Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yoghurt is so easy

I have been making my own yoghurt for a while now and have it down to a fine art. I can do it while I am making my lunch before I go to work. First thing to do is to put some hot water in the wide necked thermos I set it in. This preheats the thermos so that it stays warm for several hours.
Next put two and a half cups of milk in a microwave jug on High for two and a half minutes. Add half a cup of milk powder and a teaspoon of honey.
The honey takes the acidic edge off the flavour.

The temperature at which you add your culture is crucial - too hot and it kills the culture bacteria , too cold and it won't multiply. I always know the temperature is right when I can just keep my little finger in the milk for 10 seconds.

Add a tablespoon of starter - this is just some shop bought yoghurt which has a live culture.Tthe amount is not crucial .A smaller the amount of culture probably just means it takes longer for the culture to grow enough in this amount of milk.Tip the hot water out of thermos and pour in the milk.

Then by the end of the day, the yoghurt is ready. Put it in the fridge overnight and by morning it is just the right consistency. You can use this yoghurt as your starter culture a few times but it becomes more and more acidic. Thats when you need to buy a new one to start again. Oh and don't forget to actually add the culture - once I wondered why my yoghurt hadn't set by the end of the day and then realised I hadn't actually added the vital ingredient! That's what can happen when you are trying to do several chores at once!

Lots of Lemons

At this time of year when I have lots of lemons I am always on the lookout for new ways to use them. When a friend offered me a recipe for a Lemon and Mustard Seed Chutney, I jumped at the chance to try something new. Chopped lemons are salted overnight.

 This morning  I heated the mustard seeds until they popped and then added cider vinegar, sugar,chopped raisins and onions, mixed spice,and the lemons. Boil it all up for 45 minutes and then it is ready to bottle. Tastes pretty good 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tomato Relish on a Rainy Day

What to do when it's raining and it's too muddy to do anything in the garden??......make tomato relish with those frozen tomatoes in the freezer  from last summer. This is a really easy recipe made from tomatoes, apples, onions, vinegar, mustard powder, curry powder, salt and sugar. I think that's all. Just boil for an hour and a half, then thicken with a bit of cornflour mixed with extra vinegar then bottle. Voila - enough tomato relish to keep us going for the rest of the year probably.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

There's a hint of spring in the air!

 There is feeling of spring in the air around here. Suddenly the grass has started to grow again and the daffodils are flowering.  Today I have been collecting about 20 bags of seaweed from the beach at East Wynyard to mulch my raspberry patch. It is a great free resource and I wasn't the only one with the same idea today but there was plenty to go around. Max has also been cleaning out one of the calf sheds and spreading the very fertile but rather stinky bedding around the fruit trees. Just need a bit of rain to wash away the smell now.
Also today I have got around to putting in an order with The Lost Seed company for some more vege seeds. So many heritage varieties to choose from! This summer I am going to try out some new things like a French melon which tolerates cooler climates and a variety of cool climate watermelons as well. Last summer was nonexistent, wet and never quite warm enough, so there was no way I could replicate the previous summer's inaugural crop of watermelons.
Roma tomato, broccoli, kale and fennel seedlings
I have already got a few punnets of seeds growing in a nice warm spot upstairs and soon I will start putting in lots more of my summer vege seeds to have ready for planting when all the frosts are over in a couple of months.
Not a lot new happening in the Kitchen this weekend - I made sourdough bread last night and have a block of Sage Wensleydale cheese in the press tonight. It was a bit tricky timing the cheesemaking steps with the trip to the beach so I hope it turns out ok. The last one I made and wrote about in November or December was really good so I have meaning to try it again for a while.