A couple of months ago I stated on this blog that I was going to write a bit more often, that I'd be blogging about preparing healthy food whilst maintaining a busy lifestyle. Well the amount of blogs I've written in my head while milking the cow, gardening,cooking dinner, walking around the pig paddocks or driving in the car is amazing! However none of them made it into the never never world of the internet. Lots of reasons for this, mostly based on time and internet speed!
Tuesdays are busy days for me. We draft pigs for market on a Tuesday and then deliver them to the abattoir on Wednesdays. I need to think about dinner reasonably early, and then it needs to be prepared and put into the oven to cook or something easy that I can cook in a hurry. This is because we load pigs last thing in the afternoon, as we don't get back inside until on dark.
This week I wasn't quite so organised, but I still managed to be inside by 7 and have dinner on the table by 7.30. I had taken pork steaks out of the freezer and then had a little time before loading to think about what to cook with them. I went for a wander in the garden and found not a lot, but some eggplant, capsicum, chilli, beans and herbs, ohh and some limes. It's been so hot - too hot to grow anything much (and believe me I've been trying - the lady that sells seedlings at the markets makes a killing out of me, because I keep buying them!!!!) It should cool down soon, and then I'm planting....winter is our main growing time here! (more about that in another post!)
This encouraged me to do one of my favourite veggie dishes - BBQ veggies with herb dressing,we've got a BBQ that has three sections. The veggie dish, with added zucchini, squash onion and garlic got cooked in a deep baking dish. Slices of white and sweet potato were fried on the plate (I call these BBQ chips) and the steaks cooked on the grill.
Recipe for my veggie dressing:
Fresh herbs - about a handful, and I usually use parsley, basil and oregano, but because I didn't have oregano and I was going to add lime juice, I substituted mint.
Two cloves garlic - crushed
Splash of Apple cider vinegar or balsamic - I used sweet apple vinegar, which is one that I bought at the Kawana markets while on holidays (it's made at stanthorpe, qld) Either a good lug of olive oil or a big spoon of butter.
You mix this into the veggies after they have been bbq'd.
N.B. You can use whatever veggies you like, but especially like to do this with Mediterranean veggies.
I didn't take a photo of the cooked product because there were too many insects and we ate in the half dark.
While I was prepping the veggies I also prepared a couple of home grown chickens for brining. I find that if I can brine the chicken before cooking it's a lot tenderer and doesn't dry out too much. Our chickens are Aussie Game and so are quite gamey and the legs and thighs can be a little tough. I mix quite a bit of salt into some warm water, add cold water and aromatics and then place the chicken in. I chopped up two limes and added to the brine, but had forgotten them when I took this photo.
Brine ingredients - add one or two limes or lemons.
Chickens submerged in the brine
After dinner I got my travel food ready!
Planning is essential if you want to prepare your own food. I normally menu plan and this helps a lot. I've fallen off the wagon a bit lately and need to get back into it. Tomorrow I have to make bread, so that means that I need to feed my sourdough starter tonight. I also need to make yogurt. Because I use my own milk I have to pasteurise it and then give it time to cool down and then it takes about six hours in my dehydrator. I do about four to five litres at a time these days, so this is all fiddley and I need to be around the house......hence the need for planning!