Friday, May 30, 2014

Highs and lows but life moves on

The past fortnight has been topsy-turvy and full of highs and lows. 

Autumn has felt more like early summer and I am longing for warm fires, slow cooked meals and crisper mornings. 

Our community has lost a young friend in a heartbreaking accident.  In reflecting on this tragedy I think we are all trying to make more time to appreciate the small things. 

Mum is in Paris as I write this and it feels completely surreal.  Mum has lived in a different state to me for years but I can hardly comprehend that she is on the other side of the world at the moment.  

My children recently spent a day with their other grandmother.  In one day they killed roosters, rode horses, baked scones, took care of the farm chores, cooked dinner and squeezed in some very creative painting.  My little people are lucky to have two strong, independent grandmothers in their lives. 

Plans are underway for our second Fire and Flour Day.  I am wondering what I need to adjust, what I need to keep or take out and how best I can prepare for another community cooking day.

What is happening at your place?

Are you reflecting or travelling or planning? 

Wishing you a lovely Friday x

Friday, May 16, 2014

Farm days in May

The weather is unusually warm here and we are making the most of the autumn sunshine.

When winter and spring have faded and summer is upon us again I am absolutely determined to grow a decent tomato crop.  My latest strategy in this quest is to replenish my soil with a green manure crop of fenugreek.  Once it is dug into the soil, time will tell if it benefits my tomatoes.  Watch this space.  

A strong little pony named Coco being prepared for yet another morning ride.  I love the fact that horse riding provides my daughter with a physical outlet far removed from the i-gadgets, our school routine and all of the other daily distractions.  When she is older I hope she is as keen to ride as she is right now.

The vegetable patch is one of my favourite places when I need a little solitude.   Just five minutes to pull a weed, adjust some mulch or water the seedlings leaves me feeling ready to face the world again.

Lime curd made using Sophie's lemon curd recipe.  There are so many ways to use this golden spread.  Right now I am thinking about pancakes although sourdough toast is a good option at any time of the day.  

Lastly I will leave you with an inspiring little video from The Full Moon Farmgate.  If I was anywhere near the Barossa on the weekend I would be heading to this event.  Next time, I hope.  

Wishing you a happy Friday friends x

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Olive harvest

Olive harvest has been and gone for another year.  On the day prior to Anzac Day, with the help of kind family volunteers we picked around 200kg of the mixed olive varieties that grow around our woolshed, sheep yards and house. 

Each year we have thoughts about gatherings friends to pick olives and later sharing a feast by our fire.  In reality, once again at the last minute we grabbed a spare day that coordinated with our local olive press and jumped straight into it.  A fellow local olive grower describes olive picking as character building, and he is right.  

We rose early on the morning of Anzac Day and attended our local Dawn Service, leaving our ute loaded with olives parked in the dark, solemn street.   I am not sure how many other people travel to Anzac Day commemorations with their olives but that is the way we seem to roll. 

Terry spent the rest of Anzac Day at the press and by that evening we were testing some very fresh, golden oil on chunks of sourdough.

The sediment is slowly settling and we have at least twelve months supply in storage. When we planted our olive trees, oil seemed like a distance, dreamy vision.  Now, we have not bought oil for several years.  I still find it rather amazing.

Wishing you a happy weekend my friends.

What are you up to?

Friday, May 2, 2014

In My Kitchen, May 2014

April disappeared in a whirl of autumn sunshine, school holidays, overdue housework, Easter, wood oven cooking and visitors.  So here we are again taking a virtual wander around my kitchen.  If only we could share a coffee and something sweet!

Normally, when I bake with chocolate I don’t buy the fanciest chocolate but I don’t buy the cheapest either.   Last time I baked a batch of chocolate chip biscuits I broke a block of dark Spencer Cocoa chocolate into the mix.  Now I am not sure I can ever look at supermarket cooking chocolate in the same way. 

Home grown limes, freshly pressed olive oil from our trees and eggs from our hard working chooks.  These ingredients went into lime and olive oil muffins loosely based on this recipe.  This cake was a perfect way to celebrate our annual olive harvest and oil pressing.

Broccoli.  Growing in my garden one minute only to be hacked down, woodchop style by my boy and immediately added to our dinner.  These moments are pure joy.

Ribs from a freshly slaughtered sheep sizzling in our wood oven.  These are best enjoyed outdoors with a cold beer preferably wearing grubby farm clothes.

I have been saving the recipe for these sesame bars for years and I have finally given them a road test.  These substantial chunks are full of coconut, tahini, seeds, honey, nuts, dried fruit and puffed rice all topped off with dark chocolate.  They are very filling and make a great mid-afternoon treat.

What are you cooking or growing?

Do you bake with fancy chocolate?

Is your kitchen busy?

Each month my friend Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts this kitchen tour and we get a glimpse into interesting kitchens from all over the world.  Please call in and say hello.