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!
Cheese

Japanese cheese cake

We have a huge amount of eggs at the moment and I’ve been looking into different ways to use them. We try to eat egg dinners and breakfasts regularly, make ice cream and mayonnaise but still there seems to be a endless amount. For a while now I’ve been coming across different recipes for ‘Japanese cheesecake’ on pinterest. I’ve altered the original recipe to suit my tastes and ingredients and the result is kind of a cross between a souffle , cheesecake and pavlova it’s definitely a lighter healthier cheesecake than the traditional new York and worth a shot if you have a surpluss of eggs to get through.

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Ingredients

250g cream cheese
25g butter
7Tbsp milk
6 eggs separated
1tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C sugar
Juice of 3 lemons
Tsp zest
3 1/2 C flour
2 tbsp cornflour

Method
In a microwave or a pan gently heat to melt the butter, cream cheese and milk and mix together while still warm add the sugar and set aside to cool

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Whisk the egg whites until glossy and stiff

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In a separate bowl mix the eggs yolks , sifted flour , lemon juice and zest , add in the cream cheese mix and stir until smooth.

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Slowly fold in the egg white mix being careful not to overmix

Pop into your greased cake pan (spring form is best for this cake) then put it inside another larger pan and fill with water to create a water bath.

Put in a preheated oven at 170C and bake for 35-45 mins turn off the oven but leave the cake in there to cool. Once the cake has cooled you can enjoy it straight away with fresh cream and berries. We had ours with homemade raspberry sauce from the raspberries we grew last year 😋

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.

Homesteading, News

Birthday Blessings

We have been enjoying the cooler weather and a more relaxed time. There are still things to harvest and process as we get some light frosts but we are definitely enjoying the slower pace. The fire has been going which makes the house really hot but without it the icy air triggers my asthma. I’ve noticed little Mr Hunter Gatherer coughs too and I hope he hasn’t inherited my infliction.
May is a special month in our house as little Miss Forager had a 4th birthday.
We had a very low key celebration this year and I made a delicious Angel food cake decorated as the requested cat.
I’d never made Angel food cake before and it’s definitely a new favorite. Scrumptiously light and fluffy it’s a perfect match for my temperamental oven that will not bake a regular meringue and is a great way to use up egg whites.

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In the garden we have been busy planting out the brassicas and turning the pumpkin patch into a root vegetable patch. Mr Hunter Gatherer usually does the tilling and patch work but it’s been down to me and the kids this year to get it started. I’ve let the chooks in help loosen the top soil and will soon be planting turnips, mangelwurzal, salisfy, parsnip and a few Chinese cabbages.

The cold windy weather has had its challanges after the long summer but it’s been great to enjoy baking again and my sourdough starter is very happy to be nurtured after months of neglect.
We bake a big loaf twice a week and I’m getting better at making it lighter and fluffier. Our favorite flour is RYE so we’ve invested in a 20kg bag to keep us going.

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I’ve also been enjoying crocheting and have undertaken a huge project of a mermaid tail blanket for little miss forager. I’m loving how it’s turning out and now I’ve discovered the local wool shop has really good quality wool and is very affordable I think everyone in my family is destined to be given crochet items for pressies this year!

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In the chook yard we are enjoying a abundance of eggs again. Our young pullets have started to lay and we are very excited that our project of crossing Brahma with Araucana has produced not only gorgeous looking placid hens but also the goal of olive coloured eggs! This has always been one of our goals and we certainly feel accomplished. Now all I need to complete my ‘rainbow dozen’ is for the Maran hen to start laying her dark chocolate eggs.

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And last on the agenda is kisses moo. We have just changed the milking system as her milk was drying of. The calf was getting lots but us zero so we have switched to morning milking which is better for all of us. Seaweed is such a affectionate calf and let’s us pat him. He’s certainly inherited his mother’s temperament and it’s going to be a real challenge when it’s time to butcher him.

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Today we are considering mushroom adventures. The heavy rain last week and sunny weekend make it the perfect day for it and I really want to face my demons of the pickled mushrooms in Poland but I’ll save that story for next time.

