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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Silton, Chocolate, Saurkraut, Peanut Butter, Coconut Yogurt and Indian Runner Ducks

Woke up this morning to rain. That means we can work on some outstanding indoor tasks. Yesterday evening milk was collected. Only a few litres were bottled and the rest is sitting in the spare fridge letting the cream rise. Jean needs cream to make cultured butter as our stocks are a bit low.

Stilton is the next cheese on our schedule. The first change to the recipe is the fat content. Stilton normally has a higher than normal fat level but as a large portion of the cream is gone it seems it won't be a true Stilton. The next modification (accident) is the starter is to be added and left for 30 minutes. Being in a rush to go and feed our cattle their morning hay that little step is overlooked. An extra 30 minutes is added to the rennet time as compensation. Stilton is a slow cheese, 100 minutes here and then a 100 minutes there followed by a long draining period and pressing before crumbing and re-pressing.

After our cattle are fed their half bale of Lucerne their afternoon meal of sprouted grain is prepped. Put the overnight sprouted grain from the colander into a bucket and add some molasses and leave that in the kitchen so we don't forget. Empty the soaking grain from yesterday into the washed colander, rinse that bucket and add the carefully measured quantity of fresh grain cover well with water.

Back in the kitchen to make some chocolate. A big batch of plain dextrose, coconut oil chocolate to be used to make some fudge and other various morning tea delights. Dextrose provides sweetness but doesn't fool the system into believing you are still hungry. Today for a change the coconut oil is melted so that some exact measurements can be taken. In the past it has been a bit slapdash just scooping out large chunks of solidified oil.

5 parts coconut oil
3 parts dextrose
7-8 parts cocoa powder ( usually best to this to taste, we like a more dense chocolate flavour)

The oil and dextrose first and stir a long time. Dextrose is slow to dissolve.

Stir in the cocoa powder until the mix is smooth. Van Houten's cocoa powder is our flavour preference. Then into moulds to set.

After making the big blocks it was time to make some thin blocks with roasted peanuts and another batch with fried coconut chips and some desiccated coconut. These blocks are made very thin for better mouth feel.

The raw peanuts with shell were roasted in the oven at 200 C. Two kilograms worth. Only a small quantity was used for chocolate and the remainder was ground into peanut butter. Some will go into sate and some just spread on toast with honey.

A week ago the last of the cabbage was harvested and it has just sat in the refrigerator for lack of time to process. Today, one was put aside for cooking and half of the remainder went into sauerkraut. Having tried all types of recipes our favourite is a coarse slicing, a little salt to aid juice extraction (done to taste) and a generous helping of Caraway seeds for flavouring. We keep the processing simple. A few minutes of scrunching in a big stainless bowl then stuffed into a clip lock jar. The stuffing is where most of the bruising occurs. The end of a wooden spatula is used to drive the cabbage firmly into the jar. A jar of water is used as a weight and this is left on the kitchen bench for a week before refrigeration.

The coconut yogurt is set up next.

3 x 375 ml jars of 100% coconut milk. Careful here most of the brands have additives. Ayam and A&T brands are the only pure ones found so far.

3 table spoons of Tapioca starch as a thickening agent

1/4 teaspoon freeze dried yogurt culture

Mixed well and poured into small clip lock jars and immersed in water at 40-43 C for 24 hours. Yes it cools down during the night with no one awake to keep up the temperature but just maintain the temperature the next day to compensate.

The Indian Runner ducks started hatching while all this kitchen work went on. As they dried off they were transferred to the nursery in the bath tub.

A busy day with baby chicks. The mother and three from the first incubator batch were transferred to the main pen of chickens. She is a ferocious mum and this task was not simple.

The four chicks from the second incubator hatching did not have the good fortune of a handy broody hen. They are feathering up well and are transferred to the now empty pen of the first batch. This will be the first night outside for these four but they have been spending their days outside during the day and only nights in the bathtub.

The newly hatching ducklings now have a spare container into which they can reside.

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