Saturday, December 1, 2012

Marinated Feta

I did a cheese making course a couple of years ago in Gladstone with We made lots of cheeses, but not feta. The trainer did send me more recipes and also described a cheese called Chabichou, which is a soft feta. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, but I decided to name a cow after the cheese and I pronounce it Shabby Shoe. Anyway Farmer Liz asked me how I make it, so I thought I’d blog about it, as it is one of the easiest, yummiest cheeses you could ever make.

I use starters from “Cheesemaking” and the one for this cheese is called Flora Danica. I also use it to make quark, which is usually made at the same time as my Chabichou, and cultured butter. I’m not sure what other culture would be suitable, but you don’t use a lot, so it probably doesn’t matter too much.

In the morning after milking I fill a bowl with milk – about 5 litres. I then add the starter at a rate of ¼ teaspoon to 20 litres of milk. Then add rennet: 1-2 drops to every litre of milk. Cover with a cloth and leave on the bench for the day. I don’t bother measuring the temperature as I just use fresh milk. If you were using milk out of the fridge, it would need to be heated to between 20 and 30 C.

In the afternoon it is ready to hoop. I use the basket in the picture and will fill three, or else I fill two and then put the rest in cheesecloth to drain (this is then quark and can be used like ricotta). Gently scoop the curd out of the whey, don’t cut it. Scoop and gently lay it into the baskets. Leave it covered over night. The next morning it will be half the size. Sprinkle it with salt and leave for about 2 hours. Carefully take it out of the basket and turn over, then sprinkle again. Leave for another 2 hours.

It’s then ready to be consumed. I usually collect some herbs from the garden and chop them. I then layer them in jars with the cheese and tip over oil.  I use grapeseed oil because it doesn’t set in the fridge like olive or macadamia oils.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I was determined to make some cheese this weekend. My brother has been off work with a sore hand so has been making lots of cheese, so I've been very jealous. I made some haloumi and ricotta. I used 9 litres of milk for the haloumi and got 800g of cheese. I did one with mint as it's traditional with haloumi and I wanted to try it. Haloumi is cooked in the whey after it has been pressed, so I made the ricotta while the whey came to the right temperature. I am also making feta. I make a soft feta, so it sits all day and then is hooped at night. Then in the morning I will salt it, cut it and put it in oil with herbs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


We have recently had the pleasure of welcoming a French Backpacker to our farm. Seb arrived last week and we already feel like we have known him for ages. It's great to be able to have someone to help out with everything. Maitland is about to leave us so we thought we needed to get someone in to help with the pigs. Kim is on the mend with his broken arm, but still not able to do a lot of the heavier jobs.

The best part about Seb is having someone else who is as passionate about food as I am....maybe he is even more so. I never thought that would be possible. He has a huge desire to learn about everything to do with food and especially the whole paddock to plate concept. The second night he arrived he cooked dinner for us. It was absolutely delicious - roasted duck, stuffed with this fantastic combination of vegetables and herbs, including some of our latest mushrooms that arrived after the recent rain. There was too much stuffing for inside the duck, so the rest went underneath it and the whole lot was baked in the oven. YUM!

We had some nice rain recently so the grass has really freshened up - our spring is finally here. I find it strange when people talk about spring growth etc, as we don't get it until we get rain. We also get mushrooms when we get spring (or winter) rain.....they were everywhere and we didn't have time to pick them all! We (Kim) did pick a lot and we've packed them into bags in the freezer - great for taking out and adding to meals. They are a bit squishy, but fine for cooking.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poddy Calves

It seems rather ironical that just a little while ago I was giving advice to another blogger about poddy calves. Well....last week one of my milkers had a calf, which died..... I couldn't find a poddy calf for about 4 days and then finally got onto one - a little bull calf from a dairy down near Monto. He was born the day I rang, so I was a little concerned as my cow didn't have much collostrum left. I was also concerned as the cow had taken poddies before, but always with her own calf alongside. I left them in the yards for the last few days and they have certainly bonded. The cow took it as hers from the day I introduced them, so it was a very good result. I'm still milking her out, as the calf can't take it all - the other animals on the place don't mind getting a bit of milk (pigs, chooks and dogs all love milk!)

