Week 33 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 Long overdue, but not forgotten...  I finished my 52 weeks without the supermarket, last year. But with so many interstate events in the second half of last year, this blog fell a little to the wayside. I met so many new small makers last year, did a lot of product swaps, heard some great stories on roadtrips, revived old recipes and tried out some new potential products. One of the things I really enjoyed was getting back into making pickles.  My Russian grandmother always had these (either homemade or store bought), in her fridge. Over the warmer months, I've really been enjoying these. Quick and easy to make, they are a great snack or side, to many dishes. Most recipes include sugar in pickles. I don't use any at all and prefer the really savoury type of pickles with garlic, ginger, a little chilli, peppercorns, mustard seeds and so on.   Radish & Spring Onion Pickle   1 bunch radishes  6 stalks spring onion  mustard seeds, peppercorns, salt, bay leaf, crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, fresh red chilli (to taste)  vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar), water  Place chopped vegetables into a bowl. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of salt over vegetables. Place a dish over the vegetables, cover with a teatowel and weight down with a couple of heavy cans. Leave overnight, strain off liquid and rinse well under cold water.  Place spices into a small saucepan with 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. I used about 1 tsp of each, of garlic and ginger. Bring to the boil. Spoon spices into a clean, sterilised jar. Fill jar with radishes and spring onions. Pour over the liquid. This quantity will make about one 500 ml jar. Leave to cool, label and store in the fridge. These are good to eat next day, once chilled. They will easily last a few weeks in the fridge. Ours get devoured quite quickly ! Homemade pickles add a delicious, crunchy freshness to hamburgers and sandwiches.  *Finely sliced white or purple cabbage works well in this style of pickling.

Long overdue, but not forgotten...

I finished my 52 weeks without the supermarket, last year. But with so many interstate events in the second half of last year, this blog fell a little to the wayside. I met so many new small makers last year, did a lot of product swaps, heard some great stories on roadtrips, revived old recipes and tried out some new potential products. One of the things I really enjoyed was getting back into making pickles.

My Russian grandmother always had these (either homemade or store bought), in her fridge. Over the warmer months, I've really been enjoying these. Quick and easy to make, they are a great snack or side, to many dishes. Most recipes include sugar in pickles. I don't use any at all and prefer the really savoury type of pickles with garlic, ginger, a little chilli, peppercorns, mustard seeds and so on.

Radish & Spring Onion Pickle

1 bunch radishes

6 stalks spring onion

mustard seeds, peppercorns, salt, bay leaf, crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, fresh red chilli (to taste)

vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar), water

Place chopped vegetables into a bowl. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of salt over vegetables. Place a dish over the vegetables, cover with a teatowel and weight down with a couple of heavy cans. Leave overnight, strain off liquid and rinse well under cold water.

Place spices into a small saucepan with 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. I used about 1 tsp of each, of garlic and ginger. Bring to the boil. Spoon spices into a clean, sterilised jar. Fill jar with radishes and spring onions. Pour over the liquid. This quantity will make about one 500 ml jar. Leave to cool, label and store in the fridge. These are good to eat next day, once chilled. They will easily last a few weeks in the fridge. Ours get devoured quite quickly ! Homemade pickles add a delicious, crunchy freshness to hamburgers and sandwiches.

*Finely sliced white or purple cabbage works well in this style of pickling.

