In My Kitchen-For the first time in a while!

I was having a look around my kitchen to see if there may be anything of interest to post and realised it is exactly one year since I moved from the temporary kitchen into our new lovely space. I posted about having a new oven installed at the end of July last year. Twelve months on and I can honestly say I am thrilled with my Falcon oven. Not too thrilled though that it threw a door seal the other night, will have to get that sorted pretty quickly. There has not been one moment when I haven’t been thrilled with this oven and its performance. So back to what’s to share In My Kitchen this month. We now have Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings doing the linking up of fellow IMKer’s, thanks Sherry!

Here I have some sourdough croissants that look suspiciously like crumbed chicken. I finely chopped hazelnuts and almonds to sprinkle over the top and it makes them look crumbed. Glazed with a rosewater glaze they were a great success with the kids arguing over who got how many and some whinging that they “always” miss out. The recipe for these completely sourdough croissants is from Shipton Mill, I have made it a few times and it always goes well. I made these smaller as a mini croissants which were cut to about 7cm wide X 15cm long. They should have proofed another couple of hours but it had already been 24hours and I got impatient! Here are definitely the last tomatoes for this season. I picked these from the greenhouse today and to be honest I was quite surprised to see them. Mr ATMT has been working his ‘not quite as young as he used to be’ body out laying brick paving in the area outside the kitchen. These bricks are reclaimed from a local demolition company and look really great. The orange tree we moved is coping really well so far and the overnight temperatures that have been down to -4 haven’t knocked it much at all.  Now to get some fence screen planting in. I think lots of citrus will do very nicely.I love fruit cake but we never have it as I am the only one who eats it. My sister gave me this boiled fruit cake and I am looking forward to working my way through it with my cup of tea each day. My girlfriend brought me back these napkins from her overseas trip. I hope they don’t say anything offensive, feel free to translate for me! I have a new bread knife In My Kitchen, crusty sourdough bread can be a challenge for cutting and I love this Opinel bread knife. I have 2 new books. I bought the Bien Cuit bread book because I love the pictures and it is a nice book to have on the coffee table (which we don’t have!) and the Culinary Adventures  of Marakesh was kindly given to me by a neighbour. I have only started delving into this and I think it will be quite an enjoyable read. Is anyone else familiar with this book? Lastly for this months’s IMK post is a picture of our classic winter Saturday or Sunday wake up snack. A cup of tea with some toasted sourdough, here it is fruit loaf with raspberry jam on one and quince jelly on the other. Bloody lovely! Now off to have a look at the other “In My Kitchen” posts.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

End of Summer season in the patch

I take my hat off to all our dedicated food growers, especially those who are committed to growing organically. It’s when we have seasons like this I can’t help but wonder how this nation ever got off the ground at all!

As the summer season comes to a close I’ve been trying to sort out the veggie garden to have it ready for some serious, more dedicated growing throughout the year.

I started by moving the 2 compost bins that were in the area where we have just moved a small outbuilding from. This area will become a courtyard and I don’t really want to look out the kitchen window to the bins. The bin made from wire and lined with weed mat contains last seasons leaf mulch and it’s not quite ready to use. I need to work out where this years leaf bin will go. This area does become a natural collection point for the english oak leaves so it can’t be too far away. I will have to move the little blood orange that you can see in the front. This was being espaliered on the wall of the building we moved, so it may end up against the fence.I have previously mentioned how when you clear the compost you discover insidious bits of plastic that you didn’t know you had. Here you can see the remains of a spinach box. I bought it in a box thinking it was plastic free, but as with so many packaged items the plastic is hidden. GRRRR!You can also see here that the paper vacuum cleaner bag still has a bit of decomposing to do. I will just put that into the relocated bin. I am cutting back needing to use bags in the vacuum as I now have a barrel unit that can be emptied directly into the compost (unless it has bits of glass etc in it). The big vac with bags will be used much less frequently.From these 2 compost bins I got enough compost to top dress the big 6 meter long wicking bed and the 3 smaller wicking beds as well as give the orange tree a really good top-dressing.As  always, our last chook Rene was on hand as oversee to the works!

Last men standing.

