Fermenting

Green garlic pesto

We pulled up a bunch of green garlic recently. The garlic was here when we moved in and had self seeded but we think we’ve identified it as elephant garlic which is more closely related to leeks than garlic so has a mild garlic and onion flavour. 

I wanted to make a fermented garlic pesto or paste. This was very much a experiment and we shall see if it works. 

I did this in two batches in the food processor using about 10 large green garlics. I removed the tough outer leaves and chopped them to add to the food processor. 

I then added 2 cups of nuts(1 per batch). I used mixed nuts but you could use any you prefer.

Next add for each batch 1/4 Cup Kombucha, 1/4 C apple cider vinegar and olive oil. 

One all pureed together I popped it in a jar to ferment. The taste at this stage reminded me of sour cream and onion dip so I definitely think the mix could be adapted for that. 

I’ll be fermenting for a week to taste but If your not wanting to ferment you could add Parmesan cheese to make a pesto to add to pasta ect. I’ll be using ours to add to sauces as the taste is a bit strong alone for young children but if your a garlic and spice lover it was work wonderfully on it’s own. 

Fermenting, Foody things, Homesteading

Fermented Kale Pesto

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A while ago I was asked on Instagram for my Fermented kale pesto recipe. I sent them to the blog only to realize I hadn’t actually shared this recipe yet! Well I apologize to that follower because it’s only now months later that I am sharing it.
Kale pesto is a favorite here and it was one of our most popular items when we sold at markets. I have mentioned before memories of my Oma telling me I needed to eat more Kale before it was ‘super food’ I had no idea what Kale was as it had never been in the supermarket so I usually ignored her. Years later when we first started growing vegetables and I was buying seeds I invested in loads of heirloom kale seeds and being in a cold climate they grew really well! So well in fact that we had to come up with lots of different ways to use them and one of these ways is the Fermented Pesto I’m sharing with you now.

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                                                              Fermented Kale Pesto
fills a 1kg yogurt bucket
1 big bunch of Kale
1 Onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 orange whole but peeled
4 tomatoes (or a tin of tomatoes)
1 Cup organic apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Optional extras – Nuts (pine, walnuts), Basil, Other tasty garden greens like nasturtiums
In a food processor throw in all the ingredients except the olive oil and blitz to pesto consistency and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pop into your fermenting vessel of choice and ferment about 3-4 days you can go longer but this is my preferred acidity for the pesto. After this cover the surface in olive oil and store in the fridge. I have had this last 5 months in the fridge and still taste fine.
Serving suggestions
Eat as a straight pesto with pasta or as a dip, add cream for a creamy sauce, Add feta and cook in pies. It’s a great go to for busy days when you want a quick meal.

Fermenting, Foody things, Preserving

Cucumber craziness!

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I have been debating if I should write this post or not. I have been given friendly advice by some to keep my cards close to my chest when sharing recipes, particularly if it’s something I’d like to sell one day. I have taken this on board but a big part of me writing this blog is to share information. Not everyone has the money to buy products and I’m a firm believer that what goes around comes around. I’ve been inspired by many different chefs and bloggers in my time and I hope that my writing can inspire someone else in their journey.
So today I am sharing my versions of cucumber kimchi and sauer gurke -that’s sour cucumbers like sauerkraut only with cucumber not cabbage.
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We have had a abundance of cucumber this year. I may have been overzealous with my plantings and ended up with three plants that just went crazy! So with 10 kilos in the fridge I really needed to get my thinking cap on.
I found a few recipes for cucumber kimchi and with my first batch I loved the flavour but the texture of the cucumber cut up wasn’t my favorite. It was good but not great.

My second batch I decided to shred the cucumber. Now usually I do everything by hand but 10kg is a lot of cucumber. Instead I used my usually idol food processor and wow what a machine! All the cucumber was grated in about 3 minutes!

For the Sauer Gurke
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I massaged in about a 1/4 cup of sea salt and let it sit for 5 minutes. After this I drained the liquid but kept it aside in case I needed extra for the brine. I then added a teaspoon of minced ginger and 3 cloves of minced garlic stirred it through and pressed the whole mix into the fermenting jar. After weighing down the cucumber I added a little of the left over brine/liquid to ensure the mix was well covered. Popped on my fermenting cover and left it to do its magic. I liked it after 5 days but you could go as far as 14 depending on how sour you like it.
We had it on sausage sandwhiches and it was delicious!

Cucumber Kimchi
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For the kimchi the start of the process was the same as the sauergurke. Grate the cucumber and add your salt. After draining the liquid as above I then mixed through 2 teaspoons chilli powder, 5 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp ginger and 1/4 C soy sauce. Once mixed through I pressed it all into the fermenting jar and left it for 5 days.

Now the kimchi flavour improves with age so if like me you have loads of cucumber make a huge batch and don’t worry about having enough to last a few months.

Enjoy!!

