How does my garden grow?

Before I show you my garden, I just want to remind you of my tree painting giveaway. If you would like to be in the draw to win it, head to my last post to leave a comment. Hugs to those of you who have already entered.

Last year my veggie patch in the front yard looked like this

with the tomatoes still in their pots and the seeds in their packets.

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The tomatoes did okay, but the volunteer plants were much more prolific. Both varieties have given us rich red tomatoes, our best for quite a few years. I think a consistent amount of water was the key.

In the back patch near the rosemary hedge I planted Kipfler potatoes. They grew well. The potatoes are small, but tasty. Despite not planting them very deep, potatoes hide in the soil and reappear the next season. So, as well as the Kipflers we also harvested purple spuds that came up elsewhere.

The corn came up strong and tall. The cobs weren’t as good as last year. It may have been a different variety or maybe too much competition. Around it I planted silverbeet and beans, and the volunteer tomatoes flourished in amongst the corn. The silverbeet certainly suffered. Who knew that it wouldn’t flourish in all possible situations?!

I deliberately planted the beans at the base of the corn, hoping that the beans would curl up the stalk, giving back nitrogen for the corn to use. The beans loved climbing up the corn, but didn’t know what to do when they reached the top!

To solve the problem I have untangled the runners from the tomatoes, silverbeet and corn and let them ramble on the Aframe that the Fella made for me quite a few years ago.

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Yesterday I had one of those extremely satisfying gardening days. I pulled out the parsley plants that had gone to seed, the old tomato bushes, dug up volunteer potatoes and sweet potatoes and dug over a bed.

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As well I took time out to watch the bees in the oregano flowers. It is difficult to cut the flower heads because there are always bees there, sometimes butterflies too. Anything that brings in the bees and insects is welcome in my garden!

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I also harvested and cooked.

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Slow roasted tomatoes are my favourite at the moment. Pop the tomatoes into a dish (cut them or not, as you like), add some oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley or any other herb you fancy, salt and paper, and some garlic cloves. Put into a slow oven 150 degrees or so until they are cooked to your liking. Mine stayed in for about an hour. I will use them tonight, with slow roasted eggplant and peppers, bought today at a farmers’ market, as the basis of a pasta sauce. ~Sigh~

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Remember to head over to Time for a tree giveaway to enter my giveaway. This is the tree painting you could win.

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Copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

In my kitchen

In my kitchen this month was a collection of odds and ends.

Often there has been washing. July has been so cold, grey and wintry, we have been using the heater to finish the drying.

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

But also there have been jonquils and daffodils to brighten our days.

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

In my kitchen there was mess created because we have a new caravan. That meant taking all the things out of the old one before putting them in the new. Of course it  happened in my kitchen!

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

However, there has been some food in my kitchen! These brownies were given to us by a wonderful man in Sydney. His cafe, Twenty8Acres was right next door to the apartments we stayed in, and the delicious food drew us back a few times. Good coffee too. On our last visit — breakfast before the plane home — I told him that it was my Mum’s birthday. His response was to say “You can’t have a birthday without cake!” and wrapped up three brownies for us to take away. How sweet was that, and they were sinfully luscious!

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

But I did cook a cake for Mum’s birthday lunch. I was impressed with my fancy decoration! The slightly burnt edges were a cunning way of keeping the lemon syrup from running down the side of the cake. 😉

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

Here’s the recipe. It was so simple I may even be able to remember the recipe for next time.

http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/4679/simple-vanilla-cake.aspx
In my kitchen there has been proper food too. 🙂 I cooked goat for the first time, slowly and in lots of extra liquid.

Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

Thanks to Celia because she inspires us each month to post about our kitchens. Go over and have a peek into kitchens from all over the world.

In my kitchen

Thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the In my Kitchen series each month. It is always so much fun to take a peek into other people’s kitchens. So make yourself a cup of tea, and travel to kitchens around the world from the comfort of your own armchair!

In my kitchen this month was……a pumpkin to make pumpkin soup. It ended up being a turnip, parsnip and pumpkin soup because the other veggies were looking lonely in the fridge.

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Also in my kitchen were…….. mussels. I bought them at the Victoria Market. They were cheap ($6 a kilo!) and local (Mount Martha — from the name you wouldn’t know it is a town on Port Phillip Bay!). I popped them in a pot with some onion, garlic, chilli, chicken stock and a generous slurp of white wine. YUM!

In my kitchen are……2 sorts of new teas.  We usually buy the ordinary supermarket stuff. This month we bought a kilo from the tea shop at the market. Tasty, but is it as good as Bushels the usual? I am reserving judgement. The other pack is a sleepy tea. Lately the big supermarkets have stopped supplying my usual sleepy tea. Grrr. I am also reserving judgement on this replacement too!

In my kitchen are…..ingredients for noodle soup. The dumplings are prawn and pork. Boil them up for about 10 minutes and add them to the soup. The noodles were even easier. I just poured boiling water over them as they sat in a colander. However, I didn’t use many of them. Any suggestions on how to use 7/8 of a kilo of rice noodles? Do they freeze well? (Who could resist a product that comes from the Best Multiple Food Company?!)

