The last twelve months have been nothing short of chaotic, resulting in so many things being neglected, one of which is our garden. The vegie patch was overrun with weeds and I felt that I wasn’t getting the produce that I should from it, given that I didn’t have time to care for the soil, plant out all the seeds and seedlings that I had planned to, etc.
I had planted some sweet potato slips in late spring/early summer and they took over, neglecting to climb the wire that I had set up in preference to rambling all over the footpaths and garden beds. I eventually got so frustrated with the mess that, about a month ago, I decided it was time to pull them out, telling myself that I would never to grow them again. I had planted one little row, about one meter, or a tad over 3 feet long. What a surprise when I started digging down. My neglected garden had provided us with a lovely basket full (almost 4 kilograms / 8 lbs) of beautiful tubers destined for our kitchen.
The tomatoes did not do as well as they should, but it appears that it was not the season for tomatoes for most that I spoke to (it was a very harsh summer), however we had enough for everyday use and for making the annual batch of tomato sauce, a much sought after family favourite. The pumpkin vines that I had growing up archways provided a few fruit and the beans were plentiful resulting in a well stocked freezer.
In the kitchen I have had a great time using home grown ginger (that is a story for a later post), along with the sweet potatoes, beans and pumpkin. There have been a variety pastries produced including pumpkin quiche and pumpkin, feta and pesto rolls;
and I have also revisited the Braised Green Beans in Tomato Sauce
As for the sweet potato, this is something that doesn’t normally appear on the menu at home, but has made several appearances in recent times. The Southern Style Fried Chicken (marinated in the butter milk from our homemade butter), topped with sweet potato chips and crisps was a must do;
After making butter I am always left with the wonderful byproduct of buttermilk, so Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken was an obvious choice to use up this newly created ingredient.
- 360 g chicken thigh fillet cut into large chunks
- Peanut oil for deep frying
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 250 ml buttermilk
- 1/2 cup plain, all purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 tsp tomato salt
Place the marinade salt and spices into a bowl and stir to combine.
Add the chicken and toss well to coat with the salt and spice blend.
Pour in the buttermilk and stir until the chicken is well coated.
Refrigerate for 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 160˚C/ 320˚F.
Place a rack on a baking tray and set aside.
Combine flour, salt, spices and baking powder in a large shallow dish.
Drain the chicken and toss it in the seasoned flour. Shaking off any excess. Place the chicken on a plate and continue until all of the chicken pieces have been coated.
Heat the peanut oil to 180˚C in a large pan or deep fryer. Fry the chicken in batches for 2 - 3 minutes until golden and crispy.
Place the chicken on the rack and bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until cooked through.
- Adapted from Chef John's Buttermilke Chicken Recipe (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/220128/chef-johns-buttermilk-fried-chicken/) and Donna Hay's Crispy Southern Fried Chicken Recipe (Seasons p 194)
- For Gluten Free Flour Blend click here.
and just this last weekend we had a wonderful family meal, where I and our son, Christopher, collaborated to prepare a meal of home smoked meats with a variety of vegetable dishes, including sweet potato chips (a huge hit with everyone) and a warm wild rice and mushroom salad (a delicious recipe from my friend Ora).
Last night sweet potato reappeared again when I created a little dish using some Asian-style home pickled ginger, sweet potato crisps, pea and wasabi puree and garlic prawns, a lovely light evening meal.
Finally I couldn’t resist making my pumpkin soup that combines pumpkin, sweet potato, and celery from the garden to create a delicious, warming soup that is much needed on these cold winter days.
So while the garden has been neglected, it continues to reward us with beautiful produce to be used in our kitchen and enjoyed by all the family.
I am hoping that over the next twelve months the garden will finally receive the much needed attention that it deserves.
Until next time…
Happy gardening & bon appétit!
Links & Sources:
- Southern Style Fried Chicken
- Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes
- Pumpkin Soup with Yoghurt and a Crunchy Topping
One thought on “Gifts from a Neglected Garden”
Wow for a ‘neglected’ garden it has produced a wonderful supply of food. Loved seeing the family enjoying the harvest. Cooking together and then sitting together eating delicious food, absolute joy.