Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What the heck!!!!

What happens to my computer ....it has a mind of its own. In todays post I wrote about making a boerwurst shaped sausage....the computer obviosly didn't like that and after running spell check it obviously chose its own word to describe the sausage....spot the mistake. I give up !!!!!

What to do today?

I am the first to admit that I am not at my brightest and best first thing in the morning. A night owl who married an early bird in the late 70s you would think that I would have adjusted my body clock by now......not so....but I do try :-)

I like to awaken slowly and think about what the day has to hold for me....to make a brief plan before my feet even hit the floorboards. Some days I achieve what I have planned....on others I am forced to change my direction as the day unfolds and I get feedback from the other family members. I have learnt to be flexible but I NEED to know what is ahead or I would wander around the kitchen in a dream for the larger part of the morning.

This morning I awoke to the sun streaming through the windows. After days and days of cloudy skies and showers and several abortive attempts at working in the veggie garden yesterday, a plan began to unfurl........Let the dog out....let the chooks out for a run...breakfast and a morning in the garden.....maybe it the breeze is good, the grass will dry enough to mow a little. It is growing at an alarming rate at the moment :-( Then a few kitchen chores after lunch. That's enough to think about right know. Time to get up!!!

Well I made it as far as breakfast and the first of the showers started...scratch mowing.....I turned on the TV just as the weatherman displayed a very "blue" map of Queensland. Hmmm, showers all day becoming heavier in the afternoon! I want to go down to the city later today and don't want to get flooded in sooooo , lets rethink this.

OK...new plan formulating. I have a nice piece of pork in the fridge which I had planned to turn into sausages, so this morning I will have another go at perfecting my homemade sausages :-)

The Gorgeous boy and I have had three attempts so far at making the "perfect" sausage. We are getting pretty good at producing a well shaped sausage and the paprika and fennel flavoured ones were lovely but the ratio of fat/lean meat/cereal and liquid and the texture still needs fine tuning..

Here I have pushed the skin onto the feeder.

I have used a protein based synthetic skin here which is very easy to use so long as you keep it dry. It fits on to the small size nozzle. I have also tried natural skins which fit on to the larger sized nozzle..... I still need to work on those as the they are a lot more "stretchy" (if you can use that term) and do not fill as evenly, as easily. Practice, practice, practice! I know :-)

Easing the skin off as the meat is pushed through.

The GB normally feeds the beast while I ease the sausage off in one pieces, smoothing out any unevenness.

A completed batch of sausages...not bad huh!

Lastly I twist the sausage into small individual serves.

When The Great Dane and Gemini came to visit we had a go at making the Danish Medisterposter ( Did I spell that right GD?) It is a mild flavoured pork sausage which is coiled around. Very much in shape like a bequest sausage. Boiled gently until almost cooked and then barbequed. Our first attempt was made with just lean pork meat and seasoning which was very dry. Next attempt saw us including a little cereal. Todays attempt will be 70% lean pork. 20% pork fat and 10% cereal (home baked breadcrumbs) and seasoning with a little stock to make a softer consistency. I'll let you know how I go :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy New Year :-)

Happy New Year :-) I can't believe how long it has been since I last wrote anything here. How time flies. It seems like just yesterday and I was thinking about getting ready early for Christmas.

Well, Christmas came and Christmas went, and believe it or not...it went pretty smoothly without the annual panic. Ah, well, that's if you don't count the Christmas cards! Sorry guys, they are still in the box. Its not as if we didn't think about you all. We toasted your health (the bottles in the recycling can attest to that) its just that I never seemed to get the time to actually sit down and write them out. I did think about sending them out as a Happy New Year cards...then the days passed and some bright spark suggested I should send them as Chinese New Year cards. I realised that maybe....just maybe....it was a little too late :-(

We spent Christmas Eve and Day down in the city with Dr K and Richie. Mama and the Princess came too. It was a lovely relaxing time and the turkey was absolutely delicious...thank you Darling :-). Over to spend Boxing day with Gemini and the Great Dane for their traditional Danish smorgasbord. Wonderful as usual. Unfortunately it may be that last one as Gemini and GD have fallen for the "Cruising Bug" and are planning to spend their Christmasses afloat in future. I can tell that I will have to learn how to pickle the herrings and make the rice pudding myself. Dare I bring out the last of the Dill Schnapps from the freezer? Hmmmm.
It may appear from these photos that we did nothing but eat....that's not true...we drank and laughed a lot :-) It is good to have family and friends around.

We have had visitors here at the Farm almost every weekend since well before Christmas....it has been wonderful but busy, busy. This past weekend was the first in a looooong time that it has just been the Gorgeous Boy and myself here...oh I'm including you too Tiggy :-) It is time to get serious about finishing the Great Wall and the raised garden beds but as luck would have it....it rained......and rained....and rained. Complaining? Me? Nooooo. It would just be kinda nice to have it spread out a little more evenly. We seem to go from rock hard dry soil and "crunchy" grass to boggy puddles, red clay on the boots and the question of "will we be flooded in this time?" But any rain is better than no rain and everything in the garden is flourishing.

We have survived the summer well in the vegetable garden...never running short of vegetables and this year has been the year for mangos. We have three mango trees of varying vintage. All of them have produced exceptionally well. At one point we were cropping two huge bucket fulls a day. I have dehydrated tray after tray of mango slices and have an entire freezer drawer packed "chocka block" full of boxes of puree. I only have one fruit leather tray so was limited in what I could make but am about to order more and use some of the frozen puree to make fruit leather.

I have been experimenting with my ice cream machine and have found a delicious recipe...which is basically an anglaise custard of 375ml milk, warmed up with a vanilla bean, poured over six egg yolks and 160g of sugar and cooked in a double boiler until it coats the back of the spoon. Chilled and then mixed with 375ml of cream and churned. Absolutely delicious served as a "soft serve" with mango puree over the top but the best feature of all is that when frozen it doesn't seem to freeze as hard as other recipes that I have used and is easy to serve. I even had an attempt to make imitation Weiss bars (The Gbs favourite ice cream) by freezing a layer of pureed mango on a baking tray and then freezing a layer of ice cream on the top. Then... cutting it into bars. Two problems.....a) since the ice cream doesn't set as rock hard as it does with the usual recipes. It melts rather quickly which means that you can't savour it... :-) and b) the puree would perhaps be improved by adding a little of the ice cream to it to make it a little more creamy and a little less icy!!!! But on the whole...yummy....sorry no photos...all the little bars are cut up and wrapped in baking paper for easy access.

Cherry sent me a recipe for Chicken and Mango salad that I will try this week. It sounds delicious and I will not be wasting one Mango. It makes me furious when I see Mangos in the supermarket at $2.90 each and we are in the midst of a glut here. Someone, somewhere is ripping off the general public and you can bet your life it is not the poor farmers. Grrrrr.

Well time to call it a day for now...hope to get back here soon to tell of my "sausage making" success. But that a whole other story :-)