Tuesday, February 21, 2012

kitchen: making

There has been much making and baking going on in this house. Not to worry about our fairly unproductive garden of late, as our neighbours have kindly given us much of their excess. A very slight shift in weather has re-ignited my interest in the world of preserving and other such things. I'm starting to feel Autumn. Which, I think, has to be my very favourite season of all. Have you been feeling it too?

Back to the food.

Baskets of sour apples and over a kilo of blackberries landed on our doorstep. Some were made into the most delicious crumble (Nigella's recipe from this book). Twice.

Even more were made into Blackberry and Apple jam.

And once that was done, I think I may have caught the preserving bug all over again. There is still a whole basket of apples left. I'm thinking of making this.

You might remember me saying a little while ago that I wanted to make sweet chilli sauce? My chilli harvest this year has been one whole chilli. So far anyway. But that's one whole more than any other year, so that one chilli was cause for some excitement. That, of course, wasn't anywhere near enough to make a sauce. So I simply bought a big bag of chillies (from that place that we don't like to talk about) and made a batch from that. The recipe made seven bottles worth. I left out the ginger because I didn't have any on hand.

As much as I would have liked the chillies to be organic, they weren't. But I do know what went into it. Let me just say that there is a world of difference between bought/processed and homemade sweet chilli sauce. But I think you may already know that. I used this recipe (I used a mixture of whatever vinegar I had on hand).

And then I made yoghurt. I've made yoghurt before, just not in a long time. To tell you the truth I was a little tired of the whole temperature, oven and thermometer fussing involved. I always told myself that when I had more time I would get back into the swing of making it weekly again.

Then I remembered Tammi's method and thought to give it a go. The method seems to suit me very well. Kind of like the lazy guide to making yoghurt. Using that favourite appliance of mine, the slow cooker.

It worked. Just remember to leave it to strain in the muslin afterwards. It really gives the yoghurt that thick, rich quality. It puts a smile on my face when I open the fridge. Funny how making things yourself can fill one with a certain sense of satisfaction. I'd been missing that lately.

Have you been feeling a little Autumn-like too? What have you been making/planning to make?


Jode said...

You have been very busy...how do you get it all done with a bub??
I love Autumn too and can't wait for it to arrive this year...always makes me want to bake and sew and have the slowcooker going with some lovely stews!
I like the look of your chilli sauce...we have a few chillis that the birds have left us so perhaps i shall give it a go!!

Bee Girl said...

Everything looks absolutely delicious! I can't wait for the fresh fruit here!

Tammi said...

I love this post Tania and can well imagine the smells that must have been waffling from your kitchen. I too get a great sense of satisfaction from cooking from scratch :)
That apple butter sounds interesting. Hubby has a friend at work who LOVES chillies and has the most amazing garden...he gave us a bunch before our holiday and you are right, homemade sweet chilli sauce is so much nicer in flavour.
Now that our two have returned to school I've been doing a glutton of baking to keep us well stocked.

ps...We are still having searing hot days here...roll on Autumn!!

Serena said...

This is my way of making yoghurt. Things you need: a yoghurt maker (mine was op shopped-a thermos also works), one litre of UHT milk and a yoghurt starter culture (mine came from greenlivingaustralia.com.au-about $12 buys enough for 80-100L yoghurt).
Put the UHT milk into the inner container, add the starter culture and shake it up. Fill the bottom of the thermos with boiling water, put the inner container in, close the lid and wait about 8 hours. Easy! No heating since the UHT milk has already been heated and the boiling water warms it up enough.

Tracey said...

I am just gearing up for canning season and taking stock of the pantry to see what needs attention this year. I can't wait!
I always make yogurt in the crockpot, super easy.

dixiebelle said...

Busy, busy here. Gardening, harvesting, preserving, enjoying, thinking, planning. Have Pasta Sauce in my FV right now. Expecting my All-American Pressure Canner to arrive any day now. The pantry (my linen-closet-come-stockpile-and-pantry) is full of jars of relish, passata, sauce, fruit, and jams!

Ths weather has been both Summery and Autumny, hasn't it. Some cool mornings and afternoon storms, but hot and sticky in the middle of the day still too!

Jacq Cue said...

I have tried to make yogurt a few time with out success! I might just have to try the slowcooker version, it looks completely manageable, Thanks for the link!

Jane said...

Lovely post. Gotta love neighbours with excess fruit. And that sweet chilli sauce looks good. Our garden efforts have not been terribly rewarding this year either but we bottled ten kilos of cheap ripe tomatoes from the market. At least we know they're Australian as opposed to most of the tinned ones which seem to be imported. Same, I'm sure, with sweet chilli sauce. Bring on Autumn.

Zara said...

Wow your neighbours certainly had a productive season with the apples, and how generous to gift them. I'm sure in a couple of years your fruit trees will be struggling under the weight of their produce.
And homemade sweet chilli sauce, I'd love to give this a go, its such a struggle to find an Australian produced one when out shopping.

Andrea said...

Busy bee! A home full of goodies. I need to make more of an effort this year x

Christina said...

More than a little jealous of all your goodies there Tania. Especially the berries!

There's been lots of baking around here, from scones to doughnut muffins, for visitors and playgroup. Everyone wants to catch up before the baby comes and I am loving a chance to indulge in a bit of baking, knowing I may not get a chance for awhile once bub comes. :)

hello milky said...

Wowzers! You're amazing! I feel proud after baking a batch of brownies... x

Little Mama said...

You are one amazing mama! I don't know how you manage to do it all with three little ones! You certainly inspire me to do more in the kitchen. We are currently working on a paved area in our backyard and pergola but once that is finished I intend to get started on planning our gardens and doing lots of planting. I can't wait.

sarah said...

YUMMO! It all looks fantastic.

Brittany said...

You have some very kind and generous neighbors.. fantastic! I love what you are doing.

Christine said...

Scrumptious pics!! You have me drooling at the keyboard - your kitchen is looking like a haven at the moment. Autumn would be my favourite season too..but what I really want to ask you is...please, please, where on earth did you find those gorgeous ball jars? :)

suzy hausfrau said...

I just found your beautiful blog. Yes I've been preserving up a storm too. Nothing beats opening a homemade jar of summer...in the depths of winter!

Tania said...

Christine - I was lucky to find them last year in a local coffee shop, but
I'm not sure if they still stock them. I didn't find any online either.