Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Chestnuts roasting...

We have just found a great place to get chestnuts, hazelnuts, quinces, pomegranates and feijoas direct from the farmer. Chemical-free.

Go for a drive in the Adelaide Hills on the weekend, just before Lenswood, on Forest Range, you will see a sign on the left "Chestnuts & Hazelnuts for Sale". Follow that sign.

There are different chestnut varieties & sizes and bag sizes. Sam, the friendly chestnut farmer, will be able to help you make a decision. If you are lucky, he'll have some chestnuts roasting in his roaster. Ready for tasting.
The chestnuts are from $5.00 per kilo upwards. Depending on variety. There are also 'seconds' or 'splits'. There is no difference in quality between the splits and the 'perfect' ones.

I usually just roast the chestnuts, then peel and eat when still hot. Leftovers (if there are any) can be used in heaps of different dishes.
I made a pumpkin & chestnut soup on Sunday. Delish! Or toss some peeled chestnuts in butter, garlic, chilli - eat as is, or serve with pasta. Or add to sautéed mushrooms, serve with pasta, or in a risotto. There are lots of recipes for sweet and savoury dishes.

Make a slit on the curved side of the chestnuts, then throw in a heavy-based frying pan. Put lid on, roast on medium heat till split open and soft.
There are tons of ways to prepare chestnuts. Roasting them is just my favourite one.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


... or North African chilli paste.
So, you still have some chillies on your plants and don't know what to do with them? Harissa is a good way to use up a lot of them. It is also a very versatile paste. Can be used just to dunk a good piece of bread in (if you like a hot dip). Or with some grilled meats, or put in stews or in couscous, pasta, etc.

The entire post can be read here.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Fiery chilli!

A very kind and generous fellow gardener gave us some of his excess chillies. It was hard to decide what to do with them all. The choices, the choices! So, I froze a few, and dried a few. Just a handful each, to keep us going.

Another good handful was earmarked for preserving in oil. As I don't want our brains to be blown out (Okay, I'm a whimp. I like a good amount of heat, but not the kind that paralyses you for a few minutes after ingestion.), I slit them open and removed the seeds and membrane. Then sliced them in rings. All together about 1 1/2 cups of sliced chillies. Mix in 3 tbsp of salt.
Put a weight on top and leave for 24 hours.

Then drain off the liquid and dry the chillies as much as possible.
Put them in a sterilized jar, press down, then top with oil. Make sure the chillies are all well covered. That's it! You can use the oil and the sliced chillies. Keeps for a very long time.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Friday, 16 April 2010

Bunching onions

These onions totally disappeared over summer, due to the heat and dryness. With the first few rains, they popped up again. They are looking very healthy.When you have a closer look around the bunching onions, you can see the seeds of the lamb's lettuce (corn salad, mache) that have popped up again. I always let a heap of them go to seed at the beginning of summer to ensure a good supply of corn salad for autumn/winter. The seeds scatter, are dormant over summer, and germinate with the first rains in autumn. That's my kind of gardening!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Moon and Stars

I harvested the Moon and Stars watermelon a few days ago. It was definitely not as big as when I grew it the first time a few years ago. I had one big monster of a melon on the vine then - it weighed over 10kgs!!! We had to cut it up in chunks as it would not fit into the fridge.

This one was a lot smaller and weighed a bit over 1kg. Still plenty to eat.
It is sweet and very juicy! Absolutely delicious.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Pepper Jack

This is one of the cheeses I made a while ago. We cracked it open yesterday to taste it. It's a lovely texture, creamy and crumbly at the same time. Plus a nice peppery taste due to the green & pink peppercorns in the cheese.Definitely a cheese that I'll make again. I'm hoping to get back to regular cheese making again and filling up the cheese fridge.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Don't mess with me!

I am broody and really cranky, because I have just been thrown out of my nesting box!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Planting Garlic

This post is over at the Adelaide Kitchen Gardeners here.

Friday, 9 April 2010

The leeks are back!

We've had a bumper season last winter. Instead of ripping the leeks out of the ground every time I needed some in the kitchen, I cut them close to soil level. That meant, they started growing again and we could harvest leeks a second time.

A few of the leeks were left in the ground and they could go to seed. They look attractive and are great insect magnets. When I finally tidied up that bed a few weeks ago, I noticed little shoots coming out from the base.

So, here they are now, a few weeks later and with some rain:
I love leeks! Sweet, tender and extremely versatile. :)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

A Jewel on the Pepino

Look, what I've found on a leaf of our pepino plant!
It posed prettily and patiently (I shot tons of pictures to get a few good ones).

Ps.: I would be very interested to know what kind of bug (beetle?) this is? Does anyone know?