Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box week 3

Another post about the produce. This week was the third week of our Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box adventure (see Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box for more info on what a CSA is).

The box was picked up taken home, the lid removed to reveal

  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet corn
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Permissions
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges

What did we or will we do with the produce

Broccoli, I suspect a stir fry will be on the horizon and broccoli will go perfectly in it. Otherwise I haven’t tried the roasted broccoli and after the success of roast cauliflower this week I’m keen to try it.

Potatoes, well as a potato loving family there are many ways we will use these. I may use them in a frittata or some other creative way or maybe my famous potato bake or just make mashed potato (comfort food).

Onions, well these are the real work horse of the kitchen and I cook nearly every day with them so there is no quesiton that they will be used.

Pumpkin, well I think pumpkin is my favourite vegetable at the moment. I’m full to the brim with recipes and different ways to use it. I’m quite keen to try one of these 2 recipes out Cheesy Pumpkin Tart or Pumpkin Pie.

Sweet corn, well there was only 1 cob, so I’m guessing that will be an accompaniment to a meal during the week.

Carrots were again really flavourful and will be eaten as a snack or as an accompaniment. I’m never quite mastered roasting them so might give that a crack this week, of course if I’m going to be naughty I could always make an awesome carrot cake.

Zucchini, these were quite small and I suspect have a delicate flavour. Sorely tempted to use them in a frittata or may roast them and work that into a meal we are having this week.

Spinach, this is the hardest open to sue as my husband really won’t eat it. I’m thinking some sort of curry (not a fave of husbands either) for work lunches during the week. Of course will definitely use some in green smoothies.

Permissions I’m and not at all familiar with them, only having had them once in one of our boxes. They were quite tasty on their own, but stumbled upon a recipe for permission bread (not sure I have the right type of permissions), I’ve also had a Permission paste recipe dangled in front of me and might have to follow up on that as it would go well with my feta cheese I’m told.

Apples, well they are so delicious, crunchy, sweet & tart that we will jut wast them as is, same for the pears.

Oranges, well eat them as is, or juice them with a pomegranate left over from last week. My inner baker is crying out for an orange cake to be made or I did a baking class where we learnt to make lemon cream cheese cupcakes and think this could be adapted to use oranges.

Part of the In her Chucks CSA Link party

Feta Cheese

I bake, cook, like wine, and get easily distracted.  I also make cheese., which if you have read my Haloumi cheese post you’d know about & if you haven’t well it gives the background to my cheese making.

I think my feta is my signature cheese, I’ve made it for enough people and I make it more often than any other cheese (well I only make 2 other types but you know).

I prefer my feta to most bought ones.  It’s not crumbly but more of a creamy type, and y it’s delicious. There are a lot of steps to making it, don’t be overwhelmed its EASY. With just a couple of fancy ingredients available from any cheese making store (there’s heaps online), you could make feta too, really.

Let’s make feta

There is of course fancy milk with fancy culture added

Its heated up

tipped into a sexy blue esky

there’s rennet action

curds and way (eat your heart out little miss muffet)

draining of curds in cheese hoops

totally easy

Feta cheese – recipe adapted from Udder Delights Cheese making class

3 litres of unhomogenized milk (must be unhomogenized)

1/3rd of 1/4 of stater culture

.7ml rennet (this is dependent on your rennet you may need more or less)

10 ml cooled boiled water

100g salt

500mls boiling water

Pop milk in saucepan, add culture to milk.  Heat milk to 35 degrees Celsius (you need to accurate with the temp)

Pour milk into an esky (or something that will maintain the temp)

Put lid on esky, leave in warmish place for 30 mins.

Mix rennet with water and add to milk while stirring for about 30 seconds

Leave for 1 hour.  Don’t move the esky in this hour as its already forming the curd and you risk shattering it before its fully formed

After the hours up take a long knife and cut the curds into 2 cm cubes. I cut it starting from one corner of the esky in 2 cm intervals over to the other side, then go to one of the other corner and cut across to the other side (it’s a bit hard to explain but you want to have it looking like its cut into diamond shapes)

Leave for 1/2 an hour, the you kind of lift the curd. just use a slotted spoon and dip it in and lift the curd up.

Leave 20 mins, stir the curd then leave for another 20 mins

Stir the curd again, it should be sticking together (not just loose cubes)

take some cheese hoops (or any container that has perforations on the bottom & sides) and line with clean chux cloth (yes really chux). Then put these on a wire rack and over put rack over a bowl.

