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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Rose Petal Shrubs

I find real value in growing roses for the kitchen and there is nothing more heavenly than rose petal jam on scones but this week I have been experimenting with some flavours for naturally fermented shrubs to mix with soda water on these fiercely hot summer days. You may have seen various recipes for rhubarb "wine" or elderflower "champagne" which use similar processes but I'm allowing the fermentation to go just that little bit further and allowing the sugars to be eaten by the natural yeasts and yielding something a little more towards vinegar.

This is "Dark Desire" and the paler petals are from "Nahema". the former is a classic heavy rose perfume but the later is sweeter and more reminiscent of lemonade and also the basis for Guerlain perfumes.

I've taken inspiration from the "Wildcrafting Brewer" book by Pascal Baudar who forages for ingredients within his local area and season to tell a story in the flavours. My plans next Christmas are for a pine needle based shrub but that's another story.....

 I've used my large #36 Fowlers Vacola jars and simply added a large handful of fruit and a double handful of petals, added water and sugar and covered them with a piece of paper towel with a rubber band to hold it in place and left it to ferment in the ambient mid to late 20C temperatures inside. I haven't sterilised anything or purified the water or mixed a precise recipe. This is simply a natural process using centuries old practices and principles. Once you've dipped your toe into the fermentation world you'll realise we over complicate things unnecessarily and wild yeasts and bacteria can be very helpful friends.

Occasionally I stirred and muddled the ingredients and sipped occasionally to test the progress until after a few days I declare it "done" and to my liking. The drained pink elixir is now bottled and refrigerated to stop the fermenting process and ready to mix with sparkling water for a real thirst quencher, packed with plenty of flavour but not the sickly sweetness that other "soft" drinks offer.

#1 Nahema and Blackberry
#2 Dark Desire and black currant

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Garlic of Lewisham

Garlic is harvested and ready to go now and if you are travelling between Campbell Town and Ross on the Midlands Highway, take the opportunity to stop in at "Lewisham" and choose from three different varieties that they grow organically.

The ever popular "Tasmanian Purple".

The garlic is crop rotated every year and grown without any pesticides or fungicides (Rae Young's discussions about soil health and microbiome positively make my head spin but excite me at the same time!) and hand weeded.

."Spanish Red"

As you can see from the photos, the Midlands is a very dry area and lends itself to very good bulb growing, however it would be a fallacy to think they don't require any water, and conservation methods are employed on the farm.

"White Velvet"

Shopping this way allows you to
a) choose varieties specifically for your taste and cooking
b) buy enough to store and see you through most of the year
c) perfect for planting if you would like to try some home growing yourself as they have not been sprayed with any sprouting retardant.
d) buy cheaper and save money
and not the least importantly,
e) support a local farmer.

So look out for the bright red garlic sign below the property name. Go through the open gate on the western side of the highway and travel a short distance around the bend past the little cottage, till you see the small tin shed with the garlic sign on it.
There are a couple of ways to pay, you can leave cash or make a direct deposit and all the details are in the shed. 
Once you get your garlic home, keep it in any airey, dry, dark place so it will last for months and months.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Teeny Jug and Big Lessons

This teeny tiny jug helped me enormously in my Christmas readiness....

For a couple of weeks in the back of my mind, I knew I was going to need more fridge space for influx of food and drink. I tidied and shifted and swiped a cloth over shelves and tutted and muttered.
How will I fit a ham AND a lamb joint?
You'll not get beer in this fridge I declared and threatened....


This teeny tiny jug of Southern Style Hot Sauce tipped over in the fridge...

oh how far it travelled.

A mere 60ml ?

Well that was it! We all pitched in and pulled the entire contents out, washed and sorted and do you know what? I started the festive season with enough room and some. Room for cheeses and drinks and leftovers. More than that though was the freedom from yet another stress at Christmas time. Lesson learned.
A proper job leads to greater satisfaction.

And you know what else?
There is nothing like family all pitching in together to make a big job smaller.

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