Sure, it’s not Tintinhull but this herb garden is bellissimo.
When you don’t have a lot of space or budget to employ full time gardeners, simply fill a few, well-drained boxes with organic potting mix and start planting. This shot was taken in a coastal Italian walled village, perched high on a hill overlooking the sea. Kerry and Nick spotted these herb boxes when they were walking down a steep cobbled stone path. Becoming self sufficient can be very satisfying. Basil is on the right. What herb do you think is on the left?
Archives For July 2012
Kerry’s Utopia at Tintinhull National Trust House, Somerset,UK.
This lusciously abundant, manicured vegie patch is a food stylist’s dream. Every single plant was exactly the same distance apart. Every fruit and vegetable was without a blemish. And not one single weed was to be seen. Of course, there were full-time gardeners a-plenty armed with old-school trowels, lurking in every crevice. Other than mint, lettuce and rhubarb, can you spot any other green-leafed plant?
Strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry. Any berry.
Kerry likes to source her raspberries from Mr Wolfe, a well-known grower in the southern Tassie region. You may remember seeing Mr Wolfe’s raspberries adorning Nick’s pavlova (posted here on 19 February). This method was given to Kerry by her neighbour, Mary, an international jam maker. Don’t spread it around!
2lb or 900g fruit
2lb or 900g sugar
Warm your sugar slightly in the oven.
Place all your fruit into a pot on a low heat to soften and start the juices running.
Add your warmed sugar.
Bring to the boil.
To make a jam that has the right consistency, Mary, the international jam maker, recommends you invest in a food thermometer so you can make sure the mixture reaches exactly 104C. It’s at this temperature that the acid and the pectin in the fruit react with the sugar, resulting in perfectly-set jam. This recipe can be used with any type of fruit. It’s not exclusive to berries.
Winter is the ideal time to make jam because you’re not as busy in the patch. Kerry freezes her fruit in the summer months to make sure she has the sweetest and juiciest main ingredient.
Georgie’s ‘No Knead’ Bread has been pinned.
Seeing this toasty recipe has been so popular, we thought we should post it again.
Here’s the link (and scroll down).
3 cups of white flour (strong bakers flour or bread flour not all purpose cake flour)
1.5 cups water
1 and 1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of instant dried yeast
Bring together the ingredients until just combined.
No need to knead it at all. The dough should be quite sticky and wet Leave in a clump in the middle of the bowl and cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap.
Put in a draft free place such as a cupboard for about 12-20 hours.
HINT (closer to 20 hours allows the flavour to develop but if you leave it too long it will start to turn alcoholic so don’t leave it too long. 24+ hours is too much). When you pull the mixture out of the cupboard it will be very bubbly and have doubled in size but it will look like a pool of wet mess seeing this is quite a wet dough.
Lightly flour your work bench. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured surface. You want to keep as much air in the dough as possible, so Georgie use a spatula or a plastic dough scraper to help the wet dough out of the bowl without pushing too much air out of it. As you pour it out, you will see all of the lovely strands and strings of gluten that have developed overnight. This is what gives the bread good structure once it is bakes, making it less like a cake.
Yeast does not add flavour, time adds flavour. By allowing a long fermentation time we allow flavour to develop. Adding only a small amount of yeast allows the dough to ferment for a long time without turning to alcohol. Do not be tempted to add more yeast. A long time with high water content allows the gluten strands to become ultra-hydrated and become strong, the same strength we give to gluten when we knead it furiously for 20 minutes when making traditional loaves of bread.
Fold the dough up like you would an A4 piece of paper into a DL envelope. You can also spin it 90 degrees and fold it again but Georgie often finds she doesn’t have enough slack in the dough to do this. The whole time you are aiming to keep as much air in the dough – so do not flatten it EVER.
Flip the dough so the seam side is down. Dust the top with semolina, polenta, rice flour or regular flour. Let it rest for 20 minutes on the bench while the oven heats. Just before putting it in the pot, slash a big deep slash across the top of the dough or a big X. (You can play around with this configuration for fun).
Put a cast iron pot with the lid on into the oven and turn the oven on to 250 degrees celcius. When the pot is piping hot and the oven has come to its 250 degree setting, remove from the oven and place your dough into the hot pot. It will look scrunched but it will be OK.
Put the lid back on and put in the oven for 30 minutes keeping the temperature of the oven at 250 degrees. This stage allows the moisture to escape from the bread. Because it is in a small, hot space (the pot) it steams itself and forms the basis for a good crust. This is replicating the steam injectors that exist in commercial ovens.
After 30 minutes take the lid off and put the pot with the bread back in the oven for another 30 minutes to let it brown up. Allow the bread to become a lot more dark than you might think. This will give the crust a very good ‘crunch’. If you tap on the underside of a loaf when it’s just out of the oven, it will sound hollow when it’s cooked through.
Leave it to cool on a cake rack – here’s the song!
