I’m always on the lookout for new bits and pieces for the garden, not necessarily always plants though. I recently picked up an old patio chair that someone no longer had any use for and had thrown away. I think that Gary thought that I had lost the plot!!! The old chair had plastic straps across the seat which weren’t really strong enough for what I wanted, so Gary replaced them with metal strips. Then armed with a spray can of metal undercoat and a pot of very pretty blue paint, I got to work transforming the dull old grey chair into a piece for the garden. I love the final result and can’t wait for the ivy geranium to get growing and mingle in and out of the pretty blue structure. On the same outing I also managed to get a small broken base of a metal table that has been turned upside down and secured in the raspberry patch – it is holding a little pot ready to be planted up – and then there was the rack from an old golf buggy that I have pushed into the ground and placed an old baking dish filled with stones on, and then topped it with a pot of strawberries – What a wonderful treasure hunt…
Similarly, now that I am doing a little cooking for a couple of local businesses, I find that we always have left over milk, cream and butter that I cannot use for the next cook. As for the leftover commercially made butter, it is used for the making of delicious, tangy lemon curd, as well as pastry and the occasional batch biscuits/cookies. The milk is turned into a quick cheese for making weed pies, ravioli ignudi, and sweet short pastry which is great for making little tart cases etc. However, when I went to the fridge last week and was faced with four partially used cartons of pure cream, there was only one thing to do – make my own butter!!! Homemade table butter with a smattering of our favourite Murray River Pink Salt throughout.
I had to go way back to my childhood memories, and time spent with my Gran, who made butter every Friday. The easy part was churning the cream. Then it had to be washed with water, but then that water had to be removed from within the butter. This lead to my memory recall being pushed to the limit. I could remember the slapping of the butter with the butter pats and the noise it made – but I didn’t seem to be achieving the desired result! Then I remembered the basin my Gran used to use… She always used her Sunbeam Mixmaster to whip the cream to butter. The basin of the Sunbeam had quite strait sides, whereas my Kenwood basin is more tulip shaped and therein was my problem. A quick think and I took out my stainless steel Dutch oven, transferred the mixture to it. A lot more slapping, water removed, salt added and then the butter was shaped. We are now enjoying the homemade butter with little bits of crunchy salt throughout.
Finally, my compost was not doing what it was supposed to do – break down. I have two systems – one open air, enclosed in mesh wire and the other in the poly type compost bins. I had previously determined that the fresh kitchen and garden waste would break down much more efficiently in the poly bins, and then when it reached a certain stage, I would transfer it to the wire bins to finish. But alas, I was time poor and decided to forgo that system… Lesson learnt – it was not working. So I set to with shovel, pitch fork and energy, emptying all five of my compost bins, transferring the matter to the correct bins (totally filling two) and retired exhausted but happy at the end of the day. The contents of the bins has already started to reduce – a good sign. I’ll have some wonderful decomposed compost for our garden soon. My lesson here – do things properly the first time!
So with a little thought, you never know what can be created from someone’s discarded junk or from accumulated leftovers in the fridge, and the waste from the kitchen and the garden.
- 210 g Gluten free flour blend
- 70 g pure icing sugar
- 1 tsp xanthum gum
- 125 g butter softened
- 100 g ricotta cheese drained (or homemade cheese)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Add the flour, icing sugar and xanthum gum to a bowl and mix together.
Place the butter, cheese, egg yolk and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor and then add the dry ingredients.
Pulse only until the dough starts to form a ball.. (TM speed 3, 20 seconds)
Remove the dough to a large sheet of baking paper or a pastry sheet and knead to form a smooth ball.
Divide the dough in half and flatten into two discs.
Cover each disc closely with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- You can store the dough in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze it until needed.
- If you have time, make a batch and freeze it for when you need to whip up a quick tart or pie.
- I always blind bake the tart base for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 200˚C, then add the fruit and if required, a pastry lid, before continuing baking.
Until next time…
Happy gardening & bon appétit!
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