Monthly Archives: January 2013

Lyn the Cow

Wahoo – the third Paddock has been sold. Not a moment too soon as the Princely treasure chamber was down to the last few coins. I was seriously starting to wonder about how we would buy essentials like Shiraz and chocolate. Anyway, I’ve been down there giving  it a tidy up and was feeling nostalgic about Lyn the Cow.

About a week after we moved to the Paddock (and about 2 weeks after I had hung up the corporate suit), there was an ad in the local paper – ‘For Sale, Lyn, Jersey, suitable as a house cow. Save me from the meatworks.’

So I went and met the farmer. Lyn was elderly, but still milking and he thought she was pregnant (that last bit is what they say to increase the value, but she wasn’t). Anyway, I parted with $200 and suddenly owned a cow. The Responsible Adult was amazed and thought that perhaps I hadn’t thought things through. Of course I hadn’t, it was total impulse. If I thought about stuff before I did it, then I might be the Responsible Adult. Here’s a picture:

1994 Lyn

Lyn, staring back at the third paddock

She looks lovely, doesn’t she? Well she was a real bitch. Bone idle. All she had to do was eat grass all day and walk up to the bails in the morning and afternoons. But would she walk up to the bails? Not unless I chased her all round the paddock, up hills, down dales, through the lantana. But after a couple of weeks and much discussion with more experienced paddock workers, I found that so long as I provided some wheat, mulberry leaves and molasses, she would wander up to the bails. Usually on the late side.  I can tell you, there were many times when I chatted her about how I might arrange for a trip to MacDonald’s where she would be the two all beef patties with lettuce cheese and tomato on a sesame seed bun. Particularly after the time when I learned that the reason a cow puts its head down is not to signify submission, but to head but you. But over time, I came to quite like her and I quite liked the milk right away.

If you are ever tempted to impulse buy a house cow, then go ahead. There’s nothing like sitting on an upturned bucket, leaning into a great big animal while collecting milk. Eventually, I started grooming her after milking and I like to think that she became fond of me also. But I would just be kidding myself – if the wheat, mulberry leaves and molasses stopped coming, so would Lyn.

Anyhow,  Lyn was saved from the meatworks and eventually died of old age. While I was busy trying to work out how to get a digging machine down to the particularly inaccessible part of the paddock she chose to spend her final hours, nature did its job and she just dissapeared into the humus.

But, the main point is that the third paddock has been sold and I have mowed and weeded it for the last time. Yahoo – time to research tropical island holidays.

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Categories: Home Grown | Leave a comment

Exploring the depths of the vege crisper

Not sure how the rest of you are coping with the heat, but there ain’t a lot of paddock work happening round here. So I decided to do a couple of kitchen jobs. First, defrost the freezer. I found lots of treasures while giving it a clean out, but want to focus on a more mysterious area of the refrigeration system – the VEGE CRISPER.  Not sure about where you live, but the shops around the Paddock don’t sell you just the right portions of veges for dinner. So you eat some and put the rest in the crisper for later, then after a Shiraz or two, you forget all about them.

According to the papers, people in Oz toss out tons of food each year. At the Paddock, we try to not throw out anything. So if you’re going to have a bash at the crisper, start off by having some newspaper on hand (I use Fairfax newspapers, but Newscorp will do if you’re into that sort of thing) The reason is there will be a whole lot of peelings, seeds etc which can be wrapped in paper and be added to your compost pile.

salad 001

The veges come in roughly two formats – hard and leafy. Anything that looks like it’s been there for a while will get used up. In the hard category, I found some pumpkin, sweet potato and zucchini. These got tidied up, cut into chunks and roasted. I put a couple of onions in as well – if I’m roasting veg, onions always get added. Just leave these in their skins to cook in their own juices. Once roasted and cooled, I chop the veg up to bite sized pieces. The onions just squeeze out of their skins and get roughly chopped. Then it’s into a bowl with some 4 bean mix, a chopped tomato or two and some chopped feta cheese. Bloody bewtiful. My cardiologist would be proud.

