Monday, April 22, 2013

Homemade Chicken Stock

chicken bones, carrots, celery, garlic, cheese rinds, herb stalks, and cauliflower stems
homemade chicken stock is a great thing to make when you've got extra bits left over from dinner. i'm sure many of you have made chicken stock before at home and know the joys and the world of difference it can make to your own home cooking.

throw in some onion and a couple bay leaves and your in business the 'stock market'!
i don't have a specific recipe and really its just scraps thrown into a pot and covered with water. one thing that really makes the stock special is the addition of cheese rinds, the ends of hard cheeses like parmesean are great to throw into stock. the dried out ends seem to and an extra savoury depth, without melting too much and getting all gooey. so, next time you have some hard cheesey bits left over just throw them in the freezer for your next batch of chicken or veg stock.

simmer for two hours, strain out the bits and you're done!
the consensus with stock is to always use the holy trinity of veg: carrots, celery and onions. from there its all up to you! once your chicken stock has finished cooking and cooled down you can store it in the fridge or in the freezer till needed.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rhubarb Jelly Doughnuts with Lavender Sugar


here's another spirit lifting recipe for those of you experiencing this crazy 'spring' weather. its been mostly windy and rainy the past week, but the soil has warmed up. there's new life emerging in the raised beds at last! all the garlic is up with some radish, beetroot and frilly red mustard, too. we are also due for the hatching of some new chicks, from our lavender pekin bantams. so these doughnuts are also a little tribute to them, too.

is spring here, yet? it better be!
i wanted to call these dough nuts: 'rainy day rhubarb doughnuts' because they are perfect for a rainy day afternoon spent in the kitchen. these doughnuts may seem tricky to make but with a a couple hours, a few basic ingredients and tools - you'll be in jelly filled doughnut heaven. i've always wanted to make jelly doughnuts, mainly because im a sucker for deep fried foods, and who isn't? (i even tried beer battered bacon once!) but also because a good jelly doughnut is complete bliss and as it turns out - very obtainable in the home kitchen.

i couldn't wait to put rhubarb on the blog, either. after the winter we've had its a welcomed bit of colour and tang to the gardener's kitchen! im fortunate to always have friends or family who grow rhubarb, so i've never planted my own crowns. the crowns take a year or so to establish before harvesting, which doesn't really fit into a semi-nomadic lifestyle. but saying so, every working veg patch should have a couple rhubarb plants, for a 'hungry gap' fruit boost. maybe this is my year to plant my own?

this recipe is completely from scratch, all the way to making the rhubarb jelly filling. but you could use any jelly or jam you have in the house, just beat it a bit before piping into the fluffy doughnuts. the lavender sugar coating is super easy to blend up, so give it a whirl. but if you don't have lavender buds plain sugar will do! or maybe a different herb (i.e: rosemary or thyme)?  the lavender has a calming effect for when you really want to be outside but the weather won't allow it.

doughnuts as medicine? why not!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Garden Layout for 2013

a look back at 2012's plants, the spuds on the right created a lovely wind break from prevailing sea winds. i'm going to try and contain them more this year, some vines reached around 6 feet!
Garden Layout 2013:
this is my new garden layout for the coming season. im trying my best to incorporate a bit of 'no-dig' practices and proper crop rotation. im failing a bit with the rotation side of things, so i'll incorporate more nutrients into the soil with homemade seaweed/nettle/comfrey fertilizers and well rotted manure. rotation has been a bit difficult, since im trying to place contrasting colours and textures together in my planting. im excited to get the plants going and i have plans for putting up a wooden arbour over the central seating area, for sweet peas and vines! im also trying to add height to the garden with wooden pea/bean wig wams and creating a useful wind break on the left side of the garden with broad beans and orache.