Thursday, June 5, 2014

feasting on the family farm

I've been meaning to get back to this post for months but I think it's time I released it in to the ether. This could be read as an ad for the Thermomix (I'm not a consultant) but if you're interested in the gadget it may give you an idea of it's versatility. I rarely use it for all-in-one meals (though I am trying out more of these) but I do use it in the preparation of meals every day. 

Spending the days preparing and cooking meals, with great ingredients, in an iron shed, in the middle of a paddock, is pretty much my idea of heaven. Meals are shared, eaten together outside at the table and at night - around the fire! 

This gives us a little taster of what it will be like when we hit the road in a caravan in 2015!

We’re fortunate to have a basic kitchen set-up on the family farm and it was put to good use this week during our holiday. I didn’t leave home without my Thermomix though.

I had a concise meal plan – with the intention of not having to go in to town, especially to buy any extra ingredients. As it turned out we did need a few extra things but I made sure that my organic produce delivery was timed to coincide with our departure of Sydney.

These are some of the meals we ate during our week away from civilisation...

It’s times like this that the Thermomix comes in to its own – as a versatile tool in the kitchen for the preparation and cooking of savoury and sweets.  As well as meals we need snacks and goodies for when visitors pop by. 

I hate waste - especially food waste (and we have to visit the tip to get rid of it) so everything we brought fresh was used. If there was bacon left over from breakfast it was thrown in a salad for lunch. You get the idea!

As well as the Thermomix we have a microwave that doubles as an oven and an electric frying pan.

Below are a few meals I used the Thermomix to prepare.

Breakfasts can be as simple (muesli) or complicated as we like down here, after all we have all day! A few mornings we ate bacon and eggs. Dippy eggs were prepared in the Thermomix (using this recipe) but you have to be careful not to overdo them! 12 minutes was too long.  You can also steam/poach the eggs, which we tried too. My husband is a fiend for Hollandaise and the recipe (from the EDC) is ready in 8 minutes in the Thermomix. We have a BBQ for bacon.

We used the remaining Hollandaise as a dressing for a Caesar salad for lunch.

Passata – One again - here is my roasted tomato passata recipe. Simply bake tomatoes (bruised and battered are fine) with an onion, garlic, fresh basil and chilli (optional) on 200ºc until the onions are soft and tomatoes are beginning to caramelise. Empty them in to a food processor or the Thermomix and whizz until they are a sauce consistency.  I use the passata on pizzas, fresh pasta and a base for lasagne, bolognaise and kidney bean nachos. It freezes well too.

Pizza Bases – I use the recipe from the Everyday Cookbook. You could use gluten-free flour if need be.

Flat Bread – I found this recipe on the recipe community and used it to mop up curry one night.

Pasta – one of the first meals we ate here on the farm was homemade fettuccine. Again, I used the recipe from the Everyday Cookbook. I brought down my pasta roller and rack. J and the kids collected a bucket full of nettle from the gully and some beautiful mushrooms so we ate the fettuccine with a nettle pesto and garlic butter mushrooms. There’s something so satisfying about preparing a meal with basic ingredients, from scratch. 

Lasagne – the béchamel sauce recipe from the Everyday Cookbook worked a treat. I cooked the filling in the frying pan and used ready-made organic lasagne sheets. You could also use thin slices of zucchini or eggplant instead of pasta. 

Green Curry – I was desperate for a spicy dish and the Thermomix makes preparing curry pastes easier than deciding on a jarred alternative in the supermarket (not to mention healthier). I modified a few recipes and came up with my own version (which I've since thrown out!.) I used this paste as one of my inspirations so give it a go if you want a green curry. It’s good and can be used with any meat (or tofu) and veggies. I serve it with brown rice (cooked in the Thermomix).

A shopping list

* As well as a healthy supply of fresh fruit (great for snacking) and veggies (the basics - garlic, onions, and veggies that are good for the week- carrots, potatoes, zucchinis, olives) we also packed the following:

* tins of  lentils, chickpeas and beans which are great for chucking in salads. Our kids also like bean nachos. 

* Quite a few cheeses - mozarella, cheddar, deli cheeses (for pre-dinner snacks), haloumi (for salads) and parmesan for pesto. 

* Nuts - pine nuts (for pesto) and others for snacking.

* Dried fruit for snacking. 

* Flours - pasta, plain and SR. I threw in cocoa (which came in handy when I needed to make a chocolate cake for visitors). If the weather turned I as also prepared to make play dough for the kids so I took food dyes. 

* Milk - not long life. We just travelled with tonnes of ice bricks and stocked up when we ran out. We do like a good coffee on the farm and good coffee means fresh milk. Next time I'll be making yoghurt there instead of buying it, too.

Miss May Blossom

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