Eggplant Kasundi

eggplant kasundi || cityhippyfarmgirl

Four jars were sitting on the kitchen bench top, still piping hot and whispering to me of dishes that they could accompany.

Eggs on sourdough was a given.

Jazzed up fried rice a sure thing.

Hoppers seemed sensible,

and there might even be a little bit of roast chicken action.

Eggplant Kasundi was like that, a versatile little pickle that just brought its own little party to the dinner table. I had only discovered it last year, and celebrated the fact by slapping that stuff on everything that was mouth destined.

An easy, seasonal eggplant pickle that can be teamed up with pretty much anything.

How about you, have you any tiny food obsessions at the moment? Are you pickling anything from the season? What’s your favourite go to eggplant dish?

eggplant kasundi || cityhippyfarmgirl

I didn’t add chilli to this one as my smallest was keen on eating it by the spoonful but if you like your pickles on the feisty side I would say drop a few of your favourite hot reds in. 

Eggplant Kasundi

12 finger eggplants (brinjals)

5 tomatoes

2 medium onions

1 head of garlic

1 knob of fresh ginger

1 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds

1 1/2 tbsp cumin

1 1/2 tbsp coriander

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups raw sugar

250 mls apple cider vinegar

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a large pot add the ginger, garlic, onion and oil. Cook it up, stirring continuously over a medium heat, add your spices and continue to stir until it smells amazing. Add diced eggplants and diced fresh tomatoes. Continue stirring intermittently, pop the lid on and let the mixture cook down a little further, (you want the eggplant to be soft and cooked through.) Add the apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt, continue cooking (stirring occasionally) over a low heat for approximately 45 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes together.

Pour hot mixture into sterilised jars.

 

 

 

 

It’s a bit laugh, it’s a bit cry…

tea || cityhippyfarmgirl

Last Monday had me doing something I hadn’t done before. Not ever.

I was at home…by myself.

Sure of course I’d been home by myself before here and there, but not like this. Not with the two older kids in a new school and the smallest at preschool for the first time.

This was the first time in 10 years, I didn’t have a small person at home with me.

10 years.

The transition for all of them seemed to be ok so far, (how long as a mother do you hold your breath on that one, and say yep, I think it’s ok?) and I was looking forward to getting through a to-do list that was being added to in a disturbing fashion.

Then somewhere between the list onslaught, there sat a little lump in my throat. I wasn’t sure whether to chuckle at the newness of it all or let a big fat tear roll out.

New chapter right?

It’s a bit laugh, it’s a bit cry.

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How about you, done anything new this week?

Did it involve lots of tea?

Love ’em or Larvae (Tales of the Black Soldier Fly)

black soldier fly larvae || cityhippyfarmgirl

They are incredible composters, excellent sources of protein, extremely polite by self harvesting themselves and might just be the alternate meat source that world wide dinner circles need to embrace. Say hello to the Black Soldier Fly.

Now the title of this post doesn’t even particularly make sense but hey, it was that or March of the Soldier Fly…actually, on reflection the later was probably a better choice.

The long story of how I came to have a compost bin with a seething wriggling mass of maggots, requires a pot of tea, shoes left at the front door and no place to be for an hour or more, (or something like that.)

The short version was, what started as a small maggot problem with questionable outcomes, turns out is an excellent compost larvae friend of which I have inadvertently created a home for and is now looked upon as some prime utopian real estate for soldier fly larvae.

Seriously, it really is the promised land for wriggly segmented critters.

Now before I disgust some of you any further, and you click off for good let’s quickly recap on why these (quite incredible) critters are good for your compost, (and also why you should just skip to the acceptance and embracing stage of having them in your garden/compost/table and simply bypass the revulsion and dry gagging bit that I had to go through first. I mean really, just skip that bit, these guys are awesome.

soldier fly larvae || cityhippyfarmgirlblack soldier fly larvae || cityhippyfarmgirl

  • Black Soldier Fly are about half the size of a regular house fly, they also naturally keep away house flies- and that dear people is a good thing.
  • They don’t mind it hot, actually the hotter the better. Anything upwards of 27C is going to show activity and humidity is apparently a big factor. Being in a black compost bin with the weather we’ve been having lately (rain++ and hot++) I’d say has had a big impact on their numbers.
  • They are excellent composters due to playing a big part in contributing with decomposition and nutrient cycles. They are also rather excellent at aiding the bioconversion of organic waste material.
  • They are a great form of protein. I’m not ready to get in there for that dinner plate just yet, but for animal feed, herptiles and tropical fish I say buon appetito.
  • If you were keen on cooking up a little spagetti alle larvae, have a peek at this site, Farm 432. It’s a table top incubator essentially where you grow your own sustainable protein filled dinner.
  • Protein wise they are filled with in terms of % and in comparison with their other insect counterparts, they are definitely front runners.
  • They clean themselves just before they self harvest, plopping right over the side, ready to be scooped up.
  •  They are only dark in colour at the very end of their pupation, I had previously seen them like that so had discounted mine as something else, as they were cream coloured, (rookie mistake.)