Week 32 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 Winter citrus  With an abundance of gorgeous winter citrus around at the moment, I thought this would be an opportunity to share a delicious Mandarin Marmalade recipe. The trees at the farm are bursting with mandarins (pictured), lemons, grapefruit and oranges. Melbourne Farmer's Markets have some great produce, a lot of which is spray free - chat to the farmers / growers - they're always willing to share information. Buying directly from growers and producers means the continuation of high quality goods, as well as wide variety. Some citrus can be easily grown in relatively small spaces, even in tubs on a balcony.  1 kg mandarins / 800 g white sugar / juice of 2 lemons / 2 cm piece of lemon rind  Boil mandarins whole for approx 50 mins. Drain water and cut into quarters, removing any seeds. Whizz in a food processor until chopped. Put back into the saucepan and add the sugar, lemon juice and rind. Boil gently for about 40 minutes, stirring often.  To test for setting - place a couple of small plates into the freezer. Place a small spoonful of marmalade onto a cold plate. Push a spoon through the middle of the marmalade. If the surface "wrinkles", it has reached setting point. If not, add a few more drops of lemon juice and boil for 5 more minutes. Test again. The lemon juice causes the fruit to release its' own natural pectin. I make all jam and marmalade this way, so that every product is completely free of any artificial ingredients.  When ready, pour the marmalade into sterilised jars, seal and label. This will keep for several months in a cool, dark cupboard. Once opened, store in the fridge - it probably won't last there for too long !  Try this marmalade on fruit toast with ricotta and a pinch of cinnamon.  Enjoy x

Winter citrus

With an abundance of gorgeous winter citrus around at the moment, I thought this would be an opportunity to share a delicious Mandarin Marmalade recipe. The trees at the farm are bursting with mandarins (pictured), lemons, grapefruit and oranges. Melbourne Farmer's Markets have some great produce, a lot of which is spray free - chat to the farmers / growers - they're always willing to share information. Buying directly from growers and producers means the continuation of high quality goods, as well as wide variety. Some citrus can be easily grown in relatively small spaces, even in tubs on a balcony.

1 kg mandarins / 800 g white sugar / juice of 2 lemons / 2 cm piece of lemon rind

Boil mandarins whole for approx 50 mins. Drain water and cut into quarters, removing any seeds. Whizz in a food processor until chopped. Put back into the saucepan and add the sugar, lemon juice and rind. Boil gently for about 40 minutes, stirring often.

To test for setting - place a couple of small plates into the freezer. Place a small spoonful of marmalade onto a cold plate. Push a spoon through the middle of the marmalade. If the surface "wrinkles", it has reached setting point. If not, add a few more drops of lemon juice and boil for 5 more minutes. Test again. The lemon juice causes the fruit to release its' own natural pectin. I make all jam and marmalade this way, so that every product is completely free of any artificial ingredients.

When ready, pour the marmalade into sterilised jars, seal and label. This will keep for several months in a cool, dark cupboard. Once opened, store in the fridge - it probably won't last there for too long !

Try this marmalade on fruit toast with ricotta and a pinch of cinnamon.

Enjoy x

Week 31 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 Hi - for those who don't know me - I'm Katherine. I make all kinds of condiments - jams, chutneys, sauces, pickles and cordials. I learned to make these things in very early childhood from my mother, great aunts in the country and Russian grandmother in Melbourne.  Many happy summers were spent picking and preparing fruit to make into various preserves. Without realising, I learned about seasonality, how to set jam without pectin, organic farming, vacuum sealing, Fowlers jar preserving, a whole lot of family stories and more. When I think back to those times, I remember feeling a strong sense of specific seasonal activity. There was always something very safe and predictable in the set activities of each season. Cupboards and shelves were filled with beautiful produce to last through the coming months. With this came a strong ethos of hard work, not wasting anything and 'making do' with things at hand. I'm grateful for all of these skills and values, and hope some of these have been passed to my daughters.  As I grew up, I continued to make these things and my interest in cooking spread to many other areas. When all my friends were asking for dolls as birthday presents, I remember asking for a specific kids' cookbook I'd seen in a bookshop. That cookbook was my favourite 7th birthday present. Hopefully I'll unearth it one day at my mother's farm. The first thing mum and I made from that book, was "Croque Monsieur". And so my love affair with cooking began. Around that time, I decided to make and write my own cookbook. I hand wrote favourite recipes, drew pictures and put it all into a dark red folder and called it "My 70's Cookbook" - another item to be unearthed one day from the farm !  As an adult, I have often given handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I don't think I've ever made just two or three jars of something. There's always been batches of numerous jars. Some years back, at the encouragement from friends, I started to sell condiments in small, local events - church fairs, school fetes and community events. Right from those early days, I made some really great friends. Soon I started to attend a few small events here and there. At that stage, I didn't even have a business name. One day an organiser called me and asked me "What is your business name ?" I hesitated and thought that sounded very serious and official. And I said the first thing that came to mind - and so "Made by Katherine" started.  This hobby got busy. I had a full time office job and found myself cooking in the evenings and selling on the weekends - usually both Saturday and Sunday. Events got bigger, quantities increased and it became clear that there were decisions to be made. I took the big, scary step of leaving a secure job to build my hobby into a full time job. This is actually the topic that I have written about in my eBook, recently released on Amazon - details below. I felt so nervous in those early days. There were, and still are - highs, lows, laughter, tears, new experiences, amazing roadtrips and more.  The picture in this post is from the early hobby days, not so long ago. I think it's important to look back and see where you started, and to remember  why  you started. So much has happened since those early beginnings - literally blood, sweat, tears, tenacity, joy and one incredible exhilerating ride. There are times when it is still tough. But when you are doing something you are really passionate about, you can find a way to 'push through' and keep going.  Find the thing that you really love doing or making. Don't wait for the perfect time, the right amount of money, the right relationship, the perfect home office studio, a gleaming commercial kitchen (I wish !) and so on. Life is punctuated with some really big moments, both good and bad, but it is the small things of everyday life that make up an existence. Life consists of our daily activities - so you may as well love what you do, everyday. If you keep waiting for the 'right time' or the 'right situation', life will just keep on ticking by.  As a favourite musician of mine, once said -"Better to die on your feet than live on your knees......oh....oh.....the power and the passion.....Peter Garrett / Midnight Oil classic 80's !  "Full Time Hobby" by Katherine Chernov, available on Amazon Australia, UK & USA.

