Monthly Archives: September 2016

Gippsland Jersey – buying milk directly from our farmers – well almost…

Not long after we moved to our new home in Maffra I happened upon a shop called Heathy Fermenting and I just had to go in and have a look. I noticed cheese and yoghurt making supplies, preserving supplies and a lot more, and started chatting to the owner, Gordon. He mentioned that he would be holding cheese making classes soon, so I put my name down for him to let me know the date, time and location. Not long after, an email landed in my inbox, to which I promptly responded and booked in for the class. The class was wonderful, friendly and informative. We all went home ready to make our first batch of cheese, and looking forward to the next class. However, it was at the class that I was told that there was a push for local farmers to be able to sell their own milk and something would be happening soon. I wasn’t sure how or when this was to happen, but given the treatment of our farmers by the fat corporates, I have been watching out.

I am now so, so excited to tell you that when I was reading the local newspaper earlier this week, I noticed this little piece about “Gippsland Jersey

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Gippsland Times, 20 September 2016, page 21

A quick search of the internet and I discovered that Healthy Fermenting stocked their milk. I told Gary about the story and he went and bought our first 2 litre bottle. But it just wasn’t the milk that he came home with… It was also the interaction, he told me how interesting it was in the shop, chatting to Gordon and learning how this little milk brand is going to help our struggling dairy farmers, also while they were chatting, another chap walked in just to thank Gordon for introducing him to Gippsland Jersey – he had been trying to get his children and grandchildren to stop drinking softdrink and to drink more milk – this milk has done the trick. They love the taste and he is one happy dad and grandfather.

You know we forget, dairy cows don’t take the weekend off, they have to be milked 7 days a week, so the farmers don’t get a day off either, it’s not an easy life, it is hard work, and long days. Meanwhile the fat corporates sit in their ivory towers earning obscene amounts of money for themselves and their shareholders (just check out their recent after tax profits), but they pay our hardworking farmers a pittance in return, in fact, as you may or may not know they recently reduced how much they pay them! – OK now I’ll step down from my soapbox, sorry…

So I wanted to do something with this new beautiful product… What to make – Crème Caramel seamed like an obvious choice, but I had never made it before. I hit the books and found two recipes. Of course they were both different. The one I wanted to make simply said, “pour the resulting custard into a caramel-coated mould”, it didn’t give quantities or instruction on how to make the caramel. So I decided to make the custard recipe from one book and the caramel from the other. Again, having not made a Crème Caramel before, when I poured the caramel into the moulds, it set rock hard! I panicked – I thought I would have a horrible mess and what about our teeth! So took a deep breath, calmed down and decided to follow the recipe.

They were a triumph, beautiful creamy custard and golden caramel!  I can’t wait to use Gippsland Jersey to make my yoghurt.

So, if you can, please by local, help our farmers, and reward yourself in more ways than you think.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Gippsland Jersey

Heathy Fermenting

Golden Crème Caramel

Inspiration from the garden

A walk in the garden was all that was needed to tell me what I should be writing about today! I went out to do some weeding and discovered the quince tree bursting into bloom. What a truly beautiful flower this tree has, and of course, to top it all off, next year we should have a lovely crop of quinces to deal with in the kitchen.

Our tree is certainly not a young tree, and gives a lot of character to the garden. It is nicely placed to form a partial barrier from the main garden to where we are now establishing our vegetable garden and espaliered fruit orchard. It will also provide a little shelter for the new little garden shed, which will go up in the next week or two.

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A lot is written about what can be done with the fruit of this beautiful tree, but very rarely does anyone mention the beautiful flower that comes before the fruit. I think it is stunning, a delicate pink bud that opens to a 3-4 cm bloom which is the most delicate of pink. I just needed to feature it somehow in a blog. So – what to cook…

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dsc05609Fortunately in my store I have jars of preserved quinces ready to be used whenever I choose. I must add that I also have jars of quince paste and quince jelly as well. But this time I decided to use the quinces preserved in syrup, along with some spiced honey that I had also prepared and stored. I thought the use of the spiced honey was most appropriate, given the work that the bees are doing among the quince flowers. The final result was a Spiced Honey and Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Quince and Crunchy Granola – I have to say, that it was delicious.

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Spiced Honey & Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Quinces & Granola

 

For those who have been following what’s in bloom, you might like to check the progress of the The Grand Old Dame – I think she is going to be very happy and cannot wait to see her in full bloom – I wonder what colour she will be? I have also added a page showing what we have done with “The Kitchen Wall Rose Bed

Finally I must apologise for being a little quiet of late, but we have been very busy with guests and our grandson’s 2nd birthday, for which I did a little cooking and cake decorating.

