Monday, November 12, 2012

Gozleme, our fireside adventure...

Moving into our tiny strawbale has been pretty easy in many ways. Easier than I thought. Annie, being a consummate optimist and pretty intrepid in the adventuring stakes probably always thought it would be fine. But me, I was a little nervous deep down. Thankfully my nerves were unfounded and it has been really quite wonderful. There's only one thing that has really been niggling at me and this is our total absence of an oven. For I love to bake! I love getting all domestic goddess-y and ensuring there are baked treats aplenty for our family and for whoever happens to be around at any given time. For now, this is not possible as our cooking is done entirely on a BBQ and a portable gas ring. Recently we've added a fire to our cooking but this still doesn't really allow for the possibility of cakes, biscuits, pies etc etc... As result we are eating a lot of pikelets and a lot of fruit... it's probably all for the best really. However the lack of baking possibility has gotten me down on a few occasions. 

In time we will build an outdoor wood fired oven and in time we will build another strawbale dwelling which will contain no less than a commercial kitchen and a cold store for all our pasture raised smallgoods creations mmmm.. but that is a story for another time. In the meantime I have Moro! Some beauteous friends, perhaps knowing I'd be feeling the lack of an oven, bought me Moro East for my birthday, and it is so suited to where we are now, in our eating and our living. Really, it was a revelation and gone was the lack. So perfectly timed was it with our increased zeal for foraging, helped in no small part by our reading of The Forager's Year, Whole Larder Love and the fact we live in a place where foraging is really pretty easy. 

Big bowl of fresh cut stinging nettles
Annie had noticed a large swathe of stinging nettles in the paddock across the road from our place. She'd read about them a few times in various permie and foraging-related texts and blogs, and was enticed by their outrageous health benefits (the highest protein levels of any plant food, including soy beans!) and promises of an 'earthy spinach' flavour (as opposed to the almost ubiquitous 'bitter' of every other foraged greenery you seem to come upon). In light of all this, we thought we'd help the farmer out by helping ourselves to their nettles. The nettle urge combined with the over-abundant greens in our garden and a desire for a fireside dinner made gozleme the perfect choice for our dinner this Sunday night past. Thank you Moro East. 

Delicious cornucopia of fresh cut greens from our garden, including foraged nettles, which we pre-cooked for 30 seconds to de-sting them

The delicious simplicity reminded me of my time in Oaxaca Mexico many moons ago where my favourite lunch was from a particular stall in the markets. It was a quesadilla comprised entirely of shredded zucchini flower and Quesilla (a Oaxacan stringy cheese) eaten with pico de gallo it was utterly delicious and an important reminder of just how good simple, fresh food of a particular place can be. I was reminded of this once again this Sunday night when we feasted so happily around our fire. 

The dough was made earlier in the day then left in a covered bowl on our tyre retaining wall. It may not be pretty but those tyres sure capture the warmth of the sun, working a treat for dough that needs to "double in size". Then when we returned from an uber-delightful birthday party at Mumbulla Creek Falls we were ready to start making. 

Oscy, forever the helper, cooking up the pre-dinner lemony cumin-y cauliflower - "I being like Per!"
It was a good reminder of how well we can eat with so little. In the past I've gotten caught up in seeking out particular ingredients to create particular meals. This approach is all starting to feel a little wrong. This meal was dictated by what we had grown or found + a little flour, olive oil + a little South Coast fetta. This feels so very right and definitely points to our way of eating for the future. And the result? Now I don't want to diss the very talented and hardworking Turkish ladies at all the markets everywhere but these gozleme were pretty much the best ever. We could taste the myriad different fresh and zesty greens contained within the crispy, warm, olive oil bread. The kids were happy, we were happy. It was total sensory overload, total joy, just so very good. 

Freaking delicious!
(written by Genevieve, not Annie)


  1. Hi guys love reading your blog. Truly love what you are doing.How lucky are you,living the dream! Guys have you thought abought baking in a cast iron camp oven, you know the ones that you get from the camping/army disposals. We have one that we take camping. It's a large pot with a lid made from cast iron. It has a wire handle. You let the fire die down sit the pot in the coals and put hot coals on the lid. I make scones, cakes, and roasts in ours. They come in different sizes, from small to quite large. They have a removable wire rack for the cake tin to sit on inside the pot so that the hot air can circulate and cook your cake evenly.I use my pot at home aswell (under the carport). I have an old electric frypan that I got at the Selvos. I use the base to put hot coals ( BBQ coals from the super market) in and sit our camping cast oven on the coals. Then put some of the coals on the lid. Nothing beats the flavour of a meal cooked this way. It stops the kitchen heating up in summer.It is so easy to clean aswell. Hot soapy water and an old srrubbing brush. Then you dry it off on the fire. Ready for next time. My camping scone rec is *1 cup of cream,*1 cup of lemonade,*3 cups of self raising flour,*pinch of salt,*flour for dusting,*Jam and cream. Cooked in the camp oven on a tin plate/tray. takes about 10 mins or so (keep your eye on them).PS, The camp oven isn't to expensive. Kind regards Jodie

  2. Hi Jodie, thanks so much for your very generous comment. We've cooked damper in our lidded cast iron pot and it worked well, however the camp oven may just take us to a whole new leve of fire baking. It sounds like a very large camp oven may just be what we need for Christmas. Again, thanks and thanks for reading xx