Friday, May 10, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
I knew I could never compete with Smitten Kitten's How to Poach An Egg. I mean, really, who can? It's great! However, I know I can fry an egg, so we'll do that!
First start by cracking your egg. I know this already sounds so complicated! The best way to crack an egg is on a flat surface. Trying to stab it with a bowl or table just invites little shell shards into your beautiful egg. Did you crack it? Did you? Well done!
|I put my eggs in a china teacup so I can pretend I'm ballin'.|
|F*ck you, bye!|
|Don't feel bad, he was an asshole.|
Thursday, May 2, 2013
How to Have Interesting Meals when You're Broke, Hungry, Cheap and Lazy
And that's where I grab your attention with a well placed, "BUT WAIT," and then tell you about my seductive seductive offer. Which is this: A simple guideline on easy flavourful dishes you can easily mix and match to make a myriad of amazing dishes as simply as possible!
Next time you find yourself with 30 seconds or a spare hour, make one of the five major things and a few of the super easy ones and you'll never be bored!
I love these to add crunch and style and versatility to my lunches. The best part is you can make them in batches that last a month at a time and in a variety of flavours in minutes. Here’s a recipe for my three favourites:
I love this recipe for extended the shelf life of my cheese and turning it into a tasty sauce!
You can save veggies that are about to go soft this way. They will be delicious as a pickle. Trust me!
We all love fruit. Except for those of us that don’t. None of us trust those people. Anyway, one piece of fruit is kinda boring and who wants that? Not you or you wouldn’t be here going, “WTF kind of advice is ‘grab a piece of fruit for lunch? Thank you Captain Obvious!” Right? Not to mention fruit can be kinda expensive these days and it happens to go off a little quick.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
When I moved here, I was warned the owner of the property really liked onions. What I didn't seem to understand was how much this translated to random onion patches all over the property. Here is some either spring onions or baby leeks, I can't quite tell. Luckily my pickling recipe works for both!
1 tablespoon flaked salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6 teeth garlic, peeled (rawwwwr)
1 lime, juiced (zested if you want tangy)
1 long sprig rosemary
1 big handful spring onions (this bunch was perfect for this amount).
Put all ingredient minus onions and rosemary in a non reactive pan. Some pans, like copper, can leech, well, copper into your preserves which not only make them toxic but makes them taste terrible! A good stainless steel pan with a heavy base solves this problem. Let simmer gently for ten minutes.
Heat rosemary in empty pan gently, until the room is fragrant with the smell of rosemary. Add to jars.
Meanwhile measure onions against your jars and trim about half an inch below the top. Some will be uneven but it won't matter. Stuff as many into each jar in one go (if you like it neat) as you can. If it goes over the top, press it down gently. It'll go down more later.
Allow liquid to cool slightly but allow to be still a little hot. Pour into jars slowly and wait for liquid to soak up, about 2 minutes. Tap jars down and fill again, pressing onions down again. This time they should bend easily and be softening nicely from the heat. Top off and seal, refrigerating immediately.
They're excellent after even a day but taste REALLY awesome after a week. I like to put them even on store bought pizza, who cares?! Eat out of the jar! Put in sour cream to make a delicious dip! Eat the heck out of it.The photo of the jars is right side up in edit but sideways on blogger - what do you see?!
Monday, March 4, 2013
I've been moving and it's been hard on my poor vegetables! After the move I found some horrible wilted beetroot (beets for you Americans) looking sad in the back of the pantry. This is a good recipe for that. Simply steam the old sad beetroot until soft and trim all the wrinkly bits off. If you have chickens you can be quite vicious with what you take away. Shred it all until you have about a cup of beetroot. Since the end of a beetroot can't be sliced by my mandolin, I made chunks with the last bits with my knife. That way I got no waste. Otherwise if you don't want chunks, simply just use the shredded beetroot!
Combine 3/4c water and 7g or two and a quarter teaspoons dry yeast with one tablespoon sugar. This will help you figure if your yeast is any good. Do this before you chop your beetroot and by the time you're done it should be foaming.
Throw four cups of flour onto a work surface (if you have problems cleaning up a paint scraper from a hardware store is a wonderful thing) and make a well in the centre that has high sides.
Put the beetroot in the well with a good handful of salt, about 10g or two tablespoons of coarse kosher or river salt (I use pink river). Becuase bread is so light and has so much flavourless flour, it needs more salt than you think. This, however, will nearly always be less salt than a traditional purchased loaf contains.
Also add two tablespoons of oil.
Pour the foam water slowly as you stir with your fingers of the other hand. Push up the sides to make sure the water doesn't spill over the edge. If you work your way outwords, your loaf will not pick up more flour than it needs. If your beetroot is extra wet, you might need up to another cup. It should be slightly sticky so if it is just keep kneading. Eventually the texture of the dough will seem stretched, dull and springy. When it suddenly transforms into what looks and smells exactly like what you think it should (the bakery smell will start filling your house already!) you are done. It should take about ten minutes. If you have problems kneading, stand on a step stool or chair - the weight from above is more important the actual hand motions.
