Saturday, February 28, 2009

Show Day

My husband and our three daughters spent the day at the show today, they are nearly finished there. I suppose the Show is like a County Fair. We also have Field Days, like Henty Field Days in Australia.

We didn't do a lot, as mentioned in my previous post. But we did get two second prizes. One for my husband's jam, and one for our puppy. He was well behaved apparently which was good, he is a fairly large dog.

Our daughter helped man a church stall which was nice I thought. They were doing games, I think to encourage others to come to Youth Group.

Apparently our dog will be eligible for the working dog events next year as he is a gun dog.

My little girl got what we call here "fairy floss". My older girl got some jewelery.

I am going to post a picture of some canning or preserving on my other blog. It was quite hot today, and windy. Good for the dunking or rather hit in the face with a wet sponge stall.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Off milk and curing your own meat

This book is a joy to us. We didn't know a book like this existed. We already had a Leader Spare Corner book, I think originally from the Spare Corner of the Leader newspaper. It was where the recipes were published. Then after so many months or years they published the spare corners into a book. We recently bought a better copy of the one we had that had no cover. This one is in a much better format. For example it reads like a normal cooking book.

I found a section for example for eggless puddings. I know this is interesting, because I am eggless and have decided that I am not going to replace them until next shopping day, which is in two weeks. I want to keep our left over money for my husband's trip and the girls day at the show. I don't need a pudding though but it is interesting. I suppose if our meals turn out a bit light I could try one.

Last winter I found a curious bag in the supermarket where I shop. It is a farming district and I assume it is salt petre. My husband says it could be carcenergenic. However, imagine having sheep and being able to pickle some of the meat. I suppose freezers are just as good. I love pickled leg of lamb though, I used to have it for Christmas. Maybe my Nana did it so I would know what it was like. Maybe it is that bit special, it did taste nice. Anyway the book has the recipe. That is special in itself because I was sorry I didn't know how to use this ingredient that was prominently on my supermarket shelf.

I found a recipe for scones that uses up off milk. I thought these days with fewer people in homes that could be useful. We use UHT milk, and it doesn't go off really, you don't have to be as careful with it.

Sour Milk Scones

Never throw away a cup of sour milk, keep it, as it makes the most delightful scones. Into 3/4lb. plain flour mix 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/2 teaspoon carbonate of soda, and sift all together in order to get rid of the lumps. Mix into a light, but not too moist, dough with the sour milk, shape into a round on a floured board, and then cut into triangles and bake for twenty minutes on a buttered tin in a good top heat. Mrs. A.K.

I assume it is for slightly off milk.

I wonder if these recipes were tested. Lots of them say, for example for plum sauce, that it will keep. The recipes seemed to have practicality in mind.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Agricultural Show

The Agricultural Show is coming up fast. Last night my daughter picked up a booklet which has all the things you can enter. These are photos from last year. So far very quickly we have thought to enter our nearly grown puppy into a puppy competition. The reason being is we don't think we should enter him in the other section as he is not as well behaved as an adult dog. We have done some preserving, so that is an idea, to enter the plum jam. There is a stipulation there has to be clear covers, but looking through the photos we entered one last year (I know I was worried about the covers, I must have forgotten that detail). I did think of entering roses from the other house as I think they are nice, however, I am not sure what a floribunda is, will have to do some research on that one.

My daughters are not as keen as I am about floral saucer decorating. I didn't think I had any small flowers, but I am sure there would be some at my new house. Lots of driving involved and we wanted to renovate this weekend. (Yes it is a petty thing to worry about.)

I would prefer to do not much, but it seems worth it later on. I haven't entered flowers at this particular show before, but do remember doing that with my Nana for flower shows when I was little.

We have entered dolls and sewing here before, but no fresh ideas for that. If we enter the puppy will have to go in the Grand Parade.

Last year my husband and the two girls, got a second prize for something, my husband got two.

