Foody things

Tiny steps towards a zero waste life.

We’ve never had a huge amount of waste. Frugal shopping budgets mean that buying in bulk is more economical for us so our bin is rarely full full rubbish collection but I know we can do better.

Having young children and a new baby being low on time to make as much from scratch that I’d like means we’ve been eating a lot of rice cakes and this leads to a lot of waste.

I really dislike how much unnecessary packaging there is especially for the fruit and vegetables seconds. We want to support the farmers and show that people will buy ugly produce but at the same time we are forced to buy plastic if we make this choice. It’s a area of much conflict for me.

We know the best way to avoid this is grow our own and buy locally but while the veg garden is being built and we are a long drive from a good local produce shop we are more limited with our choices. To shop better we would use more fuel so you can’t be perfect when your rural.

Many rural communities have big waste problems an irony when many have moved this way for a ‘Greener’ way of life.

Our local supermarket have started a soft plastic recycling service and as this is a lot of our waste we’ve begun saving it to take there.

We buy our wholefoods in bulk online to get couriered from another Tasmanian homeschool family, we use cloth nappies, grow what we can and make what we can from scratch. I long for another dairy animal to reduce this contribution to our waste but right now it’s not a option.

I find making a small change every week helps us towards a goal of eventually being a zero waste household.

Our most recent changes have been baking bread more to avoid plastic packaged bread and making our own peanut butter. It does take a far amount of more time and effort but I feel it’s important to teach our children food shouldn’t come easily and we need time and effort to nourish ourselves properly.

Below is the nut butter recipe I use. I have based it on the one from The river cottage everyday cookbook. I often double it to save making it every week and I’ve been thinking of making a super spread variety by adding chia, almonds, cacao and coconut oil.

Nut butter recipe

Makes 200g

200g nuts of choice

3-4 tablespoons of oil (sunflower, coconut, rapeseed but veg oil works too)

1-2 teaspoons of runny honey or sugar

Salt to taste

Put nuts in the food processor and pulse until fine

Add remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency

Store in a airtight container in the fridge it should keep a few weeks if you don’t eat it all.

Enjoy

Peanut

Baking, Foody things

Zucchini Moussaka

I’ve been encouraged by friends recently so not give up on blogging and specifically to share more recipes.

So here I am to do just that!

We’ve been very busy here this summer with fruit on abundance. The veg garden hasn’t been great despite the good weather and I suspect poor pollination and less bees due to neighbors spraying poison. I wish people would realise the harm they are doing to the environment especially now there’s so much research out there.

Anyway we were blessed with one very large zucchini and as this is the first year I haven’t got to this point and started loathing seeing them in the garden, I thought we should honour it.

I based this recipe on Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for zucchini parmigiana but added mince to get my iron levels up. It’s very basic and a delicious way to get through your glut.

The mince could easily be switched for lentils for a vegetarian options.

Zucchini Moussaka

Ingredients

1 large zucchini

3 eggs

Flour

Onion

Garlic

500g mince

Tin tomatoes

Tomato paste

Worcestershire sauce

Cheese grated

Method

Make sauce

Dice onion and mince garlic, cook until onion is clear, add mince until browned, add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce cook for 10 minutes then switch off.

Zucchini

Slice zucchini dip each piece in flour then egg and fry in oil put aside

When all cooked start layering zucchini, sauce, cheese until you get to the top.

Once layered bake in the oven at 170C for 25 mins

Enjoy with a garden salad!

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.

Foody things, Homesteading, News

Drowning in Apples and eating well -Beetroot falafel recipe!

Well we’ve definitely been keeping ourselves busy which is good as it keeps us out of trouble!.
Mr Hunter Gatherer is due to start Apple picking soon so we are pushing ourselves to get as much done as possible before he’s away for long hours.

Fortunately Apple prep is something the whole family can get involved in and the kids love using the Apple slinky machine to peel and cut the apples. This is great as we have 6 trees which are all grafted with multiple varieties so we will have apples for months!

We are certainly making he most of the fruit by canning Apple pie filling, hard cider and dehydrating slices, Apple sugar and Apple juice to freeze and enjoy through the year, I’d like to try again to make my own liquid pectin to help set jellies.
From the scraps we are making Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup which is our version on cheap maple syrup!.
I’d really like to attempt some Apple stroop having recently lost my Oma it will be a homage to my Dutch heritage.

I finally bit the bullet this season and bought a canning funnel for the high price of $2.80 on eBay! Man I wish I’d just bought one of these at the start of my canning adventures as it really does make like soooo much easier.

I’ll also be using Sally wises recipe for canning Apple pulp which I’ll later turn into Apple bbq sauce. I really hate waste so I like to make use of every fruit we preserve in a variety of ways.

