Still sick as f*ck and bored as hell. So today I planted tomatoes (precisely: simple, store-bought vine tomatoes) as I did last year. Just slice them into 3-4 mm slices, cover with 1 cm of soil and water.
I hope they’ll germinate in the next few days.
I called in sick this morning and I really feel like a bag of shit since yesterday. But after much sleep and drinking tea, I’m also bored as f**k, so I decided to start growing veggies and herbs on my windowsill again. After all it’s precisely the right time of year for that.
Boy! Look at that! When I see this I really wish for the weather to become suitable again for some barbecue…
So the tree guys are doing their business around the new house. Felling the dead oaks professionally and thinning out everything, so the other trees can grow better and strong again. I could never have done this on my own and without their heavy equipment and special knowledge. These guys are cool, they work hard and they know what they’re doing.
I decided to try to only smoke on the balcony from now on, simply because you smoke much less when you have to go out every time. Since it’s winter here and temperatures easily drop below zero, I dug out the old fire bowl that I made from a cheap dollar store Wok and some scrap metal two years ago. Still works fine and makes a comfy, cozy feeling on the balcony.
These are the plans for the outdoor pizza oven I mentioned in an earlier post. Still not sure if this will be the final version, but if not it’ll at least be close.
Since I’m not experienced with masonry, I don’t want the first try to be one of the most complex of all things you can make in this field: a dome. So I’ll rely on an oil drum cut in half as the round shape and then add alternating layers of concrete (portland cement) and insulation.
Can’t wait to try it out! I’ll post the building process as soon as I’m at it.
I have invested a lot of brains and thinking in this project and now I have the (semi-) final concept ready so far.
It consists of a working area with a storage underneath (left part), then the grill with a height adjustable grate and shutters on front an top to simulate a weber grill. Also, with a removable frame for inserting a roasting spit (middle part). Finally, my oil drum smoker contraption (right side) with a separate firebox. Since we found a real ton of bricks unexpectedly, I plan to build everything as brick walls and only pour the countertops from concrete.
The next step will be planning a wood fired outdoor brick or concrete pizza oven.
Look at this guy’s pulled lamb! Looks so savoury I want to drown in it…
Now that I’m looking forward to have much neighbour-unobtrosive space in the yard, I’m planning to build an outdoor kitchen… or at least something the like 🙂 Here’s the first drawing. Most probably it’ll be changed, adapted or completely redrawn until I’ll finally build it, but this is the start.
More to come.
Signed the contract yesterday! I finally bought a house in a very beautiful, rural and quiet area in northern germany. Now imagine how fed up I am with the big bad city, that I – a cocksure born and raised bavarian – am at least partially moving up to the north… 🙂
I got myself an indoor growlight for getting my favourite self grown plants over the winter properly… Well, I don’t think this was my greatest flash of genius ever: First of all, the room looks like a cheap whorehouse now – I totally mis-estimated the light color. Second, it has a cooling fan with a low, but annoying sound. I’ll test it for a couple of days and then decide how I’ll proceed.
My neighbour, who is a biologist told me that squirrels have had a hard time the last winters here in urban southern germany and that she doesn’t think the situation will improve much this year. Seems the little critters are so excited about the long and hot summer that they simply forget to collect their nuts as supply for the winter. So I made a “squirrel-nut-depot-all-you-can-eat-bar”.
And these are some of the pears from my own pear tree. A little hard still, but sweet and savoury. We had to take them off because the tree had real problems with the weight of the fruit. I’ll let them mature for a few days and then see.
My Neighbour has his own apple tree and I got some too. Thanks!
We made this wood store this morning. It won’t win any beauty contest and it looks… umm… a little patchy, but it’s made based on the simplest possible late night sketch and also exclusively from material we had at hand. We didn’t buy a single screw. Hey, no extra euros and more space in the shop!
Here’s the foldable travel grill that we used when we were camping these days. It’s durable, lightweight and space-saving. Also, it’s by far large enough for two people and absolutely no fuss to set up. I got mine from here.
My first attempt at smoking chicken in the makeshift barrel-smoker. Brined simply with some salt, paprika and garlic, it came out nice, flavourful and really appealing. 2.5 hrs. was enough.