Here are the two of them and you would never know that they weren't biological!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Update on the Ginger Ale and other ferments

The turmeric and ginger ale was okay, but the plain ginger one is really good. Looks like I better plant more ginger for next year. On a hot summers day, a glass mixed half and half with soda water is REALLY refreshing. I've also made some Beet Kvass - interesting and probably drunk best as a shot! Also some milk kefir - also interesting! I tried to drink it straight but it was a little too much and it's much nicer in smoothies (or even just with milo!).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ginger (and Turmeric) Ale

I made some Ginger and Turmeric Ale today. I added the turmeric because I have so much and of course it's so good for you.....and the colour is pretty. I've used the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, although I didn't have enough limes, so subbed lemons - my neighbour gave me some yesterday.  It'll be interesting to see what it tastes like - It tasted okay fresh, so I hope it ferments a little bit!

My next big thing to try is Kombucha. I bought some ready made at the Real Food Festival in Maleny and it's really nice. They were also selling kits, but I missed out on one. I'm going to try and get one over the net - or at least the mushroom. I'll let you know how I get on!

We're always looking for a refreshing drink at lunch time. I have made bush lime cordial for years and try and keep some limes in the freezer, but we didn't get many last year, so I'm all out! I might make some lemon cordial with the rest of the lemons I have. I peeled the lemons that I squeezed for the ale, and have it soaking in vinegar. I want to make a nice smelling lemon vinegar, as I use vinegar to clean benches etc.

Life on the Farm

I'm home this week - have taken a few days leave. I've taken over the Pig Jobs so that Kim can focus on more fencing (I help when two people are needed). I love being a Pig Farmer! They are characters - some good and some bad!!! The pigs are breeding faster than we can keep paddocks up to them, and we are really getting anxious to move them onto fresh pasture. It's been very surprising just how much grass the pigs eat and as we're just finishing (hopefully) our dry season, there's not much feed left. We've started feeding the pigs hay, which they seem to enjoy.

We've got two litters of weaners at the moment - the coloured ones are the Large Black/Berkshire Cross over a Berkshire Boar and the white ones are straight Large White out of the Sow and Boar we recently purchased. The redish one is a ring-in. We bought some weaners to make up for some small litters we had.

We haven't had any rain for a couple of months and didn't really have much of a wet season this year. However, we have green pick coming through in all the paddocks. This is one reason that we want to move some of the pigs, as we don't want them hammering the young grass.

The cattle paddocks are going really well, as we rest them a bit more. Cell grazing is really the way to go, as the grass has time to recover between grazings and even without rain, the soil moisture that has been retained will encourage grass growth. We still have plenty of soil moisture. We had a grader her the other day and he said that it was nearly wet enough to get bogged!

I've put some more photos on the photo page..................

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tumeric, ginger, potatoes

I finally got around to digging my roots! The plants had died off, so I had to remember where I had planted them! The turmeric and ginger were volunteer plants from the bits I missed last year, the spuds were just organic potatoes that had started shooting. The potatoes were very dissapointing - I got a lot more last year from the same number of spuds, but I used seed potatoes then. I haven't weighed the spuds, but it would have been about 3kgs from about 1kg potatoes planted. Last night I decided to process some of the turmeric. The method is to scrub the turmeric and then boil for about half an hour. This morning I sliced it into thin slices and put in the dehydrator for the day. Then when it's dry, grind in a coffee grinder. I did a couple of batches, but I have a huge jar and will probably do another lot yet, so I will take it into my sister who has a Thermomix and she will do it in a fraction of the time! (I suppose I should ask her first!!) Last year I did this and got a huge jar of ground turmeric, unfortunately by about October it had all gone mouldy. This time I will freeze the ground stuff in small bags so that it keeps. I will also peel and wrap some of both the roots in alfoil and freeze. Then when I want to use it, I just grate it. I've done this with ginger before, but not turmeric. I'm sure it will be simillar though. Tomorrow I will make some ginger ale with the ginger - actually, I will probably make some turmeric and ginger ale. I have 3 times as much turmeric as ginger! I will weigh them both tomorrow - I should do this just for my records.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Real Food Festival