Using slotted spoon fill up cheese hoops with curds. Fill them right up till almost over flowing

Leave for 1 hours, then tip upside down (you will want to have folded the chux on the open end of cheese hoops before doing this)

After another hour tip right way up.  All this tipping helps with draining off the whey

Leave to finishing draining overnight

The next morning you will see the cheese has dropped to about 1/3 its size (this is good, all the whey has drained off), giving you a solid cheese

Now you need to put your cheese in brine.  The brine is made by mixing the salt and boiling water together until salt is dissolved.  It’s a good idea to do this the night before you need to use it so it’s cool as you can’t put the cheese in hot brine

Soak it in brine for 30 mins, then drain on rack for 1 hour.

It’s now ready to eat.  You can pop it in the fridge and it will keep for just over a week. To keep it longer you can marinate it in oil.  The oil will usually be 30 % olive oil & 70 % other oil and you can put garlic, chilli, herbs etc into the oil to flavour the oil and feta.

ta da Feta

Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box week 2

Another post about the produce. This was the second week of our Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box adventure (see Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box for more info on what a CSA is).

I eagerly picked up our box and rushed home to find out what was in it. We had

  • a Leek
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Pomegranates
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Sweet corn
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Bananas

What did we do or will we do with the produce?

The leek, well I’m thinking a leek, pea & fetta frittata, although in the back of my mind a chicken, bacon and leek pie is sounding delicious.

The potatoes, they were made into mashed potatoes and served with lamb cutlets for perfect Sunday evening dinner

The carrots, well again they were so full of flavour and have/will be snacked on as well as used in a minestrone soup

The broccoli, well there was heaps of it and it was so green and fresh. I want to let the flavour shine not cover it up so simple treatment of steaming it and maybe dressing it with a bit of lemon juice as I find they work well together. I’ve also seen some recipes for roasting broccoli which I’ve never done but am curious to do just to see how the flavour comes out

The pomegranates, well they aren’t something I come across too often and I’ll probably use them in a salad or perhaps make a syrup with them to use in a cocktail 🙂

The cucumbers well my children just love them so they’ll eat them in a salad or as they come

The apples well they are just beautiful and the only way to use them is simply to eat them as they are, crunchy, slightly tart, slightly sweet and delicious

The grapes were sweet and seedless perfect of our children to eat (if I share them)

The pears like the apples are beautiful and could be used in a cake or in a salad but really probably will just be eaten fresh and will be perfect

There was only one cob of sweet corn so it’s been served as a side dish boiled and dressed with a bit of butter (just a bit)

The spinach, well my husband hates it so I’m not going to cook a meal based around it, but tis great sautéed and will of course work well in a stir-fry. I’ve also been having green smoothies for breakfast so will probably use it there too/

The kale I find a bit stronger in flavour than spinach and it’s just come into season so I haven’t used it for a while, but is packed full of goodness. But it’s been used in minestrone, a bit in green smoothies/ Also I’ve seen recipes for kale chips and I’m really intrigued by this so think these will definitely be made.

The Bananas well they could be used in a multitude of ways, but I suspect we will eat them just as they are in all their bananary goodness

For more information on Jupiter Creek Farm see here

Part of the In Her Chucks CSA link party

Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box

There’s no recipe involved in this post, this one’s about thing produce behind the cooking.

This week I got my first CSA box from Jupiter Creek Farm. What’s CSA you ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially it’s a box for fruit and veg that comes direct form the farmers, no middle man (or 20) involved. In this case it comes from a farm called Jupiter Creek Farm. They grow a large chunk of what’s in the box and source the rest from other farmers. It’s all organic and local, and soo fresh. I like it for these reasons.

Yeah its more expensive than popping down to the supermarket and you don’t get to choose its contents but I like spend my shopping dollar in supporting local farmers and giving them a fair price for their produce as well as buying seasonally. It doesn’t provide all our fruit and veg needs but a least a fair chunk of them.

Back to the actual box. You pick it up from a local pick up point (PUP) and take it home to find out what’s inside. In this case there were

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Permissions
  • Plums
  • Spring onions
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sweet Corn

What did we do or will we do with the produce?

The Apples, Oranges and plums well these are eaten as they are, super fresh and delicious. The plums tasted like the ones we pick from our own tree, so full of flavour which you just don’t get from supermarket/shop bought ones. The permissions well I haven’t encountered them before so after a bit of research I’ve left them in the fruit bowl to ripen up where by I should be able to cut the tops off and eat them with a spoon.

