Home Made

So the other thing that I've been working on and really, really enjoying this year is doing more around home, mostly in regards to cooking and growing food. We get a box from Birdsong Market Garden just outside Toowoomba each week to ten days. It's chock-full of biodynamic vegetables which taste like they're meant to (the CORN - oh my goodness, the CORN!!) and have the nutrients that they're meant to! 

Being a big 'seasonal box', it meant that I have had one or two items in it that I wouldn't normally choose or haven't even heard of. Instead of this being a problem, I've actually enjoyed the challenge of using up the unknown vegetable. I've cooked things and made things that I never would have done previously and I've learned a lot!

First up this year was jam. OK, so not all that healthy. But when the fruit is free and arrives in boxfuls, you make jam. Or in our case, you make marmalade.

The other thing I've made was sauerkraut. I have problems with gut health, so I'm always keen to eat foods that support gut health. Sauerkraut is full of natural good bacteria which help your body absorb everything it needs from the food you eat.

Sadly, my sauerkraut was an epic fail. The cabbage needs to be pushed below and kept below the level of the brine. Mine didn't because I didn't have a proper sauerkraut crock. I think next time I'll use a clean rock (plenty in our ground around here!). I'm keeping an eye out in op shops for fermenting crocks, to have another go sometime!

Making sauerkraut. It was a therapeutic activity, even if a failure in the end!

I keep our diet here at Nethaniah pretty healthy. We eat most things, but I will admit to a severe aversion to pumpkin, developed in childhood when I would sit at the dining table long after my family had finished eating, with a cold, congealing lump of the stuff on my plate.

Sometimes I put the piece of punky in the vase that was always on the buffet in our dining room. Quite a few times it was placed under the table on a vinyl strap wide enough to house a lump of pumpkin. If my mum ever discovered those lumps of pumpkin, she never said anything! Sometimes, I had to eat it - gagging as I swallowed, as a lot of us can probably remember.

Over the years, I've tolerated pumpkin soup. I'm not a big believer in forcing children to eat everything on their plate, but in our house, if they don't eat all their dinner, there's no dessert. We talk a lot about how to eat foods we don't like ("Eat it with something you DO like!"). After many years, I can say now that I can eat pumpkin without gagging, but I'd prefer not to.

In my Birdsong box is always a pumpkin......so I've had to find creative ways to use it up. By far and away, the best one is these yummy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars. Now, it's not dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth, I'm-suddenly-converted-to-loving-pumpkin type of thing! But I eat them and they're a lovely simple dessert or a snack. I cooked a double batch and froze them, which worked out well.

I've also made strawberry jam this year, thanks to the punnets being on special for $1. Nature Girl in particular loved spreading it on her toast each morning.

I am loving this new adventure into new food experiences! It's all thanks to Birdsong Market Garden and their passion for real food. I would never have tried new things if it weren't for them!


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