Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheese at last

My first Feta cheese, not tasted yet but at least this time it has a form!
Cheese making certainly teaches patience; keeping an eye on the pot so it maintains a constant temperature, draining it for hours or overnight and then having to store it for a couple of days before trying it.
Still, it has proved the difference of fresh milk compared to dried milk. It worked as it should have and set properly this time.
My friend across the road is going to make a farmhouse cheddar this weekend but I fancy Gavin's (the Greening of Gavin) recipe for Caerphilly. Being from the UK originally, I remember the crumbly, white, tasty cheese quite well and really enjoy it. So I might give that one a go next time. But you have to wait three whole weeks before you get to taste that one, what a test that will be!
I wish for some more sunshine today, my seedlings are refusing to pop their heads up, even in the house where it should be a bit warmer.
Oh well, patience required again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bottle Growing????

No, we've been told that there could be frost tonight. So I raided my plastic bottle bin and now hopefully all my little lettuce and the fennel in their pots will be safe.

I think it's really sad that other vegetables don't like fennel! I make sure to always have a chat with them so that they will grow nice and fat!

We had such wild weather yesterday, all my broad beans were lying down so I've done a bit of a rescue today and fingers crossed the flowers will develop into those lovely beans.

I'm not worried about my kale or broad beans with the frost as they can put up with the cold, but my silver beet and ruby chard have only just stopped sulking from winter so it's fingers crossed for them.

I've made some ruby grapefruit marmalade today and a sponge cake which was spread with the last of my blackberry jam. I seem to make such a mess when I'm baking/cooking. Today I managed to spill sugar on the bench and all over the floor! Look out ants. I've vacuumed but sugar just gets everywhere, here's hoping I got most of it!

Maybe it'll be a cheese making day tomorrow, hopefully with no interruptions. I really, really need to concentrate in the kitchen.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ta da, my first woodwork project, almost finished.
I just have to glue trim to the top and then we'll hang it in the bathroom.
I have a bag of bathroom "stuff" that has sat on the floor since we moved in on 31/12/08.
It's time to sort it all out and now we have somewhere to put the more attractive bits and pieces.
My next project is going to be a pelmet for my bedroom window and I get to learn about mitre joints. I hope it works as they really have to be precise. Near enough will not do! Patience will be required on that one I think, not one of my natural traits I'm afraid.
Tomorrow Terry is having his stitches out and a check to see how his leg is progressing. He's so missing his walks on the beach and of course less food because of no exercise. This must be what they call "A Dog's Life".

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rainy Sunday

Just for a change - but we did have a good day yesterday, well half a day anyway. Long enough to cut the grass, of which we have a lot. It was getting so long and so wet we had to wait for a couple of dry days to hopefully not get bogged down on the mower. M uses the ride on mower and I have the joy of the push mower for all those hard to get to places.
But now it's raining quite hard.
Last week I was able to plant some mixed lettuces, and one of my raised gardens is now full of Dutch Cream potato tubers. I still have the Pink Eyes to plant. A friend had given me some unwanted kale and Italian parsley seedlings so I planted them and passed on the tray to my neighbour so she could have some too. I have never planted kale before and I'm not sure how to cook it etc. so a bit of research is required.
Plus, I spoke about the snow peas which I thought had been washed away during the last deluge, and planted raspberry canes in that spot instead. Well, guess which 2 little seedlings I found poking up between the canes there yesterday. Yep, 2 snowpea seedlings and whats that below, the white radish. I was just too impatient. I am also happy to report that the third planting of broad beans has popped up too. So I have three lots of broad beans at different stages.
I have four little fennel seedlings that my friend also gave me waiting to go into their own pot as she said that "the other vegetables don't like to grow with fennel". How sad for the fennel. I'm going to look for a happy pot to cheer them up. M is quite certain that I'm on the road to dementia when he hears me talking to the plants!
I've also put seeds in a tray this week, zucchini, eggplant (I keep trying to grow it), and three types of tomato. I was going to put some Purple Dragon carrots in too but then thought I'd wait a little while longer and direct plant them.
But wait, I think the rain has stopped, I might just check the blossom on all the fruit trees. Happy relaxing Sunday everyone.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Crab apples

The crab apple tree is in blossom and it looks like I might have a million zillion little apples to pick later in the year. And I still have quite a few jars of the jelly that I made this year.
Christmas presents perhaps?
The building across the road is the fire station for our little town and they practise every Wednesday evening. Why don't dogs like the fire engine sirens? Its a weekly howwwwwwl at our place!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not quite Feta