I removed all of the tomato plants that were passed it and their remains have been put on the bed that will be where corn will be grown next summer. I really should remake this box as it was put together as a temporary bed when we first moved in, but it still has another season in it I think.The remaining tomato plants in this big bed, have had exclusion bags put on the last fruit and I will be planting a green manure crop of mustard seed and assorted seeds that are well beyond their prime and that I am unlikely to plant here. I keep  saying I will rest this bed for a season, but space is just too precious. I guarantee I will still end up using half of the bed for something!I have had marginally more success with pumpkins this season, but they are still not what I would have a hurrah over. The plants that were not going to give any return have also been pulled and put on the pile with the spent tomato plants and I’ve let the ones still performing in, hoping that they will develop and mature some more.There are quite a few small ones still developing but I don’t think they will develop enough  before the cool weather hits. They are pretty though!Remember my experiment of trained versus free range tomatoes? This is a couple of pics of the issues I had with free ranging tomatoes. I don’t think I’ll try that again!

The big success this season is our grapevine, this is performing really well and these grapes are delicious! Although it is a slip grape, supposedly for winemaking, it tastes like passionfruit and we use them just for nibbling on. They do have a few pips but I don’t  mind that.

There are still a few jobs to do but I really enjoyed getting back out into the garden and claiming some thinking time as I worked.

Sourdough

This is a pic of my rye dough that decided it wanted to take over the world. I thought the overnight temperature was going to be quite a bit cooler than it turned out to be, so I gambled on leaving it out on the bench overnight. The lid was nearly at right angles before I removed it! Fortunately I saved it in time and managed to produce some lovely loaves of 50% rye and 50% organic Laucke T55 white flour. The tang in these is amazing!So now I have to decide on what my next ‘get back in control’ jobs will be in the garden. Well, everywhere I think!

In My Kitchen-March

I really should try to get my blogging mojo back I think! I miss the time focussing about what to write, planning ahead for what needs to happen and putting the ideas together to string some form of ‘story’ together. I’m finding that I’ve fallen a little into the trap of using Instagram (IG) or as I am now renaming it “Instant Gratification”. This is OK but it doesn’t really give me the same satisfaction as writing a post. Thank goodness for ‘In My Kitchen’, a forum where bloggers put up some snippets of what is in their kitchens each month. All of these blogs are linked to a common point by the wonderful Liz over at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. Go and have a look at some of the great things going on.

Not a lot this month In My Kitchen as we went camping for nearly 2 weeks. I did manage to still bake bread while we were away but this time I cheated somewhat and used the oven in the camp kitchen. I baked in a pasta pot we have in the camping kitchen and it was a great success.

img_2012We brought some great bacon back from the butcher at Merimbula. This bacon is beautiful, they also had some nitrate free bacon which really appeals to me so I got some of that too. Down side is that it is packed in cryovac plastic packaging. This is a shame, but sometimes when weighing up the options an outcome that is not ideal is the result. My delight in getting good quality over what is available at home that would still be in plastic won over.img_2117Also In My Kitchen is some sourdough starter I am dehydrating. I have shared quite a bit so needed to replenish my stock. This is my original ‘Vesuvius’ starter that I began about 10 years ago.img_2112 I have been making some potholders. I am using an old woollen blanket that is beyond its useful life as the thermal filling in these. I am also using up scrap cotton I had in my cupboard for the covering but I have bought a couple of extra pieces. Next week I’ll scout the op shops for suitable garments I can re-purpose.img_2113 This years glut! NOT! Nowhere near any previous seasons harvests, very disappointing. I’ll be buying a couple of boxes for making passata I think. Not a lot, but the flavour is really good this year. My experiment of having half the tomatoes staked and laterals pruned and the other half just doing their thing without attention has bombed. I have not had one tomato that hasn’t been eaten even when very green in the free range plants. img_2118 Finally In My Kitchen this month is a pic of todays wholemeal bread I made and tested out a couple of different baking methods. The top 2 loaves were cooked in the cast iron dutch oven, the pumpkin seed shaped loaf was baked in a clay cloche and the bottom one was baked in my Falcon enamel roasting pan. All work well but I prefer the cast iron.img_2136So that’s the little peek into my kitchen this month. Are we going to get a peek in yours?

