just a little bread and jam

lime marmalade || cityhippyfarmgirl

lime marmalade || cityhippyfarmgirl

sourdough || cityhippyfarmgirl

Jam in summer, marmalade in winter. That’s how it seems to roll around these parts. A steady supply of preserved seasons to go with the endless sourdough that seems to drift out of my oven. It’s a simple pleasure that never ever gets old.

What have you been preserving lately?

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For something a little different, have a peak at ABC’s Organic Gardener magazine- feeling pretty happy to be squeezed in between the lovely likes of fermentation king Sandor Katz and Kate of Foxs Lane.

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Pumpkin Spiced Cake or when to break the rules

spiced pumpkin cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I knew there was something…but really couldn’t quite gather enough thought process to find out what. And yet slowly whatever it was, it built up. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t draw. I couldn’t take any pictures and I sure as eggs couldn’t think what on earth it was that was slightly sitting out of alignment.

So I stopped. Stopped trying to put my finger on it and closed the lap top. Said bugger the homework. Put another jacket on us all and headed out. The rules of the afternoon, the time constraints, the blah, blah, blah. Yep, today they didn’t count, as today….there would be no rules.

You know why kids can play so beautifully, for so long, so uninhibited? Because their rules are different, and they don’t care particularly if they break them. If the row of animals isn’t put away before going to bed, life turns out, does continue on. If homework isn’t done on a one off Wednesday, doing double the next day is actually ok because the afternoon before, oh it was rather awesome.

So why was it, that it wasn’t until I had stopped, did I realise it was all the rules that were choking me and leaving me on edge? I have no idea. Really absolutely none. But on the upside I know how good it felt when we broke all the rules that afternoon in late winter and I have every intention of doing it again soon.

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Now this is a quite a moist, dense cake, that for me looked like a cake, but tasted like a pie, it kind of broke all the cake rules right there.

Looks like a cake, but tastes like a pie… this was a fine thing to realise indeed.

 spiced pumpkin cake recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Pumpkin Spiced Cake

150g softened butter

150g brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cardamom

zest of a lemon

2 beaten eggs

2 tbls molasses

225g self raising flour

75g wholemeal spelt flour

1 1/2 cups cooked and mashed pumpkin (use less if you don’t like a moist cake)

Cream butter, sugar and spices together, add lemon zest, beaten eggs and molasses. Mix through pumpkin and then fold through flours. Pour mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake for approximately one hour at 180C, (or until a skewer comes out clean.)

Chocolate, Community and Choices

beetroot brownie || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ll let you in on a little secret. This place here, is my number one place to eat out. It doesn’t happen often, actually hardly at all really, but when it does…oh it’s bliss. Sheer bliss.

While this blog is not about food reviewing (and never will be) I can’t help but want to stand on my pedestal and shout…”you really should go there!”

Once in that blue moon period when I do go out, I want to go somewhere that holds similar beliefs to me. Going somewhere where the selling points of a dish are “Salmon from Alaska, oranges from Malta, cheese from Turkey and wine to wash it all down with from Italy”. Nope, it just doesn’t cut it for me, I’m seriously not interested. Tell me the bacon is from a small scale farmer a few hours away, the milk is from the outskirts of Sydney, the eggs are organic and the plated greens were grown three metres away in the small backyard. Now that’s going to make me sit up and pay attention.

Also add to it being some of the best tasting food I’ve ever tasted and I will be scrambling for any opportunity to get a table again.

Now when time ticks by and life gets in the way, their cookbook will be tiding me over. The pages talk of how they started, seasonal eating, not wasting anything and community- all topics of which I’ll happily devour every page, (which is includes this rather tasty Chocolate Beetroot Brownie.)

beetroot brownie || cityhippyfarmgirl

Coming back for a moment, to that wonderful C word that I love so much- community. It’s important to me here in blogland. It’s important to me in ‘real life’ and is also one of the big things that has struck me every time I’ve been lucky enough to eat there. (And it really is a privilege to eat out , for anyone!) Community is something that really seems to jump out at you, even just walking down the street. You can tell that this is a close knit area that really looks out for each other, (which also includes famed sourdough legend, Iggy’s just a few doors down.)

Living in a big city, if you are lucky enough to be in the position of choosing to go out for a meal, then considering where your dollar is going just makes sense. It makes wonderful sense. Combine a little chocolate and community in with those choices and you have yourself a pretty great combination I think.

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Tell me, what are some of your favourite community minded places (or books) to eat or hang out at? 

 

St Albans

st Albans || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Sometimes living in the big smoke gets a little bit too much for me. A ticket out is needed, and some cleaner air needs to be inhaled in. A particularly sunny Sunday at the end of July was going to be just the day to do it.

St Albans was calling. It was an area we had never explored and seemed to be the perfect spot to go for a day trip. Packing three excitable kids in the car and not much else, we headed off.

