I’m so excited to be doing my very first IMK link up post.
Our kitchen in the homestead is always a pretty busy place. Aside from the normal day-to-day meals there is usually some kind of fermenting going on, maybe some preserving or even some cheese making.
Fermenting is such a rewarding thing to do, making something different and oh so good for you. Turning sweet tea into a fizzy tonic (kombucha), flour and water into a bowl of wild yeast starter, even milk into a drink packed with probiotic goodness or just good old yogurt.
You can have all sorts of tools to help with these things or just the kitchen basics. My new tool this month is a Komo grain mill , perfect for grinding fresh organic grains for the sourdough starter.
Such a beautiful machine it is and such a pleasure to use. Below is a very bubbly bowl of gluten-free sourdough starter using freshly ground brown rice flour.
Our pantry is filling up nicely this month with preserves. Family favourites include these gorgeous bottles of black doris plums. And this year I have the pleasure of trying out Quinces for the first time, picked from the gnarly ancient tree behind our house. My favourite way to eat them so far, is to lightly poach them in syrup then to top them with fresh homemade yogurt. One word, yummy.
Autumn is also a time to harvest honey, so this last week we visited our lovely bees. We only take a little leaving plenty for the bees over winter. We use the crush and strain method from our naturally drawn combs, which gets us a bit of propolis and pollen too.
Well that’s a snap shot of some of what’s going on in our kitchen this month.
Thanks to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for the link up.
I realize it has been extremely quiet on the blog. But believe me it’s not so quiet elsewhere. The Homestead is buzzing and that’s not just because of the royal family in the beehive.
There has been 7 kid goats born, 2 lambs raised and many baby chicks born.
The kid goats seem to think the farm truck is a great jungle gym. Whenever they escape the paddock ( which is often) the little monkeys go straight for the truck. Fortunately the lambs are a lot more occupied with eating grass to be naughty.
The view as always spectacular, even in the rain. But rain, hail, snow or sun the cows need to be milked. This was taken as I was bringing the girls in to be milked in the afternoon.
As Autumn starts and all our baby animals grow and the garden starts to wind down to sleep for the winter, I ponder what I will do to keep busy in the cooler, darker months of winter at the bottom of New Zealand here. I find I crave bright colors and creativeness during winter.
Knitting comes to mind as does that patchwork bed quilt that has not been started yet. Or even the quilt to finish for my youngest homesteader. I think of warm cooking, slow cooked casseroles, warm fudgy cakes and puddings and hearty thick soups with fresh homemade bread. Like this tasty spelt sourdough loaf.
All these things conjure up images of quiet nights by the fire with a warm soup and something crafty to do. Knitting is great because as you knit you can create a warm blanket on your knee. I usually don’t knit all that much, dish cloths and scarves so far have been as adventurous as I have gotten, maybe this winter it is time to expand my skill set and create something just a little bit more substantial, say a blanket.
Tell me what do you do to ward of any winter blue feelings? Maybe you live somewhere warm and don’t get the short, cold winter days of southern New Zealand.
How do you keep warm and busy during the slower winter months?
I think if everybody had views like this outside their house we would all be a lot happier . A view like this brightens even a dark day.
Even a day like this hold its own beauty and magic.
Well calving on the farm has started and it is busy and muddy but such a great time of year welcoming the next generation of cows to the herd.
I seem to be doing an extraordinary amount of baking lately, trawling blogs and cookbooks for new, fun and yummy things to feed to the hungry farmer.
He is very appreciative and encourages more trawling for new recipes and ideas.
I’m so excited to start using more raw cream and milk in my cooking and make more cheese.
This cake may not have any milk or cream but teamed with fresh Greek yogurt and it’s amazing. Mr Butler’s verdict “perfect “.
This is Petite Kitchen’s recipe for
Boiled orange chocolate cake.
2 cups ground almonds
4 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa
5 heaped tbsp honey
5 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Place whole oranges in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for 1 hour. Drain and then allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a cake tin with butter or coconut oil. Cut oranges in half and place in to a food processor (skin pith, flesh and all). Blitz until smooth. Add the remaining cake ingredients and blitz again until smooth.
Pour in to the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before removing from tin or it may break.
Once the cake has cooled down completely, dust with cocoa if desired.
*refined sugar free – See more at: http://www.petite-kitchen.com/2012/11/boiled-orange-chocolate-cake.html?m=0#sthash.pBhSVYD5.dpuf
So many other cakes and cookies that I won’t bore you with this time.
Till next time happy cooking and enjoy each day what ever the weather.
A valid excuse to eat chocolate till you feel sick, isn’t that what Easter is about? Some seem to think so. For us it is the most important time of the year, a time to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made to save us. A time to spend with family and rejoice in the Risen Lord. A time for both reflection and joy.
Don’t get me wrong an excuse to eat chocolate who doesn’t love that.
It just so happened that this year Mr Butlers birthday was the day before Good Friday. In family tradition we had birthday persons choice for tea, well very glad that is a once a year thing, he chose Kentucky Fried chicken. Very happy not to eat that again for another 12 months. First bite is nice but then the fat sets in and you feel a bit sickly. But I did manage to bake a French Chocolate Sliver Cake for his birthday cake so that made up for all the KFC. It a deliciously rich dense cake with chocolate ganache smothered on top. Yummy. Fabulous for a special birthday.
I have been cooking loads of Mediterranean food and yummy curries, this one is a couscous and spicy lamb dish.
Isn’t it funny as you get older your tastes change and you appreciate so many more flavors, I think 20 years ago if I had tried to feed this to Mr Butler he may of thought me mad. Now he requests food like this all the time, no longer content to be just a meat and 3 veg man. I love the opportunity that gives me to experiment with all sorts of different cultures foods. For lunch today we had a home corned beef and pickles, sourdough and sauerkraut, topped of with some dutch mustard and you have a very happy hubby.
Lovely corned beef we did at home from local pasture feed meat. Just the right amount of fat in it to stay moist and tasty.
With so much to do lately I decided it was time to make a big batch of granola to have for a quick breakfast, what I didn’t count on was that the recipe I used would nearly fill my 5 litre jar. This lovely crunchy looking granola ended up being about 3 litres. I think that should keep me going for a while, even with the inevitable snacking that has been going on. It is quite irresistible just sitting atop the fridge there. The crunch of almonds, puffed quinoa and oats all toasted with some of our very own honey who can blame me for the odd handful during the day.
I do hope your Easter time was enjoyable and full of chocolate.
The way I see it, baking is an act of love. You may not actually eat what you bake for your family( I often don’t) but you bake for them.
My family loves chocolate cake so I endeavour to find and bake the best chocolate cake ever! This one I`m told is quite good.
On occasion I will bake a low sugar gluten free cake for me , but usually I bake for loved ones.
What are your emotions about baking?
To tie in with autumn harvest, the Environment Centre where I volunteer holds a festival to celebrate. Harvest time is both a busy and rewarding time in the garden and kitchen. A time to reflect on the success or failure of crops and to have fun preserving things for yummy eating during the darker cold winter.
I had a display of what you can do to provide for your self and family no matter what size your backyard.
Roast chicken, herb butter rub with kale stuffing. Succulent and tasty. Thanks to “Not Quite Nigella”.
What do you think, does it look yummy, would you try a vegetable only stuffing in your roast chicken?
What I learnt from this is that it is hard to rub butter all over a slippery chicken. The butter didn’t want to stay on the legs, note to self dry skin properly and baste during cooking to ensure even colouring of the skin.