Friday, May 3, 2013


As harvest comes I have spent a considerable amount of time setting myself up to accommodate the fruits. Fruits figuratively speaking.
But first up I tried a new cake out for Ross' birthday, with humungous loads of poppy seeds and honey in it! the first pic is from the cook book, the following my results! Very tasty.

Next up we had three goats scheduled to be home killed and I needed to use up the remaining bits and pieces of our Thumbelina. The biggest and final was her head! Which I cooked in my 17l stock pot for half day and then took the meat of it. I have to admit, I only went for the cheeks and neck, I couldn't dig more without feeling queasy. But the left overs didn't go to waste: I rendered most of the fat and will make it into Liverwurst in the coming weeks. For the moment it's sitting in huge jars in the pantry and not taking much space away. For the meal I made dumplings and we had fresh apple sauce with it. VERY juicy and scrumptious meat. A fitting denouement for our adventure with a pig.

And while I was rendering the pig fat, I also rendered the goat fat that had collected from butchering the three boys.

For our first meal of the goats we had decided to use the filets and have a fondue. I went searching on the internet for some different sauces and and this is what we had: boiled potatoes, pickled onions, mini corn and olives and a mustard cream sauce, a tomato ginger sauce and a cucumber garlic sauce. My favourite was the mustard sauce, which went extremely well with the meat and the potatoes. As you can see in the last pic, we need better fuel to run it, but all in all it was a very successful dinner: the kids hoofed down the meat as if it was the last they'd ever get. I found the recipes at a site dedicated of course to the art of fondue cooking here.

Right, next meal was again something completely different: neck roast. I had taken the two necks of the smaller boys and slow roasted them for 1/2 day in a Jamaican inspired casserole. With it we had rice and Beluga lentils cooked in coconut cream which was inspired by this internet find! And just in case it was all too exotic I made some cauliflower with garlic breadcrumbs, a kid's fav!

For the last couple of weeks I have been leaching chopped up acorns. The idea was that I would make acorn flour and use the water, full of the harmful tannins, for tanning my goat hides. That didn't quite work, as I was too busy with one thing and another.  But today I decided that I had to give it go and ground up the chopped acorns into a medium coarse flour, rinsed them a couple more times and then put them in a bking tray to dry. Lightly burned them and still didn't give up! Pulverized them in my liquidizer and got about 1 1/2 cups of dark flour. Got a recipe from this fella, who's got a great site btw, and actually baked a cake with it. My daughter and I tested it and it tasted great. We waited for 2 hours before letting my husband have a taste and even had seconds this evening. All fine so far. The tannins can make you quite sick and as I had never done this before I wanted to keep the damage controllable.


 And last, but most certainly not the least, today's lunch: the humble, but ever so satisfying leek and potato soup. Nothing but leek, potato, olive oil and a dash of sour cream! Even my daughter, who's not much of a soup fan, had a serve. And the pic is at the start, sweating the leeks.

And that's it for today. I promise, I will try to post more frequent and have smaller posts then too!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year

Hoping everyone's had a fun and safe start to the new year and wishing you all the best for coming adventures!

The old and new year were celebrated with my home cured ham. It had been intended as a Christmas ham, but we had a range of illnesses and misfortunes in the last couple of weeks of the year so I decided to have it a New Year's Eve dinner.
It had been sitting in the fridge in a pure sugar brine and took it out a day before to dry a bit.
I had cured pork before, to make Kasseler, but used the commercial brining salt which contains all sorts of chemicals. This time I had found a method using only salt and a range of sugars and gave that a try. Even though I think I over salted it, the end result was still nice. Only a bit dry. But the flavour was nice and the rest will now make a lovely pea and ham soup!
Next up I will try to make a dry cured ham, as we love to have al fresco lunches with our own produce.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Almost Christmas!

My last post for the year,
and as can be seen by the long break I have been extremely busy again!

But a few things got tried out, so here, in no particular order, my latest food endeavours:

Leberwurst, liverwurst made from the liver and pork fat of our and our neighbour's piggys.
Unfortunately I got the proportions for salt & spices slightly wrong, but still achieved a quite edible result.

Next up for Halloween I did some graveyard pies and Zombie fish fingers! They actually looked so gross Mr.12 refused to try them!

And then last weekend, as if I didn't have enough on my plate at this time of year, I decided to try making vegan and gluten-free food for Ms.10's birthday party. All in all I'm quite happy with what I managed to whip up and the kids ate most of it!  //insert winking icon//
For 'dinner' we had fresh potato wedges seasoned with paprika, oregano & thyme with carrot&potato fritters, which got completely annihilated. For dessert I had made a 'trifle' out of chocolate tapioca ( all granules sieved out), cherry jelly made with agar agar and vanilla tapioca cooked in coconut cream. Also a gooey choc cake with ground almonds as a base. That one is a keeper, but will only be served in small portions, not sure about it's health attributes, more like 'Death-by-choc'!

