Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nashi: Worth the effort

A bit financial but mostly existential. How good is is to go out in the autumn rain and collect 2kg of nashi from your own tree.

Yes Lv Xiang, they are from my own yard. I can bring you some if you like, just tell me when you're in.

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Cuttlefish in the chook shed: the hidden benefit of a trip to Goolwa

Buddy Steve Goodman has once or twice let us stay at his (fabulous) beach house at Goolwa.

I do a few favours for him, one of which is give him eggs from our chooks.

Part of the circle of life here is that the cuttlefish bones we got last trip have been great for the chooks. I put them out, they disappear and the shells stay hard.

And the biggest cuttlefish bones I've seen in years have been at Goolwa.

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And a fire in February

Fair enough it's the last day of Feb, but with 4.8mm down so far already and more on the way it's fire time.

Normally I don't do the first fire until Edan's birthday, April 29. Perhaps it's a year for doing things differently.

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Tomatoes for tonight's curry

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cascading leftovers: family cooking at its best

This works beautifully. A day or two of using stuff for great applications. We've all done it before, I suppose. Cook a roast, use the bones for stock etc.

So here's my first entry. Fresh tomatoes and basil into a bruschetta, capsicum into roast capsicum, all into a roast capsicum chutney.

Chop onions and tomatoes and basil. Sprinkle some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on toasted bread.

Roast capsicum
Put capsicum halved, under the grill until charred. Put in a plastic bag until cool. Run the skins off, slice, mix with oil and garlic and refrigerate.

A week ago I had last night's bruschetta mix, two week old roasted capsicum.

Roast Capsicum Chutney
Put the leftover bruschetta mix and roast capsicum into a saucepan, got it boiling, added a cup of sugar and reduced (about 45 minutes simmer) stirring every ten minutes. Added two diced capsicum, six diced chillis and a quarter cup of sultanas.

So this cascaded all my food into some really great finished product, with good eating along the way.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

The peripatetic chook returns

I was away last week and my girl Mia had been collecting the eggs. A poorly closed door allowed for a breakout. Three of the four got back in, but one has been roaming the neighbourhood for over a week.

This morning the rear neighbour came around to advise no4 was getting around his yard. Some fancy netting got her back home.

These are the two newies, who don't yearn for their shed full of food. Still in training. The other two come out for an hour at 4pm and fight each other to get into the shed when the see me with the white bucket.

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Perhaps don't gamble with "bastard" seedlings

If you pay your $4 for six seedlings and treat them well, you'll get something.

Every year I gamble. A close family member raised some seedlings from a tomato they had and gave me some. Reluctantly I put a heap of them in, alongside a "mighty red" that I bought.

In a pot, one of these plants of questionable origin is looking promising. Actually I planted three seedlings and forced them with potash and protected them with all sorts of methods. The othe five plants out in the garden - lots of green, no fruit, diseased.

And then the one mighty red that I planted has given me 2kg so far, with another 2kg sitting on there, green.

So when we choose to gamble to save $4 by using volunteer seedlings it often takes a whole growing season to determine if it will pay off. And even with my one minor win this year, it didn't.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Adelaide Food Bloggers: A new bunch of friends

The Hungry Australian has just announced a new Facebook group for food bloggers so while this is about my two pleasures - gardening and family cooking - I will start putting a few more of my cooking adventures here now.

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The garden pays back

All the fungal control, fertilising and pest control pays off for me in summer, and In February it looks like this.

Sultana, red globe and some luscious red variety I layered 20 years ago from a neglected next door vine.

Plus the Nashi I planted 20 years ago. When they get gold they're like a little ball of sunshine.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Building the backbone of Wisteria

It's been in for 15 years. It was once a hedge along the fence but I've cut it back. I am now training it (and three other ground shoots) up these poles so I can eventually train it over the frame - one that's not there yet.

The trick with a wisteria is to continuously remove lower shoots.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Tree Dahlias great value

I was given a box of stem cuttings last winter/spring. Laid them on the side in these large pots (and the ground) and they've taken care of the rest.

Should see some nice flowers in autumn.

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Tree: Now you see it now you don't

Mum had a focus Benjamina in a pot. It's roots had gone through the bottom of the pot into the paving.

You actually can't see the whit pot that it's in, there's just that palm there. Any focus is a disaster in the ground, unless you live in Cairns or on four acres.

So we cut the tree down.

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