Sunday, March 30, 2008

Busy week

We had a busy week.
Paul is a year older !... and we celebrated this fact with some friends. Eszterke flew home from Melbourne, Janos and Rachel come down from Hobart and our dear friends gathered to share some "mici"s barbied on the new jazzy outdoor fireplace and -of course- to sample some more Chardy, Pinot and Tiger Blood :-))
He was welding, grinding, mixing mortar and juggling stones the week before to finish the BBQ in time for the party.
Here it is:

The young Gewurztraminers had some fruit on. We didn't net them this year thinking the work and expenses not warranted yet but Paul seeing the feathered enemy taking his precious cargo beak-by-beak, tested the remaining ones and concluded that a few bottles in the cellar is a better place for them than the enemy's belly ! So it happened that we went out picking late afternoon on Friday...1 bucket picked, 2 bucket picked...jeezzz...we had more than we thought! Finished by candle light going after the SMELL :-))))

It's bubbling away in the carboy...
Both of us been stung while picking :-(((
Enemy No.2 are out by force this year!
These nasty black-and-yellow-jackets eating our crop drop-by-drop! If you think that that is surly not much loss you should see the NUMBER of these rascals! Zillions of them! But they won't outsmart Auntie Kato. NO SIR!
Quick phone call to Ag Department yielded advise to put out minced meat bites, wait until they start taking it, call again for poison to go into get the picture. Haa...ha-ha-ha... (this is a sarcastic laugh! I just don't know how to digitise that)
Do you think they go for MEAT when the there are hectares of fruit juice??? ...NO SIR!
So I jumped on the net, googled HOW TO KILL WASPS and come up with a battle plan.
They build their nest underground, fly in direct line home with MY juice and feed it to all and sundry in those underground nests.
First: find nest.
Second: wait for nightfall. They all should be snugly tucked to bed.
Third: sprinkle nest entrance deliberately with killer dust.
Fourth: tuck yourself to bed.
Next morning check on them and laugh your head off watching the enemy OBLITERATED!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter !!!

We wish you all a Very Happy Easter !

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Head of Security caught sleeping...

Opalguard Nelson aka. TIMUR was our choice of appointment to Head of Security. We are very happy with this appointment but as you can see His Royal Highness sometime neglects his duty! If I want to be brutally truthful... HRH considers SLEEP as his highest duty :-)
He was chosen from a noble litter from Opalguard kennel, Tamworth, NSW.
From an early age he displayed a lovely temperament and a fondness for sleep.

He gets along well with everybody and takes his duty seriously... when he's not sleeping.
On duty:

Playing with Krampusz:

His beloved Teddy:

Guest are greeted by him with utmost majesty...ambling up and sniffing your bum, calmly waiting for a pat, turning and leading you up the stairs. So don't be afraid to get out of your car and to pay HRH his due respect (pat on the head) when you see his 50kg+ hulk approaching, HRH Timur is only welcoming you to St. Imre.

Other members on duty at St. Imre are:

The Poultry Patrol

They are responsible for pestcontrol in the vineyard. With their invaluable help we managed to avoid spraying ANY pesticide on the vines.

The Rodent Exterminator Squad

Chief Tomcat Petyi

Deputy Tomcat Caruso

Queen Cirmi

AND some others

The Lawn Mover Team
Fergus of Lachlan Mhor

Mama Göndör

Twins Ili and Mili...

...with their Mum Piros


Bálint, Lizi and Barnus not featured in photos because I can't find a portrait :-)

and the Sadly Departed
who are buried in our Pet Cemetery under the olive trees
Former Chief Tomcat Bundy

Former Head of Security,Hector...

...with Dozer

Friday, March 14, 2008

It’s time to do the preserves

Now that the grapes are netted, I’m busy collecting the fruits of summer.
The cucumbers bearing enormous quantities as do the tomatoes, the egg plants and the capsicums.
Because my pickles enjoy such popularity I share with you the “secret” recipes :-)
Some years ago I had an Eureka moment :-))) I always did the bottle sterilisation the old way, as are written in every recipe…heat it in the oven, steam it in a Vacola contraption ect…long, hot, arduous processes. Than I thought... if we sterilise the wine bottles and anything in the winery with Sodium Metabisulphite (SO2) why this wouldn’t be good for my preserving jars also?!...instead of the messy and labour-intensive, conventionally recommended processes. So I’ve tried it and it worked :-)))
I didn’t loose ANY preserves to spoilage since then.
Preserving is easy now! Just soak the bottles for 10 minutes, shake out the water and fill.
So far this year I've made:

Katóka's Pickled Dill Cucumbers

Wash the cucumbers. Sterilise the jars. Into each jar put:
2-3 grape leaves
1 teaspoon (ts) black pepper
1 ts black mustard seed
1 ts white mustard seed
1 ts coriander
1 ts dried chilly
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 handful of fresh dill
3-4 cm fresh horseradish root
Cut cucumbers to bite size chunks, fill the jars. While filling you can put in more dill, garlic and horseradish to look nice :-)
In a big pot prepare the salted water. For every liter of water measure 40g of salt. Bring to the boil. When boiling, pour into jars to fill. Leave 2-3cm space on top to allow for the gases developing during fermentation. Close jars, put them in a dark, cool place.
The pickling process is a malolactic fermentation. The liquid will be cloudy for some time then it will clear and settle, forming a whitish sediment. This is natural. If you don't like the look of the sediment you can wash it off before serving. It is ready to eat when the liquid is clear and settled - maybe 1 month.
You can use any spices you like instead of my version but you CAN'T omit the grape leaves (it is needed for supplying tannins to keep the cucumber crunchy. It can be replaced by cherry leaves or even black tea leaves -though I never tried this - as long as it contains tannins) and the horseradish (containing some antiseptic compounds).
With exactly the same process and condiments I pickle green tomatoes and mixed vegies also. In the vegie mix I use carrots, cauliflower, red and white cabbages, green tomatoes and cucumbers.

Blackberry Cordial

Pick (or buy) the blackberries. Put it in a pot and add enough water just to cover the fruit. Boil for 30 minutes. Mash or process in a blander the resulting 'soup'. In a sieve let it drip out overnight. For every liter of strained cordial add 500-750g sugar (depending how sweet you like it). Bring to the boil to let the sugar dissolve and bottle it boiling hot. Put the bottles in an esky or cover them with pillows to create a SLOW temperature drop for 2-3 days.
Enjoy! :-))

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Translator (Forditó)

For the benefit of those who would like to translate the blog I've added a link to a translation page.

Magyarra is forditható a blog, másold be a ""-ot, ahol kéri az URL-t és alatta "English to Hungarian(CP1250)". Csak gépi forsitás, de kihámozható belőle a mondanivalóm :-))
Itt fetrengek a röhögéstől :-)))....mert kipróbáltam a jobb forditót...remélem neked is jó szórakozást fog adni :-)))

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wine appreciation :-)

Szentimre -the village- is built onto the hills rising from the valley of Berettyo river. Same size as Dover here, about 500 houses... and about 500 wine cellars :-)) Everybody who is anybody has one. Whole streets are dedicated to wine. We lived on one of these cellar streets. The view from our street.
Usually every weekend is busy on these streets, families having a rest, cooking a gulyas, roasting backfat on sticks and, naturally, sampling their wine, sharing it with neighbours. Hospitality is legendary in my village. It is customary to invite in for a glass anybody who happen to pass your cellar. There can be no excuse to refuse a sample ! So if you happen to travel to Szentimre be aware that you may end up on your fours by the end of the street, as it happened to several visitors :-))) Now this hospitality wouldn't be a problem if everybody's wine would be "nearly as good as mine". But you can encounter "passable", "one glass", "squatting" and "three persons" wines also :-))
To explain: these are the gold, silver, bronze and youdon'twanttodrinkthis wine categories of my village.
"Nearly as good as mine" is the highest accolade that anyone can achieve :-)) Gold medal wine!
"Passable" is Silver. A serious achievement for the winemaker.
"One glass" is Bronze. You could drink more of it but on one hand it is impolite to appear a drunkard and start pouring down your esophagus a second glass' content, on the other hand there will be more varieties to sample :-))
"Squatting" denotes a wine where you squat down passing your host's cellar windows as to avoid being seen and invited in. This wine has serious faults... :-)
"Three persons" is the worst ! Visualise yourself on the winery table, being held down by two persons while the host forcefeeds his tipple. This is the wine and the cellar you want to avoid at all cost !...even by walking several kilometers more on your way, across paddocks, up-and-down valleys, behind uncle Gyula's potatoes, through the cemetery at night, etc, etc, etc...
I can tell you that Paul had many "nearly as good as mine", some "passable" and the occasional "one glass". He never made "squatting" or "three persons" wine but he committed the these cardinal sins while learning to make schnapps :-)) But that is another story...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Computer giving up the ghost

Dear Readers,

my ancient, pedestrian machine is at Death's Door :-((( Janos managed to coax it back to life today but if you don't see new posts for some time, please bear with me until I'll find a replacement.
Otherways we had a very successful Open Weekend, we met some wonderful people and everyone was encouraging and appreciative of our little operation here :-))
and we finished netting block 1.

until next time...