Today I share with you a sweet little number I created recently to share with family and friends during this festive season. I am not a huge Christmas cake fan, however, I do like to offer a little treat when people come visiting during the season of giving. This is my take on the traditional Italian panforte, a glorious combination of spices, dried fruit, whole nuts and honey packaged in a dense little cake. Sliced thinly it is delightful enjoyed with a cuppa and good company.
The gift of food is the best gift anyone can give – well in my eyes anyway. We try to keep our consuming of material stuff minimal around here but when it comes to food we don’t hold back often. If it is locally grown or produced I am happy to pay a higher price. Within reason of-course. And being a lover of real food I often find myself with a box of excess fruit on the doorstep. Dropped off by a kind friend with more backyard garden goodness they can handle. This week it is a huge box of lemons that are disappearing as quickly as they arrived. The lemons that survive to the weekend will become jars of preserved lemons [follow this link to learn how] for Christmas gifts.
I like to make everyday pantry ingredients from scratch as often as I can. This is my second installment in my Handmade Series where I will show you how easy it is to make creamy coconut milk at home. Making fresh coconut milk means less waste and less exposure to BPA [Bisphenol A]. We are often careful to buy BPA-free drink bottles and plastic containers, but may not realise it is also found in a common pantry staple. The plastic lining of canned foods. Of-course we can’t get it right all of the time and I have a few cans of coconut milk in my pantry for those quick meals. However, when I have an extra 10 minutes on my hands I like to make it myself to use in a curry or add to smoothies. It is so simple, I made this little video to show you how…
This week I have my friend and yoga teacher Sam Loe sharing a guest post here on Homegrown Kitchen. With the busy time of year fast approaching Sam shares a simple way we can recharge, and the importance of supporting our digestion. Sam and I have talked about teaming up for sometime, and we have come up with a relaxing and nourishing yoga and food workshop in Nelson on Sunday 30th November. The perfect timing to set us up relaxed while energised for the busy weeks ahead. Find out more below. And now I hand you over to Sam’s very capable hands…
If you are relatively new to growing food a good place to start is legumes such as peas, beans and broad beans. They are one of the easiest and most satisfying edibles to grow, plus they feed the soil with nitrogen as they grow. It is win win for everyone – we get to eat, and the soil is feed too.
Healthy soil is integral to growing strong healthy plants. It has taken some time, however, after 8 years of gardening here I can confidently say our soil is healthy. It is dark in colour, holds moisture while not soggy and has some spring to it when squeezed. This has taken care and time to build up the garden beds with compost and mulch, and practicing crop rotation. Different plants utilise different nutrients in the soil therefore rotating crops – i.e. not planting tomatoes in the same spot as last year – helps the soil to recover and replenish. And growing legumes after a hungry feeder such as tomatoes is one way to bring the soil back to health.
It seems kinda funny to make a cake for a virtual thing like a blog. It is not something or someone I can hold or who can even eat the cake. However, I spend enough time nurturing and updating and sharing here, that celebrating the milestones with cake can be excused I suppose. Any excuse for cake really!
Two years and counting, and I feel like I am firmly established in this blogs life now. I know how the technical side ticks, I know what type of recipes I want to share, and your comments are always a joy to read and reply too. After 2 years I can feel the sense of community created here, even more so when I get out and meet some of you in person at my workshops and other events. This is what keeps me coming back to this space every week, keeps me planning the recipes I want to photograph and share.