Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Three cheeses

I thought I would share with you the most exciting part of home making- getting to see (and the of course eat) your goodies!
Here are three organic cheeses I have made recently, with the help of my gorgeous step daughter.
L-R Farmhouse Cheddar, Fetta marinated in oil and house garden herbs and Haloumi
Aren't they GORGEOUS!

The cheddar really was a labour of love, 2.5 hrs of stirring, four days of curing and now up to 12 months until eating! This to me epitomises delayed gratification! Something the GEN Ys are going to have to learn!

The fetta we have soaked in a brine for a few days and now have marinated in canola oil (the last time I put it in olive oil it set hard in fridge, canola doesn't) and thyme, oregano and parsley from the garden,we have also put in a little cracked pepper for zing! It will keep for up to 6 weeks now which is a great shelf life I think (not that it ever lasts that long because we share it around!)

The halmoui is a relatively easy cheese to make, only requiring  a large saucepan to make it in and it is simply delicious fried up! The first time I made it I was so excited when it squeaked (the first lot didn't even make it into the brine!). Kids love this cheese as is salty and has such a delicious flavour from the cooking process - the texture is also very agreeable, albeit slightly hard to describe!

The satisfaction to be gained from turning litres of ORGANIC, unhomogenised milk into delightful edible treats that can be shared with family and friends (marinated fetta will make a great Christmas gift!) is truly a joy. Just like sharing the veg from the garden, the glow that I get when people comment that they love to eat what we have grown is a natural high!

I do sometimes worry about the food miles of my cheese (I have to order it from Coffs Harbour - 9 hours away) but it does come in a refrigerated truck that comes across with produce for other shops in town anyway! So in that sense I am just making their trip even more worthwhile! I am, however, always keeping my ear to the ground locally for someone who milks a cow...or goats!

I learned to make cheese at a couple of courses in Armidale last year, just one day workshops with a wonderful woman Siggi, who I have called a few times since with cheese dilemmas and she has been more than happy to help! It was such fun and as you can probably tell, it is a skill I am thoroughly enjoying (both for the making and the eating!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yella' Belly

This week we enjoyed the spoils of the beautiful Barwon River near Walgett with a feast of yellow belly (golden perch). I don't have any pictures of it, but I can tell you that the sweet white meat was simply divine! It was simply pan fried, after very careful and expert filleting and we enjoyed it with homemade potato, beetroot and zucchini crisps and a bright yellow tartare sauce made from our chookies eggs! I find Stephanie Alexanders' mayonnaise the best so far, 1 egg yolk per 100ml oil, easy to remember and delicious! Mixed with a pinch of salt and some lemon juice get the yolk working and then gradually add the oil to emulsify. It is a pretty safe and fool proof recipe (it is actually one I have shown in an earlier post with the tempura).
The girls in for the night!
There are so many things you can do with eggs, they really are a wonderful creation! I love them simply scrambled with a light drizzle of oyster sauce when I am craving something a little sweet savoury in the morning - or, my childhood favourite which I rekindled recently - egg fried in bread! You nib a bit of bread out of the centre of a slice (preferably home made - I make spelt bread) and butter both sides (I use dairy free nuttelex). Fry one side until golden and then flip, crack the egg into the centre and allow to gently cook (you can add a lid at this point to help if you want to speed it up). If you don't like runny eggs (which I do) you can flip again and make a sunny side down version. The clincher of this dish is the addition of freshly picked and roughly chopped curly parsley - which I think should be part of the 80s revival it has so much more flavour and texture that its flat leaf cousin! Salt and pepper is a must! I love this as a Sunday evening supper when you just can't be bothered cooking anything too  much extravagant! The deep crunch of the golden fried bread next to the soft textured egg flesh and the irony green off the parsley...OH YUM!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brussel Sprouts are delicious!

The big picture brussel bush, as the bush
ages, the large leaves get tighter and bushier

I think the poor old Brussel really cops a bit of a hard time and maybe it is just because we have all tried the large, old version that you most often find at the supermarket!

