Foody things, Homesteading, News

Drowning in Apples and eating well -Beetroot falafel recipe!

Well we’ve definitely been keeping ourselves busy which is good as it keeps us out of trouble!.
Mr Hunter Gatherer is due to start Apple picking soon so we are pushing ourselves to get as much done as possible before he’s away for long hours.

Fortunately Apple prep is something the whole family can get involved in and the kids love using the Apple slinky machine to peel and cut the apples. This is great as we have 6 trees which are all grafted with multiple varieties so we will have apples for months!

We are certainly making he most of the fruit by canning Apple pie filling, hard cider and dehydrating slices, Apple sugar and Apple juice to freeze and enjoy through the year, I’d like to try again to make my own liquid pectin to help set jellies.
From the scraps we are making Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup which is our version on cheap maple syrup!.
I’d really like to attempt some Apple stroop having recently lost my Oma it will be a homage to my Dutch heritage.

I finally bit the bullet this season and bought a canning funnel for the high price of $2.80 on eBay! Man I wish I’d just bought one of these at the start of my canning adventures as it really does make like soooo much easier.

I’ll also be using Sally wises recipe for canning Apple pulp which I’ll later turn into Apple bbq sauce. I really hate waste so I like to make use of every fruit we preserve in a variety of ways.

We’ve been making a conscious decision to eat healthy and more frugally by getting creative with what we grow. We have a lot of beetroots ready to come up and besides pickling and kimchi I’ve been researching different ways to enjoy them with dinner. I came across a great beetroot felafel recipe which we enjoyed with homemade flatbread and garden veg. I’ll share my adapted recipe with you now.

Beetroot felalfel

2 cups dry chickpeas – soaked or cooked in the pressure canner
2 cups shredded raw beetroot
1 tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
1 handful fresh chopped  tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pop everything into a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs you may need to add a touch of water.

Lightly knead mixture and Roll into balls and place on a baking tray. Bake at 200C for 20 mins or until lightly brown.

Enjoy in salads, flat bread or burgers ūüôā

Pop everything into a

Homesteading, News

Crochet Crazies

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Well I’m hooked (pardon the pun) since I’ve finished up most of the preserving and gardening chores the weather has kept us indoors mostly. The kids have avoided cabin fever by lots of craft and messy creative play but I’ve had to find something to keep me sane when I can’t get us all outside and I struggle with the anxiety of finding a new home for us in Tasmania.

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I’ve always been a knitter. Not a great knitter but I preferred it to crochet as I couldn’t figure out the patterns or what I was doing. It’s been roughly ¬†10 years since I picked up a hook but now with the help¬†of you tube and google I’ve managed to decipher and learn new stitches with ease and I love it!

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You may remember the mermaid blanket project I mentioned in a previous post that I took on for Little¬†¬†Miss Hunter Gatherer well many mistakes were made and it is now a family sized blanket not a Mermaid tail blanket. I am thrilled with my achievement but have decided to take on smaller projects until I’m ready to face the tail and try again.

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My Next project after this was soap savers and they are great. They stop the kids ¬†leaving the soap in the tub and can be used to¬†exfoliate. I just used acrylic yarn for my first practice runs but I’d like to make some in cotton and natural fibers later.

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After this I made a plastic bag holder to replace the ugly recycled milk bottle plastic bag holder. It’s much nicer and now I’ve accomplished this pattern I can easily make shopping bags for our market adventures in Tassie.

I’ve even made cup cozies and unearthed some vintage patterns that I didn’t even know I had while packing up my studio!

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My current project is a crochet crown for little miss hunter gatherer and after that will be one for the young lad. I’m really enjoying this distraction from the stress of house hunting. Twice we have thought we found the perfect home, we’ve gone through the applications, been approved and then the owner has changed their mind due to personal reasons. This makes it hard with such a big move as we are left in Limbo. So Please universe if your listening send us our long term homestead rental in Tassie!

Foraging, Preserving, Uncategorized

Busy Busy

It has been another busy week here. The freezer is absolutely chockers and I had no room to fit in the plums we got last weekend. Over a few days (and in between kid and animal wrangling)  we managed to bottle some whole, make a few different varieties of Jam and sauces, replenish the Worcestershire stocks and try our hand at fruit leather.

I think I have found a new addiction in fruit leather as it’s simple to make and really delicious ( If you are Australian you might know the processed version of fruit leather known as roll ups) . We first tried it in Tasmania where it is widely available at market stalls and I had been researching different ways to make it.

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The first lot we made by simply pureeing the fresh plums adding a little sugar and popping in the dehydrator. I found the puree wasn’t consistent so I tried a different method of baking the plum halves with a sprinkling of sugar on top before pureeing in the food processor. This made a much smoother consistency and resulted in a delicious leather.

