Thursday, December 15, 2011



Technically it's summer here now in Oz but it still feels like Spring. The days are in the mid 20s and we are still having lovely rain showers. All my new summer veggies are flowering away. I have some Eggplants (Long Purple) that have survived winter and have loads of those delicate lilac flowers promising delicious aubergines. Yum! I love these just sliced, sprayed with a little oil and baked in the oven. They are so versatile. I recently made a bruschetta style dip at one of my cooking classes and everyone loved it. I can post the recipe if anyone is interested. All the fruit trees in the orchard are loving the cooler weather and wet conditions and are bursting with ripening fruit.
Royal Gala
 The birds get to a lot of the top fruits but there is usually enough to go around except for my figs so I net this tree. And by the look of them I need to do this soon.
I've posted a link to this really great gardening blog you may want to check out. It's one of my favourites.
Scarecrow's Garden

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rubbish Day Curry

OK, on rubbish day I often give my fridge a good clean out and throw, compost or use any veggies that are looking less than salad fresh. I seem to have extra this week as I've been teaching these healthy cooking classes and whilst I give away as many leftovers as I can, I end up with bits and pieces. Older veggies like these just need to be picked over a bit and peeled. So, this is how I make a good curry you can use with any lonely pieces of veg from your fridge:
Get 1/2 cup of water going on the stove and start preparing the veggies and dropping them in as you go. Harder ones first, I had a parsnip (so ugly it's trying to hide behind that plastic bag of mint!), pumpkin and celery to begin with. Meanwhile I dry roasted aromatic seeds - about 1 tsp each cumin, corriander, mustard, 1/2 tsp of fenegreek and about 10 cardamon pods. Put a lid on as they want to pop right out of the frypan. Give them a shake nown and again - I only takes a few minutes, Now, if you have a mortar and pestle great, otherwise bash them about a bit with whatever you have. Chop some onion (I always seem to have 1/2 an onion lurking around and some wrinkly spring onions) and soften with 1 tsp oil, then add lots of chopped garlic and plonk all this into your simmering veggies. I had some over-ripe tomatoes - in! Some leftover pasta sauce - in! Some bunching onions from the garden (I never know what to do with them) - in! Some fresh chilli is best but, hey anything hot you have hanging around. In fact if you have some curry paste you might want to skip the whole roasting seeds thing BUT it won't be as nice. Check out what herbs you have, really anything goes. In my case I used corriander, parsley and mint because it was all there in front of me. Chop about a cupful, throw it in and give it all a good mix through. Now simmer all this for about 15min and then leave it for the flavours to infuse, all day or until the next day is ideal. When I reheat it tonight for dinner, I will add more delicate veggies. I have a few broccoli flowerettes, beans and spinache. Along with these I'll put in more herbs to give it a nice fresh note.
Personally, I like to make my curries hot so I serve them with yoghurt. I might add some mint to this as I have so much and this cools it down nicely as I eat.
This process only took 20 mins this morning (it took longer to clean the fridge!) It's yummy, healthy and not wasteful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chilli Jelly

I have been wanting to make some Chilli Jelly ever since I bought my Jelly Bag, which incidently was really hard to track down. I used a regular apple jelly base (750g chopped cooking apples including cores and skins, 500mls apple cider vinegar, 700 mls water) and added 5 chopped chillies. Boil for an hour and you should end up with about 1 litre of liquid after draining for a few hours. Do not squeeze it out or you'll have cloudy jelly!
Make it as you would jam by adding 500g sugar per 600ml of juice and boiling for about 30mins. I'm really happy with the taste (just the right amount of heat), consistency ( a little runnier than jam) and colour. Aaaaaw so pretty.....