Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Is My Name Domestic Goddess?

It has been a really satisfying couple of weeks, we both have the 'get up and go' attitude at present, which differs from the slobotron attitude that presented itself earlier in the year.
Do you remember last week I was busily casting about iron sulphate to kill moss in order to help with our compacted soil?  Well, here is a very satisfying photograph of black, dead moss.  You can see the part I missed at the top of the photo, quite a difference eh.
I managed to get all my planting done at the top, I think there are about 60 plants within the fenced area now.
Our lovely neighbour gave us more apples from her trees, this time a big bagful of Sundowners.  So amid me stewing apples for the freezer, and drying apple slices for snacks....
 I also made two apple cakes, one for us (the big one of course :-) ) and one for our neighbour as a thank you for the apples.
 The vegie patch is starting to produce again.
I harvested a heap of mint.  Steve, strange lad that he is, likes a hefty slurp of mint sauce dribbled over his roast beef, so with that in mind I thought it best to preserve some mint for times when it has died down.
Into the dehydrator it went.  Now I must point out that sprigs was a stupid way to dry the mint, despite the book saying it was perfectly fine to dry the leaves on the stems, that they would break away easily when dry.  Well, my experience was that the leaves folded in onto themselves in clumps and took freaking ages to dry.  After a lot of faffing about I now have a small jar of green dust for his lordship's mint sauce.  Next time I shall place the mint leaves individually when they are to be dried.
 My yogurt making is proving very successful and I make a damn good natural yogurt, even if I say so myself.  Following on from that, I tried my hand at making ricotta/cottage cheese.  It is made almost the same way as yogurt, heat the milk to 180 degrees F, cool it down to 110 degrees F, then add the activator.  For yogurt you add a small amount of yogurt, but for ricotta you add an acid, usually vinegar or lemon juice.  I added a bit of both. 
Before your eyes the milk separates into curds and whey.  With a slotted spoon you pop the curds into a cloth lined colander, and leave it to drain.
Ta dum, a wee small bowl of hand made cheese!  I must say that yogurt is more satisfying to make because for a litre of milk you get a litre of yogurt, well, unless you strain off some whey like I do to get a thicker Greek style yogurt, but I end up with 750 mL of lovely yogurt.  For my litre of milk I ended up with about 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese.  Regardless of the small amount it was very exciting to think that I had done this all by myself!
Lunch today was some leftover cooked pumpkin and broad beans, ricotta plonked on top with finely chopped preserved lemon and dukkah adorning that.  It was freaking delicious.
For some reason I still yearned to produce culinary delights in the kitchen this week, so I dragged out a carefully hoarded recipe for homemade muesli.  I have made it before, years ago, and my daughter and I still remember vividly how delicious it was, so another batch was in order.  It has a trillion things in it, and the dry ingredients are moistened with a mixture of honey, maple syrup, vanilla and peanut paste, then toasted til golden brown and crunchy.  Mmmmm!  Our guests this weekend can try some with my yogurt, and I hope they fall around in raptures of delight :-)
I'm still plugging along with the damned trillion coloured Babette blanket.  You know how when you've seen too much of something you are producing that you hate the sight of it?  Yep, that's where I am at.  However I wish to announce that I have finally completed all the crocheted squares.  Yep, all 156 of them are done, now to put the last section together and then crochet round the outside of the whole thing a few times.  I look at this thing, the amount of work that has gone into it off and on for over the last 5 years, and I can't believe how small it is!  Hence the need for a border to increase the size a bit, else it will only warm my knees and nothing more!
I found a wonky bit though, four small squares that for some reason I crocheted extremely loosely....perhaps I had been drinking that sewing day, entirely possible....
Anyway, I stared at this misshapen section, muttering under my breath....I don't want to fix this, I've finished all the squares and I don't want to ever do another one, but it looks like crap, but I don't want to fix it....etc.  Well, good sense prevailed and I fixed it.
And while all this was going on, Steve has been busy in his shed.  He constructed this whizzbang workbench.  He used his circular saw to cut pine sleepers down the middle, then block them together to make good strong chunky legs.
Power boards were attached and he then bolted some of his man toys on the top.  After this photo he also built a shelf to sit on the lower beams.  So he has some man toys on top and some man toys underneath, all within easy reach.  He is very happy.  :-)
And the sun goes down over a spectacular week, beautiful as always.

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