Monday, February 17, 2014

A weekend of cheese

Had a wonderful weekend down the coast at a cheese making workshop in narooma. 

A makeshift cheese press

Communities of like minded people keep you excited about living slightly outside of the norm and this was no exception. Cheese making - at least outside of a factory/needing to earn a living variety - is an activity that takes a lot of time and yet not much time at all. The cheese making process lends itself to conversation as you wait for the starter or the rennet or the draining process to do its thing! There was ample opportunity to discuss all manner of interesting topics, mostly centred around food and gardens, meals shared together and even some time for me to take a long walk on the beach before going out for dinner with new friends. 

checking the rennet has set

Over two days we made eight cheeses including feta, haloumi and Paneer, as well as yoghurt and ricotta. These are cheeses we eat very regularly, and are not cheap. I had bought a cheese making kit recently from our local amazing hardware store but had been hesitant to make some probably for fear of totally stuff it up and waste a whole lot of milk :)

It was reassuring to see how forgiving the process was, so long as everything is sterilized, you dont overheat the starter and you have good quality ingredients. 

Now looking forward to the advanced weekend later in the year when we learn to make cheddar, mozzarella and Camembert! 

A book that another course attendee had which was reccomended by our teacher Geoff Southam 

Anyone on the south coast interested in attending they have other dates for the same course at ecotel narooma - or find it on the website for small farms network

Now to eat all the samples I brought home and then decide which one to make first :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Off to the show

Well, for my veges, not me :)

I have entered some of my produce in the local agricultural show, also some crochet, some pottery and a kasundi sauce I made the other week.

A collection of herbs - no flowers allowed

While I love doing this and showing what can be grown in a small suburban garden, I experience a huge frustration when I go and them get told that I have presented things wrong. I get told i have failed by leaving one inch of rhubarb leaves not three inches, or am disqualified for having flowers in my collection of herbs - borage, which I grow specifically for its flowers which are amazing in salads.

Root veges must be presented with leaves attached
Cherry tomatoes in bunches
Zucchinis are less than 20cm long otherwise they are marrows
Herbs have no flowers
Rhubarb and silverbeet must be pulled away from the plant not cut, 
Pumpkins must have stems attached
Most specimens must be presented on plates, or in a shallow tray

Any other suggestions people are aware of???

After I explained my frustration and it leading to my not entering anything last year one of the stewards said he would take on the responsibility of drafting a guideline for presenting fruit and veg! They're going to put it on the web so I will post a link once it's up. 

Has anyone else grown fruit or veg for the show before?

This is the link to our local show 

And our figs ripening in the sun :)

Happy gardening...

Saturday, February 1, 2014


This weekend was my old dads 60th :) I'm allowed to call him old now! We had a lovely weekend with a family dinner Friday night, a party yesterday and a trip to the beach with my aunts and cousins today along with my sisters, the kids and a stray husband or two. 

Honeymoon bay is seriously beautiful! And even though the wind was up as we drove in, it was magically calm and sunny in this sheltered bay. 

Snorkeling, sandcastle making, sharing afternoon tea, collecting shells, having water fights with my nephew. The things of summer!

Happy birthday to my dad, hope you too enjoyed this beautiful summers day xx