Last weekend we went to the Real Food Festival at Maleny. It was a great turn out - well supported by the locals I would have thought. We did see one other couple from CQ, so there were a few outsiders also. There were quite a lot of interesting talks - I went along to some, but soon discovered that I know a lot more about real food than a lot of people so didn't learn too much new. I did however, learn about photographing food - something I need to think about for my recipe book. It's a lot more complex than I thought, so I will have to find a more professional photographer than me! One thing that was a little dissapointing was the the ready to eat food stalls. Thre was a fairly strict requirement on local business for the trade displays, but only some of the food stalls had local produce - or at least advertised that they were local. They certainly weren't what I would call "real food". Oh well, my family always acuses me of being too fussy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Food and Sourdough

I don't seem to be finding much time for this blog these days. I've been busy at work and busy with our Free Range Pork business. This blog is my "down time" though, so I really want to post something at least each week. Kim thinks I should blog about what we eat each day, because he thinks it's worthing talking about.....he could be biased! We do eat well - tonight so far we had homemade pizza - very simple - homemade base, tomato pesto that we bought at the Cheese Dairy at Stanthorpe, my duck proscuito and mozerella cheese (I wish I could say it was homemade, but I haven't had time lately!) We also had some spicy beef soup and fresh bread! I've been making good bread lately - no not sour dough, as it's so temperamental! I get my organic bread flour from Kialla and it's LOVELY! Sour Dough - I was about to write a blog about it a little while ago, as I thought I'd cracked the code! But alas, it stopped working! I'm going to keep trying but it's just such a pain, because I waste flour everytime it doesn't work. My last starter was yoghurt, milk and flour and worked well initially - I've started another one, but it won't even bubble! I'll see how it goes and if it works, will monitor the progress and report on it with any successes and failures as I go along. I really don't think that you can follow ONE recipe - I think you need to use your gut instinct. Not always easy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Weston A Price

I mentioned previously that I'm reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It really is quite fascinating and really scary. Fascinating because the links he found between different foods and health is really interesting. Scary because he said this in the 1930's! Why didn't anyone (the powers that be) take any notice of him? Some things he found that can be directly related to modern/processed foods: - tooth decay - deformed dental arches - TB - certain vitamins need fat-soluble activators (these are found n animal products) to make them available - behavior, aggression and happiness are influenced by our diet. It's pretty heavy going at times, which is why I'm still reading it. It's also not the best book to read just before going to bed, although it does help to put me to sleep! It has reinforced my thinking that we need a diet that is genetically appropriate to us as individuals and most importantly, unprocessed.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Food Weekend

It's been windy and cold outside, so perfect weather to spend inside in the kitchen. I find cooking very relaxing and relieves the stresses of my busy working week. As anyone who reads this blog would be aware, I fully support the slow food concept and love to cook things from scratch. If I've grown the ingredients myself, even better! So what have I done this weekend (and still finishing off):

  • Yoghurt - 4 litres, so that there's enough for my Mum and Dad also
  • Biscuits and slices for smokos this week
  • Baked Beans
  • Brawn
  • Duck Stock
  • Pea and Ham Soup and fresh bread (for lunch today)
  • Fermented Tomato Sauce
  • Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes - I do buy the dried tomatoes and marinate them myself.
I had planned on a few other things - Salami and some kim chi. I'm not completely happy with the recipes I've looked at so far to make salami, so need to do some more research and I don't want to be rushed doing it either. The kim chi will have to wait also, as I need to help outside with some cattle work this afternoon.

