Fire and Rain

Like most of south east Queensland and northern New South Wales it is wet here today.

Rain drops on the spider web

The rain has been steady and rather heavy for the last 24 hours, the creeks are flooding,

Our closest creek crossing

Where two creeks become a river...

the tanks are full and everything is looking very green. Unfortunately the weeds are vigorously growing and, I kid you not, you can see them grow in the space of a few hours. I have to admit I am feeling a bit despondent about the vegetable garden at the moment. It is a mess of plants going to seed, frizzled leafy plants, caterpillar eaten brassicas and of course weeds. That’s not to say that it’s not productive.

Recently harvested potatoes

Part of yesterdays harvest

It’s just messy and I am disappointed with the way it looks, its not aesthetically pleasing I guess. I also feel I need to get a move on with planting again, my seed, seedling, planting out cycle has fallen by the wayside of late and with prime growing weather about to occur as the days get just that little bit shorter and cooler and I really need to get organised.

On the other hand I am feeling much more on top of the fire and batch baking as well as getting into a few more uses for the produce we are growing. I finally feel confident with the way in which to make and cook the bread now, with a great success rate.

Fresh bread

We don’t have the doughy inside, blackened outside anymore and I can really feel when the dough is ready to rest and rise.

No more doughy insides

I have been experimenting with semi drying our surplus tomatoes in the bottom shelves of the oven overnight.

Preparing the trays

In the oven

These turned out delicious (I just had some for lunch with pasta, feta, torn basil and anchovies – Yum!) and I have one bottle in olive oil and one in oil with feta, herbs and peppercorns.

Semi dried tomatoes in olive oil

Tomatoes in olive oil, feta and herbs

Most batch days, along with the bread and one type of preserving (dried tomatoes yesterday, chilli tomato jam the fire day before and rhubarb and apple jam the one before that) I try to do a few trays of biscuits,

Choc chip deliciousness

a quiche and some muffins or cakes. Our muffins tend to be made using left over juicing pulp or rhubarb.
At the moment our two favourite cakes are a coconut and lime cake, the recipe for which I got from my friend Debbie and chocolate zucchini cake from Jackie French’s book “The Best of Jackie French”. The zucchini cake is a great way to use up that extra zucchini after you’ve had all the spaghetti bolognaise with grated zucchini, stir fried zucchini and zucchini slice that you can handle πŸ˜‰

If anyone has any great recipes for button squash I’d love to hear them, I think we’re about to be inundated!


4 thoughts on “Fire and Rain

  1. Wow you have been busy, I am going to try the semi dried tomatoes straight away, have always wanted to do it and now is the time. Would love the recipe for chocolate zuchinni cake, see you soon.

    • The tomatoes are just sliced in half or quartered for the big ones and then put on a tray in a very slow oven until they look ‘done’. I have a woodfired oven and its bottom section/door is used for warming and drying so I put the trays in a few hours before I finish adding wood and then leave them overnight. Once they are dry enough to my liking I pop them in a clean, sterilised bottle or container and cover with good quality olive oil. I have added feta and herbs to one lot which was delicious. Not sure how long they will last on the shelf, I have read up to 6 months, ours go into the fridge once they have been opened though.
      Hope that helps πŸ˜€

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