Wednesday, 30 January 2013

zucchini Tuesday/Wednesday

Darn holidays they confuse me into thinking it is different day. So sorry I am a day late with the zucchini post hosted by the lovely Louise. This week I have made Moorish Vegetables, which was given to me by a lady I studied with many years ago. It is a meal I like to use if I have lots of other things to do when I get home.  I am also sure there are many different versions out there of this.  And the best part is I got to use at least 2 different veg from the garden :o)

Such as these eggplants. I am not greatly happy with them. If you look at my last post you will see that all the leaves have been eaten by something (I strongly suspect those ladybirds, which have far too many spots for my liking). Some of the bottoms were hard but the tops were ok. I have a new plant in the front garden which I have great hopes for but these will do for now.

So recipe for Moorish Vegetables

Cut vegetables into even sized pieces so it cooks more evenly. I used:
* 4 very small eggplants, 3 yellow zucchini, a handful of mushrooms, 1 carrot, 2 red onion, 3 garlic, 2 red pepper and half green pepper

* Add oil, salt, pepper, 2 tbs ground coriander, 1 Tbs ground cumin, 1 Tbs fennel
* Roast in oven at around 200 Celsius for 40 mins or until the veggies have a golden tinge to them
* Add 1 jar of tomato passata or a couple of tins of tomatoes. Plus a rinsed can of chickpeas. Then throw it back into the oven for 25 mins or until it is all soft.
* I throw cubes of Haloumi cheese into a frying pan to brown off with lemon juice.
* Chop up a bunch of coriander.
* Scoop out the moorish veg into a bowl, top with Haloumi and herb. Serve with quinoa or rice or crusty bread or nothing. It's up to you.
* Enjoy

It is a great use of zucchini and other veg you might have in the garden

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Vegetable garden low

Last summer was warm but no-one could really say it was hot. As I am constantly outside working on gardens I was pretty pleased to say the least. Many of my friends and family (who work indoors) complained that we really didn't have much heat and felt it was a bit more like an English summer. This year is quite a different story. We have had very little rain and the temperatures have broken records.  

While my loved ones have had to listen to me complain about working (and nearly dying) with the heat it is nothing compared to the poor suffering garden. While I have added compost, peat, manure, mulch and surfactants by the bucket load I am on sandstone, with very sandy soils. My plants have gulped any water they get but they are becoming more hydro-phobic as the extended summer goes on. I also live in high forest country so I am grateful the fires that are burning around the country have not been started in our area. Here are a few plants after our hottest day on record.

The chilli colasped while the basil thrives

I have re-planted the rhubarb in part shade of  the front garden, of course it is not the time for transplants so I cross my fingers it survives past February

I had only just taken some beautiful photos of the Eucomis for bloom day
The vegetable garden has suffered the most and like Liz it seems I also have a rat problem to top it off. The cucumber and beans have not only lost their get up and go but any flowers have been munched back to sticks and seem to have given up the will to carry on. I should have taken a photo before I left for the weekend but forgot.

The cucumber flowering and fruiting happily in it's early days
The pumpkin is threatening to take over and have a flower or two but I am yet to discover anything else. The zucchini I think is working with the pumpkin (ie veggie patch domination) and seems to have eased on fruit production. 

My biggest battle is with the eggplant. I have to say they started life in the front under the liquidambar where they didn't grow at all in the 3-4 weeks until they took up residence in the new vegie plot. They are completely covered in holes. I thought at first it might be caterpillar but I have searched and there is no sign of them or even any poo. They are however completely covered in ladybugs and their larvae.

Does anyone know if these guys are good or bad?

Holey leaves
There is some fruit production but they have green bottoms and are quite small. I have yet to try them so I don't know if they are worth it.  I wonder if I should simply pull them out re-fertilised and start again.  I expect there is still going to months of hot weather ahead.

On a more positive note the corn is charging on and I don't expect it will be too long before we are happily munching away on them. How are your gardens coping with the weather conditions at your place?


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Zucchini Tuesday

Here we are again on Tuesday talking about zucchini.  Why because if you grow them you might want to know how to cook them or even how they are looking.  This was a thought Louise at garden glut thought would be a good thing to discuss and I agree and thought I might happily play along.

