Composta – a plant pot and worm bin in one!

I love my worm farms and have two, happily churning away my food scraps. I have two bottomless pots in my wicking garden and feed compost worms in one then the other to encourage them to move throughout the garden doing their busy best for the soil. However, I have just found a great new worm farm that is an attractive large plant pot with a worm tower in the centre. Composta will be a welcome addition to my edible garden.

Unique worm farm. Great Australian design. Composta Australia.

The plant pot is large and attractive and the worm tower is placed in the centre before filling the pot section with potting mix. The worms are added to the tower along with vegetable scraps. You are then ready to plant your choice of plants so that they can take advantage of the benefits of the hard working worms who will venture throughout the pot and break down your vegetable scraps and replace them with high value worm castings. The unique drainage system ensures that the worms will not be drowned in the event of rain or if you add water to the pot. You can put a container under the drain hole to collect the liquid for your garden or other pots, too.

I was quite impressed with my Composta when it arrived and the grandchildren are excite to get it started and planted out on their next visit. When I looked through the gallery on the Composta site, I had to buy another one for my beans and peas. With the addition of poles or a cone plant trainer

These would make great presents for fledgling and experience gardeners alike and the large pot will hold a good supply of herbs, flowers, strawberries, greens or whatever you decide to plant.

Ok, this is not the most frugal of ideas and many would say that they can create something similar with a little DIY inspiration, but this kit is ideal for many people who want to grow a few plants and reduce their waste a little, in an attractive and easy to manage system.

The unit comes with removable legs. I believe I will use these on my herb garden which will be outside my back door ready for the last minute dashes I inevitably do for herbs for meals. I never seem to remember until I am cooking that I needed a bit of this or a stalk of that and then it is off to the cupboard to find the torch and wander around in the back yard, visiting the garden.

I usually let most of my herbs go to seed so that I can have a supply of seeds for planting (such as lettuce, rocket and baby spinach) or for cooking (such as coriander and fennel seeds), so I will probably still plant herbs and greens elsewhere. Having a supply near the house for easy picking will be a pleasure and, when we get chickens in the very near future, will allow me to leave some garden herbs to them as payment for their digging over and de-bugging.

As for my beans, the Composta will work wonderfully sitting on my garden near fruit trees and with no need for the legs provided. The wormy goodness will be washed into the main garden to fertilise and add healthy micro-organisms around my edibles. I can’t wait!

I’ll post more personal pics as my Compostas progress and update with tips or info that I might learn along the way.

DISCLAIMER: This is merely the opinion of my humble self and BetR2 does not sell any products or have any relationship to products mentioned here.

I just like them!

 

 

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That’s not a Christmas pudding. This is a Christmas pudding!

I admit to a seasonal addiction to Christmas Pudding but, even I would have trouble finishing off Heston Blumenthal’s fantastical pudd! This all happened a few years ago now, but I hadn’t heard of it before the show aired on TV recently.

Now that's a Christmas Pudding!

Now that’s a Christmas Pudding!

You can view the 2012 SWNS report here:Giant Christmas Pudding

The trailer for Heston’s Fantastical Feasts shows a quick look at some of his other supersized creations:

Melting Chocolate Ball Dessert

Look at this amazing dessert. I’ve tried cakes where you break the chocolate layer to get to the hidden cake, but pouring hot sauce over is spectacular!

Once you have perfected the chocolate ball, you could hide anything inside.

Update 16 Feb 2015: Sorry that I have taken so long to locate some information on this spectacular dessert. Hope this helps.

The following is from Ann Reardon who has a range of “how to” videos https://www.youtube.com/user/howtocookthat. The videos seem straight forward and easy to understand and there are basics for the beginner, such as tempering chocolate, etc. You WILL need to know how to temper chocolate to have success with these works of chocolate art.

I haven’t located an actual recipe for the dessert shown above but, with a little imagination, I’m sure you will be able to create something amazing with the help of these instructions. If you want to create the large form you might have to get creative or buy a larger mould. You could get a similar, if a little less spectacular effect by forming a half sphere using an upturned bowl shape or even a balloon. The possibilities are endless!

