Well what a great time had by all. Over the weekend, I was a very busy lad.
Friday night, I made a version of Monterey Jack cheese called Pepper Jack. I got the recipe from one of my new cheese books, which I will post a review of during the week. Here is the pre-waxed finished product. It weighs about a kilogram.
Note the red flakes throughout the cheese. They are my organically grown Birdseye chilli flakes that are added to the cheese when adding the salt to the curds. It took me about 4 hours to get to this stage. It has to dry for another day before I wax it as a little whey is still draining from it. The cheese will be ready to eat between 1 and 4 months. I can’t wait.
On Saturday, after I cooked my own full English birthday breakfast (bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms), I ventured down to the hardware store (Bunnings) and picked up a few birthday gifts for myself. I purchased a gardening sieve to make seed raising mix with, some organic potting mix, and various punnets of bok choy and winter lettuce. I have a few pots that I wanted to plant out as the veggie patch is full.
My friend and fellow sustainable living group member David came over to help me set up for the MSLG’s fortnightly meeting. We set up under my Solar PV power station (the carport). How cool is having a sustainable living meeting underneath solar panels!
We were expecting about 10 people to attend, and I was glad when 11 turned up. We had about 10 minutes of official business, and then I gave an organic gardening presentation/demonstration which lasted for the rest of the meeting. I felt like a cross between Don Burke, Peter Cundell and Jackie French. It was quite humorous to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed it and there were lots of questions. I even finished it off with a “that's your blooming lot”. The entire group joined in and there was lots of tips flying back and fourth. I then gave a tour of the veggie patch to those who had not see it, and explained what I had planted and why. Thanks to all those who attended, you made my day.
Later that evening, after all of the group members had left, I started to prepare dinner. Kim and I had invited our friends Jane and Sim over for a curry night for my birthday. Jane writes at “Changing Direction…”. They brought along the most delicious lamb curry in a huge pot and a jar of lemon pickles (must look that one up now I have lots of lemons), and I made a chicken korma and provided the usual condiments of Hot chilli chutney, brinjal pickle and green tomato pickles. It was all so good, and we all went back for seconds! The ladies also bought me a present of a fig and walnut loaf. Doesn’t it look wonderful?
It looks even better sliced.
It was so delicious. I was a bit of a pig and ate three slices for breakfast with butter on Sunday morning. Everyone loved it except Ben who is a bit fussy about his bread. Kim wants the recipe!
After dinner, it was time to sample the cheese. So out with a little bit more Wensleydale and some Gouda that I also made. The Wensleydale was fantastic, as already reported, and the Gouda had holes just like the picture in the cheese book! It was a bit immature, but I thought it tasted wonderful. Kim thought it was a bit bland, so I re-waxed it and will sample it again in two months time. I better make some more Wensleydale as we only have quarter of a wheel remaining.
After a few crackers and some more cider it was time to say goodbye. Thanks for a great night ladies.
Sunday morning, fig and walnut toast and organic coffee. Yum. Then it was to work in the garden trimming back overhanging trees and jasmine and removing bamboo screens from the fence. We are getting our back fences replaced in two weeks time, so I had to make sure that Mr fence man could get free access to both of them. This is the mess we made of the raised bed in the chook garden area.
And another view.
All that mess in the foreground is bound for the skip. The council doesn’t take jasmine or creepers in the green waste collection which is fair enough given the nature of it to reshoot as soon as it is left on a bare patch of earth. Where the trellis is now bare, I will be planting 3 dwarf fruit trees and will be espaliering them. I have to prep the beds over the next few weeks as it is lacking in organic matter. Watch this space for a how to espalier a fruit tree!
Then we attempted to train Holly to not chase the chickens when they are free ranging. Here are the girls venturing out of their cage after we finished destroying the garden. I used a trigger bottle full of water to deter Holly when she made her move, and she learned very fast not to chase them. A few more times and we will have her co-existing peacefully just like Butch does with the girls.
It took three of us (Adam and Amy helped their old Dad) about 3 hours to finish off all the work. I was knackered, but my back felt really good. I did feel quite tired, but managed the strength to whip up a Chickpea and Potato curry for dinner. It was great with rice and naan bread.
I was then finished for the weekend and retired to bed early. What a great way to spend ones 45th birthday!
Oh, BTW. It rained today. The first time since February I think. The veggie have gone crazy with all of those special nutrients!