Lemon tree planted

We planted a lemon tree in our garden. Thomas and I both firmly believe that a home needs a lemon tree :-)

Lemon Meyer: Popular lemon for the home garden, more tolerant that other varieties. Performs well in small garden areas or in pots strategically placed where the sweetly fragrant flowers can be enjoyed. Lemons are medium sized and juicy. Sun – part shade. Frost tolerant. Height 2m x 1. 5m.

Comment from garden centre: Feed three times a year but let it settle first!

Tabouli Recipe

My favourite Tabouli recipe.

1 cups cracked wheat (bulghur)
1 cups very hot water
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bunch green onions, (4) sliced
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1 cups fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. When it’s ready, drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.

Meantime, prepare the vegetables for the salad and mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.

Stir the prepared wheat, other salad ingredients, and dressing together in a medium bowl.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 4 cups, 6 to 8 servings.

Thanks to http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/tabouli-recipe.html (their recipe serves 12 to 16 – great for a party)

Cron experiments

I’ve been doing an introduction to Cron for three months now. During the introductory phase the main idea is to stop eating empty calories (low nutrient/high calorie) and start focusing on high nutrient/low calorie food.

I just went to my Drs for a check up.

During those three months I have:

·         Lost 5kgs

·         Bought my blood pressure back into healthy range

My Dr is really awesome. Quite supportive of me taking control of my own health while still wanting to help me monitor things and make sure I’m not doing anything silly. I think she likes the idea of working towards optimal health rather than just fixing illnesses.

I’m about to go slightly more hardcore with Cron so she has ordered me a bunch of blood tests which we can use as a health baseline. We will repeat again in 3 months time to see how I’m going.

For anyone who is interested in Cron these are the tests I’m getting done.

·         Renal – Creatinine

·         Renal – Uric Acid

·         Renal – Electrolytes

·         Lipids – Lipids Fasting

·         Thyroid – T.S.H

·         Glucose – Hb (HbA 1c)

·         Liver/Enzymes – Liver Function

·         Renal – Calcium/Phosphate

·         Full Blood Count

·         Ferritin

I’m looking forward to getting these results back. I did quite a few of them about a year ago when the Dr was trying to find out if my high blood pressure was being caused by another obvious problem. Hopefully the comparison is positive.

I really wish I could be part of this study but since I’m not in the States I’m doing it on my own.

Also, I feel great :-)

Two shakes

Watermelon shake

Take a watermelon. Remove pips. Put in blender with a tray of ice. Blend. 

OMG yum. 

One watermelon normally makes two blenders full. 

watermelon-smoothie
Hint: How to get pips out of watermelons

Use two bowls and a sieve. Scoop out the watermelon flesh into one of the bowls, then use your hands to grab out bits of flesh. The pips will come off easily. Use the sieve to collect the watermelon water at the bottom of the bowl while avoiding the pips. 

Spinach, orange and apple shake

1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
2 oranges
1 apple, peeled
1 cup chilled water
4 cubes of ice

Spinach, apple and orange smoothie

Peel and chop the apple and orange. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend! So fresh and energizing. Spinach love!

This is a sweet green drink with a slightly tart/bitter undertone. Very nice. Beware of the green moustache! 
 
Got spinach?

Kim with green "got spinach?" moustache

Silverbeet Soup

We got silverbeet in our organic veggie box delivery this week. I’m not a fan, I’d much rather have spinach…

However, I made a Silverbeet and Potato soup and it was nom (maybe even nom nom). So if you already like Silverbeet it may even be nom nom nom.

Enjoy. (Thanks to Martha at NZ Lifestyle)

2009-08-29 08:18:28 +1200

Silverbeet Soup

200g silver beet washed & chopped
400g diced potato
1 onion sliced
1 clove garlic sliced
6 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons lite sour cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Soften onion and garlic in oil in soup pan, add potato, cook until onion is soft. Add stock and silverbeet. Cook gently until potato is cooked. Puree with a food processor or kitchen wand. Add sour cream and parmesan.

Serve with toasted pitta or crusty bread.

Thomas made what is known in our house as Potato croutons to sprinkle on top (crunchy small pieces of potato roasted in the oven).

Russian Fudge


We had a fudge making session. What an awesome idea! The fudge that really stood out was the Russian Fudge made by Michelle and Catherine.

Image by dragonflyblue

Russian Fudge

3 1/2 cups White Sugar
125 g butter
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 g sweetened condensed milk (half a standard tin)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Method

Place all the ingredients except the vanilla, into a medium-heavy saucepan. Warm over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 15 — 20 minutes, until it reaches the soft ball stage (120°C).

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Beat (you can use an electric mixer) until the fudge is creamy and thick and has lost its gloss. Pour into a greased 20 cm cake pan. Score the top and break into pieces when cold.

