Monday, 23 April 2007

Vege Patch - Autumn

Knowing a few things about growing herbs and the odd vegie will come in very useful soon when the water runs out for the farmers and the prices go "bananas" - lets hope prices don't get that ridiculous.

Winter feels well on the way, but there are still quite a lot of things to plant before winter kicks in. Here's my little boy Lucas with some eggplants we just picked. They are still producing well and are lovely and sweet (He only fell in the vegie patch once, and managed to pull off and chew a few marigolds).

So around about this time of year I stick carrots, leeks, onions, spinach, rocket, lettuce and broad beans in. Carrots are put in between each onion family row. Last season I grew yellow, white, purple and orange carrots, this time it's only the orange whoppers.

I've already got my seed trays chockablock full of month old seedlings that are begging to be planted out. I always do more than I plan to actually plant, as some get nibbled away and others might not take. Then I can easily fill in any gaps with the back up seedlings. I usually find the ones attacked at seedling stage often grow back stronger - that's if I grew them from seed. Shop seedlings have a one in 8 success rate in my garden (that may have something to do with their cushy beginnings in a protected environment) so sewing from seed is the cheaper and better option for me.

Here is a pic from 2005 when I tried type of purple runner bean for the first time. Just this small patch of beans gave us a huge amount of beans that we couldn't eat fast enough. They produced so well we were eating them every night and giving them away to neighbours.
The next year I planted twice the amount, but I ended up eating most of them raw off the bush, they are so sweet (plus they go green when you cook them so I figured there was more nutrients eating them raw). I also sliced them in thin strips and mixed them with ranch dressing and chopped cashews - delish!




Money Saving Tip: Buy spring onions with the roots still on, then just trim the roots slightly so they're still quite long but the dry bits are taken off and cut the tops off (just before the forky part). Plant in a pot and they'll regrow every time you chop the tops off to use in a salad or something. I bought a bunch a year ago and they're still going. They grow a new bulb every year off the main stem.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

HONEY

Since there was so much interest for honey when we did our last order, I've decided to do another one in the next month or so for those who missed out.
There are different options now due to the feedback I received.
(this is a pic of us weighing out someone's honey)



This time it comes in 30kilo plastic tubs (one year's storage for two adults)
OR
Single 1 kilo jars, minimum order 10 jars

AND
Honey comb (just for a treat) at $6 for approx 400g (a rectangular takeaway container size)

(honeycomb we got from the last order, I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the rectangular size as I sectioned it up for my family)CONTACT ME FOR UPDATED PRICES

Payment transfers accepted from 28th - 31st May
Cash accepted up until Monday 4th June


FYI - Honey source/process

Now, I'm probably the only person who thinks this is interesting, BUT I've got to tell you just how great this honey is..

SOURCE - Our friendly Apiary Inspector, (after I asked for organic honey) made sure that all of the honey sourced was from mountain regions and pure bush honey only. As alot of the mainstream honey is produced near canola fields and the like (that are sprayed with pesticides etc etc).
So if you're wondering why we all got yellow box, that's why - because it's a bush honey.


PROCESS - The honey is from all over NSW, but is processed in one place up past Winsor. Apparently this is the only place that has the machines that will separate the honey cold.
In mainstream honey production the machines that process the honey are heated (being the first in the heating process to keep the honey runny).

OUR honey, is COLD PRESSED meaning that no goodness has been lost in a heat treatment. The machines are also only ever washed with water so as to prevent any chemical residue contaminating the honey. In the cold weather the honey should candy within a month.

YUM!

We'll definately be ordering more in the future. Now I know we can get honey comb, I'll be getting that too! my free sample was devi-i-i-i-i-i-i-ine! (rub rub rub)

PLEASE email me or leave a comment if you are interested in the next honey order.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Recipe - Swelled Wheat

This is the basic method of cooking wheat that requires minimum effort (my favourite way!).


Here it is straight out of the flask with hot milk and sugar for my breakfast. Perfect in winter when I can't be bothered standing over the stove cooking oat porridge.




This is a one litre flask, I usually add about 1/2 a cup to this as it gives me 2 servings, or two bowls' worth of wheat for brekky. You can add more, though I added a cup full once and it all got stuck down the bottom - so if you do that, just give the flask a turn every now and then when the lid's on.