I used to love reading books to my littlest daughter a few years ago, Farmyard Tales by Heather Amery. One particular book was about the show, I think it is The Naughty Sheep. Have a look at the illustrations, it is an English story I think. Here are some snippets of what I have written previously about the Show.

"Earlier on in the year we went to the Agricultural Show. In our hometown I hadn't attended very often. I am not sure if this was our first or second visit to this show here, but our daughter won a prize for her toy bear that miraclously appeared during our practise year Christmas. I remember the first Show included a Punch & Judy performance and I was thrilled. The Show included what was in my childhood a Red Cross flower show. The Junior part had been joined to the Agricultural Show and the senior part left as it is. Need I say more?

I was thrilled to get reacquainted with Floral Saucers, though my daughters don't share my enthusiasm. My Nana and I had a lovely time attending flower shows, until the day, well I still enjoyed them; but, Nana put rag curls in my hair and I ended up with an afro."

Today, I am getting ready and going to sign up dh's jam melon pickles and chutney for the fair/show. Also dd5 and dd11 made some pet rocks and we have a melon...

My doll's name is Suzy. She is a 60s doll and I was happy lately that our local Show or Fair had a section for exhibition only where you could display your doll."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Too much plum jam?

Made lots and not sure you can use it all up? Maybe it has set too hard? This recipe is a family favourite that we used to make often with chops not fillets. It is an Ellen Sinclair recipe.

Pork Fillets in Plum Sauce

4 pork fillets
60g (2oz) butter
2 onions
1 red pepper or capsicum
2 sticks celery
4 shallots or spring onions
2.5cm (1 in) piece green ginger

Plum Sauce

1/3 cup plum jam
1 chicken stock cube
2 teaspoons cornflour extra
1/2 cup water
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 clove garlic

Remove any fat from pork, coat fillets lightly with cornflour. Peel onion, cut into quarters. Cut red pepper in half, remove seeds and membranes, cut into slices. Slice celery, chop shallots, grate ginger.

Heat butter in pan, add pork, cook until golden and cooked through; remove from pan, keep warm. Add all vegetables to pan, cook 1 minute. Add Sauce, stir until Sauce boils and thickens. Cut pork fillets into thick diagonal slices, arrange on serving plate, spoon vegetables and sauce over.

Plum Sauce: Combine all ingredients, mix well. Serves 4.

Metric cups 250ml US cups 200ml. Tablespoon 20ml, US tablespoon 15ml.

Plum Floral by Peggy Thatch-Sibley

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stretching the Meat

I read a great post about how to stretch meat without the meat eater knowing. Very good advice. The blog is really great reading. A family in corporate Australia living the simple life.

Here is what we did recently to stretch the meat. We loved it, it was like a frajita in a lot of ways.

Why do we stretch meat in our family? This particular blade steak came to be in our freezer as my car was in the workshop I think. My husband was going down to the local shop after work and he got whatever meat was left that was OK for us to use, meaning not something we really wouldn't want. To have enough for our family he traditionally would have to buy two packets, which there probably wasn't at that time.

I recently read that the amount of meat a person needs each day is related to their weight. If you are 80k, you need 80g. You can find that article here. It is an article about budgeting.

Beef & Red Lentil Curry

Serves 6

400gm blade steak
80g (1/3 cup) korma (mild) or Indian curry paste
2 tsp light olive oil
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups red lentils
500ml water
400ml coconut milk
pita bread
2 beef stock cubes
greek yoghurt

Please beef and half the curry paste in a glass or ceramic bowl, and turn to coat. Heat half the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef and cook turning occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until brown.

Add remaining oil over medium-low heat, add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the onions softens slightly. Stir in the remaining curry paste.

Add the lentils, stock, coconut milk and water to the pan. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 mintues. Return the beef to the pan and simmer for a further 8 minutes or until tender.

Serve as a wrap with yoghurt on top of meat.

This recipe has been adapted from here. There are variations that make prove just as adaptable.