Don’t go Eeeeew yet!

There is a reason it looks a bit ugly!Textured renderWe have had the external render applied and it looks rather weird at the moment.  Because the original finish on the house is textured, we opted to match it as best we could. The strange appearance you see in the shot above is because a layer of ‘spatter’ has been applied over the smooth render, then that’s been troweled to smoothe it off. Because this spatter layer is more cement than anything else it has a different colour to the render underneath. It reminds me of the old tramways or railway station toilets that were painted in 2 tone green! Once its painted it will come close to fitting in un-noticed with the original render.

IMG_6632There are two major jobs scheduled to start this week. The floor boards in the kitchen/dining area being laid and the plastering of all the walls and ceilings. The floor will become the  same level right through the entire room. The blue thing in the centre is where the sink will be. See how the original floor sits up about 60mm from the slab, that will all become one level.

IMG_6608Then there is the plastering. These 2 jobs will entirely change the feel of the entire space I am sure. I must admit to being a little melancholy last night, it took so long before we could get started and now we are going to the final stages it seems a little surreal. I will almost miss the horrid smell of rotten timber and the wondering about how things will look. For the first time in years, we are finding that having a space where we can have a dedicated table for people to gather and prop is proving a great addition. This space is already proving to be a natural gathering space, I love that!

IMG_6626 IMG_6605

Our first family dinner in this space went well (considering the conditions). I put a leg of lamb in the slow cooker, sat upon a bed of onions, a few tomatoes, some mint, rosemary and a blend of different peppercorns. I also did the obligatory slivers of garlic placed into the joint. I covered the leg with some foil to retain the steam and let it do it’s own thing for about 10 hours on low.

slow cooker roast lambI had been hankering for a traditional roast, but due to an ‘I can’t be bothered’ attitude and a quite obvious change to preferences, I opted for a blend of roast crossed with a pulled lamb style dish. I did normal roast veg, some roasted tomatoes in olive oil, pepper and a slurp of red wine vinegar. This is how you manage in a toy oven for space when doing this

IMG_6616

I made a yoghurt dip just by adding chopped mint to greek style yoghurt then drizzled it with garlic-infused olive oil, cooked some peas which the roast tomatoes and mint were mixed with. I drained the excess fat from the slow cooker juices, added a little red wine vinegar and blitzed it to make a juice (jus?) rather than make a heavy gravy. All these were set on the table with flatbread so whoever wanted the traditional roast could serve that and for those like me who wanted a wrap/pulled style meal I could just put what I wanted onto the flatbread, wrap and munch. That yoghurt, mint and garlic oil was a winner. I really enjoy this style of eating now as my dodgy hands always make me feel a bit self conscious when trying to tackle using a knife and fork. First of many family dinners in this new space I think!

IMG_6626In the garden it is obviously taking the turn to Autumn, yet I am still feeling the sting of Summer! It is bizarre, it feels as though it is cooling down then at 8.30pm the temp seems to rise and the humidity climbs back up. Not conducive to good sleeping patterns I’m sad to say.

The tomatoes are coming to an end, this has been a great season indeed for them.

IMG_6586Very excited to see how our floor and plastering shape up!

Seasons are Turning. GSC March

I’ve missed doing a post for a few Garden Share Collectives (GSC) recently, just can’t seem to make the deadline! Thanks to Lizzie at StrayedTable  for co-ordinating all of us home growers showcasing what is happening in our plots.

Harvests at the moment. What else? Tomatoes, tomatoes and yes tomatoes! I say that bit it has generally been a pretty average season. Also capsicum, cucumbers, grapes, zucchini and mini eggplant. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to planting full size eggplant. The ‘finger’ variety suits us well. There are a couple here left, centre.

Tomato harvestThe capsicum crop has been the best in years, yet I haven’t had much success with chillies that  are usually mounting up by now.

IMG_9815I discovered what an invasion of white cabbage moth on the capsicum growing in the greenhouse so a dose of Dipel was in order. Dipel is an organic pesticide derived from Bacillus thuringiensis. I’ve used this successfully in the past and I must admit I love seeing the little critters fall to the ground!

