Monday, July 28, 2014

The joys of a quiet weekend

I've had to re-do this post, which started its life being about the holidays, which have now been and gone and seem like too long ago.  In brief we had a lovely but busy few weeks that included some home time..
Curious cattle watching on
No power one morning, breakfast by candlelight..
and some away time.  We went over to Perth and Margaret River for a few days, which was great fun but we could have done with a couple more days of being immersed in the best wine region in Australia (big call but we had some seriously amazing wine).  Highly recommended....
Gratuitous Aga shot
We came back to Victoria to some rather chillier weather:
At long last we are having a proper winter.  Snow has been falling on the mountains, we've had rain and storms and, on Wednesday morning, our first frost: 
This past weekend has been blissfully not busy.  A yoga class, lots of gardening, planting trees, cooking and a few glasses of red by the fire.  I have finally pruned all the roses
which is a good job to have out of the way.  I have refilled the veggie beds with some lovely mushroom compost,
and dug up these potatoes that I didn't know were there:
I planted out some oaks that I had grown from acorns (bit like sending your first child off to school....)

and knocked up some yoyos for Tim to give to a family friend whose wife died recently...
I made a hearty lamb chop casserole
and picked this beautiful cabbage
which I pan fried with bacon and onion:
The rhubarb is flourishing at the moment so I made a little pudding:
This is so easy and I think better than traditional crumble as it has more crunch.  You can make the very simple crumble ahead and it keeps for ages in the freezer, then when you have some poached or roasted fruit you can sprinkle it over the top.    


1 bunch rhubarb (about 5 stems), trimmed and cut into 5 cm pieces
50g butter
2 tblsp brown sugar
1/2 cup verjuice
a vanilla bean

Crumble mix:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teasp nutmeg
1/2 teasp cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
125g butter

For the crumble mix:
Preheat oven to 180c.
Put all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse to chunky breadcrumbs.
Spread onto a large lined baking tray and cook for approximately 10 minutes until it begins to colour around the edges.  Take it out and give it a good mix around, then put it back for another 10 or so minutes.  Keep an eye on it as you don't want it to burn.  Do this until it has coloured evenly.  Mix it so it forms to crumble, cool on the tray and store in a container in the fridge or freezer.

For the rhubarb:.
Preheat the oven to 180c
In a frying pan that can go in the oven melt the butter and add the sugar and verjuice.  Mix well.  Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add to the pan, adding the bean as well.
Add the rhubarb and stir well.
Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the cover and cook for  a further 15-20 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and the sauce has caramelised.
Serve the rhubarb with the crumble sprinkled over the top and cream or custard on the side.
This would also work well with pears.  And probably apples or quinces.

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