Hi - for those who don't know me - I'm Katherine. I make all kinds of condiments - jams, chutneys, sauces, pickles and cordials. I learned to make these things in very early childhood from my mother, great aunts in the country and Russian grandmother in Melbourne.

Many happy summers were spent picking and preparing fruit to make into various preserves. Without realising, I learned about seasonality, how to set jam without pectin, organic farming, vacuum sealing, Fowlers jar preserving, a whole lot of family stories and more. When I think back to those times, I remember feeling a strong sense of specific seasonal activity. There was always something very safe and predictable in the set activities of each season. Cupboards and shelves were filled with beautiful produce to last through the coming months. With this came a strong ethos of hard work, not wasting anything and 'making do' with things at hand. I'm grateful for all of these skills and values, and hope some of these have been passed to my daughters.

As I grew up, I continued to make these things and my interest in cooking spread to many other areas. When all my friends were asking for dolls as birthday presents, I remember asking for a specific kids' cookbook I'd seen in a bookshop. That cookbook was my favourite 7th birthday present. Hopefully I'll unearth it one day at my mother's farm. The first thing mum and I made from that book, was "Croque Monsieur". And so my love affair with cooking began. Around that time, I decided to make and write my own cookbook. I hand wrote favourite recipes, drew pictures and put it all into a dark red folder and called it "My 70's Cookbook" - another item to be unearthed one day from the farm !

As an adult, I have often given handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I don't think I've ever made just two or three jars of something. There's always been batches of numerous jars. Some years back, at the encouragement from friends, I started to sell condiments in small, local events - church fairs, school fetes and community events. Right from those early days, I made some really great friends. Soon I started to attend a few small events here and there. At that stage, I didn't even have a business name. One day an organiser called me and asked me "What is your business name ?" I hesitated and thought that sounded very serious and official. And I said the first thing that came to mind - and so "Made by Katherine" started.

This hobby got busy. I had a full time office job and found myself cooking in the evenings and selling on the weekends - usually both Saturday and Sunday. Events got bigger, quantities increased and it became clear that there were decisions to be made. I took the big, scary step of leaving a secure job to build my hobby into a full time job. This is actually the topic that I have written about in my eBook, recently released on Amazon - details below. I felt so nervous in those early days. There were, and still are - highs, lows, laughter, tears, new experiences, amazing roadtrips and more.