 

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Spiced Honey and Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Quince and Crunchy Granola

The Grand Old Dame

The Kitchen Wall Rose Bed

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A Father’s Day Surprise

Late last week I received a call from Chris to see if they could come for dinner on Saturday night to surprise his dad for Father’s Day. He had planned to travel 2.5 hours back to Melbourne the same night, so I suggested that they stay the night here – it just meant re-arranging beds for the night, as we also had others visiting the same night. He accepted the offer, but it was to be kept a secret, as he wanted to surprise his dad.

With everything arranged, I just needed to cook more food for dinner on Saturday night, and had planned to prepare a Father’s Day brunch, anyway – so again, just needed to increase the quantities.

Margaret, another of our wonderful friends, arrived for lunch yesterday. So before she arrived, I prepared food for our evening meal and the Sunday brunch, while Fabien set to and made a delicious Caesar Salad for our lunch.

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Fabien’s Caesar Salad starring beautiful bacon from Coltish Pork

We finished the meal off with some beautiful cheeses (thank you Margaret), bread, biscuits and little pieces of lemon slice.

Once we cleaned up Fabien feigned that he was going for a nap, but really, he was putting clean linens on the bed for Chris and Cin, as he was going to sleep on an air bed in the sitting room overnight. Gary was non-the-wiser! Margaret and I took a walk around the garden – she loves gardening as much as I do, and it was wonderful discussing our plans with her.

Meanwhile, Chris had messaged me as they left Melbourne, so I had a rough idea of the arrival time – approximately 6:30 pm. I snuck out and unlocked the side gate, but when he messaged that they were 2 minutes away, I snuck out again and let them in. They managed to get in through the house to the kitchen where Gary was sitting chatting to Margaret. He got such a wonderful surprise, he was very happy. Dinner was late, but it was wonderful having everyone here.

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Pumpkin soup with pan seared scallops and black sea salt

This morning we were up around 7am, so went to the kitchen and got the brioche in the tins and rising. I had cold smoked the salmon yesterday, and it was in the fridge, together with my home made natural yoghurt, roasted mangoes, and fresh berries. I then set to making hollandaise sauce in the Thermomix and I got to teach Margaret how to cook poached eggs – so she looked after them for me. Finally, from the pantry I took home made crunchy granola, and the table was set. So we wrapped up the Father’s Day Surprise with a lovely, relaxing brunch.

 

To my wonderful husband, Gary, son, Chris and son-in-law, Steven, you are all amazing role models for your children – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Véronique’s Brioche

Crunchy Gluten Free Granola

The bees are busy collecting pollen from our beautiful blue rosemary

Mirabelle Plum

 

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A little time to relax in the kitchen.

After such a frantic few weeks, a couple of days ago I took a little time to relax in the kitchen and re-energise. So put on some music and got to it…

The first thing I did was put on a little lamb chump pot roast for our dinner, this lamb has been sourced locally from Forge Creek Lamb, and I am really enjoying trying new recipes with it. Then I set to curing a piece of salmon ready to go into the cold smoker on Saturday. Cold smoking salmon is a long process, the salmon needs to be salted and left to cure for at least six hours, then washed and patted dry, then left uncovered in the fridge for at least another 24 hours before being placed into the cold smoker for at least 6 hours… I decided to amp up the cure a little, and added some juniper berries, black peppercorns, coriander seeds and fennel seeds. So we’ll see how it goes.

Next on the list was a basic biscuit, crisp coconut biscuits. This recipe is great for a biscuit that goes wonderfully with a cuppa, however, it is also perfect for anything that you need a melt and mix biscuit base for, and it’s gluten free. Finally, I made another batch of crunchy gluten free granola. This time, though, I added some goji berries, into the mix – they look like little red jewels, plus they are so good for you.

The lamb was delicious, I had added some bacon rind and fat that I had removed from some beautiful free range Berkshire pork bacon, purchased from one of the local

producers, Coltish Pork – these bacon scraps added a slight smokiness to the sauce. I served the lamb with a mash of two potatoes that was flavoured with cumin and little cheese, and to lighten the meal a little, some steamed greens.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

Crisp Coconut Biscuits (Gluten Free)

Crunchy Gluten Free Granola

Slow Cooked Whole Lamb Chump

Gluten Free Flour Blend

 

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