Saturday, May 2, 2009

Press release: Out Break of "human Flu" on the farm

Pandemic  Out break of "human flu" on the Farm – eat more vegetable soup

New Flash:  A deadly out break of "Human Flu" is now spreading through out the world and all animals have now been quarantined  into their  barns and pens.   Spokesperson for FARMS (Friendly Animals Responsible Mentors Syndicate),  Shrek the sheep issued the following press  statement  "Humane  flu is a respiratory disease of Humans caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in Humans. This outbreak is also affecting Farm Animals. The current spread of the disease in  farms and some parts of the world have put health officials on alert. Here are some symptoms associated with Human Flu, and ways you can prevent it.  First, we recommend frequent hoof  and paw washing and trying to stay in good general health. They recommend getting plenty of sleep, staying physically active, managing stress, drinking fluids, and eating healthy foods such as vegetable soup.   All farm animals are advised to avoid touching humans and pens that may be contaminated with the flu virus"

" it is important that we keep the mad cows separate from the bird flu victims who are still recovering.  There is a rumour that Scratchy Cat Flu and Noisy Dog flu will be the next victims of  serious outbreaks for diseases in the next 24 months so we urge all farm animals to be looking  for any symptoms of cats that scratch and dogs that bark, and to ensure that they are also quarantined until farm officials are able to substantiate these rumours.  I urge all farm animals to go about there daily duties, drink lots of Vegetable soup  but be vigilant for  any human approaching your farm as they may be carriers of the deadly Human Flu"

 

Recipe for Vegetable soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 small kumara, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

3 sticks celery, chopped

1 1/2 cups pumpkin, peeled and chopped

6 cups vegetable stock, or one packet vegetable soup mix with 6 cups water

Cooking directions

Heat the oil in a saucepan.  Cook the onion and carrot for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree with stick blender, mash with potato masher, or blend in food processor but make sure the you keep the texture.  To be eaten with a grain of salt


Food lovers food

Recession food

There is always something about having to work hard  for your dinner, mother nature dictates that she protects her children from the hungry mouths of many  and the chest nut is in defence league of its own.  Those that spend the time enduring the prickles, removing the husk or "burr" will be rewarded with a savoury sweet reward that is unlike many others tastes.   While they have been staple diet in past cultures they are mainly passed on as hard to deal with and not to the taste of the masses – being neither a strong or pronounced flavour they do go well with turkey, quail, mushrooms and bacon in the form of a stuffing or farce or compliment chocolate, vanilla and cream as a sweet delight

One  of the main issues with the chestnut is that it gained a reputation of "food for poor people" as it was a staple part of the diet until the cereals and potato became the crop of choice, however if you wanted to feed a retreating army in the year 401 BC then the Chestnut was considered to be the carbohydrate of choice.

Seasonal fruit and vegetables come and go but there is a real affinity of preparing and roasting or using Chestnuts,  is not for the fainthearted but once you have experienced the real taste of good quality fresh chestnuts then you can see that for a little bit of effort the rewards are well worth it.  Who knows in the time of economic hardship we may just find that the chestnut emerges as the recession hunger buster on the dinner tables of the high flying executives who lost sight of reality on there way up the ladder

APPLE-CHESTNUT MINI-MUFFINS

 1 egg

1/2 C milk

1/4 C Vegetable oil

1 C chestnuts (peeled and chopped roughly)

1 med apple

1 1/2 C wheat flour

1/2 C sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Topping:

1/3 C chestnuts (chopped fine)

1/2 C brown sugar         Heat oven to 180  deg c

 

Prepare 3 mini-muffin tins with non stick spay or butter.  Beat egg, stir in milk, oil, chopped chestnuts, chopped apple.  Beat in remaining ingredients.  Make nutty topping by thoroughly mixing chopped chestnuts and brown sugar.  Set aside.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of topping on each.  Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from pan onto a cooling rack  before storing in a airtight container

To respect the carrot

Integrity  of a carrot

 

Take me as a simple thing,  I believe in what you say to be true,  in the carrot world

Take me at face value, I believe that you expect to be treated the same as how you treat others in the garden

If you provide a good growing environment then I expect you to grow well, and strong with the others

If you weed , nurture and  respect other carrots and vegetable  around you then you would expect the garden to thrive around us

If you provide me with organic (natural) food and fertiliser then I will grow healthy and strong

