Sunny morning in the valley

I know the weather is lovely everywhere today, but here in this idyllic little corner of the valley I’m happy to say that we now have 13 healthy lambs to 10 ewes, all enjoying the morning sunshine, along with Della the beagle who watches over them from her forever perch the front deck. Amongst these photos in also a picture of the interim commercially produced pizza oven which is fine for foccaccia as you can see, but just a few weeks to go now (I hope) until the proper hand-made one is ready.

Stall today

I have bread (rye, spelt or plain white) on its last rising and apple custard tartuffins in the oven. They should all be out on the stall at the gate by 11am at the latest. Might even get to  sausage rolls as well. Baking some for visitors this afternoon, so will double the batch so there are some for the stall.

179 Wyre Forest Road, Molesworth that is, of course.

Bread oven progress

After a busy afternoon, progress with the bread oven is significant… thanks to Nat and Stephanie for their assistance. Also to Della the dog and Rosie the kitten for their supervision…..

Now just need to exercise some patience for the next four weeks until the dome can be constructed on the top.  THEN, it will be baking time, big time.  Can’t wait!

Mist in the valley

I love to watch the mist creep up into this end of the valley in the mornings. We’ve had some variations in weather already today to be sure – heavy rain, then fog and now brilliant sunshine.

Meanwhile, I’m baking. This morning there will be rye/spelt bread and pull apart loaves (pizza or ham/cheese flavoured). White dough for the latter. All doughs this morning are enriched with free range eggs, seeing as the chooks and ducks are laying so well at present.

I’m about to bake plum and custard tartuffins also. Maybe a hint of lemon curd in there as well I think.

Everything will be available here on the stall at the gate from 10.30am today.

This afternoon? Plan is to take the outdoor bread oven Robert’s building to the next stage – it’s time for the upper concrete slab. Stephanie and Nat are coming to help us. I think Nat will drive the concrete mixer this time (I hope).There’s been considerable progress already since last I took photos. Will post more tomorrow.

Oh yes – forgot to mention that the little lamb is surviving. Think he’s getting a little nourishment from his mum but stalwartly refuses anything we try to give him. However, he is still toddling around and looking considerably better. Thank goodness.

Stall at the gate today

By 10am all items will be out on the stall at our gate – rye loaves and spelt, apple custard tartuffins, jam drops, anzacs and many and varied preserves.

In case you haven’t been here for a while, here’s a reminder of directions to our property (179 Wyre Forest Rd, Molesworth):

Travel out from Hobart along the Brooker Highway until you come to Granton.  Keeping to the left side of the river, drive about 10 to 15 minutes more until you reach the small township of Sorell Creek (just before New Norfolk).

Turn left here (the road to Molesworth) and travel for a few kilometres until you see Collins Cap Road on the right.  Follow this road for about 700 metres more – you will see Wyre Forest Road on the left.   We are number 179, clearly marked with the cooking school sign.

If you are coming from New Norfolk – at Sorell Creek, turn right into the road to Molesworth.  Follow travel until you see Collins Cap Rd on the right, turn up here and after about 700 metres turn left into Wyre Forest Rd.


We are about 30 minutes from Hobart CBD or 7 to 10 minutes from New Norfolk.

Gluten free Chocolate Crunch recipe

A few days ago I put up a post about gluten free Weet Bix, now made by Sanitarium.  Here is the recipe for gluten free chocolate crunch that I made from them.  When you crush them, don’t turn them to a powder, just crush to flakes.

I’ve included the picture again so you know how it looks once it’s baked.

Gluten free Chocolate Crunch

1 cup gluten free plain flour (I used Well& Good brand)

Half a cup of sugar

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup crushed gluten free Weet Bix (about 4)

1 tablespoon gluten free cocoa powder

Half a teaspoon gluten free baking powder

160g butter, melted

MIx together the dry ingredients and then stir in the butter until well combined.  Spoon into a greased and baking paper lined 28 x 18cm slab tin.  Bake at 160 degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and ice immediately with chocolate icing (see recipe below) and make into squares with a sharp knife.  You need to cut through quite firmly so that it breaks apart easily once cooled.

Allow to cool in the tin and then re-cut into squares.  Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Icing

180g pure icing sugar (or gluten free icing mixture)

1 tablespoon gluten free cocoa powder

1 teaspoon butter

Boiling water.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa, then add the butter and the boiling water.

It’s important to add only a very little boiling water at a time.  When it starts to get close to the right consistency, add only one or two drops at a time).

Stall matters

After weeks of intense busy-ness, today is time for a catch-up around the house – much neglected housework and paperwork. How very boring. Therefore, it’s an absolute necessity to start the day with something more cheerful and so I’ve been baking biscuits to go out on the stall at our gate. There are 2 different flavours of jam drops (blackberry and quince) and anzacs biscuits.

