Tag Archives: Family

Oranges 1 – A recap!

The oranges are gone, well, with the exception of the few that have been set aside for our breakfast fruit over the next week or so. Overall things went really well, and we have some lovely goodies stashed in the store for future use. We’ve also enjoyed some orange flavoured meals as well.

That being said, the marmalade proved to be my nemisis. The first batch didn’t set and discoloured!  What to do… Add Cointreau to the mix, and lable it as Orange and Cointreau Syrup for use with desserts – I have to say it goes deliciously with date pudding !

So what was the problem?  More pectin you say? That’s what I thought, anyway. So I saved all the pips from the oranges and lemons used in all the other recipes – I had a lovely little pile of them by the time it come to revisit the marmalade. Neither Gary, nor I, could understand what happened to the first batch, it’s never happened before…

With everything prepared, I started again – it was looking beautiful, time to test for set, and again… it just wouldn’t set and turned dark. Fearing it would burn, I took it off the heat and bottled it. The next morning when I checked, it was syrup, nothing like the lovely jelly like consistency of marmalade. By this time I thought I knew what the problem was – while the pot I was using was big enough, it was tall and narrow, not wide and squat.

Not wanting to waste the fruit sugar and time and effort, this time we decided to try and cook it a little more. It just got darker, and again wouldn’t set. Finally, I had to bite the bullet and use commercial pectin (I have plans to make my own in future, but didn’t have time at this point). Set was reached, it doesn’t taste too bad, really, just sweeter than usual and it looks like treacle!  A new wider, shallower, preserving pan style, pot has now been ordered and is on its way. I am hoping that by using it, we will avoid any more marmalade dramas.

So what was cooked? You will have seen some of the goodies in previous posts, but here is the list in full…

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There is one more recipe brewing, but it is going to take another couple of weeks – Collette’s Vin D’Orange. I will put up a post about it when its ready, and let you know what it is like.

Finally given that Jan provided all the oranges for this little marathon, I thought it only propper that I share the recipe for this delicious dessert that she has shared with me – Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream.

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream

This simple little dessert is the perfect way to finish a meal. It can be prepared ahead - adding the Yoghurt Cream and pistachios just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 6 large navel oranges
  • 6 fresh dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbs pure icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

For the Greek Yoghurt Cream

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 125 g light cream cheese
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
  • 1 tsp pure icing sugar

Directions

  1. To make the yoghurt cream, place the yoghurt, cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Use a small sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until combined. Place the cream and icing sugar in a bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Fold into yoghurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
  2. Cut top and base from each orange. Use a sharp knife to remove skin and white pith. Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments.
  3. Combine orange, dates and mint in a bowl. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. Toss to combine.
  4. Divide fruit among serving plates and serve with pistachios and yoghurt cream.
  5. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

Notes:

  • My sister Jan passed this recipe to me, she received it from her friend, Mandy, who found it in Australian Good Taste – September 2011, p.80 .
  • Allow 2 hours chilling time.

 

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Sticks 

Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

Orange and Mint Jelly 

Orange Cordial

Spiced Oranges

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream 

Sugar Coated Candied Orange Sticks 

Zingy Citrus Mocktail

Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

My mum has been telling me about Nana’s potato salad for the last few months, and with the oranges on hand, I called and got the recipe… It was boiled potatoes, diced; orange, diced; white salad onion, finely diced; and the dressing was the only dressing I knew when I was growing up – cream, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Of course there were no quantities given.  Mum and I chatted a little and I told her I planned to change the dressing, add fresh herbs and use some different potatoes – she wants me to let her know how it went.

A delicious, refreshing salad of potatoes, oranges and fresh herbs.

Nana Mac's Potato and Orange Salad

This recipe was inspired by my grandmother's recipe for potato salad.

