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!