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!

IMG_4623

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.

IMG_4624

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.

IMG_4625

IMG_4629

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.

IMG_4631

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

IMG_4630

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

IMG_4632

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.

Baking

Rustic Bacon and egg pie

IMG_4503

We have an over supply of eggs and I’ve been hunting the internet and my books for eggspiration and I stumbled upon a recipe for stromboli which I thought would work great adapted to a bacon and egg style pie and oh my it is delicious it’s now in my top 3 egg dishes!! The great thing about this dish is not only can you use whatever filling you have on hand you can also eat the leftovers for breakfast!

The dough recipe I’m including below can also be used for a yummy crunchy crusty bread loaf just bake in a preheated oven at 220C (or 425F) for 30 mins ( time may differ depending on your oven)

Rustic Bread Dough Recipe

1C warm water

1Tbsp Sugar

2tsp Salt

1Tbsp Olive oil

1Tbsp Yeast

2 1/4 C Bread flour

Method

  1. Mix water, sugar and salt in mixing bowl with yeast stirring to dissolve
  2. Beat in flour and olive oil then knead until springy
  3. Cover ( TIP* I re-use and re-wash a disposable shower cap) and leave for one hour in a warm place
  4. Roll Out Dough into one big piece or into 4 (or however many you need) smaller pieces – Now you can either cut out triangles so you have open parts in the dough or leave it as a big pieceIMG_4495
  5. Add your fillings of choice we added Bacon, Kale, Tomato, Scrambled egg, mixed herbs and cheddar cheese                         IMG_4498 IMG_4499 IMG_4500
  6. Fold up the sides and either twist a knot at the top or place the seam underneath
  7. Bake at 200C  for about 20 mins or until golden brown

IMG_4501IMG_4504

I hope you enjoy this scrumptious delight now I am off to enjoy the sun that has finally shown its face and spend some time outside with the kidlets and animals!

Baking, Homesteading, News

Elephant Foots Bun

Hello and forgive me for being a bit lazy with the blog recently as you can imagine/know two young children are very time consuming and we currently have 3 teeth erupting on Mr Banjo and a illness with Miss Nyah so it’s been messy chaos here!

I’ve been mentally blogging and taking lots of photos of our happenings which I’ll share in another blog post this evening and this one I will dedicate to the delicious Elephants foot bun recipe by Sally Wise (you can find the original recipe and many more on her site http://www.sallywise.com.au/blog/mulberry-bun/)

IMG_4349

I actually made this ages ago when Danes mum was staying and adapted the recipe to suit some of our foraged Blackberry syrup but you can use any fresh/frozen berries or Jam. I made it as one big bun/tea cake but I’m thinking I may made them as small individual buns for our Market stall this summer when our Raspberries are back in production.

You’ll notice in the recipe I have used salted butter. I do this in all my baking instead of adding extra salt I find it saves a tiny bit of time and still tastes just as good not to mention salted butter is generally cheaper!

Elephant’s Foot Blackberry Bun

IMG_4348

500g plain flour

5 teaspoons dried yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

60g melted butter salted

1 cup warm milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten (I use Duck eggs)

200g apples, peeled and diced

1/2 Cup Blackberry Syrup or 100g Berry of choice

2 to 3 teaspoons cornflour, optional

Sugar to taste

1 beaten egg for brushing (Milk or water could also be used)

For the icing

2 cups icing sugar

2 teaspoons butter, softened

 about 2 tablespoons berry juice or 1 tablespoon syrup

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut ( I chose not to use this in the icing)

1.Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre and pour in the butter and milk.  Mix well to form a soft dough, adding a little more milk if necessary, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until about doubled in size (about 1 hour).

2. Place the apple and Berry syrup/Berries in a saucepan over low heat and simmer until the apple is soft.  Sweeten the mixture to taste (not needed if using syrup you could even use Jam) .  If needed, thicken the mixture with the cornflour mixed to a paste with about one tablespoon cold water.

3.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut off three small (half walnut sized) pieces.  With the remaining part, roll out into a circle the size of a dinner plate.  Brush the edges with a little of the extra beaten egg (or milk or water), then place the cooled fruit mixture in the centre.

4.Brush the edges of the large piece with the egg/milk or water, then gather up the edges and press well together, then turn over with the seams to the bottom, making in effect a  circular parcel.

5.Place on a baking paper lined baking tray(cookie sheet), seam side down.  Brush all over with beaten egg or milk.    Roll the three small pieces of dough into balls and attach on one edge of the parcel (these represent the elephant’s toes).  Brush these with egg.