The third “harvest” of chard from my balcony, just minutes ago. If this regrows a fourth time now, I’ll be a little scared of it … 🙂
Yesterdays harvest from my two chili plants – they really seem to like that hot weather. The small ones are mean little fu**ers… 🙂
Edit: I’m going to dry them and I’ll also keep some of the seeds.
These are the veggie-pots that I’m trying to nurse on my balcony. They’re spinach, chard and sage, each grown from seeds. On the images, the plants have already been “harvested” once and have since regrown really well. This is a fun and easy thing to do, and – hey – you can even eat it!
This is what we managed to gather from our small, experimental gardening space today!
Together with a soup as a starter, a steak, perhaps some rice and a little chicken as well as some ice cream afterwards, you get two people easily full with that 🙂
Joking aside: I’m proud.
I tried smoking pork short ribs using the “professional” 3-2-1 Hours Method yesterday and they really came out outstandingly great! So what does that mean? It means you have three stages of cooking:
So after the old Tub was rusting away under our feet und loosing water faster than we could refill, we made a new Pond-in-a-Barrel. It came out nice and works perfectly. Sorry for the portrait mode!
Well, I was a boyscout when I was young and, yes, I did learn some useful things back then. So when we set up our new awning lately, I recalled the simple line-tensioners we made back in the days when we went camping with the boyscout group. They’re easy to make, simple to set up and cost next to nothing. Here’s how they work:
We made a simple pergola from an old garden tent to sit under and drink some beer 🙂 – we wanted to give it some “beach bar look”. We used the frame of an old party garden tent and attached several 2 x 5 cm bars as a roof construction.
A friend made me a steel divider sheet for the barrel grill (if you like: See here, here, here and here) so I can use it as a simple smoker. Basically it works like those Weber-fireboxes you can buy at the hardware store: The idea is to put the coals into the left half of the firepit, setting the divider and thus having a zone of indirect heat and smoke on the right side. Simple, effective and it works (somehow) 🙂
Just in case anybody cares: We had a relaxed, plentiful and tasty BBQ yesterday evening with some friends. Finally again something that didn’t involve charring supermarket pork chops on the grill but a barbecue fattie for four hours in the (makeshift) smoker and nice dutch oven full of Chicken and veggies 🙂
Some images from my windowsill these days. I’m trying to grow some herbs for the kitchen from seeds. Most of it works out rather well. It’s only the Rosemary that is is a little peaky and doesn’t really seem to like growing very much. The Tomatoes were planted (from plain supermarket-tomato-slices) only about a week ago and I’m pretty satisfied with the progress. Those Chilies grow like hell and I’ll have to germinate the blossoms with a soft brush these days when I have the time and ease to do it.
My first try on the dutch oven other than for baking bread yesterday, together with some friends. Turns out, it’s an absolutely great tool, easy to use, minimum effort required and surprisingly convenient. I made five rubbed chicken legs with some potatoes, onions and a load of garlic, added pepper, herbs and a little beer and broth. Then just let it sit undisturbed for 1 1/2 hours and they came out juicy, tender and flavourful. Success!
BTW, I ended up not caring about calculating coal numbers, because – surprise! – they’re friggin’ hot and difficult to handle without tongs. I just put the determined amount underneath and then didn’t feel like bothering anymore so I just poured the rest from the chimney on top. Still worked beautifully.
Since I’m planning to try this for the first time this evening (until now, it was only used for baking bread 🙂 ), here’s a table bringing together coals, temperature and pot size for getting your dutch oven to the right temperature:
German language only – sorry. It’s taken from here.
I finally put my DIY Rotisserie to use yesterday evening. To be honest, I had no clue what to do so I just marinated 4 cut up chicken breasts in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary and skewered them up. After 1 1/2 hours slowly turning over the fire, they were perfectly good, crispy outside and juicy inside. I’m definitely going to do that again.
So, over the last few weeks I bolted and welded together some kind of a chuckwagon-kitchen-appliance for my garden firebowl. As usual I tried to use mainly scrap from the shop, recycling what I had but in this case I had to buy some steel rods and small parts.
I welded together a rotisserie mostly from scraps in the shop! I wanted it to fit into the grate slots of my stone barbecue grill so I had to design it exactly to size. I also had to grind up an idea on where to put the electric motor since, in my case, there are walls in exactly the spot where all the store bought ones have their drive.
