Thursday, 20 April 2017

Quince Jelly

A bit of a cheat today, as I promised this recipe to some of my readers, but as we're packing up to go away for a short break, time is limited.
And then after doing a search of my previous posts I found this recipe for Quince Jelly 
I'd forgotten about this older post... Honestly, it's wonderful getting older, but I can just about hide my own Easter Eggs now, such is my memory.!!

Also, while I'm here, a request for Vicki M to please make contact with me again by email.
Vicki, I'm having problems working out my gmail account, can't find your address and need to contact you to acknowledge your generosity towards the Nepal projects. The deposits are coming in regularly, thank you!
Niruta's school fees have just been paid for the previous year, and now she will move up to what they call Ten plus Two (10 + 2). The Australian equivalent is years 11 and 12.
Nirinjan is doing well with his Pharmacy studies in College, quite the young gentleman now with a part time job in a call centre, and indulging his passion for cricket.
Their dear mother would have been so very proud if only she could see them now.

We're off to Kangaroo Island for a few days, 
Cheers dear readers!


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Pig Processing- Bacon

The last of the pigs has been processed, and packed into the freezers with not a square inch of space to spare. 
I wrote about making nitrate free bacon at around this time last year and in that post you will find detailed directions of how to brine the bellies, and how we smoke it in our home built smoker.

This slicer was a very lucky find. Purchased cheaply from a catering business who were upgrading their equipment, it's perfect for slicing the bacon.
Trying to cut it with a knife was OK, but but now the slices are thinner, and there are no lumpy end bits.

And that's a wrap!
I think this calls for an Easter Sunday breakfast of eggs and bacon.
Happy Easter.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Pig Processing Continues - Brawn and Lard

In last week's post I said I would let you know how the brawn making went so I'm proud to show you my successful finished product. The entire process took more than two days, but it wasn't terribly time consuming. It was just a matter of long simmering and a small bit of unsavory and delicate business, but the end product is definitely delicious and well worth the effort.

My inspiration and guidance came from Lucy at Dawson Valley Free Range where she has a good basic recipe for pork brawn.
It all made much more sense to me now that I've been making Bone Broth  for a few years and understand more about the jelling factor (and concentrated nutrition) of long simmered bones.
My driving determination was to use every part of the pig, not waste any of it, so even though I felt squeamish at the beginning, I pushed through.

Separating the usable meat from the bones and "other stuff."
This was the tricky part first time round, but the second and third batches were much easier. Remember we had three pigs!!

Part of the process is to chill the entire pot until the fat settles on the top and can be scooped off. This required some juggling between my fridges, to accommodate a big stew pot, but we home makers are wizards at squeezing just one more thing in our fridges aren't we? Is it a female thing?
Well, then there were those bowls full of fat that were scraped off the top...too good to be thrown away, and I had plans for making pastry with it.
Fortunately, the stew pot was ready to go back onto the heat at that stage so there was space in fridges for these bowls of pork dripping, and my dreams of pastry were still allowed to flourish.
The end result as shown in the top photo above, perfect for lunch with a salad or on sourdough with chutney.
The salt content is most important, as are the various spices and herbs, resulting in flavours that are rich and tasty.
There was more of the liquid broth than was needed for the brawn, so I filled a few jars of the delicious thick bone broth to add to my stores in the freezers.

A couple of beef and vegetable pies with the lightest pork dripping pastry. 

It was cool enough to light up the wood oven, so I rendered all of the pork fat to make lard. Many trays full, and enough lard to last for more than a year. I wrote a post about making lard here.
I've poured it all into glass jars and glass bowls with lids, and am storing in the freezer, keeping just one container in the fridge for use.
Lard kept in the fridge has excellent keeping qualities for months and we all know now that it is one of the healthy fats.

Happy Easter to you all..!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Quinces and Figs

The cycle of the seasons around the calendar are constantly tossing extra work at we compulsive preservers . As soon as the summer stone fruits are finished, there are pears, the steady harvesting of tomatoes and raspberries, and then quinces make their entrance.
Although the ground in one of the cow paddocks is littered with windfall quinces, according to Lavender, there is nothing as delicious as the carefully picked ones in my wheelbarrow.

No other fruit speaks of Autumn quite the way of the humble, but oh so fragrant quince.

And they are available to purchase by the half case too, for even better value at $10, bring your own box. 
As well as the yearly standing orders the remainder were snapped up as soon as I announced their availability on our local Facebook buy and sell page, so there were quite a few trips down to the quince paddock with the wheelbarrow.

These Portuguese Tarts were a delightful surprise gift from Jo, who buys our quinces every year. Their catering business, Deliciously Devious, has a stall at our local Barossa Farmer's Market each Saturday morning, and I can highly recommend everything they make. These were absolutely sensational and very much appreciated and enjoyed. Such a treat, and so thoughtful of Jo to thoroughly make our day.
 I'm yet to start on cooking with the quinces I've retained, but all of the living areas in the house have bowls of them, just for the fragrance.

  We found more ripe figs on a tree next to one of the leased sheep paddocks when we were doing our daily rounds. I always thought a fig was a fig, but these are called green figs and are super sweet.

I made more fig jam.

Sold some in the farmgate shop, and I might have eaten a few too many, but they are irresistible.

Half of the kitchen table is covered in jars of fig jam waiting to be labelled. I hope the outlets that I supply will want it again this year! 
What's fruiting in your area and how are you making the most of it?

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