Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Meanwhile, below the tamarillo...

Garlic, leeks & shallots in the front block.  Remnants of  parsley & silver beet in the back.  Broad beans earmarked for the back block.  The last of the basil in the tin pot, a bath of mint in the distance.

 Turnips, swedes, beetroots in the back block.  Salad bits in the front.  Tubs have rhubarb, garlic, cabbages, garlic chives, herbs.

Back block has salad things (will have sapphire potatoes once seed potatoes are available), front block getting its turn with green manure.  Sage in the front pot.  Snow peas in the bin closest to the wall.

No armistice here!

It's ANZAC Day in Australia, commemorating the pure folly that was the Dardanelles Campaign in World War 1. 

Here, at the front in Burwood, the war continues.

The above rat trap, on a brick wall, is what protects these tamarillos...

from the fate of the apple tree at the other end of the brick wall:

Sure the net helps a bit bit, but didn't stop the possums.  A few sore toes did.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The (F)easter Holidays

I'm an atheist, so Easter wasn't that much of a religious experience although I am looking forward to tonight's debate between Richard Dawkins and Archbishop George Pell on the ABC.

No, Easter was a Feaster for the Burwood crew.

Friday Breakfast - Hot Cross Buns.  Of course, I had waited a year for them.

Friday Dinner:
Mushrooms Kilpatrick as a starter.
Roast Lamb, baked potatoes and salad for main
Individual Bread & Butter Puddings, made with hot cross buns, for dessert.

The lamb is unusual - it is cut to the bone in a series of slices that makes the leg look like a pile of chops held together by the bone.  A stuffing made of parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies, breadcrumbs and olive oil is smeared between the slices and then the whole lot tied up with string and roasted.  To carve you just slice down the bone and there you have it.  Yummy chunks of aromatic roast lamb.

Made some microwave marmalade while all this was going on.

Saturday Breakfast was toast and marmalade.

Saturday lunch was wraps made with leftover lamb, stuffing and garlic yoghurt.

Saturday dinner was sous vide lamb backstraps (58degC, 2hrs), browned on the BBQ,  sliced and served on a bed of home-made hommus, garnished with garlic yoghurt, thinly sliced red onions and roasted walnuts.  Tomato side salad.

Sunday breakfast was boiled eggs.  Tried Heston Blumenthal's method (bring to boil, cover, take off heat, wait 6 min and serve) but slightly overcooked them - yolks just past runny.  Need to practice.  Plus toast, croissants, chocolate...

No Sunday lunch needed.

Sunday dinner:
Pumpkin and Fetta 'tarts'; experimented with taco shells.  Tasted great but hard to manage with a knife and fork.
Lamb with cauliflower mash and chickpea pancakes.
Almond cakes with pureed quince and Greek Yoghurt.

Monday lunch - toasted sandwiches with a medley filling from the leftovers.

Monday Dinner: Bung-Ho Pork.  Named after Margaret's Dad who liked the dish and also had the habit of walking into room with a general greeting "Bung-ho!".  The meat is belly pork, usually slow cooked in a soy/sherry/ginger/star spice/cinnamon mix.  Today I am trying a variation in a pressure cooker I got for my birthday.  Served with rice and sliced spring onions.

The diet starts tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Tamarillo protection

After the possums got stuck into the green tamarillos I netted them and also put rat traps on the brick wall to pass on the message that sore toes await anyone who walks along the wall.

Seems to be working - they are developing colour nicely.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Sous Vide playing

Bought a Sous Vide controller on-line from a crowd in Canada.  (Don't you love the internet?)

Plug my rice cooker into it, fill it (the rice cooker) with water and the controller then maintains the desired temperature of the water.  Why?  Sous Vide cooking is low temperature cooking.  For example, I am currently cooking lamb backstraps at 58degC (136F).  They will be done in 2hrs and then I will quickly brown them on the BBQ.

They should be moister.

Here is the space to watch:  [Late breaking news: Delicious!].

Have done chicken breasts (70C/158F) and they were much moister than normal method.  Plus can't overcook.

Fish is brilliant.  Moist & flaky.

The jury's out on eggs.  A couple of attempts were less than encouraging.  The white was not set to my liking.  But early days.

A high maintenance love affair.

I have a quince tree.

I love quinces but I am not alone:

Moths love them.
Ants love them.
Mould loves them.
Last year even rats loved them.

You can't eat them raw.
You have to cook them.   Because of the moths, ants and mould, there is a lot of halving, coring, trimming, quartering and peeling.  You then stew them or bake them.  As mine are never whole, pristine fruit like the ones in the photo, nabbed via Google, stewing is the go.

Before you leap in and tell me about Quince Paste, let me say I tried making it one year.  It becomes a seething, boiling, volcanic hell-hole of a saucepan.   It spits lava at you.  Hot, blistering lava.  The only sensible way to stir it is with a towel wrapped around your arm.

But I have found a better way:  dehydrate the poached segments.

They dry to a beautiful texture that goes beautifully with a nice cheddar.

Today I cooked the remainder of our crop.  A lot of trimming and peeling.  The worm farm got the trimmings, happy little worms.  I get the rest.

Some of the stewed fruit will be dessert, the remainder will hit the dehydrator.  Can't be bad.