Try and hold out for 30-60 minutes before cutting into the bread to let it set if you cut straight away it will be a bit doughey. You will hear crackling sounds as the loaf cools, this is referred to by bakers as ‘the song of the bread’.
The bread stores for about 3-4 days and is delicious for toast. Wrap it in a tea towel or a paper bag to keep.
We wouldn’t say it’s raining eggs but there’s a shower or two.
As we reported on 15 June, The Menagerie hens have been busy making fine feathers rather than fine eggs. After a month of preening, they are back on the lay. Nick is collecting at least two every day. What’s your favourite way to cook eggs, Nick? Boiled (with soldiers), poached, fried, scrambled, florentine, benedict, eggs over easy or sunny side up? A welcome change from porridge, no doubt.
A recipe from Georgie. But not the ‘No Knead’ bread Georgie.
A Friend of The Menagerie, Georgie Hanby, has been kind enough to share her favourite soup recipe with us. She is a big believer in its medicinal qualities and says it’s a cinch to make, even when you’re on death’s door. She swears by the first ingredient (packet noodle soup). However, according to Kerry, chicken stock is a good substitute if there’s no packet soup in the cupboard.
Ingredients: (makes about 4 litres)
3 packets of your favourite chicken noodle soup.
3 big brown onions.
3 large carrots.
Half bunch of celery – including the leaves.
At least one MASSIVE bunch of flat leaf parsley and anything else green you fancy.
As much garlic as you like – at least 4 cloves.
As many red Birdseye chilies as you can handle.
3-4 free range chicken breast fillets.
The best quality olive oil you can afford.
Murray River pink salt (is there any other?).
Note from Georgie: You should add ingredients as you see fit. Love Rosemary? Get it in there. Throw in some rocket. Make it your own.
Method: (Ready as fast as the water boils)
You can chop by hand if you fancy, but when Georgie makes this soup, it’s needed in a hurry. So, she uses a food processor to make haste.
She says to: Blitz the proverbial out of the onion, carrot and celery; to create a finely diced mirepoix. Heat some olive oil in your biggest soup pot and sauté your mirepoix. Pop the kettle on, you’ll need to add boiling water soon. Once your mirepoix is nicely softened, add the boiling water, and all 3 packets of soup. Add another 2-3 litres of cold water, and let it come to the boil.
Back to the blender to blitz all remaining ingredients – chicken, chilli, parsley and garlic. You’ll end up with a chicken mince flecked with parsley and chilli. As soon as your soup has come to the boil, add your mince mix to the soup and stir to ensure it all breaks apart and is evenly distributed. (Georgie says to use a giant whisk). The chicken cooks instantly. Season to taste and imbibe immediately.
Note: If you want the soup to be thicker, add Acini De Pepe (that really teeny, tiny Italian soup pasta). But Georgie says, ‘be warned’: wash it well and only add it in the last 4 minutes of cooking – it has a tendency to mush up and turn the soup gluggy. If you’re making a big batch and planning to freeze and reheat, omit pasta and only add later when you’re reheating and ready to eat.
Work in progress – three months down the track.
You may remember our post on the 1st April, showing the sketches of The Menagerie’s new gate. Nick has been busy bringing his French-inspired design to life. He now needs to insert all 50 rivets – heating each one as he goes, making sure the gate is square at the same time. Stay tuned for an upright update.
Ingredients and method:
The last of The Menagerie’s fennel was picked the other day, so Kerry made her famous ‘no-cream’ coleslaw.
Thinly slice 1 red cabbage. You can use green cabbage too, red is just our food stylist’s (Kerry’s) choice.
Grate 1 carrot and 1 radish.
Finely slice a few of the fennel ‘shells’ with a vegetable peeler.
Kerry’s dressing is made from lemon juice, olive oil, vino cotta (a thick, sweet vinegar), salt and pepper.
Matched with a bottle of red and camembert cheese.
It’s not every day you’re asked to make sausages. So, when Kerry and Nick’s friends, Jude and Dan, extended the invitation, our two Menagerians accepted immediately. And so, with 5kg of seasoned pork mince at-the-ready, these gastronomes created Tassie’s most sought-after snags. They were also lucky enough to savour Jude’s homegrown goat and cow’s milk camembert.
Scarf by Kerry’s mum, Carole.
Made with 3 scones of Patons Romance 8ply Merino Rich Cashmere.
Used 6mm knitting needles. Stocking stitch (first row plain second row purl). Repeat first and second until desired length. Carole’s scarf is 35 stitches wide. TIP: Don’t forget that the wool will curl in.
Pom Poms by Kerry.
Made with Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran. Cut two cardboard circles and poke a hole in the middle. TIP: The wool that ties the pom poms together needs to be very long. Use it to attach the poms poms to the scarf. There are plenty of youtube clips or you can buy a pom pom maker.
Thanks to Jaynie Campbell Driver (aka Soup) for her props.