Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Garden: The Chicken House Begins... i think

With my trusty old lawnmower (thanks dad for passing it down to me) not working at all, i decided it was a good idea to start thinking about the chook house for the future addition in the garden.

luckily i didn't have to fork out $100 on materials (just for the timber as well) instead finding the remanence of one of my old beds in my parents shed to use.

After adjusting the dimensions i set out to the shed to make sure all bits of timber were good to go. Turned out some of these pieces were not only screwed together (free screws) but also glued together as well...

A hammer and scraper quickly fixed this and soon i had beams of timber ready for the go.

It wasn't much that i could do with the short time i had in the morning to do so, but it is a start. All i need now is to cut up the timber into the right length and start putting it together... I need nails...

That's all that's been going on in the garden today.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Garden: Not Enough Digging

I may have killed some of my vegetables by accident. I hadn't worked the soil well enough and the horse poo killed a bunch of my brussels sprouts and lettuce.

So saturday was spent digging ad working two of my patches. I will have to do the same thing on a couple more of them during this week... My arms are starting to get sore from this...

I have also worked out the right Origami box to make my newspaper seedling pots. with no sticky tape holding the boxes together, all i'll have to do is cut the bottom of them open and place the whole pot into the ground come planting time.

With a new batch of seeds freshly planted into them, it's now the waiting game.

I also worked out my gift carrots (something that had just appeared out of no where) were actually part of a second year crop. flowering and taking up excess space. Seeing as i didn't know what the deal with them actually was the came out of the ground. Suddenly all my spinach and silverbeet are growing better than ever.

Permission for the chickens has also come through. This is good. As long as we can get the chicken house up and running... and maybe a duck house as well...

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Kitchen: Bacon Experiment with Trotter

After careful consideration (well, not really) i decided it was time to take down one of the trotters.

It spent 2 weeks in brine, 3 days in salt and approximately 6 weeks hanging outside.

Pulling back the muslin cloth i found there was no nasty bits growing on it, and after cutting away a portion of skin to reveal some (the only) bits of meat i found a nice, slightly salty but tasty bit of pork goodness.

I ended up turning this into a sort of cassoulet thing with tomato, mushrooms and a whole lot of white beans.

With the trotter cut up into small pieces (after being used to create the stock for the dish) it provided a good dosage of extra flavour and texture running through the beans.

Trying this has given me a new hope in the belly bits working out for me... soon they will be had...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Idea: Not Eating Meat? Still Thinking?

So, how ethical is it to not eat meat?

I'm not a vegetarian for one reason. I love eating meat. But in the process i have made it my mission to try to my best eat meat ethically.

This involves not only trying to eat Organic, and/or Free Range animals, but also practicing Head to Tail eating. The point of this is to make sure that no part of the animal went to waste.

But what about vegetarians?

Sure they don't eat animals, so they shouldn't have to worry about the ethical issue of a beautiful (and tasty) creature getting slaughtered. But what about the fruit and vegetables that they eat? Do they really meet Ethical Standards that justify the production?

This was just something that i had on my mind. I was curious as to how selective vegetarians were about the produce that they buy and if like me they spend hours wondering if what they are buying is really that good for the planet or my health...

It's just an idea...

The Garden: Compost Mania

Forgot my camera so there's no pictures, but today was the day i organised my compost heaps (yes it's plural)

With my fantastic girlfriend finding cheep horse poo for sale at a farm i was lucky enough to end up with the opportunity to create a new compost heap. Essentially i combined the horse poo with the almost ready portion of my old compost pile to create a super compost pile. I'll let this combine over the next few weeks or months (depending on my mood when i'm in the garden really) and i should have something good for my summer plants.

This has also helped reduce the stress that was being put onto my wonderful little euro design hopelessly crap compost bin that seems to fall apart every time it starts to get a little bit full.

My collection of seedlings are developing nicely as well. I am hoping they'll be strong enough in a week or two to be planted out into the garden, although there have been a few frosty days so this may not happen right away.

Now to decide where i'll plant all these seedlings...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Food: Death by Popcorn


Usually consumed at the movies with large doses of melted butter and salt to induce thirst thus requiring the consumer to purchase a large bucket of soft drink to accompany it...

Well, I'm not talking about that death by popcorn.

I'm talking about dessert popcorn that you can have. The final result after consumption is much more satisfying than the movie variety, although you will feel the 'why did i just eat all that popcorn' thing in your mind.

There would have been a photo of this wonderful thing if i hadn't eaten it all up. It's just so tasty.

As usual, nothing here is accurately measured. It's all guess work and feel and how it'd taste in the end (except for the popcorn. i followed the directions for that one just in case)


1/2 cup of popping corn
dash of oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
couple of slices butter
dark cooking chocolate

1. start by making the popcorn. heat the oil up in a pan, add the popping corn, place lid on top and let it rip. shake occasionally to prevent the corn from burning. once cooked transfer to a grease proof paper lined tray.
2. place sugar water and butter in a new pot, bring to the boil then simmer till reduced by half. pore over popcorn
3. place cream into saucepan. bring to boil then reduce to a simmer. add chocolate to melt through. once silky pore over popcorn.
4. cool mixture in the fridge for a couple of yours
5. try and get it into a plate to serve. chances are you'll eat most of it straight from the tray because it's just too good.

I have a feeling that it'd be a good idea to cover the popcorn with the caramel mixture, leave it for a couple of hours in the fridge to harden up then cover with chocolate. Just something to think about i guess...

The Kitchen: Sourdough Banana Bread

With my Sourdough mixture working so well and with not much of a failure to make bread, I decided to get a bit adventurous.

I decided to make an attempt at Sourdough Banana Bread.

Rather than making a dough with the bread consistency I decided to create a batter that incorporating an egg, some starter, honey, a banana and a bunch of flour. After leaving it for a while in front of the heater to get the starter a little more active it was a simple transfer into a bread tin and into a hot oven.

All the measurements were guesswork so there’s not really a set recipe for this.

The final result was bread with a hint of banana and honey. Not too sweet in a sugary way but dense with a nice crust.

It still needs work but for an afternoon coffee this is perfect.