Ingredients for Beef Goulash by Susie M. Eising

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Preserving Pans

My Mum has/had a preserving pan, it made a distinctive sound when you put the handle down. That was because it was made of aluminium.

I was a reading the Ezibuy homewares catalogue today, and found a red enamelled preserving pan. My husband likes it, and it is much cheaper than the $237 maslin pan from the Aga shop.

Ezibuy also has quilted jars and Ball jars much like the old fashioned Agee jars in Australia which I use to hold dried lentils etc. Why would you want a quilted jar? Because the Americans have them, and it is nice to have something similar sometimes.

Fresh & Salted Runner Beans Still Life on Table with Glass Jar, Beans, Pelargonium & Knife by Linda Burgess

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seeking Simplicity

I found this new blog that is all about simplicity, named appropriately Seeking Simplicity. I feel this TV video doesn't do it justice. See what you think and visit the link on the sidebar, or click here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Homemade Worcestershire Sauce

This sauce is a family recipe. It keeps indefinitely and we love it. It comes from the Leader Spare Corner book. My husband first made it probably in 1984.

Worcestershire Sauce

1 gallon vinegar (make sure you have the right gallon recipe for the right country)
1 oz cayene
1/4 oz cloves
1/2 oz ground mace
1/4 oz allspice
1/2 oz ground ginger
1/4 lb salt (+ 1oz garlic my husband has added this)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup treacle

Crush all ingredients together and mix with cup cold water and put into boiling vinegar. Simmer for 1 hour. Strain and bottle. Strain through an open fabric, leave some sediment with it.

An Advertisement for Lea and Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce

Friday, February 13, 2009

My cheapest ever recipe

We made this in Flowerdale when we lived there because you needed no money really to make it, or so it seemed. It saved as a few times. We were renting and also paying off a mortgage in our hometown at the same time. The recipe comes from a newer version of Cookery The Australian Way, a home economics text book. There is a lovely vegetarian section in that book (6th edition).

Spicy Lentil Noodles

Serves 4

2 teaspoons (10ml) oil
1 onion (125g) finely chopped
425g can tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup (100g) brown lentils
1 tablespoon (20ml) sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon (5ml) Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Instant noodles (2 minute)
2 tablespoon grated cheese
pinch sugar
2 chicken stock cubes

Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and saute until soft. Add tomatoes, lentils, sauces and tomato paste, stock cubes and sugar.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Cook noodles, drain.

Add noodles to lentil mixture and mix gently. Serve hot, sprinkled with grated cheese.

Dried Noodles

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pantry Restocked, Meals Planned

Well I definitely didn't need airconditioning on my day out to get the food. I came across a sheep or two near the road, two dairy cows with collars one each side of the road, it took awhile to slow down for them. They weren't impressed either and decided to head for home. I saw two kangaroos eating in an elevated paddock, with very native looking grass not far from the tree line.

It was cold when I stepped out of the car when I got there, then it started raining, raining lightly on the way home.

My husband buys the washing powder, cheese and milk and will do that, and then the fruit order will come on Tuesday with the bread.

Thursday ~ beef & red lentil curry
Friday ~ stir fry sausages
Saturday ~ bean and pumpkin stew
Sunday ~ Spaghettini with tuna, capers & chilli
Monday ~ warm pasta & tuna salad
Tuesday ~ veal campagnola
Wednesday ~ chops, chips & Greek salad
Thursday ~ chicken snitzel burgers with radish and cucumber salsa
Friday ~ pasta with sausage, rosemary and tomato sauce
Saturday ~ pork chow mein
Sunday ~ mince stroganoff
Monday ~ sausage casserole
Tuesday ~ spaghetti bolognaise
Wednesday ~ chow mein

Green Metal Table & Chairs Beneath Arbour by Mark Bolton

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Making Plum Jam

We had a knock on the door midweek, the person bearing nashis and over 15lb of small blood plums.