6.Allow to rise (covered with a tea towel) for 20 minutes.  Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 160 degrees and cook for 15 minutes more or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

7.To make the icing, mix together the icing sugar, butter and enough boiling water or mulberry juice to make a smooth spreading consistency.  Spread over cooled bun and sprinkle with the coconut.

YUM! IMG_4346

Baking, Fermenting, Homesteading, News

Herman the German Friendship Cake

Recently a friend said she wanted to introduce me to “Herman the German”. I was intrigued she later admitted he was a cake.  When she came over I was expecting a cake so when she handed me a container of sludge I was even more interested.

It turns out that sludge is Herman. He is a sour dough cake starter for a traditional friendship cake.  This is a Amish tradition where you split the starter to give to friends with instructions and keep one portion to use yourself. Well I haven’t yet managed to pass Herman on to anyone yet but I have made dozens of cakes to freeze and have kept him alive to give to my next visitor.

IMG_3777

I have found instructions on starting Herman on https://bellaandwill.wordpress.com/herman-the-german-friendship-cake/ and share them below they have some wonderful variations on the cake recipe on their blog.

The Herman Starter Mix

If you have never been given a starter mix for a friendship cake, it is very easy to make. This way you can start your own Herman and get sharing right away. Here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • 5oz plain flour
  • 8oz castor sugar
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • Half a pint of warm milk
  • 2 fl oz lukewarm water

What to do:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water for 10 minutes and stir.
  2. Add the flour and sugar then mix thoroughly.
  3. Slowly stir in the warm milk.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth.
  5. Leave in a cool dry place for 24 hours
  6. Now proceed from day one of the 10 day cycle.

German Friendship Cake

IMG_3778

Hello, my name is Herman, I am a sourdough cake.

I’m supposed to sit on your work top for 10 days.

You CANNOT put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I am dead.

Day 1. When you get Herman put him in a large mixing bowl or container and cover loosely with a tea towel or cling film.

Day 2. Stir well

Day 3. Stir well

Day 4. Herman is hungry. Add the following ingredients, stir well and cover again.

115g/4oz plain flour (1 cup)

225g/8oz granulated sugar (1 cup)

225ml/8oz milk (1 cup)

Day 5. Stir well

Day 6. Stir well

Day 7. Stir well

Day 8. Stir well

Day 9. Herman is hungry again! Add the same ingredients as day 4 and stir well.

Divide into four equal portions and give three away to friends with a copy of these instructions or keep one if you want to start a new batch.

The remaining Herman stays with you to be baked the following day.

Day 10. Herman is very hungry. Stir well and add the following:

225g/8oz sugar (1 cup)

1/2 tsp salt

225g/8oz plain flour (2 cups)

2 heaped tsp cinnamon

2 heaped tsp baking powder

175ml/6oz cooking oil (2/3 cup)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

2 cooking apples cut into chunks

1 cup raisins

 I have been experimenting with different fruits and have even seen bread recipes which I’m eager to try!

Baking, Foody things, gardening, Homesteading, News

Brunswick Stew, Ginger Snaps and seed raising

We’ve had a lovely grey day here and though we didn’t get much rain it gave a good excuse to hermit inside and do whole wholesome cooking.

I wanted to try a few more recipes from Marie W Lawrences farmers kitchen handbook that I had mentioned in a earlier post so today after getting some of our seeds in there mini greenhouses old strawberry and tomato punnets. I have found these to be excellent for raising seeds.

IMG_3466We also cooked a delicious Brunswick stew a recipe I had never tried. Traditionally it is cooked with squirrel but as we seem to be lacking these in Australia we used the suggested substitute of home grown chicken (well cockeral in our case) but I am keen to try it with rabbit.

Here is the recipe – I cooked it in a pressure cooker but I will write it up as is from the book with conversions.

Brunswick Stew

IMG_3465

  • 1.5KG Chicken (coat in the salt and pepper)
  • 3 slices Bacon
  • 1 large Onion chopped
  • 6-8 Peeled diced tomatoes (I just chopped I never bother peeling)
  • 11/2 C corn
  • 1/1/2C lima beans ( I used 1 tin 5 bean mix)
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2tsp marjoram
  • 2T Brown sugar ( I used 1)
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4t tobasco
  • 2C diced peeled potatoes

Recipe

IMG_3463

In a large pan cook diced bacon until the fat is rendered – remove bacon then brown the chicken pieces in the fat.

Once one side is browned turn over and throw in the onions to cook while the other side browns.

Stir in tomatoes, Marojam, brown sug, cider vinegar, worcestershire and Tobasco sauce bring to boil then simmer covered over medium heat for 20mins

Stir then add potatoes and beans, stir again then cover and cook for another 20 mins.

