So much done, So little time

I am so tired, but satisfied with my efforts!

The last few weeks have been very hectic.  With having Dad and his partner Norma down from Qld who left this morning, and Kim’s mum Pam visiting (Pam is still here, but I like having her around), Ben’s 10th birthday and Megan turned 18 on Saturday.  It has been a full house and lots happening and birthday parties everywhere!

As you saw in “Chicken House Extension“, Dad helped me add another roosting box to the chicken house in prep for the 3 new ISA Brown chickens that I pick up on Sunday.  I am looking forward to see what happens when the new girls meet the old girls, and shall be videoing the event for all to see.

We have been eating more cheese than I have been making, and last night cracked open a 5 month old Wensleydale.  It was magnificent, and praised by all as the best cheese tasted so far.  We also served a little of the Emmantal that I still have left and some home made pickled onions from last seasons harvest.  The pickled onions have really taken on the chilli flavour of the dried birds eye chillie that I put in each jar.  Very wicked. 

This was all after I made another wheel of Caerphilly last night, just so I could show Dad the process of home cheese making.  I believe that he was quite impressed, as was Pam.  Here is the Caerphilly out of the press and drying before I put it into the cheese cave.



Today, I cleaned off a Stilton that I made about 3 months ago, and it tasted fantastic.  It weighs about 1kg, so I don’t know what to do with it all.  I can only eat so much blue vein cheese, but it is so creamy and tasty.



Next time I am going to halve the recipe, because I will probably have to give half of it away so that it doesn’t go off.

Over the weekend, I picked my beetroot crop.  Here is the final product.  This is the product of two well cared for rows of beetroot that I have been growing over winter.  I am also going to plant a summer crop of Chioggia beetroot to see what happens.



Most of the beets I cooked whole, peeled in rubber gloves, with only a few that I had to cut in half.  They will be a great hit at summer BBQ’s.

I made a great vegetable curry about two weeks ago and just made it up as I went along.  Everyone wolfed it down.  This is the harvest that I added to it.



We enjoyed the curry so much that I forgot to take a picture of it!  I even added some fresh beetroot to it, but it turned curry pink, so I had to add some more turmeric to get it back to an orange/yellow colour.  Always learning by mistakes!  The cabbage was so sweet as was the full flavour of the carrots and parsnips.  I have never tasted anything quite like it.  It certainly beats the store bought crap hands down.



About 4 weeks ago, I made some home made Branston Pickles.  Kim has been yearning for me to give this a go, because it is the ideal accompement with cheese, and is typically served with a Ploughman’s lunch in the UK.  Well, Kim reckons that she will keep me around now just because I can make Branston to near perfection!  Another shot of the finished product.  It was a hit with Kim, Pam and myself and we even had Emmental and Branston Pickle toasted sandwiches to celebrate! Noice.



As you can see, it is not quite the right colour because I couldn’t find the kitchen bouquet browning sauce ingredient in the recipe which you can find here at Recipezaar.  Next time I will use some Parisian browning essence, which is used here in Australia to brown gravy and soups.  It should work out perfectly next time. 

At the same time as I made the Branston Pickles, I made some Pyrenees with Green Peppercorns, because the first effort was just so nice.  Here it after 4 months of ripening and the new wheel I made.  It tasted so fabulous, like a vintage cheese with a subtle pepper flavour all the way through.  I think the cracking occured because the cheese cave was not at a constant humidity, which I have rectificed with a bigger bowl of water in the bottom of the cave.



4 month old, and ready to eat.



Pyrenees with Green peppercorns straight out of the press.

Last week and most of this week, I have been hitting the phones, calling all of the major environmental groups in Victoria, like Environment Victoria, Sustainability Victoria, Australian Conservation Foundation and the Alternate Technology Association.  I have been after donations of educational material for our sustainable living group’s stand at the local Djerrawarrah Festival that is being held in Melton on the 7th of November.  So far so good, with lots of material turning up in the mail, and many thanks to those groups. 

I have also been chasing liability insurance and a marquee for the event as well.  Never a dull moment around here.  I even have a meeting with the ACF Green home team on Thursday to see if we can form an Alliance between our groups, and do a much bigger education campaign based on their Green Home project within our shire.  There may even be a few spots on the Climate Champion training course for some of the members!  I will get to meet Al Gore one day soon I reckon.  I can feel it in my water!

Other than that, just planting as many seeds as I can and my runner beans and pumpkins have finally germinated.  A few have been nibbled, but a bit of Multicrop snail bait fixed that up (the iron chilate type).  I will be harvesting the last of the cabbages this weekend and will attempt to make some Sauerkraut out of them.  Never tried it, but have heard it is well worth making, and goes great with roast pork.

All the new fruit trees have leaves and the cherry tree even flowered.  The old plum tree must have had so much heat stress last year that only about 5 blossoms showed then fell off.  No plums this year, but the tree has a full canopy of leaves and looks very healthy, so probably a bumper crop next year.  I just netted an ANZAC Peach tree that I planted 3 years ago because I think that small birds have been eating the skin of the green fruit.  Either that or snails have been aquiring a taste for green peaches!

Well that is about a months worth of updates in one post and a busy one at that, but stay tuned, because there are many more posts to come. 

Gav



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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Gavin,
    I’m amazed how much you fit into a day. You’ve now taken cheese making to another level. Well done. The veggie harvest looks fantastic. Have been harvesting broad beans for the last few weeks and yesterdays warmer weather sure made the rest of the patch stand up. Tomatoes looking strong. Beans poking up. It’s all so good.
    Looking forward to hearing about the new chickens.
    Cheers
    Anita

  2. says

    Wow that’s amazing, don’t forget if you ever have an excess of emmenthal I will give it a good home ;-)

    Pink food is not good is it, I put red cabbage in my homemade vege stock and it was a bit “random” as my kids would say.

  3. says

    Wow Gav, you’ve been busy!

    One tip – try growing yellow beetroot as well as the red. They don’t stain stuff, which is nice when you’re using them in dishes with other vegies etc that don’t benefit from being bright pink. The red ones are still good for serving as proper beetroot, though.

  4. says

    Ohhhh, beets! Must grow some! They just look so good. I’m so new to all this growing and preserving my own stuff, but what I find the more I do it, is how easy it is! And how rewarding!

    I wouldn’t worry about the browning stuff – if it is only you and your family and friends eating it, I think the more natural the better. Besides, maybe it’s time home made products influenced shop bought, not the other way around.

    You’ve been so busy, you’re putting me to shame. But then, I do have two preschoolers to deal with, and they’ve been keeping me busy. I try to tidy up, and while I’m doing one end of the house (which is only tiny), my daughter (age 2 1/2) is busy “deconstructing” it at the other. Oh well…

    Enjoy the fruits of your labours!

  5. says

    Your cheeses look great! I have been browsing your cheesy posts the last few weeks whenever I had a question regarding my own cheese making. What fun cheese making is!! Thanks for very instructive posts.

    Making sauerkraut is indeed incredibly easy and very rewarding. Tastes fantastic, is good for you, and can be used in all kinds of dishes. Have fun! :)

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