We’re back! Hello 2018

Cheers to 2018~

Well, it has definitely been some time between posts for us at here at Finding Feasts so a huge hello to all!  🙂 

2017 went at the blink of an eye. One minute I am making final preparations for the first day of year 6 and the next I find myself attending the year 6 graduation camp, purchasing a high school uniform, putting up the Christmas tree and saying farewell to Blondie and her family as they make a sea change and move to our nations capital, Canberra! Pour me a wine already!

2017 left us with some amazing experiences and adventures in our own back yard:

South Rosedale Beach on the NSW South Coast

Early on in the year I made numerous visits to the South Coast of NSW where the sunsets are amazing.

Sun setting over South Rosedale beach – photo by Bella

Whilst Blondie holidayed with her family in equally stunning Huskisson, also on the NSW South Coast.

Point Perpendicular – photo by Blondie
Husky carnival – photo by Blondie

We continued to travel throughout the year taking in small holidays where we could. One of my favourite short holidays was for our annual Easter getaway where our two families and friends come together for some time out in the beautiful high country of NSW, Oberon.

Morning sunrise from the house overlooking the mountain ranges.
Autumn colours in the streets of Oberon
Cows come to feed at the Easter holiday – photo by Blondie
Freshly picked wild mushrooms

In 2017 we found that family and personal responsibilities took precedent however we still managed to fit in one mushroom foraging tour in the Southern Highlands. We weren’t blessed with a massive bounty but mother nature was nice to us. We even managed to scout out a new forest for this years mushrooming tours. We hope that you can join us.

2017 Finding Feasts Foraging tour in the Southern Highlands – photo by Blondie

As we farewelled autumn and said hello to winter it was time for us to pack up again and set off for our mini winter get away to Avaleigh Elms farm stay. We stay in a basic old weatherboard cottage, no internet, no phone, we play games, craft, eat, watch classic movies and keep warm by the fire place with a glass or two of wine.

Stunning winter morning at the farm stay – photo by Blondie

And so the months of 2017 rolled on, we ate, we laughed and watched our two kids mature and graduate from primary school (insert cry emoji). We embarked on our own crafty adventures. I learnt to knit and crochet again and dabbled in embroidery.

Made by Bella beanie and scarf

Blondie launched Nordic Grey Designs. A very cool home and body-wares store. Her gnomes are pretty fancy looking.

Visit Nordic Grey Designs

We both have our own blogs too. Mine is in infancy stages, called Bella’s Boho Life and Blondie has Cooking Design Crafts.

Did I mention that Blondie and her family packed up and moved to Canberra? Yep, no more me running down the back lane for a cup of sugar!

So is this the end of Finding Feasts I hear you ask? Definitely not,  we have however asked ourselves that very same question. Life throws all sorts of curved balls at you and we both needed last year to regroup and focus on family and ourselves.

So what can you expect from us this year? Definitely mushroom foraging tours, keep your fingers crossed for a good season. We aim at running our first one in April. Foodie adventures for sure! Plus we may have some other exciting plans towards the end of the year so do watch this space!

Looking forward to a very exciting 2018.

Bella

Winter picnic for two by Pop up Picnic

Mushroom sausage rolls

Finding Feasts Mushroom Sausage Rolls
Click on image for full recipe

Mushroom sausage rolls – Growing up I was one of those kids that was discouraged from eating canteen food at primary school by my parents. We very rarely went out to restaurants and we most certainly didn’t buy take away food. Mum cooked every night. My parents were of the opinion that if food was ‘fast’ that it had little nutritional value for me plus why spend money on food when you can cook twice as much yourself.

They could not understand why a kid would sacrifice fresh, home made sandwiches on rye bread for soggy school sausage rolls and meat pies. Dad always reminded me of how bad they were for us and that they contained all the ‘off cuts’ from the worst bits of meat. I kept on arguing and arguing with dad only to learn with time, how right he was!

These sausage rolls are the complete opposite. There are no dodgy off cuts, just good quality meat, veggies and herbs and my hand picked wild mushrooms!

What is your go-to fast food?

Bella

Labneh in olive oil

Click on image for recipe

Labneh in olive oil – I am a self-confessed cheese-a-holic. I am yet to come across a cheese that I haven’t liked! Very happy to be offered a cheese tasting challenge to be proven wrong.

Several weeks ago I tried my hand at making farm cheese so I thought I’d have a go at making Labneh, a yummy Mediterranean cheese from natural yogurt which is hung in a muslin wrap for several days. This recipe requires no cooking and I am very proud to say that I succeeded!

Labneh cheese is perfect as part of a Middle Eastern mezze platter with dips, marinated vegetables and warm pita bread.

