In the Garden – May 2022

The Citrus Garden

I’ve been conjuring up a plan to start planting vegetables outside of the vegetable garden, and it’s slowly coming to fruition.   The first garden on my list was the Citrus Garden, and rather than trying to work the entire garden, I mixed up a batch of manure and garden compost, and then proceeded to work it into the areas that I wanted to plant up.  With that done, the first thing that I wanted to do was relocate the broad leaf sage and then plant a traditional sage plant next to it.   With that quick task done, I set to work on the area where the Russian kale seedlings were to be planted, it looked like I had planted pvc pipe rather than seedlings, but it had a purpose.

You may, or may not note that I’m trying to keep walkways between the areas that are being planted for easy access.  The pathways will become compacted from being walked on, while the areas that are being planted up, mulched etc, will not – well that is the plan…  The little pathways will also provide easy access for weeding, planting and so forth.  The birds, however, have a different plan, and I now need to walk around, rake in hand, raking the mulch off the pathways and back onto the garden!

As the month progressed, I planted broccoli – Chinese (Kailaan), onions  – Barletta, French shallots, Swiss chard and begamot.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Strawberries

Already in place were quite a few strawberries, including three strawberry plants, ‘Reine des Vallees’.  Once you taste these little strawberries you really begin to understand what a strawberry should taste like.

The three ‘Reine des Vallees’ plants have thrived since planting, but as they are a clumping type of strawberry, they have very few runners, so anything that looks like it may have potential is pinned down to the soil to encourage growth.  The other interesting point  about this plant is that it doesn’t rely on the length of the day to produce fruit!  I find this fascinating, and am still amazed that I am continuing to pick berries now – the only problem is that they don’t make it into the kitchen, rather, they go straight into my mouth!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m hoping that I can stop eating these delicious little berries straight from the plant so that I can make a simple little, refreshing sweet treat that I think they would be delicious in – Fresh Berries in Apple Jelly – no added sugar and just three ingredients!

Fresh Berries in Apple Jelly
Created for something light and refreshing to serve alongside a rich chocolate dessert!
Category: Brunch, Dessert
Style: Australian
Keyword: Apple, Berries, Fruit Jelly, Jelly
Quantity: 6 small glasses
Author: sbaskitchen
Ingredients
  • 300 ml pink lady apple juice
  • 3 gelatine leaves
  • 150 g of berries
Instructions
  1. Carefully warm the apple juice in a saucepan.
  2. Soften the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the softened leaves to the apple juice and stir over a low heat just enough to dissolve the gelatine, then remove from the heat, strain into a jug and allow to cool, (but not set).

  4. Pour a little of the cooled jelly mixture into the base of your glasses and allow it to just set in the refrigerator.
  5. Arrange a layer of berries on top, then add a little more jelly to cover the fruit.
  6. Refrigerate until set. Continue to build up the layers of berries by allowing them to set in the jelly before adding more.
  7. This will ensure the berries are evenly dispersed through the jelly.
  8. Allow to set in the refrigerator before serving.
Notes
  • If the remaining jelly starts to become too firm before you need it, simply warm it a little and then allow it to cool before adding the next layer of jelly and berries.

 

I don’t think that there is room for anything else in this garden at the moment, so just need to maintain and nurture!   That hasn’t stopped me from planning what to plant when the warmer months approach, though!

The Veggie Patch

Plantings
  • Broccoli – Purple Sprouting – Early (Bed #4)
  • Romanesco Broccoli interspersed with garlic in the little space left in Bed #6
  • Cabbage – Sugarloaf, and Broccoli – White Sprouting seedlings into veggie bed #9.  When that was done, I planted a basket full of golden shallots in between the rows.
  • Broccoli  – Green Sprouting and Spring Onion – White Lisbon (Bed #10)

A Peak into the Vegie Patch –
Beds 6, 10 and 9

Veggie Patch Plan

Weeding & Tidying

The root veg bed (bed #6) is neat and tidy, weeded  and mulched , the carrots are a bit patchy though – I’m having so much trouble with pests enjoying the tender carrot tops.  While I wasn’t sure if I should, I decided to tansplant the swede turnip seedlings, only time will tell if it was the right thing to do.  One thing though, the parsnips are looking fabulous!

With the tomato plants nearing the end of their productivity, it was time to remove the plants and dispose of them, and then bundle the stakes for storage.   Any tomatoes that were still green were removed from the plants and spread out on trays indoors for ripening.  It all takes time, but is rewarding to see everything tidied up and still have tomatoes for a while after the plants were removed.

Finally I found time to do some work on the compost bins, closing off compost bin #2.   Compost bin #3 is now being filled, but  I still have to empty compost bin #4, which is a wire frame that I use to finish off the compost, once that’s done I can move the contents of bin #1 into it for finishing.