The spring onions I’ll use them in place of onions where I can swap them around and probably make my favourite carb cheese combination – baked potatoes halved with the filling scooped out and mixed up with some grated cheese and sliced spring onions then this mixtures is popped back into the potato halves and some more grated cheese is sprinkled on top and browned in the oven – YUM

The spinach – well my husband doesn’t like it (read hates it) so it’s a bit hard to make a meal based around it but I generally treat it with love and respect and don’t over cook it. This morning it was lightly sautéed in butter with garlic and served with bacon and eggs.

The potatoes well they could be used above in the spring onion cheese carb fest or they will accompany a roast I’ll do later in the week.

The pumpkin is gorgeous, it was a variety I hadn’t seen before and after a bit of hunting around I was informed it was a heirloom French variety potimarron, best served baked. This will be roasted up to either accompany the roast or even just by itself or with olive oil and may some cumin seeds as cumin and pumpkin go so well together. I might even make some haloumi cheese as that also goes well with roasted pumpkin.

The onions well they could be used any number of ways and won’t go to waste.

The carrots were real proper carrots, funny shaped and all. They reminded me of the carrot s my grandfather used to grow where they weren’t all shaped perfectly and tasted so carroty (for lack of a better word). The carrots will in honestly probably just be eaten raw as a snack or otherwise included in the above mentioned roast, a stir fry or salad.

The celery well like the carrots will probably be snacked on and included in a stir fry or casserole or pasta sauce. That’s one of the things I love about celery you can just use it so many ways.

The sweet corn well I love sweet corn and could happily eat it just boiled and plain or another really good way is to remove the leaves and silk and rub some olive oil on it season with salt and pepper or rub some butter with lime zest grated into it and chilli and bbq it. However I think we will use these in corn fritters as it fits in well with the menu for this week.

For more info on Jupiter Creek Farm see here

Part of the In Her Chucks CSA link party

A Burgess Easter

This Easter like nearly every other Easter since 2004 we went camping. This year we went to the beautiful Lake Albert here in South Australia. There was fishing, Kayaking, wine, sunshine (and wind) and much fun and frivolity.

I was going to write about cooking while camping . But our Easter camping adventures are perhaps a bit different from the standard camping trip. We go with my Husbands extended family. My husband comes from a massive family and this year there were 31 of us camping as one big group. It’s all lovely and communal and the children roam free with each other for company.

One of the things that makes the Burgess family Easter camp a bit special is Roast night. This is where each family cooks a roast meal. These roast meals are prepared using webers or in our case a fancy webber type thing called a cob.

They are also prepared in tiny prep areas, in fact I had to serve with our plates on the ground as I had run out of room

The best wines are brought out for the meal, all of our tables are pushed together to form on long table, the tables get table cloths and candles and people go all out. But the best bit is this family all sits together and chats and laughs and enjoys themselves.

The next morning there is a big fry up – mmm bacon.

and of course chocolate, including an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Sometimes life’s so busy that little things like catching up with family just fall by the wayside, so it’s nice to be part of a family (even if only by marriage) who make the time every Easter to camp together and really catch up.

Haloumi Cheese

Most of my friends and co-workers know I make cheese.  I’m the only person I know that does, which either makes this fact interesting or  makes me seem weird.

I only make simple pretty basic fresh cheese, feta, cream cheese and haloumi cheese.  Maybe one day I’ll move on to brie or camembert, but I don’t eat them and they are a bit more fiddly to make. 

How did I come to make cheese?  I spotted a homemaking cheese book  in the library, it all looked interesting enough but it seemed tricky and used ingredients not exactly available at the supermarket.  So the book was returned to the library and the idea kind of floated away from my head.  however not from my husband’s head.  He had visions of making his own brie and found a Australian web site selling home cheese making supplies and for Christmas that year he insisted on a cheese making kit.  Said kit duly arrived and he made one cheese (quark) as he found it all daunting.

Rather than let the kit go to waste I thought we should get some professional cheese making advice and booked into Udder Delights cheese making workshop.  We learnt to make fetta and cream cheese and learnt all about the types of cheese.  I’d highly recommend it.

After the workshop I kept up making the fetta and cream cheese and mastered haloumi all by myself.

People are always amazed I make my own cheese, but it’s really easy

Let’s make Haloumi

There is fancy old fashioned milk with cream at the top

heating it to specific temperatures

adding rennet

getting curds and whey (a la little miss muffet)

draining the curds

and frying the Haloumi (yum)

Haloumi cheese – adapted from Home Cheesemaking Neil and Carole Willman

3 litres of unhomogenized milk

.7ml rennet (yes it .7 not 7 but this may change depending on the strength of you rennet)

cooled boiled water

500mls boiling water

100g salt

Disolve salt into  boiling water to make brine – set aside

heat the milk to between 32-34c

mix your rennet with 10 mls of cooled boiled water, add to milk and stir for about 30 seconds

This is where it’s a bit tricky, you have to maintain the setting temperature but can’t take the milk out of the pot.  I do it by putting pot into esky.  However you do it you have to leave it with temp maintained for 40 mins.

