Christmas Pud – 2

So, the next step after drinking the rum was to have a small, but very fun party with the Responsible Adult (not shown in this post) A few days later, cream butter with sugar, mix in some eggs from your girls (My girls went missing recently – all I found was a very fat carpet snake), stir in your fruit and rum mix, then add the dry ingredients. Dry ingredients are flour, bread crumbs and oats. You’ll be tired after all that work, so pour yourself a nice Shiraz and have a rest – or another party with your Responsible Adult. Mine is usually up for a party on most nights.

I’ll be popping it on to cook shortly and will let you know how it goes.


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Christmas Pudding – a Job I like doing

Ho Ho Ho. Time to start the Christmas Pud.  Step 1 – Marinade your fruit in Rum. Step 2. Pour a large Rum for yourself. Repeat. Repeat. Wait a few days. More soon.

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Leftover Pastry

OK, so if you made something like a Mulberry Pie recently, you may have some pastry leftover. I always do. So here’s a couple of things you could do:

First thing I’d do is to see if I have enough to fill a flan dish – which I did. Then the little bits get rolled out and made into jam drop pastries. Jam drops have a life expectancy of around 9 seconds at the Cubby House – less if the kiddies are circling. You can freeze your flan if you want. It won’t mind, but I decided on a Real Man quiche. Here’s what I did:

I do like a bit of roast vege for a filling. In this dish were potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, capsicum, garlic and tomatoes. All got drizzled with olive oil, roasted then chopped up to go in the pastry shell. Then it’s just a matter of about 4 eggs whisked up with enough milk or cream to fill up your flan. A bit of grated cheese on top is nice then bang it into the oven for a while. 

I was going to slice a sausage that the Responsible Adult had left over from last night, but Our Youngest found it first and didn’t even leave the bones. So I chopped up a bit of bacon and fried it for her half (I like my cows, pigs and sheep to be wandering the paddock rather than sliding past my tonsils)

When you think it’s done, stick a knife into it to make sure it’s set. You should end up with something like this (although I’m sure your presentation would be better)

Bit of salad on the side and a nice Shiraz with Mulberry Pie for pud. Serving up grub like this to your Responsible Adult will greatly assist your sexual desirability – but to be certain, make sure you have another bottle of Shiraz on hand.

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Mulberry Pie

So yesterday was cold and rainy. Lovely weather for making pie. Here’s how Paddock Workers make a bit of heaven on a plate. Start with the pastry. 
I like a short pastry (lots of butter) known as Pate Brisee Sucree to Provence Field Workers.

 My pastry is totally made in the food processor. I know the traditional Frenchy Field Workers did it all by hand, but I’m guessing that’s because they invented pastry before they invented the food processor.

 Toss in 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons sucre and give it a quick wizz. Add 150g butter and wizz till it looks all crummy. Add an egg and a tablespoon or two of milk and wizz like crazy. It will all form up like in the picture. Because I like thick  pastry, I make 2 batches – one for the top and one for the bottom. If you’re OK with thin pastry, you could get away with 1 batch, but it will be pretty thin. Now here’s the thing. After being belted by a food processor, your pastry needs a nice rest in the fridge. About half an hour. While it’s having a nice lay down, you can cook up your Mulberries.

I used 4 cups of Mulberries, but would use 6 if we were having company, or I was looking to win a contest as 6 cups would make a nice high pie. Put your Mulberries in a saucepan with a bit of water and a couple of tablespoons of sucree (Mulberries aren’t very sweet). As you cook them, the Mulberries will release more juice. When the Mulberries have softened after about 10 minutes or so, mix a heaped tablespoon of corn flour with a little water and add to the pot. This will thicken the mix for your pie.

By now, your pastry should be ready for a bit of roly-poly. I use two sheets of baking paper to roll out. Turn the lot over and keep unsticking the paper as you go. Using this method instead of rolling out over a floury bench means that you aren’t adding more flour to your nice buttery pastry. After rolling out, your pastry will need another nice rest in the fridge. While this is happening, you can wash up so that the Responsible Adult doesn’t get cross about a messy kitchen. Then blind bake your shell. I go for about 10 minutes with lentils weighing down the base and another 5 minutes without to crisp up the bottom.

Then it’s in with the filling, on with the top and a bake in the oven. The pie needs to be cold before serving. At the cubby house, we like to have sour cream with our sweet pies, but lately the shop seems to want to sell us the Frenchy Creme Fraische which is less sour. It’s all good – just enjoy.

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Part of my winter ritual is the annual making of the marmalade using the trusty wood stove. My method is pretty simple and has resulted in prize winning marmalades. First, cut up some fruit. We grow oranges, lemons, cumquart, grapefruit and of course there’s Harry the hybrid.
For home use, I just chop roughly as the resulting thick peel suits my taste. For a competition, I would slice thinly. Three or Four fruit will make a decent batch. I also juice a couple of oranges to add to about 5 or 6 cups of water to toss in the pot. All seeds are separated and put into some muslin secured with a rubber band. 


This goes onto the hottest part of the woodstove until it boils, then moved to a simmering spot. The pot stays covered. The mix is simmered for 2 – 3 hours to ensure that the resulting marmalde doesn’t develop mould over time. 


After cooking, I remove the mix and measure it. The amount of sugar required is one cup less than the amount of mix. In other words, if I have 6 cups of mix, I will want 5 cups of sugar. The seeds are discarded, the pot is cleaned, the mix returned and put back on the stove. Once it boils, the sugar is added.

Now comes the critical part. The mix will boil and froth for a while. As it starts to settle down, you need to test for the setting point. If you take it off the heat too soon, you will have runny marmalade. Too late and you get toffee.

To test, just remove a couple about half a teaspoon of liquid and drop it onto a cool plate. Wait a few seconds and tip the plate into a vertical position. If the liquid runs down the plate, then you aren’t there yet. Setting point is when the liquid forms a skin and might slide a bit, but doesn’t run.

Let the mix cool slightly before bottling. A well cooked marmalade put into sterile jars will last a very long time.

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Sweet Potato Curry

Here’s a couple of freshly dug up sweet potato’s to make a quick vege curry. (In case you’re wondering, only one has been peeled.) When dealing with home grown produce, it’s easier to just follow your instincts rather than trying to follow a recipe with specific quantities. So I just cubed up the sweet potato’s along with an old potato that was just laying around.
My curries always start with plenty of sliced onion – the more the better for me – lightly fried in vegetable oil. To make the curry, my staple ingredients are garlic, ginger, cummin seed, chilly and coriander. Once these are fried, it’s in with the vegetables, some stock and tomatoes. I also add a can of four bean mix for a bit of added interest. Cook it up for as long as it takes to prepare some rice. To thicken the curry, I just take a couple of cups out and whiz it up with my Bamix stick blender and return it to the mix.

The non home grown ingredients would cost a couple of dollars and it was enough for about 6 hungry paddock workers.

Obviously, the dish is best served with a hearty cabernet sauvignon.

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