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Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

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First handful of sugar snap peas and snow peas.

Given I’m writing this post about late spring in the veggie garden in the middle of summer, you would be right in thinking I am a little behind in posting. Luckily a patch of 34+ days are crimping my summer holiday DIY plans.

Segue: crimping my holiday plans unless I get up at before sparrow fart when it’s cool, or stay up until…(actually what is the opposite of sparrow fart for the people who have to wait until sundown and cool down? Is there a colloquial expression for that? Should we make one? How does before bat fart read to you?)…until before bat fart. And I have done that: mainly the before bat fart because I don’t mind late night door and window painting while being eaten alive by mosquitoes, whereas sparrow fart is just too f*cking early. But I digress…

The veggie garden has been a very productive member of the household this year, I’ve had a couple of harvests of snow peas and sugar snap peas, in suitable quantities. I like how they become ready in handfuls, which is the perfect amount for a stir fry or salad.

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Pea plants in action.

And now, in summer, I am starting to harvest courgettes while little ears of corn grown on my dwarf corn plants. Actually I am not sure if they are dwarf corn plants, but I suspect so since they are a lot shorter than other corn I have grown. Whatever they are, they look like they will give me a plethora of corn.

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Looking out, over the courgettes…is a phrase you don’t use that often.

The silverbeet has now gone to seed, finally. These plants are 2 years old, so I am impressed they made it til now. I didn’t use it as much as I’d like, simply because I didn’t have the freezer space free. But I did make a large patch of silverbeet and potato soup plus I have some canneloni filling for when it’s cool enough to want to eat pasta again.

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Splendorous vegetable landscape.

 

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Peas Glorious Peas

My snow peas are fruiting quite abundantly, this pleases me:

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Enough for a large stir fry

Now all I have to do is resist the urge to eat them as I harvest them, so I can use them in cooking…

 

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So July came and went in my veggie garden, and I took photos and didn’t blog about it until yesterday. And then there was…August.

In early August, everything was keeping on, keeping on in the veggie garden. A couple of sugar snap peas and snow peas didn’t come up (possibly mice or birds found those seeds before they germinated), so I popped a couple more in (accidental staggered planting).

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From a distance

I had to spend time tying up the broad beans, sugar snaps and snow peas: this year’s veggie garden theme is apparently: plant bondage. Everything needs to be tied up.

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Looking from left to right, across the broad beans, chard and kale, to the snow peas….and the clover beyond.

The chickweed was still…there. In spite of repeated weeding incursions on my part.

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Potatoes, Radicchio, Capsicum and Snow Peas.

I harvested a couple of kale leaves, used them in my pumpkin and tofu soup…which I made out of the leftovers from Spectacular Roasted Pumpkin. (I know: leftovers AND kale AND tofu: it’s like I hit the hipster, vegetarian jackpot).

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Still just growing, just keep growing, just keep growing.

I was finding a few black furry caterpillars in my garden, and I think there might be a couple of snails…so I put down snail pellets. I use the red snail pellets that are safe for pets. Because they contain metals as their active ingredient, as they break down they do enrich the soil for plants too. So I am quite generous when I put them down.

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Mulched with a fine layer of snail pellets.

Now we’re up to the weekend just gone. And if you look closely at one of these photos you will see *****SPOILERS**** for one of my “little” BIG garden achievements (UNICORN PONIES…kidding). I’ll post about that achievement being unlocked over the next day/so.

So late August, garden still looking good:

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Still just growing, just keep growing…

I had a massive weed-fest before I took these photos. I completely filled up my bin with all the weeds from my front garden bed, the beds around my front patio and what I could get from the veggie garden without disturbing my food plants. Weeding means: no more clover in the garden bed!

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Hey Rhubarb, you’re looking good.

Broad beans are starting to flower. I sense…impending bean harvest.

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In the green of it.

Kale and chard and sugar snaps (up the back of the bed, to the left in this picture), plus the snow peas:

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Everything’s fine, juuuuuuuuust fine.

Distance shot

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Yes: I am one of those people who rarely puts her garden hose away.