Ingredients

  • 250 g Purple Avon potatoes (or similar)
  • 250 g Sebago potatoes (or similar)
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
  • 2 handfulls of baby rocket

For the dressing

  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sugar, to taste
  • salt and pepper

For Serving

  • 1 tsp finely chopped mint
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives

Directions

  1. Peel the potatoes and place into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and add a little salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until just tender.
  2. Meanwhile cut top and base from each orange. Use a sharp knife to remove skin and white pith. Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments and set aside. Using your hands, squeeze the off-cuts of the orange over the bowl to get as much juice as you can from them, discard the off-cuts.
  3. Prepare the dressing by adding the mustard, white wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the juice and then whisk to combine, season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if needed.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and cut them into wedges, while they are still hot. Add the potatoes, mint, chives and oranges to the dressing and, using your hands, gently toss to ensure the potatoes and oranges are well coated in the dressing and herbs. Set in the fridge to cool.
  5. Just before serving, drain any excess dressing from the salad into a small bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of olive and whisk together. Add the rocket and toss to coat with the dressing.
  6. Place half the rocket into the base of a serving dish.
  7. Add the remaining rocket to the salad, and, again, using your hands, gently toss through.
  8. Arrange the salad on top of the rocket in the serving dish and scatter with the finely chopped mint and chives.

Notes:

  • Purple Avon potatoes are a purple fleshed potato.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Source: Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

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Oranges 1

My beautiful sister Jan, recently visited us for a little holiday. Jan lives in the north of the state of Victoria, very close to the great Murray River, and a wonderful citrus fruit growing area – about six and a half hours drive from here! When I knew that she and her friend, Heather, were going to come for a visit, I asked if she could pick up a couple of bags of oranges, thinking that they would be the same size as those you can pick up at fruit and vegie shops – 3 kilograms… When she arrived, I was presented with 2 bags of oranges – each weighing about 10 kilograms! 20 kilograms of oranges for $12 – that is crazy!!! Of course, I was not allowed to pay for them, but now the challenge begins…

I have given some to visitors, and we have eaten quite a few, and I think I have had to throw about 6 out! I have made old fashioned butter cake – gluten free, which after a couple of tries, is pretty darned good. The orange cake has been iced, sliced and frozen, so that we can have cake when we feel like it.

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However, over the next week there will be a lot of orange based recipes being prepared, and at times, concocted in my kitchen. On the list so far:

  • Orange marmalade – a must for Gary;
  • Orange and mint jelly – already half made;
  • A delicious refreshing citrus mocktail – which could easily be turned into a cocktail for those who must;
  • Orange cordial;
  • Sauces;
  • Salads;
  • Desserts, etc!

Oh, and a little tip, for an easy way to peal oranges, that I read about in an old recipe book of mine The Times Calendar CookBook by Katie Stewart, 1975. This works beautifully, but would probably only do 4-6 oranges at a time, because they still need to be hot for the peel and pith to come away cleanly.

To peel oranges:

Score the peel of the oranges into quarters with a sharp knife. Put all of the oranges in large basin and cover them with boiling water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then drain and peel away the skins. Using this method, both the outer peel and the inner white pith will come away from the fruit. If any white pith remains, simply scrape it away with a knife.

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I have also tried this method on lemons and it worked just as well, so would imagine it could be used on most citrus – grapefruits, limes etc.

I hope that you enjoy seeing everything orange from my kitchen over the next week!

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Family, fun, love and food

Christmas morning dawned and we woke to the voices of children, our grandchildren, not all of them, mind you, the last one would arrive later in the morning along with other treasured members of our family.

Preparations had been underway for some time, and the day before, late afternoon, our Christmas began with the arrival of my husband’s daughter and her family from Roma in Queensland – it had taken them three days to get here. We were so excited to see them and have them join us in our new home for Christmas. This year was going to be very special with all of our children and grandchildren together with us for this special time of year.

It was going to be a hot day, but there was a lot of cooking to be done. A huge slab of pork belly was prepared and put in the oven, it needed to cook slow for a couple of hours. Chickens were filled with handfuls of fresh herbs and placed on a spit out on the terrace.

Meanwhile the vegetables were prepared – trays full for roasting, and others for the steamer. I had made a the day before and we also made a beetroot, orange and fresh herb salad.

The arrival of our son and his family from Melbourne, created great excitement with the family from Queensland meeting their little cousin, Cooper for the first time. There was a lot of catching up.