But it is cottage cheese with fresh garlic chives added from the garden and it does taste very good.
I will not be using powdered milk again. My friend across the road did make feta and is talking about mozarella for his next attempt.
I still want to make feta but we need to finish the cottage cheese first I think.
Usually I would be dishearteneed about my "failure" but this time I regard the whole day as a learning process; the time to take the pot off the stove so it doesn't go over the required temperature; the actual time it takes and of course no more dried milk powder.
Did I say that it was raining, again. It has been so wet this year it has made the ground too wet for young seedlings or seeds and I'm beginning to worry about a lack of vitamin D.
It's meant to be fine tomorrow so fingers crossed please.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cheese please

Lesson number one - DO NOT USE POWDERED MILK!
I am in the process of making Feta cheese, a nice easy one I thought. I had heard that powdered milk could be used but it has made the process four times as long I think, and it's still not cheese. However it is finally starting to separate into curds and whey and after a long talk with the man who supplied me with the cheese making kit (on the phone) I haven't given up all hope. This man phoned me after I emailed him asking what I may have done wrong. What a great follow up with sales.
So stay tuned, it might be tomorrow morning before we have cheese but I will take a photo whatever it looks like. And buy fresh milk for my next attempt!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eat, bury or exhibit.....

This was meant to be sauer kraut. Himself bought it a few weeks (months) ago to make it, left it in the back shed as there was no room in the fridge, and I found it this week.
A friend, who's in the film making business has described it as a masterpiece, so now I'm confused. I couldn't say it's beautiful - just weird.
I don't think it could be a centrepiece on the dining table but I don't want to mess it up either. I guess it will have to just "be".

Saturday, September 12, 2009


It was a big day yesterday and we left home at 7am only to return at 6pm with a doped up and sore Terry.
This morning after some medicine disguised as salami and anti-biotics hidden in a vegemite sandwich Terry is a bit brighter.
He's also not looking at me anymore like I am Cruella de Vries!
We go back in twelve days to remove the stitches.
Get well soon....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cooking anyone?

We have our small team of employees coming this afternoon for a bit of a thank you barbecue. My partner is in the insulation installation business and this week we finished our 100th house so we figured the lads should be given a bit of a treat. I know that the partner of one of them is a vegetarian so (despite having 2 packets of instant fallafel in the cupboard) today I decided I'd make them from scratch. Well, I have crushed coriander and cummin seeds, bits of broad beans, chick peas and all associated fresh green herbs now spread into every little nook and cranny in the kitchen. The fallafel themselves are cooling in the fridge and they almost look like the picture in the book, almost. I suppose we'll find out later if they taste good.
As I said yesterday, I have some friends coming to see me tomorrow and I'm putting on a bit of lunch. The carrot cake is not only made but now iced, lots of icing and I hope that it firms up a bit. The icing I mean. I have chicken wings to marinate and I'm going to prepare the dough for the pizzas today and leave in the fridge for tomorrow. Hopefully that will mean that there is no mad rush when they arrive.
Anyway salad to make and bugger the vaccuuming. What's a bit of dog hair and assorted food scraps?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chickens please

I hate to say it but it is raining again today. But we have had some dry and sunny days recently. So we've finally eaten all the broccoli and today I have accepted that my brussel sprouts are not going to produce (this time). So I'll leave a couple to go to seed like I have with the broccoli and dig the rest in to the tank. I've received my package from the Lost Seed company and I'm looking forward to starting at the right time, hopefully.
We have a very depressed little dog at home. He ran under the wheels of the reversing trailer and after a mad dash to the vet it seems that he has a broken ligament in his knee. So he's not allowed any walks, which is the highlight of his life, and he's due for surgery on Friday. But as one of my friends said "How come Terry gets a knee replacement before you Jan?" Oh well, so long as the nylon ligament works and he can get back to his joyful running. He smiles so widely as he tears along the beaches, you know it's the best fun.
I'm still looking at my cheese making kit but I have acquired a small bar fridge (free!) to put maturing hard cheese in so I'll have to start soon.
The other exciting news is that M has started fixing up the old chook shed. It's pretty big and the roost bars are still sturdy. I think the chooks will find it very adequate even if it's nearly one hundred years old! And M came home from work yesterday and told me that he has met the local "chook man". He knows everything there is to know and breeds all sorts. M even asked if I could go over and check things out and got a positive response, so that's great.
I'm having some friend over on Thursday so I have a carrot cake in the oven to surprise them. They all know that I am still re-aquainting myself with the kitchen and cooking/baking.
I hope it looks and tastes as good as it smells.
In fact I'd better go and check it out.........