The Great Beaufort Pumpkin Show … come one, come all!

The Great Beaufort Pumpkin Show … come one come all! Roll up…. roll up come and see the The Great Beaufort Pumpkin Show loveys!!!

While they last, we are giving away free Atlantic giant pumpkin seedlings.

There are 40 or so being handed out to the kids at Beaufort primary school


Come in and ask for a seedling at Sparrows Cafe so you too Grow you own Giant pumpkin!

Nangga or “How I got on with the Meringue”

Nangga or as everybody else calls it, Meringue.

Nangga was what I called Meringue as a small child and considering I was not that fond of it, I have no recollection how or why it got that name.

Anyway I may need to come up with a desert item that is sugary, chocolate and a bit off beat. So after having a chat with Heather we hit on this reinvention of a flour less chocolate cake that I once tried at Mario’s in Brunswick st twenty years ago.

So after a quick visit to Liliana’s bookshelf  find a recipe that would work, thanks to the awesome Stephenie Alexander, we hacked together a recipe.

You can easily see why my teachers at school hated marking my home work.

So the walnuts, cashews, raisins and Willies cacao were all folded through the meringue and and cooked in a low oven for an hour and a quarter and then left over night to cool.

It has come up well and the flavours are awesome, I think this maybe a Friday night cook for Saturday morning treat what do you think?





Quentin’s Birthday

So after a fair bit of secret squirrels Quentin’s 30 was held at Sparrow’s in Beaufort last night. His lovely wife Catherine organized with us to put a dinner together for 11 and it was a hoot!

Nearly all the herbs, too cold in Beaufort for coriander yet, and the baby gem lettuce were from my home garden, very excited about that.

As usual I didn’t have time to take pictures as the food went out so you will have to take my word for it.

So as the meal went out :-

Tomato sipping soup

Lime chicken wings

Fennel and allspice fritatta

Sliced Cucumber with Olive oil and lemon juice

Mt zero Olives

Chicken thighs with lemon and smokey spices on Polenta

Beetroot with cumin and parsley

Fried open mushrooms

Baby gem lettuces cut and half and dressed

Carrots and winter tarragon

Roasted lamb shoulder with capsicum and Olive

Fried Potatoes

The birthday Cake was made by Catherine’s Mum and it was yummy. It is so lovely when someone offers you cake unexpectedly 🙂 TA Mum!



Vegetable Stock

First of all I think we need to have a chat about making a vegetable stock.

There are three different version of vegetable stock, dark, sweet or white. So for me the holy group of vegetables and herbs for a vegetable stock is Onion, Carrot, Celery, Mushroom, Parsley stalks and for added love, some bay leaves. There are points of view that include fennel, turnips, parsnips and star anise, but we will get back to that later.

Dark stock

This vegetable stock is for dark broths, tomato flavours, mushrooms and any soup that is a more of a dark in colour and with earthy robust flavours.

The items that will colour your stock are onion skins, dried mushrooms, fresh mushrooms particularly one with open dark gills, roasted or fried chopped onion, carrots and celery.  Each of these will add a flavour to the finished stock so try keep it balanced.

Onions and carrots add sweet higher notes to the stock. The celery is important as it will add a middle note to the flavour profile but go easy on the amount you use.  The mushroom will add the base note and if you use dried mushroom remember you will need less as a general rule they are stronger in flavour. The onion skins will add very little flavour but the more you add the darker the colour of the stock.

Now fennel, turnips, swedes do they have a place? The answer is yes, as they add a roundness and middle tones to the stock. I am still conservative when it comes to how much and when, what the hell  you can give it a go and see for yourself anyway.

Cut up the vegetables into piece of similar size and larger rather than smaller, say about 2cm x 2cm rough cubes. The amount of vegetables required is roughly 66% of the volume of the pot you are cooking the stock in. How do you do that? If you pot is 10lts use a container of similar size that has volume markings on it and place the vegetables into it as you cut them up so then you know you have the right amount of vegetables. What I mean is the cut vegetables would take up the same amount of space in the pot as 6.6lts of liquid. That doesn’t mean you need 6kg of vegetables though. Try it it, will make more sense as you do it.

Add a teaspoon of a vegetable oil to the pot your are cooking your stock in and heat to about 130c to 150c but not smoking.

Then add the vegetables and stir.

So what you are aiming for is the vegetables to brown but not to burn. So stir regularly but not constantly. Even a very small of burn vegetables will taint the flavour the stock, trust me on this.

If you are really intent on being precise I would say you are looking for a brown colour between Pantone PMS 1385 to not darker than PMS 1405 just as a guide 😉

Congratulations you have brown the vegetables to required level. Now add water!

So simply fill your pot so the water level is at least 3cms from the lip of the pot. Turn up the heat and stir from time to time you don’t want the vegetables to stick to the bottom and burn.

We need the stock to come to the boil. How do you tell if it is boiling? Well what we what is for the vegetables to be gently rolling up from the bottom of the pot, that is called a rolling boil 😉

Ok so it has been boiling for about 20ish minutes so it is now time to strain your stock into a container and discard the vegetables. What throw ay the vegetables! Yep taste one, a bit of carrot,bland is it not? All the flavour is in the stock.

Ok, put the stock back in the pot and on the stove, and bring it back to a gentle boil and let it reduce by a third.

Now you are done! We have a a very flavorsome vegetable stock to use in any way you wish.


For the love of cakes

Today we have a selection, as usual, of yummy cakes for the kitchen of Miss Sarah Kitterly

Firstly for you pleasure… Zucchini Carrot cake with Lime icing!!

Or would you rather?… Earl grey Friands with Rose water icing

Raspberry and White Chocolate muffins instead maybe?


Savory, Roast Capsicum muffin?

Silly me! One of each of course!!!!

Thanks Mr Asher 🙂



Cold Morning drive to work

Cool? Nah mate wait until it gets really cold !!!

On the outskirts of Beaufort, wave to Mr Leno on right as we go by. Hey Leno!!!

YAY!!! the heather has finally kicked in

Frost hanging in the air, but nearly there.

News paper time

Pulling up, so don’t want to get out of the car

Its so cold even the Garbbo’s haven’t been past yet

Frost on the Parsley out the Back;)

Nah MMMMMate… its fricken COLD!!