Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Starter. I have had attempted this a couple of times in the past, the best I achieved was a funky smelling goop that did not result in anything. This time around I borrowed The River Cottage Handbook No 3 - Bread from my local library. The only thing I have did different this time around to in the past was I used my Kenwood mixer to mix the batter for 10 min as was suggested in the book. The results while the weren't instant, they were obvious over the first week. I started by mixing 1 cup spelt flour with 1 cup of water and mixing with food mixer for 10 Min's then this step was repeated every day for the next 7 days and each time I would take half the starter out ( its great to add when making piklets, you don't need to waste it). I didn't always add 1 cup some days was half a cup, from what I have read it doesn't matter as long as it is equal volumes of water to flour.
After a couple of hours the first bubbles started to form, this is a good thing. It means the starter is fermenting.
First feed, the starter grew quickly the first photo is after 2 hrs and the 2 nd photo is after 6 hrs.  After 7 days I  used the starter to make my first ever sourdough bread. The process is slightly different to making bread with yeast but in no way more complicated.
Two loaves I made a day apart the loaf which is rectangle was risen an cooked in a bread tin, while the other was risen and baked an a standard baking tray.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

T is for

Tomatoes.Yesterday I got 3 boxes of tomatoes, maybe I was just excited but it didn't  seam like much. That was until I got home. Depending on how you want to look at it, 3 boxes equals 30 kgs of Roma tomatoes, 1 day slaving in the kitchen or 46 jars of final product. Using  a mincer to separate the skin an seed made a huge difference time wise, I would hate to think how long it would of taken me if I had to do it all by hand. All the onions an garlic added was from my garden and thanks to this the total cost was $45. So while it was a long day making all the sauce then bottling it, it was well worth it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Food for free


I have mentioned before about finding food for free .
This time it was blackberries that are growing wild on my Dads place but there are lots of spots where they grow wild on the side of the road.

End result three yummy pies, two for the freezer and one has already been eaten.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pears in Jars

Part of the reason I decided to start preserving more was the fact that I don't want to be buying canned products from the shops where half the time it says in the ingredients list from local and imported ingredients. I refuse to buy any fruit and vegetable either fresh or in cans that are imported.
 Tricia over at little eco footprints is doing a great challenge this yr where they have decided to skip the supermarkets for a year. I would like to think that by preserving fruit and vegetable myself I am slowly going to get to a stage where I am organised to join in on the challenge. Even though I prefer to buy fresh  in season fruit, both my kids  eat a lot of it an I want to have a variety preserved for when winter comes around and I can only get apples and oranges in season. So far I have 10 jars of peaches  and a ton of homemade fruit roll ups which mainly consist of plum or peach. So next on the list was pears.

 Yesterday at my local fruit and veg shop pears were only 99 cents a KG so I grabbed 2.5kg to preserve. Ever time I try a new canning recipe I only do a small amount so that we can the open a jar in the first wk and see how we like the final product an if its thumbs up them the aim is to go ahead an make more. As different fruits are coming into season  my aim is to preserve  anoth so that we don't have to by said fruit or veg out of season.
 I am still new to the whole canning or is that jarring process. and as you can tell from the above photo the pears were not as well packed into the jars as I thought. But now I know for next time to pack them even more. I have no idea why they took on such a pink/ peachy colour when I water bathed them but I think it looks  pretty. I was impressed with the results from the 2.5kg of pears we got 8 jars, though I am sure if I had packed them better it would of only been 6. Most importantly the taste, the kids loved them they finished of a whole jar in one setting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chicken Stock

In jars........ Yep I will admit this is a new one for me. I normally freeze it but there just isn't room atm. I don't really follow a recipe for the stock I had four young roosters that needed the chop. So that's what I used but you can use the carcases from a roast chicken. I added a heap of pickling onions as that's what I had from the garden and some crazy looking carrots again from the garden. You can also add celery if you have any. Cover with water then bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 4-5 hrs I find the longer the better as you get a more intense flavour.
Let cool and skim of any fat on top then drain through a colander. Using cheese cloth is good for when you drain as you get a clearer stock. Then pressure can. Any food to be put in jars that has meat in it needs to be pressure canned. I followed the instructions which came with my pressure canner and it involved canning for 20 min. The result was 15 jars of stock and leftovers was used to make a soup, all the meat was shredded some for future meals and also for the soup.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Making bread is calming, peaceful and most important to my kids fun. I love The Knead for Bread for is great photos and  wonderful recipes always inspiring for when I want to try a new recipe.
The Pesto Bread is easy and turns out great every time, its my all time favourite an I have been using the recipe for over a yr now. It is very versatile and you can really add anything you want instead of pesto. The kids love bacon and cheese or Vegemite and cheese and homemade pasta sauce an cheese.

While I am taking about other peoples recipes I thought I'd better add the Muesli bars from inner pickle they are a new favourite of ours, we are onto our second batch.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jars, Jars and more Jars

I know this look like I have gone over the top but I expect them to get used up as time permits. I ordered these through the Ozfarmer site and they were great to deal with. Part of the reason I got so many cases of jars was they discount when you order 10 + cases. I went mainly for the pint size which is 437ml as I find this is a size that suits my family the most, I find anything smaller is ok for jams but not for sauces and stock as you then need to open two jars at once. The larger jars are quart size which is 950 ml and is perfect for soups and for whole fruits as well. The brand of jar you use depends on what you are preserving, I find that reusing jars from the shops are great for jams but I would never put them in the pressure canner and if you want to jar stock and soups etc you have to pressure can to preserve them safely. The two brands that I know of that are safe to use for pressure canning are the Ball mason jars and the Fowlers Vacola Jars. I found more infomation about pressure canning with the Ball jars plus I could get them cheaper so that is why I went with them.

I have many plans for these jars and first on the list thanks to been gifted a box of mushrooms was dried mushrooms, luckly they dry fairly quickly as there is still lots more to dry. These are great to add to soups and stews and even in a pasta sauce. A tip if your children dont like mushrooms is to just crush the dried mushroom to powder when you add it to your cooking and they wont even know its there.
 Next of was more pectin,  I started this last night then left the apple pulp to drain over night, then reduced it this morning. I have a feeling this is a stronger batch then the last lot, it will be interesting to see when I am making jam next.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rug rug addicted

So the rug is finished, an sitting all nice an folded up waiting for me to gift it to my mum on the weekend, I cant wait. But I feel I can't stop I need/want to make another but I have yet to find the right colour sheets I want this next one to be bright, I have already brought the perfect cotton, its bright red from the op shop just need to find the right sheets. I even went through the kids sheets looking for one to rip up they were not impressed when they realised what i wanted to do. oops.