Harvest April 2017
This month I harvested:
This month is still a bit quiet in the garden. Have been sick (again) so been a bit slack but have put in some seeds and continued reconditioning the soil. Having a bit of trouble with my canistel (honeydew + ants+ scale) and my potted olive (black aphids)...
Visiting a friend on the Sunshine Coast we popped into Buderim to check out the (infamous!) Urban Food Street. Pretty cool. I think it's in between seasons so (much like me) the gardens are not looking as radiant or chockers as possible but love the idea of community taking over the verges. So ridiculous all the dramas they have been having with Council. If someone trips on a tree, then they should watch where they are going, right? Not sue Council... Sigh!
For those who haven't been, it is worth a trip. One street lined with citrus, another bananas, another olive trees etc. Would love to go back on a community day.
We also visited a lovely urban garden of a friend of a friend while up there - establised fruit trees in a small block. Did really make me realise the importance of netting!! So much lost to fruit fly and birds, booo! Picked up a couple of cuttings etc: narny & arrowroot + orangeberry seeds. The carambola (starfruit) was fruiting like crazy - I love a good star fruit but seeing this tree made me realise I don't think I could keep up! (For some reason I thought it was a vine..)
We also visited another friend of my friend (generous friend indulging my gardening obsession!), a lovely elderly lady in her 80s who was an avid brom and croton collector - she understood the magical therapy of gardening. I think in its heyday the garden would have been quite spectacular - and it still was! Certainly intense in any case. Soo many broms, all in pots (lots of mozzies). I'm guessing.... 10 000? 20 000??? There were about 7 shade houses. It was like seeing into the future with my planting obsession - a warning in a sense ahha but also a clear reminder: I am really only interested in things that you can eat or that bees can. I did get a couple of crazy coloured leaved saliva cuttings and climbing pink rose.
Our Second Spring
Is anyone else having a crazy second spring?? My baby peach started blooming (of course I responsibly picked them off, sigh). Not that I am complaining, the weather has been lovely, albeit a bit cold in the mornings!
Edibles from the gardenDo you remember last month I planted some buckwheat, lentils and chickpeas? Well the buckwheat has been growing really well (above). The cutest little white flowers. This morning I found an ity bity kernel! Looks like a mini hazlenut (below). Excited! Will plant more!!
The perennial star-shaped bell peppers (mild) are still going strong. I don't eat them as quickly as they produced so have dried to make homemade chilli powder :)
Madagascar beans are flowering on the other side of the fence but starting to die back on the root side.
Broadbeans have popped up!!! Some little bush beans too.
Made a pumpkin and eggplant curry with garden food
My super lettuce is back in action - best saved seeds ever.
Much like Darren, my pumpkin vine is coming into the kitchen!! Albeit 3-5 metres up!
Not from garden but followed Costa's Gardening Australia activity to dye eggs for Easter, a la Greek tradition. Of course I had to Frenchify it ;)
Cheese-making adventures with Dianne
Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of visiting Dianne and Graham for a day of cheese making! Dianne's new front garden looks great!!
Dianne made some fetta (above) and also some ricotta, and also gifted some organic spinach. I made them later into spinach, leek and cheese pastries and also bread scrolls. Yum. Enough to stock the freezer!
Dianne also made some quark the day before, letting it drip in a cloth bag into a basin. A couple of days later, I rolled them into balls to make persian fetta - 3 flavours: black chilli peppers, truffle oil (!!) and herb salt. Yum
Busy busy, Dianne also started the Chabichou the day before and well studded with peppercorns. I then rolled in paprika at home. Also Yum...!
I was tasked with the CamBlu - I assume a camembert-like blue cheese. We got to heat the milk to a constant 32% (Franck did a great job monitoring), setting the curds with buttermilk cultures and then rennet.
We then cut the curds into cubes with Dianne's self-fashioned slicers and continued to "nudge" the curds for some time. All an exact science so no point trying to remember the recipe off the top of my head - will have to follow closely.
Next, we scooped the curds into the moulds, where I unceremoniously managed to tip a few into the sink.. The curds settle quite a bit and reduce in size. Not being properly equipped at home, I left the Camblu in Dianne's care, where she will continue to monitor and add the mould spores (white for the outside, blue for the inside). Excited to see & TASTE the final product!
Thank you so much Dianne and Graham for your lovely generosity and hospitality, and patience showing us how to make cheese!
Above is a gluten free zucchini loaf made with a GF bread mix from The Source. Quite nice though a little salty for my taste. A bit crumbly too but tasty and good enough texture for a GF bread, good to know.
Light rye sourdough is becoming my go-to
With Dianne and Graham's limes I made some Lime Curd - so addictive!
Made some sourdough Hot Cross Buns for Easter. They were nice! A bit too crusty on the outside and I probably prefer fruity sourdough but a fun experiment.
Ok, along with cheesemaking the croissant making was the big acheivement of the month. Yes, I made croissants from scratch! Twice! All in all, probably not as time consuming as I would have thought (one full day) but not too dissimilar to making sourdough (pauses, fiddling, resting etc). I used Richard Bertinet's recipe in his book Crust - I do recommend. Clear and concise, good for beginners.
The glory shots:
Oh yeah, flaky goodness.
For the second attempt a week later I used different butter that was really hard and had to leave the dough to rise a bit to long between one of the folds (went to do the groceries). This resulted in a more brioche like dough – still nice, but less croissanty but still delish
Remember you can catch my regular photo updates here on Instagram :) Happy gardening!
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