On a very hot Saturday I weighed the plums and hubby bought the last of the sugar at a small supermarket near our new house. I had checked an old Department of Agriculture Victoria book and called him with how much sugar I thought we would need. I checked on ebay, bad move and found another interesting cookbook to buy. We have had so much value with preserves and things with out old books that we have had over 20 years. They were my husband's mostly.

I found a recipe in my new school fundraiser book.

Blood Plum Jam

1lb plums, piped
3/4lb sugar
for every pound of fruit add 2 tablespoons of water

Boil plums and water together until soft then add sugar slowly and simmer (not boil) till a skin forms on top of jam. Do not stir. Bottle in warm sterilised jars.

We did a pectin test and did 1lb for 1lb. I must say it set very hard.

This morning, Sunday, another hot day after a hot night. Both days were over 40oC. My husband started the jam. We have two pots of jam going. Some is bottled as you can see.

Cost of sugar $11. Twenty jars of jam.

My son liked the taste, and he wants scones to go with it. I don't think, since scones are cooked in a hotter than normal oven, that will be happening today.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Musings of a hot day

It is still hot by the computer, so hard to write, but there is nice air coming in slowly through the open door and windows. I can't feel it exactly and the fan has been taken away to my daughter's room so she can sleep.

I have a iced water Ribena with me. My husband thinks that if I don't drink enough I won't feel cooler even with a fan.

Today apparently was "only" 41oC. On the other days when they said it was that temperature here, it showed hotter on our thermometer, but maybe it was the way we were measuring it. Today I didn't bother checking and the temperature outside after 8.30pm seemed to drop quickly outside.

I was out there with the kids for awhile with an old-fashioned brass nozzle on my hose "watering my feet". It was nice, and the kids liked that. One daughter demonstrated her new moves that she did in her first neo-classical ballet class, and also the moves of her other class members. Two are boys so she really enjoyed watching them and having their company.

I had to walk around in the heat today for a little while. My son who had frees at school, and who also had to do some banking sat with me at school under a tree. When I say "tree", there is about 3-4 weeks until autumn. Usually some leaves come down on the water starved trees a little before autumn. This particular tree was very thin in the leaf department. Unlike some other parts of the country we haven't had rain, in the past month or so.

The other day it did spot rain and the drops were big and felt cold. I do remember rescuing washing about three times, in past weeks, not sure how much we got out of those showers.

I took my daughter to ballet, but it was cancelled. I was glad. I was very aware of which side of the street had shade in it. I unfortunately realised this after I chose which side to walk down. It saved me walking back to pick her up. Both our cars were unavailable, in the workshop. One actually was there so they could get my car to run. Apparently the workshop manual is wrong. The car was outside and I could have used it to drive home but I left it for my husband to use.

Today I saw a lady walking down the street with her umbrella. There was a public meeting at the hall about a bush fire. Everyone parked in the street under trees, or rather under some gums at the back of the shops and under elms at the back of the pub. The fire was in a place which by name is 30 miles from here.

When I was little there were communities 30 miles from the shopping town and we would have our public meeting there. We found 30 miles a trek. But there you are.

Anyway, this is the first of apparently four 41oC days I have to endure until Monday. The kids have been very excited and won't go to sleep at bed time. It is 9.36 now, and so far so good. Then I can cool off in earnest.

Today the dog, a large puppy, was obviously trying to be patient in the heat too. We gave him a large cardboard box. It was fun watching him cart it around. Then he took one side of the box and was carrying it around like a sign in a rally. I wonder if he could what he would have written on it?

Sea of Shade by Michael Longo
Sea of Shade

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do you ever think about Chow Mein?

I do. I have been pondering how old the recipe is. I came across it in the 70s. It was the late 70s actually. My friend's Mum may have cooked it, not sure, but I know my step-mother did.

I was really blessed today when my new Leader Spare Corner book arrived, and out popped an old newspaper clipping, pre dollars and cents, which is 1966? The recipes on it were Chow Mein and Sago Plum Pudding, another dish I ponder occasionally as my Nana made it.

