Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Funky Frontyard Farmers Challenge: Day 4


Breakfast : A tough nut to crack

Truth be told, last night, Jo and I seriously questioned whether or not we could complete the full seven days of the challenge, and discussed the possibility of pulling up stumps after day four or five. Our "funky" had turned frumpy, and the reality of what we had embarked upon had began to wear at our stamina. Since starting the challenge we have come to appreciate those who cook from basic ingredients; those stay at home organic mums and dads who bake bread each morning, the Italian mummas who make fresh pasta every day with their big, strong, Italian mumma hands, even those inspriational pioneers from a few hundred years ago who didn't have the convenience of a local IGA, Aldis or bottleo...what legends.

Cooking from scratch is time consuming and hard work. Each morning we have got out of bed at the normal 6 am and immediately made bread, then foraged in the garden for breaky ingredients, cooked it, fed the kids, fed ourselves then faced what seems like an ever present mountain of washing up. By 8:30 am it is time to prepare something for morning-tea, a cake or biscuits for the kids who will be hungry within the hour. At 10:30 we need to have lunch planned and begin its preparation, more bread making, pasta making, shelling broad beans etc....and so the day continues. Up until last night a concoction of cabin feverish children, the rain, and no ripe tomatoes was downright depressing.  But before we fell asleep, we resolved to press on, even if it meant eating green tomatoes and rusty silverbeet.

By morning time, the occassional glint of sunlight through the grey clouds was enough to lift spirits, and it was time for an equally inspirational breakfast: Blackberry and Macadamia nut panackes.

As you may know, we are very fortunate to have a macadamia tree growing in our front yard. The nuts form in summer and fall later in autumn. The nuts are particularly hard to crack, and no set of conventional nut crackers will do the trick without undignified straining.

We use a less conventional method, but it works well. Firstly, heat the nuts in a dry pan. This helps the shell and nut flesh separate inside the nut. then drop them in a sock (Preferably clean), and wack them with a hammer. Dont get too carried away though, or you will have mushed macadamias. Finally, empty your socked maca's into a bowl and pick the nuts out.

the cracked macadamia shells and pieces of nut


The nuts were divine in the pancakes and tasted wonderful with the honey drizzled all over the top.

Lunch: Broadbean bruschetta

Shelling broadbeans can be a little daunting at first, but the end result, taste-wise is worth it. the easiest way that we have found to shell them is firstly by blanching the beans, for about a minute, until the skins swell from the heat, then strain and cool them immediately in cold water. This makes the skins contract, and they should look wrinkly.

To shell them simply tear the skin a little by pincvhing it with your nails, then squeeze the bean at the fatter end. The bright green yummy been will easily pop out. Once you've got the hang of it, your away.

broad bean bruschetta

For lunch we had the most delicious broad bean bruschetta, using onions, rocket, basil, parsley, and a lemon (even though it wasnt ripe) from the garden. The ingredients were tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil, some sneaky cracked pepper, and served on some toasted bread. Deeeeeeeelicious!.

tea for today
 Todays tea was an iced camomile and mint tea, served with blue borage flower ice-cubes. Very refreshing, and all from the garden.

mint and chamomile tea with blue borage flower ice cubes

The dinner party

Tonight we decided to throw a small dinner party with some close friends, Bug and Steve. It was time to go all out in the kitchen and pop another of our special reserve bottles of mulberry wine. Jo baked some lovely bread rolls, and for the main, beetroot coloured ravioli, stuffed with silverbeet and home made ricotta, served with a broad bean and rocket salad.
we roasted 2 beetroot in the oven until soft then blended and added to the pasta mix of eggs and flour. the colour of the dough was a beauiful candy pink. The silverbeet was finely diced and steamed with garlic then mixed with the ricotta and some grated lemon rind. the ravioli was topped with a tomato puree. the tomatoes were roasted in the oven with some garlic and basil, then blended into a sauce.

I don't mean to boast... but it looked and tasted fantastic. finally, Jo served a beetroot and coffee granita topped with a red hibiscus. daring and delicious. wow! please give it a try.

Well, by the end of day 4 we are feeling more resolved than ever to finish our challenge with a bang and we are so pleased that we could share our food with some good friends. its been a great day!
Joe with some beaut beets!

beautiful fresh beetroot

jo's buns

makin' beetroot ravioli

beetroot ravioli topped with a tomatol puree & chives

coffee and beetroot granita... to die for.

Hump day is over... 3 days to go.


  1. Wow guys this is amazing! Keep up the good work. Looks like everything is going smoothly (and deliciously) with no desperate need to run for aldis :-). I will get on Matt's back to organise a time with you all to catch up.

    Ellie x

  2. Very impressed with your efforts ,we grow about 30% of our food requirements,

    June & Bill

  3. wow 30%, you guys sound amazing. Are you in the suburbs or rural...tell us more. Do you have livestock too? certainly sounds like a hillbilly heaven.,
    jo and joe