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.

 

 

 

 

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Lessons in Spring

blueberry flower || cityhippyfarmgirlnasturtium || cityhippyfarmgirl.comnasturtium || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Soft scents and warmer air

protective layers are left discarded,

still green ideas are sprouting

bolting even, given the right time of day

branches and paths are studiously scrutinised

blank spaces filled in

there’s growth to be had there,

and I intend to fill it.

 

 

 

 

Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

Lemon and Olive Oil Cake ||

It’s Sunday and there is cake on our family plates

a soft lemony one

a cake that you could easily handle another slice (or two.)

Made quickly but with love.

Don’t ever think that something made in haste

isn’t without it’s lemony love merits,

that’s just practicality.

Lemon a dn Olive Oil Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

A practical Lemon-And-Olive-Oil-Made-With-Love Father’s Day cake.

Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

4 eggs

400g caster sugar

250mls olive oil

zest of 1 large lemon

juice of 2 large lemons

450g self raising flour

In a mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until pale. Then drizzle in olive oil. Tip out to a large mixing bowl and add lemon zest and juice. Fold through self raising flour.

Pour mixture into two greased and lined cake tins or one cake tin and one muffin tray (this mixture make approximately one large cake and 8 muffins).

Bake at 180C for approximately 45-50 minutes, shorter time for muffins.

Vanilla Plum Jam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Making Jam || cityhippyfarmgirlOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vanilla Plum Jam. It’s my all time favouritey-favourite kinda jam. It’s tarty, has vanilla tones and dollops particularly well onto, well anything that I match it with really.

Lucky for me I like it a lot as I’ve made batch after batch of these babies. It’s that time of year. Vanilla Plum Jam time.

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Have a read here if you are new to jam making or are a bit hit and miss with your jam making methods. It really is a wonderful skill to be able to preserve the season and have even just a little of that knowledge under your belt.

Go on, give it a whirl. Try your hand at jam making.

Crackers, pesto and for the love of good honey- ELC #9

Eat Local Challenge  || cityhippyfarmgirl 

Super duper easy rustic style olive oil crackers, with a carrot top pesto, creme fraiche and a little salt on top.

I had a proud moment with this one, all local, easy, seasonal, very frugal and kid friendly. Yes, kid friendly was the ultimate winner for me. They were gulping them down!

Bliss honey- south coast NSW || cityhippyfarmgirl

They were also keen on getting their hands on this honey. Honey is always a favourite staple in this household and local harvested honey always seem to crop up just at the right time, (like when we are about to run out.)

This one will be drizzled on natural yogurt for an easy after dinner dessert, popped into smoothies, spread on toast with tahini and baked with an oaty combination in the oven. Every drop used.

So where did it all come from?

flour- Demeter Farm Mill

olive oil- Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

carrot tops- Rita’s Farm, Kemps Creek

lemons- Champion’s Organics, Mangrove Mountain

creme fraiche- Pepe Saya

Honey- Sth Coast NSW (bought when we were visiting the area)

Eat Local Challenge || 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 #8

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

loving… seasonal changes

artichoke || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving….

my first ever artichoke to cook…it felt very adult like.

strawberry season || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving…

strawberry season, it’s fast and furious round here and that’s just the consumption of them. Another strawberry crumble was inhaled. (The key to it is the lemon zest, I’m sure of it.)

earth garden || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving…

reading the spring edition of Earth Garden.

flowers || cityhippyfarmgirl

Loving…

light, and so much more of it. It’s there early in the morning and it’s there in the early evening.

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While this week certainly hasn’t been all sunshiney soft light, rainbows, and unicorns. I am really thankful for those small moments captured in these pictures. I’m also loving the fact that we have a functioning healthcare system in this country, (that while it isn’t without it’s problems, is pretty damn good as well.) And I’m loving that.

What have you been loving lately?

[“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]

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.

Cauliflower Curry- Frugal Friday

cauliflower || cityhippyfarmgirlcauliflower curry || cityhippyfarmgirl

The good thing about having a blog is that you can see how you have changed over time. Looking back on your words, thoughts, photos and certainly for me, my recipes. Sometimes I feel those recipes need a little shake up.

Now come winter time, this dish (or a variation of it) often turns up on our dinner table. It’s easy, it’s seasonal, it’s super frugal and it deserved a better picture than this one from three years ago.

easy cauliflower curry recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Cauliflower Curry

1/2 a large head of cauliflower

3 potatoes

3 sticks of celery

6 cloves of garlic

1 finely chopped onion

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder ( a bit old school, but I like it)

400mls coconut milk

Dry fry the spices, onion, garlic (fresh chilli if you are feeling bold) and celery in a little vegetable oil. When they smell delicious, add the coconut milk. Let it simmer for a bit and then add your potatoes and cauliflower. Pop the lid of the pot on and cook it until they are as soft as you like.

curry

last swim

last swim || cityhippyfarmgirl Six months ago, I had promised myself I would swim on the first weekend of winter.