In my kitchen were…..pears from Harcourt, Victoria and rapa and greens from my garden. The rapa looks like broccoli. Disappointingly, I found it to be quite unpleasantly bitter, but the leaves are included in the pile of greens.

In my kitchen this month is……..a new butter dish. New to us ~ the Fella hunted it down at the local Op Shop. It is better than our last one because the sides of the lid are slightly curved, which makes it easier to lift off.

And lastly, in my kitchen was…..chicken to make Adam Liaw’s chicken adobo — an easy and tasty recipe from his cook book,  Asian after work.

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Chicken adobo created by Adam Liaw. Apparently it is the national dish of the Philippines.
6 chicken marylands or 2kg of chicken wings
3/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp caster sugar
4 bay leaves
1 tsp while black peppercorns
3 tbsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil
Steamed rice and greens to serve

Separate the drumsticks from the marylands. Combine the chicken with all the remaining ingredients except the oil in a large, non-reactive bowl. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat until very hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brown it in the hot oil. Pour over the remaining marinade, including the solids, and 1 cup of water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30 minutes or until the chicken is very tender.

Serve with the steamed rice and greens. Enjoy!

In my kitchen, at the beginning of June

Celia, over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, hosts a monthly get together. It means that we can take a seek peak into kitchens around the world. It is good fun, and everyone is welcome to drop by. Celia’s own post this month is about teas she has recently bought, and they sound exquisite.

In my kitchen this month is some fresh produce from the Victoria Market.

As we walked into the market I found this persimmon on the road. It was like a shining jewel and I could not resist it. I think I will paint it.

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We also bought some shanks, because it is Winter now, and time for stews and shanks and soups. So there is also chicken stock on the go, made with a couple of frozen chicken carcasses, celery that was lurking in the fridge, a carrot, garlic of course, chilli and ginger, pepper and quite a bit of salt. It cooks in the pressure cooker for a good while. I keep any flesh still on the bones and give the vegetables to the compost. Then I am going to use some of the stock to make cauliflower and bacon soup.

Because it is Winter there are lemons from a friend’s tree. (Thank you Billy!)

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

Also this week I am going to cook a cabbage galette from Joanna Harris’ cookbook. You  will know her as the author of Chocolat, and her cookbook is a delight for any Francophiles. I have found her recipes to be very reliable (but can’t comment on their authenticity).

The story behind the book…..My Fella and I had stayed a few days at Mildura, a regional town in the northwest of Victoria. On Sunday we went to a small town nearby to find a market. While there were people wandering around the other stalls, it was the bookstall that had the most interest, seemingly caravaners like us. As I am a sucker for second hand books it soon drew me in too. What did I see……Joanna’s cookbook and for only $3. I quickly tucked it under my arm, protecting it from anyone else that might want to snatch it away! How could they ignore such a bargain? 😉

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

I have decided to introduce you to some of the fixtures in my kitchen. Today I would like you to meet the teapot. We drink a lot of tea, so the pot needs to be big. A common question through the day is “Would you like a cup of tea?” and you can guess the answer. My first cup comes to me in bed, delivered by my Lovely Fella and I drink it while I read and wake up. ❤

Snug in its homemade tea cosy
Snug in its homemade tea cosy
In its naked glory. How could I not have a teapot that has a botanical theme? :)
In its naked glory. How could I not have a teapot that has a botanical theme? 🙂

In my kitchen…..

Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, has a wonderful blog that is always full of scrumptious delights. Boy, she is one talented lady! One of her regular segments is to show what is in her kitchen, and I love taking a peek at what she has.

I have just been to the Victoria Market for the weekly shop, and thought I would show you what is now in my kitchen. We try to eat as little processed food as possible, so the Vic Market is a godsend. Where we can we buy locally grown produce.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Capsciums. I am going to stuff these and then roast them. I am not sure if I will stuff them with rice or beans. I do know that it will be a garlicky/tomatoey/oniony mixture.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Beetroot. I am roasting a couple tonight and will eat them with the capsicums. I asked the stall holder to leave the tops on, as I would prefer to have them in my compost and feeding the worms than in land fill.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Mushrooms, because it is the season for them. I will nestle a cheesy mixture into the cups and gently cook them. They will be dinner later in the week.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Kransky sausage. I was inspired by Meeks’ recipe for lentil stew that included a kransky sausage. Yum!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Rhubarb. This will be stewed with …..

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

……apples and pears and added to our breakfast fruit and yoghurt.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Bacon. I have a little kit that removes the air from the bags. It helps to keep things like bacon fresher for longer.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

3 tubs of homous, because the deli we go to has a good deal for three dips. I will freeze two to use later. (By the way, should ‘homous’ have a double m? My spell check thinks it should be ‘home’!)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Pizza bases. I will freeze them, as they are a great stand-by. You can always rustle up things to put on a pizza.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

My list for the freezer. This list, which lives on the fridge, makes me look organised. Really I have it so that things do not linger in the freezer. Despite my list, last time I defrosted the freezer I found a packet of spinach with a use by date of 2007!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Hot cross bun. Only the remains to show you, but it was delicious!

I am very fortunate to be able to eat so well.