IMG_0116Yet again the value of using exclusion bags on crops as they mature has been proven. This shot shows tomatoes, some in the protective exclusion bag and one that didn’t have the protection. See how the birds ruined the tomato? Little buggers are even attacking green tomatoes this year!

IMG_0110I’ve started seed for kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts and cipollini onions. Hope I haven’t left it too late for the sprouts!

IMG_0124Time to gear up in preparation for the onslaught of autumn leaves that have already started to shed from our English Oak. This is a massive task. Will need to spread the 4 different compost piles I did last year and reset them ready to fill this year. This photo was taken last year and I love it. Quite look forward to seeing these pretty colours!

IMG_4643Head over to the Garden Share Collective and see what other gardeners are doing.

TheGardenShareCollective300pix1

 

In My Kitchen-February

I cannot believe it this time again!

First up for this months post is “In My Camping Kitchen”. We spent a couple of weeks at our favoured annual camping spot, Pambula Beach, which is on the mid east coast of New South Wales. Beautiful, safe, surf beach that is close enough to our campsite so you wake up, wonder down and jump in the surf then back to camp for not much at all. Anyone who knows me understands that I love camp cooking. I love the fact I can plan ahead and that I can sit in a camp chair with a glass of wine doing whatever preparations are necessary for our evening meal. This year I was super organised and stored some photos on my mini iPad of some suitable Annabel Langbein’s recipes, I made sure I had the right spices etc packed and it made it really easy to create our meals. I love Annabel’s recipes and have not yet been disappointed with any of them. This photo is of my version of Annabel’s Chicken Tikka kebab recipe, served with hot plate chips (par boiled first), hot plate grilled pumpkin, red capsicum and beans.

1501151_10153076353919455_8471719078287478190_o

I had a crack at baking a loaf of bread (yeasted) on top of the gas camp stove (in a camp oven). I was quite happy with the result albeit a little dark on its bottom. I think with a bit of tweaking and refining of the cooking vessel, I will be able to come up with a pretty consistent result.

IMG_9362

It was still better than fluffy bread and made a great base for bruscetta and our morning poached eggs with mushrooms cooked with garlic, cracked pepper, butter, white wine vinegar and basil. Got a few requests from fellow campers about these.

IMG_9364

I took some of our tomatoes that kept ripening while we were away and they were beautiful with basil, bocconcini and olive oil. I did take a plant pot of herbs ready for these meals. Its amazing what a few fresh herbs can add to any meal.

IMG_9367

Back home and In My Kitchen is, a couple if gifted Araucana eggs. Sadly, hard to see in the photo but they are a lovely blue colour. The Araucana chicken is a not so common breed that originated from Chile

IMG_9595 IMG_9605I was also gifted a lovely big bag of blood plums. Yet to decide their fate, any ideas are welcome as we not huge jam eaters. Think some spicy plum sauce is on the list.

On the window sill are a few tomatoes picked and ripening away from greedy black birds.

IMG_9588

My favourite so far is this performe abruzzese variety which to me looks like a lovely little draw string purse.

periforme abruzzese tomatoMy take on Bangers & Mash for dinner. Our home-made lamb sausages with caramelised shallots, a few tomatoes thrown into the pot to cook down. Mash was made with mint, spring onion, butter, S&P and milk and gravy was made using flour, red wine, rosemary, mint and I wish I could remember what else! Add in the peas and it went down a treat.

IMG_9575

Finally In My kitchen is a little “thing” that a friend spied in an op-shop and thought I may like. I do! Not sure exactly what it is, but it is a hanging rack of some sort, obviously very old and I know I will be able to put it to good use when I get a kitchen.

IMG_9576

Thanks again Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who is the IMK caretaker and delightful host of these posts. How about going and checking out what’s happening in other people’s kitchens this month. You can learn so much from these gracious people.

 

 

Bruschetta, Lemon Tart and other stuff.

I am not game enough to go outside today! This morning the temperature hit 39, with wind gusting up to 60Kmh per hour. I reckon there will be sun-dried tomatoes hanging on the bushes tonight!

