Friday, April 29, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
This weeks harvest tally at Sunny Corner Farm is 10.4kg which equates to about 23 pounds. This total was bumped up by a haul of over 5kilograms of limes. This afternoon I have been busy juicing and zesting and using some of the limes in some baked goods.
We have also had some great holiday type harvest meals. Pizza. It certainly was a harvest pizza. Herbs, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, beans, capsicum, chilli and the tomato based sauce was homemade too. I ended up using spelt flour for the crust and it was delicious. No more white flour for our pizza crusts.
113 limes came off the tree last Tuesday. I think I have picked them all but they are sneaky and there just may be a few left behind. I have made a few baked items with the limes,lime cordial and some lime butter/curd but I'm at the stage where I am now just juicing them and freezing the juice in half or quarter cup quantities.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The days have been warm and the nights milder this week so the summer bounty is still hanging on. I am at that point where I am half hoping that I can remove them soon because there is only just so much space ina garden and the old must make way for the new. I'm ready for peas and brassicas instead of tomatoes and cucumbers. I still can't bring myself to pull things out prematurely. Maybe I need a bigger garden.
Easter has been quiet. We went out yesterday to a local festival but with Tim at work over the whole Easter period, we stay close to home and enjoy the last few days of the school holidays. The kids are back at school on Wednesday and tomorrow they will be marching as part of the local ANZAC day ceremonies. Then home again for some baking and sewing.
I'm revamping the herb patch. It has been planted out in its current configuration for 8 years so it is due for a makeover. Half done, half to go. That might be done tomorrow too. I have loved these school holidays. We have had a few day trips but mostly been homebodies. Just what was needed and wanted.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The heat from chips steamed up the lens a little but they did taste good. The white chips were good too. They were coliban potatoes and just as good as the purple. I'll give the gnocchi a go next time.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The first step is to procure some seed. Just simple brown rice from the supermarket is fine. I used biodynamic rice as I wanted something that hadn't been overly treated or processed.
In my experiment, I used an old bathtub filled with compost as a growing medium. The compost was not sifted and was quite moisture retentive and thankfully relatively weed free. This made it ideal. The growing area was about 0.8 square metres and eventually provided us with 400 grams of rice to eat. Enough for a meal.
I soaked the seeds overnight and then directly sowed them onto the flooded bed. Over the course of the summer, I maintained the soil moisture but it was not necessary to flood the bed. Just kept it moist.
The first shoots appeared after about a week and it grew rapidly. It took 23 weeks to the day from planting to harvest. It is a low maintenance crop. All the work comes after the harvest.
The seeds heads develop and about a month later, they have browned off and are nodding and ready to harvest. At this stage it is a good idea to ease off with watering which allows the grains to continue to ripen and dry out.
To harvest such a small amount, it is easy enough to just cut below the seed heads and then allow them to dry out further in a sunny, dry spot. Threshing a small amount can be done by stripping the seeds from the plant by hand. The tough job is removing the husks. Once you have tried it, you can see why it is done by machine and why we buy rice rather than grow it.
The way I removed the husks was by using a mortar and pestle to gently rub the grain and dislodge the hull. This still proved tedious and after winnowing, many grains had to go back for a second or third turn in the mortar and pestle.
The rice can be stored then or enjoyed straight away. One thing is for sure when you have processed the rice yourself, you will make sure the meal is something special with the rice as the star.
Growing rice has sparked a whole grain growing frenzy in our home. I now have spelt, oats and rye in and plans for other grains next summer. Yes, I will grow rice again next summer even if it is tedious to process. Next time I will try growing in regular garden beds as well as the container system. It was a great learning experience and the kids enjoyed it too. I would like to especially thank my husband ,Tim, for his efforts in processing the rice once it was harvested. Thankfully he doesn't give up easily.
Monday, April 18, 2011
I'm very happy that my broadbeans are up and growing well. I will put in some more seeds in a week or two. Broadbeans are something I had never tried until I had a large garden and now I love them.
Thanks to Daphne for hosting Harvest Monday.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
We had it warm from the oven with a little bit of cream. Tonight I will serve it warm with custard for dessert. It is quite a moist cake because of the pears and will keep for a few days in an air-tight container.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Pear, Ginger and Chocolate Chip Muffins
Ingredients 2 cups self raising flour 1 cup brown sugar 2 pears peeled, cored and chopped 3/4 cup chocolate chips 60 grams butter, melted 2 eggs 3/4 cups milk
Method Preheat oven to 180 deg C . Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add pears and chocolate chips and mix gently until evenly distributed. Combine melted butter, eggs and milk in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 2/3 fill muffin cases with the mixture and bake for about 20 minutes.
Best eaten when warm.
Tomorrow I'll post the pear and honey cake.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
My favourite place was Gostwyck Chapel. It is about 11km out of town and you drive up to it through an avenue of elms. It was peaceful and had a real Anne aura about it. I wish that my sister was there too because she is a kindred spirit and we could have had a lovely time enjoying the weather, the surrounds and cross stitching while the kids played.
Friday was damp and cold. We drove up to Armidale, window shopped and went to the Gold Fishbowl Cafe. The coffee was good and the woodfired sourdough bread was even better. The cafe has a very hipster air with its cushioned milk crate seating and mismatched decor. Like a little bit of the inner city in the country.
Tim and I will head back to Armidale and across to Inverell in a couple of months for our anniversary so I took the opportunity to secure some lovely accommodation.
Today however is back to my real life. Gardening, washing, housework, ironing, baking, sewing but not necessarily in that order. I love it.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tim and Tracy
I thought this portrait that Hope took wasn't too bad. There were some keepers amongst the pictures but I'm not sure I need too many pictures of Tom's dartboard as evidence of a great score or of Hope's Polly Pockets performing various activities. I just never know what will be on the camera.
I think I have burnt almost 1000 images to cd and I'm very much in need of a rest from this small screen. Thankfully the garden wants watering and I'm up for the task.
Monday, April 4, 2011
The March harvest tally for this year was 21.918kilograms which equates to about 48.32 pounds. Things will slow down a bit now as there will definitely be a lull between summer crops and winter bounty though when the pumpkins come in, they will bump up the totals.
The first three days of April I harvested limes, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumber, chilli, eggplant, zucchini, basil, thyme, beans, capsicum, rocket and spring onion. A grand total for the three days of 5.4kg.
My favourite way to cook and eat is not by deciding what to cook and then selecting the ingredients but by going outside, looking at the ingredients growing in the garden and letting that decide the best meal for us. The best days are when the fridge is empty but the garden is full.
This week we have eaten curries, homemade pizza, tomato soup, stir fry and last night just a platter of fresh veg, cheese and some pickles. Humble, rustic home cooked/prepared dishes that nourish the body and the spirit.
The change over from daylight savings back to standard time has been a boon after only two days. I'm a morning person and I feel like I have now got an extra hour in the morning to potter about. Maybe I will even have some time for some craft before everyone else wakes up.
Now it's Chilli Basil Beef stir fry for dinner. Quick, easy and delicious.
Pop over to Daphne's blog to see other delicious harvests.