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Vanillekranse recipe and book review

I love recipe books especially when they are written by farmers and homesteaders. My most recent library borrow was local is lovely by Sophie Hansen who is a venison farmer in central west NSW. The book has lots of homely easy to follow recipes gathered from other farmers mostly from the central west nsw. There was a big sense of nostalgia reading this book as we lived in the area before moving to Tasmania and I recognised some of the local farms. 

We’ve been trying out lots of recipes from the book and so far the favourite has been Vanillekranse which the children really enjoyed making with the piping bag. The result is a buttery biscuit similar to shortbread. The recipe makes quite a lot so they would make wonderful Christmas gifts so snacks for days!

Baking, cake, Uncategorized

Himmelsleiter – Ladder to Heaven

The children and I bake every second day. It is something we enjoy doing together that both nourishes us and saves us money on our grocery bills.

Last week a friend shared a recipe with me for the Austrian pastry Himmelsleiter which translates to Ladder to Heaven. She had baked it on the first of November as it is traditionally baked for All Saints Day.

Himmelsleiter is a sweet yeasted pastry with the dough preparation closely resembling cinnamon scroll dough. The finished baked pastry taste similar to a brioche and was delicious dipped in tea the following day.

This is certainly a recipe I will come back too as it was easy to prepare and delcious to eat so I am sharing it here for you and for my own reference.

Ladder To Heaven – Himmelsleiter

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons warm milk
  • (25 g) sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons  active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup cream
  •  (40 g) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg  at room temperature
  • 4 ½ tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 cups Plain  flour
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Mix milk and sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let it activate until it forms a creamy layer on top of the water, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add whipping cream, butter, vanilla, egg ,sour cream . Stir well.
  3. Add half the flour and stir with a sturdy cooking spoon until the batter is smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the rest of the flour. Make sure you mixed in the flour thoroughly and that there is no flour sticking to the bottom of the bowl. The dough is quite sticky and almost impossible to knead by hand. Refrain from adding more flour or the Himmelsleiter will get firm.
  5. Work your dough with the spoon for 5 minutes; try to fold the edges towards the center, while turning the bowl clockwise.
  6. Let the dough rise, covered at warm room temperature until almost doubled in volume (about 1 to 1.5 hours) or put it in the fridge to rise overnight.
  7. Place the dough onto a floured surface, lightly flour the top, and roll dough into a rectangular shape with one side 15 inch long and 1/2 inch thick. Flip and flour the dough while rolling to make sure it doesn’t stick to the counter.
  8. Cut the dough into stripes (15-inch x 1/2 inch). Roll each stripe into an S-shape, leaving about 6 inch unrolled (straight) in the middle part.
  9. Place the rolled pastries one next to each other onto a baking sheet, leaving about 3/4 inch space between them (the should “grow together” a bit, when baking).
  10. Cover the dough with a tea towel (sprinkle a little flour on top if they are sticking and distribute the flour with a brush) and leave to prove until puffy, about 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
  11. If you like, you can brush the pastries with egg wash right before baking, which makes them shiny and darker. I usually don’t since I dust them with confectioners’ sugar anyway later.
  12. Bake them in the preheated oven at 350 °F until they get yellowish/golden, about 15 minutes. Don’t let them brown too much.
  13. Let them cool on the baking sheet. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Enjoy!
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Spring 2017

Spring has arrived and we’ve got lots of little seedlings popping up in the greenhouse. I was feeling low on energy and almost wasn’t going to bother this year as being in this house now feels so temporary. We know we can stay until our lease ends next July but things are never certain while your renting so I’ve decided to keep lots in pots just to be on the same side.

Our chicks we hatched from the eggs of our murdered hens are growing well. It seems like there will be three roosters out of 10 chicks so I am pretty happy with those odds considering most of the eggs had been in our neighbors fridge. There was no justice for the parents. The council returned the dog to the neighbor who never apologised to us for the loss of our birds and three weeks later he was selling unregistered puppies at outrageous prices from the dogs. These poor hounds were never played with ,walked or exercised. I don’t blame the dogs they are Huskies and they were bored. I feel for them and it makes me angry that people keep animals as lawn ornaments and money generators.

