Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Friday, March 2, 2012

More food experiments........

And to think, I hated chemistry back in school....but with all this fermenting, preserving, growing and baking....I guess I'm into chemistry of sorts....Ahhh...the fun side of chemistry though.....and on my terms too. You have to be a little crazy to like chemistry experiments.....But I'll get back to that shortly.....

So anyway....I was busy in the kitchen again yesterday....with another batch of Tomato Base happening......this time I had tomato, eggplant, carrot, garlic, garlic chives, sage, rosemary, oregano, and leek......Which all got roasted for an hour or so...then put in the crock-pot on low for the rest of the day.

Today I will strain this mix through the moulix...then add chopped rainbow chard, capsicum, zucchini, and squash, and cook until the veg are tender. It will all get bottled up and put in a hot water bath. This will be another addition to the stock pile for the coming year.

(The bold veg is harvested from my own garden...but please don't think I have a huge garden...I've wiped it out again by picking them....and I'll need to wait for more to grow now)

Before adding it all to the crock-pot
For lunch, both Mum and myself enjoyed some fresh sweet potato that I dug up at the Barrack Heights Community Garden. If this is what I'm in for when my plants begin to mature....I'm excited!

Sweet Potato Chips with runny scrambled egg

Onto some experimenting in the kitchen........ While I knew they existed...I had never seen, nor tasted Spaghetti Squash....Until today! Richard donated two of them to the 'free table' at the gardening course last weekend. I quickly snatched one up and felt no guilt at all, jumping in first....lol

Yep! I harvested all the seed
and they are now drying for next season
As I have never tried this vegetable...it was a little like doing another experiment in the kitchen....A good one though, because we get to eat the end product....So this is what I did to the Spaghetti Squash....
Firstly, cut the squash in half, then scoop out the loose flesh and seeds......
Spray the tray you intend to bake them on....then select some herbs to place beneath the cut halves...I chose garlic, oregano and rosemary.....I thought this might add to the flavour...which couldn't hurt!......

Then bake in a low to medium oven until tender...which was about 45 minutes for this one on 160 degrees Celsius. Once baked...remove from the oven and scoop out the cooked flesh. Add a dob of butter and some salt & pepper to taste....stir through...and enjoy! We had this as an additional vegetable along with fresh beans again from the garden.....
I think I have found my new favourite vegetable...Now I just can't wait until next season, so I can experiment even more with them....I'm thinking it will be nice added to muffins too....What do you think?

Another experiment.........
this time with Campden tablets.......

Richard over at 'Going My Own Way' lives in South Devon...and he preserves his apples by peeling, chopping them up and simply bottling them with a solution made up of 1 crushed Campden Tablet to 568mls or 1 pint of boiled water.
Testing the apples monthly...after 3 months the apples were still crisp to the bite...and after rinsing well...they tasted perfect. He knows this method from memories of his grandmother doing it....So I guess there's something to be said about listening to our Nan's.
Since learning this method back in September I think...I had to give it a go. With fresh beans from my garden...and a better supply from the Community Garden...I figured now was the perfect time to experiment.

So......To one crushed Campden tablet.(which I sourced at my local home-brew supply shop)...I added 568mls of rain water (OR cooled boiled water) and stirred until dissolved.
I then tailed enough beans to fill one clean but not sterilised glass jar. I left the tops on, so there is something to grab when picking the beans out of the jar....and topped it up with the Campden Water. Make sure that you over fill the jar...as to remove any air lurking. You can also use the handle end of a spoon to move the beans around, helping expel any air bubbles. You will notice that the water level will drop if there was any air left in the jar....just top it up again to overflowing........
After the beans, I still had some Campden Water left over........
so I tried carrots too.....After over filling the jars...place the lids on tight....and wait.
It's apparently that easy!!

I will check on these monthly to see how they are going....If it works...after rinsing the vegetables....they will be as fresh as when they went in the jars.

What was your last experiment in the kitchen?

Have you ever used Campden Tablets to preserve fruit or vegetable? 
What do you think?....


  1. Narelle, you are so inspiring! Well done as always - I learn so much from you and your kitchen skills XO

  2. That sauce will taste supern with all those flavour through it. Spaghetti squash is a favourite here, I have had it as spaghetti and just as a squash with butter and salt and pepper.
    Waiting on the results of your experiment.

  3. Oh I am really interested in your experiment with the campden tablets do you think u could do this with cauliflower... I might have to get some tablets and gove it a try.

  4. LHITC: Thanks Sherrie, I think we all gather inspiration from each other...the work you do in your garden to feed your family is inspiration at its highest.
    Debbie: I'm looking forward to the flavour of this batch...I think it will be yummy too. When I started shredding the squash length-ways I only got short pieces...but then found it better if I shredded it from side to side. My DS20 didn't like the texture, but everyone else gobbled it up.
    Carly: Good idea...seeing I have a whole bottle of these...when I do my fruit n veg shopping I think I will put up some more experiments.

  5. Oh I love spaghetti squash but don't think I can grow it here, I tried it once, but looking at yours has inspired me to try it again. Your tomato base looks amazing. I had never heard of campden tablets, and looked them up and they are a type of preservative. Very interesting, I wonder how much would be absorbed if you rinsed them before using.

  6. All this food is making me hungry! I had my first year with spaghetti squash this year and its a fave here too, I tried it in the microwave out of desperation and it worked well.. I just pierced the skin a few times and popped it in for about 10 min testing for softness. It does get really hot, but works a treat when you are running short on time.

  7. Hi and thanks for the link to my blog, you may be interested to hear that the apples are still looking good, in fact we had some in a crumble with some of last years (frozen) blackberries just last week. And don't worry; as long as you rinse the fruit well, you can't taste the campden tablets.

  8. I can tell you now after 24 hours....the lid to the carrot was bulging ready to explode...When I took the lid off, the water was very carbonated..as I think this is not meant to be...I have tossed the carrot into the compost. Carrot NIL, Beans...still going.

  9. Never heard of Campden tablets - what do they contain? And, sadly we've never seen spaghetti squash in this country...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...