Friday, 27 May 2011

Our Newest Team Member

Meet Coke.

Formerly residing and working at Bottle Tree Creek, Coke was destined to spend the rest of his days chewing his water bowl and barking at the mailman in town.  Asked if we could look into finding him a good home, we set about an induction to Team RockWallaby.

He's only been with us a week, but has made quite an impression thus far.

Not  a plant exists in this houseyard he hasn't felt the need to urinate on.

He's particularly enjoyed marking his territory all around Fred's cage, which has the Wonderdog absolutely livid.

He's managed to find a decaying mass of something in close proximity to the house and has spent enough time smearing himself with it, that his long coat now resembles dreadlocks and he smells like a decomposing elephant.

He's very much a 'man's dog', apparently unable to even decipher my voice with his super-sonic canine hearing.

I took him to check some waters a couple of days ago in the back of the ute.  A bonding exercise I'd hoped.  Upon hearing the ute, the cattle decided to head for the hills, I unhooked Coke and sent him wayback.  Coke promptly set in behind them and pushed them so far away, that all I could hear was the rustle of cattle through timber.  He came back more than happy with himself.  I promptly clipped him back up and will hand him over fully to the master for further training purposes.  Obviously more a heeler, than a header.

I've since revoked his 'Team Member' badge, replaced with an 'In Training' one, complete with smiley face.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

Yesterday, because I'd forgotten to take a chicken out of the freezer to roast for dinner, and because we happened to have two pigs hanging in our cold room, we had Pork for tea.  Slow roasted.  Known as Pork Butt, the cut is actually part of the shoulder, a piece of meat beautifully marbled which lends itself perfectly to slow cooking.  Although the fat adds an amazing flavour to the cooked product, I asked my butcher to trim most of the outer excess.

He's rather obliging, though a little cheeky as butchers tend to be.

I usually coat the butt with a dry rub of salt, cumin & coriander.  This time I combined a few different recipes and came up with a wet rub of olive oil, finely chopped onion & garlic, cumin, coriander, salt,  pepper and a dash of brown sugar.

Placed in a dish with a lid and put in the oven for a minimum of six hours at 150 degrees, it should end up looking something like this:

Beautiful.  The pork will be so tender it will fall apart as you lift it from the cooking dish.  Place on a serving platter and shred the pork, by 'pulling' it apart with two forks, hence the name ... Pulled Pork.

Spoon some of the pan juices over the shredded pork, or even use them to make a gravy and toss that through the meat.

Served with creamy mashed potato and fresh greens, it's a winner.  The leftover pork is perfect in rolls, sandwiches or wraps for next day's lunch.

What is it they say ... Get some Pork on your Fork.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Many Faces of Boredom

We killed pigs on the weekend.

A job that starts with a fire and bringing a large volume of water to suitable temperature for 'scalding' purposes.  As we edge into Winter our country is becoming a much browner shade of green.  As grass hays off we become mindful of fire-threats with exceptional summer rain providing us with a huge body of fuel in the form of drying paddocks.

Subsequently it was necessary for somebody to stand guard with the fire.

Jessie drew the short straw.

When I congratulated her on her level of responsibility and enquired how it became her job, she responded, she wasn't as quick as the other three at getting back to the house when Dad called for a volunteer.

So, alone, she sat in the back of the ute.

While the other three skylarked in the houseyard.

Steel took pity and put in a brief appearance.

Soon joined by effervescent Ruby

which helped

turn the frown...

upside down.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

And now for the recipe

It really is such an easy dessert, you must try it.

6 medium apples (I thought it was 5!)
50 g butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
4 eggs, beaten lightly
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup cream
80g butter, melted, extra
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to moderately hot (200C).  Grease shallow 2.5 L (10 cup) ovenproof dish.  Peel, core and halve apples;  cut each half into four wedges.

2.  Melt butter in large frying pan;  cook apple, stirring, 5 mins or until browned lightly.  Add brown sugar;  cook 5 mins or until mixture thickens.  Place into dish;  cool 5 minutes.

3.  Combine caster sugar and sifted flours in medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in combined remaining ingredients until smooth;  pour over apple mixture.  Bake, uncovered, 40 mins.

4.  Serve hot (with custard & cream, even vanilla ice-cream would go down a treat).  Dust with sifted icing sugar if desired (which I forgot to do, and regret deeply).

Give it a whirl.  Your kids will love you.

Caramelised Apple Clafoutis

It's a very rare occasion that we eat dessert in this household.  More to do with Mother's waistline anxiety than anything else.