We have attempted to grow brussels in the past and not succeded, but this year we got the mix right - good red soil mixed with sheep poo and early morning sunlight with protection from the west seems to suit the brussel.

The bush the brussels grow on is very cool and slightly unexpected - check ours out!

The slugs do love them, so you might have to get out with a torch in the evening and do a bit of harvesting - we just squash them but some people give them to the chooks.

Close up Brussels - YUM!

In our endeavor to be organic home gardeners, we have avoided slug pellets instead opting for the beer in a bowl solution - any kind of beer in a shallow dish acts as an attractant for the slugs, they crawl up, take a sip and fall into their death. Sounds a bit macabre, but just gives you some idea of the effect alcohol can have on you!

I like to keep my brussel eating simple, just some nuttelex melted in a pan and tossed with salt and pepper before adding the brussels - they are definitely best picked young, when the leaves are sweet and have a really intense 'sprout' flavour.
If you aren't vegetarian, take out the salt and add some prosciutto or pancetta to the pan and toss the brussels in that!
I also like cutting them into halves and adding them to a vegie stir fry, they go well with Chinese flavours.

Brussels love Snow Peas and Cabbage - all best eaten picked fresh from the garden...or bought at
the local Farmers Market!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Organic gardening, grow your own food | Pot Gardening

Organic gardening, grow your own food | Pot Gardening


I read a fantastic book about 6 months ago - Eat Right for Your Blood Type and it certainly has assisted, in a BIG way, my health and wellness journey. As I am a type A blood, I am to eat a mostly vegetarian diet - a little fish and chicken is okay, but red meat isn't. This wasn't an difficult step for me, as I have been vegetarian before, and actually prefer not to eat huge quantities of red meat, but fell into eating it often as my husband enjoys it! What it has meant for me is my metabolism has sped up and I feel much healthier on the inside, I hope this is reflected on the outside! I also find that when I don't eat a lot of meat protein at all my weight drops which is always a nice surprise! My diet consists largely of beans, pulses and vegetables. I do have to eat more frequently, about every 3-4 hours, but this is a more supportive option for blood sugars and maintaining constant energy through the day anyway.
So, having a great veggie patch is like heaven for a vegetarian! We recently harvested our first attempt at parsnips, which I love! They didn't exactly turn out like they should have!
The gnarliest parsnip you have EVER seen!
The roast veg before cooking (the pink and white stripy
stripy veg are our white beetroot -super sweet and delightful)
BUT it did make a gorgeous addition to the warm roasted veg salad I made to accompany steamed home grown broccoli, snow peas, beet tops, spinach and brussels.

I just threw together some beetroot (homegrown), sweet potato, the parsnips, zucchini (home grown) and threw them in some good quality olive oil, splash of water and a bit of dukkah. The parsnips could have gone in a little earlier, but the long tentacles added the greatest crunch to the dish! 
Sometimes simple is the best!

The completed dish - a wedge of lemon on the side and YUM!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Garden party

Each weekend I get to hang out in my veggie patch brings me joy and wonderment! How do such small seeds grow into such amazingly tasty morsels?
We are so enjoying our baby brussel sprouts - just tossed in a little nuttelex (no dairy!) and salt and pepper and served on the side of any main meal! I also tempura battered them the other day (using gluten free self raising flour) along with baby zucchini, leeks, spring onions, broccoli and beetroot - what an amazing feast! I served the golden fried nuggets of goodness with a homemade mayonnaise (made from our own eggs, which are sunshine yellow!). Simple, elegant and soooo tasty! Almost makes you believe that eating fried food can be healthy!
Tempura Veggies from the garden served with homemade mayonnaise
(and a few prawns and squid from the fish man!) 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blogs and other stuff

My name is Rebel Black and I am a passionate foodie who has had her wings clipped in the past few years due to a range of food intolerances that have rendered me very ill on man occasions. I started I'm Not Fussy to create an online community that supports people on their health and wellness journey because I have felt very alone very often in trying to get well! BUT I, as have many others, have found ways around most things and am excited about sharing my tricks and tips through this blog!
Stay tuned for more!
Unfussy Foodie