Fermenting, Foody things, Foraging

Homemade Hard Apple cider without a press

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We have been enjoying the fruits of our Labour testing and tasting the cider from the apples we have been foraging. I really wish I knew what variety of Apple’s we are using as I’ve searched and searched and I can’t find any information. The tree is over 50 years old possibly closer to 100 so we will be saving some seeds if we can’t find a young seedling underneath the tree. The apples as absolutely scrumptious – sweet and crunchy but deceptively green at first sight and take on a slight yellow tinge once ripe looking a little like a cross between a golden delicious and a granny smith.

As we don’t own a press or a juicer I’ve been hunting for recipes I could follow without these.
I had seen a post on how to convert a old washing machine into a giant juicer and if anyone is interested in this I’ll post the link. It’s something I will definitely consider doing for the future or I will save up for a manual press.

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Our first lot of cider was successful but the recipe I followed said to cook the apples and I found the finished product a little grainy. We did a second strain before serving and while it tasted good it didn’t taste right.

The next lot of cider I decided to use the food processor to crush the raw apples. I used about a kilo of Apple’s and after crushing them as fine as I could I popped them in a 5litre food grade bucket with 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cider yeast and 4 litres of water. Then I covered with a muslin cloth and rubber band and popped them up on my fermenting shelf.

I left this mix for 4 days stirring daily. After this I strained off the pulp squeezing to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

I then bottled and left for a second ferment so it carbonated. You don’t have to carbonate and can drink it still but I like the bubbles. I only needed to leave it for two days to get the level of carbonation I wanted.
After this make sure you store in the refrigerator.

Now I’m sure more seasoned home brewers would disagree with this method but it worked for me and I’m happy with the results.
We are now experimenting with flavours and maple cinnamon is a definite favorite. Next I’ll be making a pumpkin and Apple spiced cider that I won’t carbonate so I can heat it in the cooler months for a instant winter cider!

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Fermenting, Foraging, Homesteading, News, Preserving

When life gives you apples..

I’m finally sitting down to write this week’s blog post. I’ve accepted they will be weekly if I’m lucky!

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Blogging is a funny thing, If I could plug into my internal monologues there would be so much content to share! I keep telling myself I will keep a note book handy to jot down ideas for posts but the reality is I often write my most interesting posts when I’m somewhere random like weeding the garden so for now you will just have to put up with nonsensical ramblings whenever I squeeze time in between animals, babies, gardening and home chores!

Right now I am enjoying a glass of the blackberry sparkling wine I made last week. The warm weather means that it has fermented a lot quicker than my recipe stated so I need to amend that(especially since my friends who used my recipe had some exploding bottles!!!)

Our market last weekend went well we had some surprise visits from old friends which was wonderful. We survived with no Nanna help by bringing a travel cot to make a extra play space for the kids.

Dane has picked up some extra work so the homesteading chores have greatly fallen on me which has kept me busy. I’ve still had to squeeze in getting products ready for the Bathurst riverside market this weekend and Taste of Bathurst on the 12th. I’ll be trialling a new fermented summer garden pesto which I’m excited about.

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Kisses calved and it was exactly what we wanted a little bull calf that Miss Nyah has named Seaweed (our last calf was stingray). I’m so excited about having our own beef and although it is always hard taking the life of a animal we have grown attached to we know it’s had a good life and we truly appreciate the gift.

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I have been going well on my personal challenge of processing all the fruit in the freezer.
I did set myself back a little though by taking the kids on a spontaneous foraging adventure to this tree I had been eyeing off for a while nearby. I suspected they were apples but wasn’t sure until we got there to confirm it. On legs with Nyah by my side, Banjo on my back, Gypsy on the leash and Haggis the tortishell cat following behind I felt like we were characters in a story book heading off on a wild adventure! The apples were delicious and we filled the bag to the brim and struggled back home. I’m sure we looked a sight but we were all in good spirits and I have been merrily processing the harvest and will be back for more apples!

So far I have fed a bucketful to kisses with molasses which she greatly deserves, made two buckets of experimental hard cider, canned some Apple pie filling and used the cores and ‘waste’ materials to start another batch of cider vinegar which I will share the recipe for below. You can also save all your Apple cores and discarded toddler apples in the freezer to make this when you have enough but organic is best if you can get it.

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        Apple cider vinegar

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Ingredients

5-10 apples or cores,skins ect
Filtered water
1 cup honey or Sugar

Method

Put all your ingredients in the  jar or bucket (I use a 5L food grade bucket) and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Cover with a cheese cloth or tea towel and secure with a string or elastic band

Leave on the counter for at least a week mixing once a day. The sugar will ferment into alcohol and start to bubble.

Once the Apple/scraps sink to the bottom you have made hard cider!
Strain the apple/scraps off and recover the bucket or pour into a fresh bucket to continue fermentation.

Leave for another 3-4 weeks to allow alcohol to turn to acetic acid. The small amount of sediment at the bottom is normal this is the ‘mother’

After 3 weeks start tasting and once it is to your liking bottle. It will never go ‘off’ but may produce extra mothers that you can use to speed up future batches.