The chicks have softened the blow of loosing our girls and our three remaining hens are very spoilt but we have been contemplating our future in the valley. We love the community here but work is unreliable, full time jobs required to get you a mortgage just don’t exist.  The are is fast gaining popularity as more and more people chase this lifestyle and being on the highway we have noticed the roads becoming busier.  Adding to all this is the fast rise of property prices so we see our dream of a house with a few acres in this area getting further and further out of reach.

Luckily we are never ones to give up and months ago I was hunting across opportunities that might help us take a step towards our Homesteading dreams when I came across Cultivate Farms (https://www.cultivatefarms.com/).

Cultivate Farms is a new initiative that matches young aspiring farmers with retiring farmers. When I found the website it was really new and had lots of glitches. It took me applying three times over a few months for our application to be registered and I only knew that the registration hadn’t worked because I had hopped onto the facebook page and saw they had advertised a 100 acre farm in Tasmania and were looking for interested parties. I commented on the photo and asked Sam to send me the details. When he did we realised our previous application had disappeared and I had to rewrite it for him to send to the owner.

Around the same time this happened I had a new friend add me on Facebook who was in a few of the same homesteading groups as me. I didn’t think much of it when she added me and as I often use social media to connect and chat with like minded individuals and some of my best friends I have met this way.

After a bit of back and forth I mentioned to Jody that we had applied for the cultivate farm opportunity and she admitted it was her farm and she had seen my comment on the post and was sussing us out. Call me naive but I was genuinely shocked! We had built a bit of a rapport and I really enjoyed chatting and sharing ideas with Jody. We decided to go up and have a look at the farm and see what we thought. The farm was beautiful in a part of North East Tasmania 1 hour from Launceston and 20 minutes to the beach at Bridport. The property had a farm house where Jody and her partner Geoff live and weatherboard cottage. There were great views and lots of shedding and it was a joy to meet all Jodies lovely animals. My heart sang when the Jersey cows came and licked my hand with their scratchy tongue and I was reminded of our old cow Kisses and what we had left behind but could possibly have again.

Jodys farm is a ex dairy property and was used as a small piggery as well so it is set up for all kinds of potential farming and homesteading pursuits. If you would like to see for yourself what it’s like she has her own blog – http://oaklands-farm.blogspot.com.au/2014/

We said our goodbyes with a lot to think about and we have had months of thinking but have decided to take the chance.

It will be a 12 month rental arrangement initially and if we are all happy after that then we will slowly buy into the farm.

When we first agreed I was filled with panic “What have we committed too” “We will have to say goodbye to all our friends here” but once everything settled down we could see the true benefits of this opportunity. This isn’t just a chance to have a home and be settled it’s a chance to build a sustainable future for our children and with things so uncertain in the world there is a chance they won’t have the chance to buy a home themselves one day but if they can stay on the family farm and have a life then they have security.

I don’t know what the future holds but I am excited to find out.

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Book review – Warm bagels and Apple strudel Ruth Joseph

It’s not often I buy books these days preferring to use the library in order to reduce clutter and remain frugal. My most recent visitor our local library I borrowed this gem of a book which I loved so much I had to buy my own copy. It’s rare I come across a cook book where I want to make every single recipe but these wholesome Jewish recipes are the sort of foods I love to cook for my family and the ingredients used were easy staples already found on my cupboard and shelves. Each recipe has a little story about it’s relations to Jewish heritage and what it means to their culture. For the record I’m not Jewish or religious but my Oma was from the Netherlands and a lot of these recipes remind me of Dutch and German cooking. The recipes are simple and easy to follow which adds to the charm of the book. I highly recommend adding it to your collection.

