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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Sweet summer strawberries

Dear Diary,

Adam:  Angelo and I got a hankering for something different for afternoon tea. Earlier in the morning, we baked an angel food cake.  While it was cooling, we went out to the berry house to pick strawberries.  We found lots of lovely red berries.


"Look, Adam.  I've found some more!"

"What do you think of this one, Angelo?"

"There are more over there."
After we'd picked a batch, we went back inside to get everything ready for afternoon tea.  I brewed a pot of East Frisian tea which we import from Germany. It's a lovely tea which has been grown in India and then has been specially blended in Germany.  The recipe of the blend goes back to when the Dutch had a monopoly on the international tea trade.  Although much of the Netherlands drinks coffee, Frisia is still a tea drinking region, complete with its own method of drinking the brew. Recently, official health guidelines in the Netherlands recommend everyone drink at least 5 cups of tea daily.  That's easy for us - we exceed that daily!

"Please pour a cup of tea for me, Papa."

What a lovely afternoon tea: homemade cake, fresh strawberries from our garden, freshly whipped cream and a properly brewed cup of tea (no bags!).  

Life is sweet.


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Z is for zucchini

Dear Diary,

Jesse: Courgettes, marrows or zucchinis - we'll be eating them for weeks in all sorts of forms: cookies, breads, cakes, slices, loaves - the list seems endless.  


Have you ever noticed how you check the courgettes in the evening and by the next morning they have tripled in size?  I think this plant is the answer to world hunger.  The way ours grow and multiply, I think I could feed our entire village.  Luckily, they make some pretty tasty items.

It was time to make a zucchini cake for tea time so I sent the boys out to the garden to fetch one.

"Push, Angelo!  We've a way to go to the kitchen!"
The worked together well as a team and brought in the largest one.  Funny how just yesterday is was half this size.

I have a number of different recipes but there is one cake recipe I like in particular.  It makes a moist and tasty dessert.  We try to never buy any dessert items from the grocery store.  It might be different if we had a real bakery in our area.  

"I'll cut the cake.  Adam, put the kettle on!"
The boys helped me to make the batter and get it into the oven.  That evening we had a delicious slice of freshly baked cake with our tea.  As you can see, Angelo could hardly wait to get his slice!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Summer surplus

Dear Diary,

Adam: We have friends in our area who have been going through a bit of a rough patch for the past year.  They are lovely people and we wanted to give them a little something to ease the strictures in their life. I went to the garden and cut some cauliflower and a huge zucchini, while Angelo visited the hen house and gathered a dozen fresh, free-range eggs. 



Surplus from our garden makes a gift for our friends.

Angelo:  Our friends loved the fresh vegetables and eggs.  We love to share our surplus with others.  Isn't that what it's all about?  We consider ourselves most fortunate to be able to grow much of our own food.

Adam: This year our cauliflower was over-abundant and let's face it, a person (or a doll) can eat only so much steamed cauliflower and cheese sauce!  Jesse found a new recipe and is it delicious - you should try it, too.  We want to share it with everyone.  It could be used for other vegetables, meats and also tofu.

SWEET & SPICEY SESAME CAULIFLOWER RECIPE

Mix together:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut 1/2 head of cauliflower into smaller pieces.  Coat the pieces in the batter.  Deep-fry the battered cauliflower.
Cauliflower right out of the deep fryer.
Sautee:
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon sesame oil

Add:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon sriracha
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

Cook the sauce until thickened.

Coat the cauliflower in the sauce.  Top with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

Delicious!