Wednesday, December 24, 2014

On Christmas Eve

An army of mini gingerbread men all packed up and ready for a special delivery.  Eight hundred and fifty of them to be precise. 

We have picked and chopped around 13kgs of apricots off my little tree.   Happily this became a family affair, thanks Mum!

 My first tomatoes have been picked and put straight onto pizzas. 

I have been experimenting with drying apricots in our wood oven.    

Sourdough baguettes have been cooked in the wood oven to share with family and friends on Christmas Day.  Perhaps they will be topped with some smoked salmon, one of my favourite Christmas treats.    

Thank you all for calling into my blog this year.  There has been times when your generous comments have almost made me cry with joy and gratitude.

Happy Christmas, however you chose to celebrate the occasion. 

Jane x

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lately, from the paddock to the kitchen

In the paddock

The men have been sorting out cattle: mustering, drafting, branding and weaning the calves.   For the kids and I this has meant occasionally drifting along behind the mob in a ute with smoko on board and the camera, naturally. 

Accomplished stockmen pull up alongside each other briefly, exchange a few words, survey the mob of cattle in front of them and ride on. 

In the kitchen

I have purchased a Fowlers Vacola preserving kit complete with all of the necessary bits and pieces.  I have never used one of these before; I see some You Tube tutorials in my future. 

In the vegetable garden

Originally I planted chickpeas as a spring green manure crop to replenish the soil.  The bonus is that we now have our own chickpeas to dry out and eat.  This has been a successful and hardy crop and I will definitely be growing it again next spring.  

Out and about

Our family business has recently purchased another property.  The first time the kids and I visited we were greeted with a dramatic storm which happened to be brewing in the sky right behind the rain gauge.  A good omen I feel. 

Happy Friday friends.

What is happening at your place this week? 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Country Style

Way back in June, Country Style magazine came to visit us.  Back then we were in our winter clothes, the garden was full of winter vegetables and our paddocks were lush and green.  It feels like so much has happened and changed since then.  I took one photo for the whole day and it was taken on my phone.

Photographer Michael Wee shooting Miss Annabelle holding a bundle of freshly baked sourdough baguettes.  

It feels quite surreal to appear in one of my all time favourite magazines.  

A special thank you to Claire Mactaggart for making all of the arrangements and for her patience as she pieced together our story.  If you are interested we are in the December issue, on sale today.

Friends, I hope you are having a lovely week.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

In My Kitchen, December 2014

Is it a savoury scroll or is it a rolled up pizza?  I am not really sure.  I took a piece of bread dough from my last batch of sourdough, rolled it out roughly into a rectangle and topped it with tomato chutney, chopped ham, grated cheese and fresh thyme.  Then I rolled it up into a sausage, cut it into seven slices and cooked them in a hot oven. It couldn't be any easier and reminds me of just how versatile sourdough is, once you have a bread making routine established. 

Walls, roof pieces, attic windows and tiny doors, building material of the gingerbread variety.  At Christmas time there is just something about gingerbread houses that I love.  I find the only way to achieve stress free building success is to make the pieces early and freeze them.  Then, closer to Christmas it is easy to construct my houses without the pressure of baking.  I favour a fairly simple structure with not too many embellishments. 

Zucchini season has started in my garden and I cannot wait to make a batch of Rohan's pickles

My cousin and his gorgeous wife recently had their third baby, a precious little girl.  I made Sarah a batch of oatmeal lactation biscuits.  Apparently these are great for boosting milk supply.  When I was at the breastfeeding stage of life I had not even heard of these.  The magic ingredient is brewers yeast, I wonder if anyone else out there has tried them?

Garlic from my garden.  This harvest has not been my biggest but I am still thrilled to have home grown garlic after months of having no garlic in the house at all. 

I have been baking biscuits like a maniac.  Some are for Christmas gifts, some are for everyday snacks, some are for hungry workers to dunk in their tea or coffee and I am also in the middle of a massive batch which is a one off paid biscuit project.  I made this batch using my favourite gingerbread recipe finished with a sprinkle of candied fennel seed from Herbie's spices.  They were crisp, spicy and robust enough to be packed up for farming men on the move.  My favourite type of biscuit. 

Are you baking, building or breastfeeding? 

Wishing you a happy week.  

As always I am linking up with Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial