks OK, smells great but it’s too early to cut to check if I’ve got those lovely big ciabatta holes in the crumb. Time will tell. It is amazing how much variation there can be with flour and protein levels, water absorption and general structure. Back to the Callington Mill flour next week!

Ciabatta sourdoughWe spent most Sunday at the Traralgon Poultry Auction. That was a new experience indeed, not sure if I’d relive it, but it’s something new I can say I’ve done! My son and his fiancé wanted a couple of chooks to include in their backyard so off we went thinking an hour would probably knock it over. WRONG! Finally, a long 4 hours later, they did manage to secure 2 lovely little chooks, not sure of variety but I think there is some Rhode Island Red mixed with maybe some Australorp in there. They have obviously settled into their new home well as I got a message from D&A with a photo of 2 eggs. Pretty impressed and happy they are! I get a real sense of calm knowing that all 3 of our children, grow things, cook things and love fresh unadulterated produce.16112014Got the fence around the veggie patch fully painted/stained, I’m really pleased the way the stain has made the fence blend in with the old hard wood. Bit hard to see here cause of the shadow, but the patch and chicken coop are now really looking integrated.IMG_6372

IMG_6375 Nice weekend indeed. Hope you enjoyed yours too!

In My Kitchen. Golly how did it get to be November?

What a busy time it is at the moment! We have just celebrated the engagement of our son and his beautiful partner. Joyous time indeed and a lot of creating food for the celebration.  So in my kitchen is:

10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_n Some of the leftovers of the magnificent cake my daughter made for the event. Ready to pack to put in the freezer for later use. It was beautiful and looked amazing as well as tasting sensational. She is VERY talented!IMG_6254I made some vegetable pakora, they looked much better on the serving platter, see my previous post!IMG_6185

Cauliflower pakora

I cooked up some VERY spicy tiny sausages and meatballs. These were a great hit.IMG_6179In my kitchen are a few beautiful roses, this one is  a week old in the photo and still holding up well.IMG_6186 These beautiful ‘Jude the Obsure’ blooms are from a bush our daughter gave us after her wedding. Very precious to me.IMG_6206 In my kitchen are 2 heads of broccoli freshly cut waiting to go into our tummies.IMG_6230Sadly, I have to say goodbye to the last of last seasons garlic. This bag was chockers and has lasted really well. Only a couple of weeks till new crop is ready I think.IMG_6233 In my kitchen is a leek, broad bean and mushroom risotto made from freshly picked veg. It was beautiful!IMG_6237 Some of the broad beans, nearly finished for the season so enjoying them while we can.IMG_6248In my kitchen is a smoked trout. We are so lucky having such an excellent butcher who makes his own small goods and they are sensational. Thanks Wayne from Trafalgar Butcher Shop. Such an easy appetiser, trout, some bread or crackers to serve it on and your done!IMG_6257 Another local producer who grow the most amazing organic vegetables with love. Wendy and Tony go out of their way to make sure their produce is first rate and their service is exceptional. Wendy delivered these beautiful lettuce and daikon and some other goodies to me at work. Love shopping that way! It is nice knowing that the food I served for the after party BBQ has been grown with so much love and care. Check out Thorpdale Organics, it’s worth it.IMG_6260

Didn’t get to take a photo of the view from the kitchen window but it’s looking pretty good!

Thanks Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for giving us this opportunity to see and share kitchens from around the world.