The cooking continued, electric fans were dusted off and set up to try and cool things down. Cream was whipped, Irish Mist Cream prepared to accompany the plum pudding which was bubbling away on the side burner of the BBQ alongside the chickens.

The vegetables were placed in the oven and the temperature bumped up so that we would have beautiful pork crackle.

The last of our guests arrived, my two gorgeous sisters, Sonnie and Jan, together with my beautiful mum and our great-nephew, Aussie. With everyone here, it was time to think about carving and serving, but alas, the oven was not cooperating with the quantity of food in it, the veg weren’t cooking fast enough and the crackle was definitely not happening!   The oven could not go any higher – Our lunch was going to be late, but what could I do!

The ham that I had cured and smoked was retrieved from the fridge – it would be served cold alongside the corned silverside, they were both carved. The chickens were carved, salads placed in bowls, veggies steamed, gravy made and finally the pork had to be carved, even though the crackle was not as I wanted – there was very little left, and the meat was succulent, tender and moist.

People gathered around, filled their plates, and then everyone decided to sit around our kitchen table, which comfortably seats six! Chairs were seconded from throughout the house and squeezed wherever they would or might fit, our table was surrounded by fourteen – it was amazing.

After the meal was finished and everything cleared away it was time for something the children had been waiting for all day…. Gifts from under the tree – they couldn’t wait… Everyone gathered in the sitting room and Jan, Chris, and I played Santa, handing out gifts, to some particularly eager little ones, and some almost as eager older ones – it was mayhem, but wonderful mayhem.

Unfortunately time was close for Chris and his family to return to Melbourne, so we quickly served a little dessert for them to eat before they left.

Once they left, Pavlova with lashings of cream and fresh berries, cheesecake heaped with cherries, peaches, and various other fresh fruits, and of course, the plum pudding with Irish Mist Cream, brandy sauce and icecream were set out for all to enjoy. As we were enjoying our sweet treats, Sonnie walked in and said “don’t eat the cream – it’s off!” Everyone stopped, and then it dawned on them that there was nothing wrong with the cream – it is her favourite and she was just trying to stop eveyone eating it.

So that was our Christmas feast – family, fun, love and food, one cannot ask for anything more, can one.

The afternoon continued with time to cool off in the pool, and I was surprised that people were interested in eating again later that evening. So brought out a platters of local cheeses, fresh fruit, cold meat and fruit cake, and we all sat around the table on the back porch and nibbled and chatted. Before setting up beds for all, for a good night sleep.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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We have a vegie patch!

It is safe to say that there has been a lot of hard work going on in the Corner Patch, particularly over the last week or so, and I can now, with much delight, tell you that the Corner Patch is now the Vegie Patch! Yes, on Monday of this week at about 6 pm we finished making the last of 12 garden beds. While we were both exhausted, we are both really pleased with the end result and all being in order, are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labour for many years to come. The fun now begins with planting up the beds, nurturing the seeds and seedlings into food for our kitchen and store, family and friends.

Just a recap on how we got to this stage:

  • Trees were cut down, cut up and removed.
  • Stumps were dug out
  • Plans were drawn up
  • 31 fruit trees were planted
  • A slab was put down for the garden shed
  • The garden shed was erected, and everything that belonged in it, relocated accordingly
  • Holes were dug for posts
  • Posts were purchased and concreted in
  • Holes drilled in the posts
  • Wires strained accordingly
  • An old gate that we found behind the garage was cut down and given a lick of paint before being hung.
  • Timber and pegs for the garden beds arrived
  • A bit of creative use of old posts, rescued from the pens on our family farm, before it was sold, have been put in place to stop the beautiful Duchess (border collie) from entering.
  • Careful measuring, cutting, nailing and screwing of timber into place to box each bed.
  • A mountain of soil was moved from one place to another and finally into each of the boxed beds.
  • Well rotted manure worked in
  • Seeds sown in anticipation
  • One inexpensive archway erected to train fruit trees over the entrance

Left to do:

  • Plant out the seedlings.
  • Plant seeds
  • Espaliering of the fruit trees
  • Three inexpensive archways to be erected, one more for the fruit trees over the entrance and two for the runner beans to trail up and over.

