Tag Archives: Garden

A Stroll Through The Vegie Patch – The End of Summer

Today I thought you might enjoy a stroll through our Vegie Patch. Lots of photos and very few words – A break from the kitchen…

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Aubergine / Egg Plant

Beans

Beets

Berries

Brassicas

Corn

Courgette / Zucchini

Cucumbers & Cornichon

Flowers

Green Stuff

Herbs & Aromats

Onions

Other Stuff

Peas

Peppers

Potatoes

Pumpkins

Rhubarb from Navarre

Rock Melon

Seed Saving

The Bees

Tomatoes

 

My favourite pics…

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I hope that you have enjoyed joining me on a stroll through our vegie patch.  It’s one of my favourite places to be.  Can you believe that just three months ago, we did not have a vegie patch!  I am looking forward to working and watching it through the seasons ahead.

Until next time…

Happy gardening and…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

The Vegie Patch

Apricots

I still remember the joy of fresh bread, lashings of homemade apricot jam, and the cream! Fresh cream, real cream, not the homogenised, pasturised stuff from the supermarket shelf – just fresh, runny cream, no sugar, not whipped, just pure fresh cream dribbling over the edge of the bread.- Oh the memories …

We now have two apricot trees in our garden, a Moorpark – supposedly rich in flavour making it great for fresh fruit, jam, drying, stewing and juice, and a Blenheim, said to be one of the most flavourful of apricots around! However, like all of our fruit trees, they have only been in the ground for six months, which means that we must be patient, and wait until they grow before we see a nice crop.

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We did have a tiny surprise though – just after Christmas I spotted one solitary little apricot. It had been hiding and growing out of our sight and, fortunately, out of the sight of the birds. I watched it carefully, trying to make sure that the birds did not beat us to it. Then early last week, when I checked on it, I discovered that a grub had made it’s mark – I hadn’t counted on that, so quickly whisked it off the tree, and took it to the kitchen, where it became a simple little sweet treat to finish our evening meal – A simple apricot pastry.

Given the lack of fruit from the garden at the moment, I am constantly on the watch for a good buy, and was delighted to read a little add in the local newspaper for apricots. I made a call and was able to pick up 10kg, which lead to a couple of heavy days in the kitchen! But from that 10kg, we now have 14 jars of apricot halves in a light syrup, 15 jars of Worcestershire sauce, and 10 jars of apricot jam in the store.

There were a few left over so whipped up an apricot and pine nut tart – gluten free.

You know, apricot jam is not only great as a spread, but it can also be used to flavour meat dishes too, and the apricot halves can be used to make delicious sweet treats such as clafoutis, charlottes, tarts etc, but will also used in savoury dishes, including a favourite – Spicy Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Rosemary and Ginger! As for the Worcestershire sauce, it’s always handy to lift an otherwise dull dish!

So now that the store is stocked up with apricot preserves, it is my plan to highlight some of them in recipes over the coming months.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

The Vegie Patch – Six weeks later!

It is six weeks since I announced that The Corner Patch had now become a Vegie Patch, and look at it now.

With the Christmas Festivities in full swing, I was struggling to find time to get out to work in it, but somehow managed to steal an hour here and there, and while most things have been planted much later than they should have been, they appear to almost be growing before our eyes.

All the fruit trees have now been trimmed and tied to the wires to train them for the espaliered fruit edging of the area, and, with much persistence, Duchess, for the moment, has been blocked from the area – every now and then, I’d hear a noise, or see a movement, and there she was, making her way along the edge totally oblivious to the fact that I was there! But letting her know she had been discovered and best leave, she would show me where she was entering thus giving me another job to do, in blocking her route!

Some of the plants in the patch have travelled with us, and are siblings of plants that my parents grew quite some years ago – rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus, I also continue to try and grow everything from seed. Having the plants from my parents makes the vegie patch an even more special place to be.

All of the strawberries (except the three pretty pink flowering ones) are siblings of those that my beautiful dad, who is now with the angels, gave to me many years ago, and the asparagus, my gorgeous mum nurtured to what is now a good sized patch at our old family home.

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It was so hard to leave the asparagus run up to fern – but if we want to have a bounty of this delicious treat we must be patient – hopefully next year!

 

The rhubarb, well, I think it’s from plants that we had growing when I was a child, and that is a long time ago! I still remember the bowls of rhubarb and custard our mum would put before us to finish a meal. We were very lucky…

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The rhubarb patch.

I persist with growing almost everything from seed – unfortunately I had to admit defeat on a couple of fronts, although having planted more seed, maybe should not have caved so early. But I am so excited to say, that given I had a lot of seedlings ready to go, we are already enjoying the fruits of our labour at meal time – strawberries with our breakfast; salads using various leaves, edible flowers and fresh herbs; snow peas in our stir fries, rhubarb and strawberry compote with our yoghurt; and our one solitary apricot became a little dessert to finish an evening meal this week.

They say that gardening is wonderful for your health – how true. You can exercise, relax and wind down almost simultaneously! You are providing flowers to fill your vases, food for your table and nutrition for your body! What a wonderful and giving hobby it is…

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote

Sustainable Gardening Australia

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We have a vegie patch!

It is safe to say that there has been a lot of hard work going on in the Corner Patch, particularly over the last week or so, and I can now, with much delight, tell you that the Corner Patch is now the Vegie Patch! Yes, on Monday of this week at about 6 pm we finished making the last of 12 garden beds. While we were both exhausted, we are both really pleased with the end result and all being in order, are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labour for many years to come. The fun now begins with planting up the beds, nurturing the seeds and seedlings into food for our kitchen and store, family and friends.