The picture in this post is from the early hobby days, not so long ago. I think it's important to look back and see where you started, and to remember why you started. So much has happened since those early beginnings - literally blood, sweat, tears, tenacity, joy and one incredible exhilerating ride. There are times when it is still tough. But when you are doing something you are really passionate about, you can find a way to 'push through' and keep going.

Find the thing that you really love doing or making. Don't wait for the perfect time, the right amount of money, the right relationship, the perfect home office studio, a gleaming commercial kitchen (I wish !) and so on. Life is punctuated with some really big moments, both good and bad, but it is the small things of everyday life that make up an existence. Life consists of our daily activities - so you may as well love what you do, everyday. If you keep waiting for the 'right time' or the 'right situation', life will just keep on ticking by.

As a favourite musician of mine, once said -"Better to die on your feet than live on your knees......oh....oh.....the power and the passion.....Peter Garrett / Midnight Oil classic 80's !

"Full Time Hobby" by Katherine Chernov, available on Amazon Australia, UK & USA.

Week 30 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

  Hygge   The previous Swedish mulled wine post, neatly dovetails into this topic of "hygge". What is "hygge" ? It's a Danish word, pronounced (more or less), as "hoogah". In our house, we say "hig" and it's a concept we've embraced for a few years now. So what is this ?  It's an abstract concept, embracing sensation and feeling around cosiness, warmth, community and a sense of deep appreciation of everyday simple pleasures. And it seems to be of particular relevance in winter. In the last couple of years, it seems we can't get enough of these Nordic secrets to good living. Books and articles on this topic, have popped up everywhere like mushrooms. Instagram has provided a perfect platform for hands around rustic mugs of cocoa, fuzzy knits, moody Icelandic landscapes, steaming cups of tea, cosy slippers, log cabins in the wilderness and so on. Hygge is all of these, and more. You can create your own hygge. It may be singular, or celebrated with a group of friends - afternoon tea, a bike ride or a dinner.  Interestingly, the Danes are often ranked amongst the happiest people in the world. And this is despite some of the highest taxes in the world and some of the worst weather. Denmark has about 150 days of rain per year. And it seems that these vikings are masters of enjoying simplicity whether it be in areas of design, or a simple candlelit meal.  Some of our favourite "hygge" things include - mulled wine and a movie (of course with the cosy slippers), a walk on the beach in the freezing wind followed by a steaming hot chocolate at home, a knitted project, fresh green foliage displayed in jars and an afternoon spent baking. Working outdoors over the last few years, has shown me that Melbourne is a pretty cold place for most of the year. It is the perfect place to get into some "hygge" !  The Danes have some of the highest global levels of consumption when it comes to pastries, coffee, alcohol, salt and pork. And they're really happy folk who don't seem inclined towards deprivation. I think they're onto something.   Time to think about putting some more Nordic joy into everyday living. I'm off for a walk in the freezing cold while contemplating new ways to inject more into everyday life.               

Hygge

The previous Swedish mulled wine post, neatly dovetails into this topic of "hygge". What is "hygge" ? It's a Danish word, pronounced (more or less), as "hoogah". In our house, we say "hig" and it's a concept we've embraced for a few years now. So what is this ?

It's an abstract concept, embracing sensation and feeling around cosiness, warmth, community and a sense of deep appreciation of everyday simple pleasures. And it seems to be of particular relevance in winter. In the last couple of years, it seems we can't get enough of these Nordic secrets to good living. Books and articles on this topic, have popped up everywhere like mushrooms. Instagram has provided a perfect platform for hands around rustic mugs of cocoa, fuzzy knits, moody Icelandic landscapes, steaming cups of tea, cosy slippers, log cabins in the wilderness and so on. Hygge is all of these, and more. You can create your own hygge. It may be singular, or celebrated with a group of friends - afternoon tea, a bike ride or a dinner.

Interestingly, the Danes are often ranked amongst the happiest people in the world. And this is despite some of the highest taxes in the world and some of the worst weather. Denmark has about 150 days of rain per year. And it seems that these vikings are masters of enjoying simplicity whether it be in areas of design, or a simple candlelit meal.