This year, I wanted to know when my last swim would be. Not for the season to have simply just stopped and trickled away. I also wanted a challenge. I wanted it to be dark and cold. As that’s what swimming in winter should be like, shouldn’t it?

The clouds were dark, the water was coolish, and every stroke of that first weekend in winter swim was divine. But now that I had made it to the first weekend of winter, maybe I should push it a little further? Second month of winter?

Or, should I just keep going though out the year? No more chickening out because the water is a bit cool for my delicate constitution. (Perhaps I could be one day brave enough for this?)

last swim || cityhippyfarmgirl

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

While the water was certainly cooler than last time I had been in, it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be. 21C isn’t exactly arctic waters.

The outside air temperature was also cooler than the sea temp, but only recently so. This month just gone by was abnormally warm, not just here in Sydney but across a fair chunk of Australia.

Is what we have to look forward to in our future?

While some people rejoice in that they get to wear their summer clothing almost all year long, this kind of weather scares the hell out of me.

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Climate Council- Abnormal Autumn

Plants confused by extra warm autumn

The music of apples

apple and almond tart recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

apple and almond tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

As his little body seemed to hover above the water for far longer than normal. I couldn’t help but smile. With legs bundled beneath him, his arms outstretched in an open air embrace, and that smile. That huge smile on his face.

Pure and absolute joy.

And it was contagious. Days later I still smiled at the thought of it. That summer imagery of my son’s face mid jump into the pool, will be forever etched into my mind. This was joy at its very best, but it also got me thinking. As an adult, how often do we feel an emotion in its purest form?

When those little legs jumped, he wasn’t performing, he wouldn’t have even known I was watching. He jumped with an expectation that it would be fun and that simple happiness radiated out of him. It shone out of him.

As an adult those true emotions seem to be too easily brushed away. Too often we seem to squash, ignore, or simply refuse to acknowledge them. Never letting them see the emotional light of day as it’s either deemed; not acceptable (quickly brush those tears away) no time for proper acknowledgement (yes, we really need to get going/ do something else) or maybe just too confronting (that feels way too hard!)?

Small feelings of contentment, frustration, annoyance and briefly happy no problem, I can easily visit all of those within the same day. But those whole emotions, that’s something else. Something different.

I think it starts with noticing these smaller ones too though, being aware and really sitting with them for a moment. As an adult our emotions seem to get watered down a bit- so many things to do, multitasking, rushing, clock watching, looking ahead and most of all dismissing. But what about the here and now? What about noticing those tiny bubbles of excitement in the pit of your stomach at that knock on the door. Or stopping to watch your child experience something right before you. What are they feeling? As children, they are usually feeling a hell of a lot, and it can be pretty amazing to be a part of.

Obviously, it’s not always a positive thing. I recently saw something, that in the past had stressed me out greatly. The instant adrenal response was actually really interesting.

Every. Single. Fibre of my body was lit up. Fight or flight, I didn’t have to make that decision but the body response, that was interesting. Really interesting. In this moment, my curious brain actually over rode the stress of it all, (which helped.)

Going back to absolute joy, and that’s what I watched on my daughters face recently. For a music loving family, somehow she had got to being past two years old and had never held ear phones before. Watching her little face discover that there was music coming out of those tiny ear pieces was…exquisite.

To her ear she would hold it, take it back down to her hand, examine it, frown a little and laugh in amazement as she would hold it up to my ear for me to listen to as well. Back to her ear, and then to her hand. This was the most amazing discovery of her morning and it brought pure absolute joy, to both of us.

apple almond tart

apples || cityhippyfarmgirl

While I can’t begin to imply that this tart will bring that kind of pure emotional happiness on eating a slice or two. I can vouch for tiny bubbles of excitement on eating a great apple. Supermarket ones, yep, won’t cut it, not at all. Visit your local farmers markets, find out when the season is, and buy up.

Like watching a little person discover the joy of music coming out of earphones for the first time, a great seasonal apple?

It really can, be absolutely joyful.

Apple and Almond Tart

4 apples- peeled, cored and diced

100g raw sugar

zest of half a lemon

50g almond meal

Pastry

150g cold butter

50g sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp bitter almond aroma (or say 75g marzipan)

300g plain flour

1 tbls cold water

In a blender, pulse flour, sugar and butter until resembles bread crumbs, (add the marzipan in here if using it.) Tip out to a bowl and add almond aroma (omit if using marzipan), egg yolk and cold water. Knead lightly until it comes together to form a smooth dough. Cover and and chill in the fridge for about half an hour. Then roll out for your pie shape.

For your apple mixture, add diced apples, sugar, lemon zest and almond meal. Mix together and spoon mixture into pastry lined dish.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 180C.