Monday, 9 July 2012

With the miserable weather Friday and Sunday consisted of some cooking and gardening.
Following my post on Friday I finished my chutney and this is maturing nicely in the cupboard- made 6 jars!
Recipe: Green Tomato & Zucchini Chutney
700g zucchini, peeled & diced
700g tomatoes, peeled
300g apples, peeled & diced
300g onion, finely diced
300g sultanas
300g brown sugar
600ml cider vinegar
2 tsp chilli flakes
Tbsp grated ginger
12 cloves
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds

Blanche tomatoes, run under cold water and then remove and discard skins. I do this over the container you are collecting your tomatoes in, as they may burst out during this.
Then place all ingredients in a large pan and simmer for 2 ½ - 3 hours. Leave to cool and then transfer contents to jars and seal for at least 4 weeks. The longer this matures the better the quality of the chutney.

I also attempted my Sourdough bread- with mixed success. This hasn’t put me off; quite the opposite. As I now know where I went wrong- had I just done it by hand as per the recipe it would have been fine.

More successful,
but still room to improve

Makes 2-3 loaves
650ml warm water
500g strong bread flour
Ladleful of sourdough starter

Sponge (see above)
600g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
25g salt

Dough in breadmaker
Once you have your starter, you need to activate it. So if it is refrigerated like mine get t out a day or two before hand and feed it.
Also make the sponge the day before, so it can prove over night- place in a bowl in plastic bag.

Now I attempted one purely using my bread maker- this did not work at all.
unsuccessful Breadmaker version

So I made a batch using the mixer for the dough, I think this “knocks it back” too much. As the recipe says to knead it for 10mins, then leave to prove for an hour each time (4 times in total)- this is the “knock back” . The dough setting takes 90minsutes, each time, so think it knocked to much air out of it. This was more successful than the version make totally in the break maker, but was still a little dense. So I’m going to make the next lot entirely by hand.

Frozen Chicken Stock

Easy store/use- Best Chicken stock!

This weekend I also cooked one of our home grown chooks for dinner. So, as to make the most of the bird I also make some stock from the carcass. Simply by placing it in a stock pot with a few carrots and sticks of celery, cover with water and simmer (on a low heat) for a few hours. I wanted to add this in, as this is a great way to get great tasting stock and is something you have available anyway. Once I am happy with the flavour, just leave to cool. Then this is my storage tip- Place freezer bags over appropriate sized freezer able containers (plastic dishes, tuppaware etc). Carefully fill the bags to level of container (or near enough). Leaving enough of the bag to tie it off.

Then place in the freezer, til frozen and then you can remove the containers and store the bags- use when required.

Other than that Sunday I managed to get some weeding, sowing and mulching done. In preparation for the warmer months approaching. Whilst it wasn’t the most pleasant day, it wasn’t cold and the drizzly rain was probably ideal for new planting.I was also quite excited as the “vine garden”- the section of the veg garden we dug out last year (that became water logged) and has not been built up. So where I intend to grow tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers etc- so vines. Had 2 plants growing in ti, which I am sure are eggplant/aubergine plants! We had great success with 4 of these that I bought as seedlings last year; only they were lost in the wet season- or so I thought!

Whilst I was busy Matt made a start on clearing the bed beside the shed. This had a few drought tolerant plants and yukka trees in it when we bought the place. Unfortunately the trees are becoming too big- both blocking the light to the shed, as well as its roots are going to become problematic to the shed’s foundations. So whilst we had hoped to re-locate these trees, unfortunately this was not possible. Hopefully we can save the few smaller trees still.
But other than the stumps this bed will soon be ready for planting, we decided this is to be the herb garden.  It’s close to the house, good sun and partial shade, whilst hopefully providing a welcoming aroma when approaching the house.

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