June 2012 First Week

This is the weekend entry for the first weekend of winter 2012. Saturday afternoon was a beautiful winter afternoon with no wind and plenty of sunshine and around 17 deg C. I got home around 2pm after closing the shop and doing a bit of shopping. The plan was to remake the cream buns and that happened and is in a separate report here . While the dough was rising I spent some time putting together Pamela’s Sun Lounge which had finally been replaced after the warranty claim for one of the first two being damaged.

SUN LOUNGE IN PLACE

Mother’s Day sun lounge after warranty replacement was constructed and put in place 3-6-12.

HERB SCHOOL

Although I fancy myself as a passable cook some of my efforts lack that special bit of pizzazz and it has occurred to me that using a few more herbs and spices would make a big difference. I decided to start a program of using a recipe including herbs or spices each month and this weekend heralded the start. I had some very succulent chicken drumsticks so they formed the base. I researched some suggested herb additions for chicken and set about a better chicken soup. I boiled the drums in stock until just soft then took them out of the stock. To the stock I added basil, thyme and parsley along with in season vegetables and simmered the lot together until the veges were just tender. I then blended the soup to a nice consistency, returned the meat which I had removed from the drumsticks and re-heated the lot. Result was magnificent and that was our Saturday tea and Sunday lunch. The herbs turned a basic chicken soup which Pamela generally turns her nose up at to a culinary winner. One up for the herbs!

BRANDY SNAPS

On another wordpress blogsite I saw an interesting recipe for Brandy Snaps. Since it was raining Sunday morning and there was very little that could be done outside I decided to have a go at these. The result was ok but not brittle enough. See the instructions here.

Brandy Snaps 3-6-12. More practice needed but they are on the right track.

STRAWBERRY JAM

While the oven is hot and the rain continued I decided to make the frozen strawberries we had saved from summer into delicious jam we haven’t had for some time. Strawberry jam is definitely our favourite here. To the 1.4kg of berries I added the juice of 6 lemons and 1.4kg of sugar. Once the sugar was dissolved bring the whole pot to the boil and let boil gently until the sugar thermometer reaches 105 deg C which is the setting point for jam. After about 1 hour there is beautiful well set jam. This lot made 8 jars and that will be it until the next strawberry season begins.

Strawberries defrosted and warmed through with the juice of 6 lemons.

Sugar added and the sugar thermometer in place just boil a few times to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pan. This rarely happens with a good heavy cast iron pan such as this one.

AVOCADO GARDEN

I have been working away at tidying up the Avocado Garden each morning before going to the shop. This morning the job is pretty much complete with just the mulching to done to reduce any winter and spring weed growth. New guards will also need to be built for the  Avocado trees as they have outgrown last year’s. The plan is to keep the trees protected for another summer at least to prevent the trunks and branches from burning and killing the tree as has happened in other attempts to grow avocados.

Avocado Garden ready for mulching and further plantings. A truck load of cereal straw ready to be put out during the week.

Another view of the avocado garden 3-6-12

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