Oh and I tested my duck breast proscuito today - I've had it hanging for a couple of weeks now. This is duck breast that has been cured in some herbs and spices for a few days, then wrapped in muslin and hung in a cool spot. The photo below shows my proscuito, sun dried tomatoes and some feta that I made last weekend. This is our pre-lunch snack.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baked Beans

Winter = Banked Beans. I make several batchs of baked beans in winter - I'm not sure why I don't do them in summer, but it just seems more of a winter thing to do. I make a big batch and then freeze them in small containers or plastic zip lock bags. The easiest way that I have found is to make them in the Crock pot. I now have one that allows me to fry the onions first, so I do that, but it's not necessary. I always add some sort of bone or meat to my baked beans - I especially like the flavour that a bacon bone or even just a pigs trotter gives to the beans. Trotters are great because they add a lot of extra geletin which is really good for you.

Soaking the beans for 12-24 hours is important to improve the nutrient profile and digestibility of them.There is loads of stuff on the internet about the reasons for soaking beans, grains, nuts and seeds, so I won't bother going into detail now. Whole grains, nuts and seeds are really good for us if they are prepared correctly, otherwise the enzymes that are necessary for proper mineral absorption are blocked and we don't get the goodness we should.

Be warned: it's really hard to go back to canned baked beans once you've started making your own!
See the recipe page for my recipe.....

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I love using up left overs. It's quite satisfying knowing that you aren't wasting food. I do sometimes freeze them, which grow into plague proportions in the freezer. Although recently I gave my son about a dozen containers, which he will take to work for lunches.

Today I had two meals using left overs.

Chicken and Mushrooms in a blue vein cream sauce. This was simply fried onion, garlic and mushrooms (fresh picked this morning), toss through some cooked chicken and some cream (I managed to get enough milk to separate and get some fresh cream the other day) and add some crumbled blue vein cheese. I bought the cheese on a recent trip to Stanthorpe - it was locally made there at the Granite Belt Dairy. They make beautiful cheese!

Anyway that was lunch served over some left over fried rice.

For dinner we had Corn Beef Pie. Cornbeef sliced and layered with onions in white sauce (with chilli and herbs for extra flavour). It too was pretty good. I've discovered lard pastry and it is so easy to make and a really nice pastry. It's short but easy to work with as it's quite flexible - not breaky like short crust pastry. I've put the recipe for the pastry on the Recipe page.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I've been trying to breed chickens for sometime, with only limited success. Last year we bought some chickens from a lovely lady near Brisbane. We were chasing an Aussie Game pair. She didn't have adults for sale (originally), only chickens, so we bought 5 - unsexed. We hadn't seen Indian Game until then and really liked the look of them as they are a lot more squat than the Aussie Game.We were then given 2 Indian Game chickens, again unsexed. We were hoping for a pair!
The photo above is all 7 of the chickens. We lost one after we had started letting them out, I think our cat may have thought they were a wild bird!. We also managed to get an adult Aussie Game rooster (below), who we have since given to my brother, as we ended up with: 1 aussie rooster, 1 indian rooster, 1 indian hen and the rest where all aussie hens.
At home we already had some Rhode Island Hens, who enjoyed their brief visit from the Aussie Game Rooster and we ended up with 5 chickens - 2 hens and 3 roosters. Tonight we have caught the roosters so tomorrow morning will be spent turning them into food. The photo below shows two of them, with their sister in the background.
Indian Game hen with babies
These are some of the chickens partly grown. They take their life in their hands going into the pig pen, as pigs don't mind a feed of chicken! However these chickens will risk it all so that they can pick out the grain from the pig's already been nicely fermented for them. Growing ethical food is about having happy animals on good feed. In our case we like to let them range free to eat what they want - these chickens can go wherever they like as long as it's not over the fence and into my garden!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What I'm reading now

