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.

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.

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.

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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

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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!