There is also a fresh stock of preserves – new blackberry jam, gin and lemon marmalade, tomato chilli pickle, piccalilli and tomato relish. Tomorrow and Sunday there will be tartuffins once more (apple/custard), as well as loaves of spelt or rye bread. I’ll make white loaves too if anyone wants them.

Animals on the farm

I’ve decided that I hate lambing season. While ewe Myrtle has delivered twins that are now thriving, the hapless Tessa has once again given birth to twins that it seems she cannot feed, as indeed happened last year with her lamb Benji. One of her recently born twins soon died and, despite our best efforts at feeding the other, he has no idea at all how to suckle and it takes a mammoth effort to get even a tiny bit of milk into him.

After the close to fruitless attempt to feed him this afternoon, and for that matter loath to waste the milk, I offered it to Doris the sheep. She has become my self appointed pet amongst the sheep it seems, which I realise is cupboard love at best. After almost bowling me over in the paddock in an attempt to find food on my person, she was delighted to suckle the milk from the bottle. Not only that however, she ripped the teat off it once the milk ran out, chomped it up and ate it.

Will there be any dire consequences for her? I really don’t know. I hope not as she is due to deliver twins also within the next few days.

Dilemma upon dilemma in this farming world.

The cats are much simpler – Rosie the kitten has worked out old Tom Cat’s routine. When he is out of the house or enjoying his daily siesta in the top of the cupboard, she sneaks into the much-coveted beanbag. As soon as she hears his footfall on the floor however, she is out in a flash and sits next to it with a look of complete innocence on her face.

The possums, not content with eating the lemons and now the lemon tree itself, have denuded the cumquat bush and half the lime tree. This possum is really smart – no apple in the cage will tempt him in. He must know that we plan to remove him to a different geographical location if he goes in there. He finds his way in and around and under netting and fences, and is well and truly gone again by morning, leaving leafless branches and skinless citrus fruit in his wake. No Vicks Vaporub, no blood and bone or other deterrent works.

We have other visitors too, though they are no trouble. A neighbour’s pet rabbit has come to call. His name is Billy apparently and he is very fond of his tucker. Maybe he heard me calling our Billy the Duck this afternoon at seed time. Whichever way, Billy the rabbit has taken up residence with the sheep until he decides to wander home again.

A little pet ferret came to visit too a while ago. He is beautiful, Fluffy is his name, a cute, affectionate little bundle that belongs to a friend that lives nearby. However, Robert didn’t know about this ferret on the evening he found him in the chook yard. When he brought him into the house to show me, and I said “Oh, that’s Fluffy”, he looked at me as if I were daft. “Of course it’s fluffy” his bewildered look said “It’s a ferret.” Fluffy was delivered home safely, much to the delight of his owners.

Della the dog has lost a lot of weight at last, now that she can’t get into the chook yard to eat their daily cook-up of scraps. It was quite comical until that time to watch one very obese beagle squash herself as flat as a pancake to get under a fence to vacuum up any morsel of chook food she could find. I think part of her weight loss is also due to her continual pacing up and down the fence line trying to find a way in again, all to no avail. I would prefer she chased out marauding wildlife for exercise, but she sits complacently while they eat what they choose without so much as raising a bark.

Gluten Free Weet Bix

For anyone who is gluten intolerant, the good news is that you can now buy gluten free Weet Bix. Truly. How good is that! Coles supermarkets stock them (at least the Bridgewater store does so I expect they all would). Not only can they be used as a decent breakfast cereal, but now it’s easy to bake the ever-popular chocolate crunch. Even better, they can be roughly crushed and added to a sausage roll, meatball or meatloaf recipe instead of breadcrumbs.

I was so excited about the chocolate crunch thing that I made two trays of it, so now there are several packets available out on the stall.

Speaking of preserves, all of them are gluten free, even the Worcestershire sauce. Always will be.

Pumpkin and Parsley Puffs

We are under possum attack. Half the lemon tree has gone and almost all the vegetable garden, despite best efforts at netting and fencing. Very disheartening, but I guess they figure it’s a pretty good smorgasbord here one way or another and so have invited their entire families to our property to graze.

Any suggestions anyone?

I decided tonight to make use of what scraps of parsley remain and made up a recipe for some little fritters that also utilised half a cup of leftover mashed pumpkin. They turned out to be quite yummy and would be a good quick snack for children. Here’s the recipe for anyone who would like it.

Pumpkin and Parsley Puffs

1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup self raising flour
½ cup mashed cooked pumpkin
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons finely grated cheese
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined, then shallow fry small tablespoons of mixture in a little oil (over medium heat) until golden on one side, then flip over and cook on the other.

Drain on crumpled paper towel for a minute before serving.

I just served these with other vegetables and a casserole, but they are tasty enough just on their own as a quick snack, maybe with an egg on the side. Plus bacon even better, yum.

Oh yes, the recipe makes 8 to 10 puffs, very economical.