I decided that since I've decided that Traditional Food is what we should be eating and I've had Nourishing Traditions for well over a year now, and used it often and read it more often, then I'd better read the guy that every blog on traditional eating quotes. So I'm reading "Nutrition and Physical Dengeneration" by Weston A. Price. It really is amazing what he discovered in the early 1930's. He went all over the world to research people still living a Primitive Lifestyle. He was a dentist, so his focus was on their dental health, but what he found was incredible and I can't believe that so long has passed and no one took ANY notice of his findings! He found that people that still lived a traditional lifestyle and more importantly ate a traditional, primitive diet were healthier and had better dental health than those same ethnic groups that ate the "modern diet". So far I've read about Swiss, Gaelic, Eskimo, American Indians, Melanesian and Polynesian groups and where they were in close proximity to shipping/trading routes, the incidence of tooth decay was above 15% and Tuberculosis was rife. Those eating traditional foods were below about 3% tooth decay and no tuberculosis! It didn't seem to make a difference that the swiss tribe ate mostly cheese, milk and rye bread, oh and meat once a week. Vegetables and fruit weren't real high on any menu in any group except the Islanders, who also ate a lot of seafood. The thing was, that as soon as they came into contact with white man food, they got sick! I'll no doubt write more about this book in future blogs. It's a bit repetitive, as time after time, he found the same results, no matter which country, whether it was icy cold, tropical heat or anywhere in between. Our diet should have absolutely NO refined sugar or white flour and we need to eat food that is local and suited to our ancestory.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've been reading quite a bit lately about sugar and the addiction many people have to it. I fully agree with the idea that "we" eat far too much sugar and refined carbohydrates. Sugar used to be a food item that was eaten in moderation, something that was used sparingly as it was expensive and relatively hard to get. It's really been since the introduction of the concept that fat is bad that sugar has increased in consumption. Take the fat out of a product and you need to increase the sugar to make it edible - eg yoghurt. There is sugar in burger buns so that when they get zapped in the microwave they freshen up perfectly! There is ALOT of sugar in processed food, so when that is what most people eat, then it follows that people are eating more sugar. Now, I did seriously consider going off sugar entirely and this may seem a lousy excuse, but a) I don't think I'm addicted and b)I don't want to as we don't eat much processed food in our house and if we do it's usually in the form of chips and crackers. I try to label read to make sure I make good choices with these. We don't eat them often either. We use Rapdura sugar, organic raw sugar, maple syrup or honey for sweetening. I do bake cakes and biscuits for Kim (occasionally). But really, sweet treats are just that - treats. It's not sugar apparently that's the problem, it's fructose. We eat a lot of fruit. In summer it's fruit salad and yoghurt and soaked oats for breakfast, winter means grapefruit (with a little sugar on it) and orange juice and then fruit for lunch as well. Juice is bad as it's pure fructose. Our oranges are ripe and they make the most delicious juice! We are currently eating home grown oranges and monsterio deliciousio, local bananas and pineapples (fairly local anyway) and I'm still eating dried mango from last summer - dried fruit of course is another baddy. I will try to only eat local fruits (goodbye apples and pears) but I really do think all food should be eaten in moderation. The secret to good health is a balanced diet and for me, fruit and sweet things will be part of it. Having said that, good luck to those that have a sugar addiction and want to get over it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nutrient Dense Food

