Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A simple dessert

Freshly picked, organic, local (a few steps from the house), healthy. Delicious! That's all we'll have for dessert tonight.
May you all have a Berry Happy New Year. Filled with love, good health, laughter and only the best from the garden!

Don't forget to make New Year's Eve resolutions - so that you can break them first thing in the new year. Yeah!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Baked Potato

One of the favourites in this household is baked potatoes.
Here is one served with a rocket/cucumber salad, grated carrot with yoghurt dressing, salsa and feta cheese. The mushroom was floating in the fridge and I decided to 'rescue' it. The other 2 plates had big slabs of meat on them. Pictures on request.

Let's do a neat plate first. How boring.
Let's get 'chefy' and pile it all up. Let the flavours mingle.Aaahhh...that's better! :)

Monday, 29 December 2008

The rest...

...of the garlic harvest.

I am quite pleased with our haul. However, I am already panicking that we might not have enough to last us till the next harvest.
The biggest heads will be set aside to be planted in a few months' time.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Leftover Custard?

From the remnants of your Christmas pudding?

No problem. A berry spoon will take care of that.

With freshly picked berries from the garden.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

That's a potato!

Flower Gnome was inspired to start digging her Dutch Cream after reading about Cosmic's successful harvest.

They are rippers! 9 kilos of them. (Actually 10kg, as we already dug up 1 kilo a week ago. We were hungry.) Oh, the choice! What delicious potato dish to make first?!

Brunch

What to do with all the little eggs that our chicks are laying?

Scrambled eggs! On toasted bread, with quark and horseradish, and some smoked salmon.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Lovely Ida!

Ida Gold that is.

Little plant, little tomatoes, but early and reliable.
And tasty. :)

Just plant her in a corner, or use her as an edging plant. She does not take up much space and does not need to be staked. Would be perfect for growing in pots, too.

These should be ready tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Tomatoes!

Yes! The first ripe, home-grown tomatoes for Christmas Eve! How special is that?!
This variety is called Polar Baby.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Rhubarb!

Now look at this beauty!
Then core and peel some apples. Make some heavy syrup. Throw in a cinnamon stick per jar. Arrange as you please.

Ready to go into the preserver.
Also nice to just stew in the pot for immediate pleasure. Aaaahhh....

Monday, 22 December 2008

Truly free-range!

Our chooks have the full run of the place - except for the vegetable garden, berry garden and orchard. This means that approx. 2 acres are there for them to explore. That's quite some roaming they can do.

They still manage to walk all the way down to the front paddock, cross the whole length of it, up towards the house, then through the fence or gate and make a big round to the back of the house to mess up the backyard. It's always more interesting to go where you are not supposed to go.

Anyway. For the last week or so, we had been sure that some of the young chicks must be laying. Just not in their nesting boxes. There was a lot of cackling, scurrying, surreptitious glances (from the chicks), etc. all around the compost area. I knew they were up to something the way they scooted around, just couldn't find the nest.

Well, here it is. I had to open up the top slightly to actually make the eggs visible.
Close-up:

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Berry Heaven

Red currants, raspberries, boysenberries, youngberries, jostaberries.
Close-up of jostaberries and some particularly big red currants. The big black berry amongst the raspberries is a Loganberry.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Jostaberry

This is a cross between a blackcurrant and a gooseberry. A very hardy plant. Very much like a redcurrant bush.
You can see the redcurrants in the background.

The taste is rather nice. If you don't like blackcurrants, that's okay, you will still like this berry. The gooseberry taste takes over. It's lovely.
This is the first year it bears a noticeable amount of berries (they are young plants I grew from cuttings). Still not enough to make jam or something. Doesn't matter - they are nice to eat.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Cherries!

Last week, before The Big Rain (93mm up here), we went and bought a few (9) kilos of cherries from our neighbours. We are surround by cherry orchards and are spoilt for choice!

We love preserved cherries for dessert in winter. And here they are.
I made 2 batches of preserved cherries. (You can only see 1 batch.)

This week it might look a bit dreary where cherries are concerned, as the big rain did mess up the harvest.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Leeks

Another bunch of leeks made its way from Neighbour Gnome's to our place. Freshly pulled, slender, tender, lovely.

I made leeky left-over frittata with them.There was some leftover bacon floating in the fridge. Chop it and throw it in the pan to brown. Slice and wash leeks and add to pan. Add some of the left-over chicken stock. Slice some left-over capsicum and add. Cover with a lid and let it all bubble till the leeks are tender. Add your left-over egg yolks (Mama Gnome was busy baking yesterday and had used mostly egg whites) mixed with just a little milk. (You could actually leave out the eggs.) Dot with some left-over feta cubes. Then slide the pan into a preheated oven and bake till the egg is set. Then sprinkle some grated parmesan over it and put back in the oven till that is melted and browned.

It made a great side dish - together with steamed carrots with chives and baked rosemary potatoes - for our pan-fried salmon tail. Life is good!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Blue Peas!

How I love them. Blue Podded Capucyner Peas. Funky!
Enough for a lovely risotto.

My only regret - that the peas inside aren't blue, too. Wouldn't that be something?!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Mince Pies - Part 1

Here is the fruit mince. All very delicious and ready to be put into pastry shells. If there were pastry shells.Would you believe that I have run out of unsalted butter?! Unheard of. There is ALWAYS unsalted butter in this household. We buy a few packets at a time and put them in the freezer. Then one day - they are used up. So, no butter to make the pastry.

Never mind. I'm sure I'll find my way to the shops some time this week. The mince will keep a day or two. Unless some two-legged mice get stuck into it. Better hide it.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Red Currant Jelly

Here it is:Easy to make. Follow Stephanie Alexander's recipe in her Cook's Companion.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Guess what I am NOT making

...with my red currants!

Seedless red currant jam. No way. Thank you. (Do read this article. It is fascinating.)

Jelly it will be. :)

Ps.: If you have a great recipe that needs red currants, do let me know. Please.

Another Ps.: Would somebody know of Red Currant Chutney? Is that something that would work? Do you have a recipe? Just curious. Ever so willing to try anything.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Gaga over garlic!

I am so chuffed. This is my first garlic braid ever!
There is a lot more garlic in the ground, which is very reassuring.
Ahhh.... garlic heaven!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

250g ...

...of sun, summer, sweetness and pure bliss.

Freshly picked and more to come. Ohhhh.....
Ps.: The picture does not depict 250g of sweetness, as a two-legged mouse managed to do some serious 'quality-control' before I was able to get the camera.

Garlic and Onions

I ripped out the onions as they had started to develop big seed stalks. We have been using them fresh out of the garden, but now it's time to harvest them as I really don't need a big woody stalk through my bulb. They were slightly disappointing this year, but well, the seasons have been extreme.
The garlic is starting to dry off and I have pulled the first ones to cure. Ahh.... nothing better than a really good supply of organic, home-grown garlic!

These are going to have really big heads! Yes, yes, yes. Quite a few of those will go in the ground again next season. The bigger the clove, the bigger the garlic head.
The Blue-Podded Capucyner Peas are finally coming on. I don't think we'll have a glut of peas, but at least a few fresh tender ones. That's fine.

And if your name is Kel and you are reading this, stop now. Don't read any further! Shoo...

The red currants are getting bigger and better.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Happy Birthday, Mama Gnome!

.... and here for something different!

A song for the birthday girl!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Caraway Thyme

This is only one plant, but it slowly covers bare patches and creeps nicely along pavers. It is easy to rip out, if it starts trespassing. When it starts flowering, it is absolutely stunning.
Rub the leaves between your fingers and you will enjoy the scent of caraway. Very nice in cooking.
Very nice to look at, too. At one end you can see some basil mint that managed to escape from a pot.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Red Currants Galore!

But what's new?! Every year around this time we look at the bushes and wonder what to do with all the red currants. They are amazing! Very prolific. The easiest things to grow. Totally low maintenance. Very, very pretty when laden with berries.

Another week or two and the first ones should sweeten up a little. As much as red currants will ever 'sweeten up'.

It's all a bit of a jungle at the moment. The grass (and weeds) are growing like mad. Lovely! :)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Tip of the Day

You know it's time to attach the fly net to your hat when...

... the flies start perching on your eyelashes!

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Entertainment

Oh. And here's the entertainment. It was nice. For a few minutes. We HAD to record it. (Because we knew that Tassie Gnome would be thrilled to bits. Or not.)
It did suit the occasion, I must admit. But after that song we just had to inspect a kitchen garden. Which was fantastic!!! (And far away.) I love kitchen gardens. :)
video

Back...