And for my last coup-de-grace for this year, I've got one of Thumbelina's legs in the fridge curing away. By Christmas it should be a beautiful homegrown, home cured ham, with no nasties, just plain salt, brown sugar and spices. Keep your fingers crossed it doesn't turn bad. I turned it yesterday and it felt & smelt all good!

And last but not least, a couple of weeks ago I made a Romano cheese out of my first batch of spare goats milk. That will get tried out first at Christmas time too.

And what's on this week? School activities and hopefully making two large batches of Quark, got some Stollen and cheesecake to bake for the holidays.

Hope everyone is going to have a good festive season, don't worry about scrubbing the house clean, if people come to see the house, tell them to make an appointment. If they come to see you they won't see anything and just enjoy the time spent with you!
All the best and have a good turn, and I hope we all get to see each other after the 21st!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thumbelina 2.0

Wow, we're hooked:
today I made our second homegrown pork meal: a rolled roast from the shoulder and it was stunning!
It didn't look too great while I was dressing it, but by the time it got to the table it had improved in looks.
I had minced up an apple, an onion and some parsley with about 2 tbs of Avocado oil and covered the inside of the roast with it before rolling and trussing it up. It created some beautifully complex juices and kept the roast moist!
Served with mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and brussel sprouts and homemade Sauerkraut it was a truly delicious meal.
Next season we will have to get a couple of piglets again and raise them just for the freezer. And make sure they are just fed on grass, scraps and milk!
Next month we'll cook up the larger one of these two roasts and invite the neighbours who had contributed some of their food scraps.
Oh, and the kids loved it too!

Everyone's full, sated but not yucky feeling now.
Another winner.

Off now to see the amazing Louis Baker and his friends at The Royal in Featherston,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2 months have gone!!

And finally I get around to taking pics and posting about the food side of my activities.

Cheese: it's been extremely busy making cheeses, I got into making a weekly batch of Havarti and now have a good stash sitting in the fridge maturing. The oldest one is now actually 4 weeks old and approaching the recommended age of 6 weeks.
And here's my collection of Goudas, Camemberts and Blue Veins in the making:

And last weekend I attempted Rabbit Rillettes: two days of work, 7 potted jars and it tastes ok. I can't remember the Rillettes de Main in Paris, but this tastes a bit dry. So next time I've got a bit of rabbit meat spare I'll give it go and try to make it a bit moister. Still nice though, on fresh toasted Sourdough bread!

Hah, and I almost forgot my cheese cake. I had made approximately 3.5 kgs of Quark and used most of it in two Lemon, Rum-raisin cheese cakes. One went to our dairy friends and one we're working our way through. Willingly!

Right, that's it for now.
Wish my hips the best of luck trying to avoid the pilage!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bread and others

Urgh, what a horrible start to the holidays, the whole family sick, with a range of ailments, and the weather in true autumn fashion coming up with a taste of winter! Wet and cold.

In the past days I have had some successes, disasters and near misses on the food front.

My Camembert, which I had done successfully previously, turned into something slimey and stinky! Admittedly, I didn't follow instructions, in fact I was all over the place so I'm not really surprised.
But my first attempt at Goat Fetta come up alright despite not having exactly the right culture. But I will have to experiment with the brine concentration: the recommended 15%  is WAY TOO salty for my liking. I used it in the evening as a base for a mushroom and ham pasta sauce and it melted, just like the bought one.
While waxing the last batch of Havartis I nearly caused fire, but fortunately had a wet tea towel at hand. Lesson learned: never do this task at the end of a long and hard day. Full attention required.

Next up: Pretzels. my lovely daughter and in-house food critic had demolished my supply of bought ones. So I decided to try making them myself, and as a first effort they were VERY edible. Even though, as they were a bit chunkier than the store ones, my daughter could only eat half of one, and declared the store ones were better. Got to try a few more recipes and I feel confident that I will find one that will get her full approval.

And then, as if I didn't have enough on my plate, I thought I'd try starting a sour dough starter! Did it, and was reasonably casual following the recipe, but did end up having some kind of a starter after 3 days. So yesterday I thought Right, let's try this and got the Dean Brettschneider baking book out and started.

GordonBennett, this took forever and a day!
And in the end I had forgotten the kneaded dough in the cold oven. When I remembered it had risen nicely and tripled in size! But, upon consulting the book, I realized unless I wanted to make this a night in the kitchen, I wouldn't be able to do it properly.
To not waste a bowl full of dough I just shaped two kinds of loaf, one plain and one with seeds and plonked them in the oven for 30 mins. This morning we tasted them, me the seed version, her the plain and she was thoroughly happy munching away on it for breakfast!

And last, but not least, I had made guacomole out of some free avocados and frozen them. This time in smaller packets, so once defrosted it won't go off faster than we can eat it.

Feeling utterly exhausted at the range of activities, but very happy and satisfied about it too!

Next? Nothing new. Indeed, this week I'm intending of not making any cheese and just reaping the rewards for a little.