Weekend Roundup

Golly, lots of things achieved this weekend. Had a lovely start to the weekend by heading off to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on the great, local produce that is presented  at this market. I came home with some of Thorpdale Organics sensational Produce. This business goes to great lengths to ensure their produce is at its absolute prime when presented for sale. I bought some kohl rabi, potatoes and some of the nicest lettuce I’ve had in a long time (apart from my own of course!) I used the lettuce in some chicken wraps I made for lunch. I also bought some goats cheese, apples and the most stunning bunch of waratah flowers. They are massive and look great in the lounge under the bay window. 20141018_185412The lettuce I bought from Wendy & Tony went into some ATMT’s Chicken Wraps we had for lunch. It was a beautiful day, kids had come home and we had other friends here as well. These chicken wraps are one of our favourite camping meals as they are so easy to prepare, tasty and don’t create many dishes. This time I added some Middle Eastern Spice mix I made to the chicken and it gave it a little extra zing. I’ve added the spice blend to the bottom of the recipe. After our leisurely lunch I continued working on getting the hall reno moving along more. The Anaglypta wall paper has been a little difficult in a few spots, I think because of the amount of fill and work done to the panelling underneath. It’s is coming together though, can’t wait to see it finished. The pattern we have chosen is one of the original heritage styles which is in keeping with the house. IMG_5205   Work continues out in the yard with Mr ATMT having nearly completed the fence around the vegetable area. Need to oil the timber, design and make a gate and it a tick off the list. Yay, haven’t had many ticks recently! IMG_5193The cherry tee is really booming. It caused some difficulty for Mr ATMT to access what he needed to for the fence but it coped well. Look at those baby cherries!IMG_5197 I am really happy with the progress I’m making with my sourdough bread. Since investing in Chad Robertson’s book, Tartine Bread I have learned loads of new tricks. Last night was the first time I have done an overnight proofing in the fridge and it worked well. Makes it great for time management. I have also been a little concerned that the hole in the lid of the DO (Dutch Oven) where I have to remove the knob so it fits in my ‘toy oven’ has been letting the valuable steam escape. This time I removed the knob and plugged the hole with a bit of bread dough.  Loaf looks good. I only bake once a week so wont be able to see the crumb until it is cut later in the week. IMG_6100I also made a double batch of Lemon Cordial Recipe tonight. This had proven to be an absolute winner! My son and his fiancé are now enjoying it and even want to make some for their upcoming engagement party! A win I think.

Mulligatawny Soup & Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

If anyone had asked me what mulligatawny soup was, I would have replied “something Scottish I reckon”. Wrong, mulligatawny soup as it happens is a Tamil dish from India. There are many variations of how it is prepared but I tried the recipe that is in the book, The Apple Orchard’ I mentioned last post. My first impression was that it tasted like liquid chow mien, but once it had cooked for a while and mellowed out it was just a straight out nice curry flavoured chicken soup. Was perfect tea for in front of the fire after the wet, cold and generally miserable Saturday we had. Served with sour dough croutons, greek yoghurt and chopped chervil. Very nice. Click on the link below for the recipe I used.

Mulligatawny-Apple OrchardMulligatawny Soup

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

On My last visit to Warragul Farmers Market, my purchase from Mirboo Pastured Poultry was a whole bird but quite a bit larger than the usual size, apparently 10 weeks old rather than the usual 8 weeks. Ilan asked for feedback on this chicken so here it is.

I cooked this chook whole in the slow cooker. I made a rub of butter, lemon zest, S&P and tarragon and put some of this mix into breast between the skin and flesh, then rubbed the rest of the body with it and sprinkled with salt. I stuffed the cavity with my favourite stuffing. This is made by mixing breadcrumbs, chopped green capsicum and an egg all together. Love this stuffing and stick to all the time now. I lined the base of the slow cooker with some sliced potatoes to act as a trivet keeping the chook off the hot base. I threw in 8 smashed garlic coves and 1 lemon cut in half. Some of Wendy & Tony’s beautiful Dutch Cream Potatoes from Thorpdale Organics  went in the pot too. I was going out for the afternoon so I knew everything would be ready  for dinner on my return. I zapped some dutch carrots ready to do a last minute heat and glaze for serving, picked some broccoli florets and beetroot from the garden. I roasted the beetroot in foil while I cooked the bread this morning and planned on putting this with some feta in to heat with the spuds before serving. When I got home I put the chicken and potatoes into the ‘toy oven’ to brown off, took some juice from the slow cooker, added some orange juice and a little sugar and boiled the daylights out of it to reduce it making  a nice jus. I zapped the broccoli for app 1 min 30 secs, reheated the carrot and threw into a pan with butter and chervil. I put some feta in with the roast beetroot and threw that in with the crisping spuds to heat and melt. Dinner was ready to serve.

Slow cooker roast chicken

Roast chicken slow cooker
Dutch carrots with chervil glaze, broccoli, roast beetroot and feta, chicken with orange jus.

Chicken was stunningly juicy and moist. Skin crisped up beautifully with a little zap under the grill element. Considering it was all done and only tweaked after returning from being out for the afternoon it was great. Just can’t work out why anyone would still buy supermarket poultry. I think I would use sage instead of tarragon in the butter rub though next time!

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