Monday, April 25, 2011


I've just been reading another blog and the subject was meat-less meals. I haven't done this yet, but I really don't think I need as much meat as I used to. ( I'm talking dinner time meals here). I keep saying that I'm going to have a try, but when you have your own meat, when you have never gone without meat/animal protein for the main meal, psychologically it's really hard to do. Also I think if you don't have meat, you need to have some sort of lentils or beans. I'm not organised enough to prepare them ahead of time. I do use tinned ones sometimes, but I really prefer to soak and cook my own legumes.

We have cut back on the amount of meat we eat, because we just don't need it. I think that's why I'm even considering trying a meatless meal sometime. I think the reason for this is because the meat we eat is either home grown or organic. This type of meat is more nutrient dense and therefore you just don't NEED to eat lots of it. So if you can't grow your own, the next best thing (as I've mentioned before) is to get to know a farmer and buy direct. Even if you only buy a quarter or half a beast, it will still be cheaper (by the kg) than if you were to buy it from the Butcher of the Supermarket.

If the farmer you appoach says he can't do it, suggest that if he gets it slaughtered and butchered in registered facilities, there isn't any problem. Most regional areas have slaughter yards and butchers that will do this. Good luck!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Food again

This blog is supposed to be all about the link between healthy farming and healthy food, but I seem to be concentrating more on the food a bit lately. My daughter is out again this weekend, so we are cooking again! Last night it was a very nice chicken pie. She wanted to make puff pastry, but we really didn't  have the time, so we made a Rough Puff Pastry, which was very nice, although not as flakey as puff pastry - used nearly as much butter though! The pie included cream from my cows, mushrooms from the freezer that we collected last year and some herbs from the garden. It's nice when at least some of it's home grown.

I made butter this morning. I'm now milking three cows, so have heaps of milk so it's worthwhile separating. It's lovely having so much milk available, but I just don't have the time to do enough with it. I would love to spend the Easter break making cheese but it's a bit hard on your own as there is so much stirring to do. I also have so many other jobs to catch up on while I'm not working. Boring things like book work! I also want to get into making some fermented products. I've made a pickled beetroot before, which was really good, so want to do that and also some fruit and nut kimchi. These are fermented using whey as a starter culture and are supposed to be VERY good for you. The older cultures around the world used fermentation as a way of preserving foods and most of the attempts I've made have been good. If it doesn't ferment properly you know it straight away, so there is no risk of eating something that's going to harm you.

You might think it a bit yuk, but we commonly eat a lot of fermented products - cheese, yoghurt, cultured butter, buttermilk are the obvious ones. I've been making my own yoghurt for quite some time now and find it hard to go back to store bought stuff. Anyway, my daughter has just discovered that I'm not doing my bookwork and is cracking the whip!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Duck again

I didn't mention the other day, but when you bone out the duck it's very important that you use all the bones to make a duck stock. Then you can do a yummy and quick lunch with the stock. It was quite cool today and I was feeling a bit miserable with a cold, so I decided to make soup. So easy.  Fry off some chopped onion, carrot and celery and brown slightly. Add some garlic (and because I had it, I dug some fresh turmeric) then some chopped tomatoes. Add the stock and cook for a bit before adding whatever vegies you can think of in the garden. I put in some comfrey (yes I know you aren't supposed to eat it!), brazil spinach and water spinach, grated squash and some herbs (parsely and chives). It was all very good and so healthy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Duck for Dinner tonight. This was one we grew out some time ago. We bought a dozen ducklings, grew them out, kept 3 ducks and a drake and put the rest in the freezer. The live ones don't seem to be doing too much at the moment - by that I mean that I don't think they are thinking about reproduction at all. The lady we got them from told us they were all musgovy ducks, but I'm a bit concerned that they may be musgovy crosses. If this is the case, they may not be fertile. Aparently some people believe that musgovy's aren't ducks, because when they cross with another duck breed they are mules. Meaning that they won't be able to breed. Although our ducks sped a lot of time in with the pigs (they like their wallow), so if they are stupid enough to lay their eggs in there, the pigs will more than likely find them and eat them. I am amazed how much grass the ducks eat. They are loving it at the moment, as the grass is all out in seed and they walk around eating the seed heads. They fly very well for such a big bird, and it is not unusual to see them sitting on the roof of our laundry watching us eat our breakfast!

The duck was a whole one, so we boned it out - my daughter is home again and wanting to experiment! If it was just the two of us, we would have had separate meals, but because there was the three of us, we did two courses. Started off with a duck breast salad and then had a duck casserole with potato mash. It was all very nice - two totally different ways to eat the duck, but both good. I've put the recipes on the Recipe Page. You can buy ducks occasionally - if having trouble, go to an Asian supermarket as they usually have them. Do try to get one that's been pasture raised. They are quite fatty, so if it's pasture raised it will be all good healthy fat!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good Food

I have half my children out this weekend (2 out of 4). My daughter loves cooking, so of course I have to think of something "different" to cook with her. It's so good to cook with someone else - I'm not sure why, but it just seems to make cooking more fun and adventurous! So we cooked Pasta - I just did this two days ago, but because she had the leftovers for breakfast, we had to make it again. Pasta really is easy, especially since I worked out that for 4 people you only need 2 eggs and 200g flour and it really doesn't take very long. Of course a pasta machine (hand cranked) makes life a little easier. I had an organic chicken in the freezer (no, not home grown unfortunately) we jointed that and made a caserole (onion, mushrooms, garlic, tomato casata, beer) and then served it with fried squash and eggplant (from the garden) and capsicum. It was very nice!
I do like making pasta. It's not hard, just takes a little more time than opening a packet! But it could be almost a different food to dried pasta, and so worth while doing. And I do know that some people have a pasta machine in the back of their cupboard so......if you do.....  - give it a go! My pasta recipe is on the recipe page.