Put in oiled bowl and raise 45 minutes. Punch the double inflated dough (if it's not double, wait a little longer) down into the bowl and make a new ball of dough and let sit until doubled again.
Turn on the oven to as high as it goes. Prepare a glass of water. If you have a gas oven, put a lipped sheet pan on the base of your oven.
Punch down and form loaf. I like my loaf tins so I use those.
This is where you can choose your decor. Do you like the basic simplicity of a flour lined crust? Do you prefer a shiny flaky crust? A crisper crust is made by oiling the pan before putting your loaf in and then using an egg wash (bit of egg and water) over the top. A more rustic loaf can be made by putting flour down on the pan (a tiny amount of oil brushed up the sides first) and the top floured.
Let raise until double. When it's half rises, cut a big slice into the top. I like to do it early because I love the appearance of it. Otherwise do it later and you'll get those nice thin lines. Should be another half hour to rise.
Yes, three rises. This will nearly always guarantee a fluffy loaf if you knead properly and have a hot oven. Trust me and you will ALWAYS take that extra step because thw guarantee is WORTH it. Nothing worse than all that work and flour just to have a sad flat loaf.
Put the loaf in the oven and toss the water into the bottom. Make sure not to hit the pilot light or flame if you're on gas!
Immediately turn down to 180°c or 350°F. Let cook five minutes less than I did. See how I burnt the edges? Don't do that. I just moved!! This is proof though that oven times can differ depending on your oven. After half an hour, check on it and see if its nice and golden on the outside and springy to the touch (touch quickly!). You won't know 100% by eye until you're used to bread but otherwise when it appears as done as you want it (30-45) flip it upside down and flick it. If it sounds nice and hollow, you have bread!
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Currently we are on three cleared acres, just a small little plot, as we save up, finally, for our new home. I've been working off and on as a chef for small jobs here and there while writing my cookbook and making money various other ways. My husband has quit his job and opened his own at-home and mobile business repairing trailers, tractors, pretty much anything metal and huge that needs welders and hands. Just yesterday with his spare time and money, he has built me a gorgeous steel pen for my beautiful golden pheasants.
We have two nanny goats, Nanny and Jealousy and a billy who does not belong to us named Diego. Nanny is a year older than Jealousy and has kidded before so she seems much more comfortable with her fattening belly than Jealousy, who's on the last legs of her first pregnancy - if she can get on her legs at all.
The abattoir agreed to kill and dress my goats for me for $30, which seems fair. We recently spent $75 on a whole dressed goat we cut up into bits on a fun learning day to get into our freezer. It seems almost sad that I only save forty or so dollars by knocking my own goats up and having them killed for me. That's a savings of less than $5 a month! Goats themselves are $80 a piece, living. Not really a marketable venture. At least we only borrowed Diego so we didn't have to pay for him - he got to knock up our goats and gets a good feed in the meantime, until the old owners need him back for their next mating season.
My biggest excitement right now is the milk that will be coming in. I am looking forward to all sorts of lovely things. I have collected a few cultures and was heavily depressed to find my vegetarian rennant had spilled all over the fridge. It's only a few dollars but when you're only saving $5 a month on goat meat, you do what you can. The dairy is what'll put me back in the black, I believe. I will be posting recipes for goat's milk mozzarella, goat's milk ice cream, goat's milk yogurt, all of it. There will even be video of me attempting to milk a goat for the first time. Yes, the first time - because I need to really mess up on camera to show people how even a silly little thing like me can make this work. If I can, anyone can!
Quite a few of our chickens have decided to eat eggs and some had to be culled. There's still more that need to their heads removed, but I'll get to those as I can. They were quite violent with it, so it was obvious they weren't going to 'get over it'. Either way, I was able to make a roast, some stock, a ton of dog food AND save $6 a week on their food/egg losses.
When killing your chickens saves you $20 a piece immediately... you do it. It doesn't even become a moral vs. heart thing anymore after awhile. It just simply is. This is the way it works to make the farm work otherwise the farm doesn't work. I've lost hundreds of dollars in eggs over the last few months. I've fed chickens who were hurting the final product. It just works like that, sadly. I don't feel good killing them.
I see chicken trucks pass through my small town daily. The chickens in them are missing feathers, can barely stand (if at all), have pale combs and beaks and just overly look miserable, disgusting and on the verge of disease. My chickens, while not as fat and meaty as their factory counterparts, are full of yellowy fat, combs bright red and large, eyes shiny, feet scales thick and strong, and their nails long. They are healthy.
I know I hardly ever eat chicken now; chicken breast is one of the worst things I can eat in my opinion. The breast, the nicest bit, to be eaten and throw the rest away. Why this waste? Why do it? I keep the bones for stock, gorgeous beautiful golden stock that flavours almost every dish I make incredibly, it's gelatinous texture thick from the quality of the bones I used. I keep the liver for a classic pate and the heart just to fry and eat. I can never cleanly remove the lungs so I just leave them in the bird to flavour my roast. The legs and wings are delicious and so is the meat stuck to the back. Lungs and stomach (minus bile duct) go into dog food. Nobody eats the feet, I keep trying. So I find it hard, incredibly hard, after killing my own chickens, to eat breast meat or any chicken in public, really. I see the life I had to let out in order to get a breast or two. And when I see us throw the rest of the carcass, the beautiful meat and extras, just to have the best pieces, I find it wasteful and horrible.