 Click here to see some of the activity leading to this point

While all of this hard work was going on, we did have a little reprieve with a visit from our son, Chris and his family, to celebrate his birthday. It was a quick visit, just one night, as they had to return home for his work. But while they were here, we enjoyed two meals together. I can tell you that seeing our little grandson, Cooper, enjoying picking strawberries, and eating blueberries straight from the bush was a real treat.

Don’t you love it when the little ones are around, it also meant we could have cake before our main course, because he had to go to bed and he made sure he got to take a bite of almost everyone’s cake – Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake of course!

When we did get to sit down to our main meal we enjoyed the beef brisket that I had had cooking in the smoker all day – another one of the Old Fat Guy’s amazing recipes, adjusted somewhat as the brisket I had was considerably smaller than that called for in his recipe. I also slightly changed the rub, given that I did not have any onion salt – I used a combination of home made porcini mushroom salt, together with celery salt. There was plenty left over, so we were able to send a container full home with them, together with other goodies. The rest has been sliced, vac packed and frozen for quick meals when we need them.

Until next time…

Happy Gardening & Bon appétit!

 

Links:

The Vegie Patch

Chocolate Sponge – AKA Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake

The Old Fat Guys Beef Brisket

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The Grand Old Dame

 

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The Magnolia Bed

Reunions

You may have seen that we recently attended our little grandson’s second birthday, which was a wonderful day. The party was hosted by Cooper’s parents, Chris and Cin, at Cin’s parents’, Mike and Chris, home. While we were there, Mike showed, and told us about some smallgoods he had been making at classes in Melbourne, and was very generous, giving us a pack, with four salamis in it, as we left.

I couldn’t wait to taste them – they were delicious, so started to think of ways I could use them in my cooking. I have made three dishes, one was just a Braised Cabbage with Shallot and Salami, then a Antipasto Tart to share with my sisters and cousin, and finally, for me was a great combination – a dish of Homemade Pumpkin Ravioli with Scallops with Salami and Pea Puree.

It is always so rewarding to share your own produce with family and friends. It is also so exciting to receive wonderful homemade produce to play with in the kitchen as well, isn’t it?

Unfortunately my sisters, cousin and I had to travel to our hometown of Navarre to attend the funeral of an elderly friend and neighbour. However, it did give us the opportunity to visit our lovely mum who hasn’t been so well of late. We also had some “girl” time together, sharing meals around the family table, as well as a lot of reminiscing and catching up. Jan had cooked lamb with lots of veg, including silverbeet from the garden, for our dinner, Sonnie had brought along a garlic pide which they used to mop up the sauce from the Green Beans Braised in Tomato that I had added to the table, and for dessert I had made a Cherry Clafoutis.  The next morning, again, Jan had things all organized with some beautiful local produce, so we had bacon and poached eggs.

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It is a little sad that funerals also become reunions of sorts. A gathering of people with a common link – a special person who brings them all together for one last time as they bid their cherished family member or friend good bye. While a sad occasion, it is also time to renew old aquaintances, try to work out who that person is that looks so familiar, but you just can’t put a name to the face. Time to reminisce and catch up on old times and new.

Finally we said our good-byes and began the long drive home. My sister, Sonya and I had a mission, we needed manure for our garden. The weather was very wet, the rivers, creeks and gutters were all running quite high, but very early on in the trip we managed to load 5 large bags of sheep manure and 4 of horse manure into the back of Sonnie’s wagon (unfortunately there was not enough room for any more). You can imagine that aroma was not exactly roses in the car for the rest of the journey – sorry, Sandra…  At Sonnies, we transferred my share of the manure to my car, together with the asparagus, rhubarb and the rest of my belongings, and I continued the journey back to Maffra. Six hours after we left Navarre, I arrived home to an open fire and a glass of wine, thank you to my wonderful husband.

(Unfortunately there is an issue with my site with regard to iPad viewing, we are currently working on this and hope to have it resolved very soon.)

Until next time

Bon appétit!

Links:

Braised Cabbage with Shallot and Salami

Antipasto Tart

Cherry Clafoutis

Green Beans Braised in Tomato

Blind Baking

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Aussie’s 18th Birthday Celebrations.