The green leafy stuff was spinach and celery. I got some parsley from the herb patch as well. It goes into the blender with some fruit – I used honeydew melon and grapes, plus a bit of water to make a green smoothy to wash down my salad. It’s amazing how good a green smoothy tastes – and further amazing how much green leafy stuff you can consume this way.

Obviously, for the Responsible Adult I fried a couple of lamb sausages to go with the salad – and as usual, serve with a Shiraz – one green smoothy is sufficient.

 

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Chicken Parmigiana

There must be hundreds of recipes for Chicken Parmigiana, so I thought I might share mine. This dish was prepared for the Responsible Adult as I like my chooks to be running around the Paddock and laying eggs rather than on a plate. I mention this as the Responsible Adult doesn’t mind animal fats, so that’s what I use – you may wish to use vegetable oils instead.

So, I started out by frying some bacon – nice fatty bacon for the responsible adult – in bacon fat. It will be used as part of the topping so fry up a lot if you want lots of bacon flavour and less if you just want a hint of bacon. You might want to cook it well as it will get crumbled up. Then I took 2 chicken breasts cut into 3 (giving me 6 bits of chicken), and tossed them in the pan just to seal. As the first side was sealing, I added a couple of teaspoons of mustard powder and a healthy slop of Worcestishire sauce.

Chook 002

So, you just want to seal it quickly, then transfer to an oven dish. Pour in the pan juices.

Chook 003

Now whack your bacon into the food processor to crunch it up, then add some fresh bread. Using fresh bread means that the bread crumbs will soak up the juices and taste yummy. Then add some grated cheese. I use a nice sharp chedder for the Responsible Adult. Again, if you want it cheesy put in a lot. If you just want the taste to wander through, don’t add so much. Also, bear in mind some more cheese will be going on top.

Chook 004

Put your bread crumb mixture on top of the sealed chook. Get some down into any gaps between the chicken bits. Then whack a bit more cheese on the top – Parmesan at our place – then into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Chook 006And there you have it. I roasted a few potatoes and sweet potatoes for me (I had salmon) and the Responsible Adult. A few green leaves around the plate and a nice large glass of Shiraz and you’re in business.

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Kindle Fire HD

So I got a Kindle Fire. Turns out to be pretty stupid if you live outside the US. Amazon won’t let you have anything – not even free apps. You can go to the bother of setting up a fake IP address and getting a US credit card to access the store, but that seemed  a bit much. Google Play won’t recognise Kindle either so no apps from them. But there are other places, so I have been having great fun loading up apps, putting on the odd book and movie. Now I just need a long plane trip to an exotic beach so I can  sit back and be entertained.

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Blood in the Water – Gillian Galbraith

I don’t mind reading a bit of crime fiction after a long hard day murdering weeds. Thought I would give this one a go. Good on Gillian Galbraith for sitting down and writing a book then getting it published. You have to admire her hard work and determination. Unfortunately, I can’t admire the book. It seems a bit like a Readers Digest account of a few murders rather than crime fiction. Our hero is Alice Rice, a 30 something detective who manages to solve the crime by some police work that would seem to be fairly straight forward plus a bit of luck.

The Alice Rice character isn’t fleshed out much, but perhaps the author was thinking more about a series than a stand alone novel. Other characters are drawn out a little bit then promptly murdered – which was pretty unsatisfying. Particularly when they are later revealed to be perhaps not the nice people they seemed to be.

Plot spoiler: At the end, when Ann has bagged her villain, it is revealed that two further people were on his ‘5 people you must kill before you die’ list. Obviously, nobody deserves to be murdered, but the two survivors certainly needed to be brought to trial at the very least. But Ann didn’t seem to be too concerned – we don’t really know, the book just stopped.

I normally give a quote from a book, but this time you can have a quote from me. Do something more interesting than reading this book.

blood-in-the-water

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