Weekend Happenings – Apple and Fennel chutney recipe

Well as predicted I couldn’t keep up with daily blogs but I am happy because it got me back towards blogging regularly.

We had a lovely weekend with Mr HG home. He’s been working so much recently that we really appreciate that family time. Although work at the Apple orchards will likely slow down soon we have some exciting prospects on the horizon but I won’t go into that just yet in case I jinx us!

On Saturday we were blessed with lovely weather so we potted around the garden as a group and all clipped the ripe rose hips together. The children go to use sharp scissors and garden shears so they were thrilled about the job. As we have so many roses at this house we’ve decided to dry the hips on our air dryer in the laundry over ysing the dehydrator. It’s a slower process but I feel like there is more “goodness” in the end product.

This last week the children and I picked the majority of the apples. I was tired of parrots eating them and wasps being attracted to the munched fruit so we thought it best to get the bulk off. We did a shout out on social media for free apples and had the lot taken. I still have a big box and 20 litre bucket to process ourselves, some left on the tree for the birds and one tree left with sour cooking/cider Apples I’ll get to shortly.

We also picked the last of the green tomatoes and pulled the plants up. I still can’t get my head around tomatoes being a Autumn fruit but Tasmania is a crazy place and the climate here is one of the things I love about it.

I decided to make some Chutneys a spicy green tomato and apple chutney and a Apple and Fennel chutney. The Apple and fennel was so delicious I made a second batch. It would be perfect on a pork roast but we stirred it into a spice chickpea curry and it worked beautifully in there too. We always save our own fennel seeds and the flavour is indescribable in comparison to store bought. In all honesty I have never managed to grow a fennel bulb but I’m great at growing seeds!

I’m adding the recipe to the post today I’ve found the blog is a great way for me to find my favorite recipes each season when it’s time to go back to them!

Apple and Fennel Chutney

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg  Apples
  • 2 large Onions
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 50 g fresh Ginger
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar ( or white if that’s what you have)
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • Juice and Zest from 1/2 Lemon
  • 1-2 tsp Dried Chili Flakes
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Star Anise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Peel and core the apples I use a slinky apple peeler then just check them in and bash them with the spoon as they cook
  2. Dice the onions
  3. Finely chop the garlic and ginger then wack everything into the pot
  4. Slowly bring to the boil stirring every now and then to make sure sugar dissolves and flavours mix
  5. Simmer until very thick but don’t let the apples dissolve into sauce.
  6. Pop into sterilised jars and process using your proffered method and store in a dark and cool place it should last 2 years if processed and stored correctly.

Mid February 2016 and summers over already!

I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)

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I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
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Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
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Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!

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We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
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Greengage Jam

2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5kg sugar

As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.

Happy jamming!

From Doom to bloom -Rose syrup recipe

We’ve had a emotional few days here as our much loved Rhode island red passed away. For those who follow me on instagram you may have already seen the story this story but for the rest of you I’ll share again.

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Almost five and a half years ago Russell came into our lives by chance. We were living in the blue mountains and saw her walking along the road outside our house so we herded her into our very bushy overgrown yard. Unable to find her owner she lived in our yard for weeks while we fed her scraps and bonded with her. She would sit on Danes shoulder and wormed her way into our hearts.

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Eventually we converted a green house into a coop and got her some friends. She remembered she was a chicken and gave us eggs, taught us about broodiness on hens and hatched some babies thus our chicken addiction was born.
This addiction led to us to moving to Oberon in rural NSW so we could breed heritage chooks and then led to Dane studying and obtaining a cert IV in Permaculture through Tafe.
Russell taught us everything we know about chickens, gave us food and many wonderful memories. She really was a major instigator in our self suffiency journey and has cheated death many times. Russell was also the reason we brought 9 chooks from the mainland to Tasmania when we had originally planned on taking none. As we couldn’t bare the thought of leaving her we had hoped she would make it to the next chapter in our story when we buy our own land but all the recent rain and damp proved too much and it was with great sadness we said farewell yesterday morning. We converted her body into bio-char and have her stored so when we are in our own place we can buy her some fruit trees and she can be one with the earth. 

With all of this life must go on. We’ve welcomed new chicks, filled the greenhouse with seedlings, planted out lots of vegetables and been fermenting lots of the spinach and winter greens we were lucky to inherit when we moved here.
We are also lucky enough to have large amount of roses so I have been looking for ways to utilise this resource. I’m hoping at the end of the season to try and make my own rosehip oil but for now I’m experimenting with the petals. Lots have been dried for tea and later use but some I’ve been making into syrup.

