Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A Spicy Saucy Week

We have had a really crazy  full on couple of weeks and in between  trips away, fires, the show,  family health issues  and all the other activities we have been involved in, it just  has been madness, and then why you ask would I decide to add  canning/preserving into that mix.?
On Saturday the 1st of April  all the groups in our small town will be banding together up at the showground to celebrate  100 years since the railway came  to Binnaway.
Part of the celebrations will be a  variety of market style stalls and I have hoped that I may have prepared enough to be able to run a stall myself.
Our Habaneros have been  extremely productive this year so many of what I have been making is chilli based.
The first  thing I made was "Habanero Gold" Chilli Jelly, a wonderful sweet hot jelly that is  delicious to have with  camembert  cheese and crackers , as a baste or blended with cream cheese or sour cream as a dip and has proved popular with many of our visitors and friends, so I hope  that it may sell well.
The next  thing I made was Apricot Habanero Chilli Sauce, I had a good supply of  home bottled apricots from last season, so combined with red capsicums,  habaneros, onions, garlic, salt, vinegar and sugar,
Everything was processed then cooked  in a pot until the right consistency was reached, bottled,capped  then processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath to seal.
We love this quick and easy sauce, it is sweet with just a nice kick of heat and we eat it regularly on chicken and fish.
As we were due to butcher and process some turkeys, I decided I needed to  use up the last batch of roosters that we had butchered ,processed and popped in the freezer and had not found the time to do anything with them.
I had thought about canning some curried chicken and had also  wanted to try some new jars that I had purchased from out jar supplier in Newcastle.
So I made up the chicken curry,Just a recipe I made up myself, but here it is.
After filling the jars and placing the lids on, the jars were then placed in the pressure canner and processed  for 90 minutes  at 15lbs pressure.
The jars worked really well and I will  use these again to  can ready to eat  meals like this. This  curry  has been  really lovely and something that I certainly would do again.
These can  be heated and eaten as is,  or after opening they can be thicken slightly to taste.
These will be great to have in the pantry for quick lazy meals on toast or with some plain boiled  rice.
The next sauce I decided on   was Tomato Habanero , using up the last of my home canned batch of tomatoes from last year( I find this a great way to keep all my jar stock well rotated    and to  have a great base for all the sauces.) I used  a new style of lid this time with a little pop button in the centre to  let me know a good seal has been achieved after water bathing.
The bug had hit me, I was in a saucy mood !!!
I followed   the tomato sauce up with another  double batch of the Apricot Habanero  chilli sauce.
As my apricot supply had  still not ran out, I made one final batch of this sauce, but had to put this lot into 500 ml bottles instead of the 250 ml bottles that I normally use.
I am running out of space to store it all, I need to get onto the computer  and print up  all the labels that I  am required to have on the jars  to sell to the public. I need to also sort out all the other items that I have made   over the last couple of months that I will also sell and get labels made for them also.I have, the  chilli jelly, 3 types of sauces, apricot jam, plum jam, pickles(relish style) pickled zucchini, marmalade, and  kumquats in syrup, Hopefully there will be something there  for everyone
I hope it all sells well, and if not then I will just have a really well stocked pantry .
It has been an exhausting few weeks. but a very rewarding few weeks, and I have loved it all. I am happy when I am producing  something  in the kitchen( I just wish that it all cleaned up afterwards by itself.)
I am endeavoring to keep this blog updated a little more often,  but life and time often gets in the way and prevents that from happening,
So until we meet again,
Take care,

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Show !!

Growing up in our small local town ,one of the big highlights was the annual agricultural show organized by the hard working PAH &I  Association..
I used to look forward to it with such enthusiasm and anticipation.
Our school used to suddenly swell in numbers for a week with the children of the  traveling show people.My mum was always involved with the  behind the scenes activities that revolve around a show.
We used to have many wonderful rides, the flying horses, ferris wheel, dodgem cars, the Octopus, smaller rides for littlies, and a long varied Sideshow Alley as well as food vendors, selling  my favourite  Dagwood Dogs and Fairy Floss. One year I remember winning the "Best Dressed Teenager" award.
There was a full day  of ring events,  lots of  machinery and  equipment displays, a huge pavilion  full of  competition entries in all   possible  areas of interest.
There was a  bar,ghost house , boxing tent  and so many more things that have long been forgotten.
Since being back here the last two years  full time, we have involved ourselves a little with the show,   It seems such a shame that it appears  to have shrunk so much, but the spirit behind the  organizing and running of the day has not. !!!
 An amazing team  of people  behind the scenes start planning this   great day almost a year  before, and what a  wonderful job they do.
While we were there  this time we took an aerial view of the showground.

This year  I was invited to set up  a canning preserving)  display as  popularity in this area has waned a fair bit over the last decade or two and entries in this field  are down  to what they used to be.
Vera, the Steward for the preserving  told me that the display created a lot of interest , and many people stopped to ask questions and  to just have a look.
There were a reasonable number of entries this year in the preserving section.
 I was very surprised at the end of the day to  find I had  placed well in many of the preserving catagories, receiving 6  first place , 5 second place and 5 third place certificates .
Sadly  due to the extreme  weather conditions  we have been experiencing  in this area, the fruit and vegetable and garden produce entries were down  in numbers by a considerable degree.
There was a brilliant sewing /craft section  with some  amazing  entries that won well deserved prizes.
There was a great photographic display, which I think I will enter next year.
Some very  talented artists displayed their work,This is just a peek.
The school and preschool displayed  the children's work,
There were cakes decorated by the  kids,
Outside  there was much to see and do, There were sheep dog trials,
Sheep  and cattle judging ,
Lots of horse events  throughout the day,
 Poultry exhibition, and face painting for the children,
Wood chop competitions,
Vintage car display,

We also had a fellow who endeavored to  show us how wonderful and beautiful snakes are,  I  have to admit , that was one  display that I didn't get up and personal  with.
But the petting zoo with the baby animals was another matter, although I  have to  say , I feel that  this was one area that needs to be rethought for next year.  The animals spent way to much time in the hot sun and there was very little supervision of the children handling them all day long.
There were a couple of  rides for the kids, the dodgem cars,
A jumping castle, and  a  floating ball  ride,
There were  a couple of stalls in Side Show Alley  and of course my favourite one selling those   special Fairy Floss and Dagwood Dogs.( No show would be complete without them).
Our very industrious Lions Club ran the    BBQ stall, supplying steak and rissole sandwiches, kebabs, drinks and the like all day long. The  ladies also did a wonderful job serving morning teas and lunches  to the hungry hordes at the pavilion.
There were many  other stalls located around the showground selling all sorts of produce, and some just  showing community   services , like our amazing Rural fire Service.

 All of them seemed to  be quite well  visited  on the day .
Although our  once much bigger  show has shrunk in size , the community spirit, and  hard work by countless  people  behind the scenes has not, and indeed actually has grown as more work in organizing such an event has now fallen onto  far less shoulders.
The local PAH &I Association should well be proud of themselves, they  planned , organized and executed a wonderful day with a calendar full of  events.
I am proud to be part of this small community that bands together and produces excellence like this.
Well Done Binnaway PAH&I Association, Great Job . !!!
I  look forward in anticipation to next year,
It has been a  massive few weeks here, and I feel like I am chasing my tail trying to keep up, little lone get ahead, so until we meet up again down the track,
take care of you and yours,
Jane. :-) :-) :-)