Echoes in the valley

I’m sure people who dwell in this little end of the Molesworth valley wondered what the echoing chip, chip, chipping was from early this morning, here is the explanation – Robert, convict labourer style, removing the mortar from the last of the second hand bricks for the bread oven.  There’s enough to finish the top arch now so once the door comes back to us, it will be full steam ahead!

Busy times

If it seems I’ve been a bit quiet of late, here is the reason why – in and around classes in the cooking school here I’ve made almost 300 bottles of cordials for an order – blackberry, cumquat and elderflower.

 

Also, on the stall at our gate this morning – there will be loaves of rye bread and barley bread. I’m about to start baking and have in mind some gooseberry and blueberry muffins, tartuffins even. All will be available from 11.30am. Oh yes, there are new preserves too – apricot chutney amongst them, and green tomato pickle.

Oven in progress

In case anyone was wondering what is happening with the bread oven, progress still being made. Just waiting for the door surround to be welded and then it’s full steam ahead to baking time!

 

Tofu

Nutty Tofu Balls 

I am often asked what to do with tofu.  It’s not, as they say, my protein of choice, but yesterday trialed this recipe and they are actually very nice.  They could be served with pasta if topped with a Napolitana-style sauce.  I just served them yesterday as a snack with a little bowl of sweet chilli sauce.

The fact that there is no photo to go with this recipe shows how quickly they were eaten, always a good sign.

I used rye flour and rye breadcrumbs in them for extra flavour, but you could use wheat flour and bread if you like, or to make them gluten free, use gluten free bread to make the breadcrumbs and rice flour.

They are very simple to make if you use a food processor.

1 small onion, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons parsley (what will look like 2 tablespoons once it’s chopped)

2 teaspoons fresh oregano

250g firm tofu, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 rounded tablespoons peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy)

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ cup fresh rye breadcrumbs

½ cup rye flour

¼ teaspoon salt

One third of a cup olive oil (for frying)

Place the onion, chives, parsley and oregano in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add the tofu and process again until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients, (except the olive oil for frying) and process until well combined.  Taste the mixture to check if it needs a little extra salt.

Heat the third of a cup of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Shape the mixture into walnut sized balls and cook the balls are golden brown and cooked through, turning often.  This will take about 10 minutes.

New babies today

Something a little odd in the chook yard this morning. Eenie the duck has just hatched two baby chickens, and a very attentive (and protective) mother she is too.

Weekend stall news

Stall this weekend – only Sunday baking due to other commitments, but on that day there will be bread, cakes etc. Might be a good idea to order if you would like something special made and kept aside fro you. Bread varieties can include Wholemeal Rye, Spelt or Barley loaves as well as spinach and feta Turkish breads. Fruit and custard tartuffins too of course.

Stall at the gate this weekend

The stall at our gate this weekend – the last couple of days the preserving pans have been working overtime and so there are new stocks of jams, marmalades and pickles (including sweet chilli sauce). Tomorrow will be a big bake day with various fresh baked breads – loaves of rye, spelt and barley as well as Spinach and feta Turkish breads, all available from 11am. Tartuffins too of course.

New additions

Here are some new (and unexpected) kids on the block. This hen had been hiding her 8 chicks in the shrubbery and only wandered out with them a couple of days ago. Of course there are various birds that would like to feast on the babies, but it’s interesting to watch not only Tom the marmalade cat, but also new dog Snowy AND the ducks looking out for them. Because of this the kookaburras and Currawongs are being thwarted in their efforts thank goodness.  Interesting farmyard this, with its animal behaviours.

The vegetable garden enclosure

The cats are loving the enclosure around the vegetable garden, getting a birds eye view of proceedings below.

It’s amazing how determined the wildlife can be however. We thought the enclosure was wallaby proof, but a couple of days ago saw Snowy the dog racing round and round the outside of it and then finally inside, chasing a wallaby that had found its way in there during the night. The wallaby came to no harm as Snowy just chases them, the fence is now double reinforced, and word must have got out in the wallaby world that with Snowy around, this place has its drawbacks as a grazing ground. Consequently, vegetables are growing at an amazing rate, now that they are not being nibbled half to death each night.

The outdoor bread oven – progress!

News on the outdoor bread oven front – progress is good and once the door is ready, then the full dome for the top can be set in place. New dog Snowy, an absolute angel, follows Robert wherever he goes and supervises proceedings with the oven, as does Della of course. Time for a break and they all sit down together until the next round of bricks and mortar begins.