September 26, 2008

Potato Rosti with Thyme Sauteed Mushrooms

I have been pretty tied up these days, catching up with home-schooling, gardens, house chores and fact sheets. It may seem that a home-stay mother does not do anything than raising her children, but you know what, it is more than that. The care is 24/7, non stop, especially when you educate your children at home, as well.

I love being with my kids. Watching them growing is the thing I am sure I am not missing out. It is the bond which is so close that I can feel in my heart. Listening to their conversation, their laughter, even watching their tears running down their cheeks in their upsetting times, is like a rhythm of happiness in my life. The ultimate of love. The glorious of gift, I am blessed.

chick chick

They are country children who love animals and plants, who are, I am hoping, as modest as the earth but are confident in their own form, at present looking after their new chicks, hatched just almost a week ago. They love stroking them, although sometimes we have to remind them how fragile these little chicks are, they take a good care of them. The main attraction going to the chicken farm is these cuties.

chicken farm

We breed chickens and we sell pullets on Trade Me, a Kiwi icon of buying and selling online. We've done pretty good until the incubator stopped working months ago, we then stopped producing pullets, instead keeping trays of eggs piled. The chicken farm produce 25 eggs in average a day. With the new incubator we've just purchased, we only need 144 eggs to hatch in 21 days time. With 25 eggs per day, we only need to collect the eggs in a week in order to fill the trays for the next hatching session. Meanwhile, the 144 eggs in the incubator will hatch in 21 days, so you do the math how many eggs we have to store besides those we need to use to hatch again in another 21 days.

We often find the egg trays have become waistline-high, so we have to give them away. We usually send them to the Food Bank at a church, but I am not sure somehow why we've stopped. It is just like this with the chicken farm, once they're madly producing, they'll be giving us heaps of eggs. Once they stopped producing, we can only keep 5-10 eggs a day. But that is enough for our small family, really.

In keeping the chicken, we separate them in different breed. The chickens are kept in each barn with small numbers. We don't want to cram them, not wanting ourselves as cruel owners. Our chickens are still able to fly to their roosts whenever they want to and they'll be given one day time-out, either in their backyard pin or out of the paddock. They will come back to their own house when it's getting dark, pretty much a habit for them now.

Fowl manure is playing an important part in our garden. Our strawberry plants are proven to be much happier when I apply it for them. They tend to grow more flowers with lush green of leaves. My roses are also giving me more rewards each Summer when I give them fowl manure. They tend to flower longer with each special perfume, strong stalks, and tough mother trunks. Our vegetables are also growing happily with the help of fowl manure.

grazing in frame

On our paddock, there a flock of sheep is grazing the greenish of grass. Updating the news, we lost 7 lambs from still-born, premature, and could not cope with frosty Winter. Now, we only have 5 lambs. At least, they're happy and healthy.

Before I am making you asleep with this farm story, I'd better go back to the kitchen and send this potato rosti for O Foods, hosted by trio Sara, Jenn and Michelle, in honour of Gina who is under going chemotherapy for ovarian cancer she's suffered. Keep strong, Gina.

I am choosing potato rosti to go with sauteed mushrooms, very simple dish that you can prepare in a rush. I like adding green leaves salad with it. I go for vegan this time, but you may add your favourite meat in it.

Potato Rosti with Thyme Sauteed Mushrooms

4 large potatoes, peeled and grated
1 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
butter to sautee

potato rosti with thyme sauteed mushrooms

Using a clean tea muslin cloth, gather the grated potatoes in the middle. Wrap it and then squeeze the starch out over the kitchen sink as much as you can get. Put the grated potatoes in a bowl and mix with the other ingredients, except the butter. Heat the butter in a frying pan, a tablespoon at a time. Swirl the pan until all covered with butter. Drop in tablespoonful of potato, arrange to neaten the edge, so you'll get a round rosti. Use a flat spatula, remove from the pan, cook the other side. You may want to add more butter if the pan is dry. Cook the remaining potatoes until all used and keep warm while finishing cooking them in batches. Sprinkled with salt and pepper, serve warm with warm sauteed mushrooms.

Thyme Sauteed Mushrooms

I am a bit mad in mushrooms and I tend to use them in big portion. However, you can reduce them to suit your taste.
1 bag button mushrooms (about 15-20ish), sliced
1 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprig of thyme, chopped
2 sprig of Italian parsley, chopped
butter to sautee
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter. Drop in the garlic as soon as it bubbles, cook until fragrant, add in the sliced mushrooms. Shake pan continuously and cook until mushrooms turn golden. Splash a good vegetable stock or wine if you wish. Throw in the chopped herbs, season and taste. Serve with the warm rosti. Enjoy!

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the:

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (via

and then, out of the goodness of your hearts and to be eligible for the O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest, please do the following:

1. Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;


2. If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.


3. Then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you've made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.

We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.


  • 1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;
  • 1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.


From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
  • In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
and help spread the word!


Peter G said...

Wow! I had no idea you produced so many eggs wonderful to be able to access all those fresh eggs on a regular basis. I adore mushrooms cooked in this fragrant and buttery!

Arfi Binsted said...

Hiya, P! I do love mushrooms in this style, too hehehe...

Barbara said...

Lovley post arfi. I meant to support the ovarian cancer event and totally forgot until I saw yours.

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Mmm I love mushrooms--this looks fabulous!

Note to be eligible for the contest, you have to copy and paste the entire text box (including the rules and ovarian cancer facts) from one of our announcement posts here. Thanks for submitting a recipe :)

Happy cook said...

Love the rosti.
When evern you write about your home i am jealous.
I woudn't mind living were you live.

Ivy said...

Arfi, this is my dream house. I'd love to have a farm house and raise chickens and grow flowers and vegetables and your cute kids are so lucky growing up with animals around them. What a lovely post, I am day dreaming and love mushrooms as well. Before I get carried away and forget, you have an award waiting for you.

Yasmeen said...

Serene images of your farm Arfi :)
Potato rosti with mushrooms is a tasty combo.

Y said...

Actually, I love reading about your farm, Arfi, so keep those stories coming! :) Yummy looking rosti by the way, especially with those mushrooms!

Cakelaw said...

Your life with your children sounds wonderful. It's great that you get to spend so much time with them and they with you, in such an idyllic environment. BTW, great recipe for a worthy cause.