Unfortunately I can’t seem to grow red cabbage. I try yet they always turn out to be green. I think it might be too warm (especially this year) for them in Queensland. I can grow sugar loaves with no dramas. Who knows.
Living away from the city and the endless choices of what to have for dinner is sometime a little unfair. Roy and I share the responsibility of livening up our kitchen with cuisine from all around the world. We often try to make dishes we have had abroad or even in one of our favourite restaurants in Brisbane. This dish for braised red cabbage is something that reminds me of the German Club and the Polish Club.
However the recipe is adapted from a German girl who use to live in our share house in Brisbane. She cooked us a meal toward the end of her stay from her homelands and I fell in love with her cabbage. I finally dug out the recipe and had to give it a go. We ate it with mash and pork chops but I am sure any cut of pork would go perfectly.
I am very lucky to have a friend from the US, Benjie who I have known for quite some time now tends to bring me back treats from the States. Last time she came back with some corn syrup for me so I could make pecan pie and a few sachets of some wild ranch dressing.
Since corn syrup is banned here in Australia and I am sure its not good for you but it makes a mean pecan pie. It is not as sweet that is for sure and I prefer it over golden syrup.
This recipe calls for golden syrup. I tested both versions, we were lucky to have two pecan pies in one week. It took Roy about two hours to shell all the pecans that were given to us by one of our Farm Gate customers. Having home grown pecan is something I look forward too. We are planting a few trees around our property so in years to come I can harvest our own. However finding a good source of corn syrup will be my challenge to make future pies.
Is there something you wished you could easily buy here in Australia? like unpasteurized French cheese?
Preheat your oven to 200’c and line a 20cm pie dish with baking paper.
Start off by making your pastry; place the flour, sugar, salt and butter into a bowl and using your fingers rub the butter through the flour mixture. Add the egg yolk to combine. You can either roll out your pastry or press it into the prepared tart dish. Using a fork prick the surface of the pastry and then bake for 15 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile to make the filling melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add the sugar and golden syrup and stir. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then add one egg at a time to the mixture.
Once the tart shell is cooked, pour half of the sugar mixture in. Scatter the pecans over the top and then pour the remaining half of the mixture over the top of the pecans. Return the pie into the oven and reduce the heat to 180’c and cook for a further 35 minutes.
Allow the pecan pie to cool before removing it from the tin. Serve with a good dollop of cream.
You can replace the golden syrup with corn syrup if you prefer.
My sister Amy came to visit over the weekend and being super creative she was the perfect person to help make scarecrows. After the last few weeks watching the crows and finding out you can’t kill them as they are protected. Grrrr. The only option I had left was to make scarecrows to keep them out of my tomatoes and strawberries. It can be really heart breaking when you walk to the garden and find 6 half pecked at red tomatoes on the ground.
So during the week I gathered some clothes, hats,pillows for faces, string, hessian sacks and recycled the old chicken roost which was made of bamboo for the frames. Cable ties also came in handy too. Amy decided on working on Shane while I worked on Shaz. With big googly eyes on both so far the scarecrows are working. I have not spotted a crow yet in my veggie patch. The funny thing is I haven’t seem them hanging around so much even near the chook pen which is an added bonus, no free food for them.
We may have to move the scarecrows around to keep the birds on guard but at this point the flappy material and the poorly adjusted hat (which I did) moves in the wind. That will keep things looking real. I am keeping this post short today as there is talk of RAIN – I know. So I have to get all my seedlings in the garden, mulched in the next couple of days, it’s a huge task. I have Roy looking after Isla and when she is a sleep he gives me a hand. I want the best for my summer and spring veg so a nice watering in will be perfect. Well as long as the rain does come that is. Fingers crossed. I will have an update of our new veggie patch too by next week as it should be completed by then with a little luck.
Often when we get sick chicken soup is in order. With the last of avocados off the tree and finally ripened we wanted to do something different with them. Along with thinking of ideas to use chicken carcasses for. We now buy chicken as a whole bird then separate the parts we want to use later. Its Roy’s job to do the butchery, he takes out the breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings. We either use them over the next few days or put them in the freezer for later use. We find that spending $20 on a whole chooks is a lot better than getting the separate pieces. Obviously we buy organic chicken too.
This soup is really fresh tasting and perfect to liven anyone’s spirits sick or not. The red onion and coriander make this dish taste like Mexico. If you dare you can also add fresh chilli to add some spice.
Place the whole chicken in a large stock pot and cover generously with water. Add salt and bring to the boil, skim any foam from the surface of the soup. Reduce to a low simmer and add the onion, garlic, coriander stalk and celery and cook for 40 minutes with the lid ajar.
Remove the chicken and put to the side to cool. Strain the soup and return to the stove. In the meantime add carrots and spring onion. Shred the meat off the chicken and add back to the soup. Cook the soup for a further 20 minutes.
Serve the soup up in to bowls and top with fresh avocado, red onion, coriander, chili (optional) and a good squeeze of lime juice. Dunk your tortilla as you slurp up the taste of Mexico.