Some of our favourite "hygge" things include - mulled wine and a movie (of course with the cosy slippers), a walk on the beach in the freezing wind followed by a steaming hot chocolate at home, a knitted project, fresh green foliage displayed in jars and an afternoon spent baking. Working outdoors over the last few years, has shown me that Melbourne is a pretty cold place for most of the year. It is the perfect place to get into some "hygge" !

The Danes have some of the highest global levels of consumption when it comes to pastries, coffee, alcohol, salt and pork. And they're really happy folk who don't seem inclined towards deprivation. I think they're onto something. 

Time to think about putting some more Nordic joy into everyday living. I'm off for a walk in the freezing cold while contemplating new ways to inject more into everyday life.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 29 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

  Swedish Glogg

Swedish Glogg

It's not Christmas, but this is a winter warmer guaranteed to take the edge off the chilly Melbourne weather. Traditionally, this is a hot, mulled wine enjoyed in Sweden, at Christmas. Pronounced more or less - "glerg". I learned this one winter in Tokyo, from a Swedish friend. The sugar and spices can be adjusted according to taste.

1 bottle red wine

1 cup port

1 cinnamon stick / 3 cloves / 2 cardamom pods slightly "bruised" / 1 small piece of fresh ginger

1/2 cup sugar

splash of Vodka (optional)

piece of orange peel

To serve:  whole almonds, raisins

Pour wine and port into a saucepan and add sugar, stir over low heat until dissolved. Add all spices and orange peel. Heat but do not boil. Leave to cool overnight.

To serve: Remove spices, add vodka and re heat. Do not boil. Serve with almonds and raisins.

Enjoy - guaranteed to warm !

 

Week 28 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 A few fabulous cocktail ideas -  All our fruit cordials are perfect for adding a splash to a Gin & Tonic or a Vodka Tonic. However, you can be creative and add to almost any cocktail. Our MBK Lime Cordial is fabulous in the following and one of our favourites at Christmas:   Mojito   Fill a tall tumbler with ice. Pour in approx 50 mls of Havana White Rum, 50 mls of MBK LIme Cordial. Fill with soda and mix well. Submerge lime wedges into the drink and top with crushed mint.  Don a Panama straw hat, sip & enjoy, preferably while lying in a hammock !  Other suggestions - Margarita, Caipirinha, Champagne cocktails, Pimms cocktail, Campari or have fun with your own ideas. Enjoy.   

A few fabulous cocktail ideas -

All our fruit cordials are perfect for adding a splash to a Gin & Tonic or a Vodka Tonic. However, you can be creative and add to almost any cocktail. Our MBK Lime Cordial is fabulous in the following and one of our favourites at Christmas:

Mojito

Fill a tall tumbler with ice. Pour in approx 50 mls of Havana White Rum, 50 mls of MBK LIme Cordial. Fill with soda and mix well. Submerge lime wedges into the drink and top with crushed mint.

Don a Panama straw hat, sip & enjoy, preferably while lying in a hammock !

Other suggestions - Margarita, Caipirinha, Champagne cocktails, Pimms cocktail, Campari or have fun with your own ideas. Enjoy.

 

Week 27 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 Victorian agriculture's premier dinner event happens tonight at the MCG, Members - Thursday May 11th, 7:30 pm. And we couldn't be more excited for one of our products to be featured on tonight's menu. Our award winning, original flavour - Pear Lime & Chilli Chutney will be a part of the entree dish, as chosen by the chefs for this event.  This event is a recognition of a growing awareness of the paddock to plate chain. Over the last five years working in accredited Farmer's Markets, I have seen a noticeable increase in interest and demand for local, handmade, artisan produce that supports our growers. And there is a definite increase in awareness of the issues and challenges facing local agriculture.  The day to day workings of everyday agriculture, small makers and producers were once far removed from urban dwellers. Now the spread of the "buy local" message has effectively reached huge numbers. Customers are now increasingly making conscious decisions to buy their produce from favourite regions, makers and growers. This has had, and continues to have, significant impact on Melbourne "foodie culture".  Melbourne is home to many talented makers who are keen to support Victorian agriculture and this ranges from city restaurants to individual makers. So get along to a local Farmer's Market this weekend, ask the makers some questions and enjoy working in the kitchen with some quality ingredients.

