Friday, 30 January 2009

Bliss is...

...when the cool breeze comes in the evening and you can open all windows and doors to cool down the house.

Aaaahhhhh.....

A change in programming

Forget the doom and gloom! Let's surf over to the Tomato Channel!

Most of the tomato plants in this raised bed look pretty good. Especially the one in the middle. This is the Dixie Golden Giant.
Here is the first Dixie Golden Giant off the plant.

Cut up and looking very meaty! Surrounded by some Jaune Flammee.

All dressed up and ready to be devoured.Slices of bocconcini, salt & pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

What do you do when..

...the Country Fire Service (CFS) announces that it "is expecting a horror day?" With 44 degree heat and strong winds creating extreme fire dangers across South Australia.

Look around your place for possible fire hazards (DO NOT look at your well mulched garden!). Pick up whatever bits and pieces you meant to put away for the last few weeks. Water your garden, check on your animals. Drink lots of water. Discuss your bushfire action plan. Make sure each person in the household knows exactly what their tasks are.

Try not to worry too much. Keep cool. Be ready. Hope for the best.
Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Sunburnt and crispy!

The vegetables, that is. Tomatoes are sunburnt, the leaves of a lot of plants are crispy.

One thing that was a bit uplifting, though: the soil underneath all that mulch is not rock hard, but friable and slightly moist. Woohooo! All that hard work building up the soil and mulching everything has paid off. I can't change what happens above the ground, though.

42C yesterday up here. 43C forecast for today. 44C in the city! Yuk!

Anyway. Stay cool, people! Take care of yourselves! Don't forget to keep up the fluids! Everyone, everywhere - all the best! Those in the midst of this scorcher, those experiencing flooding and storms (unimaginable as it seems to me at the moment). All the best to everyone.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Batten down the hatches!

Literally.

41C and rising. It is not the heat I am worried about. It is bushfires.

So every year we try to make our place even more bushfire-ready. We installed more water tanks to have dedicated water for fire fighting. (We are entirely dependent on rain water, so water tanks are our only source of water during summer.) The fire pump is ready, and so is the generator (so that we can get the water out of the tanks).

Last year we had these corrugated iron sheets cut to size. We labelled them so that it is easy to put them on the respective window (bedroom 2, sheet 1, in this case) in the correct order. From left to right.Metal 'rails' were installed on the window sills
and above the window.
So all you have to do is grab the correct sheet, push it into the top rail first, then down into the bottom rail. Easy and quick.

Start from the left-hand side.This side is done. 2 windows covered. No flying ember and burning bits should be able to get through.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Stay cool!

Or at least try to do so.

Forecast for this week:
Monday        Dry. Sunny.                     Max 35
Tuesday Dry. Very hot. Min 23 Max 41
Wednesday Dry. Very hot. Min 25 Max 41
Thursday Dry. Very hot. Min 27 Max 41
Friday Dry. Very hot. Min 23 Max 39
Saturday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 23 Max 35
Sunday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 23 Max 37

Friday, 23 January 2009

Bitter cucumbers

Why?

Not enough water? Something I should have added to the soil?

Suggestions gratefully received.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Jaune Flammee

Bruschetta. Well, sort of.

There was still some chunky pesto left over so I decided that the grilled slices of bread were just crying out to be covered with that. Then topped with slices of freshly picked Jaune Flammee.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Huge Black

Another beaut tomato. This is a new variety (to me) I am growing this season. I hope I can save pure seeds (not crossed with another variety) as this is a wonderful tomato. Meaty, tasty, big, beautiful.

Beautiful colour.Big.Meaty and tasty.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Moldovan Green

One of our favourite tomatoes is this Moldovan Green.

It is an old heritage tomato. Lovely green with a slight tinge of yellow when ripe.A meaty tomato.

Lunch is ready.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

I am the King of...

...the Flowering Globe Artichokes!
Look at me!
Oh no, an intruder from the left!
Oh no, another one from above!
Run away!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009

Summer in a jar

I love preserving.

Here are 2 batches of apricots that I preserved this afternoon. Aaahhh.... Winter is less gloomy when you open your pantry and look at all your preserves.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Zucchini Fritters

There is nothing wrong with a glut of zucchini. Make zucchini fritters.

Grate zucchini into a colander. Add a sprinkle of salt. Let sit for approx. 15-20 mins. Squeeze out excess water.

Then add any herbs and spices you like. Finely-chopped spring onions and garlic are nice, too. You can add eggs and a little flour. But you can leave that out. Fresh bread crumbs can be added, too. We like small cubes of mozarella or feta in there.Then put a scoop full onto the barbie or a hot non-stick frying pan, flatten out a bit. Don't touch for a few minutes until the bottom side is golden brown and crispy. Then flip them over. You may need two spatulas to do so, as they break up easily (especially if you use flour very sparingly).
Serve them with home-made aioli, if you like. Or any condiment. Or leave that out and scoff the lot the way they are. They are nice cold, if there happen to be any left over.

Ps.: We don't have a glut yet, but the neighbour gnomes do. So we were happy to receive their excess. Thank you, Neighbour Gnomes!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Walnuts and The Kelly Gang

Fellow blogger, Kel, came for a visit to do a swap. Basil (it was desperate for a good haircut) for walnuts. Well, all I can say, I got the better deal. Not only did I get a gigantic bag of walnuts plus a special bottle of Verjus, I also got to meet Kel and her lovely children.I had a great time and it was wonderful to put a face to a blog name. I could go on and on, but that's enough for now. Thanks for coming over, Kel! Say Hi to your girls and please tell them I'm sorry I teased them a bit (lot).

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Feeding the old girl

It's a bummer when you are old and have no teeth!
Ask the old* girl.

The last three summers she has been struggling to keep up her feed, when the grass turned dry and hard.

That's when she starts knocking on the gate in the morning.Once inside the front yard, she enjoys her bowl full of lupins.Then starts seriously munching on the Kikuyu grass.
video
This is the only time we are glad we have a patch of that grass in our front yard. It thrives in summer - without water, in the extreme heat. It's luscious green. Great food for a toothless old girl. She is fine from autumn onwards - after the first good rains - when the grass is green and tender again.

* I did want to mention that she's hitting approx. 11 years, but then realised she might not want her age to be revealed. So I won't. :)

Monday, 5 January 2009

Lunch

This morning - just before the heat hit - I picked a few tomatoes.
Lunch is secured.

Top left: 3 Jaune Flammee. Top right: 3 Grusha Chyorhaya
Bottom left: 1 Striped Turkish Monastery
The hardest thing now is to decide how to use them? Bruschetta? Thinly sliced on a platter with a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil? In a sandwich? Big bites out of the whole tomato? Oooohhh...the choice!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Basil Bar


Remember the basil bar when it was freshly planted at the beginning of November?

Well, after a few big harvests (lots of delicious pesto) it still looks like this. Needless to say that I am very happy with my basil this year.