In light of this, I spent today inside being slovenly and lazy which has been delightful! I read my new ABC organic gardening magazine, watched a few crappy TV shows and created a new Facebook page that I have been meaning to do for ages.

I love, and lots of my friends love lemon tart. I’m not talking about the little bits of pastry filled with lemon jam you seen in most bakeries, I mean a proper, grown up lemon tart. We do all however, have different ways of gauging our favourites. Some like really tangy, some like biscuity bases, some like textured filling and some smooth. Some you buy are just terrible. The new Facebook page  is aimed at getting everyones feedback of tarts they have made, bought and shared. I am after reviews, recipes, hints and tips and any different cultural examples of Lemon Tarts. My favourite LT recipe is one I got from the ABC a few years ago (PDF below). Please share yours. This photo is one of a small Lemon Tart we tried from The Bodalla Bakery. See my review at https://www.facebook.com/bestlemontart I have had someone suggest it is the new BLT! 

Bodalla Bakery Lemon Tart.

Lemon tart – ABC Perth (Aus

Bruschetta in a flash!

Too h0t to go out, too hot for anything much, so we were looking for a nice healthy, fresh lunch. Nothing more perfect than bruschetta! I had plenty of fresh tomatoes and basil, oodles of freshly stored garlic, (Just bang on 2kg stored in one of my garden exclusion bags).

Garlic storedbut no suitable bread. Ahhh, just remembered the turkish bread I bought from the Dandenong market a couple of weeks ago. I love this flatbread and when home from the market I had cut it into serving sizes and thrown into the freezer ready for exactly this situation. Onto the sandwich toaster with that! I had cut the tomatoes up and put into a drainer, added some chopped basil, garlic, parmesan, salt and ground pepper and a little olive oil. When the bread was nice and crispy I cut into pieces, rubbed it with garlic and dressed with some grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. I often add some fetta or ricotta cheese, capers or mushroom if they are in supply. Not today though.

Toasted turkish bread

It worked really well toasting the bread like this, nice and really crisp but not too dried out. Rubbed the surface with garlic and a drizzle of olive oil, topped with the tomato, garlic, basil and olive oil hen sprinkled some parmesan over. Very nice.

Bruschetta

Sprung into action!

Not sure what my pear tree is thinking! One lonely little flower appearing. It shouldn’t be too stressed as it is well mulched, watered and is shaded from the very hot afternoon sun.  Have you got anything doing things they shouldn’t be at this time of year?

Pear flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back up and running.

I haven’t uploaded any posts since before Christmas due to a whole host of time restrictions.

Firstly there was Christmas.  We had to work hard at enjoying the season this year, but with a bit of determination, skilful planning and plenty of champagne it was a huge success and we spent some lovely time with family and friends.

This year was the 30th anniversary of me making the traditional gingerbread house that is now routinely destroyed in any manner we can invent at the end of Christmas Day. Everyone primed in anticipation and Grandma in the background saying “Oh, it’s such a shame after all the work that’s gone into it”. That only seems to bring more motivation on. Unfortunately this year the bocce ball, come ‘shot put’  hit the target before I was ready to film. Hopefully one day someone else in the family may share their capturing of the moment.

gingerbread house

Some finishing touches before we move in!

Reblockers in

Most notable of the time drainers was that we have finally moved in to our ‘New Old House’.  We worked incredibly hard right over the Christmas break to get the house up to a level suitable for habitation. Water and gas installation finished, rewiring finished, new loo in, lounge painted then repainted after the re-blockers finished (the day before we moved in), earth-moving and rock down in drive so we could get cars in. Then there was the process of packing for moving and making the old house nice for the new owners. Between the local ‘Men’s Shed’, various Op-Shops, Ebay and the tip we got rid of an enormous load of ‘stuff’ but I don’t think you can tell-still seems to be ‘stuff’ everywhere. Once we get a shed/garage and a kitchen I’m sure most of it will find it’s own place.

We’re in!

Goodbye to the old home.

After 23 years in one house I am quite surprised that I really don’t feel anything much about saying goodbye to it. The garden, with its sense of tranquility and birds I will miss, but basically everything is re-do-able so I’m not that fussed. The things I’ll most miss are:

King Parrot bye

The many birds we have that regularly demand a morsal of seed. This beautiful King Parrot came to say goodbye,

compost

I’ll miss having a thriving compost system that just keeps happening. Having to start a fresh system takes a little bit of time.

Growth chart

The old ‘measure the kids as they grow’ markers. Not only an indicator of growth but brings back memories of lots of things the kids did in this home while growing up.

Time to go, pack the kids in the car and off we go!

Packed up the kids and left

Greenhouse up-finally .

IMG_9724

After much ‘faffing’ around and trying to squeeze this job in between all the others we finally have a completed Sproutwell Greenhouse. Hasn’t really been too high on the priority list because of the warm weather but with the possibility that temperatures  could drop at night soon I want the extra protection. Just need to finish the floor and set up benches inside and I’ll be sweet!

In the Vegie Patch

It has been incredibly dry here in Gippsland and we have quickly been taken back to where we were when in drought. After such a wet year last year we were lulled into a false sense of security and have had to revert to hand watering everything. I must say the wicking beds seem to be holding their own. A quick surface water every now and then (more because its nice on a warm evening to do than because its necessary).

My garlic harvest this season has been sensational and it along with ‘Spiced Prunes in Port‘ preserves, made great additions to the Christmas gift packs. Unfortunately I can’t find the photos of the garlic I took so will take a couple later and add them.

I have been battling a bit with my San Marzano tomatoes this year. For the first time in a very long time they have been a victim of Blossom End Rot, a condition that is due to lack of calcium in the soil. Having had to purchase soil for the beds I haven’t had much control over that. Next year once there has been a chance to work in plenty of compost and grow a green manure crop it should start to improve. It really hit home that all the effort I made with the soil at our old place was in fact worth it. I am still getting a pretty good crop and will have more than enough for sauce and passata. Now to work out where to process the harvest…………..

San Marzano

My quest to develop an opinion on whether or not to prune laterals from tomatoes has had mixed results.

Pruned of laterals Not Pruned
Larger fruit More fruit
Takes more time to manage Smaller fruit
Easy to support Heavier to support

Think I am steering towards the pruned method purely because of the larger fruit size. Will repeat again next year because I am not sure how much having a calcium soil deficiency had a hand in results.

The grosse lisse planted straight into the ground are doing really well, just have to remember to pick as soon as there is the tiniest blush of pink or else the blackbirds beat me to it. Today I placed some exclusion bags over some larger fruit to see if I can get longer on the vine time.

IMG_9727

My Rosella sabdarifida is doing quite nicely, will go into the greenhouse soon as it needs warm temperatures to flower. With a good bit of luck I will be able to turn it into those beautiful syrupy flowers and use it in champagne.

IMG_9728

Cucumbers have been great, picking daily and now need to think about making some lovely Bread & Butter Cumber Pickle. Growing up the trellis has been a great success.

Other continual pickings have been beans, silver beet, snow peas, lettuce and herbs. Not sure what happened to my capsicums but they appear to be tomatoes. Suspect I may have been a bit confused when I labelled my saved seed packet!

Chooks.

Couple of steps closer to getting our chooks. I purchased a ‘Dine a Chook‘ feeder and waterer for my husbands Christmas present and I have commissioned the local Men’s Shed to make my very specially designed chook house (keep an eye out, it’s going to be great!)

All said and done, we are a lot more comfortable than we thought we may be. Struggling a bit with highway noise but everyone assures me you get used to it! Lying in my hammock this afternoon eating ripe mulberries was a treat indeed!

I may not have the birds yet, but it is quite beautiful on a hot humid afternoon lying in the hammock looking up through the mulberry tree. Even better when I get to pick a few, very nice indeed.

Mulberries

Let the new memories begin!

Tomatoes & Reminiscing

The tomatoes are going ‘gangbusters’ at the moment and setting fruit beautifully. I have never quite decided on whether or not pruning them of laterals is worthwhile or not, so this year I am going to experiment and chart the outcome. I know I always feel like I am not making the most of the plant’s potential when I trim off those laterals with little flowers forming even though the so-called experts recommend doing so.