IMG_3464

Serve with homemade dinner rolls or buttermilk biscuits

and

GingerSnaps

IMG_3467

  • 2Cflour
  • 2t ginger
  • 1tcinnamon
  • 2t bi carb
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 3/4C butter
  • 1C sugar
  • 1egg
  • 1/4c molasses
  • extra sugar to roll dough in

Recipe

  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. beat in egg and molasses
  3. blend in dry ingredients
  4. roll teaspoon sized balls then toss in sugar place on greased tray 2″ apart

Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes the longer you bake the crunchier the cookie

I loved the flavour in these cookies they reminded me of dutch speculaars.

Homesteading, News

News

We had a lovely weekend here at the swap meet and sold many of our preserves and spaghetti squash. It was lovely to chat to people with similar passions and I really hope they enjoyed our produce.

This week we decided to harvest the pumpkins. I know we could have got a lot more out of the vines had we left them but we have a lot of seedlings that need to go into the ground and only limited chicken proof growing space. I have been getting increasing frustrated with the young chicks getting into my seedling growing patch so it’s time to get them in.

D made the beautiful arrangement and took this photo.

IMG_3392

We have been having a up and down battle with Kisses recently and went a week without milk even having to buy some! It started with her being on heat but then she just refused to let down , the milk was there but she was saving it for her calf. We really don’t want to build a stanchion as we don’t know how long we will be here and we like having a good relationship so we don’t need it. As separating during the day wasn’t working we now separate over night and milk in the morning HOORAY we are now back in business and I can make mozzarella today!

018

I had some new books arrive in the post so I thought I would throw in a wee book review to make up for my lack of recipes.

The first is Dick and James Strawbridge Cheese and dairy made at home cheese

I really enjoyed this father and son duos self sufficiency book and tv series not easy being green so I thought I’d give this one a try. It has some basic recipes that look easy to follow but focuses more on bought milk than owning your own cow. I was a little disappointed on the amount of cheese recipes as there are a lot of recipes for cooking dishes that use cheese but not so many on making the actual cheese but still I think I will use it. I am very excited about making the clotted cream to have with scones next time we have guests. This is a really simple recipe and I will share it when I next make it. All in all I thought it was a nice book and I do really like the small easy to read in bed size.

The other book I ordered was the farmers kitchen handbook by Marie W Lawrence

fbook

I am so excited by this book , I didn’t really know what to expect ordering it but it’s wonderful full of stories and great recipes for all the year. Like the cheese and dairy book it’s a small “read in bed size”So I look forward to thoroughly going through it all. Being a American book it has loads of great sweet recipes and I tried out the Boston Cream pie and WOW was it amazing so I will be making this again so I can share it with you. I will of course lower the sugar like I do with most recipes as the one in the book I thought was much to sweet especially for little ones.  The recipes in this book is set out to go with the American Seasons and there is one for traditional Easter bread with a dyed egg that I am eager to try this Easter.

Well that’s all for now Today I will be back soon with a Post for Lime Cordial and Mozzarella which I will make in the next two days.

Baking, gardening, Homesteading, News

Zucchini Bread

Recently I have been gifted loads of Zuchini from a few different friends this has been great as we didn’t grow any ourselves this year so the gift has satified my preserving addiction. I have already made Chutney and Pickles which I will write about in a separate post and still have so many left over! I will grate some and freeze them today for meals in winter but I felt inspired to make Zucchini bread for a yummy brunch yesterday and boy was it was so delicious I simply must share the recipe with you all.

IMG_3178

Zucchini Bread recipe 

Ingredients

zuccslice

1C Nuts (walnuts of mixed)    1 C Brown Sugar     3 large Eggs (I use Duck eggs)     2Tsp Vanilla extract (or essence)  1C Veg Oil   2C Plain Flour                                  1tsp Salt   1tsp Cinnamon   Pinch nutmeg  1Tsp bicarb soda                                       1/2 tsp baking powder   3 & 1/2C grated Zucchini ( I think I actually ended up with 5 Cups which made a really moist cake)  1 & 1/4 C oats   3Tbs raw sugar

Method

1.Heat Oven to 180 Degrees Celcius and great tin. I used a large bread tin but any will do.

Whisk Eggs, oil, sugar, Vanilla until smooth

zuccslice2

2. Slowly add sifted Flour , salt, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix to combine it will be quite a dry mix at this point

zuccslice3

zuccslice4

3. Fold in Zucchini, oats and nuts and pour into prepared tin then sprinkle with raw sugar and a few extra oats if you wish Bake 50-70mins or when  knife comes out clean.

zuccslice5

We ate ours with fresh cream, ricotta, stewed apples and blackberries YUM!

IMG_3176 IMG_3182IMG_3180