Fermenting, Foody things, Foraging

Homemade Hard Apple cider without a press

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We have been enjoying the fruits of our Labour testing and tasting the cider from the apples we have been foraging. I really wish I knew what variety of Apple’s we are using as I’ve searched and searched and I can’t find any information. The tree is over 50 years old possibly closer to 100 so we will be saving some seeds if we can’t find a young seedling underneath the tree. The apples as absolutely scrumptious – sweet and crunchy but deceptively green at first sight and take on a slight yellow tinge once ripe looking a little like a cross between a golden delicious and a granny smith.

As we don’t own a press or a juicer I’ve been hunting for recipes I could follow without these.
I had seen a post on how to convert a old washing machine into a giant juicer and if anyone is interested in this I’ll post the link. It’s something I will definitely consider doing for the future or I will save up for a manual press.

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Our first lot of cider was successful but the recipe I followed said to cook the apples and I found the finished product a little grainy. We did a second strain before serving and while it tasted good it didn’t taste right.

The next lot of cider I decided to use the food processor to crush the raw apples. I used about a kilo of Apple’s and after crushing them as fine as I could I popped them in a 5litre food grade bucket with 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cider yeast and 4 litres of water. Then I covered with a muslin cloth and rubber band and popped them up on my fermenting shelf.

I left this mix for 4 days stirring daily. After this I strained off the pulp squeezing to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

I then bottled and left for a second ferment so it carbonated. You don’t have to carbonate and can drink it still but I like the bubbles. I only needed to leave it for two days to get the level of carbonation I wanted.
After this make sure you store in the refrigerator.

Now I’m sure more seasoned home brewers would disagree with this method but it worked for me and I’m happy with the results.
We are now experimenting with flavours and maple cinnamon is a definite favorite. Next I’ll be making a pumpkin and Apple spiced cider that I won’t carbonate so I can heat it in the cooler months for a instant winter cider!

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Cheese, Foody things

Mascarpone recipe

Recently I posted a photo of the mascarpone I made on Facebook and instagram and I was asked to share the recipe.

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I’ve had lots of lovely thick jersey cream from Kisses and haven’t felt like making butter. Usually I would make cream cheese but having run out of starter I needed a another option.

Mascarpone is a delicious citrusy Italian cream cheese that can be quite expensive to buy but is very easy to make. You can use vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid combined with cream. For the purpose of this recipe I am using citric acid but feel free to experiment.

Mascarpone

Ingredients

1litre cream
1teaspoon citric acid

Method
1. Pop your cream in a heavy saucepan and very slowly heat the cream stirring every now and then. Bring the cream to 90 degrees celsius (use a meat or candy thermometer to measure this)

2. Once you have brought cream to temp remove from heat and add the citric acid stirring for 5 minutes.

3. Place a colander or sieve lined with a muslin/cheese cloth over a bowl and Poor the cream mix in. cover with a plate and move to the fridge to drain the liquid for 8 hours.

4. Poor off the drained whey. This can be used in breads, soups, stocks or to make ricotta.
Scrape your mascarpone into a container and use as you wish.
We made a mascarpone baked  cheesecake with lime and raspberry if anyone would like the recipe to this please ask and I’ll add it to the post. (Sorry no photo of the actual cheesecake it went too quick but here’s the before 😋)

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Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Cheats maple pancake syrup

I’ve been busy processing all the apples we are collecting and have been awash with apple scraps. Last year I made Apple scrap jelly which was delicious and Apple cider vinegar is continuously brewing here so I felt like trying something new.

I had been reading about Apple scrap pancake syrup and I thought I would try and adapt the recipe to make some of my own. I LOVE maple syrup but getting the good quality stuff here is expensive.
A while ago I scored a cheap bottle of maple extract from Aldi and I’ve been waiting for a reason to use it.

For the syrup I placed all the cores and skin scraps into a big pot covered them in water and boiled until they were mushy

Next I strained off the apples and for every cup of liquid I added a cup of sugar put on the heat and stirred until dissolved.  Next I added 4 drops of maple extract and 2 tsp of cinnamon.

I then boiled for about 3 hours reducing and thickening the syrup.

You could try adding lemon juice too but I was happy with the thickness and consistency I got.

I didn’t can this batch but if it’s well received I will be making more!

Enjoy X

Baking, cake, Cheese, Foody things, Homesteading

With Seaweed comes cream cheese.