Last weekend we hitched up the trailer, packed up some food, a couple of birthday cakes, bedding and a little wine and hit the road. We had a six hour drive ahead of us, as we headed to central Victoria for a weekend of camping, birthday celebrations and loads of fun. When we arrived at camp, those that had already arrived had settled in around the camp fire and were enjoying pre-dinner drinks, so instead of unpacking we decided to join them. But finally thought it prudent to get unpacked and set up so that we could start thinking about dinner.

In planning for the weekend, Dave, Sonnie, Aussie and I had prepared a meal plan so that we knew what food to bring. The main thing was to keep it as simple as possible…

  • Friday night – pizzas cooked in the camp pizza oven that Dave says was inspired by me. (apparently I suggested that a pizza oven would be great at the camp site, so Dave googled and then set about making one, a few years ago) we would also cook sausages cooked at the camp fire.
  • Saturday lunch – homemade bread cooked in the pizza oven, rissoles, potatoes cooked in the camp oven with toppings, and coleslaw.
  • Breakfasts – everyone to look after themselves.
  • Saturday night – birthday dinner at the Logan Pub

13939407_10208694780598884_8744332955621302759_nAs we unpacked and set up, Sonnie, Cath and Aussie prepared the pizza toppings, and when I got our Esky out I sent down the food that I had bought to add to the evening. Everyone got to make their own pizzas selecting from the toppings available, and Dave was in charge of cooking them in the pizza oven – What a treat… What an eye opener for Fabien, a friend and chef from Paris who was visiting with us for six weeks. With the sausages cooked at the camp fire, we all sat around enjoying some laughs and catching up on recent happenings. The night was freezing, everyone was tired, so we all decided to head off to bed for the night.

The next morning we were up nice and early, the DSC03986night had been a very cold one, and the campfire was inviting, as was a nice hot cup of tea. Brekky for our family was bacon and egg sandwiches. The fun was beginning. There were quad bikes and motor bikes to ride, a drone to fly, the camp fire to keep burning, the pizza oven to get fired up, wood to cut, more people arriving etc. etc. While the men, or should I say, boys, hooned around on the bikes, and cut wood, Cin learned how to ride the quad bike and she and Chris took our grandson Cooper to see the bah bahs (AKA sheep). For the rest of the day that is all he wanted to do – go see the bah bahs…

As the morning wore on it was time to make the bread, so, using bread mixes, I added the yeast and water, and worked the dough making it ready to set it aside for its first rise – I did this by placing the dough into very large, floured pots and setting them close to the camp fire. When they had proved and doubled in size, I knocked them down, formed them into loaves and set them on trays, again, covered by the large pots and put them back by the fire for their final rise before they went into the pizza oven. While this was happening, I sat and individually wrapped a stack of potatoes in foil ready to be cooked. When everything was ready, Sonnie and I jumped on the quad bikes and took off while Dave, Jan and I’m not sure who else looked after the cooking of the bread and the potatoes.

When we come back the bread was cooked, and all that was to be done was to cook the rissoles that I had made, put out bread, the amazing coleslaw that Sonnie had made, and

the toppings for the potatoes, and let everyone help themselves. It was a late lunch and I can tell you, there was not much left at the end of the meal.

Late afternoon we took to whatever mode of transport was available and went and watched as the sunset on what had been a wonderful day…

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Sunset Perfection (Photo by Chris Malyon)

But all was not finished.   There were cakes (Chcolate Mud Cake and Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake) to be decorated before we set off then we set off to the Logan Pub Aussie’s 18th birthday dinner. (They sent a bus to pick us up from the middle of a paddock, in the middle of nowhere, and took us to the pub.) We settled in and had a great meal, cake and a lot of banter before we all headed back to the camp site. After more time around the camp fire, it was time to turn in and get some rest.

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The next morning we had to break camp fairly early, as we had to get back home and prepare for the next trip in a couple of days time. There was a lot of work to do and very little time to do it in…

Happy Birthday Aussie, we hope it was the best one yet!

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

Links:

BBQ Beef Rissoles

Thai Flavoured Pork Rissoles

Our Mum’s Dressing for Coleslaw

Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake

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