What a lovely weekend!

Finally some stable weather and some lovely sun, not too hot, not too cold, just right! I had planned to get a start on my new Sproutwell Greenhouse but got waylaid with lots of other jobs.

We made  great progress with painting the lounge-room, a second coat on the ceiling, filled some spots and a couple of coats on the top section of the walls. The decision to wait until our re-blocking is done is proving to be quite frustrating as we are holding back on filling gaps as we anticipate there will quite a few more. None the less it is still nice to see (and more so smell) some freshness being instilled into the old house.

I spent Sunday outside thinking, planning and working in the yard. With a possible buyer for our current house I am focussing on working out a few basics we need to do to be able to live in our new old house. Nothing major, just things like, plumbing, maybe an area to cook in would be good and also having some hot water. I’m sure it will all sort itself out, we have developed quite a ‘let nature take its course’ approach the older we get and it usually does!

Bye, bye, bok choy!

I am pulling the plug trying to grow this. I have only ever had success growing this once and since then it always  just bolts and has  not proven a viable component of the garden. Tried many different tactics but it just doesn’t want to play. I get the message!

Making way for the garage.

It is painful  seeing established trees having to be removed but in order to have a garage installed we had to make the decision to remove a loquat from the fenceline. Not a tree or fruit that I am passionate about but it did serve a great job screening a very unattractive brick wall of our neighbours and birds love the fruit.

Loquat and acanthus out. Now to get the stumps of trees we have had removed ground out so foundation for garage can begin.

General vegie stuff.

With the broad beans spent I cut them down, left the top growth on the bed and topped with compost. Hopefully this will create a nice little compost pile within the bed to feed future planting. I believe the little pale coloured things on the roots are ‘nitrogen fixing nodules’ that are beneficial to the microbial activity in the soil.

Chopped broad bean growth laid onto bed which I covered with compost.
Nitrogen fixing nodules of roots of broad beans.
Took 3 barrows of compost made from last years oak leaves, grass cuttings, hay and other bits added to the mix to top dress the garlic and broad bean bed.

With wicking beds it is difficult to stake things as you don’t want to pierce the water holding membrane of the bed. I came up with a nifty little idea and hope it works! I love bamboo because of its sustainable (apart from transport for imported products) value, its longevity and its natural look and tactile feel in the garden.

Large bamboo stake secured at end of beds with ‘U’ clamps and centre support only goes in to soil a short way. Cucumbers will be trained to climb the framework.

 

Climbing frame at end of tomato bed for cucumbers, peas, beans, sweet peas or anything that may need support.

Silver beet and lettuce is doing really well, I picked some to go into tonight’s dinner of silver beet and fetta quiche, salad and some oven baked potatoes. It was lovely even though I had trouble extricating myself from the japanese bath and left it in the oven for about 10 minutes too long!

Little too brown but tasted lovely!

 

Warm Chicken Salad

I always seem to have run out of steam when its dinner time and I’ve had a busy day at work. I like to keep evening meals really simple to prepare, not taking up too much time to cook and to be relatively healthy. As usual I don’t really deal in measurements, it sort of evolves around how much is needed and adjusted accordingly. Too much and it ends up in a lunch box, too little and we can always have an extra treat after dinner! This was tonight’s fare.

Chicken ( cut into short strips), put into a bowl and pour enough sweet chilli sauce in to give chicken a thin coating, stir through and sit till ready to cook.

The other things I am adding to this salad tonight are some onion bread crouton, crunchy potatoes, cucumber, seared cherry tomatoes, beetroot, feta cheese and some fresh herbs. As my bok choy has bolted (if anyone has any solutions to this I’d welcome them), I am throwing in a few leaves and a few of the thin stems. I will quickly throw them in with the chicken for no more than the last minute or so. This changes according to what is available, which tonight isn’t all that much!

I had baked an onion and rosemary loaf of bread on the weekend so used a bit of that to make some crunchy croutons. Cut bread  into whatever size you like, put into pan with smallest amount of olive oil and keep turning until they are nice and golden and very dry and crunchy. Put aside.

Spuds – Wash, peel and cut into small enough bits that they will mix through salad well. I just bunged them into the microwave (covered) for about 5 minutes, waited till steam had evaporated and put them into pan with a ‘plop’ of olive oil. Turn and stir until they have reached the colour you want. There is no reason why both the croutons and the spuds could not just go in the oven and do their thing in there while you prepare other items.

Toss the halved cherry tomatoes into pan that is still hot and cook until they just start to soften, don’t overdo it! Put them aside.

Add chicken to pan and start cooking it off, not too hot, not too cool. Stir occasionally. While cooking tear lettuce into pieces the size you like, slice up some beetroot, finely chop some herbs (tonight mint and oregano), crumble some feta or goat cheese, slice some cucumber  and green capsicum and put with the croutons and spuds. I actually like to put everything into a bowl or plastic bag and swirl everything around to make sure flavours have combined well. When chicken is cooked add this and turn through the mix.

Looks a bit ordinary at this point!

Turn everything out onto serving platter, top with some more cheese, herbs and maybe some spring onion. Really does taste quite tasty!