Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Fill your kitchen with the intoxicating aroma

of roasting garlic, herbs & sun ripened tomato.

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This absolutely gorgeous addition to my Gifts From The Kitchen series will have the savoury lovers salivating! It’s a wonderfully practical culinary shortcut to enhance pasta & pizza dishes throughout the festive hangover.

Simply start by using an apple corer to cut out all the middle cores of the tomatoes before placing them into a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds only! Remove them immediately to plunge into a bowl of ice & water to cool.

Now I know that doesn’t actually sound like enough time to achieve anything at all, but trust me, it does! This is what allows you to be able to peel the skins off the fruit.

Once you’ve peeled all the skin off, cut the tomatoes in half & place them straight onto a baking tray.

Drizzle them with a wee bit of olive oil, then season with salt & black pepper. Throw on a few garlic cloves that you’ve peeled & ‘squashed’ with either your palm or the flat blade of your knife & sprinkle over some dried mixed herbs, or you might like to just throw on some thyme sprigs if that’s more your thing.

Bake them in a 140c oven for 4 hours before then putting them straight into a clean jar, topping with olive oil & screwing on the lid to seal.

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What If…….?

I wonder what would happen if I put down all of this toxic self doubt I have burdened myself to carry?

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Over the past year, you have been following me on a journey of self discovery as I stumble my way along this culinary pathway. It certainly has been a roller coaster!

I would dearly love to evolve & grow this blog into a wee web show, yet every time I begin, some of you may recall I came very close to it last Christmas, I end up sabotaging myself as the horrid seeds of self doubt sprout & spread their evil tendrils.

I get all excited & pumped up – I plan, I experiment, I practice what to say & then I let that little voice in my head take over!

  • You’re being ridiculous
  • Who on Earth would want to watch to you
  • Who do you think you are
  • You’re a nobody
  • You’re not a chef
  • You’re not pretty enough for telly
  • You don’t know anything
  • You can’t plate up
  • You’re food isn’t fancy enough
  • You’re not good enough

I’m sure you are now getting the picture. Food is my passion. It’s what I want to share. It’s all I want to do.

It’s true, my food is not fancy, it’s not fine dining & I’m certainly not good enough for MasterChef!

I’m just a stay at home mum living on my mountain top with a strong desire, a dream if you might, of sharing my simple food from my humble kitchen.

To learn the knowledge of our Grandparents generation of how to grow my own food, how to prepare it with great love & to enjoy a blissfully uncomplicated life.

Is there really anything wrong with that?

Am I alone in my desire for simplicity?

Would you watch me?

Our Incredible Shrinking Act!

Tanya released an impressive 16cm from her waistline, whilst Andy dropped a whopping 17cm from his hips!

All in just 30 short days with no exercise!

How?!?!

Simply by using these magnificent Nutritional Supplements to nourish their bodies.

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We’ve known for a very long time that modern Western farming practices have severely affected the nutrition within the food we eat, that’s why we need to supplement our contemporary diet to put back all the good wholesomeness that is simply no longer there. We want to be ACTIVE ELDERLY – that means we need to INVEST in ourselves NOW whilst we’re reasonably still young!

Enter Isagenix!

The first thing you need to understand about Isagenix is that it is NOT just another weight loss shake. It is a highly concentrated super food of Nutrition! There is a bounty of independent diverse Scientific testing to back it up!

By flooding our bodies with the Nutrition that they need, we are able to reboot our systems! When our bodies receive the correct Nutrition, they naturally release the toxic fat stores they’ve built up – hence weight loss is simply a pleasant side affect of good, healthy Nutrition.

We are now full of life & vitality!

We love these products so much our goal is to share this fabulous Nutrition Program with as many people as possible because it’s all about putting the nourishment back into our bodies that modern farming practices have taken out!

Have a good snoop around our website by following the below link, where you can check out all the products & the Science for yourself in your own time before using the contact page on there to drop us a line & have a chat about how to Live Your Best Life!

You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to others.

http://www.TeamFilak.isagenix.com

Christmas Message 2016

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Upon reflection 2016 has been one heck of a year!

It began with us squeezed into living in our caravan in the trailer hood with plans only to travel. We soon found ourselves in a wee unit on Mornington Peninsula before eventually moving again making me a Goddess on a Mountain Top!

Mini Me had her first real year of homeschool under government regulations & was so proud of herself for passing her first Ballet exam! The cream on her little cupcake was, however, to be invited into the competition Troupe for next year.

We’ve also suffered some terribly bad lows riding in the ambulance with lights & sirens blaring to the hospital with my extremely ill child is a feeling I hope so many of you will never experience. To watch helplessly for an entire week as she lay in ICU unable to breathe for herself makes me ever so grateful for our medical professionals.
Not long afterward I too found myself in the exact resus bed at the hospital when I suffered a life threatening asthma attack as well, poor Hubby!

