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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Local Food Focus

Tassievore Eat Local Challenge has been a month long focus with weekly challenges to get people connected to their local food supplies. The Living Better With Less group pretty much live this philosophy and we were keen to turn our monthly meet up into a dinner of local produce in line with the week 4 challenge.

Last night we met at my place to celebrate the flavours and produce of autumn. The table was set simply with a natural linen runner and topped with apples from the backyard and gem squash from one of my market customers.

Home grown tomatoes were slowly roasted and then blended with fresh ricotta and next to that a dish of chunky beetroot marmalade, perfect for....

Home smoked venison done in a covered work with apple wood chips also from the backyard and home grown and dried juniper berries and bay leaf. In the dish beside that, crumbled Tasmanian fetta marinated in home made grappa with garlic and oil. Simply divine with....

locally produced and smoked free range ham and Tasmanian cheeses and marinated olives.

A selection of different varieties of tiny tomatoes....

Simply roasted backyard Kenebec potatoes....

and one of our own Australorp roosters simply roasted with our harvested garlic and a sprinkle of Lemon Myrtle leaf powder.

Two loaves of home made bread made with local flour and naturally leavened. Even the butter was home made from local cream.

To finish, Honey Ice-cream and fresh figs from the backyard.
The cream was from a small local dairy and the honey from a roadside seller at Brady's Lookout. Eggs from their own backyard chickens.
We dined, exclaimed, laughed and shared recipes. It was a very memorable night and definitely something I would like to try to do again soon.
Katherine has very kindly supplied her recipe for the ice-cream too

Honey Ice-cream

3 eggs separated
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 cups of cream

Use an electric beater to beat the yolks till light and fluffy. Add the honey and beat till the mixture is thick and pale.
Beat the cream till stiff peaks form.
In a clean bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Using a metal spoon, fold the cream into the egg whites. Then fold into the yolk mixture.
Pour into a 5-6 cup capacity container and freeze for 4-5 hours until firm.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Snacking on Seeds

I LOVE pumpkin season. I love pumpkin soup but I really love pumpkin seeds even more I think.
When I tell people they always ask me "how do you eat them?"
"Straight from the pulp as I'm cutting it up mostly" I would have to reply.
But I have got a technique for dried seeds too.

The seeds from Turk's Turbans are my all time favourite, so buttery and soft.
I also like the seeds from the large pumpkins in the first photo too. I'm not sure what they are called but their outer shell is less fibrous than a QLD Blue or a Jarradale for instance.

Pumpkin seeds make a great snack for in between meals and a whole host of other health benefits. For instance, they are high in protein, a rich source of zinc, magnesium, vitamin B group and Vit E.
They contain L-tryptophan which is great for a good night sleep and helps depression.
They are effective for ridding thread worm and have an anti-inflammatory action on the body. Studies are linking their positive effects to prostate health and their ability to lower LDL in the body.
In short

I am a big believer in foods in season and for a reason.
I believe we are supposed to eat certain foods when they are in season for optimum health seasonally.
I also believe in true cravings and joy for foods.
I have trouble absorbing magnesium and zinc and have abnormal LDL despite a good diet. I don't think it is any co-incidence that I take such delight in pumpkin seed season. 
Next time you are cutting a pumpkin, remove the seeds from the pulp. Soak in a solution of one and a half tablespoons of salt to 500ml of water overnight or for about 8 hours then spread to dry or place in your dehydrator. Mine never last long and I really appreciate them when I'm still at work at 7pm and haven't eaten since midday, they tide me over nicely till I can get home for dinner.
Crunchy, chewy, buttery, nutritious pumpkin seeds.
Isn't nature wonderful!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beyond The Freezer

Not another jar of jam!
Tonight I am doing another workshop at 
Fresh cafe from 7-9 
(if my daughter doesn't have her baby!)

and I am talking about different ways to preserve food. I'm excited to get people to think beyond sticking food, especially food in glut, into freezers, and certainly not another jar of jam either.

We'll be discussing pickling, fermenting, dehydrating and different ways of excluding oxygen to prevent spoilage. We'll be taste testing natural ferment beetroot and learning how to preserve fresh olives and what apricots look like dried without sulphur. 
It's free and supporting the 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tomato Preserving Workshop

This is a shout out to Tassie locals who may not be facebookers....
I will be doing a
It's tomorrow night
Tuesday 4th March 7-9pm
Fresh Cafe
Charles St Launceston
We'll be talking about bottled tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.

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