Monday, March 16, 2015

Home building ideas

One day I would like build a family kitchen and a good pantry. I want to create a warm, welcoming, comforting, smelling kitchen with spicy sections and fresh cut flowers from out the window. The smell of drying chillies and garlic on the sill, the everpresent infusion of tea to the air, the smell of fresh baked bread coming from the oven and bread box, and beneath all that; even a slight hint of the raw smell of uncooked meat, the compost almost ready to be taken out, piquant red wine residue still in the bottom of a glass, and the gentle cinnamon lingering from last nights tea. Honeycomb from the bees would sit in containers ready to be cut onto fresh bread as a tea break from work outside.

My kitchen and sun-room nearby would have home made furniture; places to gather in, cushions, colours, tea mugs never too far away and hanging on hooks many useful items like pottery, pans, and cookbooks lining the underside of benches. During summer months the bench will have pottery bowls full of berries, the room will have smells of ripening mango, nectarine and banana. The smell of fresh cut grass and nectar would enter through the windows or beneath doors and the smell of rain would remain the morning after a storm. On winter mornings sun would stream in through the biggest north facing window like in my childhood home, and on winter nights an aromatic stew would slowly braise on the stove. Warm sourdough would rest on a homemade chopping board many nice mornings of the year, each time the recipe a little different. Herbs hanging, tea ingredients drying, noone worrying about 'mess', just living and being connected with the land outside and being deeply content in this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pea and Ham soup on the farm



1 Havoc Farm Smoked Bacon Hock
2 bay leaves
3 cups dried split green peas, rinsed and checked for stones.
salt and ground black pepper


Place hock in a large pot with bay leaves and 14 cups (2½ litres) water. Bring to the boil, skimming off and discarding any scum that rises to the surface. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

While the meat cooks, place the split peas in a separate pot, cover with 6 cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the water has almost evaporated (about 40-45 minutes).

Lift ham or bacon hock out of cooking liquid, discard the skin, fat and bones and finely dice the meat. Return meat to the pot containing the cooking liquid and add the partly cooked peas, salt and pepper. Simmer gently until peas are fully broken down (about another 40 minutes).
Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with Wholemeal seeded rolls.

Apple and sage sauce

Serve this with BBQ grilled Havoc Farm Pork and steamed garden vegetables.

Combine the following ingredients in a slow cooker.
10 medium apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
Up to 1 cup packed brown sugar (depending on sweetness of apples)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves
squeeze of lemon juice

Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until apples are very tender.

Press mixture through a sieve using the back of a spoon. Give pulp to chooks or worms.

Return apple mixture to slow cooker with the some finely chopped purple sage.

Cook, uncovered, on high 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill up to a week. Or preserve.

Spiced farm garden chutney

To do this weekend
225g onions chopped finely
500g apples cored and chopped
400g tomatoes chopped
110g sultanas, raisins or chopped dates
15g ground coriander
15g paprika
15g mixed spice
15g salt
340g granulated sugar
425ml pints malt vinegar

Wholemeal Rolls for soup on the farm

John, Shona and I had these with Pea and Ham Soup this weekend on beautiful Purukanui Farm after some gardening and cleaning the stone barn.

I got all organic ingredients from the local organic shop Taste Nature in Dunedin, who support a wide range of activities related to sustainability in the local community.


400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
225g stone milled wholemeal flour
handful of sunflower seeds
handful of golden linseeds
1 tsp salt
7g fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp honey
300ml warm water plus more
2 tbsp natural yoghurt

Extra flour or semolina or polenta for dusting.
a little milk, for brushing the tops
seeds for the tops


Mix flours, yeast, honey and most of the water. Mix well and let stand for 5 minutes.

This allows the yeast to properly activate without the controlling action of the salt, and also allows the wholemeal flour to absorb the water it needs. Different wholemeal flours will soak up varying amounts of water so you can add more if it seems to dry. Next add the salt and seeds, and any extra water and knead well for about 8 minutes till the dough is smooth.
Shape the mixture into a ball and place in an oiled container covered with a plastic bag.
Leave to rise in a warm place for a good hour, or until it has almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Cut the dough with a spatula or nicely carved wooden bread shaper into pieces the size of the rolls you want.

Shape the dough pieces into rolls by folding the edges in the sides then turning over and twisting into a tight ball, pressing the sides around, down and under to make a nice smooth top.
Place on a baking tray dusted with flour, dusting in between the rolls so that they will pull apart easily later.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place, until when pressed lightly with a fingertip the dough springs back 80%. If it springs back 100% it is overproved and needs to go in the oven right away otherwise it will start to deflate. If it doesn't spring back much it needs more time, perhaps a cup of hot water inside the bag as well to create a warm humid environment for better yeast action.

Brush the rolls with milk, sprinkle with seeds and then place in the oven.
Pour water into the empty hot pan at the bottom to create steam, which prevents the crust from hardening too quickly, allowing more rise to the bread.

Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped underneath
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.

At this point you will want to eat it hot with loads of butter. However the bread is still cooking, and will be doughy inside. So leave it to cool, and you can warm it up in the oven when ready to eat later.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Zealand and Purukanui Farm

I just moved to New Zealand to the town of Dunedin. I am staying at a beautiful farm looking over Purukanui Inlet and Blueskin Bay in Mihiwaka. Its about an hour bikeride from town, and the views are amazing riding around the hills, and up and down the hills.

These are some photos of the farm and the animals.
 The inlet

The farm
 The apple tree in the back garden with some cabbage and celery

The apiary site where I am taking care od three Warré beehives, skillfully built by Nick Holmes, near Mount Mopanui.

The cobbles

 the bath

Sone local hills I have been riding around.

View from near swampy summit looking south towards Pineapple and Nichols MTB tracks

The view from Swampy Summit west (above) and east (below)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Curly Kale and Zucchini Salad

Kale is extremely good for you. High in iron, vitamins A, C an K, sulphur and fibre, anti-inflammatory and omega-3's. Apple cider vinegar is also anti-inflammatory, and contains the same important nutrients as apples - including pectin, beta-carotene and potassium - plus enzymes and amino acids formed during the fermentation process. The high potassium content encourages cell growth, and prevents that tired lethargic feeling you can get from lack of these nutrients. It also contains calcium and magnesium and enables the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, which aids digestion. 


1/4 red cabbage
1 bunch of Kale
2 zucchinis
1 carrot 
apple cider vinegar
baby tomatoes
a really good olive oil
salt and pepper


Mix equal amounts of vinegar and olive oil together for a dressing.
Finely slice the cabbage and Kale and soak in the dressing.
Peel the zucchini and carrot thinly or use a julienne noodle maker to cut long curly lengths.
Cut baby tomatoes in half
Add salt and pepper and toss

Add things like figs, avocado, chutney and ham....mmm