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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weeding, Mozzarella, Tomato Puree

Finally a cool day. A steady breeze blew across the valley and with the humidity it felt like a cool sea breeze. Making the most of the conditions the various bean beds received a weeding. Weeding is something we are not good at performing. Not so much the action but the regularity of the activity. The measure of out laziness was the number of barrows of weeds that went into the compost. At least today we got a start with all the bean beds finished and a good watering afterwards. Hopefully this will provide the inspiration to complete some of the other vegetable beds. The problem is that having taken a few days to relax and read a pile of books it becomes increasingly more difficult to venture out and get stuck into the many outside tasks.

Originally the plan for today was to make the cows milk version of Manchego known as Hispanico. But Jean wanted some Mozzarella for a dish in tonight's meal. It is the last supper for her mum who is catching a late night bus back to Stanthorpe. And so Mozzarella it is. I did cheat and read a few chapters during some of the shorter steps but managed to get other tasks finished or started. The recipe followed was from Neil and Carol Willman's book Home Cheesemaking.
A lot of Mozzarella
Since we are going to have a lot of Mozzarella it seemed necessary to make up some sour dough pizza base to be used in tomorrow nights meal which surprisingly is going to be pizza. Probably the best time of year for pizza since there is so much fresh produce in the garden which is suitable for the dish.

Pizza base dough mixed and souring overnight
Jean and her mum spent a productive hour in the Tomato bed harvesting enough fresh tomatoes for me to puree and bottle. Getting lazier every year. This time the tomatoes were sliced in half to confirm there were no grubs and stuffed into a heavy based pot on low heat. Once there was some semblance of liquid in the bottom a bit more stuffing occurred and then the mix broken up a little more with the stick blender. The entire batch was brought to a slow rolling boil and the stick blender poked about to ensure no oversize pieces that might block the funnel. The bottles for filling were just a collection accumulated from various sources. They have been processed through the dishwasher for sterilisation and the heat from the sauce will now be enough to ensure nothing nasty happens. We still have plenty left over from last year and this years meagre harvest will have little impact on our stores.
One of our best acquisitions many years ago is this simmering pot which has a really thick base and nothing ever burns or sticks

A motley collection of jars but they work and more importantly get used more than once before recycling. Always seems a waste to use a new jar only once or buy jars when so many are thrown out.

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