Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It gets thrilling when the plants you angst over start delivering...

  • My Tomatillos are coming on keenly so I'm looking forward to Salsa Verde: Green Tomatillo Salsa.
  • With what's coming on and many cuttings taken off in reserve, this Summer I won't run out of Katuk leaves.
  • The many Pigeon Peas I planted  are taking off.
  • Have I enough Molokhia -- Egyptian spinach --  planted?  one of my favourite greens.
  • Given my current cuisine preferences I must always have celery on hand and Celery Leaf is a generous and consistent supply.
  • I'm ecstatic! Finally I have reliable cukes: Siberian Cucumbers are go!
  • One of my fav salad greens which seems to tolerate the heat -- Endive.
  • Buried about and now climbing forth, Purple Yam vines are clambering skywards.
  • Very slow to grow but uniquely crisp and tasty - Rock Samphire. 
  • The most reliable sweet pepper with none of the angst -- Perennial Capsicum. Not so useful for salads but a great cooking  pepper.
  • My Potato crop is still coming on and I'm still harvesting.
  • My Prickly Pears have taken (this is Queensland after all)  -- so i'm hoping to start harvesting the paddles -- nopales --  for salsa very soon.
  • I've decided to target grow Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes. So far so good.
  • More underneath treasures: I'm planning on plenty of Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) to harvest.

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Comment by Dave Riley on June 17, 2018 at 19:31

Enter the search words Egyptian Spinach for the link.

Comment by Micheline Haddad on June 17, 2018 at 16:44

That's right, I meant the whole Middle East and North Africa region. I usually make Molokhia the Lebanese way, which is close to the Egyptian one but with different consistency.
I wasn't able to follow the last link you posted, it seems broken.

Comment by Dave Riley on June 17, 2018 at 10:43

Yes -- and in  various African cuisines. But generally, I've only come across Molokhia in Egyptian recipes -- so I need to go back and review some of its broader uses (LINK).

If you haven't already you can search HERE for 'Egyptian Spinach'.

Comment by Micheline Haddad on June 16, 2018 at 23:42

Thank you Dave, maybe I should consider planting it from seeds if I don't find any fresh ones. I haven't heard of the Okinawan Spinach. Molokhia is usually used in the Middle Eastern cuisine in one recipe also called Molokhia, and it tastes absolutely awesome.

Comment by Dave Riley on June 16, 2018 at 23:27

I don't have any left, but you can buy Molokhia seeds HERE and HERE.

Much as I appreciated it, I've since grown to appreciate Okinawan Spinach more. It has the same glutenous effect in a dish with a great flavour zest --and would make a good substitute if you could entertain the option.

Nonetheless I must get some more Molokai seeds. However, I recall that it requires warmer weather than our present temperatures.

Comment by Micheline Haddad on June 16, 2018 at 22:57

Thank you Cathie! That's great, I'll have a look there. 

Comment by Cathie MacLean on June 16, 2018 at 20:08

Hi Micheline,

Recently a group from BLF visited a Sunday market held in the parking lot of Woodridge station  on the Southside. There were lots of stall holders from Africa and Asia selling bunches of different greens. Molokhia was definitely being sold there. Good luck!

Comment by Micheline Haddad on June 16, 2018 at 19:16

Hi Dave! I know this post is old, but I'm new to the website. I was thrilled when I saw that you plant Molokhia or Egyptian spinach, I love it! I've been looking for some in Queensland. Do you sell bunches of the herb for cooking purposes or know anyone who does?

Comment by Dave Riley on October 29, 2015 at 7:15

If you are into salsa you gotta grow Tomatillos. 

But it is also a delightful looking plant. This is my second attempt at growing them and this time  it's working well.

This season, tomatoes -- the small ones -- are like weeds in my patch. Never had so many. 

While I've dried them often before, aside from using them in tomato salsas they are easily added to any recipe. 

TRINIDAD TRICK: Since I don't like an over powering tomato taste -- a la Sicily -- one trick is to add a few of the small tomatoes whole toward the end of cooking and let them stew for awhile. 

Just before serving, bash them on the head so that they explode in the sauce. You get floating red islands of tomato taste and the juices released flavour the dish. With the small tomatoes, the flavour released is very sweet -- not dense or ketchupy  at all. I find with tinned tomatoes of chopped large ones you have to reduce them down and if you aren't careful, their taste will take over the dish.

Another example: you can treat small tomatoes like this when you add them to minced meat or bean dishes.

And while you are at it in like mode -- if you add a whole chilli to the dish from  the getgo, the pepper stews merrily along without actually releasing its heat. Although you'll get a capsaicum like flavour in the mix. Just don't break it open.Keep it whole. Then before serving , you have the option of squashing the chilli into the sauce or removing the chilli and chopping it up before adding it all or part back in the pan. The hottest part, is, of course, the enclosed seeds. So you can remove those if you like.

By using this method you are in control over the hotness of the dish. You may decide not to serve the dish with chilli but you've still harnessed some of its flavour.

The small toms -- like Tommy Toe -- are so easily grown I find I don't have to fret about them with staking or removing the laterals.Worst of all is the way the fruit fly moves into the bigger tomatoes ASAP .  Indeed there is a whole world of wee tomatoes types that I think I've only started to explore. I'm growing 3+ types...including the yellow pears, tommy toe and another... maybe it's Wild Sweetie. Then there are a couple more I don't know the name of, but if they taste OK I'll save the seeds. 

But with the wee toms, they so easily self seed you are stuck with them. 

I have a medium size tom which I call the Beachmere Tomato. It was self sown originally and unlike the larger toms I've tried, this one survived better in my garden. So if it grows it stays. It's serviceable.

Since I'm absolutely dedicated to sweet peppers and must have them on hand always, I chase the banana varieties -- the Cubano and the 'Italian Fryers' -- red or yellow/greens.  I find that when growing peppers I best harvest them early because some of my varieties fester on the bush and rot. The Perennial Capsicum  do this the least. Great little performer. Can be harvested at any stage of ripening.

MIDDLE EASTERN TRICK: In a good dollop of olive oil (no need to add other ingredients), fry the peppers whole  until they sweat and stew. Delicious. They collapse in on themselves and become soft and sweet. Serve with a dab of plain Greek yogurt. Goes great with fried or grilled meats or meat balls.

Any peppers I don't use straightaway I freeze because I know I'll need them for the HOLY TRINITY of onion, celery and peppers. ...and Thyme. So you need to have a supply of peppers to cook with as well as  a celery production line -- and that's where the celery leaf comes in.

You can do the Creole thing in the kitchen any day of the week. 

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on October 29, 2015 at 4:08

Thanks for the link Dave, will definately be getting some seed from them

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