I tasted my first Labneh at the Sydney Good Food & Wine Show in 2006. It was marinated in oil with some herbs and spices. I loved how the cheese just melted in your mouth, little soft white clouds bursting with flavour.

Now I can make my own! One simple rule, use good quality natural yogurt and olive oil.

Happy Labneh making 🙂

Bella

Sweet Dill Pickled Pine Mushrooms

Click image for this Sweet Dill Pickled Mushroom recipe

Sweet Dill Pickled Pine Mushrooms… What better way to store your freshly foraged wild mushrooms for a long time than pickling them?

I love a sweet pickle, always have, so I naturally gravitate to this pickling liquid but there are plenty of methods of pickling and flavour combinations that you will develop your very own favourite pickling brine in no time.

Enjoy! Blondie 🙂

Farm Cheese

How to make farm cheese recipe
Click on image for recipe

Home made farm cheese, my first blog post for 2017! Yipee.

Actually break open the champagne and do a little dance. It’s more like the first blog post for about 8 months! For me anyway.

Without going into boring lengthy details lets just say that 2016 was a very frustrating year for Finding Feasts. Not only were there NO mushrooms to forage for but accessing our blog (no thanks to our old hosting partner) was a nightmare.

I am pleased to say that yes, we are back!

Now back to my recipe. Farm cheese or farmers cheese is something that takes me back to my childhood. Mum used to farm cheese fresh from the local deli or make it from milk that would go sour before it was boiled.

True Polish farm cheese has a white curd like texture and a slightly sour smell, it is often used for making cheese cake and our famous pierogi (take note…no ‘s’ on the end!) I am not quite sure when mum first found it at the deli here in Australia, but when she did I was in heaven, especially when she made me a plate of farm cheese pierogi, smothered in a burnt butter sauce with sprinkles of sugar and cinnamon.

I have been wanting to make my own farm cheese for a while now but didnt know how to until I cam across this recipe by fellow Polish blogger Martyna Angell from Wholesome-cooke.com. Her blog is amazing! This is her recipe.

Buttermilk is expensive at $2.70 per 600 ml, however this is my treat. I use two 600 ml cartons to produce about 500 grams of fresh farm cheese in about 2 hours.

My favourite at the very moment is fresh farm cheese on rye bread with chives.

It’s great to be back blogging!

Bella

Thai Noodle Salad w/ Fried Soft Shell Crab

Thai Noodle Salad w/ Fried Soft Shell Crab
Click image for recipe
Thai Noodle Salad w/ Fried Soft Shell Crab – There really isn’t anything more delicious than a beautifully cooked, crunchy soft shell crab.

I had two crabs still in the freezer, which whenever I opened the door would scream to be cooked… You seem to always feel – at least I do,  that you need an occasion to cook these, so I had been holding off… till today!

I have a detailed description of how to clean the crab in a previous post, How To Prepare Soft Shell Crab, so there’s no excuse not to try this – you will love it!

The flavours are deliciously fresh and zingy with lots of textures to make your mouth feel likes it’s at a party!

Best Ever Chili Con Carne w/ Chorizo & Dates

Best Ever Chili Con Carne w/ Chorizo & Dates
Click image for recipe

Best Ever Chili Con Carne w/ Chorizo & Dates – You may be a little surprised with the use of dates in this recipe but rest assured, once you have tried it you will be hooked.

So why did I use dates? Well, a chili con carne ideally uses a variety of peppers, each adding their own uniqueness to the dish. For example, capsicum adds a sweet, bright flavour without any heat. Chipotles add a warming heat with a smoky tobacco flavour. Arbol or similar are the fire and Ancho add a deep almost fruity flavour. If you find a pepper to match each of these four flavour groups you will have a well rounded dish.

As I didn’t had all the peppers available to me I improvised. Missing the deep fruity flavour, I dug around and found dates. Perfect! Blending the dates with the chipotles and tomatoes to make a rich, hot and smokey paste, which was smoothed out with the addition of the dates was pure genius… if I do say so myself.

The addition of chorizo adds a slightly different texture to the mince plus, depending on your chosen chorizo sausage it can add extra heat and spiciness. I cook the sausage at the beginning so as to use the rendered fat to cook the onions in. Setting it aside till the end means the chorizo crumbs remain little flavour bombs rather than melding into the flavour pot.

Chili con carne along with bolognese is a mince dish that is best made in bulk as reheated meals always taste so good. And having frozen portions in the freezer means you will always have a delicious meal available… Stuffed baked potatoes or zucchinis. Use it on your nachos or burritos.

Endless possibilities… Blondie 🙂