In the meantime keep hunting gathering and foraging!

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! 
Baking, Homesteading, Uncategorized

Raspberry and Custard Tea Cake

Summer is here and we have been coming out of hibernation and socializing more. I make it a rule to never show up at a friends empty handed and the same rules apply when visitors are coming for a cuppa at our place. This delicious tea cake is a favorite of mine and the recipe makes a delicious moist but firm teacake perfect for any occasion. I am including my recipe for custard but if you prefer using a custard mix by all means go ahead you can even use apples or pears if you prefer ( Like I did in the bottom two photos).

For this I used the last of my frozen raspberries from last years harvest as we have started munching on this years haul and we are all licking our lips in anticipation of the crop! To me raspberries mean summer, family time and a huge range of delicious treats. This year I plan to make Jam, Vinegar, flavor Kombucha, Raspberry chilli sauce and BBQ sauce not to mention all the endless scrumptious desserts!

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Raspberry and Custard tea Cake 

Ingredients

250g butter, softened

zest from whole orange

1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour

1/2 cup (75g) plain flour

orange juice from whole orange

1/2 cup (60g) ground almonds (almond meal) (optional)

150g fresh or frozen raspberries

1/4 cup (20g) flaked almonds (optional)

icing sugar, thickened cream for serving

CUSTARD

2 tablespoons corn flour

1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar

4 egg yolks

1 cup (250ml) milk

20g butter, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Preparation method

1. CUSTARD: Combine the corn flour and sugar in a bowl and whisk Heat  milk and once warm add a tablespoon to the cornflour and egg yolk mix to temper slowly continue to add the milk and then transfer back into the saucepan
 Cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming; Refrigerate until cold.
2. Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 22cm springform cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.
3. Beat butter, rind and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually fold in combined sifted flours, orange juice, then almond meal.
4. Spread two-thirds of the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Dollop small spoonfuls of custard over cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over custard: carefully spread with spatula to completely cover the custard. Sprinkle over raspberries, then flaked almonds.
5. Bake for about 1 hour 25 minutes or until cooked when tested. Cool cake in pan. Transfer cake to cake stand and dust with sifted icing sugar. Serve with thickened cream, if desired.
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Baking, Homesteading, Preserving

The last pumpkin!

Hello All!

We have had a nice warm spell recently which has led to lots and lots of planting in the garden and lovely days outside. Today is cold and so I have some time to catch up on some blogging and fill you all in on my adventures!

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The warm weather means my last giant pumpkin was starting to turn. I had grown quite fond of this not so little guy on the counter (mainly because he disguised my inability to tidy and I could hide clutter behind him!) but I could not allow him to spoil so preserved he must be!! Normally you would preserve your vegetables when they are at perfect ripeness but I like to have one fresh just in case.

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I diced up the pumpkin and set the seeds to dry in the sun. It probably won’t be long until I can plant these seeds and watch the little babies grow. It will be very satisfying having something grow from a seed I have saved as it is one step closer to being more self reliant.

*Tip* Save your seeds in paper envelopes as plastic sweats and creates a humid environment where mould will grow. I lost a lot of seeds this way.

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After dicing the pumpkin I cooked it until just tender and then spooned it and the liquid into my fowlers vacola jars that I had been sterilizing in the oven and made sure I had removed all the air bubbles. I then processed them in the Pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 1.5 hours.

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After processing I removed the jars to let them finish cooling before storing in my preserving cupboard.

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I got about 4 jars and had enough pumpkin left over for a couple of loaves of pumpkin bread which is amazingly delicious!

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3 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup butter
4 eggs
30 oz can of pumpkin
2/3 cups water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 175°

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients; flour, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift together than set aside.

cream together the softened butter and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time and then the pumpkin. Once mixed together, add the dry ingredients slowly alternating with the water.

Place mixture into 2 large (or 4 small) cake pans that have been greased or lined. Bake for an hour or until a knife comes out clean

Let cool on a baking rack then store in an air tight bag, or freeze in freezer paper and then an air tight bag.