Some seed sowing & Propagating

I have only had time to plant a few seeds – I know that it was late, but it was worth it.

  • Cauliflower ‘All Year Round’ (old seed), these seeds have proven to be too old and did not germinate, but there was no harm trying.
  • Cauliflower ‘Green Macerata’ (planted 3 May – germinated 9 May)
  • Cauliflower ‘Purple Siciliy'(planted 3 May – germinated 7 May)

On a whim, I also scattered a mixture of salad seeds in a tub just outside the back door.  I have no idea what’s in it, I can just recall mixing a whole heap of old seeds some time ago, figuring that they may make a nice cut and grow planting! They were old seeds then, but it seems that sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

Seed mix scattered into a pot, coming through.

During a recent break at a little coastal village,  I collected a few cuttings, I just can’t help myself!  They have all been potted and now I must wait…

  • Ivy Geranium – such a pretty pink…
  • Perfumed geranium – I think it’s citronella
  • Succulents
  • Osteospermum (African Daisy) – Purple
  • Osteospermum (African Daisy – White
  • Bougainvillea – Pink

If the bougainvillea cutting doesn’t strike, I think that I may just have to go and buy one – how good does it look in the terracotta pot?

Spring bulbs arrived

When you receive the spring bulb catalogues it is just sooooo hard not to order everything, so what I do is select just a few and order 12 -15 of each, that way I can plant up a pot with one variety or just plant one variety all together in the garden for more of an impact.   I’m looking forward to seeing my little selection in bloom…

  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Love Call’
  • Tulipa hybrida – Triumph Tulip ‘Timeless’ – planted in a pot
  • Tulipa hybrida – Triumph Tulip ‘Strong Gold’ – planted in a pot
  • Tulipa hybrida – Bokassa Tulip ‘Rose’

However, each year I get an email advising of a mystery box of bulbs – honestly, who can resist!  I love this little surprise packet, discovering the contents and working out where I will plant its contents.

This year’s mystery package included:

  • Allium sativum  – Garlic. ‘Australian White’ (2 bulbs) – having already planted my garlic, I managed to find some space and planted these in Vegie bed #6
  • Hyacinthoides hispanica – Spanish Bells Blue (10 bulbs) – planted in Duchesses’ Garden
  • Ipheion uniflorum syn. Triteleia uniflorum – Spring Star ‘Light Blue’ (50 bulbs) – planted in the Woodland Forest Garden
  • Iris x hollandica – Dutch Iris Mixed (30 bulbs) – planted in pots
  • Freesia refracta alba – Freesia refracta alba ‘Grandma Freesias’ (20 bulbs)
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Ice Follies’ (5 bulbs) – planted with existing patch of ‘Ice Follies’ in the Mauve Garden
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Las Vegas’ (3 bulbs)
  • NarcissusDaffodil – Mixed (25 bulbs) – planted in pots
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Tête-à-tête’ (5 bulbs) – planted with existing patch of ‘Tête-à-tête’ in the Spring Bulb Garden
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Sunlover’ (5 bulbs) – planted with existing patch of ‘Sunlover’ in the Spring Bulb Garden
  • Narcissus jonquilla – Jonquil ‘Grand Monarch’ (5 bulbs)
  • Ornithogalum arabicum – Black Pearl Lily (6 bulbs)
  • Ranunculus asiaticus – Ranunculi ‘Red’ (20 corms) – planted in the ‘Laundry Garden’
  • Tulipa hybrida – Double Tulip ‘Chato’ (3 bulbs) – planted in a pot
  • Tulipa hybrida – Triumph Tulip ‘Denmark’ (4 bulbs) planted in a pots

Well, that was a little snippet from the garden in May.

Until next time…

Happy gardening

Links:

 

 

Fresh Berries in Apple Jelly

 

Fresh Berries in Apple Jelly
Created for something light and refreshing to serve alongside a rich chocolate dessert!
Category: Brunch, Dessert
Style: Australian
Keyword: Apple, Berries, Fruit Jelly, Jelly
Quantity: 6 small glasses
Author: sbaskitchen
Ingredients
  • 300 ml pink lady apple juice
  • 3 gelatine leaves
  • 150 g of berries
Instructions
  1. Carefully warm the apple juice in a saucepan.
  2. Soften the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the softened leaves to the apple juice and stir over a low heat just enough to dissolve the gelatine, then remove from the heat, strain into a jug and allow to cool, (but not set).

  4. Pour a little of the cooled jelly mixture into the base of your glasses and allow it to just set in the refrigerator.
  5. Arrange a layer of berries on top, then add a little more jelly to cover the fruit.
  6. Refrigerate until set. Continue to build up the layers of berries by allowing them to set in the jelly before adding more.
  7. This will ensure the berries are evenly dispersed through the jelly.
  8. Allow to set in the refrigerator before serving.
Notes
  • If the remaining jelly starts to become too firm before you need it, simply warm it a little and then allow it to cool before adding the next layer of jelly and berries.

