Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Life is not like a box of chocolates, its like a carton of eggs

Open up a carton of eggs, any old carton, from any old store, any old brand, of any old size and price.  Take these eggs home and put them in the fridge or on the bench, leave them for a few days and then open the carton up – just a dozen eggs of the sale size, colour, shape, evenness and taste.  Just eggs, same old eggs

Take a community, any old community, from any old town, any county, of any size population, of different economic and social status.  Take this community and put them in the spotlight,  leave them for a few days and then take another look – it is a community of different people with different sizes, shapes, colours, political and social values and views – a community of people that have to share the same town with all of the other people

Not all eggs are the same, we tend to think they are but chickens lay large eggs, oblong eggs, speckled eggs, round and mottled eggs, however we are not always aware of this as we don’t have many choices to make about what sort of eggs we want to buy – oh of course we have choices I hear you say – we can buy caged eggs, battery eggs,  organic eggs, vegetarian eggs and  free range eggs
In a community we all have a similar goal, that of creating a place and a space for ourselves, that of living life to the full and achieving our own personal goals, weather that be having children, starting business’s, having fun, socialising or just enjoying the later years of our lives and taking things a little easier. 

Some eggs hatch to grow and to become the future egg layers of the world, some eggs just want to be part of the 11 other eggs in the carton, the same shape, colour and size  of all the eggs.  Some will go on to be future leaders of the chicken coup and others will be happy to follow.  Others will just pass the time being a chicken.

We live in a country that is the envy of the rest of the world, we live in a town that is one of the best in NZ, with the best climate, best wine, best food, best mountains and beaches – we live how we want to live, we make the choices  and are not dictated to be oppressive governments or  regimes.  We love Marlborough and so does everybody else that comes here and either looks at us or stays with us a while

Open up a carton of eggs, any old carton, from any old store, any old brand, of any old size and price.  Take these eggs home and put them in the fridge or on the bench, leave them for a few days and then open the carton up – if you pick up a eggs and it feels hollow or smells funny, just throw it in the rubbish as it is probably rotten – don’t put it into the compost as it will make it smell and attract feral animals.  If you dont throw the rotten egg out it will make other eggs go bad. 

How to poach an egg using a Wodge -  by Delia Smith (the Queen of eggs)
1. This method is not at all frightening or hazardous, but bear in mind that for successful poaching the eggs have to be really fresh – less than four days old. The key to a well-poached egg is to keep the water at a bare simmer throughout the cooking. Place a suitably sized frying pan over a gentle heat and add enough boiling water from the kettle to fill it to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Keep the heat gentle, and very quickly you will see the merest trace of tiny bubbles beginning to form over the base of the pan.
 2. Now carefully break the eggs, one at a time, into the water and let them barely simmer, without covering, for just 1 minute. A timer is essential here because you cannot guess how long 1 minute is.
3. After that, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs sit calmly and happily in the hot water, this time setting the timer for 10 minutes. This timing will give perfect results for a beautifully translucent, perfectly set white and a soft, creamy yolk
 4. Now remove each egg by lifting it out of the water with a draining spoon and then letting the spoon rest for a few seconds on a wodge of kitchen paper, which will absorb the excess water. As you remove the eggs, serve them straight away with hot buttered toast

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Auckalnd Farmers Market region: Soil & Health Celebrates

Auckalnd Farmers Market region: Soil & Health Celebrates: "Approaching 70th Birthday AnniversaryOrganic Dinner & International Guest Speaker We invite you to take advantage of the special occasion of..."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pretending not to be what it is not !

While the nights are still cold and the days chilly, there is only a certain amount of winter produce around, look a little harder and you may just find something a little different. This vegetable was once preferred over the potato and for a root vegetable that is not from Jerusalem or a member of the artichoke family the sun root, sun choke or more commonly what is known as the Jerusalem Artichoke, has had a lively and interesting past dating back to the 1500’s and beyond.

Being associated with leporcy has not helped this vegetable grow in popularity, this was attributed to the irregular shape and brown mottled skin that resembled the deformed finger of those unfortunate to have this disease. The sun choke is actually a tuber, or underground stem, that resembles a small knobby potato or a piece of gingerroot. It has a sweet, almost nutty taste and a crisp texture that is quite distinctive – once tried, always remembered

Thought there was only one type of Artichoke, think again !

The Jerusalem Artichoke (sun flower family and only available in winter) should not get confused with the Globe Artichoke (thistle family, available in spring), Chinese Artichoke or Crosnes (mint family, available late summer) but it will get the blame for causing flatulence with some people !. It can be found in the gardens of many home growers as it is a vegetable that does not sit well on supermarket shelf’s and can be frustrating for people to peel. The solution is to scrub well, breaking into serving size pieces and then roast/blanch with the skin on in the oven until just soft. The taste and texture will provide much discussion at the dinner table and if that does not then the side affects certainly will!

