I’ve just finished writing a blog article for my local Killabakh site. ( http://killabakh.wix.com/day-in-the-country ) This is the beautiful area in New South Wales, Australia where I live.
What a view as I sit at my computer!
When I read it back, I was struck by how many riches I have in my life. I have been living on my property for 15 years now, and it has grown from a patch of grass with a small house on it, to a place I love and will never wish to leave.
Over the fifteen years, as I mentioned in the article, I have had my fair share of grief as well as joy, and, in my humble opinion, I think the good has outweighed the bad.
I have now got my own personal land of milk and honey, with me milking my cow Nellie, and extracting honey from a couple of hives that are situated up on the ridge of my land. I grow my own vegetables (not always successfully – the wild-life often enjoy it) and have a significant stand of fruit trees.
I have learnt over the years to preserve my harvest and make all sorts of enjoyable edibles, from home-made ginger beer to apple cider vinegar for its health giving benefits. (see how further down this article – it really is simple, and doesn’t cost the earth!). I also found a wonderful old book (‘The Garden Way Bread Book’ by Ellen Foscue Johnson) which saw me making wholesome bread, chapatis and Naan as well as buns and sour dough. (see the recipe for chapatis below.) Many years ago, my mother kept a jar of ‘starter’ on the windowsill. When I asked her what it was, she told me it was a yeast made from potatoes. After years of looking for a potato yeast, I’ve finally found it in Ellen’s book. Thank you, Ellen! Now I make my own. (see how below).
This is my sour dough starter. It has been kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but is still usable.
I’ve discovered the way to eat that has slimmed down my body, and given me energy in abundance. (Thank you Dr. Michael Mosely for your inspirational research into Intermittent fasting) ( http://thefastdiet.co.uk/ )
And best of all, now that I am single, I’ve learnt to be alone and happy with the way I am. My children, son Michael and daughter Tammy have gifted me with grandchildren. Each family is stable and well.
What more could I ask for?
How to make raw potato yeast starter.
1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon honey or raw sugar, 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup of grated raw peeled potato.
Combine all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm spot for 2, 3 or more days. When it is foamy and smells a little like beer, pour into a large jar and keep in the refrigerator. Replace flour, sugar and warm water as it is used in your bread making. You may need to make a fresh batch every few weeks.
How to make Ginger beer. (From ‘Hard Times Hand Book’ compiled by Keith and Irene Smith)
First create your ‘plant’ by mixing 1 teaspoon of dried yeast with 1 level teaspoon of sugar. Add a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of ground ginger. Cover with some muslin and leave on the bench. Each day, for the next eight (8) days add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger.
The next step (after 9 days) :- Put 1 kg of sugar and 1 litre of water in a large saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add a further 6 litres of water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Strain the plant through two thicknesses of muslin and add the liquid from it to the sugar/water mix in your saucepan. Stir well.
Keeping the mixture stirred between bottles, fill 8 or so empty bottles, Seal each bottle. Leave for 5 days, then refrigerate to stop the bubbling process until you are ready to drink! Meanwhile, divide the dregs in the muslin from the plant into two lots. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 cup of water to each half. Repeat the procedure as stated above to ‘feed’ the plant, adding to them each day. You now have a ‘plant’ to start your next batch of ginger beer, and one to gift to a friend.
How to make Apple Cider Vinegar.
Chop 5 or 6 large apples (or scraps from about 10 apples) including skin, cores and pips. Put into a large, wide-mouthed
Apple Cider Vinegar ready to strain into bottles to put in my pantry.
jar. The apples should 1/2 fill the jar. Fill the jar almost to the top with water, and stir in 1 cup of raw sugar or honey until it is fully dissolved. Cover the top with muslin and secure with a rubber band. Leave on the counter for about a week, gently stirring each day. When the apple no longer floats, or the mixture smells of alcohol, strain out the apples, placing the clean liquid into a clean jar. Cover with a fresh piece of muslin and secure with a rubber band.Now leave again for approximately 3 to 4 weeks. (Don’t be concerned – a ‘mother culture’ will form on the top – this is perfectly normal). Taste to see if it is vinegary enough for you then strain once more into clean jars for use at a later date. (store out of direct sunlight).
How to make chapatis.
Mix together 2 cups white flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of either wholemeal, rice or barley flour. Add 3 tablespoons of melted butter and mix gently with a fork. Mix in enough warm water to make a soft but not wet dough ( about 1 and 1/2 cups). Place dough on a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes.Dust the ball of dough with some more flour and wrap it in some waxed paper or a damp cloth. Chill for about 1 hour.
Cut dough into 12 equal pieces then flatten on a floured board into a thin circle.
Preheat your frying pan and lightly grease. Cook each round separately tossing it over after 2 or 3 minutes to cook the other side. Make sure it is still soft and pliable. Serve brushed with melted butter while still warm. Re-grease your pan between each chapati.
If you are interested in self-sufficiency and need help with starting a garden, I have compiled some simple Garden Guides which may be helpful. They can be found as ebooks on my author page (viewAuthor.at/MaureenLarter), or I have printed copies that I can send you. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested at email@example.com
Each booklet covers a season. They retail at $8 each (Australian). Postage is extra