Wow, it is already August. I am not sure where this year has gone but this is the biggest month in the garden for us. Here in South East Queensland its prime time to get your summer crops going ready for Christmas. I go on about planting around Ekka time but it is a sure way to get some great results and produce. Last month I decided on expanding the veggie patch. Good news is that it has been ploughed. Bad news is Roy is back for two weeks and in this very short window we need to get all the weeds pulled out, hill the soil, plant out the rows and get some irrigation set up. Yes all in two weeks. The area is huge and will double our production here on the farm. Fingers crossed that I also get some melons this year for Christmas, after failing for the past two years.
Not much rain again in July only 14.5mm, last year in August we had no rain so I am thinking it will be pretty much the same this year. The weather has been teasing us recently with mild nights and glorious days which have been unseasonably warm. It feels like spring is on it’s way. I wonder if summer is going to be a scorcher this year.
The start of the peas and purple king beans (above) and more of our tomatoes. Hoping that these are black krim that I saved seed for (below).
Finally the kale is coming back to life after being munched on by millions of aphids, finally lady beetles have returned but the aphids moved on to my broccoli :-(.
Also we had another visitor in the garden this month and it ate my strawberries back. I am thinking it may be one of the local wallabies we have lurking around. They haven’t been back so fingers crossed that they come back to life in leaps and bounds and we get some strawberries.
This patch of silver beet is still going, I planted it out in February. With the little rain we had it seems that the plants have been rejuvenated as I was threatening to pull them. Below is on of our first potato tomatoes, I am looking forward to seeing how the flavour is as well as the plants surviving a good Queensland summer.
Above: Our cabbages and broccoli are now being harvested after being planted out in June, you can now see the progress they have made. Also behind the brassica’s is two rows of potato tomatoes and then the snowpeas. The snowpeas took a battering a week ago and have fallen down, I have tied them up the best I could but hope they start to shoot up again.
Planting: This is the major planting/sowing I do each year ready for summer. Seeds go direct into the ground - pumpkins, watermelon, rockmelon, beans, beetroot and carrots. Seedlings to go in – kale, onions, silverbeet, zucchini, cucumbers, more tomatoes, lettuce, asian greens, luffa, rosella’s and what ever else comes up from our last seed trays.
Harvesting: We have been really lucky this past month with our crops we are currently feeding five families each week. Our winter pickings – tomatoes, cabbages, kale, beetroot, snowpeas, silverbeet, asian greens, tatsoi, zucchini, small broccoli florets, the last of the eggplant, sweet peppers, capsicums, chillies and rhubarb
TO DO: this month before September
- TLC to the herb garden and replant
- Sow more seedlings and plant existing seedlings
- Plant out pumpkins & melons (Ekka Week)
- Finish the new ploughed area (weed, hill, plant, mulch, irrigate)
I am really lucky, Roy has been cooking up a storm since Isla has come into our home and I we have eaten Bun Cha pretty much each time he comes home. I am loving it. Fresh salad, meat, noodles and delicious dipping sauce. I can’t complain, way better than my meat and three veg dinners which can get a little tired some times.
Nothing beats fresh tasting food and to make it even tastier is when someone else cooks for you. I blessed to have a hubby who loves to cook and to try new dishes. This one is winner and I will keep asking for it. Roy seems to think it doesn’t take too long to make either so here is his recipe for easy bun cha.
Does your hubby cook for you and if so what does he cook?
To make the small meat patties combine the pork mince, red onion, sugar, spring onion, egg and fish sauce and mix well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before forming the patties into 50c piece size rounds.
Cook the pork patties in a hot frypan with a little peanut oil, 2 minutes on each side.
For the dipping sauce; place the sugar, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chili and water into a small saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Place a little grated carrot into dipping bowls for each person and then pour over the dipping sauce.
Assemble the bun cha on a plate with the pork patties on top of a bed of vermicelli noodles a side of greens and the dipping sauce on the side. Eat with a pair of chopsticks and don’t forget to dunk everything on your plate into the sauce.
Its been a month since last time I visited my folks. Since then the weather has dished out some pretty nasty frosts and killed all the grass off along with any crops. The colour has changed and I love it and teamed up with an afternoon pink sky its just stunning. Before I left we did a big walk around the paddock with Isla in the wheelbarrow. It was a nice break for me after I had finished my curtain making. I still have one section left to do on one of my curtains as I ran out of hanging tape stuff. However I have hung one half of my curtain in the shed to see how it looks and see if I did an alright job. So far It looks pretty darn good. Lucky Its hanging as its going to be cool tonight too.
Some nights the cooking inspiration runs a little thin and I can’t think of much too cook. With a huge veggie garden we tend to go through spurts of veggies which need to be used. This is how this soup came about. I loved it so much I thought I would share it with you.
We used the last of our spuds, some broccoli florets and silverbeet that did not sell at our farm gate. Cooked them all up and whizzed them. Staying with us at the time were our good friends Benjie and Hugo who were about to go off to France. We always seem to eat cheese when we are with them, pasteurized yes, though we all dream that we are in France eating the real deal. Anyways, with some triple cream brie on the table, they hungry folk decided that the soup could do with a few little chunks of cheese. Well, well. It was not too bad.
When we took the leftovers out of the freezer last week, we did the same thing. Brie and soup equal goodness.