We went along to the Melbourne truck show with an intense feeling that we were to meet our destiny there. And we did! Several months later, after a lot of hard effort & behind the scenes set up, we were able to triumphantly announce the opening of our very own family company!

As we settle into this new groove of our life, we’re looking forward to what 2017 will bring us – it’s bound to be a ride!

So, from our fam-bam to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a Fabuliciouz New Year!

See you back online in 2017!

Roll ’em!

We are fast discovering that there is so very much more to creating a Web show than just pointing a camera & screaming ACTION!

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Perhaps it’s the OCD perfectionist streak we all seem to share that’s causing us to procrastinate on the filming of our web show, but we do want to look a wee bit better than an average home movie. Don’t get us wrong, we’re certainly not going to be anywhere near professional television standards, yet we desire to produce a quality show that we can be proud of.

Why bother at all, I hear you say?!

Whilst we don’t have any delusions of grandeur to rub shoulders with the celebrity chefs (although how cool would that be?!), it is quite a simple answer to this often asked question –

It’s just a bit of fun!

Maybe no one will watch our wee show at all, we won’t lose a sheep station over it, but maybe somebody will watch us & be entertained or try one of our recipes or even be inspired to escape to the simple life themselves. That’s the fun, exciting bit, we just don’t know.

We love to share what we’re passionate about with the world but we don’t wish to become enslaved to the show needing to pump out an episode every week. To overcome this issue, we’ve paid attention to how those professional shows do it – with pre-determined episode numbers in neat series blocks with a gap in between.

Our web show will be canapé sized at 5 minutes each, give or take, as let’s face it, nobody watches YouTube clips much longer than that! Each one will consist of a recipe & then whatever we happen to be up to around the place, you know, our lifestyle kinda segment. I think that’s the one where it could get quite comical with our amateur antics.

We’ve invested in a tiny camcorder with tripod & are busy planning our episodes to bring you the most joy receiving a glimpse into our life on the mountain. Look out for more details about when we start to shoot!

Mini Garden Starter

Building our Home Farm is going to be a HUGE job lasting the summer,

but we want fresh, home grown food NOW!

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So how to we satisfy our hunger whilst waiting for the main course? With a starter, naturally.

Now I know we’ve rented all this land, 3/4 acre, which is quite a daunting prospect to learn upon for complete novices with lofty aspirations but we’re not entirely clueless.

Whilst renting standard properties, small units & caravan park sites, we’ve been able to grow ourselves small potted gardens of edible bliss. Pots have always been our go everywhere solution to our insatiable appetite for growing our very own produce.

Having lived all over Australia, we have had many different experiences, with mixed results, of what & when we’ve grown things in our food gardens over the years. This beautiful mountain of ours on the outskirts of Melbourne, I think, will prove to be our biggest challenge yet!

It would appear we have moved into a very definite micro-climate! 

How have we made this discovery? Through the best network available no matter where you may happen to be – simply asking the locals. Most gardeners are happy to have a chin wag about their precious soil babies & only too accommodating to pass on their hard earned wealth of knowledge. You’d be an absolute mug not to utilise that absolutely free information which has saved us many mistakes over our travels.

We’re used to being able to grow anything at anytime in the magnificent volcanic soil of Australia’s Caldera region, but here, we’re actually going to have to learn a trick or two about gardening. So we’ve decided to start our education this season with our tried & true method of a Mini Potted Garden.

The trick to using a portable garden bed is layers going up.

Make sure it’s in a nice sunny spot & whack a trellis in the back of it for your climbers to reach for the sky (we’ll be planting tomato & cucumber but I wouldn’t mind adding in some peas to that mix as well). The middle layer is where you bung in the medium sized bushes like Basil, Capsicum & Chilli. Down in front is reserved for the low lines, we’ve got radish & beetroot going in this year.

Apparently, this mountain is a good month behind the rest of Victoria to start the growing season & ends a solid month ahead of the rest too so our time to harvest is short, but we shall have food from our garden to our kitchen! We’re determined!

Lemon Curd

It’s one of the most traditional preserves of the country kitchen

& is absolutely luscious in pastries, cakes, tarts & a whole lot more!

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To make this golden fabuliciouzness simply grab a small saucepan & bung in 2 whole eggs along with 2 egg yolks & 3/4 cup of caster sugar. Whisk that lot until it’s nice & smooth.

Next, place the pan over a very low heat & add in 1/3 cup (80g) worth of chilled butter (use the real stuff) & the juice & zest of 2 large lemons. Now you’re chained to the stove as you need to whisk that continuously until it’s gloriously thickened.

Strain it through a sieve into a jug with spout before pouring into your hot sterilised jar & whacking on the lid immediately.

This will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks to use in your baking for a beautiful citrus zing.

Tanz Tip – don’t rush it, keep it nice & low on the heat & never stop whisking, you’re not making scrambled eggs here!

How to sterilise jars

One of the simple pleasures of the kitchen is making your own preserves,

but how do you keep them fresh from spoiling?