He has arrived! Our long awaited calf was born not long after my last post and
we were delighted to find a little bull calf!
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As a meat eaters I really want to have a relationship with the meat we consume and for it to be as ethical as possible so home produced beef has been one of our homesteading goals since the beginning.
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Nyah named the little bull calf seaweed to continue the tradition (our last calf female calf being Stingray).
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Our relaxed milking routine has kicked off and we have already started cheese making. I’ve been asked a bit recently how we manage a cow along with everything else we do so I thought I could give a bit of insight into our life with a dairy cow.
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The key to a ‘easy’ routine is milk sharing with the calf while it is young this means we don’t seperate and in the afternoon Dane will get Kisses food ready bring her into the yard. He will squirt some milk on the ground to clear any dirty milk out of the teat then wash the tests and udder with warm soapy water and milk by hand while kisses eats and the calf frolics around the yard.
The positives to this system are that kisses is relaxed having her calf close by and it doesn’t matter greatly if we are late or miss a day of milking but there are some negative points too.
For one because we don’t use a milking stand I can’t milk her as I often have the children with me and sometimes cows can be moody.
We also don’t get as much milk as we could if we were milking twice a day and separating for long periods.
We do get 5-7litres a day with thick cream it’s not the most we COULD be getting but it’s more than enough for our families home dairying.

After the milk is brought in its poured through a sterilized cheese cloth into another food safe bucket and left to sit in the fridge over night until the cream settles.
The cream is then skimmed with a ladle and placed into the cream jar and the milk poured into the milk jugs.

So there you have it our milking routine. We will start seperating the calf for a hour prior to milking and increase after that once the amount of milk we are getting declines but once a day hand milking is enough.

Last week I made some cream cheese and used that to make a delicious baked creme brulee cheese cake. You’ve never tasted cheese cake until you’ve had it with home made cheese and free range eggs. Absolutely sublime!
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For anyone who’d like to try making their own cream cheese below is the recipe I used its my adaptation of Dick and James Strawbridge recipe from made at home cheese and dairy which is a great book for beginners like myself.

Cream cheese
Ingredients
1 litre milk
1 litre of double cream
1/4 tsp mesophilic starter
3drops rennet mixed with 1 tablespoon sterilized water

1.Heat milk and cream slowly over low heat for 20minutes until it reaches 40C turn off and allow to cool to 30C

2.sprinkle starter over surface and leave for 5 minutes. Stir and add Rennet

3.cover and leave in a warm place for 12 hours
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4. Transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander and drain for 6-8 hours then season to taste.

That’s it now you can use it for whatever takes your fancy. If you would like to try a creme brulee cheesecake just follow a new York cheesecake recipe then after you bake sprinkle the top with caster then caramelize with a blow torch and serve with fruit.
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Baking, Foody things, gardening, Homesteading, News

Brunswick Stew, Ginger Snaps and seed raising

We’ve had a lovely grey day here and though we didn’t get much rain it gave a good excuse to hermit inside and do whole wholesome cooking.

I wanted to try a few more recipes from Marie W Lawrences farmers kitchen handbook that I had mentioned in a earlier post so today after getting some of our seeds in there mini greenhouses old strawberry and tomato punnets. I have found these to be excellent for raising seeds.

IMG_3466We also cooked a delicious Brunswick stew a recipe I had never tried. Traditionally it is cooked with squirrel but as we seem to be lacking these in Australia we used the suggested substitute of home grown chicken (well cockeral in our case) but I am keen to try it with rabbit.

Here is the recipe – I cooked it in a pressure cooker but I will write it up as is from the book with conversions.

Brunswick Stew

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  • 1.5KG Chicken (coat in the salt and pepper)
  • 3 slices Bacon
  • 1 large Onion chopped
  • 6-8 Peeled diced tomatoes (I just chopped I never bother peeling)
  • 11/2 C corn
  • 1/1/2C lima beans ( I used 1 tin 5 bean mix)
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2tsp marjoram
  • 2T Brown sugar ( I used 1)
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4t tobasco
  • 2C diced peeled potatoes

Recipe

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In a large pan cook diced bacon until the fat is rendered – remove bacon then brown the chicken pieces in the fat.

Once one side is browned turn over and throw in the onions to cook while the other side browns.

Stir in tomatoes, Marojam, brown sug, cider vinegar, worcestershire and Tobasco sauce bring to boil then simmer covered over medium heat for 20mins

Stir then add potatoes and beans, stir again then cover and cook for another 20 mins.

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Serve with homemade dinner rolls or buttermilk biscuits

and

GingerSnaps

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  • 2Cflour
  • 2t ginger
  • 1tcinnamon
  • 2t bi carb
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 3/4C butter
  • 1C sugar
  • 1egg
  • 1/4c molasses
  • extra sugar to roll dough in

Recipe

  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. beat in egg and molasses
  3. blend in dry ingredients
  4. roll teaspoon sized balls then toss in sugar place on greased tray 2″ apart

Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes the longer you bake the crunchier the cookie

I loved the flavour in these cookies they reminded me of dutch speculaars.