Saturday, July 30, 2011

Irrelevent Threads

The observant eye will be able to tell that Louis is home by the mate cup (inscribed Buenos Aires) that has jostled for and won a place at the coffee station.
The special mate straw is sticking out, metal with filters in the bottom to keep out the tea leaves. It's a small thing but I do look back fondly on the paper straws that you sucked to death and threw on the fire instead of throw away plastic.

Not much happening in the garden: turned and watered a compost heap, gathered and spread pine needles around the hazelnuts, got gardening books out of the library.
That's a whole red cabbage in the colander, in shreds by the time I thought to take a photo. It was a miserable specimen but they stand well in the garden; peel off the manky outer leaves and it cooked up great with grated apple and some butter.
Cabbage is one of the standout home grown vegetables, if you needed to be persuaded. It is just so delicious fresh and so ordinary if it's not. I expect I have said that at one time about every vegetable I have ever grown.

Here's my raspberry experiment: the twigs in front of the fence. I pruned these at the wrong time of year to fit them in the car and that's when the trouble began.  After that I noticed they were Autumn fruiting which doesn't suit. They don't ripen in our brief Autumn sunshine. I'm going to cut them to the ground in January and see whether the new shoots fruit early the following year (January) or if they grow slowly through to Autumn fruiting.

Wax eyes feeding on the fat below. This is a photo from about this time last year.
I've actually spent the holidays making puddings but didn't photograph any. The boys have each stepped up to their cooking nights (with degrees of assistance) so that leaves me to make pudding and explore my current favourite, the 1965 WDFF (Women's Division of Federated Farmers) Cookery Book. It is unfortunate that the names were not attributed to the recipes because some of these ladies were awesome. There's one voice stands out in particular. Here's her introduction to Peter Pan Pudding and don't you just want to try it:
When something just a little light and luxurious is required for a sweet, nothing could be more fitting than Peter Pan Pudding. It is as light as a cloud, not cloyingly sweet, but utterly delicous.
. That woman is a mind reader. 

Posted by PicasaPerhaps I have said before that worms also like a little fat in their diet so it is okay to put some in the compost heap. On that note, off to put a little fat in our diet and document some winter puddings.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011


If I had to pick out a movie to define this stage of my life, the one that resonates in my mind is Babettes Feast. It's not the concept of spending my inheritance on a meal, although when you're doing a big shop it can seem like that sometimes, it's the image of Babette out there picking thyme and wild herbs to make her soups; wind is howling around her and she is wrapped up in many layers.
Fresh out of the garden is all very well; however, in winter I have to put my gumboots and jacket on and go on an expedition in the darkening cold to dig out parsnips carrots and leeks so I try and get a weeks worth of those at a time.

Bob's beans above turned out to be as beautiful as their pod. I left them too long on the vine and it was uncharacteristically damp so quite a few had a 'white bloom'. I didn't keep those for eating. That's not like me  but I was thinking of the rye moulds in the middle ages that drove the peasants insane and the jam moulds that are probably bad for you. It was a fierce struggle against my genetic inheritance to err on the side of caution.
Home grown beans are different to bought. Possibly because they are so fresh, don't take much cooking, not as starchy, they almost melt: Beef and Bean Chilli. Beans gone. 

Finally on the last leg of turning over the beds in glasshouse one. I'm building a compost heap on site rather that cart everything out there and back here later. Here it is going up. I'm gambling on being able to spread it by November as a mulch on this lucky bed (albeit in a rough state). Compost normally takes a year here. The tomato debris is off to the dump but all other weeds , wood chips, straw, layers of nettles conveniently growing nearby and sloshes of liquid comfrey on hand, all that has gone on sandwhich style. I've covered the heap with black plastic hoping for some solar advantage. It has warmed up. I didn't add any animal manure which would give me a hotter heap. I imagine this will be colder and slower.

Now it was a week of high drama on the roads. Only a dusting of snow and the road looks deceptively clear. There are alot of big trucks come through Highway 85 especially through the night and they compressed the snow to a layer of ice. Bill got stuck on the Pigroot coming home. There is no cellphone reception through that stretch and we had a power cut at home so nobody could ring.  We went out in the truck and  found him around midnight with six other cars in a cluster and pushed him out. There was an Irish fellow putting chains on nearby who said the roads were 'mischief'. Something about that word has you imagining small mythical creatures spreading danger out like sand. They closed the road through to midday Friday and everybody just drove around the barrier.
As it happened, the next day so did we.

 From memory, Babettes Feast is set in a remote religious community and their inability to acknowledge her beautiful food is just part of a big story; no comparison implied here! However, this is a teetotal community and the meal voucher I won to Riverstone Cafe was for a three course menu complete with wine matches. It was all the better for the novelty.  We were booked in for Friday and would just about have walked through the pigroot and carried the car if neccessary.
Final photo is the last peice of cheese. Swiss M made it before she left. I could see it wasn't quite right but haven't made any for so long was unsure where the problem lay. In hindsight I think there was too much whey left in and the cheese 'turned' pretty fast. Cheese moulds don't scare me one bit and although there were ammonia notes, nothing was wasted. Genetic inheritance includes a robust digestive system.
  Posted by Picasa