Grow Your Own, Make Your Own

a journey of discovery


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2 Ingredient Pancakes

I have seen this recipe a number of times and finally decided to try it this week. It is delish! It only needs 2 ingredients and you can whip it up really quickly – even on a work day!

1 small – med banana
1 egg

Using a fork, mash the banana in a small to medium sized jug.
Add the egg and whisk with the fork until well combined.
Pour batter into a pre-heated pan on medium heat.
Flip once the edges have started to cook and the underside is golden.
Cook the other side until golden brown. Serve plain or with fruit & yoghurt.

Serves 1

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Kale Pesto: super super food

Kale is so good for you. It is high in iron and calcium, high in Vitamins A, C and K, fibre and antioxidants. It is one of those vegies that you hear about but may never have tasted or cooked with it before. There are a couple of varieties readily available including Tuscan black kale (also known as Lacinto or Dinosaur Kale) and Curly Kale.

 As I am yet to grow my own kale, I have only ever bought it. In a bunch. A great, big, huge bunch. Unless I put it in every meal that I cook for the next 2 weeks, how on earth am I going to get through this bunch? Then the idea came to me!

Pesto!

Here’s the recipe:

Half bunch of Curly Kale

¼ cup pine nuts

Olive oil (see note)

Garlic infused olive oil or small clove garlic crushed

1/2  lemon

1.    Place the pine nuts in a small frypan and lightly toast over a medium heat. Allow to cool.

2.    Wash the kale leaves thoroughly. Cut out the tough vain from the middle of each leaf. Place in your food processor and whiz it up until very finely chopped.

3.    Add the pine nuts and a small drizzle of olive oil. Whizz up then slowly add a little bit more olive oil until the mixture starts to come together. Add a tablespoon of garlic oil or the crushed garlic. Squeeze the lemon into the mixture and give one final quick whizz.

Note: I like my pesto to be a little bit chunky so I tend to use less oil and whizz for less time but if you want a smooth pesto, use more oil and whizz for longer.

I’ve also made this with toasted, slivered almonds which was very yummy too.

4.    Place the mixture into a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Kale pesto mini-muffins

Use it on everything! I like to put little blobs of it on quartered boiled eggs, steamed asparagus and parmesan cheese. You can add it to salads, muffins or pasta dishes. It is not as potent as basil pesto so I find I can use more of it on lots of things! The munchkin also loves it!

Have you ever tried different kinds of pesto? Which one is your favourite?


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I have just become the guardian of Herman for 10 days. Herman is a sourdough starter and while he is in my care he will grow (hopefully I won’t kill him accidentally!) and be fed and grow some more. On day 9 I will divide Herman into 4 parts. I’ll give 3 away to friends and use the last portion to make a German Friendship cake. Then the cycle will continue in the homes of my fellow Herman guardians.

I love the idea of this! Not only do my family & I get to enjoy watching Herman grow and then eat the yummy cake at the end, we get to share him around with others.

Have you ever made sourdough? Or have you ever had a communal guardianship over something like a school pet or plant?


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Sauce Day

Sauce day. Tomato day. Passata day. Whatever it’s called it is always a good day.

I married into an Italian family. The town where I live has a strong Italian culture and days like this happen all over. Once a year, families get together and make tomato sauce, or passata. We’re not talking sugar filled ketchup here. This is the stuff we use to make rich, delicious bolognese and pizza sauce.

Depending on the weather in the lead up to sauce day, the tomatoes are usually gathered by hand. There is a big tomato farm about 40 km out of town. Hundreds of cars gather early in the morning at the designated meeting place and then we all follow the farmer out to his fields, armed with buckets. The next couple of hours are spent picking buckets and buckets of juicy, sun-ripened roma tomatoes. We then pay the farmer per bucket and take our spoils back to GH’s uncle’s place.

Unfortunately this year, due to the extreme heat wave this summer, many of the tomato crops were destroyed. We had to pre-order and pick up the tomatoes at the market, and a big thanks goes to Uncle R and Aunty S for organising the 230kgs of tomatoes we used this year and for allowing us to use their home to make the sauce.

Once the tomatoes have been picked (or picked up!) they are thrown (gently of course!) out onto a big tarp on the lawn and washed down. We then put them into big tubs and fill with fresh water. From here they go to the cutting table. Everyone who has a spare pair of hands gathers at the cutting table and we proceed to cut each tomato into smallish pieces ready to go through the crusher.

Then two people work the crusher, pouring the tomatoes through what looks like a meat mincer. The juice flows into a tall container with a tap at the bottom. The tomatoes go through the crusher 3 times to extract all of the juice and pulp. The skins and seeds remain in the waste which goes out to the chook pen. The older chooks leave the scraps but the younger ones, the naïve first years, run eagerly to see what prize they have won. By the end of the day, they’ve had enough of that strange red stuff that seems to keep coming and coming!

Once the tall bucket has been filled with the juice and pulp, salt is added, followed by a thorough stirring. We then put the mixture into long-neck bottles typically used in beer making. The tap at the bottom of the container fits nicely into the opening of the bottles and ensures that none is wasted. The bottles then move to the capping table where metal tops are pressed on. Once all of the chopping and crushing has been done, and the bottles have been filled and capped, they are taken over to the fire pit. Two 44-gallon drums lay over the fire pit with their sides cut open. The bottles are gently placed into the barrels until they reach the top, and then the barrels are filled with water.

We light the fire and wait for the water to reach boiling point, then allow the bottles to boil for 45 minutes to an hour, after which time the fire is extinguished and the bottles remain in the hot water bath for another hour or so. They are then divvied out to the family and go on to the much higher purpose of making beautiful, rich and tasty bolognese or pizza sauce.

I was privileged to receive Nonna’s bolognese recipe after my husband and I got engaged. I felt like the mysteries of the world had been revealed to me! It is still the best sauce I have ever tasted and I feel very lucky to be able to cook it at home with homemade passata that I helped to make!

Do you gather with your family for a traditional day of making something? What do you make and where did the tradition come from?