Good Day for Baking

What do you do when the weather turns chilly? And when there are bits and pieces of leftovers that need using up? Baking of course. The Anzac barrel was running on empty and now is almost full again.

IMG_1983Some white chocolate that was not-too-successfully melted a couple of weeks ago and was discarded in a bowl in the pantry, has been chopped up with some ageing glace cherries. I made up a recipe for white choc chip and cherry biscuits, that also included half a tin of condensed milk that was lurking in the fridge since last week.

This autumn weather also calls for a nice robust pumpkin fruit cake so that’s under way as well.

IMG_1984Not a bad morning so far. It’s certainly warmed up the house, as evidenced by Tom snuggled up in his bean bag. I wonder if he ever thinks about the years he spent fending for himself before he became king of the castle here.

IMG_1979This afternoon there are tomatoes to be processed. The ones in the photo are just today’s pickings so far. “They’ll never ripen” I thought a few days ago. Now I have more than I know what to do with. Dehydrate maybe? And bottle the rest for making into chutney later?

IMG_1985Of course I should be cleaning the house, but my old Nan used to say that housework will always wait for you. Sad but true. Maybe later this afternoon I will get to all that vacuuming, dusting and floor washing, ironing……what a bore.

MInd you, it is autumn, and the first of the quinces have come in. Maybe I’ll just make a little jelly before I get to all that …..


Elderberry Cordial Styrup

I’ve had several requests for the recipe for elderberry cordial syrup, so here it is.  It is delicious and can be used for other purposes other than a drink with water or road water aded.  I use it to favour ice cream for instance.  You could also use it to flavour yoghurt or to pour over a slice of cheesecake or a serve of pannacotta.

Elderberry Cordial Syrup

1kg elderberries

4 cups water


2 tablespoons cider or white vinegar

2 level teaspoons citric or tartaric acid

Place the berries and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes.

Strain through a colander, and then strain the resulting liquid through a kitchen sieve lined with a layer of muslin.

For each cup of the resulting liquid add one cup of sugar.

Bring to the boil, then reduce heat immediately to a bare simmer and cook for two minutes more. Stir in tartaric acid, pour into sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

Store in a cool, dry, dark place and refrigerate after opening.


Breads from the outdoor oven

We decided to fire up the bread oven today to cook the lamb roast for dinner. That means I’ll also be baking breads. The (spelt) dough is on the rise and so loaves will be baked and out on the stall at our gate by 4pm.


Tomatoes by the dozen at last

So much for tomatoes not ripening. This is a true case of ‘be careful what you wish for’. This crate-full is just from this morning’s picking. There are two more crates of ripe red tomatoes in the cooking school that will need bottling today.


Dairy-free Scones

Today I needed to put together a recipe for dairy free scones and they turned out to be better than my usual variety that are made with dairy cream in the mixture.

These scones are moist, light and fluffy, and don’t even taste of coconut as you would think they would, given some of the ingredients.

For anyone who needs or wants to do this, here is the recipe:

3 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
Half cup coconut cream
Half cup coconut milk
1 cup of water

Mix together the flour, being powder and salt and then make a well in the centre.
Add the liquid ingredients all together and them mix to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 to 15 scones. Line a lamington tray 18cm x 28cm (or thereabouts) with baking paper and place scones in the tray side by side.

Bake at 180 degrees C (fan forced) for 20 to 25 minutes.IMG_1972



Spent a lovely evening picking elderberries at Lachlan with Stephanie. Many thanks to William and Narelle for their generosity in letting us pick from their trees. Tomorrow I will be able to make syrup and jelly. Maybe even sparkling elderberry. Given the berries’ medicinal properties, anything will certainly be worth making. Looking forward to it – have wanted elderberries for more years than I can remember.


William helps us pick

William helps us pick


Quail eggs and sourdough plant

Finally got to pickling those quail eggs. Worst part of the process was peeling the 45 eggs. However, it was made much easier by soaking the cooked eggs in vinegar for 12 hours. Well actually, it was 24 before I got to them and so it wasn’t really too much of a worry at all.
I’ve also been trialling a new sourdough plant. For a day or two it did nothing, but now it’s going CRAZY! Very promising. In a couple of days I should be able to bake with it.IMG_1937IMG_1936

Breads from the new oven

Today is the first run for breads for the stall at our gate. Here are the first loaves to come out – several cob loaves, plaits plus some pull aparts (salami, bacon, capsicum and cheese). Absolutely delighted with the results.

The breads are for sale right now on the stall here at 179 Wyre Forest Road, Molesworth.  More loaves are going in now as you can see – they are made from the last of the (spelt) dough I mixed up earlier this morning – a ‘marriage’ loaf and a pull apart.

One thing about Robert – he sure knows how to build a good bread oven!


Homemade icy poles

It’s 33 degrees and rising here. Where’s the cloud cover and showers that were promised on the weather reports this morning?

By the way, the preserves in the stall at the gate are safely cooled in an eski out there now. There are fresh jams and chutneys, as well as a cordial syrup made from redcurrants, blackcurrants and raspberries.

I make these syrups up with 4 parts water to one part syrup, then pour into icy pole moulds. Very refreshing on days such as these. They contain no artificial additives, unlike most commercial ‘equivalents’, and are very economical to make.


Let the baking begin ….

First trial bake in the bread oven Robert built. First 20 pizzas were baked and then, with trepidation, the first 2 large loaves of bread. Cooked like a dream, looks amazing, smells even better.