We use ACV all the time. We make it continuously whenever we have enough apple cores saved. It’s great for our health and well being but also great for treating animals as well.

Fermenting, Homesteading, News, Preserving

This Week

This week I am focussing on preserving our harvest and abundance of local produce available. I’ll also be foraging lots as blackberries are everywhere and I’ve seen a few rouge Apple trees around. Kisses is going to calf any moment now (I know I know I’ve been saying this for ages) and I’d love to give her some buckets of Apple’s and molasses.

I’ve decided to empty out the freezer I’ve got so much fruit in there and as there will be even more available to freeze soon I feel it’s better to get it ready sooner rather than later.
My preserving list for this week is huge so tonight I’ve been making more Worcestershire sauce, elderflower cordial and dandelion syrup, plum bbq,mixed raspberry and blackberry jam and plain Blackberry jam .

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Earlier today we went and filled another two big buckets of blackberries and I started on 10litres of BlackBerry sparkling wine. I hope it’s as delicious as the raspberry wine was!

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I’m still drowning in squash so will pickle more of these and maybe experiment with some fermented vegetables.

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Dane has been enabling my chicken collection and brought me home these gorgeous salt and pepper shakers. Growing up I used to collect cows and they were always my favorite animal (still are!)but my cow collection disappeared in my late teens and early 20s. Perhaps if I’d paid more attention to my young selfs obsession with farm animals my path in life would have become apparent sooner. In any case now I’ve turned that obsession to rustic furniture and chicken paraphernalia.

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Now I must end my ramblings for today and get back to the task at hand!

*Edit * Everything is processed and canned now. I’ve cleaned up and cleaned down and am enjoying a relaxing drink before a shower and bed. We still need to be up at 6am to start the homestead chores.
I forgot to mention previously that this weekend is our regular market at Tarana. The following weekend we will be doing a new (for us) market in Bathurst called the riverside market. We’ve visited this market before and love it the only problem is it clashes with out local farmers market in Oberon. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided to try Bathurst. We don’t sell enough at the Oberon spending more than we made last market. The riverside market is shady and has play equipment we can take the kids too plus there is a amazing op shop (thrift store for my American followers) I do hope we sell more product there. Really I don’t care about the money although it’s all adding to our goal of buying our own farm but really I just love sharing my passion for food and preserving with people and I’m running out of storage space!!!!

Baking, Fermenting, Uncategorized

Sauerkraut and Zucchini Brownies

We are enjoying a few days of quiet and rest after three whole weeks of different visitors. Its been absolutely fabulous catching up with family and old friends and I have talked and laughed so much in a long time. We’ve still been keeping busy with our homesteading chores taking guests foraging and getting help planting the next lot of seeds. It makes such a difference having extra hands and I’ve half a mind to permanently have someone here to play with the children!

Now everyone has gone and we are left with the rosy glow of company and laughter and a lot to catch up on. We were very generously gifted a cabbage from a neighbor and I’ve made a second attempt at sauerkraut. You may assume I would be a expert at this considering all the other things I talk about fermenting but for some reason I always fail at sauerkraut. My last guest who was staying showed me a hilariously bizarre but informative you tube video with instructions so i thought I would give it another stab!

You can find the video “Sexy Sauerkraut” here if you’d like to watch it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8S9R34gkVM

I omitted the sexy from my own and I’ll just be happy with regular old Sauerkraut.

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Saurkraut

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Thinly shred your cabbage however you like (food processor, mandolin, knife)

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I didn’t measure ( which is probably why I fail!) but I added about 2 Tbs of sea salt and massaged it in to the shredded cabbage for about 5 mins \

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I have weighed the cabbage down with a plate and Jar and covered with a tea towel crossing my fingers! I will check it every few days and see how it’s going.

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I will ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days depending on taste.

Now I promised in my last post that I would share my zucchini Brownie recipe. These brownies are absolutely delicious and a great way to use up extra zucchinis if you have a lot growing. I unfortunately haven’t taken a photo of them as we ate them too fast and I’ve been baking other things but I will share the recipe with you now and add the photos another time.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

2 Zucchini finely grated

50g salted butter melted

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence or extract

1/4C sugar (you can add 3/4 but I bake with low sugar)

2/3 C cocoa powder

 1/2 C Self raising flour

1/2 block dark cooking choc chopped

Frosting

1/2 block dark choc chopped

1/2 C cream

Method

Preheat your oven to 160°C. Lightly grease a 9″ square pan.

  1. To make the brownies: Combine the zucchini, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl and mix until smooth
  2. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and flour and mix until well combined.
  3. Add the chocolate and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it; you shouldn’t see any sign of wet batter. Remove the brownies from the oven, and allow them to cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting: Combine the chocolate chips and milk or cream in a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan. Heat until the milk is steaming, and the chips are soft. Remove from the heat, and stir until smooth.
  6. Spread the frosting atop the brownies. Place them in the refrigerator for an hour or so, to set; then store them at room temperature, covered, for several days though I doubt they will last that long!