The syrup is incredibly easy to make and I follow the same principles as making the fruit cordials or other herb syrups that I’ve shared in previous recipes.

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Rose Syrup

1 bucket of rose petals
2 litres of water
Sugar
3 lemons
Tartaric acid

Wash the rose petals and put them in a 5 litre food grade bucket
Boil the kettle and pour 2 litres of water over the roses.
Pop the lid on and allow to steep for 24-48 hours
After it has steeped cup measure while putting it into your large saucepan.You can strain the petals or leave them in and strain them at the end.
For every cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar. Sometimes I do a few cups less and boil longer so experiment to your liking
Stir to dissolve sugar
Add lemon juice and bring to boil then simmer stirring occasionally until you reach desired syrup consistency. I like a thinner syrup as I use it to flavour drinks but if you want to make a dessert syrup simmer longer for a thicker syrup.
Once consistency is met add 1tsp tartaric acid stir and pour into your bottles.

Preserve using your preferred method. I pressure can as it uses less energy and gives me a longer shelf life but you can water bath can or store in the fridge for months without canning.

Enjoy 🙂

Green Tomato sauce

Hello we are still here cuddled up away from the cold, wet weather. The frosts have hit and what was left of my Autumn greens has turned to slime.

I’ve been pondering new things to do with Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes (my preferred name) we have a lot in the garden but the aptly nicknamed ‘fartichoke’ makes for musical evenings whenever we eat them! I’ve read that fermenting them can stop this so I will be experimenting this week and making Kale and sunchoke kimchi.
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We have been lazy in the garden and since kisses the Jersey cow ate my greenhouse I haven’t felt motivated.

The brassicas I planted late summer and Autumn arr going well but it’s been too cold, windy and now rainy to enjoy outside time. It’s a time for cosy by the fire crafts and baking. The mermaid blanket is making great progress and is now half way there.
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Today I accepted that the last lot of tomatoes won’t ripen and I’d be better off to process them green. I made a green tomato sauce based on a ketchup recipe. I’m trying to wean little miss Hunter gatherer off the preservative laden tomato sauce she calls ‘crazy’ sauce so I’m hoping this sweet sauce will do the job.
The result is a delicious and sweet sauce that I made with minimal effort thanks to the pressure cooker! I didn’t even need to peel or chop the tomatoes as I used a stick blender afterwards. Oh how I love kitchen tools!
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Sweet Green Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
3kg green tomatoes
2 diced brown onions
2C sugar
1 lemon
5C cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Brown mustard seeds
1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp all spice
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 tsp black pepper

Method
1. Using the pressure cooker or saucepan brown the diced onions.

2. Add all the other ingredients don’t worry about chopping just chuck it all in and pop the lid on.

3. If pressure cooking pop the lid on and once pressure is reached cook on low heat for 15minutes. Turn off heat then leave the lid of for another 20 mins
If using a saucepan bring to boil then put the lid and turn down simmering for 40 mins stirring every now and then.

4. Take lid off remove cinnamon stick and using stick blender blend until sauce consistency is to your likeing.

5. Reheat on stove then pop into warm sterilized bottles and process using your preferred method.

Cucumber craziness!

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I have been debating if I should write this post or not. I have been given friendly advice by some to keep my cards close to my chest when sharing recipes, particularly if it’s something I’d like to sell one day. I have taken this on board but a big part of me writing this blog is to share information. Not everyone has the money to buy products and I’m a firm believer that what goes around comes around. I’ve been inspired by many different chefs and bloggers in my time and I hope that my writing can inspire someone else in their journey.
So today I am sharing my versions of cucumber kimchi and sauer gurke -that’s sour cucumbers like sauerkraut only with cucumber not cabbage.
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We have had a abundance of cucumber this year. I may have been overzealous with my plantings and ended up with three plants that just went crazy! So with 10 kilos in the fridge I really needed to get my thinking cap on.
I found a few recipes for cucumber kimchi and with my first batch I loved the flavour but the texture of the cucumber cut up wasn’t my favorite. It was good but not great.

My second batch I decided to shred the cucumber. Now usually I do everything by hand but 10kg is a lot of cucumber. Instead I used my usually idol food processor and wow what a machine! All the cucumber was grated in about 3 minutes!