Victorian agriculture's premier dinner event happens tonight at the MCG, Members - Thursday May 11th, 7:30 pm. And we couldn't be more excited for one of our products to be featured on tonight's menu. Our award winning, original flavour - Pear Lime & Chilli Chutney will be a part of the entree dish, as chosen by the chefs for this event.

This event is a recognition of a growing awareness of the paddock to plate chain. Over the last five years working in accredited Farmer's Markets, I have seen a noticeable increase in interest and demand for local, handmade, artisan produce that supports our growers. And there is a definite increase in awareness of the issues and challenges facing local agriculture.

The day to day workings of everyday agriculture, small makers and producers were once far removed from urban dwellers. Now the spread of the "buy local" message has effectively reached huge numbers. Customers are now increasingly making conscious decisions to buy their produce from favourite regions, makers and growers. This has had, and continues to have, significant impact on Melbourne "foodie culture".

Melbourne is home to many talented makers who are keen to support Victorian agriculture and this ranges from city restaurants to individual makers. So get along to a local Farmer's Market this weekend, ask the makers some questions and enjoy working in the kitchen with some quality ingredients.

Week 26 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 A few favourites from this week...  One of the best breakfasts I've had in a while was made complete with this gorgeous Rhubarb Sauce from Lana's Garden. Sourdough from Baker's Larder, Caravan Eggs poached, avocado, our own blend of Dukkah and a splash of Lana's magical rhubarb sauce. Lana's Garden - available online, markets & stockists.  Long Track Dressing - this scrumptious dressing comes from one of my favourite stores, always visited on the way to Canberra. The Long Track Pantry pays homage to the gentle preserving arts of yesteryear in it's vast array of tempting, small batch, artisan products. Located in the beautiful Yass Valley area in Jugiong, it is essential to take a break from the Hume to rest and refresh at this unmissable destination. Long Track Pantry, Jugiong NSW, open 10 - 4pm, closed Tuesdays. Available online.  Chunky Tomato Sauce from Gaffney's, Heathcote. Sauces, relish and olive oil (as pictured) all available instore at this family run bakery. Best to buy a few bottles at a time and you'll never buy commercially made sauce again !  Fresh ingredients in abundance and so many talented makers, growers and producers - we are so lucky here in Victoria. It is really encouraging to see an increasing awareness of buying locally.  Support our small growers and makers. Know where your food comes from !      

A few favourites from this week...

One of the best breakfasts I've had in a while was made complete with this gorgeous Rhubarb Sauce from Lana's Garden. Sourdough from Baker's Larder, Caravan Eggs poached, avocado, our own blend of Dukkah and a splash of Lana's magical rhubarb sauce. Lana's Garden - available online, markets & stockists.

Long Track Dressing - this scrumptious dressing comes from one of my favourite stores, always visited on the way to Canberra. The Long Track Pantry pays homage to the gentle preserving arts of yesteryear in it's vast array of tempting, small batch, artisan products. Located in the beautiful Yass Valley area in Jugiong, it is essential to take a break from the Hume to rest and refresh at this unmissable destination. Long Track Pantry, Jugiong NSW, open 10 - 4pm, closed Tuesdays. Available online.

Chunky Tomato Sauce from Gaffney's, Heathcote. Sauces, relish and olive oil (as pictured) all available instore at this family run bakery. Best to buy a few bottles at a time and you'll never buy commercially made sauce again !

Fresh ingredients in abundance and so many talented makers, growers and producers - we are so lucky here in Victoria. It is really encouraging to see an increasing awareness of buying locally.

Support our small growers and makers. Know where your food comes from !

