Do not store your Potatoes too well !

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I harvested about 80 kg of potatoes from my garden three months ago and was very chuffed because I would have had enough potatoes to keep my grandson, who is an absolute potato fiend in great organic potatoes for a very long time as well as having a bit over for the rest of the family.  I  very carefully stored the potatoes in plastic drums – one layer of potatoes followed by a layer of hay repeatedly until full. I filled about 5 X 25 liter drums, tightly sealed them and stored them in a cool dry place out of the sun – at the southern side of the house. The unforeseen, by me, has happened and the potatoes which were VERY GOOD for some months have gone sweet. Grandson does not eat sweet potatoes so he has refused my lovely baked offerings for the last few meals and reproached me for planting sweet potatoes instead of the real stuff. Knowing that I did not plant sweet potatoes I decided to read up. Apparently the place where I stored my precious harvest was too cold. Easy mistake to make in Dunedin, especially during the end of winter. Here is a link to the article explaining why cold potatoes become sweet https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/cold-potatoes-black-bananas/

The next crop would be stored in a warmer space with a north facing window and wall! Never too old to learn. I now have a lot of sweet potatoes to eat myself, but there is hope as you presumably could partially reverse the sweetening process – next experiment!

Multi Purpose Rocket

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Yet another crop with many uses! This time it is rocket which is in abundance in our garden at this time of the year, sowing itself all the time.. Apart from great salads and pesto, the flowers make a really nice display for the kitchen window sill. Also enjoy the pesto as a pasta sauce, with fish or on fresh bread or toast

Pesto Recipe

100 g Pesto Leaves

25 g roasted Pine Nuts

20 g fresh Garlic

150 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 g Salt

Blend all the above ingredients well in a blender, or if you have the energy, mash it up in a mortar and pestle

50 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana cheese

20 g grated Pecorino cheese

40 g melted Butter

Fold the above indigents into the blended product

 

It will last up to a week in the fridge, but is better fresh (after resting for about an hour from making it – the pesto not you)

ENJOY and do not forget a glass of the home made red!!!

 

 

 

Rombo

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My neighbour caught some flounder (Rombo in Italian) locally. He generously gave me two lovely firm, fresh fish caught that day. We cooked them as soon as we could manage, being chronically over fed, we had to wait until the next day. Mrs BYF decided to fry the fish in pig fat that I rendered from the organic Kunekune last year. The fish looked fantastic and was delicious.  The fat contributed to the taste as well as the appearance, not sure why, but things fried in fat look more golden brown to me. The side was spinach and smashed potatoes, and roast pumpkin.
Flounder (Rombo)
1 cup of flour generously seasoned with salt and pepper
6 tablespoons of pig fat or vegetable oil about 10 mm deep for frying

Heat the oil in a pan big enough to hold the entire fish lying on its side. The oil must be hot enough to sizzle when the fish goes in. Use kitchen paper to dry the fish very well. Drench the fish in flour, make sure every bit of it is covered. Shake off excess flour and slide the fish into the pan, skin down. After about 5 minutes, when the skin is crispy and brown, turn over and fry for 5 minutes more.

Serve immediately with some cut lemon and a vegetable of your choice.

Love living in New Zealand!

Keeping Records in Quail Breeding

 

It is in my nature to measure and monitor, which makes life interesting and the only way should you want to select and make progress with any animal breeding. I slaughter about ten old Quail Hens every two weeks and 20+ Young Quails every alternate week and always weigh all animals and carcasses at slaughter. Obviously there are many other measurements and observations I frequently collect and record to assist in selecting that “perfect” bird.

Here are some of the figures I collected over the past week and which are fairly representative for the past six months.

Mature Birds – g % Young Birds – g %
Live Bird 294 211
Carcase 1 265 90.1 193 91.5
Carcase 2 176 60.0 138 65.4

BYF Special 3

Live Bird – Average live bird mass after food and water were withheld for 12 hours

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Carcase 1 – Average carcass mass after heads and lower legs were removed and feathers plucked

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Carcase 2 – Average carcass mass butterflied, which in my case means the removal of the entire backbone, all internal organs removed, wing tips removed and excess skin trimmed.

After all this lovely Quail Meat you have harvested there is still the Coratella that makes a wonderful meal on its own and Quail Stock which I use in almost all of my daily cooking.

Salami and Sausage making time

There is no better way to spend a Sunday, with a few good friends, to convert the pig and stag that crossed our way a few days earlier, into some delicious products.

The temperature in my “Meat Curing Room” is ideal at 8 – 10 C at this time of the year, but I would have preferred the humidity to be less than 60% to allow for proper curing and drying – hopefully it will get a bit less humid over the next few days.

 

DEFYING WINTER / PASTA CON BROCCOLI

F4C3750D-884C-4C80-905D-5620F6F5CF0CIrrespective of the cold winter weather Dunedin is encountering at present, the garden seems to defy the seasons and continues to produce, which keeps me healthy and out of the supermarkets with some spare change in my pocket.

BROCCOLI PASTA

This is a quick, very easy and delicious Garden Meal

  • 1 Head of Broccoli – Washed, dried and broken into pieces of about 25 mm in diameter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove of Garlic – Chopped finely
  • 1 Fresh Chili – Chopped finely
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana Cheese – Grated

While you boil the water and cook the pasta in salted water, prepare the Broccoli sauce. In a large cast iron pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and fresh chili and cook for a few n minutes until soft, but not coloured (about 1 minute), then add the Broccoli and toss well in the oil and cook until the Broccoli is soft but still crispy and not mushy (about 2 – 3 minutes). Ad salt and black pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta al dente to the pan with the Broccoli, garlic and chili and toss well.  Serve immediately while still hot and dress with a dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, grated Parmigiano and crushed Black Pepper

ENJOY !!

Do not forget the homemade red to wash it all down.

 

 

 

HARVEST OF THE DAY

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It is officially winter here in Dunedin and from the temperatures, snow, mist and sleet I can vouch for that. Nevertheless the garden keeps on producing and I was more than pleased with the organic harvest of today. The soils are healthy and for the first time in four years I have large numbers of earthworms helping me.