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I know it’s a wee bit scary to contemplate the intricacies of sterilisation & so very many of us have simply given up on it all to opt for store bought convenience instead, but seriously, you will be surprised at just how easy it is to prepare your very own jars to fill with homemade yummies direct from your own kitchen. It’s just 3 easy steps!

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180c.

2. Wash the jars in warm soapy water then rinse thoroughly (nobody wants suds in their goodies).

3. Stand them, upside down, in a baking dish & whack them in the oven to dry completely (usually about 15 minutes).

That’s it!

Now the trick is to make sure you pour your HOT preserve into the HOT jar & pop the lid on whilst it’s all still HOT!

Tanz Tip – put your preserve into a jug with a spout to pour so that you don’t get any spillage on the rim of the jar as that will be a super highway for bacteria later.

Compost Curiosity

Way up in the back corner of our Home Farm, underneath a drooping tree, we found hidden treasure!

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When we were dreaming of this sustainable lifestyle change, we eagerly leapt upon any old scrap of information we stumbled across out there. Ever so slowly, we managed to sift through all the ooohhhhssss & aaaahhhhhhhhsss of what we romanticised our life would be like to what we actually thought we stood half a chance of really achieving.

I mean, we wanted fields of Lavender (Munstead variety for culinary purposes, of course), a herd of Jersey cows to make cheese & ice-cream, chickens for eggs, a pony for Mini Me, Alpacas (just because I’ve always adored them), multiple vegetable crop gardens, an Apple Orchard for making Cider, pigs for our own pork, a petting barn for kids, mushroom cave & the list goes on!

What a menagerie we would have if it all came true!

One of the more interesting ‘herds’ we planned upon was investing in a worm farm. It certainly seems like the perfect sustainable solution for a rather tidy little cycle. Kitchen waste goes in the top to feed the worms who in turn break it down into a rich liquid to pour onto the plants in the garden to grow into more beautiful food. What could be simpler for novices?!

Then we stumbled across a rotted out structure under a tree in the far corner of the property. Peeking around the falling down walls, I was surprised to discover a rather new looking compost bin. We don’t know anything about compost. We dismissed it quite early in the process as being far too complicated for people like us as you can get it really, really wrong. Our motto has always been to use what you already have therefore, we simply have to give it a go.

I, mistakenly thought, that everything could just dump on a compost – WRONG! Thank goodness for Google! I ever so narrowly avoided my first composting boo-boo. So, cooked food scraps should not go on the compost as they will attract animals, also, tea bags should not go on the compost either! Who woulda thunk it?!?! Just to clarify, loose leaf tea from the pot can most definitely go on the compost but not the bags, unless you’ve got specifically designed bags to decompose. If normal tea bags are put in the compost they won’t break down so you’ll need to bust them open before you use the compost, or better still, bust them open at the start & just put the loose tea leaves in there to begin with.

We’ve started to top up our inherited compost but have absolutely no idea how we actually extract the rich stuff – that’ll be a problem to figure out when we need it!

Melbourne’s Country Playground

After so many years spent wandering the nation as somewhat reluctant nomads,

have we finally found our nook of Australia to settle down in?

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We have lived from top to bottom & side to side of this great southern land we call home. We have roamed & loved, tasted & explored every possible climate available in a bid to find where we belong. At every new location, one of the very first things we do is to visit the local information centre.

Although these centre’s are catering to the tourists who arrive, they should never be overlooked by new residents to a region. We have found they are the best place ever to resource everything you need to get started in your new environment. Grab all the flyers & tourist trail maps of everything you’re interested in & then make contact with one of the friendly staff. Tell them you’ve just moved to town & they will fill your head with all the local’s only hot spots! Plus you’ll get bonus information of where the locals meet up to connect & chat about what’s happening. This is absolutely vital when landing yourself into rural or remote Australia.

So, our brand spanking new home is on the absolutely stunning Dandenong Ranges. Quite often overlooked for our iconic Yarra Valley neighbour, we’ve noticed a very clever marketing tactic by the local tourism bureau here, a blending of the names to produce the Yarra Ranges!

The trail map, pictured above, is first on our hit list to explore (we’ve already done some places) so, naturally, will be sharing our family outings with you.

We’re about an hour away from the Melbourne CBD and there are loads of day trips you can take up this way from the tour people, but personally, I would hire a car & really get out to explore all the little farm gate stalls to gather together a fabuliciouz hamper of fresh goodies!

However, let’s get back to the question at hand………..Can we finally settle down to grow some roots of our own?

We are adoring the novelty of 4 defined seasons in the south & the mountain feels like a world away from the city. There is ample work within a reasonable commute whilst we are able to maintain our country lifestyle. We have one of the world’s premier wine regions on our doorstep to compliment the outstanding food bowl produce from the rich soil. The spoils of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities are within easy reach for our picking. We are surrounded by an eclectic mix of people who reflect every region we’ve passed through to get here.

Our journey is no longer a destination.