We’ve been making a conscious decision to eat healthy and more frugally by getting creative with what we grow. We have a lot of beetroots ready to come up and besides pickling and kimchi I’ve been researching different ways to enjoy them with dinner. I came across a great beetroot felafel recipe which we enjoyed with homemade flatbread and garden veg. I’ll share my adapted recipe with you now.

Beetroot felalfel

2 cups dry chickpeas – soaked or cooked in the pressure canner
2 cups shredded raw beetroot
1 tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
1 handful fresh chopped  tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pop everything into a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs you may need to add a touch of water.

Lightly knead mixture and Roll into balls and place on a baking tray. Bake at 200C for 20 mins or until lightly brown.

Enjoy in salads, flat bread or burgers 🙂

Pop everything into a

Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Mid February 2016 and summers over already!

I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)

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I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
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Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
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Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!

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We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
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Greengage Jam

2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5kg sugar

As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.

Happy jamming!

Baking, Foody things, Homesteading

Sun choke (Jerusalem Artichoke) Cake

Well things have been going swimmingly since I last posted. I’ve nearly worked through the freezer and processed all the frozen fruit and meat to take to our new home and we have done our last market.

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I still have loads of products left but I figure these will see us through for personal use if I don’t have easy access to foraged fruit. Mr Hunter Gatherer says he doesn’t see me giving up preserving and we will have no choice but to start going to markets or bartering our goods.

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We’ve had lots of snow, rain and wind so getting outside have been rather difficult but during a thaw I rugged the kids up and got to digging up the horseradish which I will grate, dehydrate and powder. While I was out there I dug up a bunch of Jerusalem artichokes. There’s still lots out there and I’ll get to pickling and fermenting those soon but this first lot I made into a delicious walnut and chocolate cake.
I must admit I was a little apprehensive on how this would turn out and I surprised to find it to be delicious, moist and just sweet enough with surprise bursts of chocolate and nuts. There was one negative which was I’d missed bits of shell when cracking the walnuts and these were a bit hard on the teeth!!

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Sun choke walnut and chocolate cake

Ingredients
200g soft butter
1/2C Brown sugar
4 eggs
100g rye or wholemeal flour
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp bi carb soda
1 tsp baking powder
100g plain flour
1 cup walnuts
1/2 C chocolate chunks or chips
200g grated sunchokes

Method
1. Cream butter and sugar then add eggs 1 at a time beating in between each egg.
2. Slowly add sifted flower, bicarb and baking powder, spices and mix.
3. Fold through walnuts, chocolate and sunchokes and pour into a pre prepared baking pan.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 45minutes or when a knife comes out clean.

Enjoy warm so the chocolate oozes out or cold with cream.

Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Green Tomato sauce

Hello we are still here cuddled up away from the cold, wet weather. The frosts have hit and what was left of my Autumn greens has turned to slime.

I’ve been pondering new things to do with Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes (my preferred name) we have a lot in the garden but the aptly nicknamed ‘fartichoke’ makes for musical evenings whenever we eat them! I’ve read that fermenting them can stop this so I will be experimenting this week and making Kale and sunchoke kimchi.
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We have been lazy in the garden and since kisses the Jersey cow ate my greenhouse I haven’t felt motivated.

The brassicas I planted late summer and Autumn arr going well but it’s been too cold, windy and now rainy to enjoy outside time. It’s a time for cosy by the fire crafts and baking. The mermaid blanket is making great progress and is now half way there.
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Today I accepted that the last lot of tomatoes won’t ripen and I’d be better off to process them green. I made a green tomato sauce based on a ketchup recipe. I’m trying to wean little miss Hunter gatherer off the preservative laden tomato sauce she calls ‘crazy’ sauce so I’m hoping this sweet sauce will do the job.
The result is a delicious and sweet sauce that I made with minimal effort thanks to the pressure cooker! I didn’t even need to peel or chop the tomatoes as I used a stick blender afterwards. Oh how I love kitchen tools!
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Sweet Green Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
3kg green tomatoes
2 diced brown onions
2C sugar
1 lemon
5C cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Brown mustard seeds
1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp all spice
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 tsp black pepper

Method
1. Using the pressure cooker or saucepan brown the diced onions.

2. Add all the other ingredients don’t worry about chopping just chuck it all in and pop the lid on.

3. If pressure cooking pop the lid on and once pressure is reached cook on low heat for 15minutes. Turn off heat then leave the lid of for another 20 mins
If using a saucepan bring to boil then put the lid and turn down simmering for 40 mins stirring every now and then.

4. Take lid off remove cinnamon stick and using stick blender blend until sauce consistency is to your likeing.

5. Reheat on stove then pop into warm sterilized bottles and process using your preferred method.