I managed to harvest 4 snow peas, they were delish:

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Last seconds on the vine…

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Up High

Having made my broad bean pesto and been underwhelmed by the recipe using it, I set out to find my perfect way of eating it. The first perfect way is to dollop it on top of a perfectly cooked piece of fillet steak, which is nestled on a bed of zucchini and carrot linguini (did I mention I bought a spiralizer?)

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On The Side

Ingredients

Per person:

  • 1 piece of good fillet steak
  • Spiralized Zucchini and Carrot (1/4 of a large zucchini and 1/2 a carrot will do per person)
  • 1 heaped soup spoon of broad bean pesto
  • Salt and Pepper to season

The secret to cooking a good steak, when steak is the hero of the dish is: buy fillet steak from a reputable butcher. Then season your pan with olive oil and heat until any oil in the pan changes consistency: it will go quite liquid as it gets hot. Add the steak and cook it on one side. You should move the steak around the pan (hopefully you have a lovely non stick one), without actually turning it. Cook it until the blood and juices appear on the top of it, then flip it and do the same. When juices appear at the top, take it out of the pan and rest it for a couple of minutes.

While it is resting, prepare your linguini in the same pan you cooked the steak in (why waste that lovely flavour?)

Then assemble your dish: a bed of linguini, the steam and a nice dollop of broad bean pesto on top. Season with a grind of rock salt and cracked pepper (neither the steak or the linguini will have been seasoned), then serve…

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From A Distance

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Recipe: Broad Bean Pesto

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Broad bean pesto, in a fancy Moccona Jar.

I’ve been collecting broad bean recipes so I have some inspiration for Broad Bean Fest 2015. Now that I’ve planted up my winter veggie garden, they should be pretty much in the post come September:

One of the recipes I’ve been curious about is my other BFF That I Have Never Met GOOP’s recipe for Zuchini Linguine with Fava Bean Pesto and Grilled Shrimp. Since I still have broad beans in the freezer and my Spiralizer  arrived in the mail (YES I bought a spiralizer), and I was stuck in the house all weekend with a cold and not much to do (apart from watching 3 seasons of Luther and the entire Season 5 of Game Of Thrones)…it seemed like the perfect time to try her recipe out. Plus it was something I could do in my pyjamas, without leaving the house or breathing on anybody else…

However I had to break with the recipe, firstly because I didn’t have any Genovese Basil. Secondly because I forgot to add the clove of garlic. Thirdly because I substituted what I thought was Lemon Basil for Genovese Basil…only to realise (too late) that it was Thai Basil not lemon basil (I blame this cold).

Lastly, the recipe didn’t tell me how to cook my Zucchini Linguini, so I followed this recipe to do that…which kind of didn’t work with the texture of the pesto as the linguini was too soft to stir the pesto through (the pesto is quite a firm mix).

So my first experience with my BFFTIHNM GOOP’s recipe was…underwhelming for may reasons. Nothing to do with her recipe.

However I did like the pesto I had concocted, and I realised there is a better way of preparing and serving it to profile its flavours: not with delicate grilled shrimp, but with a lovely piece of fillet steak and Zucchini and Carrot Linguini. And a different method of cooking the Linguini

Ingredients

  • Broad Beans (I used 1.5 takeaway containers of frozen broad beans)
  • 1 handful mint
  • 1 small handful Thai basil
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning
  • More EVOO to store the leftover pesto
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Ready to be blitzed

Blanch and pod the broad beans if they haven’t been through their second podding. Throw them into your food processor along with the mint, basil, zest and juice of the lemon, parmesan and the EVOO.

Process until combined, taste and add salt and pepper for seasoning then blend again. You should end up with quite a firm pesto, if it’s too firm then add more oil and blend again.

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One flick of the switch, and then there was pesto…

If you have any leftovers, spoon into a sterilised jar and cover with olive oil. It should last a week in the fridge.

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Recipe: Mandarin Cordial

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All this advice about what to do when life gives you lemons, no advice for what to do when life gives you mandarins.

I looked  after the Garden Goddess Et Mari’s house while they were travelling foreign lands. Apart from checking how their garden grew while they were away, checking that there were no burglars and collecting their mail, this responsibility also meant I was free to take any ripened produce from their garden. Like Mandarins.

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Lots and lots of mandarins.

