Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Okay I have to admit I don't read a lot of food blogs at the moment. Still loving occassional updates from the pie queen. And I did score a great pizza dough recipe from Bread and Honey. I drool a lot over at Melbourne Gastronome. And then go out and spend a whole lot of $$$ based on Claire's musings..
Mainly though, I am quite into reading about gardening on blogs lately. It's odd reading northern hemisphere stuff with all that crazy wondering about frost that they do but it's still good fun.
I'm particularly inspired reading about gardening projects that get beyond the backyard so I love the manic posts at the free farm stand in SF, where all the produce is gleaned, grown in squatted gardens or scavenged and given away each week. Yay for free stuff. And how much energy does this guy have?
This week I was also hunting for info about different potato planting methods and I was very amused to find this highly geeky aproach to gardening. This computer science student has been doing all sorts of comparative experiments to see where his chillis grow best and the diagrams are great!
So of course this leads me to reflect on my own little blog.. so much fallow digital dirt. And what to sow?
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Last weekend we had finally had the Westside progressive dinner we've been trying to get happening for months. It was a lot of fun, though it's not that relaxing to know that you'll have to leave wherever you are as soon as the course you're eating is over.
We let little Jimmie (my 18 month year old housemate) choose the theme. She did this by running around the kitchen and eventually picking up the football. So, footy it was.
Dinner started at Lauren Kenny's with a tuckshop theme. Mini-burgers! And they came wrapped in greaseproof paper which really got us excited. The tinnies helped too.
My house had main course so of course we had to go with pies, the Aussie footy classic. I made a faux-meat pie filling with some soy protein, mushrooms and gravy and we put it in mini-pies. I have to say it was authentically gross. But kind of delicious. I tried putting the stalks from dried shiitakes in to see if they stayed tough like gristle but nobody spat them out.
For the main pie the filling was a bit more classy - roast vegies in a mustard bechamel. The pie dough I used for this one was a vegan version of my favourite russian pastry. It's a yeasted dough which makes for a pretty crazy pie. It actually flattened out a bit in the baking, maybe the filling shrunk. Mostly though, I was just happy the way the lacing and valve looked!
The yen didn't favour Dan when he was in Japan so we were very very stoked to get some presents. It was just strange that both the presents involved making food star-shaped.
I thought the bread tin would be a disaster - how to make the bread rise enough to fill the points of the star? What if it spilled out the ends?
But no, with help from the missus I whipped up a batch of baguette dough and it worked to perfection. So so satisfying when guests realised we hadn't just cut the bread slices into these shapes...
I keep thinking of so many things I want to tell you about. Garden things. Food things. Things about the whole big rest of the world out there. So it's baby steps - photos I've been meaning to show you for ages.
Me and tal were very taken by these toadstools when we saw them in the Russian cookbook and had to make them ourselves.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Well what have we here folks. The one (1) cucumber produced by the Sweet and Stripey cucumber plant. I had a disappointing harvest from the rarer cucumber varieties I bought from diggers but I have to say this one was a plate stopper and also extremely sweet. Almost too sugary.
Here's the missus. Well, she's behind that zucchini plant which is being removed. At one stage it took up over 2 square metres and boy was it pumping out the fruits. Costa Romanesco - ribbed for your pleasure, firm and delightful.
And here's yours truly not afraid to look a little silly cos gosh damn i sure was excited to harvest this little baby. First melon I ever grew. It's a Blacktail Mountail watermelon. Next year hopefully the housesitter won't move my trellises and so maybe the mildew won't get the melons so badly. Not bad for a first try, room to improve. Talks too much in class.
ps. yes i'm standing on a winner's podium.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
In case you thought I was being melodramatic.
This was my table during the heatwave. And there was at least a bucket a day coming in still. The harvest's pretty much done now. So much so that I even felt able to pick up a few windfall peaches and apples on Gordon St today.
But I also wanted to show you something I forgot from my stone fruit crazy faze - these delicious apricot tarts from River Cafe Green.
The recipe was for one tart but made a huge amount of pastry and filling. They were very buttery and very satisfying. Worth turning the oven on during a heatwave good. Sure they did give a certain nephew a tummy ache but hey, we all have to learn somehow. And Shannon's stomach was very robust so she was a great help eating leftovers.
Friday, February 06, 2009
An autobiography of my last two weeks might well be titled Sweat and Nectarines. Or, Excuse me for being in my undies but I have to deal with 400 kilos of Nectarines and it's 45 degrees.
It was hot, very hot. And fruit was dropping like flies. And flies were drawn to dropping fruit. And I was spending every morning gathering said fallen fruit and picking juicy big yellow and red Neccas and wandering around Nekkid and then dealing with a table ridiculously laden in fruit which wanted to go mouldy if only I would give it 5 minutes alone. Did I mention I also got 4 bags of Apricots from Ruth to deal with? Yes, sweaty and sticky. Nude. Just how I like to be. Except for when spattering jam hits my bare skin.
So what are we talking food wise?
- Nectarine Salsa. Hell yes. Cucumber, neccas, red onion, lime juice, chilli. Maybe some tomatoes. This started me off on a big Mexican period which continues still.
- Crumble. Of course.
- Nectarines in the freezer. Yes I have tubs and tubs of poached neccas so that when the weather cools down enough I can bake you a million treats.
- Dried Nectarines. After eyeing off dehydrator's for a week I did some of these just in the sun and they are delicious. Afterall it was a heatwave so solar energy was plentifull. I'm not sure if they'll last but I'm keeping a good eye on the jar for signs of moisture. Oh, and I put one of those "oxygen absorber - do not eat" things in there. Might help?
- Nectarine hot sauce - different to salsa cos it's blended and hot hot hot with jalapeno's from the garden, onion, lime and coriander. It's good with sour cream. But what isn't?
This is the Pastel De Canela Con Moros from Dona Tomas. They suggest using nectarines instead of berries when seasonal so I took em up on that idea. I didn't really believe this cake would work - the batter seems so huge, the recipe warns that if you use too much fruit it won't cook properly and has other ominous warnings. Plus it has 2 cups of sour cream in it and could have been heavy as hell.
But it was great. It's quite puddingy in the middle where the fruit layer keeps it moist and then the top is a crunchy layer of nuts and cinnamon.
Yes it was a crowd pleaser and I do like to please the crowds. Some people go out and pick up to prove they are well liked. I bake. Killer said "this is the best cake I have ever ever eaten." I scored.
I kinda decided against re-writing other people's recipes onto the internet. What do you think? Want the recipe?