Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheering up a grey day

Have just found this
here.  Beautiful work by Stephen Hamilton.  Well worth a look.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rain rain go away

Weird weather - and psychologically we're not quite ready for winter.  Yesterday it was sun, rain, hail, sun, hail, rain rain rain ... and cold.  So except for quick forays out when the sun appeared (and we got soaked every time) we've been confined to the house for the past two days, and the boys have been stuck under the Bali resort. They are very stoic.

What to do?

Kitchen things - that's what to do.

Chestnut soup from here - the rosemary pesto was a brilliant idea.  Didn't use cream though - seemed unnecessary, and the chestnuts make for a thick soup.

Pear paste in the slow cooker - that's actually been slowly stewing for three days and just won't turn into solid paste. I even cheated by adding some pectin - needn't have bothered as it didn't make any difference.  It's become very dark brown as the sugar caramelised, tastes very peary and will have to be slathered on stuff when the jars are opened.  Possibly can still be a condiment to accompany cheeses. We'll see.  Sauce for ice cream next summer?

Cracked about 4 kg walnuts to freeze the kernels.  It's only weeks away from the new season nuts and last year's walnuts should have been used long ago.  It's just that laziness set in - cracking nuts can be so tedious; this year's purchase will be kernels and not whole nuts.

Stewed apples.

Gazed at the gorgeous, huge, sweet figs and decided they would have to be consumed fresh.

Made Anzac biscuits from here - just to see if I could, and because I have to create a repertoire of sweet nibbles for next month's photographic project.  No - not food photography, people photography. Biscuits are for bribery.
 Cheerfulness on this bleak day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The dynamics of consumption and conservation

The huge number of apples and the last of the tomatoes were about to defeat me - there are only so many meals a person can eat in a day, and only so many friends one can off-load produce onto. So - accelerated consumption of the apples has been achieved by juicing them and undoubtedly overloading the system with calories and fibre - but, hey, it's seriously yummy.
These became these ....
The difference in colour is due to two tiny bright pink huonville crab apples hitting the mix on the right hand side.

And these
became this small jar of roasted tomatoes for pasta etc.

Friday, April 13, 2012

So cute and so destructive

First they "kindly" prune the trees, dropping chestnuts all over the ground. Then we rake up the fallen chestnuts - they are deadly on bare feet and hands. Then they return to eat the nuts we left behind - saving their feet from the nasty prickles!  This was one only - there were about 40 others balancing in the trees and munching madly on the ground.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Emu Plain

Passed this derelict house a few weeks ago and didn't think I'd get another opportunity to photograph it. Tiny, quaint, with a large "restricted access" sign on the front gate.

All things Bright

Have just got back from visiting friends in Bright - freezing clear nights and gorgeous sun-filled days.  Not only were the days filled with sun, they were filled with food, food, food.  I was reminded that for Italians food comes first, then family, then friends, then .....

Returned with two loaves of the most delicious bread, dough for making pizza, lactarius deliciosus (pine mushrooms), and THE recipe for torrone.  Many years ago I joined the (borrowed) aunts as they sweated over  torrone pots in Perugia and in the brief moments recovering one's breath made sure I took down the recipe - which I used often, then mislaid.  It has been resurrected - and will soon appear in a most delightful memoir / cook book (more info closer to publication).
Bread - obviously

Pine mushrooms - great for bruschetta topping

Work in progress - lots more was added

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mysterious objects

Eggs laid on stalks on the back of mandarin tree leaves. How clever is that?  I'm sure I won't be so admiring when the offpsring eat everything in sight, but until then I'll admire nature's ingenuity.  Do try to ignore the massive amount of sooty mildew - I have sprayed with hort oil - way too late; now the mandarin and lemon trees are coated in the terrible stuff.
And what do we have here? A sudden, beautiful and unexplained appearance in the kitchen garden.

Later - the penny has just dropped.  It's a nerine! (Remembered before reading the comment - so happy that my diagnosis is confirmed.) The bulbs were planted years ago - talk about slow developer.  Have cleared away masses of  pyrethrum and exposed another nerine, crocus and lupin.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spooky - or just plain beautiful?

This unseasonal weather has produced amazing pink skies in the evening. Tonight was no exception. Wasn't sure that I'd be able to capture the pink glow - looks like I have!

Opened the farm gate today for sale of apples and pears.  Great response - managed to sell way more than that - tomatoes, rhubarb, potatoes, red cabbage, strawberry jam, preserved cabbage.  It's great to meet people who want quality produce straight from the ground/tree/whatever.

Spent time raking up chestnut husks - the sulphur crested cockatoes have caused major havoc with the four nut trees - these trees are about 50 years old and way way too tall for netting.  Have collected three buckets of chestnuts - not my favourite produce, simply because of the amount of work necessary to get to the core of the matter.  But one of the people shopping this morning is madly keen on chestnuts and recommended that they be boiled in slightly salted water. So I'll give that a go.  The few times I've tried to "work" with them it has been roasting - seems that might be the hard way, in more ways than one.

Sore from sunburn - in the middle of autumn!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A new love affair?

Am now the proud - and scared - owner of a chainsaw!  Have wanted one for years but had to wait for the just-right genie to do its thing.  A cordless battery operated saw - none of the pull the bloody cord 29 times before the motor kicks in stuff. It's gorgeous - just don't look at the price!
The first plants to feel the quiet buzz of the saw will be the hawthorns behind the coolroom. There's plenty to practise on.