My favorite winter vegetables, tasty, hearty and good for you

Roasted artichokes with Wild Bacon and Cabbage

1 Savoy Cabbage chopped finely

1 onion

50 g Butter

3 cloves Garlic

1 t Caraway Seeds, toasted

200 g Wild Bacon

1 cup Chicken Stock

300 g Artichokes, washed

½ t Salt

¼ t freshly ground Black Pepper

Sweat Onion and Garlic in Butter until soft, add cabbage and stock and turn to the lowest heat seating for 10-15 minutes stirring often. Add toasted Caraway seeds and wild Bacon and season to taste. On a baking tray add sliced Artichokes and 2 T olive oil and bake 180 degrees until golden brown. Serve Cabbage and Artichokes along side roasted lamb or beef

Farmers' Markets NZ Inc

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Give us our daily ............

BreadMy father tells me how to do it now, and is very proud of the fact that he is creating something new. (He seems to have forgotten that I showed him 10 years ago). My son and daughter both do it, any wife has a special recipe for doing it. We eat it all the time, we squeeze it, toast it, crumb it and stuff it, grill, fry and butter it, but do we ever give any thought as to how bread actually arrived at our table?
Through much of history, a person's social station could be discerned by the colour of bread they consumed. The darker the bread, the lower the social station. This was because whiter flours were more expensive and harder for millers to adulterate with other products. Today, we have seen a reversal of this trend – darker breads are more expensive and highly prized for their taste as well as their nutritional value.
Having spent the last eight months baking bread on a regular basis, it has become a fascination to me how bakers turn white or brown flour into this carbohydrate that graces our table every day. I thought cheffing was hard, but I take my hat off to the bakers.
All you really need to produce bread at home is four basic ingredients. This produces enough for two large loaves or you can form into other shapes.
1kg white bread flour or high grade flour
20g salt (this helps give flavour)
14g dry activated yeast (2 sachets)
600ml water (slightly warm or "tepid")Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and give them a dry mix with a wooden spoon.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the water.
Stir the flour into the water. Flour can vary and humidity can make a difference, so you might find you need to add a little more flour or water.
Turn your dough out on to a floured surface and start kneading. Keep working the dough for about 10 minutes until it is even in texture. Now roll the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased container and cover. Put in a warm place (not too hot, yeast starts to die above 50 degrees Celsius) until it doubles in size. This will take about an hour.
Once your dough has doubled, divide it into two even portions and then roll into loaf shapes.
Place into large loaf tins and cover again to allow to rise until it reaches the top of the tin. While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 230C.
Cook for 30-40 minutes. You can check if it is baked by knocking on the crust and listening for a hollow sound.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bringing home the yacon

Something different: A South American yacon tuber grown in the Marlborough Community Gardens.


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After having travelled the world and tasted many different things, I was a little surprised upon discovering what was growing in the Marlborough Community Gardens.

Richard Hunter is a founding member and trustee of the gardens and it was with a smile on his face that he handed us our first taste of yacon.

As you peel back the skin on the tuber with a sharp knife, you will encounter a refreshing and sweet-tasting flesh that is highly sought after in South America. It is referred to as the apple of the earth and there is certainly a place for it at the table.

A close relative of the sunflower and my favourite, the jerusalem artichoke, the yacon tubers contain inulin, an indigestible sugar, which means that although they have a sweet flavour, the tubers contain fewer calories than would be expected.

Refreshing, earthy and full of tropical flavours, this was a new taste experience. In South America, yacon tubers can have yellow, orange, red, pink and even purple flesh, all with distinct flavours. All varieties have a crunchy texture, and the water content is high enough to make juice.

Many South Americans put yacon in a fruit salad called salpicon because the tubers add a crunchy texture to the mix. Yacon also can be stir-fried, roasted, baked or made into pies and healthy chips.

I'm always keen to try something new, but after sampling Buddha's hand citron last year and yacon just recently, it would be good to finish off with an old-fashioned Kiwi pav.


Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour


3 egg whites

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vinegar

1 Tbsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar, a heaped tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence into mixture. Beat until blended. Coat baking paper with water drops to allow it to stick to the baking tray and pile pavlova mixture in a 20 centimetre circle. Heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Put pav in oven and immediately turn heat down to 125C and leave for 1 hour. Then turn the oven off and leave the pav in it until cold (usually overnight). This makes a nice crust on the outside.

Bringing home the yacon | Stuff.co.nz