But sometimes during the cooler months we like to partake in a little warming treat.  Something sweet, gooey and warm.  Caramel Dumplings are probably the all-time favourite, served with custard and cream. 
But this week we tried something different.  Not a pressing desire to sample Clafoutis, but more that we happened to have all the required ingredients on hand. And it contains five Red Delicious Apples,

health food in anybody's book.
The apples are peeled, cored, chopped,

then caramelised in brown sugar and butter.

What's not to love so far.

A batter somewhat resembling a thick pikelet mix is then made and poured over the caramelised apples placed in a suitable dish, then baked. 

The batter rises, lifting the apples upward, shouting their healthiness in the process.

Served with custard and fresh cream, it gained the tick of approval from the hungry hordes.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Brief Escape

In an attempt to escape this,

albeit temporarily, I hitched a ride west with Matthew this week.  Dropping kids at Nanny and Grandad's, we continued on to Alpha, where their annual Show was in progress. Matthew was attending to buy cattle at the Show Sale, I was keen for a gander at the Brahman Feature Show.

As well as a beautiful array of Brahman cattle,

red and

grey, there were some teddy bear types (more commonly known as Romagnolas)

who'd obviously been rubbing their soft white faces on the hitching rail.

This wasn't a cow.

And upon my return, my laundry was just as I'd left it.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Week that Was

Yesterday morning at five o'clock a procession of sleepy-faced children marched into our bedroom, up onto our bed and peered out our eastern facing window to catch a glimpse of Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Mars at their finest, brilliant, almost aligned best.  The children's less than astounded response to this astronomical phenomenon left me a little deflated, but somewhat smug that I'd managed to wrestle them all from their slumber for this little scientific lesson.

So while the alignment of the planets didn't seem to shake our world too greatly, it was a rather fitting end to a week that included:

1.  The revelation that Fred the Wonderdog and Ella my ever loyal protector have been involved in a little canine hanky-panky, resulting in Ella being in a 'motherly' way.  Wallace shed a little more light on the situation, noting that he may have released Ella from her cage to clean it, and Fred may or may not have been present during such time and may or may not have had a "piggy-back", unquote.

2.  A special gift in the form of a CWA Cake-Baking Cookbook (be still my beating heart) found it's way to my mailbox from the far reaches of Western Australia and the hands of A Farmer's Wife.  The very happy winner of a contest on AFW's blog I was absolutely delighted to flick through the pages of this beauty and will be sharing in the near future.  Thank you to my lovely farming friend in WA, and I do hope it rains for you soon.

3.  We had an extra youngster in the house this week, daughter of our neighbours who had to attend to business in Brisbane.  As an only child, I understand she is still recovering from the general noise, mess and calamity that is our life, at last report still sitting in a corner, sucking her thumb, quietly rocking.

4.  There was a ridiculous amount of baking, including choc chip biscuits, date and walnut rolls, carrot and vanilla cakes.  Most of which was used at our Interschool Sports Carnival on Friday (see below).

5.  The Interschool Sports Carnival which saw our small school victorious for the first time in many years.  Wallace scored an Age Champion Trophy and performed high jump like the Karate Kid.

Champion indeed.

We're off to the District Carnival this week.  We might be small fish in a big pond there.

6.  I began a blitz on this garden bed which in latter years has become more and more of a snake haven.  With the assistance of two children and a Stihl chainsaw it's coming along quite nicely.  Photos to come.

7.  Ready to move the chooks onto one of the old vege beds, I did a quick walk through and came up with an assorted bunch of eggplants, beetroot and tomatoes. 

The eggplant bushes surprised me

with at least ten small eggplants appearing.

 Moussaka, here we come.  The chooks will have to stay put a little longer.

8.  This truck was advertised for sale in the bible of the bush, anybody interested in a cattle truck please leave your details below.  Only driven on Sundays by a little old lady.

9.  Feeding up yesterday afternoon, we were surprised by a most unwelcome visitor.  A rather large wild Boar was seen scouting the perimeter of our pig paddock.  Wild Bill and his posse were straight onto it.  We don't tolerate porcine hanky-panky in these parts.  We have enough trouble with the domestic animals.

10.  And then, just for fun and because the sun was shining, we made hay.  Hundreds and hundreds of square bales, which still need to be picked up and put in the shed.  Known affectionately as idiot bales in these parts, as the 'smart operators' all make large round bales which are moved with machinery only, not like these little devils which require a fair amount of hands-on .

11.  Dad had a haircut.

What a blessing the girls are now up for this task. 

12.  There was a fair amount of horse-riding. 

In the houseyard.

More fertiliser.

And now, I have idiot bales to pick up.  Hope your planets aligned this week.


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