Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Harvesting potatoes

We plant and harvest potatoes all year round. There are always some potatoes chitting somewhere, to be planted next. Or the next lot is ready for harvesting. This ensures a good supply of fresh, very tasty, organically grown potatoes.

Berry Gnome does not only enjoy growing berries, but also a variety of potatoes. Here is the 'miscellaneous' bed. Mainly Kennebec and some Pontiac.The chooks are eagerly watching - there might be a tasty treat for them somewhere.
The containers are overflowing with big potatoes.
A very happy Berry Gnome bandicooting underneath a potato plant that is still producing heavily.That should keep us going for a while. :)

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Red currants

They are late this year (as is nearly everything in the garden and orchard).
But we've already picked a heap of red currants and made 3 jars of jelly (with chilli and cinnamon). I might make another batch, then we should be right for the next year or three.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Berry season!

The strawberries, raspberries, silvanberries and tayberries are starting to ripen up. We are now getting quite a haul every day.
Any berry that does not make it into our breakfast bowl or is otherwise eaten during the day, goes straight into the freezer.
We put one layer of berries on a tray, freeze them, then store them in containers. This way they don't clump together and it is easy to take out the required amount of berries in winter.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Home-made ice-cream ...

...with rapadura sugar. The rapadura gives a lovely caramel flavour.

The best thing about home-made ice-cream - it is super delicious, very easy to make and you determine which ingredients go into the mixture.
So, freshly laid eggs from our free-ranging chooks. Raw cream from a place just around the corner. Plus the not so local, but organic rapadura sugar.

No need for anything else, really.

3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks (next time I will use 4 whole eggs and no extra yolks)
3/4 cup rapadura sugar (or 1 cup, if you like it sweeter)
420 ml cream

Put eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan with simmering water.
Whisk eggs until the mixture is heated through.
Take off the saucepan, then whisk until the mixture is very frothy and thick-ish.

Whip cream until soft peaks form.
Fold the egg/sugar mixture gently into cream.
Pour into a container of your choice. Lick spoon. Lick bowl.
Cover container. Freeze. Eat.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Kiwi flowers

This is the first year that my female kiwi plant is flowering. They are absolutely gorgeous flowers!
The flower buds are rather intriguing, too.Unfortunately, the male kiwi plant is not flowering. It is still rather small and not doing much. So, unless kiwis can experience an immaculate conception, we won't get any kiwi fruit.

I shall go out and have a word with the male kiwi plant. Maybe next year?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Harvesting garlic...

... must be one of the most satisfying jobs this time of the year.

The weeding, sowing, planting, pruning, shredding and mulching seems to be never-ending. There is still so much more to do. Luckily, there is the garlic we planted in March, and the foliage is finally starting to dry up a bit.

Ahhh... not even half-way through the first garlic bed and it is looking very good.
Lovely! Let's dry them a little bit - while you have a cup of tea, or so.

All bundled up and drying on a rack.

There are some real rippers in the bunches!

These will be stored in a safe spot, to be planted next season. It does seem a shame to plant out the biggest heads (and not eat them!), but you will be rewarded with tons of big cloves.
There are a few small heads of garlic (Not taking a picture of them!), as I planted them a bit close together at one end of the bed. Lesson learned! Space them apart, so that all of them can grow big and fat.

The secret to a bumper crop? Good soil (I usually plant into a garden bed where we had potatoes the previous season), plant the fattest cloves of garlic you can find, space them well apart, water them well the first few weeks after planting. Then sit back and relax. :)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Long lingering local lamb lunch... Lenswood.

Take a bunch of lovely gardeners and sit them down at a table for a long lingering local lunch. What do you get? Not a lot of pictures!
But lots of laughter, good conversation, good food, good cheer.

The theme was local. Preferably from the garden or just around the corner.

The leg of lamb came from a friend's place (just around the corner), so did the shiraz (same place). Herbs, garlic, potatoes, berries from our garden.

For starters we had a selection of savoury bits & pieces - home-made, local, etc.
This is the last picture of the whole lingering lunch. After that we were too busy eating, chatting, laughing, drinking, eating...

I won't torture you by mentioning the rest of the menu. Everything was a hit! :)

Everyone contributed to the lunch by bringing something from the garden, local, home-made....

Thanks, folks! We had a wonderful time. Thank you for your company and your contribution to the lunch. :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Elderflower wine

Last year's elder flower wine. Hard to describe. Dry, but fruity, fragrant, delicious. Very drinkable. Goes very well with Asian food. Or just by itself. :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


This is one of my favourite trees. Our variegated elder tree.
One of our sheep seems to like it, too.The flowers are beautiful, abundant and very fragrant. We made elderflower wine last year for the first time and it was an absolute hit.
We have already started a new batch, but will probably do several. I will also dry some flowers for teas - as it is supposed to be very good for when you have a cold or flu. Also good to fight hay fever.

Maybe after all that wine making and drying for teas, we still have some flowers left on the tree and they can mature to berries? I have never tasted anything made from elderberries, so would be keen to experiment. Jam? Wine? Drying for medicinal purposes?

Monday, 15 November 2010


This one popped up unexpectedly in an empty pot. Not really sure how the seed got into it. A very enjoyable surprise!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Jersey milk rocks!

I have made another cheese with milk from our favourite jersey cow, Chocolate. This time a Caerphilly. Instead of the 'miserable' 500g - 600g of resulting cheese, the jersey milk yielded a cheese of a whopping 1.3kg!