Turns out it was the perfect spot to go. It was so lovely, I already want to go back. St Albans boasts the historic Settlers Arms Inn, a lovely sandy river bank to play on, no mobile coverage (this is a good thing) and an abundance of leafy green trees to wander around. It also has a kumquat tree laden with ripened fruit, a lovely lady that owns an equally lovely camel, great pub food for when you get peckish around lunch time and the best collection of letter boxes I’ve seen in a long time.

Time stood still. Wonderful lunch was eaten. Clean air was inhaled and I’m very grateful for St Albans being on the map.

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If you are planning a day trip out of Sydney, I highly recommend it, and if you are looking for accommodation in the area, how ridiculously awesome does this place look?

If you have never seen a camel laughing, please scroll to the bottom…this lovely long lashed camel thought my kids jokes were HILarious.

Settlers Arms || cityhippyfarmgirlthe settlers arms- st albans || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

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st albans || cityhippyfarmgirl

camel || cityhippyfarmgirl.com  letterboxes || cityhippyfarmgirl

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Love, Lavender…and well, pickles

sri lankan love cake recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

daikon pickle || cityhippyfarmgirllavander || cityhippyfarmgirl

Getting a daikon in my vegetable box was met with a little ooooh, now what might I do with that? I’d never cooked with them before, hadn’t seen any recipes and quite possibly I wasn’t sure I’d even eaten any before either. Hooray for delivered vegetable boxes I say, because it completely gets you out of any cooking ruts you might have accidently fallen into. It’s now a vegetable I actively seek as, in this super simple pickle form, well it’s quite delicious.

Little sprigs of lavender are constantly gracing my kitchen window sill. We have a prolific bush out front that produces and produces. Easily adding a little purple distraction to an other wise messy and cluttered tiny kitchen. Distractions like these are most welcome.

Now it had been awhile since I had made Sri Lankan Love Cake. Quite awhile. My love for anything Sri Lankan orientated hadn’t dwindled since I had last baked it, so there was a certain amount of nostalgic mixing on putting the cake together. I had scrubbing elephants in a river to think of, small beach side swinging hammocks to fondly recall and food. Rather a lot of delicious food, that really is something else.

Love Cake recipes seem to vary a fair bit, and as I’ve never actually eaten anyone else’s Love Cake, (sounds slightly raunchy doesn’t it) I’m really not sure how my version (s) compare. Online recipes seem to have rather a lot of eggs, which I haven’t used quite so much here. I have tweaked it a little bit since the last time I baked it though, and using the rose petals rather than rose water. I like this edition a little better and visually, well it’s hard to take a bad picture if something is sprinkled in icing sugar and showered in rose petals….I think even a sausage would look good with that combination.

Sri Lankan Love Cake recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl  copy

Love Cake

150 gms crushed cashew nuts (cadjunuts)

150g semolina

2 eggs

4 egg whites

150g sugar

150g softened butter

2 tbls rose petals

1 1/2 tbls brandy

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, brandy, rose petals, spices and cashew nuts. Fold through semolina.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks appear and fold into mixture. Cook in a square tin, greased and lined with paper, (or well greased bundt tin as I have here). Bake at 180C for approximately 25-35 minutes or until golden.

 

Pumpkin and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup- ELC #6

pumpkin and jerusalem artichoke soup || cityhippyfarmgirlOn a weekend out of the city recently, there was talk of visiting a local farmers market. I quite like talk like that, even if I’m the one who initiates the talk (ahem).

So to market we went. Buying up on some lovely locally grown organic vegetables, a succulent for $2, and a chopping board. Now I’d been on the look out for a little board quite awhile now. Time was passing, calendar pages were changing their years and still, I hadn’t found quite the ‘right’ board. I knew they were easy enough to make, but I just didn’t have access to any decent wood.

Then I came across ‘The Man at the Markets’, a man who who knew his chopping boards, and every tiny piece of the different woods behind them. After a general chit chat about the weather and the local area, we started talking about the boards he had for sale. Giving each one a run down on the type of wood it was and how to look after them, and what I was going to do with it.

It was this little one that caught my eye though, asking him about it, it turns out it was from an old skirting board from an equally old house just a short distance away from the markets. You can still see the nail holes if you look closely.

It seems I had found my board. It was locally made, recycled, looked good and seemed to fit pretty well with the pumpkin soup I had planned to serve with it. (What type of wood it is, I’m embarrassed to say I have no idea. The man did tell me, but it seems I forgot as soon as I stepped out of the market area….lovely wood I think it’s called now.)

pumpkin and jerusalem artichoke soup || cityhippyfarmgirl

Where is my food coming from?

Pumpkin- Red Bank, Eurobodalla

Jerusalem Artichoke- (Crave Natural, Apple Tree Flat)

Creme Fraiche- (Pepe Saya, Sydney)

 Interested in taking the challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

Eat Local Challenge #5

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl