Sunday, 25 December 2011

Did Mr Kiwi... the right thing by Ms/Mrs Kiwi at last?
Did he finally send out flowers?To enable the bees to pollinate the female flowers? And we'll finally get some fruit?So far the fruit is the biggest it ever grew. So, maybe this year? That would be nice! :)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

More berry treats...

This time another berry tart. The best so far, I think. The pastry is very crisp and the filling very light. It's very more-ish. Everyone had a second piece!

I keep experimenting with the crust and filling, so no final recipe yet. The filling is mainly quark, yoghurt, eggs and some sugar. With tons of berries on top. I crammed in as many as I could. The pasty is shortcrust.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


The hydrangeas are looking spectacular at the moment.
Let's hope they won't get burnt in the next few hot days. The temperature is supposed to reach 37C by Saturday. We will just have to wait and see. (And take pictures while they are looking that great.)

Monday, 19 December 2011

Cucumber "Home-made Pickles"

The plants are looking rather good at the moment.
There are lots of tiny cucumbers on the plant.
I'm just hoping that they will all be pollinated and result in lots of yummy cucumbers to munch on. Even though they are called "Home-made Pickles", I will be using them to eat in salads. There are still plenty of jars with pickled cucumbers in the pantry.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Berry pancake ...

... for brunch. Pancake recipe from Jamie Oliver's "Happy Days". Always a winner. Can't fail with plenty of berries, a dollop of thick cream and some maple syrup or honey.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A glut of berries...

...and no more room in the freezers. Plenty of jam made. Also experimenting with berry liqueurs. And still the berries keep coming. Everyone is getting berries as pressies, but still.... So, now an experiment in making berry wine. This is a mixture of boysenberries, silvanberries, raspberries and blackberries (frozen from last year). The colour is fantastic!
Let's hope it's better than last season's blackberry wine! It was disgusting. At least it was, when we last tried it. Might have to check again, it may have improved.

Friday, 16 December 2011


Our zucchinis are early this year. Yeah! I took a gamble and planted them a lot earlier than I usually would. And it paid off - we weren't hit by late frosts - and we have already enjoyed a few zucchinis the last few weeks. The first variety to produce a good-sized zuke was the Lebanese zucchini, then the old faithful, Fordhook.

This is the first of the golden zucchini.Twins!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Laughing Kookaburra

...sitting on a post.
It sat still for quite a while and I was able to get fairly close. They are lovely birds, aren't they? I love hearing their laughter in the trees.

Then it had enough of all that and flew off.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Have you ever seen...

...a chook with a leg in plaster?

Here it is.
No, this is not one of ours. A lovely friend, whose name I shall not mention to protect the (crazy? mad? very caring?) person, had to take this chook to the vet. Blame the new dog, who caused this accident. Anyway, after the X-ray (which revealed a broken leg), the plaster was put on. Isn't she cute?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Berry brekkie

One of the marvellous things about a glut of berries is that breakfast turns into pure indulgence.

Take bowl, fill with selection of berries.Mix in (home-made) yoghurt. Enjoy. Simple but - oh! - so good. :)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Berry season

Berry picking has started in earnest in Gnomesville. This year we had to net the berry patch as the birds had started to move in.
First we had the little birds (wrens, thrushes, etc.), and we didn't worry too much. But then the magpies came in great numbers, and finally the yellow-tailed black cockatoos. That's when we knew we'd have to net the patch, as the cockatoos do a lot of damage. Not just eating the berries, but breaking off branches.
This is yesterday's haul. All together 3.5 kilos of berries.
There are raspberries, silvanberries, tayberries, yellow raspberries, boysenberries.And strawberries.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Potato & Brie Pizza

This is such a great combination!Thin pizza dough, sprinkled with fresh, chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, etc.), drizzled with good olive oil. Then a layer of brie (it works really well with blue cheese, too!), a layer of very thinly sliced potatoes, then another sprinkling of herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Then a good grating of black pepper. Bake in very hot oven till potatoes are done and pizza base is slightly crisp! Yum!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Garden Stir-Fry

We are still harvesting quite a good array of veggies.

