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.

image

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.

image

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!!

image

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.
image

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.
image

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!
image

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.

Fermenting, Foody things, Preserving

Cucumber craziness!

image

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.
image

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
image

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
image

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

image

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.

image

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!

image

Cheese, Foody things

Mascarpone recipe

Recently I posted a photo of the mascarpone I made on Facebook and instagram and I was asked to share the recipe.

image

I’ve had lots of lovely thick jersey cream from Kisses and haven’t felt like making butter. Usually I would make cream cheese but having run out of starter I needed a another option.

Mascarpone is a delicious citrusy Italian cream cheese that can be quite expensive to buy but is very easy to make. You can use vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid combined with cream. For the purpose of this recipe I am using citric acid but feel free to experiment.

Mascarpone

Ingredients

1litre cream
1teaspoon citric acid

Method
1. Pop your cream in a heavy saucepan and very slowly heat the cream stirring every now and then. Bring the cream to 90 degrees celsius (use a meat or candy thermometer to measure this)

2. Once you have brought cream to temp remove from heat and add the citric acid stirring for 5 minutes.

3. Place a colander or sieve lined with a muslin/cheese cloth over a bowl and Poor the cream mix in. cover with a plate and move to the fridge to drain the liquid for 8 hours.

4. Poor off the drained whey. This can be used in breads, soups, stocks or to make ricotta.
Scrape your mascarpone into a container and use as you wish.
We made a mascarpone baked  cheesecake with lime and raspberry if anyone would like the recipe to this please ask and I’ll add it to the post. (Sorry no photo of the actual cheesecake it went too quick but here’s the before 😋)

image

Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Cheats maple pancake syrup

I’ve been busy processing all the apples we are collecting and have been awash with apple scraps. Last year I made Apple scrap jelly which was delicious and Apple cider vinegar is continuously brewing here so I felt like trying something new.

I had been reading about Apple scrap pancake syrup and I thought I would try and adapt the recipe to make some of my own. I LOVE maple syrup but getting the good quality stuff here is expensive.
A while ago I scored a cheap bottle of maple extract from Aldi and I’ve been waiting for a reason to use it.

For the syrup I placed all the cores and skin scraps into a big pot covered them in water and boiled until they were mushy

Next I strained off the apples and for every cup of liquid I added a cup of sugar put on the heat and stirred until dissolved.  Next I added 4 drops of maple extract and 2 tsp of cinnamon.

I then boiled for about 3 hours reducing and thickening the syrup.

You could try adding lemon juice too but I was happy with the thickness and consistency I got.

I didn’t can this batch but if it’s well received I will be making more!

Enjoy X

Baking, cake, Cheese, Foody things, Homesteading

With Seaweed comes cream cheese.

He has arrived! Our long awaited calf was born not long after my last post and
we were delighted to find a little bull calf!
image

As a meat eaters I really want to have a relationship with the meat we consume and for it to be as ethical as possible so home produced beef has been one of our homesteading goals since the beginning.
image
Nyah named the little bull calf seaweed to continue the tradition (our last calf female calf being Stingray).
image
Our relaxed milking routine has kicked off and we have already started cheese making. I’ve been asked a bit recently how we manage a cow along with everything else we do so I thought I could give a bit of insight into our life with a dairy cow.
image

The key to a ‘easy’ routine is milk sharing with the calf while it is young this means we don’t seperate and in the afternoon Dane will get Kisses food ready bring her into the yard. He will squirt some milk on the ground to clear any dirty milk out of the teat then wash the tests and udder with warm soapy water and milk by hand while kisses eats and the calf frolics around the yard.
The positives to this system are that kisses is relaxed having her calf close by and it doesn’t matter greatly if we are late or miss a day of milking but there are some negative points too.
For one because we don’t use a milking stand I can’t milk her as I often have the children with me and sometimes cows can be moody.
We also don’t get as much milk as we could if we were milking twice a day and separating for long periods.
We do get 5-7litres a day with thick cream it’s not the most we COULD be getting but it’s more than enough for our families home dairying.

After the milk is brought in its poured through a sterilized cheese cloth into another food safe bucket and left to sit in the fridge over night until the cream settles.
The cream is then skimmed with a ladle and placed into the cream jar and the milk poured into the milk jugs.

So there you have it our milking routine. We will start seperating the calf for a hour prior to milking and increase after that once the amount of milk we are getting declines but once a day hand milking is enough.

Last week I made some cream cheese and used that to make a delicious baked creme brulee cheese cake. You’ve never tasted cheese cake until you’ve had it with home made cheese and free range eggs. Absolutely sublime!
image

For anyone who’d like to try making their own cream cheese below is the recipe I used its my adaptation of Dick and James Strawbridge recipe from made at home cheese and dairy which is a great book for beginners like myself.

Cream cheese
Ingredients
1 litre milk
1 litre of double cream
1/4 tsp mesophilic starter
3drops rennet mixed with 1 tablespoon sterilized water

1.Heat milk and cream slowly over low heat for 20minutes until it reaches 40C turn off and allow to cool to 30C

2.sprinkle starter over surface and leave for 5 minutes. Stir and add Rennet

3.cover and leave in a warm place for 12 hours
image

4. Transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander and drain for 6-8 hours then season to taste.

That’s it now you can use it for whatever takes your fancy. If you would like to try a creme brulee cheesecake just follow a new York cheesecake recipe then after you bake sprinkle the top with caster then caramelize with a blow torch and serve with fruit.
image