*I’ve had trouble with the edmonds recipe but this one almost never fails. I find the trick to it is to keep the element at the same temperature, or on the same setting (low seems to be best on our gas hob), gently melting the ingredients together, stirring constantly, making sure the sugar dissolves. This makes for smoother, creamier fudge! YUM. It will come to boil on its own, in its own time, no need to turn the element up. Once it boils, try to stir it as little as possible, only to prevent it catching & burning. I put a drop into a glass of cold water to test for the soft ball stage.

Be sure to beat it well until quite thick & it will begin to set around the edges of the pot. Then you know it is ready :)

And never double the recipe!! This equals sure failure :P believe me!

(Recipe and comments from Jenna via Catherine)

Ciabatta

I made ciabatta! It had a chewy crust and tasty crumb and everything!

Ciabatta

The overall process is as follows (recipe adapted from here):

  1. Make a sponge of yeast, water and flour. Leave it for 12-24 hours.
  2. Make a dough by adding more yeast, milk, oil, flour, water and salt. Leave to rise.
  3. Separate and shape dough loaves, being careful to preserve as much air as you can. Leave to rise.
  4. Bake in the oven.

What You’ll Need

  • 2½ tsp dry yeast
  • 950g/3½ cups sifted bread flour (strong/high gluten)
  • 5 tbs. warm milk
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp. salt
  • water
  • Baking paper
  • Baking/pizza stone (optional, can use a tray)

The Process

Make the sponge

  • 1 tsp. dry yeast
  • 250ml/1 cup warm water
  • 350g/1½ cup sifted bread flour (strong/high gluten)
  1. Take a medium sized bowl and add the warm water and yeast.
  2. Leave it to sit for five minutes to go frothy (and thus prove the yeast is working).
  3. Add the flour and stir together.
  4. Cover with cling film and leave to sit in a coolish spot for 12-24 hours (not the fridge).

Make the dough

  • 1½ tsp. dry yeast
  • 5 tbs. warm milk
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 250ml/1 cup warm water
  • 600g/3 cups sifted bread flour (strong/high gluten)
  • 2-3 tsp. salt
  • (possibly some additional warm water/flour to achieve the right consistency)
  1. Take a large mixing bowl and add the warm milk and yeast.
  2. Leave it to sit for five minutes to go frothy (and thus prove the yeast is working).
  3. Add the sponge mixure, the oil and the water. Mix together.
  4. Add the first two cups of the flour and the salt and mix together.
  5. Keep adding flour until the dough gets to the right consistency. It should be quite moist but still possible to be worked by hand. (See notes below).
  6. Knead the dough until it is nice and smooth.
  7. Oil a large bowl, place the dough in it and cover.
  8. Leave to rise in a warm place until tripled in size.

Create the loaves

From this stage on we want to do our best to keep as much air in the bread as possible. Don’t punch down or squash the dough, and try to minimise handling.

  1. Lightly flour as many pieces of baking paper as you intend to make loaves. (This just makes it easier to handle.)
  2. Divide the dough into 2-4 pieces (I suggest either flattish and rectangular or more loaf-like) and put one onto each piece of baking paper.
  3. Cover and leave to rise for another hour or so.

Bake in the oven

  1. Preheat oven and tray/baking stone to 200c.
  2. Turn each each loaf upside down and transfer to another piece of baking paper (reuse the ones used so far).
  3. Use the baking paper to transport the loaf to the oven.
  4. Spray/brush the loaves with water three times within the first 10 minutes of cooking.
  5. Cook for a total of 15-25 minutes (depending on loaf size) until bread turns golden.

All done. Eat the yummy bread!

Notes for next time

  • I would like to increase the openness of the crumb (i.e. more holes). The advice I’ve seen indicates that you need to make the dough even wetter – but then it gets very hard to work. The suggestion was to knead the dough in the bowl (or use a mixer).
  • Someone else suggested doubling the olive oil.

Stained Glass Biscuits

I made these Stained Glass Biscuits for a pot luck dinner we hosted last night.

They’re a little bit gimmicky but very fun to make. The recipe below is from OHbaby.

Lollies smashed up

Pots of Colour

See through biscuits!

Stained Glass Biscuits

My hints:

1. To smash lollies put them inside a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin. Otherwise you will be finding lollies bits all over your kitchen for weeks to come.

2. The larger holes seemed to work better.

3. Fill the holes completely with the lollies.

Ingredients:

  • 125g Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Golden Syrup
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 1/2 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • 1 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 2 bags of Coloured Boiled Lollies

Method:
Beat butter, Brown Sugar and Golden Syrup until light and creamy. Add egg, beat well.

Stir flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into creamed mixture, mix until just combined.

Turn onto floured surface, knead 1 minute, adding a little extra flour if dough is sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap
and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to moderate 180C.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 4mm thick. Cut into large shapes as desired. Cut out a smaller shape in
centre of each. Place on baking tray lined with paper.

Finely chop or crush coloured boiled lollies. Spoon chopped lollies in heaped mounds into cut-out centre of dough
shapes.

Bake 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before moving.

Recipe sent in by Gemma Cartwright of Taranaki