Friday, 7 August 2015

Packing our Bags

I seem to be the local depot for used jars, and I don't mind one bit.  All of the jars of jams and pickles that are for sale in the Farm Gate stall outside our front gate are in re-cycled jars. We are about being sustainable in every possible way, so the jam jars are just another way that we can re-cycle something that still has a use.
I love it when customers return the jars and here is Cheryl's bag of lovely clean jars. Thanks for the jars and your lovely note Cheryl. So glad you love our honey which you described as "like toffee!"

And now a notice for all of the Farm Gate Stall customers and friends,
I need to let you know that the stall will be CLOSED for THREE WEEKS from Friday 14th August.
Brian is coming to Nepal with me again this year and his assistance and support will be so very much appreciated. The challenges that we will face will be even more difficult than in other years. The Nepali people are living with hardships that I can't even comprehend, since the devastating earthquakes in April this year.
We will once again spend time with patients in two of Kathmandu's poorest hospitals, buying their medicines and providing clothing, food and entertainment by way of small toys for the children. We will visit all of the schools where our young people are studying and will check out the school building project that we are funding from the generous donations received in the past year, and especially since the April earthquakes.

                                         A few pics from our last visit to Nepal in 2012

One of the many things I love about the Nepali culture is the way they care for their elderly. It's extremely rare for families to put their aged family members into an aged care home. In fact, such facilities don't really exist. When someone reaches the age of seventy years they are given God status.
I love the way my status has been changing over the past twenty years of my association with Nepal. When I started living there at age forty years I was given Goddess like status and addressed as Didi (older sister) With my long red hair, fashionable clothes and trim figure it was common place to get whistled at in the street.
The last time I was there, aged fifty seven years, with short dyed red hair, I was being called Aunty and definitely the street whistles were a thing of the past.
One of my Nepali "sisters" took me to visit her aging Father who was living with family members a short distance away. Along the way we talked about the cows in the street and during our conversation it was mentioned that my cow at home was producing 30 litres of milk each day.  The local Nepal cows are much smaller and aren't able to produce large quantities of milk.
We reached her family home and were reunited with her elderly father, who upon clapping eyes on me said loudly in Nepali, "She used to be really pretty and wore lipstick. Now she is old and has wrinkles."
My lovely sister, Naradevi, quickly put him in his place by shooting back with, "Well.... her cow gives 30 litres of milk every day!"

Now that I wear grey hair, with pride, I'm wondering what amazing claim to fame I can come up with when meeting the old gentlemen this time.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Bone Broth, Biscuits and all the good stuff.

Doesn't everyone make bone broth?
Someone offered to give me the bones that she got when she bought some bulk beef. It was beautiful grass fed organic beef, but my friend didn't know what to do with the bones because she doesn't have a dog. I told her about bone broth and that's when I realised that a lot of people don't know about this nutritious goodness that is so easy to make.
Bone broth is not to be confused with stock, but it can be used as stock.  Bone broth contains the glucosamine containing gelatine from the bone cartilage, vitamins and minerals that is so very good for us. If you're buying Glucosamine supplements think about making your own.
Read about Bone Broth here .
I make up a batch every week and try to incorporate some of the broth into our meals every day. In gravy, soups etc, and now that the bones from our home butchered steer are almost gone, I'm saving the bones from all of our cooked home grown meats at the end of the meal. The bones from lamb and pork chops and roasts, and chicken carcasses all go in a container and into the freezer. When I have enough I make another batch of bone broth.
Our wood stove is always burning, apart from the hottest of days in summer, so I have my big pot slowly simmering on the side.  Some people make their broth in the slow cooker. I lightly roast the raw bones in the oven before placing into a large pot, cover with water, a sprinkle of Himalayan Pink salt and 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar. Bring to the boil then simmer for at least 24 hours to extract the maximum goodness. 
After allowing to cool slightly, lift out the bones and meat, which has no flavour left in it by this stage and is best discarded, and strain the liquid through a sieve.  Once it has cooled completely, scoop off the fat (to use later). The broth will be a lovely thick gel so it's necessary to warm it again before pouring it into jars then store the jars in the freezer. I always have one jar in the fridge ready to use.

This is the fat that I scooped off yesterday's bone broth. Fat from grass fed animals is full of nutrients and are part of a traditional high quality diet. Read about the good fats. Forget about all the bad press regarding animal fats from years gone by. That theory has been well and truly debunked.
I used some to make pastry for a quiche that we will eat for dinner tonight.

 Fat (lard or dripping) makes the most delicious pastry for savoury dishes.  The basic method is half ratio of fat to plain flour.
ie;  2 cups of plain flour (white or wholemeal or a bit of both) to one cup of fat.
If using 100% wholemeal the pastry will be more difficult to work with so I use 1/3 wholemeal to 2/3 plain unbleached white.
Rub the fat into the flour, add enough cold liquid (water, whey, buttermilk, milk) to form a stiff pastry.
Roll out with a rolling pin, not too thin, and work quickly. The quicker it's worked the lighter (shorter) the pastry will be.
Quiches are a great way to use up anything in the fridge or left overs and this one has an onion, some old bits of cheese, parsley, bacon ends, a tomato that I picked green and almost ripened on the window sill, salt and pepper.
Put all of these ingredients into the lightly pre-baked pastry case then, in a separate bowl, mix up 5 eggs (this quiche is a deep one so use 4 eggs if baking in a shallow pan), some cream that was past its best and a bit of butter milk and pour into the pastry case to cover all the ingredients.  Bake in a moderate oven for roughly 30 - 40 minutes. It will puff up slightly and look mighty impressive, but after removing from the oven the filling will sink. Don't worry, that's normal and still tastes delicious.

It's wet here today (joy!) so I made a batch of Honey Anzac biscuits using some of the butter I made earlier this morning.
A couple of packs have gone into the Farm Gate Stall out at the front gate.

Thanks for dropping by and for leaving a comment.  I'm always interested to hear about how you are living your frugal, nature loving way of life.
Reading your comments and sharing your ideas is like sitting at my kitchen table talking to an old friend.

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