Here it is. Air drying a few days, before it goes into the cheese fridge for at least 3 weeks.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

New potato bed

Growing potatoes is very rewarding. Apart from the fact that home-grown potatoes are very tasty and totally organic - it is also a great way of starting a new bed, as you have to pile up the soil to hill the potatoes. Once Berry Gnome has harvested the taties, I take over and plant garlic or onions.
Here we have a new bed. It has to be netted as the chooks constantly break into our backyard (3 acres of land is apparently not enough for them!). This netting is also fantastic for a brassica bed (cabbages, caulies, broccoli, etc.). The white caterpillars (actually they are moths, but who wants to be picky?) cannot get through the netting, hence no annoying caterpillars on the plants later on.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Garden Pasta...

...with purple sprouting broccoli. This has been a great addition to the winter garden. The more you harvest, the more it grows back. Beautiful!
Here it is, together with snow peas and broad beans (mostly hidden).
Sauté the veggies with some garlic and (spring) onions, season, add preferred cooked pasta (organic spelt in this case). Then top with generous helpings of fresh parsley, grated parmesan and crispy fried (home-made) bacon. Spring in a bowl! :)

Friday, 22 October 2010

A walk in the spring garden...continued

Are you interested in seeing more of our overgrown garden? Okay, let's go!

The bronze fennel is nice and bushy. It will grow taller and go to seed at the end of summer. Lots of very fragrant seeds to be harvested!
The rest of the post can be found here, on the Adelaide Kitchen Gardeners.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A walk in the spring garden

Spring is such an exciting season! There are tons of trees & plants flowering, seeds are germinating left, right & centre, the hills and paddocks are lusciously green, the garden is overgrown with grass and weeds, but soon there will be a little order in this chaos.
Have a look at the Adelaide Kitchen Gardeners' blog entry to continue the walk through the garden.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Curry feast

We have been experiencing cold days (and nights) again.
What better way to keep warm than having a curry feast at night?!

One of my all-time favourite Indian cookbooks is "India's 500 Best Recipes: A vibrant collection of spicy appetizers, tangy meat, fish and vegetable dishes, breads, rices and delicious chutneys from India and South-East Asia"

Every recipe has worked beautif
ully so far. Here we have Balti Chicken Pasanda, Spinach Dhal, Garlic & Coriander Naan. Delicious!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Let's panic!

My vegetable seeds are reluctant to germinate! I sowed them 3 weeks later than last year (and that was already late), but thought with the lovely spring weather (warm and sunny) they'd be rushing to germinate. Nope! The buggers are sitting there and not doing anything.
Usually the tomato seeds start germinating after 3-5 days. This one popped up after 14 days!
And there are rows and rows of pots that show no sign of seedlings. Every morning I hope that I will be greeted by dozens (preferably hundreds) of seedlings. No such luck! If things don't change rapidly, I'll be in a real pickle!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Signs of spring #5

Miner's lettuce is starting to flower now, too.

The full blog post can be found over at Adelaide Kitchen Gardeners.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Seedy window

Finally! Most of the vegetable and herb seeds are sown. This is the first time I'm that late. It should be just fine, as I usually don't plant out until mid-late November. This is to ensure a late frost does not kill the lovingly sown and planted seedlings. There are lots of tomatoes and a good number of capsicums, chillies, eggplants, basil, etc. While they are doing their thing (hopefully germinating well), I'll have to get on with weeding the veggie beds.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Signs of spring #4

The spring onions are developing flower buds.

Then bursting open.Developing tons of seeds that scatter and provide next season's spring onions.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Signs of spring #3

The plum trees are starting to flower now, too! Let's see what the plums taste like this year. Every year seems to be different. Last year they were rather bland, the other year they were super-sweet, and another year they were mealy and disgusting. Let's enjoy the flowers first. :)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Signs of spring #2

The 2 young nectarine trees are flowering madly. These are self-sown trees that we dug up and put in the current location 2 years ago. We harvested a few handfuls of fruit last season. They were extremely delicious.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Signs of spring

The elder tree is developing tons of flower buds. The leaves are looking good, too.Soon this tree will be covered in gorgeous flowers!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Home-made chorizo

We sampled the first of our chorizo from our free-range Berkshire pig yesterday.Sliced and fried. With a fried egg.
Delicious! Not as hot as I thought it would be, but still very tasty.
We are still alive - no botulism, etc. So we must have done it right. :)

As long as you get the amount of salt right, you should have no problems. 2-3% of salt. (We added 2% salt.) The sausage mixture was about 70% lean meat and 30% fat. Then you add spices of your choice. We added garlic, smoked paprika, black pepper, chilli, etc.

Then dry at a cool and slightly humid place until the chorizo feels firm.The white spots on the chorizo are not mould, but salt residue from the brine we brushed them with.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Yellow Fields

On the way to Clare you will pass fields and fields of flowering canola. Great contrast with the other very lush, green fields.
Taken from the car on a pretty miserable day.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Watching asparagus grow... not as tedious as it sounds. Once they start - they grow very quickly. You will have to harvest them every day. Can't wait!!
A touch more about our asparagus here.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The BIG cheese

I was told to blog about my BIG cheese.

Here it is:

I used raw Jersey milk from a cow called Chocolate. We love Chocolate!

This is a Gouda and weighs 1.4kg.

Compared with the usual weight and size of my cheeses - this is BIG.

The Gruyere that I made a week earlier with raw Holstein/Frisian milk weighs 650g. This is about the usual weight of my cheeses made with Holstein/Frisian milk. Here they are, side by side.
Both cheeses were made with exactly the same amount of milk - 7.6l.

The Jersey milk is extremely creamy and absolutely delicious. We love to make yoghurt with it as it is very, very thick and creamy. We haven't tasted any of the cheeses yet, but I'm sure they'll be wonderful.