In order to eat a chicken every other week, which would last me about 3 days of meals (we are a small family) I would have to kill 25 chickens a year. Just to have two breasts every other week! A chicken breast a week is 25 chickens. A week! I know people who cannot manage a day without chicken. And do you think they're all coming from the same chicken? Guaranteed you've probably not eaten the same two breasts off the same chicken if you've bought it somewhere commercially. When you really sit down and think of the damage, it crushes you a little. Especially when you only have thirty or so chickens at all - I would have to cull nearly my entire flock to each chicken once in awhile for a year!
So meat is a treat, I suppose. We only get it two or three times a week. Usually in the form of goat or beef, since we still have a cattle farm up north run by Glynn's parents. Glynn has also started some tanks up for fish farming, which he wants to do on a small scale for our family for now. The bees are also coming in soon. Chicken is a rare treat because of the life to meat value it has on a farm. Beef brings in quite a lot of meat and goat a fair amount. I would say a whole goat is enough for a family of a four to eat meat twice a week for 6-8 weeks, if they were very hungry and liked making lots of sandwiches from the leftovers. A half cow should last 6 months with extreme carnivore mode set.
I AM SO SICK OF STEAK. Okay, let me tell you super-marketers something - steak is the BIGGEST thing on a cow. Not as in, it's worth a lot, as in, it's what a cow has the MOST of, other than being a cow. Depending on weight and thickness, you can get something ridiculous like 100-150 steaks. Maybe more! I never get to the cow on the farm before it's half eaten anyway so some steaks might be gone already! Minced beef is utterly useless if you're not into an American diet and all the cool stuff like heart, liver, oxtail there's only ONE of on each cow, so that becomes the real treat. How funny, right?! When you farm, steak is quite possibly the most obnoxious overdone incredibly boring meat you can have. What do you do with steak other than make steak? Slice it and make steak sandwiches? So naturally, one off items become massive treats. Big bags of fat are exciting because they end up being my drippings for my meat pie crusts. Liver is exciting because they're so much of it and it's so finicky to cook it becomes a fun little challenge. (Note: I currently have one sliced liver taking up FIVE take away containers in my freezer). Heart tastes amazing cubed into a stew with chuck STEAK. (I have gone so far as to throw T-Bone & Rib Fillet into a crockpot because *bleep* STEAK!)
So now when I go to the butcher, I beg for oxtail and heart and bones. Oh, do you have tripe!? I would so love a bit of tripe! These are the one-off things you can only get as a treat when you raise them yourself, not a disgusting off-cut you want nothing to do with. Steak, however, becomes so incredibly constant that, here, have a steak. TAKE MY STEAK. TAKE IT. I still have steak in the freezer from Christmas (not the holiday, the steer)... a new cow is coming into the freezer soon along with half a pig I got from a free range farmer and I still can't bring myself to eat another steak.
I'm sure all of you just feel terrible for me.
Monday, November 14, 2011
This month has been super jam-packed busy! So busy in fact I had to take time off from real world working just to keep up with what's going on at home! And speaking of jam-packed, I even packed jam. Not just the mango rosemary jam I promised and never delivered but good ol' fashioned strawberry jam. I tested two recipes and came back with the one I liked the most! Oddly enough, that was not the country 'use lemons' recipe that you slow cook. The more delicious, thicker, pinker lovelier batch came from the back of the Jamsetta packet. Go figure! (If anybody can tell me where to get local pectin, please post!)
|Dark red strawerry preserves, yum!|
For quick jam:
8 tablespoons lemon juice (about two lemons)
2 50g packets Jamsetta
3 tablespoons butter (optional)
Before starting, place some plates in the freezer.
Place everything minus Jamsetta and sugar and put into a preserving pan.
Or, like I do *above* use a nice good baking tray on a long burner (or two burners) of your stove. Basically, you want as large a surface as possible to prevent clogage, difficult stirring and, oh, burning the whole darn thing. Cook until fruit is soft, about 10 minutes. Maybe 20. Depends on the size of your strawberries and how berry-y you want the jam. I chose really super soft, 20 minutes.
Add Jamsetta, sugar and butter, if using (it keeps the scum from forming). Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, removing any scum with a spoon. It should look like above.
Test by placing drop or three of jam onto frozen plate and waiting ten seconds. If it wrinkles and appears jam-like when poked questioningly with the tip of a finger, it's done.
Either wait to cool and store in jars with a wax ring on top or put hot into sterilized jars and boil can 10 minutes, depending on your preferred method.
Also, my husband and I built a giant tomato patch over the weekend! For the last month, we've had tomatoes growing in a seedling bed and finally, they were getting too crowded for comfort. I filled the bed, but right before I did I snapped a photo of it! I know it looks so empty without seedlings right now but I assure you it's filled with 400 tomatoes, 5 varieties at the moment. All heirloom.
I'll be writing about how to grow nice tomatoes in the near future!!