"Each week the best recipe by Miranda readers will win a prize of 10/-. In addition, a second prize of 5/- will be given."

First Prize - Chow Mein

One pound finely minced steak, two stalks celery, half a cabbage, one packet chicken noodle soup one teaspoon soya sauce, two medium onions, half a pound beans, two tablespoons rice, small tin pineapple, one dessertspoon curry powder. Lightly fry mince in one dessertspoon butter, add chopped vegetables, soup etc., and three cups or more of water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook all till tender, adding pineapple about 15 minutes before serving. _ Mrs J. Wilson, Ellinbank, via Warragul (Vic.).

Now, who remembers Miranda? Is Miranda something from The Weekly Times, the farming magazine/newspaper? It seems so as Miranda has a blog on The Weekly Times website. They also have a recipe section, which is interesting, as I love Weekly Times recipes but I don't buy the paper. The women's section seems smaller these days, do you think? It is interesting that the Miranda blog this week features rabbits. I recently posted my favourite rabbit recipe, also a clipping, this time from the 80s.

Each recipe for Chow Mein is slightly different. The one I use comes from the packet, though I think it has been modernised or changed. Mine had about a cup of water which never seems enough. My step-Mum's recipe was boiled for longer than I do it for, but it had a lovely rich taste. Hers also had mixed herbs I think. We put the vegetables in last, particularly the cabbage and let it steam on top.

I have been trying modern variations and today found this one with wombok.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fortnightly Menu at last!

Thoughts on route to the meal plan:

Well it is Saturday and not all of the shopping has been done. I have some meat, so I will attempt a meal plan. It is so hot to sit and think, and very hard to choose things that don't need baking for example.

Very hot, this week, I don't think I have seen a week like it. I have decided to use some tuna because you don't have to fry it.

Now it is Monday and here is my plan, even though I did start eating some things already planned out on Thursday.

Thursday: Italian Vegetable Risotto (from Super Food Ideas February)
Friday: Mexi Potato Chicken Pots
Saturday: Sausages & Beans a combination of this recipe and this recipe.
Sunday: Chicken, Bacon & Spinach Spaghetti Bolognaise
Monday: Chicken, Pumpkin & Bean Curry
Tuesday: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Wednesday: Chow Mein with Rice
Thursday: Chili Con Carne
Friday: Sausage Stir-fry
Saturday: Taco Salad with Sour Cream Dressing
Sunday: Tuna Casserole
Monday: Tuna & Mushroom Pasta
Tuesday: Vegetable & Salami Risotto
Wednesday: Fettucine Carbonara

I seem to have extra, no wonder I was struggling.

Thursday: Sweet & Spicy Chicken Fried Rice
Friday: Polish Sausage Salad

Table Set in a Garden by Pierre Bonnard

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Winter Squash Bread

Below is the recipe for the winter squash or acorn squash bread that I made a few years ago (2006). I had bought some seeds from Eden Seeds called Table Queen.

Squash Bread

Equally delicious for breakfast, snack or as a light dessert, this honey sweetened loaf can be spread with low-fat cream cheese or whipped butter. To warm: Wrap thick slices in a paper towel and microwave for 15 to 20 seconds on high.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1 1/4 cup pureed cooked winter squash*

On a plate, sift together first six ingredients. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix oil, sugar and honey together until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg and egg white. Add squash puree and beat until smooth.

Fold in dry ingredients. Turn into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about one hour. Remove from the oven, let stand in pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack or cake plate to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Squash Bread with Nut Topping

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

After Step 4, pour melted butter over the top and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake as directed above. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

I found the recipe here.

I found peeling the squash difficult, I don't have the knack, they have ribs in the sides of them. They are a really interesting vegetable. I really enjoyed Betty Crockers Fall Pork Dinner. I was very good at interpreting US recipes then as I did it often. I used a scone mix from the supermarket to make it with, and saladas.

Three Acorn Squashes by Janne Peters
Three Acorn Squashes