Sunday, September 10, 2017

Asparagus Spikes

Spring chores begin, spreading compost - this stuff is 2 years old. It was scrapings from where we feed our cattle and sheep consisting of silage, soil and cow poo all mixed together and left to rot. Isn't it beautiful!

We've also had to do a little irrigation with the warming weather, but in consolation the beginings of vege growth begins, as usual, with the first spikes of asparagus showing!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Teaching my son to cook - One Pan Fish

Hey Hamish, here's a dish that's easy for one person.  Made it myself last night.

Fish and veges in one pan...

You need a frying pan only, but make sure its one with a metal handle not plastic, as you are going to put it under the grill.

One whole Flounder (I got one for $4.82 on special, usually about $6-7)
Left over mashed potatoes
Frozen Peas
Some butter

Heat the butter in the pan till frothy, add the fresh fish, eye side up (here's looking at you, kid!).  Mix a couple of handfuls of mashed spud with a handful of frozen peas. Form into 2 patties.  Put them in beside the fish.
Assembling ingredients

Cook the fish about 10 minutes, the flesh goes white when it's cooked. Put a knife in the thickest part of the fish and check for white flesh. Check for brownness underneath by lifting carefully and looking.  Do not turn over.

Heat the grill up.

Turn the patties once or twice as required. 

When the fish is just about done, take out the patties and keep warm.  Put the frying pan under the grill. Grill about 5 mins till the fish is browned on top.

Slide the fish onto the serving plate,pour over the butter.  Add salt and pepper. Put the mashed spuds beside.  Arrange salad. Voila!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Teaching my son to cook - Risotto, Chicken and Mushroom

Hi Hamish, here's another lovely recipe from your wonderful, dedicated mother.

This time it's RISOTTO, unctuous (look that one up, it means fatty, greasy, full of unction), and cheesy.

Best of all it's cheap and easy to make!

Today we are making Chicken and Mushroom Risotto, this will serve 2 or 3 people

You will need
1 Chicken Breast (I got one for $1.72)
about 5 mushrooms, fresh or dried (I can post you some dried ones if you want?)
1c of Aborio Rice, this is the ingredient you may not have in your cupboard.  It's a variety of rice which is full, thick and sucks up the yummy flavours you are going to add to it
2c Chicken Stock (not the cubes which are salty, but the stock you buy in a carton if you have not made any yourself.)
1 Onion
1/4c Olive Oil
1c Grated Cheese, any type you fancy
2T sour cream if you want
Parsley for garnishing

Chop the onion up into small cubes, (dice it).  Put the olive oil in a saucepan, a high sided one is best, but anyone will do in a pinch.  It looks like a lot of oil, but do not be worry!  Bring to a heat and add the onion.  Saute gently, do not brown the onions, just soften and sweeten.  Chop the chicken piece into small bits and add to the pan, cook till they are just done.  Then add the mushrooms, sliced.  Cook about 2mins then add all the stock.  In the old days we would have added the stock bit by bit, but its a faff and not worth worrying about.  Put the lid on the pot.  Turn the heat down till it is just simmering, no more.  Let cook about 10 mins, till when you test a piece of rice it is done, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Stir in the grated cheese, and the sour cream if you like. Garnish with chopped parsley and eat!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's mushroom and grape season

Autumn is always a rush. There's picking to be done everywhere you look. I madly pick berries, cut cabbages, dig up spuds and pull carrots.

The grapes have been patiently waiting for me.  After Himrod, our wonderful eating grape, all got eaten by the birds before I could get the nets on, I have been keeping a watchful eye on the other vines.

Finally I picked, and now I am making juice.  Last year we made wine, not particularly successfully.  Initial tastings of "Albie's Feet" were not pleasant.  Sharp and acrid. Not sure if a few years will help that along or not?

But I made some jars of juice which we have loved. So this year I decided, no wine, just juice.

I destalked the grapes, cooked them till the skins were soft and the juice ran, sweetened them a little with sugar before packing them into empty wine bottles.  Finally I processed them in a water bath for 10 minutes. Grapes are high in acidity and so the water barth doesn't need to be very long.

So far, I have done the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Gris.  Only Sauvignon Blanc to go.
Packed bottles after processing in the waterbath
You can do all sorts of fancy things to remove the cloudyness like putting the cooked juice in the fridge for 48hrs then straining off, etc, etc.  But this will be just nice enough for us, thanks!

My poor flat smells of mushrooms, which isn't as nice as smelling of wine. I have been drying my pickings in the oven and the dehydrator.
Mushrooms growing in our orchard

What will I do with all these?

And more from the roadside!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Teaching my son to cook - continued - Steak/garlic butter with Tabouleh Salad

Hamish, try this!  This is my favourite salad of all time - Tabouleh.

When I moved to Australia at 18yrs old a whole new world of food was opened up for me.  Having come from Dunedin where the extent of takeaways was Chinese or Burgers, and eating in a restaurant meant steak and chips, Sydney was a revelation.

This includes steak, but pairs it with the first salad I learnt to make in Australia.

Tabouleh- traditionally made with cracked or Bulgar wheat, it is just as nice with Cous Cous and way simpler to make.

- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Mint
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Parsley
- 1 chopped tomato (finely diced)
- 1 cup Couscous or Bulgar wheat, cooked
The couscous has to be made according to the packet, it takes about 5 mins, but then you have to let it cool.  So follow the very easy instructions an hour or two before making the salad.  If the couscous is hot the fresh mint will go black and revolting.

Mix everything together in a bowl, and then squeeze over the juice of a lemon.  You might like to add a little olive oil to soften the flavour, but I like it sharp!  so use your own judgement there.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and it's ready.

Steak: Use rump or my favourite, ribeye.   Heat the pan till very hot, add some butter (a small knob) then the steak, cooking hard till it browns well and blood rises to the upper side of the steak.  (about 5 mins) then turn over.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook another 5 mins or so.

While its cooking make Garlic Butter.  Chop one clove of garlic finely and mix with about 2T butter.  Roll in some tinfoil and leave to cool in the fridge.

There you have it, Steak and Tabouleh!

Shopping List
Fresh Mint
Fresh Parsley
1 Tomato
1 Lemon