29 July, 2009
It’s been a cold winter this year. But when I was out in the garden at the weekend I noticed some signs of life:
- The daffodils are flowering. My favourites.
- We ate the first of the spring onions at the weekend. Small but tasty.
- Asparagus tips are poking their way out of the soil. A sure sign.
- I spotted a bumble bee feeding from the rosemary flowers.
I’m pleased with the NZ spinach though (Tetragonia tetragonioides or kōkihi) – it’s survived multiple days of frost and seems to still be growing.
Not strictly grown by me, but I was struggling for photos; this is lemon curd and persimmon scones.
The persimmon scones were brilliant, recipe from here.
10 April, 2009
The weather has got much chillier over the last week – I had to wear long sleeves all day yesterday, though am still exiting the house in jandals, not-quite-letting-go-of-summer-just-yet…
The garden needed some tidying up (after a few busy weeks of neglect) so today I puled out the bean plants, saving a few remaining seeds for next year from the Sutton’s Giant beans (from Koanga). They were great scarlet runners, juicy bean pods, didn’t get tough and oversized like the other Blue Lakes.
I also pulled out a few sneaky carrots and wow! They look just like on the packet! (Rainbow Selection from Niche Seeds) The first one was big and waxy and yellow, like a grub. The second one had pink foliage and came out shorter and red, and the last one was medium-sized and more orange than the first, but not normal carrot-coloured.
Also picked strawberries (they are STILL going – since mid-November!), tomatillos (the plant is über-productive in the lantern department but they mostly don’t seem to be getting big enough to grow fruit), chillies.
I also picked a bit of mustard and coriander, which I whizzed up with a couple of the past-it basil bushes to make pesto (recipe: 2 x basil bushes, sprig of coriander, sprig of mustard, handful of pine nuts, good amount of avocado oil. Blend).
The marigolds seem to have done their companion-planting job all summer, attracting the snails so that they aren’t hungry enough to eat my veg. They have grown MASSIVE (enough for a Monsoon Wedding), have started self seeding and have taken over all the space. So they had to go. Mostly. I will cultivate the seedlings and see if they go all winter too. I’ll try to plant them next to the veggie patches next year, so that I actually have some space to grow food.
17 March, 2009
It’s coming to the end of summer now, so am dealing with a glut of veg in various departments; mostly tomatoes and scallopini. I froze some more green beans and decided to put the rest in jars:
I’ve now pulled out all the tomato plants, so first of all I made passata (recipe from Cuisine magazine). The chocolate is supposed to make it taste richer:
2kg chopped tomatoes, 10g 70% chocolate, 3/4 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp sugar.
Put everything into a pan and boil steadily for an hour until thick. Pass through a sieve and bottle.
Then to use the green tomatoes, I made green tomato chutney (also from Cuisine magazine):
- 2 teaspoons green cardamom pods
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2kg green (unripe) tomatoes, chopped and cores discarded
- 2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 1¼ cups cider vinegar
Crush the cardamom to release the seeds. Discard the pods and lightly crush the seeds. Toast the cardamom seeds for 30 seconds in a frying pan until fragrant.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes until very thick. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Bottle while hot. Makes 1 litre.
And last but not least is marrow & ginger jam. This was to use up a couple of head-sized scallopini which grew without us noticing. This is Sally’s Nan’s recipe. The marrow acts as a filler and the flavour comes from the ginger and lemons.
- 3lb marrow (after peeling and removing seeds)
- Finely-grated peel and juice of 2 large lemons
- 1 1/2 oz root ginger
- 3lb granulated sugar
- 1/2 oz butter (Nan specified English or Welsh but I’m sure NZ butter will be just as good!)
Cut marrow into small cubes and steam gently for 20 minutes. Turn into bowl and add lemon peel and juice, giner (tied in muslin bag) and sugar. Cover bowl and leave to stand 24 hours.
Transfer to large saucepan and heat slowly, stirring all the time, until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Boil steadily for 30 to 45 minutes (or until marrow is almost transparent and syrup is thick).
Stir in butter to disperse scum. Remove ginger. Pot and cover jam. Make about 5lb.
19 February, 2009
I’ve made two batches of tomato sauce in the past week – needing 2kg of tomatoes for each batch. So we must have picked at least 6kg of beefsteak tomatoes and 1kg of cherry tomatoes.
We’ve frozen the tomato sauce in batches for the winter.
Recipe (from Jan/Feb’s Mindfood):
- 2kg ripe tomatoes
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 strips lemon rind
- 4 bay leaves
- 6 thyme stalks
Peel the tomatoes (cross the bases, steep in boiling water for 2 mins, then dunk in cold water and peel). Cook onions for 5 mins in oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 min. Add roughly chopped tomatoes, lemon rind, bay leaves and thyme. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 mins or until reduced sufficiently.