This week I made zucchini fritters with potato and corn. I did hope to use 3 zucchini but I think 2 of my 3 plants aren't really attracting the bees.  I harvested a couple of zucchini but they were not so good inside.

Not the best picture but notice the brown in the middle?
So I had to use 1 lousy zucchini for the fritters rather than 3.  That is why I decided to throw corn in as well.  Here is the original recipe by Delia Smith I did add a few extras but this one is cracking. Have a look

Served with a chilli sweet potato salad

I thought you might also be interested to see how the plant is trying to take over my entire back garden (well nearly).

Don't mind me I am happy to use up the whole garden bed  (with the pumpkin)
So have you been enjoying your zucchini/courgettes this week?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Garden bloom Bloggers day, January

I good while ago I worked at a nursery surrounded by suburbia. The neighbour 'Gary' would often come in and borrow a seedling or two for his garden. We would talk about his garden and he spoke often of his 'Moon-flower' and invited me around to look at it, at night of course because that is when it flowers.  Mr R was always suspicious and suggested he wanted to show me more than a flower :o). I never did go. But he was talking about Epiphyllum oxpetalum.

This image is sadly not mine but borrrowed via google (Thanks google) Moonflower open
I can see why Gary wanted me to come and see his moon-flower.  But don't despair I have an image of one flower that is open and one that is coming along.

I didn't say it was worth looking at but worry not I have more gorgeous things in flower, have a look

Agapanthus 'Black Panther' 

Again but this one was open

Pineapple lilly

Or Eucomis sp.

Grasshopper on my carrot flower

Is it cheating if I use my neighbours crepe myrtle? 

Pennisetum rubrum  reminds me of cat tails

Arachis hypogaea or peanut flowers. Not grown them before should be fun.

Pentas sp

Sunflowers not following the sun


Beans please grow



A bit weird this is the flower of my perpetual spinach
And finally I am not so sure these mushroom type flowers are so good for my bay tree but they sure are interesting
So that is a wrap this month in the middle month of summer here at my place but have a look at May's garden for more exciting garden around the world in bloom today

Monday, 14 January 2013

Zucchini Tuesday on Monday

As you know if you have been reading my blog for a little while that I have been posting about zucchini on Tuesday as a way to encourage more love as started by Louise. Now I also realise that it is Monday but I have plans for Tuesday.

Anyhoo this week I harvested quite a bit from the garden...

So zucchini and tomato were for dinner tonight and the chilli was used in a post from yesterday
I have been thinking about trying zucchini as pasta for a couple of weeks.  It is great if you are gluten free or if like us you consume quite a bit of wheat products. It is pretty quick and simple use as well.

Jen's zucchini as pasta

* Using my vegetable peeler I sliced the zucchini into ribbons or pasta strips.
* Made a basil pesto (another glut in the garden). Used, basil, garlic,salt and pepper, parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice

* Roast the tomatoes in the oven for half an hr with a bit of garlic oil and salt.
* Boiled the 'pasta strips' for a minute or 2.
* Drain and serve. Toss in a few tomatoes, a good dollop of pesto and a few shavings of parmesan cheese.

The results....  It was good but it kinda lacked a bit of flavour. I would try it again because it was so quick but perhaps I might serve it with a tomato based sauce rather with baby spinach, nuts and possibly a blob of ricotta. Or maybe even a creamy mushroom sauce. The posibilites are endless

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Productive kitchen

"Is there a reason we have so many jars?" Mr R asked the other day. I have been meaning to get on with making some chutney, I just didn't have much of a glut.  Thankfully I went off to the markets yesterday and found a box of VERY ripe tomatoes. Some were so ripe they had mould (they went straight to the compost).  The box cost $6. I have saved 8 of the best toms to make a meal later this week but the rest went into chutney.

I was out last night so Mr R asked if there was anything he could do. :0) Why yes lots of chopping and stirring.... I used a recipe by Delia Smith which is a firm favourite n this house.  We had so many tomatoes that the recipe was doubled. Here it is just in case you fancy making it yourself.