Today we baked Hamantaschen a tested dough with jam tucked in the middle. The result is a bit like a cross between doughnuts and jam drops. A interesting but delicious pastry which made good use of our homemade jam. 

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Contamination Pie!

We had a week disaster here yesterday when I was waiting for my dreadlock client I thought I’d check the ferments fridge up near the studio. This is basically just a fridge I use for homemade cider, sparkling wine, fermented food and excess garden produce. About a month ago I’d wrapped all the red apples off the trees in newspaper and stored them carefully in the fridge. Well a contaminate must have got in and the skins of many had a light covering of mold. Not to let anything go to waste I peeled all the apples and decided to test out the apple pie recipe in the Australian heritage cookbook I’ve got. This was the first time I’d made this recipe but I’d been eyeing it off for a while. 

The cookbook is a funny one lots of lovely pictures around Australia and it gives a good insight into Australian cooking which to be honest hasn’t always been as good as it is today! The baking recipes however are all amazing and this has become my favourite pie the pastry was lovely and crisp and perfectly balanced.

 My new favorite. If anyone would like a copy of the recipe I can photograph it to share in this post. 

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Flat Bread Recipe

I started making our own flat breads a few years ago when we were working to get out of debt. I couldn’t believe I had wasted so many years buying packaged flatbreads when they are so easy to make. There a a few different variations you can do but this is a go to one. I also make it without the yeast with great success.

We usually eat them with curry or egg and bean dishes. They make for a very frugal and filling meal.

Easy Flat Bread Recipe

2/3 Cups of flour – I use plain but you could use your proffered flour of choice.
2 Teaspoons of yeast
1 Cup warm water (use milk as a variation)
2 tablespoons of Olive oil (or melted butter)
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt

Plop flour in a bowl and make a well.
Add yeast and warm water
Mix and add olice oil, sugar and salt. Now knead until soft and leave for 10-20 minutes.
It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t rise or if you don’t have time to let it rise.
Once happy roll into medium sized balls. Roll the balls out individually and pop one in a lightly oiled fry pan.
Once lightly brown on one side flip over. You should see the bread puff up a bit.
When cooked both sides pop the bread on the plate and repeat. I don’t usually re oil the pan as I find they cook better without the oil.

Happy Cooking!

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The last days of Preserving!

It’s a good feeling when you come to the last of the produce to preserve. Satisfaction , Elation , Relief! It’s a hard job and now I have two active little children I understand why in the days long gone people came together as a community to preserve the harvest. It’s a shame in our day we have lost that sense of community even in Rural areas. There are some who try to revive it so maybe in time things will change but it is hard to step out of that zone and ask for help.

All I have left in the freezer now is 8kg each of Blood plums and Greengage to preserve and 4 kg of Apple scraps that I will make some syrup and apple cider vinegar from. Honestly we don’t need anymore apple cider vinegar as the cupboards are bursting but it will never go off and is very useful to have. I had plans to sell it at the Market but If we don’t then it will not be wasted. You never know we might have a apple shortage and I will be relieved to have a never ending supply.
On the bench I have 1 box of sour apples which I plan to make into Hard Cider for Mr Hunter Gatherer and some sour pie filling. I might even do some more apple and fennel chutney as it’s delicious and I’m sure we will eat all of ours.

Yesterday wasn’t the best day in terms of our moods we were all cranky and once Mr HG went to work we stayed like that. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the moods take over and it was a day to get things done. We made Silvan Berry and Peach Jam and 10 big jars of Chinese plum sauce, Gingerbread men, Did lots of craft and painting and worked together to make a chicken and vegie pie for dinner. By the end of the day we were in a much better space and it goes to show how busy work can really up lift you.

Unfortunately we don’t have photos to show you as my phone is on the fritz but I wanted to update anyway before I forgot.

I trust everyone is happy and homesteading. Keeping warm if in our hemisphere and planting out in the other!

Until next time
Anne