 

Yum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating our way into 2018

While 2017 had it’s dreadful lows, as we moved through the year, things seemed to improve and get better and better. In fact, by the end of the year, we were looking forward, with great excitement, to 2018.

Gary and I deliberately chose to stay at home on our own for New Year’s Eve this year, and with that in mind, I decided to plan a special meal. Using only what I had in the garden and the fridge, freezer and larder, the menu was set, and preparation began the day before. Meat was taken from the freezer, jellies were made and set, and a terrine prepared. The star of the show was to be a beautiful piece of venison that we had purchased, from the farm gate, while in Bright earlier in the year. It was a knuckle, so had to be cooked long and slow… This meant messaging a great friend, Fabien, in Paris, as he had prepared a shoulder of venison in a similar manner during one of our visits to his mother’s (my very dear friend, Véronique’s) home a few years ago. While the method for the cooking of the venison was quite simple, it would need seven hours in the oven! This gave me the idea of eating our way into 2018.

During the afternoon, leading to New Year’s Eve, I wandered around the garden picking a small basket of flowers. Carefully arranged in a bowl with a large candle in the centre, they became the centrepiece of a small table set with crystal stem-ware and serviettes.

And then another trip to the garden, this time the vegie patch, and I had the edible flowers to adorn the plates…

Edible Flowers from our vegetable garden

Continue reading

Oranges 1 – A recap!

The oranges are gone, well, with the exception of the few that have been set aside for our breakfast fruit over the next week or so. Overall things went really well, and we have some lovely goodies stashed in the store for future use. We’ve also enjoyed some orange flavoured meals as well.

That being said, the marmalade proved to be my nemisis. The first batch didn’t set and discoloured!  What to do… Add Cointreau to the mix, and lable it as Orange and Cointreau Syrup for use with desserts – I have to say it goes deliciously with date pudding !

So what was the problem?  More pectin you say? That’s what I thought, anyway. So I saved all the pips from the oranges and lemons used in all the other recipes – I had a lovely little pile of them by the time it come to revisit the marmalade. Neither Gary, nor I, could understand what happened to the first batch, it’s never happened before…

With everything prepared, I started again – it was looking beautiful, time to test for set, and again… it just wouldn’t set and turned dark. Fearing it would burn, I took it off the heat and bottled it. The next morning when I checked, it was syrup, nothing like the lovely jelly like consistency of marmalade. By this time I thought I knew what the problem was – while the pot I was using was big enough, it was tall and narrow, not wide and squat.

Not wanting to waste the fruit sugar and time and effort, this time we decided to try and cook it a little more. It just got darker, and again wouldn’t set. Finally, I had to bite the bullet and use commercial pectin (I have plans to make my own in future, but didn’t have time at this point). Set was reached, it doesn’t taste too bad, really, just sweeter than usual and it looks like treacle!  A new wider, shallower, preserving pan style, pot has now been ordered and is on its way. I am hoping that by using it, we will avoid any more marmalade dramas.

So what was cooked? You will have seen some of the goodies in previous posts, but here is the list in full…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is one more recipe brewing, but it is going to take another couple of weeks – Collette’s Vin D’Orange. I will put up a post about it when its ready, and let you know what it is like.

Finally given that Jan provided all the oranges for this little marathon, I thought it only propper that I share the recipe for this delicious dessert that she has shared with me – Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream.

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream

This simple little dessert is the perfect way to finish a meal. It can be prepared ahead - adding the Yoghurt Cream and pistachios just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 6 large navel oranges
  • 6 fresh dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbs pure icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

For the Greek Yoghurt Cream

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 125 g light cream cheese
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
  • 1 tsp pure icing sugar

Directions

  1. To make the yoghurt cream, place the yoghurt, cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Use a small sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until combined. Place the cream and icing sugar in a bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Fold into yoghurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
  2. Cut top and base from each orange. Use a sharp knife to remove skin and white pith. Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments.
  3. Combine orange, dates and mint in a bowl. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. Toss to combine.
  4. Divide fruit among serving plates and serve with pistachios and yoghurt cream.
  5. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

Notes:

  • My sister Jan passed this recipe to me, she received it from her friend, Mandy, who found it in Australian Good Taste – September 2011, p.80 .
  • Allow 2 hours chilling time.

 

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

slide1-2

Links:

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Sticks 

Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

Orange and Mint Jelly 

Orange Cordial

Spiced Oranges

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream 

Sugar Coated Candied Orange Sticks 

Zingy Citrus Mocktail