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In between all this we managed another family forage for Elderberries. Miss N was kept busy taking photos of us and we filled 3 5 litre buckets and will go for more later when the tree in our other spot is ripe. We tried a few different methods of de-stalking the berries. This is a very painstaking and tedious task and we can see why the berries are not available commercially. The first de-stalking method involved  was freezing the berries on the stalk and then breaking them off this works well in the beginning but as the berries start to defrost its not really that effective.

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The most effective and fastest method for us was using a fork and using it to pull the berries off the stalk. This saved our fingers going purple and got us through the mountains of berries. Elderberries are a antioxidant, diuretic, laxative, immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory and is high in vitamin A,B and C

I’ve made up two versions of syrup which is a health tonic to get us through the winter and keep cold and flu at bay. My first version is Raw honey based one it doesn’t taste as good but has the added benefits of raw honey. I’ve decided not to hot process it as I was worried about damaging the benefits of the honey so this one is stored in the fridge. I’ve made enough for our supplies and enough to sell some jars.

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Version number two was sugar based this tastes a lot better and I pressure canned it so I can store it in the pantry.

Both versions contain the benefits of the berries so I really don’t know which is better and I think it comes down to personal choice.

We have also bottled up batches of Elderberry Kombucha and the last job will be making Elderberry fruit leather. Through all this chaos I’m still passionate (and obsessed) with preserving but I really do NOT want to deal with another plum until next year that’s for sure!

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Now we are off to get ready for the Tarana Farmers Markets tomorrow. We love our market days because it’s a chance to share our passion for good food and local produce but it’s also a great way to meet people in the community and we have made many friends since starting markets. If your new to a small rural community and feeling a little lost and alone get out and chat to the stall holders chances are they are looking for new friend too.

Until next post keep gathering!

Fermenting, Herbal Medicine, Homesteading, Preserving, Uncategorized

Fire Cider

Last year I started to take more of a interest in Herbal Medicine. I hope to study it one day when time permits but in the meantime I am doing a lot of self education and investigation. I first came across fire cider in one of my Pinterest trawls and I was intrigued. I read up a lot on it and it has been on my to do list ever since.

Fire Cider is a traditional remedy¬†which had deep roots in Folk medicine. ¬†Generally it is made with Horseradish, garlic, onion, vinegar and whatever appropriate herbs that are growing when you make it. For generations Fire cider has a simple and effective remedy to relieve sinus congestion, ward off colds and flu, aid digestion, and increase circulation it can be taken on it’s own or added to juice which is what I will do for the kids.

I changed the recipe a bit and used a combination of Apple cider vinegar I had made from foraged apples last year and JUN (pronounced JOON I think)  a fermented green tea and honey drink. As this is folk medicine you will come across many variations of the recipe in google searches and I will share mine with you today.

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Hunter gatherer Fire Cider 

2 Large Onions

4 cloves Garlic

1 Orange cut up

4C JUN or Kombucha

1C Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tbs Fresh ginger

2 Tbs Raw honey

1 Tbs Turmeric

2 Tbs Horseradish

Handful Parsley, Thyme and Rosemary

2 Hot chillies

Cut up onion and garlic and divide these plus the rest of the ingredients between the two jars or pop into one big jar depending on your vessel.

Add Liquid , Seal Jars and shake daily let sit for 6 weeks (Or longer if you want) Then strain the liquid and bottle.

You can add extra honey at bottling if you want it sweeter.

Now you can either refrigerate it or have it to continue to ferment and turn more vinegary. This is what I plan to do as I believe it will give further health benefits but I think it’s down to individual preference.

Here’s to a winter of quick cold cures!!

Baking, Homesteading, News, Uncategorized

Festivities and Fun

It’s boxing day and we are enjoying a relaxing day appreciating the beautiful place we live in. I have marigold jelly simmering on the stove top, Nyah and Dane have gone for a walk in the paddocks and Banjo is engrossed in his new puzzle. Bliss!

Yesterday evening after a day of family and too much food the kids were so exhausted from all the fun they were out cold by 6pm. I decided to take the christmas tree down for a fresh start this morning. After the decorations were packed away I took it outside to stick it in the compost stopping on the way to give Kisses a pat and let her investigate the pine needles. Well she must not have taken kindly to me removing the tree from her mouth because on my return to give her another rub she gave me a HUGE head butt that lifted me into the air and left me sore and tender! Fortunately she hit the space with the most padding but it was a painful lesson nonetheless and I will be watching her even more closely around the kids. She is the most gentle cow but she is still a large heavy animal!

For Christmas Eve Dessert we enjoyed a delicious Raspberry Cheesecake with our berries (Let me know if you would like the recipe ) . I do wish we were already milking so it was our own cheese but I can always make another can’t I!

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The rest of our eve meal was made up of produce from our garden and Lamb gifted to us by our neighbor it was such a wonderful feeling knowing the majority of our food was so fresh and had so much love put into it.