Here’s Ann Reardon’s version of a chocolate ball bombe:

Here’s Ann Reardon’s chocolate spheres with holes. Very decorative for many desserts that you might imagine.

Happy Cooking … and Eating!!

Cthulhu Pie

Amazing pastry art. Who eats who?

Amazing pastry art. Who eats who?

Update – For those interested in the story behind the pie:

This pastry art was created by someone cleverer than me. I’m still searching for the original source, that is why I haven’t put a reference. I doubt there will be a recipe as it is about the art not the food and the pie is part of the story.

It depicts a “fictional cosmic entity who first appeared in the short story “The Call of Cthulhu”, published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. The character was created by writer H. P. Lovecraft”.

There are many edible and inedible art works portraying the character, this is just the best I have yet seen!

However, it is simply pastry. If you don’t cook much, I suggest buying some frozen pastry sheets and going to town. This art has been done over a cherry pie (the fruit being used to bulk out the shape of the creature, so this would be a good choice, in my opinion). It would be a conversation starter at any BBQ, for sure.

Cooking And Salad Oils

Cooking And Salad Oils

I don’t use a lot of oil these days, but knowing what ones are best suited to different purposes (by the comprehensive list of smoke points included in this post) is very handy. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has correct information about trans fats and whether these are likely be created in a domestic cooking situation.

Cooking oils

Town & Country Gardening

No kitchen or cook should be without a high temperature (candy) thermometer and a low temperature (meat) thermometer. These thermometers are not expensive and will make you a better cook as well as insuring your food is cooked properly achieving an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees. At this temperature all bacteria has been killed preventing you or your family becoming sick from bacteria contaminated foods.




Note: Smoke point ranges can vary wildly based on many different factors.
Source

200’s
225 F: Canola Oil, Unrefined
: Flaxseed Oil, Unrefined
: Safflower Oil, Unrefined
: Sunflower Oil, Unrefined
300’s
320 F: Corn Oil, Unrefined
: High-Oleic Sunflower Oil,
Unrefined
: Olive Oil, Unrefined
: Peanut Oil, Unrefined
: Safflower Oil, Semi-Refined
: Soy Oil, Unrefined
: Walnut Oil, Unrefined

325 F: Shortening, Emulsified
Vegetable†

330 F: Hemp Seed Oil

350 F: Butter
: Canola Oil, Semi-Refined
: Coconut Oil
: Sesame Oil…

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Under Pressure Now …

Tefal Minut Cook 6 Litre

Tefal Minut Cook 6 Litre


Proud owner of a pressure cooker, thanks to award points. Have never used one before in my life so any tips, ideas, recipes, etc will be much appreciated.

Especially interested in heart healthy and cholesterol lowering recipes as needs must.

Looking around, I found this tip on adapting normal recipes for the pressure cooker.

Step 4: adjust the cooking time

Pressure cooking is all about speed! Determine the original cooking time in your source recipe, then reduce it by two-thirds. You may find it needs a little more time, depending on the recipe, but when you’re trying out a new recipe this is the best way to ensure it’s not overcooked.

Interested in hearing your thoughts on this. My pressure cooker is electric and has two pressure settings: Low 40kPa and High 70kPa. One day I will be able to simply turn it on and get cooking, I’m sure. Anyway, I’ll have fun working it out.

Update on Tamarillo Chutney made in March

Update on Tamarillo Chutney made in March

As my entire excuse for procrastination (here, at least) is that I only want to give information that is tried and tested, I thought I better give an update on my Tamarillo Chutney.

I left the chutney for three months to allow the flavours to mellow (as is, apparently, the golden rule of Chutney making).

Tamarillo Chutney

Tamarillo Chutney


The results: we are very happy with the easy to eat, quite sweet, fruity chutney. Today we had a little platter of crackers, homemade rocket pesto, creamed cheese with chives and sundried tomatoes, sliced cornbeef, cucumber and tomato with a small dish of this chutney. Lovely family moment. Oops, forgot to take a pic for you, sorry.

Can’t wait until the Tamarillo Tree fruits again so I can make a bigger batch of chutney (and of that amazing jam)