While world news continues to be more alarming each day, I feel very grateful that life at home has felt mostly steady and productive. We haven’t changed the world but small things like phone conversations with my parents, homemade pies from a generous friend and my family’s sense of humour and quirks have all made me smile in the last few days.
There has been some neighbourly horse riding that finished with a neighbourly cheese platter and a fire. We are very lucky to have neighbours that are also friends for our whole family.
A friend recently contacted me asking if I could collect her some emu feathers for a basket weaving project. Emus always deposit feathers on our fences so this was an easy request. But, it got me thinking about other bush treasures that I love. Sometimes I pick things up; sometimes I leave them in place. Fallen birds’ nests are my favourite find.
The emu feather hunt also led me to a patch of wildflowers, an old fence post, sleepy lizard bones, a parched kangaroo bone, tiny bits of rusty tin, old china, a yabby claw and scraps of wool. Perhaps my friend will somehow weave some of these things together.
Winter is well and truly here, the mornings are frosty but the days are mostly crisp and sunny. Our morning coffee and hot chocolate routine is non-negotiable. I recently purchased some hot chocolate and marshmallows from Grounded Pleasures to give as gifts, but of course we also had to test it out for ourselves. If you are looking for a fancy little winter treat or gift, do yourself a favour.
In the vegetable garden progress is gradual. Asian greens and kale are winning the growth race at the moment. I don’t think kale will ever be hugely popular on our dinner plates but it looks decorative and the chooks love it. While it is cold I am collecting cow manure and doing lots of digging in preparation for the warmer months.
I have just discovered a lovely podcast by Mickey Robertson from Glenmore House. The episodes follow the seasons and Mickey explains (in her beautiful voice!) where her garden is up to and what she is cooking from it. There are detailed notes and photos to correspond with each episode. This is a valuable resource for anyone who is growing, planning and cooking from home. I can see myself going back to certain episodes as the seasons unfold.
Soup weather is here. I will leave you with this recipe below that can be made with sweet potato or pumpkin. Please serve with a loaf of good bread!
Happy Sunday, friends x
- 1 smoked pork hock or ham bone around 1kg
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- 1 onion diced
- 2 sticks celery diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 500 g sweet potato or pumpkin peeled and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 50 g small pasta such as risoni
- Parmesan cheese to serve
- parsley to serve
Place hock and stock in a large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add all vegetables, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Simmer for around 40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Carefully remove the bone from the soup and place on a chopping board. Cut off all of the meat from the bone and set it aside. Discard any excess fat, skin and the bone.
Remove the bay leaves from the soup and set them aside. Once the soup is cool enough to handle, process it through a food processor until smooth.
Place soup, bay leaves and chopped meat back into the pot. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Simmer gently until the pasta is tender. Season to taste if necessary.
This soup will benefit from resting in the refrigerator overnight. It will thicken and the flavour will develop further.
Reheat if necessary and serve with extra cracked pepper, shaved Parmesan cheese or chopped parsley.