Lifeboat Farm

My new favourite pizza
April 25, 2009, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Food

Last night was our Friday pizza night (semi-traditional now). The wood-fired bakery I work at part time does an amazing pizza with sour cream, bacon, spring onion and caraway seeds I have tried to replicate. The result was pretty tasty and for a purist like me to stray from margarita or marinara means it might have a place on the Friday pizza night menu from now on.



Garden Diary 24th April
April 24, 2009, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Garden Diary

Planted today:

Cabbage – Golden Acre x9
Cabbage – Savoy x12
Cabbage – Toscana x6
Cauliflower x9
Cauliflower – Violet Sicilian x9
Broccoli – Romanesco x9
Broccoli – Tender Stem x24
Broccoli – Rapini x12
Broccoli – De Cicco x12
Broccoli – Marathon x12
Broccoli – Samurai x12

Winter planting
April 24, 2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Building, Garden

With Autumn well and truly upon us it’s time to get more winter veg in the ground. Aiko and Fizz the helpful gardening cat are filling planter pots for all the seedlings to come.


Some of the seedlings waiting to go out in the garden.


Aiko planting brassicas in the beds where the potatoes were. This is good crop rotation but also the potato beds were nicely turned over by the harvesting, leaving fine soil in the beds for the next crop.


One of the beds full of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.


Bottling Quinces
April 21, 2009, 12:02 pm
Filed under: Food

Our friends Brian and Carol down the road were kind enough to give us a few bags of quinces while their tree was full of fruit. We had made some delicious quince preserve last year so we thought this year we’d scale things up a bit. We ended up calling every pot in the kitchen into action and had the wood range going for a couple of days to get through it all. We discovered the hard way that sugary quince syrup sticks to a hot oven when the pot is too full and it boils over. Here’s the preserving factory in operation.


The result? A boat-load of quince slices, quince and apple paste, quince juice and some super-reduced quince syrup the consistency of molasses. Look out for future recipes using all of these.


Potato Harvest
April 17, 2009, 11:36 am
Filed under: Food, Garden, Garden Diary


We’ve just dug up the last of the potatoes and collected 103kg this weekend. Including the ones we’ve already eaten, our total potato harvest weights are:

Agria – 30kg
Rua – 11kg
Ilam Hardy – 15kg
Desiree – 15kg
Rocket – 15kg
Cliff’s Kidney – 15kg
Jersey Benne – 15kg
Red Rascall – 9kg
Maori Potato Selection – 8.5kg
Grand total – 133.5kg

We’ll store the best ones, eat the rest soon and see how long the spuds last until next season. Here’s our current helper Aiko helping with the harvest.


Playing with Dave’s reprap
April 14, 2009, 9:53 am
Filed under: Technology

This post should help restore some geek balance to the “farmgeek”. We had the pleasure of a visit from our friend Dave this weekend and as a result of some logistical issues I was lucky enough to have possession of his reprap for a few days. What is a reprap? From the reprap Wikipedia article:

The RepRap Project is an initiative aimed at creating a largely self-replicating machine which can be used for rapid prototyping and manufacturing. A rapid prototyper is a 3D printer that is able to fabricate three dimensional artifacts from a computer-based model.

In other words, you can print three dimensional stuff, and it’s about the coolest thing ever. The plans (and many parts) are avialable online so anyone can build one.


All the circuit boards, rods, wires and chains are the support and control system for the extruder – like a printer head crossed with a hot glue gun. Plastic resin is heated up and squirted through the nozzle while the head moves in 3 dimensions to build your object layer by layer.


With three stepper motors grinding away it makes quite a bit of noise (but no worse than the old dot-matrix printers). Fizz was not too impressed this thing had disturbed her sleep under my desk.


The finished item! It’s traditional to print a shot glass as your first object so you can toast the reprap. While this shotglass is made of resin, other builders are experiementing with metal/epoxy mixes and even ceramic paste so the future of 3D fabrication looks pretty exciting. Building one of these is definitely going on my list of wet day projects but it’s a long list so hopefully I’ll have one of these by about 2012.


Hot Cross Buns
April 13, 2009, 4:57 pm
Filed under: Food, Recipes
This recipe is from Tim Allen’s Book – The Ballymaloe Bread Book and it will put you off store-bought buns forever. It’s a little bit of work but well worth the effort.

Hot Cross Buns
25g fresh yeast
1 Tablespoon castor sugar
50ml warm milk
450g bakers flour (assume high grade flour here)
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 teaspoons mixed spice
85g caster sugar
85g butter
225-300 ml tepid milk
85g currants
2 eggs
50g sultanas
25g chopped peel

Egg wash to glaze ( milk egg yolk and sugar)
shortcrust pastry

Preheat over to 220 degrees C

In a measuring jug dissolve the yeast with the tablespoon of caster sugar in the 50ml of warm milk
In a large wide mixing bowl sieve the flour then add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice and 85g of sugar. Rub in the butter.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and remaining warm milk. Pour this into the measuring jug with the yeast mixture. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Combine to a soft dough.

Leave for about 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, then add the currants, sultanas and peel. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and shiny.Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (an hour or so).

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knock the dough back and leave to rest for a few minutes.
Divide into 16 pieces, shape into buns. Place them on a baking sheet, egg wash and mark each one carefully by putting a cross of shortcrust pastry on each bun.

Allow to rise for an hour and egg wash again.

Bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 200 degrees C and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden.

Cool on a wire rack.