Monday, May 21, 2012

A fig or two and some lamb

I have had a couple of figs on my small tree that I planted a couple of years ago.  I am always pleased when I can get a new tree through the summer without it dying of thirst or heat exhaustion.  There are lots of things in the veggie garden at the moment..

Garlic shooting

Baby brussel sprouts
I think it is time for the tomatoes to come out..
I planted some horseradish a few months ago so I dug some up to see how it was going..
Once peeled you can put them in the food processor and chop finely with a couple of tablespoons of water before adding some vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to make a sauce consistency.  I honestly do not know how anyone did this before the advent of the food processor because when you whizz it it is so pungent that it stings your eyes.  It seems to settle down when you add the vinegar.  Can't wait to have some roast beef to try it.
As you can see it is still pretty dry here.  We really need another rain before winter sets in.

Rams resting from active duty
The Humble Shepherd (husband...self-titled) says I don't have enough lamb recipes on here.  It was the purpose of the blog in the first place, but I seem to get distracted with other things.  I needed to use the last of the quince harvest so I did this:
I marinated a well seasoned and butterflied leg of lamb in
2 tblsp pomegranate molasses
2 tblsp olive oil
1 teasp ground cumin
a crushed clove of garlic
for a couple of hours.  Peeled and cored a quince and cut it into eighths.  Put that in the baking dish and placed the lamb on top.
I  roasted it in the roasting oven of the Aga (about 200c)  for about 1 1/4 hours.  The pomegranate molasses can get a bit scorched so it would be best to turn the oven down to 180c after about 15 minutes.  If it is getting dark you can cover it with some foil.   After spooning off the fat, I deglazed the pan with a spoonful of quince jelly.  Serve the quinces on top of the lamb.

Friday, May 11, 2012


..a day in the office.  There literally has not been a spare second in the last few weeks.  Although I haven't been blogging, it doesn't mean there hasn't been loads of cooking going on.  Look at these beautiful apples we got from our friend's apple orchard over near Penola a couple of weeks ago..
I have been trying to use up all the tomatoes before I pull the plants out.  This has been a favourite breakfast..
and I have been making tomato soup, which is perfect with pesto and shavings of parmesan cheese.
There were loads of quinces, some of which I slow roasted in the Aga
I just sprinkled them with a couple of tablespoons of sugar, drizzled them with a bit of honey, poured over about 1/2 cup of  verjuice, added two cinnamon sticks and two strips of lemon peel.  I then covered the dish with foil and stuck it in the simmer oven of the Aga until I remembered I'd put them there which was actually the next morning.  The juices became almost jelly-like.
I picked up all the windfalls and put them in the fridge as it would be a couple of weeks before I could use them.  I finally got around to making quince jelly last week and it wouldn't set.  A bit of googling revealed that you shouldn't put  quinces in the fridge if you want to make jelly.  Bit of a waste, but now I know and so do you.

We are expecting some cold weather this weekend so here is an easy soup to keep you warm and nourished.


This is also an effective way to use up any leftover veg hanging around in the fridge.

Soak about a cup of soup mix or pearl barley in two cups of water for about 6 hours or overnight. 
Saute a chopped onion in olive oil.  Add a crushed clove of garlic and any chopped vegetables you like:  leeks, carrots, celery, potato, parsnip, pumpkin, you can't really go wrong.  Stir for a few minutes then add the drained and rinsed soup mix, chicken stock to cover and either a bay leaf or a sprig of rosemary.  If you have a rind of parmesan cheese, add this too.

Simmer for an hour (I did this in the simmer oven of the Aga) then add any green veg that doesn't need long to cook, such as peas, chopped broccoli, zucchini, beans or spinach.  Simmer until the green vegetables are cooked.  Fish out the bay, rosemary and parmesan.

Serve in bowls with shavings of parmesan, a swirl of olive oil and some toasted ciabatta.  Then go and light the fire.