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 :-)