Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fig Jam

Back from my nonas again, this time with 8 kilos of figs. The last lot I had planned to make some jam but they all got eaten. So this time its jam making.

 The recipe is really simple:

Step 1- For every kilo of figs add half a kilo of sugar and  a squeeze of lemon, I think i used 250 mls of lemon all up for the 8 kgs.
Step 2- mix together with a stick blender
Step 3- pour as much as you can fit into a stainless steel baking dish and cook in oven at a low temp until it changes in colour, stir when you remember- you might need to do this step a couple of times depending on how big your tray is and how much jam your making.
Step 4- pour into sterilised jars and either water bath or pressure can.
For jams I normally water bath for 10 minutes.
So far I am up to 11 jars and have  one batch left to jar up.
After mixing with stick blender.

Nona also gave me more tomatoes to jar up.This year to make the job easier I borrowed my Dads mincer, I don't know much about it. It is a Tre spade, and has attachments for mincing, making sausages, and for mincing tomatoes. All I did was cut the tomatoes in half and push them down the shoot, the machine does the rest. It separates the seeds and the skin. After this you can jar the tomatoes up as is. But I prefer to make into a ready to use sauce. No recipe for this but its the same as if you were making a pasta sauce or sauce for pizzas, I always add lots of garlic and red onions and basil. But you can add whatever you like. Then pour into sterilised jars, and either water bath or pressure can or freeze. In previous years I have frozen the sauce but this year I have pressure canned as freezer space is limited.

Note:I haven't gone into detail about water bathing and pressure canning as I am still learning the ropes my self and there is lots of info on the Internet about these processes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Spur of the moment op -shopping, oh how I love thee. A trip into town for a play in the park ended before we even arrived thanks to rain. As to not disappoint the kids, I suggested op shopping instead of cos they said yes. They are so like me. So for the grand total of $15 yep I kid you not, we got the most amazing sideboard, a flour sifter, a jumper for Alyra, a small jug and a etch-a-sketch.

rag rug process

Ive started the rag rug, so far so good. Loving the colours, its coming together so quick. Ive already decided I'm going to gift it to my mum, as she has mentioned a few times she loves the one I made myself so this will be perfect.


Equals mischief, fun, water fights and even some tears. A good day was had by all, I'm not sure who was more exhausted by the end me or them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Figs galore

There is nothing better then a fig from one of my Nona's tree's, maybe I am bias but that's ok. I think everyone in my family agrees.

 Nona had picked all these homegrown veggies for me before I arrived. It didn't take the kids long to finish of the figs and we went out to collect more.

I plan to make sauce with the tomatoes and what is left of the figs tomorrow will be turned into jam.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Surprise garlic, these were from bulbs I collected  two years ago from a paddock at my dads where they were growing wild. Last year they died or so I thought but when I was weeding this is what I found.
The rest of the potatoes were also dug up some had started to sprout so we replanted them in a different spot, we got just under 4kgs, the red one's were rough ones growing from last yr.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gone fishing

I am not the fisher in my family I'm the odd one out, they love to fish. I'm happy to go along I always take a book or knitting its a great opportunity to just relax. 

We detoured to Paterson on the way home, the trees at the local park provide the best photo opportunity, I just wish the kids had  been willing to pose for me.. no such luck I snapped these shots as they ran around playing hide an seek.

Rag Rug-a-long

I'm joining a Rag Rug-a-long, over at Jodie's blog Ric-Rac. I have some vintage sheets that will be perfect to use now I just need to decided  do I want to do  a braided rag rug  a crochet rag rug or  I could use my loom and do it that way. I am feeling inclined to use my loom mainly because Ive now had it for 18 months an only made 3 things on it and I'm thinking it will be the less time consuming of the three... now I'm of to rip up some sheets.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cheese aint so easy

I have been comparing cheese books, I own the Ricki Carroll book and the Tim Smith book, I have borrowed from the library, They are very similar but overall I think the Tim's book - Making Artisan cheese has a little more appeal as it includes  metric measurements as well which to me is a huge plus and also includes lots of photos. I will admit that I think both books are lacking in detail a little, for some one who is starting out in cheese making they don't go into detail of what to do if you make a mistake and how you might rectify it