For the Sauer Gurke
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I massaged in about a 1/4 cup of sea salt and let it sit for 5 minutes. After this I drained the liquid but kept it aside in case I needed extra for the brine. I then added a teaspoon of minced ginger and 3 cloves of minced garlic stirred it through and pressed the whole mix into the fermenting jar. After weighing down the cucumber I added a little of the left over brine/liquid to ensure the mix was well covered. Popped on my fermenting cover and left it to do its magic. I liked it after 5 days but you could go as far as 14 depending on how sour you like it.
We had it on sausage sandwhiches and it was delicious!

Cucumber Kimchi
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For the kimchi the start of the process was the same as the sauergurke. Grate the cucumber and add your salt. After draining the liquid as above I then mixed through 2 teaspoons chilli powder, 5 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp ginger and 1/4 C soy sauce. Once mixed through I pressed it all into the fermenting jar and left it for 5 days.

Now the kimchi flavour improves with age so if like me you have loads of cucumber make a huge batch and don’t worry about having enough to last a few months.

Enjoy!!

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

When life gives you apples..

I’m finally sitting down to write this week’s blog post. I’ve accepted they will be weekly if I’m lucky!

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Blogging is a funny thing, If I could plug into my internal monologues there would be so much content to share! I keep telling myself I will keep a note book handy to jot down ideas for posts but the reality is I often write my most interesting posts when I’m somewhere random like weeding the garden so for now you will just have to put up with nonsensical ramblings whenever I squeeze time in between animals, babies, gardening and home chores!

Right now I am enjoying a glass of the blackberry sparkling wine I made last week. The warm weather means that it has fermented a lot quicker than my recipe stated so I need to amend that(especially since my friends who used my recipe had some exploding bottles!!!)

Our market last weekend went well we had some surprise visits from old friends which was wonderful. We survived with no Nanna help by bringing a travel cot to make a extra play space for the kids.

Dane has picked up some extra work so the homesteading chores have greatly fallen on me which has kept me busy. I’ve still had to squeeze in getting products ready for the Bathurst riverside market this weekend and Taste of Bathurst on the 12th. I’ll be trialling a new fermented summer garden pesto which I’m excited about.

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Kisses calved and it was exactly what we wanted a little bull calf that Miss Nyah has named Seaweed (our last calf was stingray). I’m so excited about having our own beef and although it is always hard taking the life of a animal we have grown attached to we know it’s had a good life and we truly appreciate the gift.

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I have been going well on my personal challenge of processing all the fruit in the freezer.
I did set myself back a little though by taking the kids on a spontaneous foraging adventure to this tree I had been eyeing off for a while nearby. I suspected they were apples but wasn’t sure until we got there to confirm it. On legs with Nyah by my side, Banjo on my back, Gypsy on the leash and Haggis the tortishell cat following behind I felt like we were characters in a story book heading off on a wild adventure! The apples were delicious and we filled the bag to the brim and struggled back home. I’m sure we looked a sight but we were all in good spirits and I have been merrily processing the harvest and will be back for more apples!

So far I have fed a bucketful to kisses with molasses which she greatly deserves, made two buckets of experimental hard cider, canned some Apple pie filling and used the cores and ‘waste’ materials to start another batch of cider vinegar which I will share the recipe for below. You can also save all your Apple cores and discarded toddler apples in the freezer to make this when you have enough but organic is best if you can get it.

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        Apple cider vinegar

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Ingredients

5-10 apples or cores,skins ect
Filtered water
1 cup honey or Sugar

Method

Put all your ingredients in the  jar or bucket (I use a 5L food grade bucket) and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Cover with a cheese cloth or tea towel and secure with a string or elastic band

Leave on the counter for at least a week mixing once a day. The sugar will ferment into alcohol and start to bubble.

Once the Apple/scraps sink to the bottom you have made hard cider!
Strain the apple/scraps off and recover the bucket or pour into a fresh bucket to continue fermentation.

Leave for another 3-4 weeks to allow alcohol to turn to acetic acid. The small amount of sediment at the bottom is normal this is the ‘mother’

After 3 weeks start tasting and once it is to your liking bottle. It will never go ‘off’ but may produce extra mothers that you can use to speed up future batches.

We use ACV all the time. We make it continuously whenever we have enough apple cores saved. It’s great for our health and well being but also great for treating animals as well.