“…reduce the volume and weight of would-be waste: The larval colony breaks apart its food, churns it, and creates heat, increasing compost evaporation. Significant amounts are also converted to carbon dioxide respired by the grubs and symbiotic/mutualistic microorganisms.” (Wikipedia.)

Really, they are hoovering through the compost, considering mine is only weeks old and not as balanced as I would like it, the quality is pretty darn good. I’d say a good proportion of that is due to my wiggly segmented (creamy coloured) friends. (They can apparently reduce composts or manure down by 50-70%.)

black soldier fly larvae || cityhippyfarmgirl

Now I’m absolutely fascinated by these critters, having watched their behaviour over the last couple of weeks, not understanding what was happening, seeing them explode in population, and reading up a lot. I’ve gone from dry gagging to grinning excitedly and holding them in my hands.

And really, how exciting is learning something completely new eh.

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More fascinating reads found here.

And a huge thank you to my mate Sarah who introduced me to these critters in the first place.

 

loving…shared local food and kindness

bunches of basil || cityhippyfarmgirltomatoes for roasting || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving… shared local food and kindness.

Wonderful and kind people, bringing shared and much appreciated food. A jar full of honey, an armload of fragrant basil, green tomato chutney, a bucket of red tomatoes, garlic, garlic garlic, a bowl of blackberries and a divine blackberry vinegar.

Cuttings, seedlings and favourite seeds. In a transition period when things can often feel different, unsure and completely out of place- being given these locally grown gifts for immediate nourishment and long term edible growing, it’s something that is incredibly grounding.

Brings a smile to the face and a fullness in the heart that no Westfield shopping expedition could ever hope to replicate.

Nope, not ever.

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What are you loving at the moment?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

Owning your shadow

light || Brydie Piaf

Hello. My name is Brydie. For all professional creative goodness endeavours I am Brydie Piaf.

For six years I’ve blogged in the very comfortable space of cityhippyfarmgirl.com

In the last couple of years I’ve written in the pages of Earth Garden Magazine and online for Milkwood. In 2015 I signed up for a photojournalism course. It was something I’d wanted to do yet, but had previously lacked the courage to jump in. Through lots of self doubt and multiple excuses I stumbled forward, ultimately finding myself standing in the classroom doorway, five minutes late for my first class. Breathless from powering up a big hill on my bike, and heart stoppingly nervous.

Nerves didn’t stop me though, I did it… and it rocked my world. Through doing the course, my mind exploded, the bubbles of excitement in my belly grew with each class and with it the onset of different possibilities.

A new perspective was shown, a new website was created and new ideas began to sprout. Things were evolving, as I slowly unravelled towards a direction that gave me delicious air to breathe.

Along with these sprouting  ideas, Brydie Piaf was created.

While cityhippyfarmgirl.com isn’t going anywhere, I still have a lot to say, recipes to share and good, good people to connect with. Posts however, will be taken back to once a week for a bit, until I find my new rhythm, (especially while sorting things out for my family in a new city) also juggling new directions as they emerge.

My other site Brydie Piaf will be entwined a little here, until I work out just how to combine the two websites properly. The pages are a little different, but then again maybe they’re not. It’s a direction that I’m deliciously excited about, and can happily say if I had never started blogging six years, I probably wouldn’t be in this position now.

Time to step up

Time to step into the name that you were given

Time to own your shadow

www.brydiepiaf.com

Summer Berry Tart

Summer Berry Tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Saturday was set to be a big one. A long, heavy going, physically draining day, of which I was really looking forward to as it meant we were trying something completely different (and hey that’s always a good thing right, especially when it comes to creating a garden.)

I also had a sneaky suspicion that our already rather empty fridge and cupboards would look especially sad and sombre after a physically long and heavy day. In preparation for all of this sure I could have gone shopping but…I didn’t. Instead, the night before I made a tart shell, and not just any tart shell, but a tart shell that would happily encase a pile of mascarpone and cream goodness the following day. A drizzle of some delicious local honey and enough summer berries to make it all worth while.

The next day with tired arms and weary feet, the small people helped assemble the tart. With mascarpone whipped, all that was left was to pile all the berries on, one for the tart, one for them. It seemed to work out.

Summer Berry Tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Summer Berry Tart

Pastry

150g cold butter

50g sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

300g plain flour

1 tbls cold water

In a blender, pulse your flour, sugar and butter until it resembles bread crumbs. Tip out to a large mixing bowl and add vanilla, egg yolk and cold water. Knead mixture lightly until it comes together to form a dough. Roll dough between two pieces of baking paper, to about .5cm and rest in the fridge for about half an hour. Shape into your greased tart tray.

Bake blind at 180C for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Allow tart shell to cool completely before you add the middle mixture.

Middle Mixture

300g mascarpone

300mls whipped cream

1 tsp vanilla or scraping of a vanilla pod

2 tablespoons of honey

Whip cream to soft peaks and then gently whip through the mascarpone and vanilla. Spoon mixture into the tart shell and drizzle honey over it all.

Berries

All your favourites, pop them in, and make it look gorgeous.

Eat with enthusiasm and the knowledge that there will be room for a second slice in there.

