Growing up on a farm, I couldn’t wait to leave. As soon as I had saved up some money, I set off to see the big wide world. Backpack in hand.
First stop was San Francisco. Then Paris. And on it went.
It was so exhilarating. And scary. Meeting new people. Exploring new places and of course tasting new cuisines.
But you know what really surprised me?
The more places I visited, the more I appreciated how much I loved Australia. As the saying goes ‘there’s no place like home’.
And so way back then a seed of an idea started to form. One day I would have a little farm of my own. There would be olives and chickens and of course a kick-arse veggie garden.
That was back in the mid 1990s. And ever since then the dream has stayed with me.
It’s been with me through different careers as a wine maker, chocolate biscuit designer and now food blogger and author. It’s been with me as I’ve lived in many different places from the Barossa Valley to California to Southern France to Sydney and the Snowy Mountains.
Lets just say this dream has been a long time in the making.
So I can hardly believe that this weekend we’re finally moving to our little farm. It’s pretty tiny. Just 5 acres of beautiful Australian bush land. But that’s all we’ll need.
Yay for dreams that come true! No matter how long it takes.
The Stonesoup Tiny Farm Moving House SALE!
And to give you a taste, here’s one of the recipes in the book inspired by my Mum.
June’s Chinese Chicken
June was my Mum and this was her only foray into Chinese cooking. She used to make it with chicken wings and serve it as a starter for her dinner parties in the 70s. I’ve simplified it since then and turned it into more of a main course by using chicken drumsticks.
The real gem here, though, is the bok choy. By wrapping it in foil and baking it in the oven it steams to a lovely texture without adding any extra washing up. Win! Win!
enough for 2
6-8 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 bunch bok choy or other Asian greens or broccolini
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
2. Combine soy, honey & ginger. Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with the sauce. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
3. Remove foil and turn the chicken. Return to the oven. Wrap bok choy in foil and place on a lower shelf in the oven.
4. Bake for another 20 minutes or until chicken is well browned and the bok choy has wilted.
vegetarian / vegan – try Chinese mushrooms. Cook field mushrooms instead of the chicken. You might like to add some cashews as you serve to increase the protein. I’m also thinking tofu or tempeh would be lovely with all the flavours from the sauce. And if you don’t eat honey a little brown sugar or maple syrup would work.
more substantial – serve with steamed rice or cauliflower ‘rice’ (raw grated cauliflower).
different cuts of chicken – feel free to use chicken thighs instead or a whole chicken chopped into pieces on the bone. Both of these options will take about the same time to cook. Boneless chicken breasts or thigh fillets will also work, reduce the cooking time to 20-30 minutes.
different protein – You could use fish fillets (will take about 15 minutes or a little longer). Lamb shanks, pork ribs or beef osso buco will take about 3-4 hours cooked at 160C (350F).
hot! – add in some fresh or dried chilli.