Friday, December 30, 2011

A GOOD DAY TO BE INSIDE....



As expected, the rain has well and truly set in and will continue for a few days yet. It's quite humid and a day pottering about inside seems to make sense.

I made the meat pie for lunch after preparing the mince yesterday, allowing time for the flavour to go through. Flaky puff pastry from the supermarket, brushed over with beaten egg, glazes the top and it's ready after 20 minutes in a really hot oven.

For a change, I par boiled potatoes and pumpkin then popped them into a sizzling dish of butter before finishing off in the oven ——  crispy brown and delicious. Some broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms completed the meal accompanied with a fresh salad from the garden.



After so much rain and warm temperatures the tomatoes are laden —— all sixty plants. Perhaps I was a little over enthusiastic............

Anyway, it might be a good time to catch up on some of those movies I've been recording, Die Hard for one.



Friday, December 16, 2011

GROWING BOYSENBERRIES









We continue to pick these daily and they are really easy to grow. Keeping them well watered in a sunny spot is the answer and a few added to the muesli each morning is a treat.

The blackbirds have given up on any ideas of a free lunch thanks to the birdnetting, but it hasn't stopped them pecking sneakily at the strawberries all the same.





Growing in tubs by the back door and easily accessible from the kitchen. Our daily salads are delicious and next time I put one together I'll remember to toss in a few boysenberries as well.











Thursday, November 17, 2011

SUMMER AT LAST...




Well, the first day of summer in a couple of weeks and it's great to spruce the garden up again. Stocking up on seedlings from Bunnings has given us a head start and I am rapidly running out of room. Although, like most keen gardeners, we always seem to find a spot somewhere.

Harrison happily wanders about behind me checking it all out. Perhaps he is picking up on a whiff of cat mint growing in a tub behind him.




I am pleased to see two flowers on the Peace Lily. Other years it has only thrown up leaves so maybe it's the position that suits.

Well, it has been a busy time, but now it's done, I can get on to other things. I have had so many problems with the computer being too slow that I finally changed to Vodafone and now have 8GB maximum speed home phone line and Internet for just $80.00 monthly. I can download movies and fly around from one website to another in a flash. The service is fantastic and they kept me well informed all the way through the transition.

Absolutely marvellous.......!



Thursday, September 29, 2011

IN A BAKING MOOD?

These cookies are really easy to make, particularly if you have a food processor because it takes the hassle out of creaming the butter and sugar.

After adding the flour and cocoa I found the mixture too dry, so needed to add a bit more melted butter. Probably because I didn't soften it first, but will remember for next time.



CHOCOLATE AFGHANS



Ingredients:
  • 200 g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups plain baking flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups cornflakes

Chocolate Icing:

1  cup icing sugar
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder 
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons boiling water


Preheat oven to 180 C. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour & cocoa. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in cornflakes. Spoon mounds of mixture onto a greased oven tray, gently pressing each mound together. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Ice with chocolate icing when cold, decorate with walnut if desired. Makes 20

Recipe from Foodlovers website.

Now that's done I can get on with some Lexulous. Boy! this game is so addictive............

Friday, July 1, 2011

SANTA ROSA PLUM ESPALIER


I got to work today and finished the wire grid frame to support the Santa Rosa plum pollinator necessary for the Black Amber and Burbank plums growing nearby. New shoots trained into a fan-shaped espalier against the fence makes for easy maintenance.



Santa Rosa plums are sweet with a tangy centre; ideal for jam making also. It will be interesting to see how well all the newly planted trees do. With a good variety of apples, pears, plums, citrus, passionfruit, grapes and berries, we look forward to fruit all year round once they establish themselves.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Civil Defence Emergency Checklist

This week we concentrated on putting an emergency plan in place in case of a disaster. Civil Defence at http://www.getthru.govt.nz/ have an excellent checklist and lots of helpful tips and advice.  I would not have thought of many of these things beforehand. Just working through it and marking things off as we go is not difficult.

The Red Cross first aid kit should arrive in a day or two and we will then attend a first aid course.

We have enough water stored away, tinned food and so on. Old family photograghs/documents will be scanned to a memory card and cooking heating and lighting is covered. Three full gas bottles and the attachments for them is on the list of things to do.

Anyway, after much planning I had a weak moment and whipped up this cheesecake.




Perhaps a good slog in the garden tomorrow may undo some of the damage. Oh, well.......................

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stocking up for winter.........


It seems to have taken ages for these grapes to ripen, but well worth the wait: sweet and easily accessible from the pergola. As for the tomatoes, they have produced well throughout summer with many stored away in our freezers for winter. A couple of days ago Craig and I got to work and removed most of the plants with blight.

Six rhubarb plants are more than enough for us. I made some Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney and five little jars on the bench await their labels. Next week, Green Tomato Chutney is on the agenda.

We put in cabbages, brussells sprouts, cauliflower, brocolli and a few coriander plants. Brussels sprouts may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am fond of them all the same.




Well, the last of the runner beans battle a white fly infestation. Ruby Chard, spring onions and the odd tomato plant standing its ground. A weary delphinium pops its head up for a last look.



It has been a great summer with an ongoing harvest: now is the time to tidy up. We often sit out here with a cuppa whiling the day away, watching birds splashing in the bird bath or foraging about in the garden.

Craig spent a couple of days water blasting after finally buying one from Bunnings and it's a beaut. However, a can of paint wouldn't go amiss.




Since taking this photo, I have tied two of the strong plum shoots to canes before attaching them to the trellis. We're looking forward to bumper crops from this espalier.



 
Moving the table closer to the trellis where I can prepare fruit for preserving might be the way to go.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Summer harvest....



Grisse Lisse tomatoes I grew from seed. It is a late variety and suits us, following on from the ones we're picking now.




Picked today and since made into pasta sauce.  Oven roasted tomatoes bring out the flavour as do caramelised onions. Add garlic, thyme, basil and parsley. Season well. This is the base I use for many dishes. Readily on hand, quick and easy.




The vegetables are thriving, particularly the rhubarb seen here in the background. These are the three little plants I bought online a few months ago. Stewed rhubarb and apple in the freezer already.  More lettuces coming on as the previous ones went to seed.





In another week or two the grapes should be ready and both vines are laden. This is a large black grape, but the sweeter green one is my favourite. I've been giving some thought to making wine. It sounds a bit of a performance, but probably easier than I think once I get the hang of it.