Eleven big jars of tomato chutney on the right. I used Linda's chilli jam recipe in the 2 jars on the left with the chilli glut from the garden
Delia Smith's Fresh and sun-dried Tomato Chutney

* Dry roast a dessert spoon of coriander and a dessert spoon of mustard seeds for a minute or 2.
* In a food processor whiz up 225g pre soaked sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil).
* Then add 1.8kg of fresh tomatoes (skin and seeds can remain). Pour into large saucepan.
* Return the food processor and blitz 4 garlic and 4 fresh chillies  4 large (peeled) onions and 2 large capsicum (Mr R used the stuff in the jar). Throw it into the pot with the tomatoes.
* Finally add 225g brown sugar, 570ml of cider vinegar, and a dessert spoon of salt to the mix.
* Bring to boil while stirring.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 hrs until the there is no liquid.
* Pour into sterilised jars and label.

I think he has done a very good job. And we used up about 90% of the jars in the cupboard.  I think even Mr R won't be upset with the amount of jars left now.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Saturday markets

I must confess I really don't grow enough to keep us full. So I mostly go off to Flemington markets most Saturdays to get fruit, veg, nuts and eggs. They are the main markets of Sydney where all the supermarkets, restaurants and florists come to. Saturday there is no entry price and there is a massive covered hall where growers come in to sell to the public.  I love it as there are people from all walks of life. You do battle with hundreds of people with trolleys down tiny lanes, fork-truck drivers and venders yelling to grab your attention.  

The produce is fresh and cheap. I am always surprised when I do pop up to the local greengrocer shop with the prices. The best thing is Costco is just down the rd so I can continue on to get other lovely things (in bulk of course).  Have a look at how much fun

It is a massive place so finding that stall where the ginger was can sometimes be a struggle
Now that is a glut

I always think I must try some of these more usual vegetables

Anyone for chilli?

These growers have the freshest herbs esp dill and coriander (I fail at growing either herb)

I really should have thought about it but I would have needed one serious space in  the garden to grow this many onions
Quick jump into the flower market.  This growers roses smell amazing.
Tell me do you have a favourite market place that you go to?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Garden survival after 40 degrees

I have been out to survey the garden.  I did water a lot on Monday, Tuesday and again this morning so that the plants would cope with the high temperatures yesterday.  Of course I really don't spend that much time and water on the garden but I was hoping for no losses.

Here is the worse of the group

Viburnum plicatum has yet to flower, was transferred about a year and a half ago. Fingers crossed.

Do these beans look chomped by a rat???

Theses beans are just holding in but it not far down to a rock ledge

I moved the Rhubarb out of the sun but the heat still seems to have affected them

The raspberries have been released from the bird net but I think they will survive
How are your gardens holding up?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

zucchini tuesday

"What do you mean your putting potatoes into a bread and butter putting?" Mr R asked me the other night. Have you ever had one of those days when you look in the fridge and cupboards and all there are a few bits and pieces of vege, bread, a scrap of cheese? Why not make a savoury bread and butter pudding? I would love to say that I got to use zucchini I grew but I had pulled a few babies the night before to pop on top of my pizza. Thankfully there were a few zuch's in the fridge to create my masterpiece.

So for this dish you can really use anything you like to it just like a quiche. Here is what I used:

Slice up a half baguette into slices.
Dice a couple of potatoes, season and fry. Do the same with a couple of zucchini.
Slice up a scrap of haloumi cheese into slices.
Drain red pepper strips.
Assemble the slices and squeeze the other ingredient in between.

Then if you are really lucky you will have a helper such as I did. V mixed up 5-6 eggs with grated parmesan with a bit of paprika and seasoning. Pour over the bready mix

I topped it off with spring onion and popped it into the oven until golden brown.

It looked a great deal better when cooked but the photo was rubbish.

I feel a bit bad that I didn't get around to posting about the lovely zucchini in that last couple of weeks.  I just didn't quite get around to posting for one reason or another.  But I did capture a couple of photos of zucchini used in other dishes during the last couple of weeks. Here is a zucchini that was tiny before my relatives went away for Christmas. On return she found this baby and stuffed it with spinach and feta, then roasted it. Yum

Under the cheese and tomato is my yellow zucchini and it's flower
Tonight I made a black bean and roasted zucchini enchiladas which you can find the recipe by clicking on the link.

Finally to show you how much love I have for the humble zucchini here is a photo of the 'Gold dust' growing in my patch

For more zucchini love pop over to Louise's blog for inspiration