Next you add boiling hot water from the kettle, make sure you fill the water right up to the maximum water line.
Close and tighten the lid on the flask and leave overnight.

It doesn't matter if you leave it for 6 or 7 hours, or over two days the result will still be the same.




When you're ready to open the flask, drain the wheat out of the flask. You'll need to swish it with water a couple of times to get all the wheat out. Then it's ready to use. No further cooking required, but if you want to add to a dish at this stage you can. Cooking it again won't hurt at all.



Cracked wheat porridge - If you have a grinder, or store cracked wheat, then you can "swell" the wheat when it's cracked. Just follow the directions above, and when you drain the flask it will come out in a thicker and fluffier. Drain the water off in the same way, and add milk and sugar.
NOTE you may want to use boiling milk instead of water. I personally think this way is revolting, but each to their own ;o)


OTHER USES of swelled wheat - It can also me added to other dishes i.e. meatloaf, cookies, stews, tabouleh etc. Whatever you want really, just experiment. It adds a really nice malty chewiness to cookies when it's mushed up and as a breakfast/porridge it really keeps hunger at bay until lunch. I ate this almost everymorning when I was pregnant - YUM!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Recipes - Wheat x2, Honey x1

Here are a couple of recipes to help get wheat into your diet. Or to just tuck away for when you need them. Honey is so versatile I don't think it warrants a recipe, but taffy is great to make with the kids.
Formatting's a bit out of whack - sorry.

Wheatberry Waldorf Salad


From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

Wheat berries are the mother grain from which pasta, bread, and flour are derived. Most of us have never tasted the true flavor of wheat. Little wheat berries pack a nutlike flavor and are pleasantly chewy. Use a crunchy, firm, sweet-tart apple (such as a Granny Smith or Gala) for this salad. Lemon juice and vinegar keep chopped apples from darkening so you may make this salad the day before serving. Try substituting dried apples for the fresh ones for another flavor variation.

Serves 8

  • 2 cups wheat berries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 medium apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 TB salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice

Prepare wheat a day or two in advance by placing ½ cup at a time in a 1 litre flask and filling to the top with boiling hot water. Leave overnight or through the day approx 6 or 7 hours.

When cool, transfer the wheat berries to a large mixing bowl and add the walnuts, apples, raisins, parsley, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix everything together thoroughly. Add more salt if necessary and serve.

Middle Eastern Tabouleh Salad

This Middle Eastern salad is so pretty and summery, and if you have mint in the garden that is growing as wild as a jungle – as mine does – it's a wonderful way to use some of it!

8 oz (225 g) cracked wheat
2 oz (50 g) parsley, finely chopped
8 spring onions, finely chopped (including the green parts)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large beef tomatoes, about 1 lb (450 g)
1½ oz (40 g) fresh mint leaves without stalks, finely chopped
4 inches (10 cm) cucumber, very finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Start off by measuring the cracked wheat into a bowl. Cover it with plenty of cold water and leave for approximately 20 minutes or until the grains soften and lose their crunchiness (which means, of course, you'll have to bite a few to find out how they're going).

Then have ready a large sieve or colander lined with a clean tea cloth. When the cracked wheat has softened, pour the contents of the bowl into the sieve, drain and squeeze hard to extract as much water as possible. Shake the wheat into a deep bowl and stir in the parsley and spring onions followed by the lemon juice and 1½ teaspoons of salt to combine thoroughly. Then (if you have time) chill it in the fridge for 1 hour.

Halve the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds before chopping the flesh quite small and adding to the bowl containing the wheat. Next, add the mint, cucumber and olive oil to the salad and mix to combine everything. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve piled straight on a plate lined with some crisp lettuce leaves.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection.

Alternative: Swell whole wheat in flask with boiling hot water overnight.


TAFFY


Chewy taffy

2 2/3 cups sugar

2 2/3 cups honey

1 2/3 cups of water

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla – optional

Melt all ingredients in pan and rapidly boil until a the hard ball stage. Take off the heat and stir in flavouring (vanilla or nuts etc)/

Pour onto buttered try and leave to cool until it’s easy to handle (only a few mins).

BUTTER YOUR HANDS and pull the taffy. Twist, pull and stretch until the taffy has hardened slightly and can keep it’s own form when placed on a buttered surface.

Cut with buttered knife/scissors into half inch lengths and wrap in baking paper (waxier side in).