Pickled Jalapeño

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Inspired by my sister in law growing and pickling jalapeño chilli’s I decided to give them a go in my garden. These are a perennial plant so I’ll leave them in and see how they go next year.

18 jalapeño

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons raw sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Sterilise a small jar and lid, put aside. Slice the chilli’s into rings and put aside.

Place water, vinegar, sugar and salt into a small saucepan on medium heat. Using a whisk stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. When dissolved add the sliced chilli and gently cook for 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon take the chilli’s out of the pan and put into the jar. Then add the vinegar mix over the chilli’s until the jar is full. Wait until cool then place lid on and store in fridge.

 

Apple, peach and strawberry leather

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My neighbour over the back fence grows golden delicious apples. His tree is 27 years old and he grafted it himself all those years ago. I asked him ‘how did you learn to do this?’ to which he replied ‘I am from la campagna, from the land, not the city. It’s in my blood to do this’. I always try to learn as much as I can from him as he’s 80 years old and has been food gardening next door for over 30 years. His tree is heavily laden with fruit and he hands me over a crate of apples that fell to the ground that morning. I urged him to give them to family as we have heaps already. He wouldn’t take no for an answer as he gets so many from the tree he needs to make sure they will be eaten and used.

These ones all had a big bruise on the side they hit the ground and some had cracked from the force of the drop so they needed to be eaten pronto. I didn’t have time to preserve in jars so I decided to make fruit leather with them instead. I had four peaches that needed to be eaten soon as well as half a punnet of strawberries in the fridge. I made three different leathers all using the apple as a base.

12 apples

4 peaches

1/2 punnet strawberries

Chop off any bruised or damaged bits and put in compost or give to the chooks.

Peel and core the apples. Don’t throw the peels and cores out, save them to make apple scrap vinegar.

Chop up the rest roughly and place into a large heavy based pot. Add a splash of water and put the stove on a medium heat. Add a lid. What you want is the apples to start softening so that you can use a stick blender to make into a puree. Once you have the puree use this as the base to blend in other flavours. No need to be precise with measurements but you do want enough of the other ingredients flavour to shine through.

Place baking paper on the dehydrator trays and add the puree. This was enough for 6 trays. Dehydrate on 70C for 7 hours. When finished let it cool. They should be able to be peeled off the baking paper without sticking. If they are still a bit wet or sticky put them back in the dehydrator for longer. To serve roll them up and slice into short lengths. Store in jar.

 

Pear chips

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A few months back I was driving in the Adelaide Hills and had to take a detour because the road was closed. That detour took me past a few pear trees planted on the side of the road. They weren’t ready yet so I headed back a few weeks later to check them again. Pears are a bit tricky to work out when they’re ripe because they don’t ripen on the tree.  If you wait too long they drop off the tree and they may also rot in the middle too if left too long.

The only test I know to see of they’re ready is to lift the fruit at a 90 degree angle and if the fruit easily comes off then you are good to go… but not quite yet. You need to wait at least another two weeks for them to ripen. Mine took closer to four weeks and the wait was unpearable! When they were finally ready I realised that they weren’t any good for eating raw. They were very dry and sour so needed cooking to bring out the sweetness in them.

I made an upside down pear cake with these pears and it turned out great, but these pear chips were amazing. To make pear chips, wash them well and dry. Then slice thinly and lay out in single layer on a tray. I baked these in a oven at 100C for a few hours until they were semi dried. I wanted them a bit chewy still but they can be dried for longer in a dehydrator for longer preservation. Can eat as a snack but I made these to add to a locavore platter.

Beetroot top gozleme

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It’s beetroot season and they can be used in so many ways. I love them in borscht soup, beetroot dip, or baked and added to a hearty salad. The tops can be used like spinach and are best cooked, not eaten raw.

I pulled more beetroots out than normal to make room for some kale seedlings. I find the tops wilt quite quickly so need to be cooked up fairly soon after harvesting. These tops are perfect for my easy gozleme.

2 tablespoons b.d farm butter

1 red onion, finely sliced

2 gloves garlic, grated finely

1 teaspoon cumin, or fennel seeds depending on your flavour preference

8 beetroot tops, leaves and stems washed well and chopped

cracked pepper

1/4 cup water

4 large or 6 small wholemeal flatbreads

100 gm b.d farm feta, or swap out for a vegan cheese

40 gm walnuts, chopped and toasted

olive oil

Melt butter in large frypan on medium heat. Stirring regularly, add onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add cumin and cook for another minute. Add beetroot tops and water and cover for 10 minutes. check occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking or burning.

Take lid off and add pepper, using an egg flip press down on the mix and try to cook out as much of the liquid as possible. Once its fairly dry take out of pan and put on a plate. Crumble some feta into a bowl. Add the toasted nuts a bowl.

If you have a sandwich press put this together like a big giant toastie. If you don’t just use a frypan and prepare as follows. This will make 3 using the small flatbreads or 2 using the large.

Get a pastry brush and brush one side of the flat bread. Place the oiled side down then place a portion of the beetroot top mix, then some feta then some walnuts. Add another flat bread on top and use the pastry brush to oil the top. After a couple of minutes flip it over and toast the other side for a couple of minutes. Once cooked, place on chopping board and chop into quarters for serving.

gozleme