Making cheese failures, Yes it was disappointing but I should of realised the recipe was a little out of my grasp, as it mentions a few times through out the recipe to check the pH level and I don't have the equipment to do this. It was suppose to be a provolone cheese which is kinda like a more mature mozzarella, but it went crumbly an I couldn't stretch it which is an important part of making the cheese. I tried to salvage the cheese by pressing it, then letting it sit in brine for 2 hrs, then I left it to dry to two days. It is now waxed an sitting in the fridge so fingers crossed its eatable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


After the post about how bad my garden is going, I thought I should mention the good stuff as well. We have been harvesting every day an as you can tell from the  photo we are eating lots of beans an zucchinis, so far the best way Ive found to get the kids to eat the zucchini is to make fritters.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's funny this summer I'm having my biggest failures to date, the tomato plants need to be pulled out, and lots of other plants all have spots from the funny weather, the watermelon and the rockmelon plants all died bar one of each. While the small pickling onions went awesome all the large red onions were eaten by Ninny (the goat) as were 5 cherry tomatoes plants ( which were the only ones producing well) and she also attacked  the purple beans and the eggplants, it really wasn't her fault as we forgot to lock the gate. But if anything I feel more inspired. I feel that the failures are teaching me how to do it better next time,  to change how I go about
things and to realise that sometimes the best thing to do is to just go with it and to embrace your failure

 I think receiving awesome books in the mail helps too, I have already picked some recipes from the preserving book I want to try and to say I'm impressed with Carla Emery's book - the encyclopedia of country living is an understatement, its by far the best book I have read to date to date that covers such a board range of information, I can see myself referring to this book over an over I wish I hadn't waited so long to buy it.

Holiday fun

The holidays are going to quickly, the kids went of with my Dad for the day and came back sporting new hair cuts, they look so much older. Lucky they didn't listen to Alyra who insisted she wanted a Mohawk as well, they compromised an shes impressed with her hair cut, though its hard to tell that in the photo as she was super tired from a long day out.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Plums are only $1 a kilo, its easy to go a bit crazy an buy more then you need. The solution is make jam... well Ive written jam on all the jars but its actually jelly as I prefer the texture. 
I don't have an exact recipe as i have a tendency to just wing it but the basic recipe is
Cut all plums in half, leaving the seeds in, as you go put them directly straight into the pot
Once you have the amount you want or if like me can fit in the pot fill to just covering with water
Bring to the boil then simmer until the plums are all mushy
Drain the plums, I find the use of a muslin cloth  over a colander the easiest
Leave for a couple of hours to drain, if you squeeze the plum you will get a cloudy jelly
Next tip the liquid into a clean pot, I add a cup of sugar per cup of liquid
simmer this till it reduces, now plums have naturally got pectin in them but for a harder set i added some jam setter at the end
The rest is easy ladle into clean sterile jars and water bath for 10 minutes.
 With the left over plums... yes even after making all that jelly there was still plums left i think roughly 6 kg and also the left over pulp from the jelly I took all the seeds out and simmered it until it was soft, not long at all under 30 min I then puree it make fruit roll ups, I'm still making them actual, I don't want to kill my dehydrator so I'm only doing one batch a day. So far I'm up to day 7 and I can happily say this is the last batch to be done yay.

 Had to throw in a little harvest pic, we are starting to get more zucchinis an the tomatoes are still plodding along, but I'm thinking of pulling them all out and planting some more as they are all a bit straggly from all the rain last two months.
I have been impatient to make pectin so I went and collected all the apples that had fallen on the ground and also picked any that had spots from the tree to make pectin.

Again I don't have a recipe for this but same as for the jelly, cut up fruit and cover with water when apples are mushy drain the put liquid bake in pot (but don't add sugar) Then reduce, to test if its ready place some in the fridge to cool ones cool, drop a spoon full into some methylated spirits if it congeals congratulations its ready, If it doesn't don't worry just keep simmering down, then jar up as per normal.