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I live in Millers Flat with my partner, Tom, and daughter, Poppy. We have been here for three years.
I grew up on Exmoor, a small rural area located in the southwest of England.
My mum taught me how to cook and bake from a young age. I remember pulling up a chair to stand on to be able to reach the bench and help.
When I was 11, Mum had a serious stroke with long-lasting damage. My dad had to take on a lot more responsibility for our family, including the cooking.
A few days into his new responsibility he cooked a pizza with the polystyrene packaging still attached and, from then, I tried to do as much of the cooking as I could.
Sadly, my dad died from cancer in 2016 and a few friends suggested I went away on a holiday to clear my head. Some joked I would meet a farmer and never return home. Little did we all know that in December 2017, three weeks into my travels around New Zealand, I met my partner, Tom Blackmore. I have only been home for a short holiday once since!
Tom is stock manager at Limehills Herefords in Millers Flat.
Millers Flat is a wonderful place to live but, as others in rural communities will be able to relate, it is crucial to create your own opportunities.
In July this year I set up “Elsie’s Kitchen”.
Every week I advertise a new bake on my Facebook page @ElsiesKitchenNZ ranging from slices, cakes, muffins and biscuits.
I use a local courier company who delivers them for me from Invercargill through to Queenstown and it has proved to be an immensely popular service.
Along with cooking, I also thoroughly enjoy gardening. Both cooking and gardening seem to be growing back in popularity and I am eager to share my knowledge on both subjects and get people of all ages involved.
Keep any eye out for my monthly recipes and gardening tips within the Southern Rural Life and do not forget to check out my Facebook @ElsiesKitchenNZ and Instagram @feedingmyfarmer
Chocolate Yule Log
For the sponge
4 large eggs 100g white sugar 65g selfraising flour 40g cocoa
250ml cream whipped, adding 2 tbsp icing sugar towards the end
200ml cream 200g chocolate 1.5 cups icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 200degC. Lightly grease a 33x25cm baking tray and line with baking paper.
2. For the sponge, in a mixer bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy. Carefully fold in the remaining sponge ingredients.
3. Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the tin.
4. Place a piece of baking paper bigger than the Swiss roll tin on the work surface. Gently flip the sponge on to the baking paper and remove the baking paper on which it was baked.
5. Starting at the long edge, roll as tightly as you can and allow to cool.
6. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Place chocolate & cream into a pot and melt on a gentle heat, stirring occasionally. Once fully melted, chill for one hour in the fridge. After an hour, add the icing sugar to the mixture and beat well.
7. Uncurl the cold Swiss roll and remove the paper. Spread the whipped cream on top, and reroll tightly.
8. Spread the chocolate icing over the top, and then drag a fork from long edge to long edge, creating a trunk effect.
9. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Pineapple Glazed Ham
Perfect for Christmas, this delicious no-fuss glaze uses pantry staples and is quick and easy to prepare. It will soon become your favourite way to serve ham.
Ingredients 1 cooked half leg of ham, rind removed but fat left on.
For the glaze; 1 432g can of crushed pineapple in juice 1 cup soft brown sugar 1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp cornflour 0.5 tsp salt
1) Preheat oven to 180degC.
2) Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 2 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
3) Place ham on large baking dish lined with tinfoil. Score a criss-cross pattern all over the ham.
4) Pour half of the glaze on top and, using a spoon, spread it around so all the meat is covered.
5) Place the ham into the preheated oven. After 20 minutes of cooking pull the tray out and spoon up the glaze which has slid off and pour back on to the ham. Return ham to oven and repeat this two more times, so the ham is cooked for one hour overall. The ham should be hot inside and golden brown on top. If it is browning too quickly cover loosely with tin foil.
6) Serve the ham with the remaining pineapple sauce and enjoy!