I have found that the people who truly inspire me are invariably those who dream large and are willing to take risks in life to achieve their dreams. I suppose this is true for most of us.
I first met Emily when she got dumped with me as her personal training client (some years ago now) I recall that she introduced me to these odd things she called kettlebells and made me swing them and do other funky moves (well, I thought they were funky moves). She was studying at the time and eventually moved on from personal training to focus on her studies and pursue her own life goals.
I went on to develop an affection for Girevoy sport. I cannot claim to have a great deal of prowess but I do love it.
Emily went on to become the top female kettlebell competitor in the country.
Which is how we reconnected years later …
“OMG, I know her! She used to be my trainer!” I was so impressed!
What I came to learn later was that she had run off to be married and they had left behind a cosy inner Melbourne lifestyle to start their own farming venture. It may not be dreaming large on a global scale but it’s certainly dreaming large on a personal level … and it’s one hell of a risk to take.
I love following the progress of the Humpy Creek community and I urge you to check out Emily’s blog and the Humpy Creek Facebook page. Lots of great stories, food and recipes, insights into farming, beekeeping, creatures great and small, and more … all there to inspire you.
This is their story … and a wonderful recipe. Over to you, Emily!
Two and a half years ago, shortly after a quickie wedding in a limo in Vegas, we moved into an old 16ft caravan (fondly dubbed “The Humpy”) on Emily’s father’s 130 acre property. The goal was to lead a simpler life, reconnect with the land and become more self-reliant; to produce more and consume less.
Fifteen square metres of vegetable garden, a flock of chickens, an excess of working dogs and three bee hives later we’re still here, slowly chipping away at our original goal. Of course, life out here has its ups and downs: moments of intense, shovel-throwing frustration are mixed with others of indescribable joy, tar-black sorrow and unblemished peace. For the most part, though, there is a sense of contentment that washes over our days out here at Humpy Creek and we haven’t regretted our rather spur-of-the-moment decision to abandon city life.
As part of our mission to produce more of our own food we started keeping honeybees (living without a sweetener would be torturous for us). It didn’t take long before we had fallen in love with our tiny livestock and realised that it was really them keeping us. So began our plans to start-up a small, naturally managed, permanent site commercial apiary in Australia that complies with the International Demeter Standards for Beekeeping. (Malfroy’s Gold is the first, and currently the only, apiary of this sort in Australia).
We also discovered we’ve got a bit of a thing for rhubarb. Perhaps because it’s a tough plant that can handle just about any punishment the weather and pests can dish out, or maybe because of the childhood memories it evokes. Either way, we really like it and it’s the perfect complement to a honey harvest.
So it’s no surprise that the recipe featured here stars honey and rhubarb! And we had to throw in something with eggs – there is nothing quite like the yolk of an egg from a spoilt backyard hen.
Here is our take on an old favourite (and possibly the best comfort food ever) … Rhubarb Crumble with Custard.
It is gluten and nut free and free of refined sugars.
Good quality rhubarb makes all the difference in this recipe, try to get your hands on one of the sweeter, red varieties (like Rhubarb Victoria) and use young stems that are no more than 1.5cm in diameter. If you have older, thicker stems you may need to stew them for longer and perhaps add a bit more sweetener.
If you need to decrease the fructose content you can substitute rice malt syrup for honey in all parts of this recipe.
If you have raw, unheated honey, adding it to the rhubarb once it’s cooled means you preserve the natural goodness of the honey in the rhubarb syrup. If you’re working with honey that has already been heated about 40 degrees you can just add the honey in while you’re stewing the rhubarb.
Rich, orange egg yolks will make the most amazing custard – splash out on the best, most ethically produced eggs you can find, it’s really worth it!
All measurements are in metric cups and spoons.
- 3 cups of chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2/3 cup of almond meal
- 1/3 cup of desiccated coconut
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup of cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tablespoon of corn flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons of honey
1. Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and simmer for approximately 20 minutes (or until the rhubarb is nice and soft).
2. Leave to cool.
3. Once cool mix in the honey.
4. Strain the stewed rhubarb in a fine strainer to collect the rhubarb syrup.
Combine all of the above ingredients until crumbly (you can do this either by hand or in a food processor). If it isn’t crumbly enough for your liking, just add some extra desiccated coconut.
1. Whisk egg yolks, corn flour and honey in a heat proof bowl.
2. Combine milk, cream and split vanilla bean in a small saucepen.
3. Heat the above mixture (but don’t allow it to boil).
4. Remove the vanilla bean and slowly add the heated cream and milk mixture to the egg yolks, corn flour and honey, whisking continuously.
5. Once combined, pour everything back into the saucepan and heat gently (without boiling) while stirring.
6. Once the custard is the desired thickness, remove from heat.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Spoon the stewed rhubarb (keeping the syrup separate) into two 200ml ramekins.
3. Top the stewed rhubarb with crumble.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15-20 minutes (or until the crumble is golden brown).
5. Serve with custard and rhubarb syrup!