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beets

We harvested the first Zucchini of the season and made a Zucchini , Feta, Chickpea and chard salad a fennel, orange, water melon radish and nastursium salad. We roasted some of the baby beets and they looked so amazing when cut open that I had to take a photo!

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For our feasts today we are spoiling ourselves with delicious cheese and smoked salmon on homemade sour dough toasts. I have been making sourdough twice a week and I’m loving the complexity of flavour my starter is getting. As I am baking regularly now I have not been putting it in the fridge like I used to and it’s very lively. I’m a lazy baker when it comes to breads I struggle to knead properly and I’ve now got a great system of no knead bread going this means we get regular loaves with minimal effort. Miss Nyah still complains of the hard crust but we just tell her to leave it for the chooks.

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No Knead Sour dough Bread

Ingredients

4C flour

2C Sourdough starter

1TBS Sugar

1Tsp salt

2C water

Method

Plonk everything into a bowl mix and cover to rise/come together for 8-12 hours

stick it into a greased pan (Here you can do a second 2 hour rise or stick it in the oven)

In a preheated oven cook on 230C for 20 mins reduce to 170C for 30mins

Eat and enjoy ūüôā

 

Fermenting, Foraging, gardening, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Weekend Work and Foraging Fun

We had a wonderful day at our stall at our local Oberon Farmers market we nearly sold out of Kombucha and met so many lovely people who were new to the area and had lots of great chats about foraging and preserving. One of these chats revealed the whereabouts of a wild elder flower tree not far from our place.

This morning after our regular chores of watering the garden, chickens and animals I spent some time bottling Tepache which is a mexican beer recipe made by fermenting pineapple skins, brown sugar and spices. I will leave one bottle¬†to do a second and maybe another to do a third ferment to be alcoholic and I can’t wait to try it at Christmas time!

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After the Tepache is was time to bottle more Kombucha I decided this time to try out a new flavor of Hibiscus, Honey and Jasmine. It will be a real struggle to wait another week to try this one as it smells heavenly.

While I kept bottling Dane went out to collect the seeds from our Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Kale. We have huge amount of seeds much more than we will need but I hope we can use them to Barter with other growers to get some more varieties of seeds later on.

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Kombucha bottled we discussed our plans for the day and decided we would go on a adventure to try and find this elder tree to forage some more flowers for cordials. I didn’t have high hopes as generally when we go on adventures to try and find things we don’t have the greatest success but this tree was exactly where we were told it was the only problem was all the best flowers we would need a cherry picker to get too!!

We collected enough to make 7 litres of cordial and 5 litres of Sparkling wine

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I had already been making fermented soft drinks last year and I discovered the process is very similar to country wine so the only thing I did differently is add the wine yeast IMG_4846

I will let everything sit for a few days in the container stirring it everyday and then I will bottle it and give it a few months where I will open a bottle in winter to enjoy the tastes of summer.

it is now getting cool enough outside that we can venture back out and collect some raspberries. I haven’t managed to get enough for my products yet as the kids keep hoovering them up as soon as they come off the bush!

Until next post enjoy the rest of your weekend

Homesteading, Preserving, Uncategorized

Canning Pineapple Cordial and Chicken stock

With all my Market stock prepped and not much to do for a few weeks until it’s fruit picking time I’ve found myself with some free time to get back into some homestead canning. Our deep freeze was bulging with “to dos” so I set to work making Apple cider vinegar, Chicken Stock and Pineapple Cordial.

I loath throwing things away and waste. Years of working in the hospitality industry made me feel disgusted at the amount of food thrown away and wasted, often full meals only picked at before they are thrown away. All of the things I made yesterday were made from “Rubbish” or “Scraps” that I had scrounged away and frozen until I had enough to make something new and nutritious.

The Pineapple cordial I saved the skins and the core I feel good about this as so much seems wasted once you cut to get to the flesh.

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The chicken stock was the carcasses of 4 chickens after each meal we freeze the bones we also save our carrot, onion, celery and other suitable vegetable scraps.

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The Apple Cider vinegar is started from all the apples my toddler starts eating and never finishes plus the cores from apples Dane and I eat.

You’ll be amazed what you can make out of “waste” materials I’ve even made pies from the left overs of making stonefruit cordials but that’s a post for another day.

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Pineapple Cordial 

Ingredients

Skins and core from two pineapples

1litre of water (This can be more or less depending on the size of your pan)

Sugar

2 tsp Tartaric acid

Method

Add pineapple and water to the pan and bring to boil

Turn off and strain liquid

for each cup of liquid add one cup on sugar

Stir to dissolve and bring back to boil

Once boiling for 10 minutes add tartaric acid

Boil for a further 2 minutes then pop into sterilized bottles

Water bath Canned these will keep for a year on a dark shelf or opened and in the fridge drink within a month.