A ride to market

What a glorious day it was on Sunday; the air was crisp, the sun was shining and there was barely a breeze. The perfect day for a bike ride, and with a little farmer’s market on in the next town, that’s where we headed – Stratford.

It’s a relatively easy ride along a “rail trail”, that is if you are used to riding a bike and are fit – I am neither! The scenery is beautiful, as is the bird life along the way. At one stage we stop alongside a paddock where a large flock of black swans are feasting, and among them are two beautiful ducks. We couldn’t resist getting the camera out and trying to get a photo, even though these gorgeous birds were some distance away.Slide1

After a few distractions along the way, we finally make it to the market which is set up in a little park, nestled on the banks of the Avon river. It is a very small market, just a few stalls, a honey stall, second hand book stall, craft stall where we find a gorgeous gift for our beautiful great neice’s second birthday, an apple stall and a bag of beautiful crisp red apples are purchased, there’s also a bric-a-brac type stall, a native plant stall, an art stall and finally the vegie stall. I have bought vegetables from this stall holder before and they were beautiful, they keep fresh for much longer than normal, probably because they are much fresher than what you buy at the shop! I walk along and decided to get a couple of leeks – I have leftover cooked chicken in the fridge from last night’s dinner, so will probably make a chicken and leek pie during the week. Then I choose some salad. I want a cabbage, so they climb onto the back of the truck and find a lovely one for me, and finally… I cannot resist the beautiful bunch of coloured carrots that’s laying on the table – I know I have plenty of carrots at home, but these are different. We chat to the stall holder and he tells us that people get confused when they see the white or cream carrots, often thinking they are parsnips!

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All done, we load our purchases into the basket on my bike, the apples go into my husband’s backpack, and we head off home. I soon discover a problem with the load in the basket on the back of my bike… For a relative beginner bike rider, I find it throws me off balance in certain situations, and almost come to grief as I struggle up an incline. So decide if faced with that scenario again, I’ll get off and wheel the bike. We stop as we cross the bridge over the Avon so that I can take some photos, but I don’t think that they do the scenery justice, I just love this place.

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Further along the track we look across to the mountains and there are little specs of white, I wonder if it is snow?

Finally back home from our 20 km round trip, we put the bits and pieces away and head to the garden for a while, where I begin to think about what to do with those beautiful carrots for our dinner.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Waste not, want not!

Like many people, I hate waste!

Last weekend I picked up a bunch of beautiful organic white turnips from the Farmer’s Market in Sale. The tops looked amazing, which got me to thinking about conversations I used to have with a friend I worked with. She told me how members of her family would collect greens for their cooking. Probably some of these greens we would call weeds. So I went in search of my Greek cook book and found a recipe for “Wild Greens Pie” or as I would call it “Weed Pie”. The recipe calls for a mixture of wild greens, including dandelion, mustard, chickweed, rocket, wild fennel, beetroot greens etc. I decided I would make something similar, but use the turnip tops, and some rainbow chard that I have in pots (my vegie patch is yet to be established). I should also have added some sorrel, but forgot I had it in another pot! In the fridge I had some of my homemade cheese just waiting for the right recipe, so instead of feta, I used that.

For the pie crust I used my Savoury Potato Pastry . I love this pastry, it’s gluten free and uses mashed potato. So whenever I have leftover mashed potato,I whip up a batch and freeze it, so generally always have a batch ready to whip and use. One day I had some leftover sweet potato mash and used that instead of normal potato. It was the perfect crust for an Indian style curry pie that I topped with slices of roasted cauliflower. I now have some blue potatoes – now that would make for an interesting crust colour! Anyway, I digress… This is the first time that I have actually used this pastry for a full pie, I generally only use it blind baked for savoury tarts and quiches. It worked perfectly, I was so happy, and now can’t wait to use it to make my Gran’s savoury mince slice. She would bake it and serve it cold, particularly for picnic type meals. It’s delicious, and guess what, it has white turnips in it.DSC03385

So, my “Weed Pies” used up the turnip tops, which most of us generally toss away, left over cheese and left over mashed potato…

 

 

 

As I said, “Waste not, want not!

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

 

I love how food evokes such wonderful memories…

We have wonderful friends in France, and it was my dear friend, Véronique, who taught me how to make brioche.   Her brioche was nothing like that found in Australia, it was light, delicate, sweet, buttery, everything that a brioche should be. When we returned to Australia I was very enthusiastic and excited to make it myself, however it took quite a few attempts to get the finished product to be anything like my beautiful friend’s, I had to find fresh yeast and try out different flours, etc, until I got the recipe right. Since then, over the years, there have been many, many, many batches of this beautiful sweet bread made in my kitchen.

I used to make it quite regularly for my family and friends, and took it to work for special morning teas. It is always a hit, very popular indeed. However, life got busy and I had stopped making it as often.

Recently I managed to get some fresh yeast, and have started making it again, much to my husband, Gary’s, delight! Now when I get fresh yeast, I make a batch and freeze it, taking one out every couple of days for him to have with his breakfast.

Last night, I made the dough, popped it in the fridge overnight, and then this morning, I finished the dough, shaped it, popped it into the little brioche tins,DSC03362

let it rise,

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and the end result is…

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This final photo reminds me of sharing delicious home cooked food with our wonderful friends in country France. The times we spend with them at their home, and also the time they took us to the early morning dawn service on Anzac Day in Villers-Bretonneux. An experience we will never forget.

I was actually lucky enough to try Véronique’s Brioche, because at that time, I had not been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, but now I get to cook it and watch others enjoy it   Alas, now my challenge is to try and make something similar (it will never be the same) that is gluten free.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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The perfect Pumpkin Soup day!

I have been procrastinating about starting this blog for some time now, but today is the perfect day to get started. It’s a very typical winter’s day, and it hasn’t stopped raining all morning, so no excuses… Well actually I could be in the kitchen, but it’s time to start sharing some of the fun things I have been doing since we made this wonderful lifestyle change.

Apart from stocking the pantry and freezer, I’ve been having a wonderful time sourcing wonderful local ingredients, sussing out small local farmer’s markets, meeting the producers, and I’ve even been to a cheese making class, which was a fantastic opportunity to meet like minded people and brush up on the little knowledge that I have about making cheese.

Having picked up some amazing ingredients along the way, of course, the preserves pantry is starting to look fantastic. I’ve made jellies, pickles, sauces etc. and what I am really Preserves - 19 June 2016looking forward to trying out is the mulled wine pears that are sitting there just crying out to be used… But that’s for another blog.

Today I wanted to share with you, the recipe for the wonderful pumpkin soup that I have made. Perfect for days like these… Comforting, warm, and even a little luxurious. It is my Pumpkin Soup with Yoghurt and a Crunchy Topping.

We recently went out for a drive to check out some of the country side, and along the way, we picked up a few pumpkins from a farm gate stall. I love the combination of pumpkin and cumin, which is where this soup started. Often a pumpkin soup has either apple or potato added, just to thicken it a little. But having a small piece of sweet potato that needed to be used, I thought it would be a perfect alternative. As I was making the soup, I was wondering how I would serve it. I had some French shallots, and knew that these could be thinly sliced and fried, making them delicious and crunchy; and of course, who can go past some lovely crispy bacon. The final addition was the dukkah, which just finished it off and blended perfectly, given the earlier addition of the cumin to the soup.

The result was a delicious, silky smooth soup, complemented by the cool tartness of the yoghurt, the crispy topping of the shallots and bacon and the final sprinkle of dukkah to add a further hint of spice to the dish.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

PS – Please bare with me as I get this site up and running!

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