Cut the curd into 20-40mm cubes

Put  pot back on stove and over 20 mins heat to 40c (sometimes this happens quicker it doesn’t seem to effect the end result).

Take curd our and put into chux cloth lined cheese hoops which are sitting on a rack over a bowl.  Leave for 2 hours-overnight until the curd is firm (you want the curd to knit together)

Do not throw away the whey left in pot or in bowl

Bring whey to boil

Cut cheese into  blocks 50 x 100 x 150 mm. Add them to whey.  Simmer until they float – approx. 30 mins.  Once floating leave another 15 mins then remove and drain on racks.

After 30 mins put the cheese into brine solution for 30 mins, then drain on rack for 1 hour.

Now it’s ready to use.  I think the best way is fried and served with some fresh squeezed lemon juice .

Sweet and Salty Nutty Chocolate slice

I made this recipe after I saw it on Nigella’s Kitchen.  I’ve been a bit late to come to the whole chocolate sweet and salty chocolate party but since discovering this flavour combination I can’t seem to get enough and this slice is a really combination of the lovely sweetness of chocolate mixed with the saltiness of nuts.  Plus it’s got a ton of butter so it must be good.

So let’s make sweet and salty nutty chocolate slice

Of course we need chocolate

and nuts

and loads of butter

golden syrup

and honeycomb bars

Sweet and Salty Nutty chocolate Slice – adapted from Nigella Kitchen

300g chocolate (this can be all dark, all milk or a mix, I prefer 150g dark and 150 g milk)
125g unsalted butter
1  tbsp golden syrup
250g salted peanuts
2 x 80g Crunchie bars (this can be varied successfully if you forgot to buy the right quantity)

Line a slice tray 16cm x 26cm with foil

roughly chop nuts and crumble up crunchy bars

break chocolate up and add to saucepan with butter and golden syrup.  melt over a low heat

Once melted stir in peanuts and crumbled crunchy bars

Pour into slice tin, refrigerate for 4 hours or preferably overnight

Once hardened slice up.  and store in air tight container in fridge.  I’m unsure how long this would keep for because it goes so quickly in our house and if you make it it won’t last long at your house either I’d guess.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I’ve been making pancakes nearly every Saturday since my husband and I bought our house nearly 11 years ago.  It wasn’t like we decided that this would be some sort of tradition, just that we both liked pancakes and we had plenty of time on Saturday mornings and it sort of became a ritual.

Fast forward nearly 11 years and now with 2 kids Saturday mornings are often hectic but we still find time to make pancakes, and I can report our love of pancakes has been passed on to our children who seem to be able to inhale  ridiculous amounts of pancakes. 

Over the years we have tried several different recipes which have been good but this recipe we think is the best, and every time I suggest something different Lucas looks at me like I’m a crazy lady.  It makes fluffy light pancakes (kinda hot cake style), best served with homemade vanilla syrup

So lets make pancakes

 

There’s flour, mixed with sugar and bi carb

 

And eggs mixed with butter milk

Then wet plus dry are whisked together

Fried in our perfect pancake size pan with butter (some people suggest frying them with no butter or oil, but it’s never worked for me)

Drizzle with “once you taste it you’ll never go back to maple syrup” homemade vanilla syrup

Buttermilk Pancakes (makes a lot)

Recipe adapted from Julie Goodwins Our Family Table

2 Cups self raising flour

½ teaspoon bi carb

½ cup sugar

2 ½ cups buttermilk

2 eggs

Mix self raising flour, bi carb and sugar together in a bowl.

In another bowl mix whisk together eggs and butter milk.

Add egg/buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients.  Mix until it’s all incorporated and there are no lumps, but don’t over mix otherwise you’ll get tough pancakes.  Sometimes the batter seems a bit thick so I thin it with a little bit of water, you want the consistency similar to cake batter.

Melt a small piece of butter in a pan, then add batter to pan. How much you add will depend don how big your pan is how big  or thick a pancake you want.  Once bubbles start to appear its time to turn the pancake.  Cook for another minute or until cooked through.

Repeat with remaining mixture

Homemade vanilla syrup

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use vanilla essence if the budget doesn’t stretch this far)

Mix sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat till sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat add vanilla extract

Store in fridge