Sunday, September 25, 2011

Making cream cheese, apple sauce and replanting the vegie garden

I made a batch of yoghurt earlier in the week, and I forgot to sweeten it, so I decided to finally give making cream cheese with it a go. I wrapped it in a cotton teatowel and placed it in a strainer in a large bowl and placed it in the fridge for a few days for the whey to separate. It has turned out perfectly.
There is about 350mls of whey from this process, so I will have a look at some recipes to use this for. I think it can be used quite extensively in baking. I have added sweet chilli sauce to some of the cream cheese, and it has made a beautiful, creamy dip, which is really nice with crackers.
While in the kitchen, there were a few apples in the fruit bowl that needed to be used up, so I decided to make some apple sauce to use in baking cakes, so I used the apple slinky to core the apples, then threw them in the thermomix with some water, chopped and cooked and pureed, and voila, lovely smooth apple sauce, with NO preservatives or sugar...much better and fresher than the bought stuff and so much cheaper too.

It was so easy to make, it was almost laughable. Kasey and I went up to the markets this morning, I bought a few lot of seedlings for the garden, and I also bought a huge tray of strawberries to freeze up to make smoothies in the thermomis. It was $5 for the whole tray, and after washing them and removing the stalks there is just under 3 kilos of strawberries there. I have packed them all flat in bags in the freezer for later use. This afternoon was spent planting a LOT of seedlings in the vegie garden, but in a few weeks it should all start to pay off, and the vegie garden will start to become a thriving place to be again. I still need to plant some peas and carrots, and probably some rockmelon and watermelon for summer fruits and a few more summer greens and salad vegies and leaf crops, but this afternoon gave it a huge kick along. The eggs are buildng up quite quickly now that I am beating Reggie to them, so will do some baking hopefully this week, and just Kasey and I for dinner tonight and she has asked for boiled eggs, the thermy makes these so easy to do as well, so I will pop them in shortly to cook. So, a busy and productive Sunday, and after the HUGE effort of cleaning out the shed on Thursday, it's been a very productive week.
Oh..and the tooth fairy needs to visit tonight...the 2nd front tooth has finally fallen out, Kasey found it beside her bed this morning...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Had a busy morning, I had a couple call in this morning for a quote on their wedding flowers, and then went to deliver today's wedding. The bride was very happy with her bouquets :)

Just did the boring thing this arvy, had to go and get some groceries on the way home, I have been trying to go for weeks...but who can be bothered! Tonight I have cooked pumpkin soup in the thermomix, trying out a few recipes in was pretty quick and easy, about 4-5 minutes prep time, the rest the thermy took care of, so piping hot soup on the table in under 1/2 hour from start to finish...can't ask for more than to get the hang of cooking with it, as even though I use the same ingredients as when I cook on the stovetop, the recipes are turning out slightly differently in taste..not sure why...tomorrow I am off to a varoma demo at Renae's place, so I hope to have a much better idea of how to get the best out of the steamer etc after it's a lunchtime demo, so should be some yummy food for lunch!
I have also discovered why I haven't been getting many eggs from the chickens, Michael's dog Reg is stealing them...climbing up the ramp into the chookhouse and helping himself, I caught him yesterday when I was watering the vegie garden, I called him and made him drop it....still in 1 now I have to beat him to the eggs...I think a small "chook only" door on the chook house might be the only option as he is also eating the chook seed, and that stuff is expensive...the vegie garden is also in need of some new plantings, so I'll have to get organised and get my spring and summer seedlings in...I planted a few spuds the other day, along with a batch of corn and sunflowers....I really must get much more organised with this, especially as I just saw a clip for a story on Today Tonight on Monday about China sending their chemical laden vegies to us, via New Zealand so they are re-labelled as from New Zealand...through the back door type of stuff...pretty worrying, will have to make sure I watch this and get all the I really need to get the vegie garden sorted so that I keep planting and prepping so there is a constant supply coming out...but I think that's probably the battle most people have..I've got all the info in books and reference material, it's just getting motivated enough to do it all...motivation is very lacking at the moment....

Friday, September 16, 2011

No takeaway tonight :)

I'm feeling very proud of myself, did not feel like cooking tonight...So I had a look through the thermomix cookbook and put a mushroom risotto on to a nice, filling, yummy dinner...didn't have to buy any ingredients, they were all here...well other than white wine, but I had a bottle of champers in the fridge, so I used that instead, and I used some of my homegrown shiitake mushrooms, it was a definite novelty just wandering out to the greenhouse and picking some it's now chugging away in the thermy, smells good...will be cooked in a few minutes...should be yum...
Note to add:
It was yummy...

Monday, September 12, 2011

We have mushrooms!!

My  first try at growing mushrooms is appearing to be successful so far. I soaked this log of shiitake mushroom spores a couple of weeks ago, and put it in the greenhouse where it will get regular mistings of water...and it is going great guns.Lots of yummy mushrooms coming along nicely. So I will need to make something yummy with these.

I still have to plant my field mushroom kit down the back in the shade, but need to build a fence to keep the chickens out of them. Still lots to do to keep me busy, I need to get a lot of seedlings up and running, plant a big crop of corn, and  get some sunflowers coming along (just because they're pretty)
Damian picked the pumpkins that had grown, we only got a few off the vine, they just didn't seem to do very well this year. I also have quite a few varieties of potatoes to plant, I have had them sitting ready to plant for weeks now, but haven't got to it. I still need to paint Kasey's bed and desk, and it is right in the middle of a very busy wedding season, so I have lots of weddings coming up over the next couple of months, as well as lots of preservations to finish off.  I also need to start to put some effort in to getting a little organised for Christmas...I haven't done anything really so far this year to prepare for that...but it will all come together, so I'm not going to get my knickers in a knot over it! If I don't get things handmade, then I will just head off to the shops...or the markets, or etsy or similar...anyway...I might try and get a batch of soy candles and a batch of soap made this afternoon, and head out to the vegie garden this afternoon to do a few plantings....we'll see how we go.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's been a bit busy....and a celebration cake...'s been so busy...ridiculously busy actually. Have had lots going on the last few weeks. Got back from our cruise a week ago, and have had Michael's 21st birthday party at home the next day, have also had Damian's mum's 75th birthday the weekend just gone, as well as our niece's 18th birthday, and did the flowers for 3 weddings on the weekend as well, oh, and Fathers Day yesterday! Today, I have decided to take the day off. Damian and Michael will be away for the week at work, so just the 3 of us left here at home, so some peace and quiet. Today I have had too many cups of tea to count, and I have been lazing about on the lounge catching up on computer land...this is the first lazy day I have had in...I don't remember, I have still done the washing and cleaned the bathrooms, but that has been in between being lazy...during all of the chaos and busyness of last week, I spent a couple of nights doing a celebration cake for Damian's mum's birthday.  It is certainly very bright and colourful, but I figured it's a celebration cake, it needs to be colourful! It has given me lots of experience now in the fundamentals of putting a 2 tiered cake together, and I got the cake thickness much better for this cake, than I did for my first cake.  It also gave me some more experience in the decoration side of things, so I am gradually getting a bit more confidence with this cake decorating thing.