Here's a garden stir-fry. Everything's from the garden. Onion, carrot, broad beans, asparagus, garlic. All picked just a few minutes before they got thrown into the frying pan. :)

Thursday, 17 November 2011


The elder tree is laden with flowers again.
What a gorgeous sight that is!It started flowering a few weeks ago.I never get tired of our beautiful elder tree and its flowers.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Busy bees

The bees have been very busy during all these sunny days. It's a great pleasure to see them buzzing about. All you can hear on a quiet day is the buzzing of the bees. We will have another look inside the boxes very soon to check that everything is okay, and how much work they've done.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


This is a fairly new addition to my herb garden. It's a stunning plant. The leaves are a gorgeous silvery-green colour, and the long flower spike is laden with flowers, when in full bloom. Every part of it can be used for medicinal purposes, but I haven't experimented with it yet. It's also very low maintenance - always a bonus! :)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Strawberry bed

The strawberries are looking really good. However, they are still very small and green. The structures are in place - so that we can put netting over the bed when they ripen up. So, grow, strawberries, grow! :) We are ready!

Monday, 24 October 2011


...and Chocolate Velvet Torte.The strawberry season has started!

I love farm-gate sales! We were able to get some spray-free strawberries that were picked on the (organic) farm, and when they were at their peak. They tasted just like home-grown strawberries! Ours are still little, green balls, so we'll have to wait a bit longer to eat our own.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Chocolate Velvet Torte

Looking for something really decadent? A great treat? But also gluten-free, dairy-free, and without white sugar? Plus plenty of good (70% cocoa) chocolate.

This is the torte before it goes into the oven. Absolutely delicious! After putting it into the oven, don't forget to lick the beaters, the bowls, the spoon, etc. before cleaning up. Do it quietly, so you don't have to share. You won't regret it. It's like chocolate mousse!Watch it rise in the oven...
...then shrink while it cools.
See the gooey middle? Oh yeah!Really nice with a dollop of good cream.Or a really good dollop of cream.The recipe is from Elana Amsterdam's "Gluten-free almond flour cookbook". Unfortunately, it is not on her blog yet. And I'm too lazy to type it out. Also, I have to go and check now whether the cake is still as nice as when we tried it yesterday. Gotta go.... :)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Miner's lettuce flowering

Spring is such a beautiful season!One of my all-time favourite winter veggies is now flowering. Miner's lettuce.I let it go to seed every spring, and come autumn after the first rain, it pops up again. No work involved. :) What's not to like about this?!

Monday, 17 October 2011


We are still harvesting the occasional handful of asparagus. What a treat this is!

Our first year of harvesting our purple asparagus. Isn't it just stunning?!
The spears have also become bigger over the years.
Just enough for an asparagus omelette. Life is good! :)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Busy as a bee!

Now I know where that expression comes from. Have you ever watched the entrance to a bee hive? It's amazing to see all the activity. Especially on a sunny day.

Yes, we finally have bees! Yippeaahhh... *happy dance*... etc.

That's the bees' new home. Sunny first thing in the morning, protected from the worst winds, slightly shaded in the afternoon to protect them from the worst of our summer's heat.They are still in their 'travelling' boxes, called nucleus.This is a nuc from Kangaroo Island. These bees are guaranteed disease-free, very docile and placid, and have a tested, mated queen. Let's hope all is well in the nuc, as one frame has broken off. They seem to be busy inside the box, cleaning up (2 dead bees already thrown out of the hive). Hopefully, there aren't too many squashed bees, due to the broken off frame.This is the nuc from Roy, a beekeeper around the corner who catches swarms. He told us he's catching 1-2 swarms a day at the moment. Spring being the time, when bees tend to swarm. His nuc also has an opening at the top for a bottle with sugar syrup, to feed the bees.Anyway, we'll transfer the KI bees and their frames into the proper hive box in the next few days. Roy's bees are still a few weeks away from transfer. Exciting times! :)