Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roast Carrot Soup - $5 bag of carrots

I picked up a $5 bag of "seconds" carrots yesterday at our local greengrocer.  Here's what I did with them, 

Cut up as many carrots as you think will almost fit in your biggest oven dish.  I used our food processor to chop them up.
Process about 5 onions also.  Put the carrots and onions in the largest oven dish you have, and generously slosh with oil.  Stir in 2T coriander seeds, 2t dried coriander, 1inch piece of fresh ginger (or use dried if you have it), 1t salt, pepper, 5 cloves of garlic (no need to peel or chop, just chuck them in).  

Bake on a low setting like 160C for a good hour.  Add 3 cups stock, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Bake another 1/2hr till everything is tender.

Whizz with a whizz stick.  Slaken with more stock, or cream, or sour cream if you want it less thick.

If freezing, do not add cream or sour cream, but freeze the puree in bags.  Add the cream after defrosting.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lavosh, my Gosh

We have just got back from a week in South Australia, mainly in the Barossa Valley, and,  along with wine tasting and what have you, we had a few "Tasting Plates" of breads, olives, local salamis, and LAVOSH.  
I have never heard of it, or made it, and basically it is a big cracker!  but what deliciousness...salty, crunchy and sesame flavoured.
So, with the internet as my guide I have rustled these up this morning.  I followed an Annabel Langbein recipe, but simplified the rolling and cooking part, which she had made very complicated by cutting on the bench and transferring strips etc onto the baking tray.  I just put the whole round or oblong onto the tray and then cut it up and baked it.  I also used waaaaaay less sesame seeds, as the breads we tried only had a taste of them, and not so many.  I felt her recipe was heavy handed.

Here's what I did:
1 1/3 cups white flour
1t salt
1T sesame seeds and 1T Linseeds
Mix these in a bowl.

In a cup mix 1T sesame oil, 1/3c good olive oil and 1/2c water.

Mix wet onto dry to make a soft pliable dough.  Taking golfball sized pieces roll them out very thinly (almost seethrough), into a round or an oblong.  Transfer onto a baking sheet lined tray. Brush the top with olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and some dried rosemary.  Cut into rounds (if a circle) or 1inch wide strips (if an oblong).  Separate the piece slightly on the tray.

Bake 15mins at 165C

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A view of a Garden - NZ House and Garden "Interiors of the Year"

Our ensuite bathroom really is quite special, I will take some pictures and post them here shortly.  BIG NEWS  - it has been selected by NZ House and Garden, as a finalist in the "Interior of the Year".  

Much excitement in our family over this, and I am very proud to have made it this far, from a field of about 250 others.

The shower has two sides of window glass, almost wall to ceiling, as its shower space, and as such you get a view of our every changing garden every time you step into it.

At the moment, in mid-winter, there is not much to see, but it is interesting to watch the changing seasons.  I find that I look at the maples every day to see if the buds are bursting yet?  Then when the Spring does come, tulips will flower, the maples will be covered in bronze leaves, and the grasses will all grow profusely.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July - A quiet time of reflection

There's not a huge amount of work to do in the garden in June/July.  It's now mid-winter.  The solstice has been and gone, and Matariki celebrated.  (See my post http://www.gardeninginamberley.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/shortest-day-its-garlic-planting-time.html ) .  

The garden is waiting for spring.  Some beds are fallow, some have a few random brassicas.  

A few things are still fulfilling.  I have dug over the potato beds, in preparation for spring.  The frosts, and snow will break up the clods and make a lovely friable soil for spring planting.  I have also repaired the glasshouse which lost some panes in the winds, and I have devised a method of heating the lone orange tree using terracotta plant pots.  Thanks to the internet, for this wonderful, cheap, heating solution.

I did try to plant some winter lettuces, but it really was too cold for them to be able to survive, and they very quickly curled up their toes.  Even with the minor heating, they just didn't like it.

One thing that really surprised me was finding this... naturalised "Spring Onions".  In the herb bed above there were lots of spring onions, some of which flowered, and obviously the seeds must have fallen on the ground, and now there are little onions sprouting up everywhere!

I have cruised around the orchard and undertaken a bit pruning.  There was a very good instructional article in the NZ Gardener on how to prune fruit trees, and so I followed that - removing crossed branches, making central leaders or nice open branch patterns.  I was also mindful of where fruit will set, following the problems this year with too much fruit on spindly branches, which made them bend, and some of which I had to support with sticks, tape etc.  

At the same time I pruned the grapes, not very well or to the liking of friends who work on vineyards, but it will do.

Jobs still to be done: Remove the old glass from the glasshouse, which is languishing in a corner.  Prune the boysenberries.  Clean up the strawberries, removing their protective cloches, weeding out, removing runners and replanting any empty spots.

Harvesting now: Cauliflowers, Spring Onions, Kale, Herbs, Carrots (still!)

Oops, some weeding needed!

This is my post for July for The Garden Share Collective . Some members are from the other side of the world, and I am envious of the bounty they have going at the moment.  Still our time will come I guess.

For now it's wet mud, frosts, damp, worms, and chilly air.  Roll on Spring! 

Little Pillows of Yummy-ness - Steamed Buns

Ever wondered what to do with the leftover roast chicken/pork/beef?  Here's a new idea for you, a Kiwi take on Chinese Steamed Buns.  You need a few special ingredients, but most of these will keep in the freezer and you just snap off or take out what you need.

Make a plain white dough like so: In a bowl put 1c hot water, 2t dry yeast (not the breadmaker kind), 2t sugar.  Let it sit about 20 mins, then add 2c plain flour and knead well.  Leave to rise for an hour so in a bowl.

Make your filling: take your leftover roasted meat and chop it into 1cm small bits, add 1 piece of lemongrass (out of the freezer) chopped, and 2 small spring onions.  Mix in some leftover gravy till you have wetted all the ingredients, then add 1t Chinese Five Spice and some salt and pepper.

Cut golfball sized pieces of dough and push them out into a saucer sized flat round.  Add a tablespoon blob of filling, and then pull up the sides of the dough to make a nice shape.  Put each one on a piece of baking paper.

Steam them for about 15mins till the dough is soft and cooked. 

While they are cooking, make the dipping sauce by putting 2T sesame oil, 1/2c soy sauce, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger grated, and 1 clove garlic crushed, add 1/4c water, and stir together with a fork.

Eat and enjoy!