6 August 2014

Busy producing this and that

It was one of those special days yesterday - one when the hours dissolved into each other, I had no real work to do and I sat knitting sample dishcloths using leftover yarn from recent projects. I'll be showcasing the dishcloths at the talks I'll be giving in Brisbane in September. I'll have details about them for you soon. Slow and steady was the order of the day. Hanno was working in one of our bathrooms that we're renovating at the moment. Meals were a breeze - homemade sausage rolls and celeriac soup, so apart from the knitting, there wasn't much to do. The sun shone outside, it was neither warm nor cold, and everything went according to plan.

I've been harvesting beetroot, tomatoes and eggs from the backyard and by far, the most abundant of those are the eggs. Our hens are producing between nine and ten eggs every day and have been all through winter. We have been giving away eggs left, right and centre, and using as many as we can in our kitchen.  The other day I made some delicious Portuguese custard tarts, they used up four eggs. It's a very easy recipe and the tarts are moist and luscious; they'd be perfect lunch box or picnic food. I used the recipe from Not Quite Nigella, it was so easy and quick and it made up 12 delicious tarts. There is an excellent tutorial with photos on her site. BTW, I added an extra egg to my custard and it worked well.

I pickled the beetroot and I've shared that recipe before so won't repeat it again, but I did use a different vinegar and it made a remarkable difference. I bought some organic apple cider vinegar and used 125 mls of it along with 125 mls of my regular Cornwells apple cider vinegar. It was so good. I actually drank some of the pickling liquid on its own after we had a small bowl of the beets for lunch on the weekend. The liquid was dark blood red and, simultaneously, it made me feel like a vampire and healthier as soon as I drank it. :- ) My grandmother drank the vinegar dressing after we finished the salads she used to make. We never used oil in those days - olive oil could only be bought in chemist shops/pharmacies then. Most people just used vinegar, salt, pepper and sometimes a little sugar to dress their salads. I still have a preference for non-oily dressings and am quite satisfied with plain vinegar, as long as it's a good one.

The tomatoes will be used fresh and in various meals, I don't have enough to preserve them. But the other preserving I did do last weekend was a grapefruit cordial. The lovely Sandi who lives on a small farm in the next town brought over a large bucket of pink grapefruit recently. I was going to make marmalade but then didn't have the time nor the inclination to cut the peel, and decided to make cordial instead. I made up light sugar syrup and added enough grapefruit juice to make a slightly sweet-sour cordial. We enjoyed it with our lunch when Sunny and Jamie visited on the weekend. Made up with cold, sparkling mineral water, it made a refreshing drink. It is a wonderful thing to be able to make many of these drinks and preserves but I'm truly thankful I have the fresh produce to use.

This is the cute red riding hood coat Hanno and I sent to Alana, Tricia's grand daughter. I hand knit the little mittens to go with it. The coat is a 0 size but Alana is so tiny it might be another year before she gets to wear it.

Life continues to bubble along here. Our days are full of interesting work and frequent breaks and we'd have it no other way. The weather is slowing getting warmer and soon I know I'll be complaining about the hot weather again. I'm enjoying a very slow and lazy August because things will be busy again for me from September onwards.  How is life treating you in your home?

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