loving…words, jungles and cake

Loving…listening to inspiring words at the Newcastle Writer’s Festival this weekend. Mind bendingly good. So good.

Loving…watching my kids rolling on the ground and laughing until tears squeezed out their eyes and breath would only come in gasps. What on earth was so funny? Truth be told, not a lot, but when you combine an impromptu short story you are telling with a few bum jokes, well you’ve pretty much made it to Parent of The Week.

Loving… creating a special occasion lazy version of a Black Forest Cake. No, actually not a lazy version…lets strike that one and rename it. Economical, lets fly with that one, (and yes it did look a bit 80’s style.)

Loving… the sun finally coming out for longer than an hour or two. While it did highlight the fact that a jungle of tarragon has replaced the backyard, it also brought all the bees out to play, and that dear people, is a beautiful thing.

How about you? What are you up to this weekend? What are you loving at the moment?

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[“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]

I hacked the recipe, but if you want the original Black Forest Cake, try here.

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.

 

 

 

 

Best Ever Chocolate Muffins

best ever chocolate muffins || cityhippyfarmgirl

“Mama these are the BEST EVER CHOCOLATE MUFFINS!”

The pint sized food critique didn’t have a whole lot of chocolate muffin eating experience to go on, but I ran with her bold statement and have therefore named these, one egg- not crazy chocolatey- not super rich- easy peasy- lunch box muffins to be….the Best Ever Chocolate Muffins (some things in life you don’t need to argue about.)

Arguing against licking the spoon is also pointless, it’s a birth right for who ever is home with me when cakey kind of good things are being made.

best ever chocolate muffins || cityhippyfarmgirlbest ever chocolate muffins || cityhippyfarmgirl

Best Ever Chocolate Muffins

1 egg

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

100mls grape seed oil

2 tsp vanilla

3 tbls cocoa powder

1/2 cup natural full fat yogurt

1/3 cup milk

300g (2 cups) self raising flour

In a mixer add egg and sugar. (If using an Assistent Original, medium speed for four minutes.) While mixing slowly drizzle the grape seed oil. Add vanilla, cocoa, yogurt and milk (low speed for one minute.) Add self raising flour and gently fold in.

Divide mixture into muffin trays and bake at 180C for approximately 25 minutes.

Eat with enthusiasm.

Kitchen Creations

crackers || cityhippyfarmgirl

The last few months have seen a lot of these crackers being made. Dead easy to make, with only a handful of ingredients in them. My recipe is over on the forever wonderful Milkwood blog if you are interested. (Just quietly, you’ll never walk down the cracker aisle again…this is an excellent thing.)

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Tomatoes in all shapes and sizes, forms and colours, (and just as they should be) are working their way on to my kitchen bench top. Some grown by me and some via my OOOOBY box.

rocky road  apple || cityhippyfarmgirl

Ahh, now what’s this beauty I hear you say? Which is pretty much what I said when I walked passed a particularly enticing window display that I hadn’t seen before. I quietly go to the chiropractor one evening with no expectations of purchasing anything besides ongoing good healthy (thank you chiropractic care) and come home with this divine little chocolate encased creature. I hadn’t seen apples done like this before…how on earth could I say no? (And yes, there was a crispy, crispy fresh apple under there.)

cream || cityhippyfarmgirl

There has also been some Eton Mess experimenting done. This experimenting shall continue as much like the apple above, I was impressed, oh yes I was.

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How about you? What’s been happening in your kitchen lately? Have you seen apples like this before? Are you a fan of Eton Mess? And crackers- do you make your own? (ps. If you would like to give this recipe a go and are on instagram tag them #supermarketcrackerspffft I’d love to see them!)

Linking in with Ms Celia today and lots of other amazing kitchen goodies.

Cinnamon Bun Day

cinnamon buns recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl This year I was organised. This year I had planned to bake, and bake oh yes I would. I would bake these delicious cinnamon bready bundles of goodness and I would know I did it on the right day. Cinnamon Bun Day, which was yesterday, the 4th of October. Not quite with me? Let me explain for those that are new to my scandi obsession. the summer book || cityhippyfarmgirl I’m a lover of anything Scandinavian. Viking history, Vikings to watch (this awesome bloody show), this beautiful book, given to me from my favourite Norwegian friend and blogger. I eat knekkebrod with gusto, mix bread with an Assistent, wear Danish boots with pride, think Figgjo retro kitchenware is the bees knees and come the 4th of October, well I’m baking buns… Cinnamon Buns. For these little bundles of Scandinavian dough goodness I used my recipe from last year. Untweaked and left alone surprisingly. Common sense told me I shouldn’t be bothering  messing about with a recipe that worked. For once I listened to myself. For more posts on all things Nordic, see here and here, where you’ll find all things knekkebrod, last years buns (which were twisted), and other Scandinavian obsessions that I may have had in recent times.

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Do you have any particular country obsessions? 

cinnamon buns || cityhippyfarmgirl

Cinnamon Buns

250g  sourdough starter

1 tsp commercial yeast

675g strong bread flour

250mls milk

200mls water

100g sugar

100g softened butter

1 tsp cardamon

1 tsp salt

Cinnamon mixture

100g softened butter

100g raw sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Add all dough ingredients together, mix well and then knead until dough is elastic on a lightly floured surface (I use my mixer.) Dough should be well incorporated and feeling smooth. Pop the dough back into the mixing bowl and leave to prove for a couple of hours, with a fold or two in between, (or covered and over night.) On a lightly floured bench, roll the dough out to a rough rectangle, add cinnamon mixture and cut into portions. Line on a tray and bake at 200C for approximately 15-20 minutes (depending on the sizes.)