Because the San Marzano tomatoes are in a wicking bed, the staking system I usually use is not going to work because driving stakes into the bed  will damage the plastic pond liner. I am going to use the system I use in the greenhouse and see how that goes. This is basically a wire hook with twine spooled around it like a bobbin. The end of the twine has a clip which is attached to the tomato base and the twine is wrapped around the stem as is grows and anchored into an overhead support.

Tomato supports

Using some of the poles I retrieved from the tip last week I constructed a support to rest some PVC pipe on which is what the hooks will lock into. I drilled a small hole into the PVC pipe so hook would fit in neatly.

Tomato frame

I then proceeded to prune laterals from plants on one side of the bed before winding the twine support around the stem and on the other side of the bed I just wound twine around the whole plant and hooked it up.

Comparing methods
Comparing methods-Plants on left have been pruned of laterals, those on right haven’t.

Reminiscing

We had a bit of a birthday celebration on Saturday, and with the imminent (hopefully, find out tomorrow if our sale becomes unconditional) sale of our house two of the 3 kids now 24 and 25 decided that they would revisit their childhood and climb the tree in the back yard, while at the same time get down a car tow rope that has been hanging there for about 12 years. We have done a lot of work over the years and it is very sad to be leaving such a lovely setting.

Cam retrieving rope

Friends & family anxiously await hoping he won't fall!
Friends & family anxiously await hoping he won’t fall!
Has been fun.......cheers!
Has been fun…….cheers!

This is a photo of a photo of the same yard with the same kids taken about 18 years ago. Little bit more vegetation now!

Kids backyard

Have to start building new memories at the ‘new old house’ now!

Weekend wrap

What sensational weather we have had this weekend, I even had to dig out the shorter pants and some thongs! This lovely sun should really kick a few things into top gear. I did lots in the garden and finished with an easy pasta dinner made from the pickings.

These tomatoes are the San Marzano variety and seem to be going very well. Most have a few flowers on them and some have small tomatoes showing, so pollination must be happening.

I had quite a few Gross Lisse tomato plants that I had not planted due to running out of available bed space. We haven’t managed to finish building the remaining wicking beds due to priority re-assessments so I decided to take a gamble and plant directly into the grassed area between the beds. I dug a good-sized hole, filled it with compost and mixed blood and bone and some ‘Rooster Booster‘ pellets through the compost mix. I then planted the seedlings quite deeply, filled the hole with more compost and then topped with more blood and bone and ‘Rooster Booster‘. I mulched the whole area with some old carpet underlay to act as weed mat and then spread some spent hay over the top. I will add another couple of shovels of compost as they grow. Fingers crossed!

We have a family of magpies who love to keep an eye on all we do and they seem to know when we will be exposing some tasty morsels for them to eat, so they just hang around in the trees or wander over the grass. They are getting quite comfortable and today one of them was having a lovely time using my asparagus bed as its sun bed!

We were a bit worried it had died for a while but as I crept up it was quite clear it was just having some R&R!

I am a little concerned about the slow bulb development of both the garlic and shallots. Possibly because it has been a long, cold winter it may just need some extra time. I will keep using the small ones (Shallots) as spring onions as they are lovely and sweet and full of flavour.

Lovely to see the pink grapefruit tree I planted is in flower. I have developed quite a fancy to the flavour of this fruit so it is exciting to see the flowers.

Pickings of silver beet, broad beans, shallots, young garlic, parsley, oregano and lemon were the base for tonight’s dinner.

Spring Pasta

Slice some mushrooms, couple of bacon rashers, shallots, garlic and a few leaves of silver beet. Fry off the bacon, shallot, garlic and mushroom in a pan with some olive oil and a knob of butter.  Add some broad beans to pan and stir through for a minute. Squeeze a lemon and pour juice into pan and also put the silver beet in. Turn heat off, stir through lemon juice and put lid on so silver beet just wilts. Leave sit while you chop together some mint, sage, parsley and lemon rind which will be used as garnish. Drain cooked pasta and add everything from the pan to it, blob some more olive oil in, crack some pepper and serve with the herb garnish and Parmesan. Very tasty!