I was travelling with one of my sons the other day and we HAD to pull up at a service station to get some food - it was a two hour trip and we were already half into it, so of course he was starving! He is also an adult (well almost!), so I really can't rule his life and stop him from eating what he wants. Anyway, he bought several items out of the hot box and promptly ate them. When finished he said "I feel full, but I'm still hungry!" He's been living with us for a while now now, so I think his body is starting to realise that what he had bought wasn't food. It was garbage and his body was saying "hey feed me some food!" What we eat at home is FOOD. It's real food, not some "food like substance". I believe that this kind of food is nutrient dense and when we eat it, our body accepts it as such and we can feel full when we aren't. Food like substances encourage the body to mis-understand hunger signals, so people keep eating - the body is looking for the nutrients it needs to keep operating correctly. Is it any wonder that cancer, diabetes and heart disease are still on the increase. We need good, healthy food from healthy animals and plants - as close to the original food as possible, not packaged or processed.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Harvesting Pigs

We are just about to sell another 9 of our pigs. As we are still in the early stages, and trying not to spend too much money before we earn it, we are just using word of mouth to sell our pork. This is obviously working, as we sold out in a very short period of time and have even had to knock some people back. It's really positive too, because we have a lot of new customers this time. Each time we get a few more, so that bodes well for the future. Of course we are only selling 9 a month on average, and to make a living we are going to need to sell about 30 per month! We are slowly growing our breeder base to get to this sort of production by next year. We are having a go at nitrate free ham and bacon this time around. Hopefully it'll taste as good as the conventional ham, but just won't be the same colour. Of course it'll be much healthier for us! This day and age with fridges and freezers, nitrates aren't really necessary, it's just that it's what people expect. All in all the future for this kind of food product is really good. It does help that the product in question tastes so good! The last lot we sold were quite fatty, but as we still have some of the same customers coming back for more, it can't have been too bad. One of the problems with the type of pigs we are breeding,heritage breeds, is that they tend to get too fat. They are the only sort to be practical though as the white pigs can get too sunburnt. And of course, fat = flavour! They live a very happy (albeit short) life - they run around playing and just seem to be content. That's what free range is all about!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Recipe Book

Something I have talked about for many years, is to write a recipe book. Well, I've finally taken the next step and set myself a Goal to produce one by December 2013! Yesterday I got some help from some great friends that set me on the right track - I now have a written, SMART goal. Unless you write goals down and action them, they won't happen.
This is the result of our collective brainstorm. My actual goal is "To produce a "healthy, unprocessed, lifstyle" Recipe Book by December 2013, targeted to time poor people wanting healthy nutritious food. So now that it's out there in the Universe, I'll have to make it happen. It might encourage me to be a bit more consistent with my blogging! I've been a bit slack lately - not from lack of things to write about, just the time to do it! We've been pretty busy on the farm - someone recently called it Old Macdonalds Farm, but I like to call it a Food Farm. We now have three hens that hatched some chickens. There were 17, but one hen has recently lost 2. We don't lock them up, as they live in the shed, so I'd say a hawk or something may have got them. They are only very young hens and not very smart. Chooks are pretty dumb, but these seem to be dumber than normal. They are Aussie Game and Indian Game Hens. We have 4 Aussies, and 1 Indian and they run with an Aussie and an Indian Rooster. 2 Roosters are a bit too much for 4 hens, so we'll have to do something about breeding some more! There are another 5 chickens from an earlier sitting - these are Aussie game (different rooster) and Rhode Island Red crosses. Unfortunately they are all looking like roosters. This is good for our kitchen, but not so good for producing more breeding females! We'll have ducks to put in the freezer very shortly. We've just recently killed a heifer, so we have a freezer full of beef, and we also have a little pork from our last lot. We got 9 killed and sold most of the pork, which is good for continued business health, but not variety in our kitchen! The last lot were quite fat, so we are working on trying to keep them a bit trimmer. Fat does equal flavour, but in this modern world, fat has a bad reputation! We've recently bought a Large White Boar to try and trim them down as well as finish the pigs a bit quicker. He's still only a youngster, so we will be introducing him to the girls slowly in the next few weeks.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Food alergy

If you are a diabetic or celiac or have a peanut or other food alergy, everyone understands when you can't eat certain foods. I think sometimes that people think my husband and I are just cranks because we can't eat junk and struggle with most coventional foods! We don't like the flavour and texture of conventional meats and vegetables and they do make us feel sick at times. So why can't people accept that we have special dietary requirements? Why can't we just say "we have a food alergy" and have it accepted as okay.

