Archive for August, 2008

Farmlet Reader Signs Up for Hosting with BlueHost

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Thanks to the owner of House Plans Solar for signing up for hosting with BlueHost. Farmlet received US$65 as a result.

Steak and Kidney Pie

Monday, August 18th, 2008

So, we have recently slaughtered a steer and have a freezer full of lovely beef. Strings of last summer’s onions and garlic hang temptingly over the kitchen bench. The wind is howling outside and rain drums loudly on the roof of our little house. What better way to fill our bellies on a wild winter evening than with a rich, hot helping of steak and kidney pie!

Steak and kidney pie


3 tablespoons beef drippings (or other fat for frying)
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 beef kidney, cut into pieces
1 kg gravy beef, cut into pieces
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup bottled tomato
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt to taste
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a ball of “yoghurt dough” (This is a lovely recipe in the Nourishing Traditions recipe book. This pie only uses about a quarter of the quantity of dough from the recipe.)
1 egg yolk


* Heat the fat and saute the onions and celery gently in a large saucepan until they start to soften. Add meat and continue to cook. Once meat has browned, add wine, tomato and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer over a low heat until the meat is tender. (This may take an hour or so.) Add extra wine or stock during cooking if the mixture becomes very dry. Add seasonings according to taste. You may thicken with arrowroot powder if the mixture is very runny. Alternatively, separate some of the liquid, and save it to use as a sauce to serve over the pie.

* Ladle the mixture into a pie or casserole dish (I actually used two dishes, as this recipe makes a good big quantity.) and let it cool a bit — so that the pastry doesn’t get messed up when you put it on top!

* Roll out the pastry to make a sheet big enough to cover the top of the pie dish. Lay pastry over the pie filling, press pastry to the rim of the dish, and trim off the bits that hang over the edge of the dish too much. Prick a few holes in the pastry. Beat egg yolk with 1T of water and brush onto the pastry.

* Bake in a very hot oven (220 degrees C) until pastry is golden.

What other meaty treats have we been enjoying since the steer went into the freezer? Beef liver pate, pot roast, beef stir fry, beef stock, shin bone soup, oxtail soup, raw marinated steak. . . Perhaps I’ll post some more of these recipes in the days to come.

Coming soon: I’d really like to have a go at making home-cured corned beef. Has anyone ever tried doing this? There’s a recipe in Nourishing Traditions, but somehow I’m still a little nervous as I’ve never actually seen this done before. Does anyone have any advice to offer? I’ll be sure to report back on the process and results as soon as I get up the courage to try this new culinary adventure!

Farmlet Reader Contributes US$90

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Thanks, IL.

Winter Salad. . . and Thoughts of Spring

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

There is not much to eat in the garden right now, since we had a disorganised autumn followed by an uncommonly wet winter. The ground is cold and sodden, and the garden is looking very un-appetising for the most part. For all that, we are still enjoying some tender garden salads made from corn salad, radishes (cherrybelle and black Spanish radish), and winter lettuce. This has been our first crop of winter lettuce, the seed for which came from Koanga Gardens. True to its name, this lettuce has proved to be extremely hardy over the winter, escaping the ravages of the slugs that have plagued some of our other winter crops. A few leaves of arugula and cilantro are livening up our salads also. Also from the garden: some Swiss chard (silverbeet), collards and kale, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, plus onions and garlic stored from last season. Otherwise, we are pretty much holding out for spring!

Winter salad

The last couple of days have finally offered enough sun to get outside and continue work on clearing more of the garden beds for spring planting. There’s still a lot to be done, but I’m inching my way through! Early August is a time full of hopes and plans here on the Farmlet, as I think ahead to the spring and summer. I’ve ordered seeds for the coming season, and plan to plant the first of these (inside) in the next few days.

Favourites from last year include: Asian red lettuce, tree lettuce, red cabbage, collard greens, squire kale, corn salad, leeks, Welsh bunching onions.

New kinds to try: multiplying spring onions, half-century lettuce, deer’s tongue lettuce, Oregon Trail peas, tat soi (Chinese flat cabbage).

As always, it will be fun to see which vegetables perform best in our conditions.

I’ve actually just penned a note in my garden diary for this time next year, inviting myself to think back and draw a comparison of what vegetables we are picking from the garden (then vs now). I’ll be sure to share my observations when the time comes! I’m hoping that we’ll be better-organised this coming autumn, and will have a better selection of vegetables in the garden this time next year!