Leek and Potato Soup- ELC #8

Leek and potato soup- eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

leek and potatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’m not going to fancy this one up. There’s no verjuice, cream of, foam, quinoa or chia in there. It hasn’t been slow roasted, caramelised or reduced. It also waves a sugar, gluten, dairy free flag and that’s because it uses super fresh grown with love farmer fresh produce.

It’s Leek and Potato Soup.

Like I said, no fancy pants here. Leeks, potato, a half head of cauliflower for added good measure and water. Cook that all up until soft, blitz it with a hand held blender and delicately drop a little thyme from the kitchen window sill on the top. Add some of my favourite salt and dinner… is done.

leek and potato soup || cityhippyfarmgirl

Where did it all come from?

Potatoes- Naturally Grown Naturally Better, Crookwell, 240km

Leeks- Rita’s Farm, Kemps Creek, 50km

Cauliflower- Rita’s Farm, Kemps Creek, 50km

Thyme- my windowsill

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Have you checked out Give a Fork yet, run by Sustainable Table? You should, you definitely should. They are running a compaign during the month of October on #wastefree meals.

“Share a #wastefree meal with mates during the month of October and raise awareness and funds to help build a food system that is good for the environment, fair on Aussie farmers, ethical and healthy.”

eat local || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Interested in taking the Eat Local 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 #7

Eat Local Challenge #6

Eat Local Challenge #5

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Raspberry Bakewell Tart

Raspberry Bakewell Tart easy recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ll admit, there was a small evil mother moment pause in the kitchen that particular morning. It was brief, and the thought process went pretty much like this.

I love bitter almond aroma, it would go perfectly in this tart…

…they all hate bitter almond aroma*

Oh!… And there you have it.

The rather large option of an entire tart to yourself because you put something in there (which is delicious and wonderful and makes your mouth sing) or…you could omit it because you are a considerate mother and probably shouldn’t be eating a whole family sized tart to yourself anyway.

Ahh, the dilemmas…

Raspberry Bakewell Tart recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

raspberry bakewell recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

How about you? Do ever have these kitchen conversations with yourself? What would you have done?

* bitter almond aroma is this stuff here if you aren’t sure

Raspberry Bakewell Tart

Pastry

150g cold butter

50g sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

300g plain flour

1 tbls cold water

In a blender, pulse flour, sugar and butter until resembles bread crumbs. Tip out to a bowl and add vanilla, egg yolk and cold water. Knead 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 15 minutes.

Filling

150g softened butter

150g raw sugar

150g almond meal

3 beaten eggs

zest of a lemon

optional bitter almond aroma

approximately 125g fresh raspberries

handful of almond flakes

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except the raspberries and almond flakes. Gently fold through the raspberries and spoon mixture into pastry lined pie dish. Scatter the almond flakes on top and bake for about 45 minutes at 180C or until golden.

Easy As Biscuits and doing what you can

snack time biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently hosted a particularly nasty guest, called virus.

For weeks.

Yes, (too many) weeks.

It seems half the city is currently hosting under similar circumstances and I can tell you, it hasn’t been pretty.

Walking (dragging) our feet to school and it’s like a conga line of Village of the Doomed. Cough, cough, cough, sneeze, and cough from every street corner. It’s not just any cough either. It’s a lung squeezing, lift your feet off the ground kind of cough that leaves you gasping for air and clinging on to the closest adequately secured devise around, (telegraph poles excellent, small rickety fences- not so much.)

We walk, and bleary eyes meet. A slow blink of understanding, and brief head tilt towards each other. We are understood. The healthy ones file past. Determined in their stride, they look joyously towards a hopeful horizon, they have their health, and anything is a possibility. Not us though, eyes are dark, sunken and averted in an effort not to talk to anyone that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Now once all the fluid had partially drained from my head, ears, eyes, lungs. I was left with a small urge to bake. Not a big one mind. It certainly wasn’t going to be a three course dinner extravaganza, with a conveyor belt of baked goods throughout the day in a lead up to dinner.

No. All I set out to do was bake some biscuits. Lunch box stuffing, hollow legs, hunger nags and after dinner top ups kind a biscuits, (cookies if you are in the land of stars and stripes.) They worked out, filled up bellies and I’m now counting on two hands how many times they’ve been made since.

a little snack biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

Now during this time of compulsory hosting, it became terrifically clear that…

1/ I was really going to have to take some time out of the kitchen while getting better.

2/ Life would continue on. It seems I need these kind of health shake ups occasionally to remember these things. Those moments of not pushing yourself, instead just doing what I can and when I can.

Yep, pretty simple really.

Easy As Biscuits

200g melted butter

100g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

50g sunflower seeds

200g rolled oats

handful of sultanas

handful of chocolate buttons

150g wholemeal spelt flour

1 beaten egg

Add all ingredients together, mix it up and roll into balls with slightly dampened hands, (stops it sticking.) Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Store in airtight container and eat with enthusiasm, (and try not to cough.)

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.

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

The Stars Dance Again

lemon and vanilla stars || cityhippyfarmgirl

lemon and vanilla stars recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Soon our school will be holding it’s annual school disco again. Flicking through my archive of short stories, I was reminded of this post. That little almost convulsing dancing boy I still see in the playground from time to time. He’s bigger now and probably doesn’t even remember that intense dance-off he once did. I did though, and it still gave me a chuckle just reading about it.

In honour of school disco’s and the joy of uninhibited dancing, I made a few more of those dancing star biscuits.

lemon and vanilla stars simple recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

 lemon vanilla stars

200g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp lemon rind

225g plain flour

squeeze of half a lemon

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and lemon. Then mix through the flour. Roll between two sheets of baking paper, and chill a little in the fridge.

Cut out stars and bake at 170C for about 15 minutes.

This dough also freezes easily into a log, just cut off rounds to bake as you need them.

school disco essentials…surely