Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Late winter sunset

Early peaches and rocket in flower, almonds and loquat in fruit, a nice 22 degree day. Bring it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Low fat ground beef

You don't need to spend extra for low fat mince. But you do need to lay it on paper towel after the first fry. Not brain science or rocket surgery, but it does save $8 per kg. Eight dollars I need these days. The chooks love the leftover paper towel, too.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Potato and Leek

I'm sure I did this post last year but when leeks are $1 each (good), potatoes are plentiful and the freezer is full of stock you'd be crazy to not make this.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

French onion soup - yeh!

My lovely girl Mia once referred to me as "the user", mhm. Can I rephrase that to "the user upper" although discussion could be entered into.

I use stuff up. These days when I cook a meal I don't serve for myself. I just eat what my family doesn't. We've had the discussion about spit. When there is too much broccoli I cook broccoli dishes. Too many eggs welcome to the quiches.

So I found myself (through too much buying and a really good price deal) with too many brown onions. I wish I could feel different but shit, the French are good at lots of things. So with a freezer full of stock and too many onions I found a use. And it's gourmet!

Technique can turn boring stuff into brilliance.

The one I did was basically a French onion process with a few mushrooms extra..

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Lessons from packaging: put your bread in an airtight bag

Yeh sure. It comes in a bag with holes in it. But that's so that whoever cooked it can throw it straight into a bag while it's hot and steaming.

As soon as the bread is room temperature you're losing value.

Get it into a plain bag.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Complete Mineral Mix on bare soil

Garden Check

Make the most of this rain. It'll be gone before you know it. Here's my list of what a garden should be like now:
  • Stone fruit trees, grapevines and roses pruned. I like to prune these ones hard.
  • Leaf litter and all that junk raked up from under the trees and grapevines and composting - you want bare soil here at this moment to minimise the fungus and insect disease lifecycle.
  • Some sort of fertiliser on that bare soil. I'll put complete mineral mix or citrus food out, but sometimes for some organic touch it can be dynamic lifter or blood and bone. I put cow manure out, about three weeks ago - same deal.
  • Get onto your citrus. In particular if you have bloating on the stems cut the stuff out, burn it or put it in the green waste. It's citrus gall wasp - leave it there after Aug and the wasps will hatch and resettle on your tree. It a few years your beautiful citrus tree will look like the elephant man. Be brave.
  • Notwithstanding the above, cut your citrus hard, right now. As the soils warm you'll get beautiful green shoots. I have cut all my citrus back to 30%.
  • After all pruning, spray with a garden oil. The type doesn't really matter at this time of year. Winter oil, pest oil, eco oil. It protects against many insects and fungus problems.
  • With stone fruit, spray with a copper fungicide as the pink tips of the flowers/leaves just start to look like they're breaking. It'll help with curly leaf and other problems.
  • Cut the lawn a little high, but keep in mind that kikuyu is about to go into a strong growth phase so over the next four weeks you can reduce the height down to where you have it basically scalped by mid september.
  • I'd throw some organic lawn fertiliser out (upsurge/blade runner) about now.
  • You could start "promoting" your pot plants now. That is repot them up into a slightly larger pot with some fresh soil. It's like letting them out to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

So that's it. Bare soil with fertiliser on it, more tidying. But the season is set to explode. There will be a perfect time to get the mulch on and lock all that moisture in, but it's not right now.

Lighting a fire - seriously

I know a couple who (ostensibly) share the task of lighting the fire to keep their place warm. Person A argues that it should be done using newspaper and kindling. And when one has all the stuff it works fine. Person B does it this way:

I've taken to doing ours this way. Two minutes of gas. I'm very glad that Sylvia is OK with it - it can be a little confronting. My friend person B is trying to ban the bottle, gas bottle. But they make about 10% of the fires in the place and do none of the firewood - including kindling - acquisition.

I like using a piece of 4x2 as kindling. I chop too much firewood as it is. I'm sticking with the bottle.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Broccoli pasta rocks!

We've got a fair bit of broccoli around at the moment. Cheap in the shops, and the garden is producing some.

Fast Eddy from BH&G put a recipe over that Sylvia saw on tv, and she liked it. I also like the idea as she told me so I hunted it out. Chop the florets really short, grate the stem. Fry off shallots, garlic, capers and Chilli in olive oil and throw the broccoli in on top. Sweat it off, don't cook. Toss the whole lot through al dente spaghetti.

I'd suggest drizzle as much olive oil - again - as you like, or butter, and serve with grated Parmesan.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fire chips and Orchid mix

I shook out all that chaff that was left in my driveway from the last delivery. I can use the big bits as kindling and even better - all the fines that I had left over make a perfect potting media for a groosly potbound Orchid I bought four years ago.

Early flowering

That's why I bought an almond last year. First flowers of the season. Followed closely by that miniature nectarine.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kale: A winter grower

Sylv has wanted kale this year and I managed to get some going. One month of winter left and we'll see how we go.