Monday, 30 March 2009

Aliens in the garden?

What do you think this is? Have a guess.Found in the garden, took plenty of pictures, but this is the only one you'll get to see for now. No prize for guessing correctly. :)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Figs, pizza and scrabble

This is the neighbour gnomes' fig tree. Magnificent and full of the biggest and juiciest figs.Ahem...this was the tree before I climbed up and broke off a limb. Sorry, very sorry. The limb is not totally broken off, but it is still bad. One good thing, though, it will be easier to pick the figs that are on that branch when they are ripe. (If I am allowed back, that is.)

After confession time - the neighbour gnomes didn't seem too worried about the damage - we indulged in two big and delicious home-made pizzas. These are the remains of one of them. After all the food, we only had the energy for a game of scrabble. At least two of us, the other two had a game of Eight-Ball.

A good time was had by everyone. Thank you for a very enjoyable evening, neighbour gnomes! :)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Today's Harvest

...minus a few tomatoes and little pumpkins.

There are still plenty of chillies, zucchinis, eggplants and capsicums growing in the garden.

The tomatoes are nearly finished, which is good as we are slowly getting tired of them.

While there are still some summer veggies growing we are already busy preparing for our autumn and winter plantings.

Garlic has been planted. I may have gone a bit overboard. Won't even tell you how many I put in the ground. Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, brusselsprouts, etc. will be planted in the next few days.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


We harvested a box full of the most delicious plums last week. The box is nearly empty now. I made one big batch of dried plums. Then another batch of Powidl (remember?). This time a lot spicier - a few Hungarian Wax chillies and more dried, ground spices. Turned out very well. Now I have to think how to use this spicy plum jam.

I don't know what variety this plum is. I call it 'European' plum because it reminds me of the plums of my childhood. My grandma had a tree that produced plums like these.
This year the plum is absolutely delicious. Sweet, but not overly sweet. You never know what you get with this tree. One year the plums were totally over the top sweet. The next year they were mealy and totally tasteless.

Monday, 23 March 2009

This little piggy...

...came all the way from Toowoomba.Stewart had a little competition going on and guess what?! I won! I still can't believe it. I actually won something. First time ever and I win a cute little pink piggy. Woohooo..... How cool is that?!

Thank you, Stewart! :)

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Eggplant & Spätzle Parmigiana

Home alone and what to do?

Make Eggplant & Spätzle Parmigiana.
The Spätzle were leftover and needed to be used. That's the only reason they were in this dish. You can see them on the left-hand side of the dish.

I had just harvested some lovely eggplants. One was enough, though, for this meal.I sort of followed this recipe:

Just before going into the oven.

Ready to eat!
It was super-delicious. The eggplant was not mushy at all and had a wonderful texture.

Ps.: The eggplant was enough for one meal, so I had the left-hand side of the dish - the Spätzle - for lunch the next day. They were great!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Smelly Armpits #2

Or the lack thereof. Don't blame me if you start sniffing your armpits to check whether it is working.

Here is the recipe for your own home-made deodorant. It is such fun to make and really easy.

Adapted from a Jackie French recipe:

4 tbs almond oil
1 tbs beeswax
1 tsp lavender oil
1 tsp juniper berry oil
1 tsp clove oil

Heat oil and wax till wax is melted. Take off the heat. Add the oils. Stir to combine. Pour into a wide mouthed jar. It will set very quickly.

You only need to apply the tiniest smear in the morning.
This is the recipe Tassie Gnome used. I used rosemary, lemon and lavender. But I think any anti-bacterial oil will work well.
It smells lovely!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Winter Vegetable Bed

This bed needed digging over really badly. It had a good layer of mulch on it, but when I scraped that off and checked the soil, there wasn't much goodness there. The friable soil only went about 3-5cm deep. As soon as I started digging, I knew this was a big job. One big rock after another was unearthed. One whole wheelbarrow full (!!!) of stones later, I was knackered. There were rocks the size of a 3kg water melon. I am still not sure how that happened. It was a no-dig bed made several years earlier, and I am sure I didn't spread all the layers on a bed of rocks. So where did they come from? The other gnome suggested it was the rock fairy. So far this is the likeliest explanation.

Anyway, after a good feeding of lime, blood & bone, and some fertiliser it looked quite good.

Then I could finally sow the seeds I had wanted to sow many hours earlier. A big section of White Pearl Onions (hopefully enough to give us a few little jars of pickled onions later in the year), a small section of spring onions, the biggest section is for Purple Dragon Carrots, and then another section with White Mustard. Hopefully we'll be eating home-made mustard one day.

While I was sowing all this I noticed tons of little birds flitting about and I am sure they were planning a seedy feast as soon as I turned my back. So I decided to cut up some unused sections of irrigation pipe and stick that into the bed to make hoops. Cut up some bird netting to spread over it. Well, that should also keep out stray chooks, neighbour's cats, ducks, etc.

My plan is to do the same netting over the brassica bed that is yet to be planted. That should keep out the Cabbage Moth and thus prevent all these caterpillars eating our cabbages, etc.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Beetroot Revisited

Thanks for all the suggestions re preserving beetroot. This helped immensely to put me on the right track. I think. Only a taste test at a later stage will determine how well it went. One thing is for sure, I will definitely experiment a bit more with beetroot preserving.

This is what I harvested.After boiling the beetroot till soft, I opened the lid to suddenly realize that I had used Beetroot Chioggia. Which is not totally blood red, but has a pattern of white and red rings.

After peeling.Sliced.
Placed in jars.
Then covered with the following concoction:
1 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 Tbs brown sugar, a pinch of salt and some mustard seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, 2 cloves. All brought to the boil for a few minutes before pouring into the jars.

That's what they look like this morning.
The rest of the veggies? Most of it went into the slow cooker for a good vegetable stock. To be portioned and frozen for later use.

A note about Beetroot Chioggia. I find it very mild in taste, far less earthy when boiled. It was actually very mild and sweet when I tasted it after it was peeled. Another big advantage - you don't end up with red hands as it doesn't 'bleed'.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Preserving beetroot?

I have just pulled all our root vegetables and now I have to do something delicious with them.

I'd love to preserve the beetroot, but cannot find any good recipes. I don't want to make a relish or pickle, just preserve them.

How would you do that? Cook, peel, then slice them, then put in jars with favourite preserving liquid? Or uncooked, then topped with liquid and put in preserver? What liquid do YOU use?

Uhm..not sure I should mention that - but the end product should taste as close as possible to the tinned product. Arrgghhh... I said it. A slight vinegary taste. Not too much. My excuse is that the other gnome prefers it that way. Sad, I know. ;)

Sunday, 8 March 2009

I won an award!

Gosh, this was way past in January!
I am still gob smacked that Kel found my blog worthy of an award.

Thank you again, I feel very honoured. :)

I herewith wish to pass this award to the following:

Cosmic Garden for posting a moon planting guide, great recipes, pictures of her garden and other shenanigans.

Towards Sustainability for a very informative and enlightening blog.

The Greening of Gavin for sharing his thoughts about the climate, the world, his vegetable garden and his chooks.

My Veggie Garden for a peek into his veggie garden and his lovely piggy.

Rest is not idleness for a wide range of interesting posts, including one about making roti.

There are so many interesting blogs out there, but only that many that I can list here.

To accept this award, you are agreeing to:
1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 blogs that you follow
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message to those nominees on their blog

So, if you DO accept awards, it is yours! :)

Have a guess

What could these be? This is the first time I made them. This batch turned out well. Whereas the other batch was hidden to avoid embarrassment.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Should you see...

...two people sniffing their armpits (their own, not each other's) and saying, 'Gee, they smell nice!', that's us at the moment. Just ignore us. We are harmless.
I am sure we will get over it. Soon. There is a good reason for it, though. I made some deodorant and it's incredibly fragrant and lovely.
Blame Tassie Gnome, she got us on to it. Thanks! :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Look at the rain!

Aaaahhhh.... what a sight! What a symphony!

We had 4mm of rain up to 8.30am and then it really started raining. So far it has hit the 10mm point in the rain gauge (since 8.30am).

Update at 11.30am: 30mm of rain! :)
Update at 4pm: 48mm.
Update 24 hours later (8.30am to 8.30am next morning): 53mm.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Let me introduce...

Yellow Button SquashBianca Oval Eggplant
Both vegetables are easy to grow, look pretty and taste lovely.

I tried to find a black glazed bowl or plate for the white eggplants to pose in. Neither black nor purple was to be found. So they had to pose in their natural environment. :)