Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cooking what you grow

No pictures -plenty to see on Jules Clancy's Stonesoup blog. Here's the link.
I discovered her through doing some web searching on making sourdough starter and baking sourdough. thestonesoup.com

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hello to Wwoofers Ben and Sophie

Here for a year from France. Visited us at the garden on Saturday and got our seed trays started. 
The video is a low-pressure sprinkler we bought as the gravity feed from the tanks can't do much with a "normal" sprinkler. 
video
Ben and Sophie Neoned
Picasa has installed some new toys for playing with photos so I used a few.


Ben and Sophie



Ben and Sophie Heatmapped


Got lots of pumpkins to use up?

No.1 PUMPKIN GNOCCHI
RICH, FLUFFY, SHAPE AND FREEZE WELL, this quantity feeds 8 hungries

2 CUPS COOKED PUMPKIN
(BEST  WAY  TO MAKE IT IS TO  ROAST CHUNKS OF PUMPKIN UNTIL TOASTY BROWN,  SCRAPE OUT THE FLESH WHEN COOL. COOK GETS TO EAT THE DELICOUS CARAMELLY BROWN BITS)

2  CUPS DRAINED FULL-FAT  RICOTTA

2 CUPS  FINE  WHOLE- WHEAT  FLOUR 
PLUS PLENTY EXTRA FOR SHAPING AND ADJUSTMENT

1 CUP HARD GRATING CHEESE                                  
(PARMESAN OR SIMILAR)

1 CUP MEDIUM GRATING CHEESE                             
(PECORINO OR SIMILAR)

2 LARGE EGGS  - LIGHTLY BEATEN

SALT, PEPPER,  PINCH OF GROUND CHILLI

Cornmeal

Gently mix all ingredients until uniform, cover and refrigerate for I hour.
Generously flour your work surface.
Take a fistful of the sticky dough, flour generously and gently roll into a soft cylinder.
Stretch it into a long rope about a finger thick.
Cut the rope into gnocchi-sized pieces and put onto a tray covered in cornmeal.
To cook, bring a large pot (the more water the better here; you want gnocchi to cook as quickly as possible, while absorbing as little water as possible) of well-salted water to a boil.
Drop in batches of gnocchi, all at once, and replace cover on the pot. Once water returns to a boil, remove cover.
When gnocchi pop to the surface, about 1 – 2 minutes, they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon or small sieve.                                 
Serve hot with your favourite pasta sauce.
Fresh gnocchi should be cooked within a day of making.
Freeze by spreading on a tray so they don’t touch, when frozen seal into freezer bags for up to 6 months. Cook from frozen, do not thaw, take a minute or two longer to cook.
  (Got this recipe from an internet site and now can't remember where)
No.2 Pumpkin Gnocchi
(From "The New Pasta Cookbook" by Joanne Glynn and published by Bay Books. 
This book has had a thrashing over the last 15 years and is all marked and stained)

2 CUPS COOKED PUMPKIN
(BEST  WAY  TO MAKE IT IS TO  ROAST CHUNKS OF PUMPKIN UNTIL TOASTY BROWN,  SCRAPE OUT THE FLESH WHEN COOL. COOK GETS TO EAT THE DELICOUS CARAMELLY BROWN BITS) as for No.1 Gnocchi.

1/3 cup Semolina

1/2 to 2/3 cup Potato flour

Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg to taste

Put cooled pumpkin in a big bowl, add the seasonings and all of the Semolina plus enough of the Potato flour to make a soft dough.   Don't mess about with it too much, just get it all together into an elastic dough.
Let it rest for about 10 - 15 minutes.

Break off small pieces - size of a walnut - roll them into smooth-ish balls, press against a fork to get the ridges that hold sauces.

Dust them with Potato flour and rest them for another 10 - 15 minutes.

Drop in batches of gnocchi, all at once, and replace cover on the pot. Once water returns to a boil, remove cover.

When gnocchi pop to the surface, about 1 – 2 minutes, they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon or small sieve.  
                               
Serve hot with your favourite pasta sauce.

Decadently delicious is unsalted butter browned in a pan and poured over with grated Parmesan cheese on top.






The photos and videos from Family Fun Day March 24th 2012

Family Fun Day on Flickr 
Click on this link and you will go straight to them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Winner at the Newcastle Regional Show!! -Second that is.

  The first prize winner was an Atlantic Giant  - lots of effort, water, fertiliser and space needed to grow one. We were happy about ours as it will be eaten, and will first have a starring role as  Cinderella's Pumpkin at the Family Fun Day. Guess the weight and win book prizes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 24th 2012 Family Fun Day

Newcastle Council has funded us for another Place-making event and we are being a bit more ambitious. So far everything is falling into place - now it all depends on the weather, have enough people decided they will come, and no problems on the day. This is strictly Seat-of-the-pants flying.  Planning and extensive promoting can't predict attendance and whether we will we create a warm feeling and an attachment to our space by more people in the Mayfield area?  I had a dream about it the other night and Facebooked a precis.  Lots of people in the garden, a three-seater leather lounge in solitary splendour with nobody sitting on it, an amazing pergola area surrounded by marvellously flowering shrubs, veggies in profusion in the garden beds - and the church building painted green with hippy flowers all over it ???!! What was that about??? Anyway, waking up was a warm, calm feeling so I'm claiming it as a vision not a nightmare - more exclamation marks as follows!!!!!!
One of our big self-seeded pumpkins is an entrant in the Newcastle Regional Show in the Community Garden's section, category Heaviest Pumpkin. Told the people setting up the benches that it was a "Cucurbita composta variety Biggus", meaning we wouldn't have a clue about its parentage. It polished up nicely, lovely green and orange mottled skin, is a very even shape on all axes and should produce a lot of soup and scones. Maybe even it will win - but do we care??  It will be our Cinderella's pumpkin for the 24th.

Monday, January 9, 2012

High Summer and the rain-fall has been wonderful

The sunflowers have their faces turned to the rising sun

Karen playing to us from the stone circle on the star-sprinkled grass

The lack of light from the often-overcast skies has meant that some things have matured or flowered a little later. The amount of rain has been wonderful and we have just emptied the tanks, which promptly got a small top-up from a couple of storms. With three new roll-away hose-reels watering is now easier for anyone, even those who have readily-tired arms.
Annie has been regularly taking some of our excess produce to the Newcastle Farmers Market on the Nourishing Newcastle stall. We loan them our umbrella and sell our stuff and have raised enough to pay for this years insurance. Hail to Annie! and to http://www.transitionnewcastle.org.au/event/nourishing-newcastle-urban-tucker-trading-stall-nnuts

March 24th and the Placemaking event - Paul Tibbles from Newcastle City Council Livesites will assist with advice and publicity. http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/about_newcastle/events/l!vesites

We have spent some of our Volunteer Equipment grant on enabling (not disability) tools like light, long-handled tools and handles which clip on to standard tools for easier grip. The kit has arrived, minus the hoe which will be delivered as soon as the supplier has received it.  http://www.connection2nature.com.au is where we bought the tools. We can offer a little more access to anyone who has a physical challenge but would still like to grow things.  Gee! when it comes down to the wire we don't care if people just want to come and chat and doesn't get their knees or hands dirty.