 

 

Week 25 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

 Late 70's, Lang Lang, Victoria  My mother always dreamed of a little "getaway bush shack". So she built this. Yes - that's right. She built this sweet little shack entirely on her own ! Nestled in amongst some eucalypts, this small structure was a cosy place of reading, stories, cooking damper over a fire, writing and imagining.  I remember hearing her talk about the walls, putting on the roof, collecting water for the small tank and all aspects of the structure. Even back then, I knew that I had, and still have, an incredible mother. Rosie is a woman who can shoot a gun, operate farm equipment, build things, recite poetry, cook just about anything over a fire or on a woodfire stove, crack a stockwhip, sew beautiful clothes and this list could go on for a lot longer. Recently retired from a school Principal position, she is a lady with a finely tuned, sharp mind. And on top of this, she has single handedly raised my Downs Syndrome brother Nicholas who is a fine young man.  So as Mother's Day approaches, I am thinking of a suitable gift. And I'm stuck ! My mother has every possible, useful tool / piece of equipment under the sun. Recently at Easter there was talk of "needing a new wood shed". No doubt there will a start on this project very soon. My next project at the farm is putting in some new fruit trees.  Looking at this photo reminds me of many sources of inspiration. The picture was taken by me with one of my first cameras - an Agfa with 35mm film. I spent a lot of my pocket money on film and developing pictures. I always remember that long week of waiting to pick the photos up from the chemist, and the excited bike ride down to the shop.  So on the edge of a long weekend, remember the things that inspired you. Or find a satisfying DIY project. Or learn something new.  Enjoy !   

Late 70's, Lang Lang, Victoria

My mother always dreamed of a little "getaway bush shack". So she built this. Yes - that's right. She built this sweet little shack entirely on her own ! Nestled in amongst some eucalypts, this small structure was a cosy place of reading, stories, cooking damper over a fire, writing and imagining.

I remember hearing her talk about the walls, putting on the roof, collecting water for the small tank and all aspects of the structure. Even back then, I knew that I had, and still have, an incredible mother. Rosie is a woman who can shoot a gun, operate farm equipment, build things, recite poetry, cook just about anything over a fire or on a woodfire stove, crack a stockwhip, sew beautiful clothes and this list could go on for a lot longer. Recently retired from a school Principal position, she is a lady with a finely tuned, sharp mind. And on top of this, she has single handedly raised my Downs Syndrome brother Nicholas who is a fine young man.

So as Mother's Day approaches, I am thinking of a suitable gift. And I'm stuck ! My mother has every possible, useful tool / piece of equipment under the sun. Recently at Easter there was talk of "needing a new wood shed". No doubt there will a start on this project very soon. My next project at the farm is putting in some new fruit trees.

Looking at this photo reminds me of many sources of inspiration. The picture was taken by me with one of my first cameras - an Agfa with 35mm film. I spent a lot of my pocket money on film and developing pictures. I always remember that long week of waiting to pick the photos up from the chemist, and the excited bike ride down to the shop.

So on the edge of a long weekend, remember the things that inspired you. Or find a satisfying DIY project. Or learn something new.

Enjoy !

 

Week 24 - 52 weeks without the supermarket

Kasundi

What is Kasundi ? It is a spicy and very savoury, tomato based condiment used to accompany curries and other such wintry dishes.

A couple of years back, when I added this product to our range, I envisaged it to be a popular winter condiment. It has turned out to be very versatile and popular all year round, with many of our customers enjoying it with a summer BBQ.

In the warmer months, I purchase box loads of beautiful quality, spray free tomatoes directly from a grower in Northern Victoria. One of the many things I love about my work, is the network of great people I work with. Small growers and producers are passionate, committed and largely unassuming folk. I am in awe of their extensive knowledge.

Recently, while heading back to Melbourne from an interstate event, I stopped to purchase such tomatoes. While I write this, an incredibly fragrant batch of Kasundi is simmering on the stove. After some unusually hot and humid weather, today really feels like an autumn day. I am thinking about Kasundi on sourdough toast with avocado for lunch. My kids love it on top of grilled cheese. It is also delicious with eggs on toast. Like all our products, it is also 'vegan friendly' and is a delicious addition to such dishes.

We've also enjoyed this in hamburgers and sandwiches as well as with all kids of roasts and grills. We don't do anything super spicy, but if you desire extra heat - just add a pinch of dried chilli flakes. This product is available at all our regular markets, and is also now available in our online store.

Time for that sourdough toast right now !