Summer Berry Tart || cityhippyfarmgirlSummer Berry Tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

January- The Catch Up Edition

It always feels like December is the time to tie ends together and frantically bring the full year to a close. Why I always feel hurried at the end of the year I’m not so sure, it’s not like I haven’t had 11 months to prepare for it.

December however, has come and gone, and now we sit firmly in January. January to me is all about the catch up bits, the pause, the catch your breath before the year inevitably tumbles forward at a cracking speed.

So that’s what this post is about, a few catch ups.

artist as family || cityhippyfarmgirl

First up, you may have heard of Artist As Family. If you have you might also know they’ve been on a three month bicycle peddled book tour for their last year released book, The Art of Free Travel. I was lucky enough to get to their talk at Florilegium in Glebe, Sydney where I had my book signed, my thoughts expanded (and also some most excellent coffee at Brewristas.)

Two pages into the book this is what I had written…

“I feel soft, I feel middle class comfortable, and ridiculously indulged. I’m questioning everything I have. Everything I want, and every thing I thought I needed.”

Have you read the book? What are your thoughts?

urban goats || cityhippyfarmgirl

Now what else?…Goats. Yep goats.

If you ever thought your school would benefit from a couple of goats, well than I think you are onto a cracking idea. For this post I’m over at the honourable Milkwood talking about how you can convince your school to get a goat (or two!) like we did.

And while you are over at Milkwood, I’ve got a holiday bread recipe that you might like to tear a chunk out of, take for a picnic or freeze for later when the inevitable school lunch boxes return…and yes, they will come around again.

And that’s all for the moment people, catch ups are now caught up, and attention is now turned towards my very soggy backyard. 200mls in two days or something like that, rather wet on the toes any way.

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How about you? Has it been raining? Do you have a post I should have read and anything you really should be catching up on?

 

 

 

hello 2016…I’ve been expecting you

sunrise || cityhippyfarmgirl

Well hello there 2016…I’ve been expecting you.

I just had a quick peek back to see what I’d written for the beginning of 2015…it seems I wished for a connected year. I’m happy to say, yes, yes it was. A deliciously intensely packed full of goodness connected year. There were paths that emerged, choices made, with options that were carefully considered and taken.

I’m also happy to say an incredibly full, connected and diverse life was lived, can’t ask for much more than that I say.

Some of those choices that were taken might become evident over the next little while within these blog pages, while others might take a while to be shaken out while I work out the how’s, where’s and who’s, (hang tight with those ones, but we will get there.)

One that I can say for now is, well, I moved. Yep, that was a big one. Still a cityslicker, with hippy tendencies and farm girl aspirations, just with a little more elbow room to move now. It’s a bit exciting to say, my making loaves of sourdough over the washing machine are behind me…hoorrah to that one too!

So new beginnings, a new start, new ideas, and a brand spanking new year…

2016 let’s get cracking.

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But what about you? What have you been up to? How was 2015? What does the brand spanking new 2016 year hold for you? Plans, ideas anything you want to share?

*** Also, also, also….it has come to my attention that for some wordpressy special reason there has been a glitch along the line with the email notifications and people receiving them when there is a new post up. If you haven’t been getting the heads up there is a new post email, please subscribe again and hopefully that will kick-start things once more. I haven’t stopped blogging, I didn’t stop blogging, a glitch somewhere amongst it all is to blame and until I nut that one out, just hold tight and hopefully all will be as it should be shortly. In the mean time, keep checking in, I’d hate for you to miss out on a post.

The smell of change

the little baker || cityhippyfarmgirl

There is a smell of change in the air.

A subtle hint at first,

almost ignored.

But not now,

not now that the distinctive aroma of different is settling in and around.

I wonder what all this will brew?

I’m crazy nervous, and a bit excited. A big breath, and a long exhale right?

I’m pushing around more thoughts in my head at the moment than should be humanly possible. Things will be hard, things will be different, things will be…well changed.

There’s a smell of change in the air, and it’s no longer possible to ignore.

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I also thought I’d take a moment to check in with you guys, the readers.

While I can go off my stats and behind the scenes blog details I do love to hear things straight up. If you are a long time reader of cityhippyfarmgirl, I thank you. If you are a short time reader, hey hello there, awesome to have you here and again thank you.

Now tell me, what is it that keeps you coming back to this site? I don’t mean in a shower me in compliments and let me bathe in blogging glory kinda way, I mean which bits do you like? Which bits don’t work for you, which bits do you want more of?

Would you like to read more bread posts, how to’s, community stories, links to other like-minded people and companies, recipes, frugal living tips, photography, or just the general ‘rambles, waffles and digressions’?

There is a new year coming up and like a blank piece of paper, the possibilities are deliciously endless… errr, saying that it’s highly unlikely I’ll be doing sponsored posts for nestle and huggies any time soon. But if it’s in the umbrella term of cityhippyfarmgirl.com, hit me with your requests if you have them. Bonus points for obscurity! (If you would prefer to shoot me an email rather than leave a comment, I promise I won’t bite…cityhippyfarmgirl(at)gmail(dot)com)