If you provide me with conventional food and fertiliser (man made) then I will grow healthy and stronger faster and may or may not have a have a complications later in my life depending on my uptake

When the weeds starts to appear in our garden I would hope that they are removed in a natural way and that it is for the benefit of all

When somebody enters into the garden and starts pulling out the weeds then there is more room for that garden to grow strong and for all to prospere from the extra light and

I will treat other carrots beside me with respect and integrity while in the garden and until such time as a new crop is sown and the time has come to leave the garden

for the love of Quince

Apple of Love 

There is one fruit that has a special place in my kitchen and has so for a number years although its true history dates back to  ancient Greece where it was held in such high regards that a Greek bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss before entering the bridal chamber, "in order that the first greeting may not be disagreeable nor unpleasant"

If you have ever tried to eat a raw quince you will be disappointed as they are tart and astringent and do need to be be cooked – although a novel way to solve this is to do what they do in South America, where a quince is used to play an informal beach toss-and-swim game, usually among young teens. When mixed with salt water a mature quince will turn its sour taste to sweet. The game is played by throwing a quince into the sea. All players race to catch the quince and whoever catches it, takes one bite and tosses the quince again, then the whole process gets repeated until the quince is fully eaten.  While this may not be as popular in the cooler waters of NZ during the Chilly autumn it may be a way to entice our younger generation to try the fruit of the love gods

The key with quinces is to put them time aside to prepare them, poached quinces, quince paste and jelly, quince pickles and quince cakes are just a small  selection of what you can do with them and you will be rewarded with there lingering  frangrance and aroma long after they have been sealed in there preserving jars

Quince Paste

Ripe Quince

Sugar

Water

2 T Lemon Juice per 4 quince (optional but recommended as it helps with the setting of the pectin)

Method: Peel and core quince, like you would an apple, place the seeds and skins in a muslin bag and put into a large pot.   Cut quince into large chunks and cover with enough water to cook through until soft enough to pierce. Drain water and puree the fruit through a sieve, with a masher or in a food processor.  Weigh the puree and add equal amounts of sugar in weight as the puree in a pan and cook (while stirring constantly) until the mixture starts to get very thick. If you want a thick quince paste that can be sliced, cook until the mixture starts to pull away from the pan. Be careful, when fully boiling, it can be very hot and spurt out and stick to your skin so try to cook it on the lowest heat possible to avoid being scalded.  The best test is, if the paste does not come together again when you create a line through the mixture with a spoon, then it is done.  Pour paste it into a non-stick pan to cool or a pan lined with good parchment paper or even in individual muffin pans.  Keep in a cool dark place 

In the Pickle

Whats black and white, black and white, black and white and green?

 

As a child I still remember the hot days that we were dragged into the field in the hot sun and tortured under the pretence that we would be able to enjoy these small green things later in the year once we had done a hard days work.  Now I know that today most children would associate pickles or pickled cucmber with a Mc Donalds burger that can be left to the side of the tray, often taken for granted as another way of mum and dad getting me to eat my greenz

 

There is only about 4000 years of history behind the pickling process so we still have much to learn about this humble vegetable  (and yes there are the confused that refer to them as a fruit).  We know that Pickling ferments foods with beneficial baceria for flavor, that it is a process of preserving food for later use and that it normally has a tart or acidic flavour to it.  Now it does not have to be a cucumber to be in a  pickle – it could be miso pickles from japen, duck eggs from China, pickled pigs feet in USA, pickled herrines in Scandinavia and my pesonal favourite the Bobs Pickle Pops which consists of frozen pickle juice that you can also buy in lemon and lime, jalapeno and cherry flavour from Texas. 

 

With out toutruing ourselves by eating Pickle Pops the easist way to experience the pickle at its best to take some the bounty from the garden and do it yourself, easy, low cost and a great way to enjoy at any time of the year.  The Answer is – three zebras fighting over a pickle

 

Pickled Cucumbers

 

4 large cucmbers

150g salt

6 cups water

4 cups white wine vinegar

1 T salt xtra

2 t corriander seeds

2 t black peppercorns

5 T fresh dill or fennel chopped

 

Wash and slice the cucmber into a large bowl, dissolve the salt in the water and pour over the cucumbers, leaving for 24 hours.  Bring the vinegar to the boil with the one Tablespoon of salt and spices and leave to cool,  Drain and rinse the cucumbers then pack into sterlised jars, sprinkling the fennel between each layer.  Pour over the vinegar and seal