Sunday, November 27, 2011

Orange for a Reason

When I dug up all the remaining carrots I did a taste test on the red, orange and yellow carrots. There's a lot of hype surrounding 'heirloom' varieties of veg at the moment BUT my tastebuds tell me that carrots nowadays are all orange for good reason!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Silverbeet Pie

I have been loving having so much silverbeet. With the last leaves I'd stripped, before pulling out the bolting plants, I made this frittery, pastryless pie:
Roughly chop and wash loads (a sinkful!)of silverbeet. Put it all into a deep, non-stick frypan until you can hardly close the lid. I used a 30cm x 7cm deep Scanpan. And cook on low heat for about 3 mins. Turn every min or so. You want it to just starting to break down - this gives you a lovely texture that you just don't get with boxed, frozen spinach.
Put it aside and in the same pan, saute a tablespoon of oil with some chopped spring onion and any other bits of vege you have leftover in the fridge e.g. that 1/4 red capsicum, those few florets of broccoli. Throw in some garlic at the end to soften--this is where my garlic/parsely/lemon mix that I often have kicking around my fridge, comes in handy.
Meanwhile beat with a fork 4 eggs, heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard, 250g ricotta, 100g crumbled feta, 100g grated cheddar. I used all low-fat.
Mix all this together with a handful of whatever herbs you have around, I used 6-8 sprigs of thyme. I usually use 1/2 cup parsely but I'm in between crops at the mo.
Pour into a pie dish and bake 170C for about 30 mins. Don't overcook it, as like omlette, it can be a little soft inside and the leftovers reheat so much better!

Late Spring

The Spring veggies have nearly finished except for artichokes and broccoli
which just keeps on coming.....

Into the old veggie garden the few remaining leeks have gone to seed and producing the most beautiful flower buds which will explode into the large, lilac-coloured, flower heads typical of all alliums.

I have put in here 8 each of yellow acorn squash, green zucchini and Lebanese cucumbers.

The new raised beds are taking so much filling! Everytime I plant a new crop I layer in another load of soil improver, peastraw and sheep poo (or rather hubby does!). A few weeks ago I planted into one some capsicum and tomatoes with basil in between. These are flourishing with the help of a weekly watering of *Harvest.
Today I planted the other raised beds with silverbeet, bok joi, bok choy (bok meaning green) and more beans. The latest bushes of beans are nearly ready to start picking. The 4 wine barrel halves (ex-'spud-off') have been moved, filled, reticulated and planted with herbs, strawbs and a dwarf pod pea. I've put a few bamboo stakes in there to keep those happy just in case they need a little support.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beautiful Brown

Anything brown in the garden adds a lovely subtle element. Look at these fabulous fungi growing on the trunk of my white lilac tree.

And these etherial bearded iris under the canopy of golden maples.

What a beautiful time of year here in southwest Western Australia. Hubby is finishing off the drippers to the raised veggie beds today and I am rearranging the old wine barrels I used for the spuds so that they can be connected to the water pipes as well...I'm thinking runner beans in those for now. I have some 'teepees' given to me last year that I havn't even used, so I'll see if they fit.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I made artichokes this way last week and was so impressed I decided to make it again with the last on my plants. I got the idea from a simple little book, "Food from an Italian Garden" by Judith Barrett. There are no photos of the dishes at all just charming black and white sketches of the vegetables.
Artichokes Roman Style: Firstly prepare the artichokes by snapping off all the tough outer leaves (how many depends on how developed each one is) and cut off the top third of all leaves with a serrated knife. Have a bowl of water with the juice of a lemon in it to dunk them in as you go - this helps prevent discolouration. Trip the stem back to the height of your pot and pare away the outer 'skin'. Drop the whole thing into your lemon water and move along until they are all done.
Prepare a mix of garlic, parsley, a little salt and a good glub of olive oil, muched up well with a food processor if you have one. I make extra of this to keep in the fridge as it is so handy to shove on anything, like the salmon fillets I am baking for our dinner tonight.
Press the artichokes down firmly on your benchtop to splay out the leaves slightly and rub some of this garlicy mix down between some of the leaves.
Pack them into a pot snuggly so they stand upright. I nestled an upturned little bowl in the centre but they still fall over a bit - this isn't a biggy really. Tip in a cup of olive oil and top up with water until the level is at the heart/stem junction. Bring to the boil and simmer, with the lid slightly askew until they are done. I like them well done and the smallest ones were ready in 25min.
Remove these little beauties and allow to drain and come to room temperature before you devour these with a glass or two of your favourite wine. In my case Pinot Grigio!
With regards to the 'hairy choke', I pick it out if its large BUT as these are so young, fresh and tender I won't worry about removing it.
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Finished Atrichokes

Here they are ready to enjoy with some lovely wine I swap with a local winery when they sell my little paintings in their gallery.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I can't believe what an incredible mess the new reticulation process made of the garden. A trench like this one weaved its way all around the garden. Luckily, I didn't have to dig any of it! Now that its all in place (except for the drippers to the raised veggie beds) its wonderful. It practically looks like Versailles out the back when those six 'water cannons' come on under such pressure. A gardeners nirvana.
The workers were clever enough to remove clods of lawn as they went so that these could be put back like a jigsaw after the trenches were filled in. We are hoping that our water will be used much more effectively than the old 'mist' sprinklers and we use less in the long run.
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