I was warned by the Garden Goddess that these mandarins are best for juicing, rather than eating. At which point I had a lightbulb moment and decided to experiment by making Mandarin Cordial, using the same ratios I used to make Nana’s Lemon Cordial.

I actually made 3 x the recipe for each batch (one sweet and one sour batch). For each batch, I ended up with 2 x 750mL bottles plus 1.5 x 375mL bottles of cordial, so just over 2L of cordial. Obviously it’s going to depend how juicy your mandarins are as to final quantities, but one serving of the below should make you about 670mL.

Ingredients

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 mandarins, keep the mandarin halves after juicing (try and get the firm mandarins, the ones with lots of pips that have their flesh up against the skins).
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of tartaric acid
  • Sugar:
    • For sweet cordial: 2 cups of caster sugar (I experimented with Golden Caster Sugar for this batch)
    • For tart cordial: 1 cup of caster sugar (I used plain old Caster Sugar for this batch)
  • 500mL of boiling water

Basically throw the zest, sugar and juice into a large container, along with the boiling water. Stir and then leave in the fridge over night.

In the pic below, you’ll see the sweeter version (top) is a darker colour. That’s because I used Golden Caster Sugar instead of white Caster Sugar:

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Don’t mix the sweet tub and the sour tub up, otherwise your cordial experience might not be what is expected…

After 24 hours in the fridge, take the container out and add the tartaric acid. Stir well.

Remove the mandarin halves (compost these) and then strain the cordial into sterilised bottles. I stood mine in the sink, then used a funnel and chux to strain. Et voila:

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3 bottles to the left = tart, 3 bottles in the middle = sweet, 2 bottles to the right = liqueur (smaller bottle = tart, larger bottle = sweet). Again: best not to get confused.

Then sample:

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Tart version: will probably go nicely with gin and soda, or vodka and lemonade…or even just with water.

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Sweet version: still quite tart (that’s the mandarins, these ones are quite tart). Serving suggestions as above, would also be nice with lemonade. And I wonder if it’s possible to make a mandarin colada…or a mandarin-tini…

Because I had about 187mL of “leftover” cordial, and the Kitchen Garden Masterchef had given me a 750mL bottle of unflavoured alcohol (he’s actually the Kitchen Garden Masterchef Slash Distiller), I ended up making Mandarin liqueur with it.

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One bottle of unflavoured alcohol, high probability of leftover cordial…what’s a girl to do but make Mandarin Liqueur?

I split the alcohol into two bottles, poured in the remaining cordial and then added about half a cup to a cup of additional sugar. Based on my recipes I’ve read for making other liqueurs, this should be ready in about 3 weeks.

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aka: Herbal Harvest…of the responsible home owner kind…

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Close up of the sage, early stages of drying

4 days of Easter long weekend, meant 3.5 days of catch ups, movie watching, book reading, sleeping in and other fun stuff…and 0.5 days of work in the garden. One thing I did do in the 0.5 days of garden work was prune my Kaffir Lime, Sage, Bay Trees, Mint (Vietnamese and Common) and Rosemary.

This meant my dining table has been designated as household herb drying and prep area. I have Vietnamese Mint sprigs in a vase to see if they shoot (in which case I will plant them and donate them to other garden-minded souls).

As well as sage leaves drying on a cake rack:

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Sage drying on a biscuit/cake rack

I had to brave the thorns of the Kaffir Lime branches to strip the leaves and the fruits, something that could be done on the rug while watching TV thankfully.

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Kaffir Lime Leaves, ready to be detached from branches

Now I can use the zest of the limes and freeze the leaves.

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Kaffir Limes to the left, Leaves to the right

Each of the leaves I am either freezing or drying has been washed and then individually patted dry with a paper towel. My workmates got most of the Kaffir Lime Leaves from this batch (I do have a container in my fridge for moi), but the sage leaves I am keeping for myself:

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Another look at the sage leaves

Will be waiting another week for the bay leaves to dry. There are huge amounts of them:

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Two trays of bay leaves to every one tray of sage

I had so many bay leaves, one cake rack was not enough (neither was two), so I used a dish drying rack covered in news paper and then paper towels to hold the overflow:

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Un-Bay-lievable

If you want a pack of home-grown bay leaves, each pruned and individually towel dried by me, speak now…

 

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