Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last week

The wind blew and we had a few showers of rain but our school fete was a success.  My team of plant stallers made over $3,000, which is not bad for a little country school of 90 kids.  The school made over $16,000 for the day.
The white lilac looks so pretty next to the echiums.  It is such a straggly bush for most of the year, I always threaten to pull it out but then forgive it when it is in flower.  My kitchen helper has been busy making and decorating gingerbread.....
We've got a broody hen.  She is so grumpy.....
I bundled up lovely bunches of rhubarb to sell at the fete.  There is still plenty in the garden so I made these rhubarb muffins:

Preheat oven to 180c.
2 cups rhubarb, finely chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)
2 1/2 cups SR flour
1/4 cup neutral oil (canola, grapeseed)
1 egg
1 teasp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
zest and juice of 1 orange
Topping:  2 tblsp brown sugar, 2 teasp cinnamon

Combine rhubarb with dry ingredients, mix well.
Whisk oil, egg, vanilla, buttermilk, orange juice and rind.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently (don't overbeat) till combined.
Pour into muffin trays (I usually spray them with olive oil spray to stop them sticking) and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixed together.
Bake for approx 20 minutes (15 in the baking oven of the Aga) until a skewer inserted into the centre of the biggest muffin comes out clean.

I usually put some in a tin and the rest in a plastic bag in the freezer for the lunch boxes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

At last - the Fete

Our School Fete is on this Sunday, 16th October.  Here are some of the plants I potted up for the garden stall...
and here are the plants we set up today...there are more to come.

If you are in the area don't miss it...there are some bargains to be had.  There are loads of $1 and $2 pots, roses, heritage apples, berries, herbs, perennials, succulents, you name it.
WOOLSTHORPE PRIMARY SCHOOL, Woolsthorpe, Victoria from 10am.  15 minutes north of Warrnambool.

Enough of the plug.  Look at my lovely rainbow chard (or silverbeet)...

If there is one vegetable you should grow, this is it.  It is almost impossible to kill and lasts for ages.  I usually just pan fry it with some olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, maybe with a splash of sherry vinegar or vinocotto.  I cut the stalks off and put them in first then add the chopped leaves and bung on the lid until it has wilted nicely. 
Pile it in, it shrinks down to nothing
 Finish with a grating of parmesan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Loving Spring

I have been trying to finish this post for a couple of weeks.  Although we have been at home for the holidays, there has been plenty of activity and the interruptions are continuous.  There has been golf and tennis, farm work and gardening, footy finals and shooting, rain and sunshine.  We have scrambled over the Grampians

and trampled over Mt Napier.

 There are lots of pretty things in the garden at the moment:

The Mme Alfred Carrier is the only rose flowering so far
I have been growing some giant rhubarb...
which was then cut up on a tray, drizzled with orange juice, a bit of orange zest, some brown sugar and roasted for 15 minutes before becoming a crumble with a few strawberries thrown in (recipe another day).
I made a really good chicken dish last week.  Rave reviews.  You must try this as it is sooo easy.

Preheat the oven to 200c.
Put as many chicken thighs (bone in) as you think you will need on a baking tray.  Halve enough new potatoes for everyone and scatter around the chicken.  I was able to dig up some from last year's potato crop in the old veggie garden.  

Place strips of proscuitto over the top of the chicken and dot about some unpeeled garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for 20 minutes.  I did this in the Roasting oven of the Aga which is very hot.

In the meantime in a small bowl mix 1 tblsp dijon mustard, the juice of 1/2 lemon and about 2/3 cup verjuice (you could use white wine).  After the 20 minutes take out the chicken and pour over the verjuice mixture.  Give it another 20 minutes until the chicken is golden and cooked through.