...from a very relaxing holiday. I took tons of pictures. Mainly of vegetables, gardens, table settings, food. And this:
Ummm... I am not sure I should disclose where I saw this menu. I might get into terrible trouble. So. How about it? Are you game? Would you like a bite of the main course?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

4 days' entertainment

While the gnomes are off air for 4 days, this should keep you and your family happily entertained.

So, boys and girls, gather round and start dancing. "Twinkele, twinkele...."

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The babies have left the building

All spare tomato plants have gone to a very good home.

This is my final list. All planted and looking good. Quite a few of them have already set fruit.

Anna Russian 1
Amish Salad 1
Black Cherry 1
Black Krim 2
Cherokee Purple 1
Dixie Golden Giant 1
Green Giant 1
Grub's Mystery Green 2
Grusha Chyorhaya 2
Heinz 1370F 1
Huge Black 2
Ida Gold 10
Jaune Flammee 5
Julie's Uncle's Whopper 1
Kellogg's Breakfast 7
Lime Green Salad 1
Marianna's Peace 2
Moldovan Green 1
Olomovic 3
Orange Minsk 1
Oregon Spring 2
Polar Baby 1
Red Cloud 1
Soldacki 2
St. Pierre 1
Striped Turkish Monastery 1
Sub Arctic Plenty 2
Tasmanian Blushing Yellow 2
Woodle Orange 1
Total plants: 59
Varieties: 29

Ps.: This happens when I am disciplined. You should have seen the lists I had the previous years. Tomatoes Anonymous obviously helped! :)

Black Viola

Is it just me, or does Viola look a bit grim? Or does she just have a very wrinkly smile? Or am I weird and I should stop imagining things? (No need to answer, thank you.) ;)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Let it be on record...

...that we got our first egg from our new chooks this morning!

Woohooo!

Ps.: Please excuse the floury scales. :)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Pure Indulgence!

Another batch of Spiced Chocolate & Orange Cake. Plus Tweedvale Pure Double Cream (50% Milk Fat). Yes, all in capital letters. As it is mighty stuff.We bought the cream at the Organic Fruit & Vegetable Stall (MarIan's) at the Lobethal Market. Go there. They have local organic fruit & vegetables, local milk & cream, olives, etc. Ah yes, disclaimer. They are friends of mine, and we occasionally meet up to swap seeds & plants and to eat and drink and be merry. Now you know.I may have to go for a long walk right now. I feel the kilos piling up. *urgh*

Friday, 7 November 2008

More Artichokes

Today's haul.
I think these call for Lemon-Braised Artichoke Hearts.
They are very versatile. Eaten hot or cold. Love 'em!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Nearly there!

I have been planting tomatoes the last few days. Good thing I was very disciplined* when sowing them in late winter. So now I don't have to agonise where to put them all, and they ALL look so good, I'm sure I could find a spot for another one, etc... Not this year. *smug look on face*

40 plants in the ground. Only a few more of one tiny variety to go. Yeah! There are some spares, but I am not even tempted to put them in the ground. I have plenty.

*Yes. 40 IS restrained (or 50-60) and disciplined for me. I should end up with 50 plants or so in the ground. It might be more. But who's counting?

The 2 raised beds with tomatoes. The bed in the middle is the potato bed.

Polar Baby is already bearing fruit. Yippeaahhh!

A glimpse of the tomato beds in the midst of the jungle.

Lululupins

I love taking pictures of lupins after a rain.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Today's view

It's a lovely day today. A light drizzle that has been going steadily since early morning. A little fog to give it all a slightly mysterious look.
I don't have to do any watering, but must have a walk around the garden soon to stomp on unwanted slugs and snails. They have already killed one of my zucchini plants. Not happy.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Basil Bar

...is now open.

I still have 2 windows leaning against it. Just in case we experience another cold night that could damage the basil. Then I'll just cover the bar.

This is Lettuce Leaf Basil.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Checking out...

...the fruit scene!

How cheeky can you get?! This cockatoo landed on the balcony to survey the area. We now have rosellas, magpies, cockatoos, galahs, wattle birds, etc. eyeing our fruit. Batten down the hatches!!