As much of a little weakling my first cold smoker was, as much of a fu**ing hellraiser is this one. I even have the feeling it might do a little too much…
I used smaller wood chips this time and an additional hole for added draft. It really glows like hell now and I’m looking forward to smoking some bacon tomorrow.
I know that not all folks out there like those cold smoke generators for smoking meat. Many rather rely on the good old openly glowing wood chips in a bowl at the bottom of their smoke house. But for my small batches in my small smoker, these generators come in really handy. Since, unfortunately, the last cold smoke generator wasn’t so much the bringer of happiness, I tried a new approach:
My SO wanted a hedgehog box in the garden for the little fellows to have a secure and cozy hideout during winter. I liked the Idea but due to my job situation lately, I neither had the time nor the nerves to make one myself. So we bought this one instead:
It is roughly 28,5 x 48 x 38 cm (H x W x D) and it’s a simple construction – you can put it together in minutes. We gave it a good coat of linseed oil for weather protection and as soon as the oil had dried we placed it outside. We hope it becomes our personal “Hedgehog Hilton” this winter.
The shed mounted planting table is also finally done. It has three layers of paint now – eventually we didn’t use oil but a white outdoor wood paint that matches the rest of the shed.
I made a planting table for my SO today. The old one finally gave up due to weather, wear and tear. It’s going to be mounted on the garden shed’s wall with hinges so it’s “foldable” to save some space when it’s not in use and also to protected from the elements a little better.
So I think I’m starting large-scale production now… 🙂 I have four new pieces of pork here again (belly, neck and shoulder) that I want to cure in different ways and that I plan to cold-smoke next weekend.
I like bullshitting around about hatching seedlings and grow various plants indoors and in my garden. But the one with the real green thumb in this house is my wife. So I, for my part, have to rely on technical utilities in order not to either drown or dry out my windowsill greens.
This is what I use (available on amazon). It can tell you the soil’s moisture (cool and important), the ph-value (who cares?) and the amount of sunlight (couldn’t care less) for your plants.
Note: I don’t have any affiliate-link or something the like to Amazon (I suppose they would laugh out loud if I came up to them with that). I post this here simply because it’s useful to me and that’s where I got it from.
The 2.574.956th approach to rub and glaze mixtures on the net. These are my two personal favourites. I like them because they go together really well and are absolutely easy to make. Just mix ’em up and you’re ready to go.
This is the first harvest of my bucket-grown own potatoes! Man, I’m proud! O.K., in the cold light of day they’re sorry little fuckers but they have grown on my own terrace and they prove that it works!
Yeah! Four racks of baby back ribs and two barbecue fatties! I’m going to try out he new “small” UDS that I made last winter. It has worked beautifully for cold smoking bacon, now I’m curious about how it’ll perform smoking a serious load of meat. Some friends are going to come over tonight, we’re going to have some beer for the boys, some wine for the ladies and lots to eat. My mouth already waters in anticipation…
So the Barrel-garden-table is finally done. It looks nice enough and I’m looking forward to trying it out.
Planting tomatoes the not-so-traditional way. Just buy some meaty, juicy tomatoes with many seeds in the supermarket and slice them up, about 1/2 an inch thick. We had some cocktail tomatoes left over here, but any will work as long as they’re halfway fresh and juicy. Lay the slices into a pot with good potting soil, giving them some space (or using seperate pots) and cover with about 1/2 an inch of dirt. Water lightly and… wait.
Generally, this is an easy thing to do, not much work, it’s easy to collect some kitchen scraps. Just give them light and some water and wait a little. It’s fun and if it works out right you can eat your own, home-grown veggies.
You know what these are? POTATOES!
3rd day of making the new UDS: Added a small, removable shelf (for thermometers) with hooks and a moveable lid for the main Air intake. I also finished the firehole door and a drain-hole for when it might get flooded (again). It’s also got it’s first layer of fire-proof laquer. After that, it got de-oiled with a felt litre of Acetone.
Made myself a shashlik-skewer holder that fits snugly into the grate slots of my garden grill. Can’t wait to try it out.
This is my Grilling Table that I want to place beside my Barbecue-Grill and Smoker. It is made solely from the Wood of two Euro-Pallets, and it was fairly easy to plan and build until now. Now comes the really difficult part of somehow heaving it out of my basement shop up to the garden… Update will follow shortly – hopefully.