Just a recap on how we got to this stage:

  • Trees were cut down, cut up and removed.
  • Stumps were dug out
  • Plans were drawn up
  • 31 fruit trees were planted
  • A slab was put down for the garden shed
  • The garden shed was erected, and everything that belonged in it, relocated accordingly
  • Holes were dug for posts
  • Posts were purchased and concreted in
  • Holes drilled in the posts
  • Wires strained accordingly
  • An old gate that we found behind the garage was cut down and given a lick of paint before being hung.
  • Timber and pegs for the garden beds arrived
  • A bit of creative use of old posts, rescued from the pens on our family farm, before it was sold, have been put in place to stop the beautiful Duchess (border collie) from entering.
  • Careful measuring, cutting, nailing and screwing of timber into place to box each bed.
  • A mountain of soil was moved from one place to another and finally into each of the boxed beds.
  • Well rotted manure worked in
  • Seeds sown in anticipation
  • One inexpensive archway erected to train fruit trees over the entrance

Left to do:

  • Plant out the seedlings.
  • Plant seeds
  • Espaliering of the fruit trees
  • Three inexpensive archways to be erected, one more for the fruit trees over the entrance and two for the runner beans to trail up and over.

 Click here to see some of the activity leading to this point

While all of this hard work was going on, we did have a little reprieve with a visit from our son, Chris and his family, to celebrate his birthday. It was a quick visit, just one night, as they had to return home for his work. But while they were here, we enjoyed two meals together. I can tell you that seeing our little grandson, Cooper, enjoying picking strawberries, and eating blueberries straight from the bush was a real treat.

Don’t you love it when the little ones are around, it also meant we could have cake before our main course, because he had to go to bed and he made sure he got to take a bite of almost everyone’s cake – Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake of course!

When we did get to sit down to our main meal we enjoyed the beef brisket that I had had cooking in the smoker all day – another one of the Old Fat Guy’s amazing recipes, adjusted somewhat as the brisket I had was considerably smaller than that called for in his recipe. I also slightly changed the rub, given that I did not have any onion salt – I used a combination of home made porcini mushroom salt, together with celery salt. There was plenty left over, so we were able to send a container full home with them, together with other goodies. The rest has been sliced, vac packed and frozen for quick meals when we need them.

Until next time…

Happy Gardening & Bon appétit!

 

Links:

The Vegie Patch

Chocolate Sponge – AKA Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake

The Old Fat Guys Beef Brisket

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The Grand Old Dame

 

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The Magnolia Bed

A Parting Gift

A Parting Gift

Earlier this year, when I finished up my last job, my colleagues showered me with well wishes for our future and some amazing gifts, one of which was a voucher for a cooking class at Culinaire Cooking School in Swan Reach, which is a lovely little town down near Lakes Entrance. Well, what an amazing weekend!

I booked in for the Herbs and Spices class which was to be run over two days. Given that we live just on an hour away, I chose to drive back and forth each day. The first day, on my arrival I was met by a very energetic Christine, and was told that I was to be the only student, how luck was I! Given that we were concentrating on herbs, we headed into her herb garden to gather the majority of the ingredients for the class –

she has so many herbs growing, including lemon verbena, horseradish, tarragon, parsley, sorrel, thyme, marjoram, oregano just to name a few. After a nice cuppa, we got to work, making all manner of goodies including an Asian dressing to be used for our lunch, herb mayonnaises, flavoured oils and vinegars and pestos. I had such an amazing day and went home with a lovely basket of goodies and great enthusiasm about what the next day may bring.

Day two and it was spice day. The morning started with a cup of tea and a chat with Christine and John. Then we started, first up was to identify and group a plethora of spices from all around the world and then we got to use them. Coconut chicken and lemon rice was prepared for our lunch.

We also made a fresh laksa curry paste – so simple, so fresh – nothing like that that comes in jars on the supermarket shelf… Oh and Satay chicken, that you just wouldn’t believe the flavour – again, so simple and fresh. Then there was a mustard, in fact a horseradish mustard. The making of which, was rather funny, given that the day before, when we added horseradish to the mayonnaise, we just couldn’t get the kick that we wanted from it – today it was the opposite. We were using an older piece of horseradish and the more I grated it the more the tears streamed down my face – I said I had horseradish eyes! But boy-oh-boy, the mustard, it is sensational and I think we have used it almost every day since. To finish the day, we prepared a gorgeous sweet spicey wine syrup for fruits.

To my past work colleagues a huge thank you – this was the most amazing gift, I not only gained new knowledge about the use of herbs and spices in cooking, but I feel as if I have a new friend too. Thank you so much Christine, I will be sure to encourage anyone I know, to come and take a course at your cooking school. Oh and I didn’t mention the location, sitting up on a hill overlooking the Tambo river, it is so easy to get distracted by the view from the kitchen through the beautiful garden down to the river.

Feeling inspired, I spent yesterday pickling Asparagus, it is in season and who can resist it at this time of year. The off-cuts have been pressure canned to be used in soups, canapés etc.

And today, a lovely fresh herb sauce (with a little of the special horseradish mustard added) to go with our salmon for dinner.dsc06064-r

While I’ve been having such a wonderful time cooking, Gary has ordered the posts and digging holes for the espaliering of our fruit trees.

Here ends another week in “Tranquility”….

Links:

 Culinaire Cooking School

Pickled Asparagus

Crispy Skinned Salmon with a Creamy Herb Sauce.

Magnolia Bed

Side Rose Garden

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