When I say conventional I mean foods that are grown using intensive farming practices and/or heavily processed.

The other thing that is really starting to concern me is the way the two big supermarkets are going. In the near future, it's going to be very difficult for the average consumer to buy anything but conventionally grown foods. It's an absolute joke when you see Coles/Woolies with "freerange" products. They manipulate the rules so much that you just have to question how geniune it is. They have a lot of power and knowing what they can do, I do't trust their versions of freerange. What they have done to the dairy industry is criminal. It won't be long when milk will have to be imported because the dairy farms just can't produce milk for the price they receive. Other industries will follow.

Consumers need to realise the true COST of food. As a primary producer, I know that the cost of production keeps going up while the price received either stays static or goes down. If you are buying milk for $1/L or vegies for $1/kg, the producer is going to suffer. And if you think you are on a winner when you buy produce for that price, have a look at what else is in your trolley and whether you are paying more for that. Coles/Woolies have to make up the difference somewhere!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Pay now or pay later. Buying good quality, healthy food now, will save you health care bills in the future. We spend more today on electronic toys and eating out, so there isn't enough money to buy good food!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I got onto a source of local tomatoes recently. They have been lovely so I decided to buy a heap and preserve them. Today I've gotten out my Aunty Dora's vacola pot and bottles and have made 6 large jars of passata. It was pretty easy, just peel and deseed the tomatoes, process and put into the preserving jars. I then simmered them for about 2 hours.

My son thinks it would be easier to just buy it! But it was good to do and has just made me more determined to get the hang of growing tomatoes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Growing Food

I worked something out the other day - I'm not really a very good Gardener! I want to be, but there just seems to be something missing. I'm certainly passionate about it but I think that stems from the fact that I'm passionate about producing food! I love being able to grow a plant that ends up on the dinner table - or an animal for that matter! There is something terribly satisfying in growing, preparing and eating food.

I have successfully grown vegies over the summer (so far anyway), which can be very challenging at times. It's either hot and dry or hot and wet! At the moment it's hot and dry, so it's a constant job keeping the water up to the plants. The weeds then take over and the bugs also seem to enjoy the heat! One thing I really WANT to grow lots of and seem to have trouble is tomatoes. If I could grow as many tomatoes as possible, I would bottle them, dry them, freeze them and make tomato sauce.

Talking about drying - I've been drying mangoes for the last week. Every evening I cut up a load and put them in the deydrator. We only grow the common mangoes here and they aren't that nice fresh, as they have a lot of strings in them, which get stuck in your teeth. They are also quite small. They are delicious dried, so I'm drying as much as I can. I ran out last year - it's great to have a jar in the car for snacking on when driving. I also dried a couple of batches of beans. I've grown snake beans for the first time ever and they are prolific. I'll use them in soups and stews during winter.

An old fella in town gave me some guada bean seedlings - they are a large bean, averaging about a foot long and an inch in diameter. They are interesting and don't taste too bad. And they seem to like the heat. I just did a quick google and they aren't actually from the bean family, but the cucurbit. I'll have to keep some seeds as I've never seen them for sale anywhere.

This weekend and last have been real foodie weekends. Mozerella and feta cheese, killing ducks and a goat, cooking duck leg confit and pork rillettes, femented beetroot, fermented tomato sauce, yoghurt and some generally good meals as well. I've finally cracked the ice-cream code and have made some really nice stuff - raw ice-cream, using egg yolks, raw milk and raw cream - only had to buy the sugar and the vanilla essence. Need to get bees and then I could just make honey flavoured ice-cream. It really is a good feeling to be fairly self sufficient!