Archive for October, 2013

Mulberry cuttings

Ever since friends had their engagement party at a park near some white mulberry trees, I have been keen to go back and get some cuttings. That was years ago: this week I managed to get the cuttings!

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The black mulberries are also great apart from their fruit making just about the worst stains!

I have them in some willow tea. Apparently willow steeped overnight in hot water will make a diy rooting hormone. The kids and I collected a few handfuls from a nearby creek and cooked it up the day before we took cuttings.

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I haven’t ever had much luck with cuttings, but we’ll see how this goes. I’ll post the progress.

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Broad bean and broccoli progress

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The broad beans actually have beans on them! This is the prize bean, a whopper in miss 4’s lexicon.

The broccoli is coming along too:

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I don’t think we’re growing it at the right time of year, but we’ll see how it goes.

Finished bresaola

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The finished product! It has an even, deep color and it’s dried evenly throughout. I didn’t have any mould issues with it either.

The taste is pretty good too. I think I used too much sugar in the cure, and I might revise the spice mix for next time once I work out which aromatics I like.

The internet rightly tells you that you need a meat slicer to properly enjoy it. I don’t have one, and even with sharp knives and patience, it’s hard to get thin slices. If I keep going with curing I may have to invest in one.

Preserved meat update

Canberra will have a very warm day tomorrow, so I have shifted my curing meat from under the house to the fridge. Something about meat and 30 degree temperatures doesn’t sound good.

After I brought it in, I weighed it to check its progress:

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It’s 800g even, which is only 50g above my target weight (1.08 kg x 0.7).

I also unwrapped it to get a good look:

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It looked and smelled ok. No sign of bad mold, just a pleasant meaty smell combined with old wine.

I’ve heard that sometimes curing meat will dry unevenly, and harden on the outside while staying wet in the middle. Apparently the fix for this is re-equilibrating the moisture in a plastic bag in the fridge, so I’m taking the opportunity to do this while it’s inside, just in case.

Spring update 1

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Alpine strawberries are fruiting already!

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Last year’s self seeded grape has bounced back

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Berries (Loganberry?) are flowering

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Last year’s bean teepee was a flop: take 2 in a new position

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Broad beans and purple beans in succession. We aim to use the purple beans as shade each year on the west side of the house. On the far left is mallow, a weed I’m cultivating to eat.

More food to die for

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From gathered mushrooms to old meat: this is my attempt at sort-of bresaola. I hadn’t heard of it till about 3 weeks ago. It’s air dried cured beef. I picked it in a mixture of salt, special pickling salt containing nitrates, sugar, herbs and spices for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Then a quick bath in wine and balsamic vinegar.

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It’s now wrapped in muslin and hanging under the house. It’s really a little warm for this kind of caper: should have been doing this a few months ago over winter. I’m also using the wrong cut of beef: chuck not round. But it’s only a little piece, so if it all goes horribly wrong I’m not throwing out very much. We’ll see in a month or so.

Stay warm, little veggies

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It’s going to be a very cold night after what had been the hottest winter on record in Canberra. To protect or baby tomatoes, it’s stakes, plastic and bricks to form a makeshift temporary cloche. It should be enough to keep the veggies safe. Hopefully it defrosts soon!

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