Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Harvesting radish, spinach, spring onions (regrown from bought spring onions), coriander and lettuce.
Radish is a fast growing veggie, and can be planted year round. It has a 4-8 week growing time, depending on time of the year (longer in cooler months), worth putting in if you have space, to get some crunch in your salads, especially now when not much with colour is growing.
In the kitchen this week:
A chicken and 'cheese sauce'* vol au vent** with salad made from the above items with a mustard dressing:
Teaspoon - mustard
Tablespoon - balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons - olive oil...
*'Cheese sauce' is code in our house for cauliflower and peeled zucchini soup reduced to make a thick sauce, relabelled to assist in the hiding of vegetables from young children - also doubles as baby food.
**The vol au vent cases were made following http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn9jqA6Sh1I Easy to make - kids could do it... They turned out a bit dumpy but were well received with the comment:
'Vol a what? It's easier to say dinner croissant' from the 5yo.
This was my slightly healthier version of http://www.everydaygourmet.tv/recipes/36 seen on Everyday Gourmet on channel 10 at 4pm weekdays...
It was nice despite the wintery temperature to be able to walk out into the yard for the ingredients to make a salad with crunch and colour.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Broadbeans at 40cm...
- Onion, banana and citrus peels and egg shells which the worms don’t like, my husband has noticed their taste over time.
- Animal products (meat, dairy...)
Clearly, the compost and worm farm are dirty things, full of rotting matter, but create wonderful things for the garden.ABC Gardening estimates 300kg of waste per household per year can be saved through composting and for us, it has resulted in lower financial costs for gardening, with less bought fertilizer required for the garden due to the worm juice (I estimate ~$90/year, using seasol in lieu of worm juice, fortnightly application to veggie patch only) and bought soil not required for our recent new garden bed addition (~$90 for bagged soil as we don’t have a trailer to bring in unbagged soil from landscape supply centre).
- Ask gardening friends for help, including trying to get some ages compost or worm castings to use
- Mark out a small area to use in the sunshine, probably making a raised garden bed with lumber either from the hardware shop (recently, this has cost us $36 for a bed 2.4 x 1.2 m) , making sure it is suitable for vegetable patches, cobbling it together with brackets that you can hammer into the corners.
- Failing that, I’d do something in some containers, anything with holes in the bottom will do at a pinch…
- Fill in the bed or containers with soil from a landscape supply centre (ring around for best cost – if in trailer and unbagged, you can make big savings).
- Plant for winter, choosing from:
- Water in if not raining but in this weather should look after itself, throw on coffee grinds daily to reduce the incidence of snail attack and sit back, watch it grow and wait to enjoy the spoils in no time at all.
It is ok to just have a go in the garden, vegetable gardening can have great rewards.
Sometimes it doesn't work and that is ok too. In the heavy and unusual rain this year, I 've found some mushrooms growing in the veggie beds, that aren't supposed to be there and are most likely poisonous. Given that until that last few months, we have struggled with water supply, lugging water from the bath to the patch, this amount of damp is a tad disturbing. Around the corner from us, a gardener grew bananas on his banana tree for the first time in 20 years! They didn't grow to full size but it shows what an incredible change in weather we are seeing in 2011.
Spot the mushroom?
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- Fry onion over medium heat until golden brown (3 minutes),
- Add carrots, and spices, tomato paste and then lentils
- Add stock and cover and simmer for 20 minutes
- Serve, with a dollop of yoghurt to mix through…
- Fry up leeks for ~5 minutes or until golden, (a spoonful of butter can help to reduce the chance of the leeks burning if your attention wanders and the pot is not stirred regularly in this time)
- Add in sweet potato and chickpeas, heat through for a minute.
- Then add stock, and cover, simmering for 30 minutes and serve with chopped parsley and parmesan if desired.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Strong growing continues, helped along by rain (the 4th bed is damp enough to have produced a mushroom - ikkk) and sunshine. Temperatures are still high enough for self seeded tomatoes to be growing.
Broadbeans are standing ~35cm tall.
Lots of 'micro herbs' growing, as are lots of micro weeds. Some micro weeding is required.
With the dropping temperature, growing may slow in the following weeks.
Lettuce, spinach, parsley and coriander, basil harvested this week for recipes below.
And shared from friends and neighbours, half a pumpkin, quinces and persimmon - all very gratefully received.
In the kitchen this week - muchos confusion.
On Monday night, I watched the return of Masterchef, where there were drama and cooking aplenty. I stood idle in my kitchen, until the flying frypans and food motivated me to pull out ingredients to make a cake I'd been thinking about since reading 'A Tiny Bit Marvellous' by Dawn French. The book was ok but the recipes at the end looked pretty promising, particularly 'Mo's Beetroot Cake.' I thought that this would be a lovely pink type cake and would push the memory of a less than successful Red Velvet cake that I made at Easter further towards the back of my mind:
Beetroot cake (with modifications due to limited ingredients in pantry/fridge):
180g sugar I used 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar
180g plain flour
180g almond meal
50g cocoa powder
1 ts baking powder
200ml sour cream I used 100ml sour cream, 100ml strawberry yoghurt
1 ts vanilla essence
200g grated beetroot I used 1/2 a tin of beetroot, mashed up using a hand mixer.
Whisk eggs and sugar for 5 minutes (I did for about a minute - less height in cake due to using brown sugar and not whisking long enough)..
Add dry ingredients and beat to combine.
Beat in liquid ingredients and beetroot.
Pour into greased and papered cake tin and bake for 50 minutes.
But by the time this had finished cooking, 'The Biggest Loser Finale' had come on, and though it smelt gorgeous, eating cake, or more to the point, calorie consumption was not appealing. Though I was happy it has veggies in it and could use it to get Trojan veggies into my son Troy (would be funny if that was his name..)
I started thinking that after an Easter of heavy chocolate consumption, attempting the emulate the rich food of Masterchef was probably an unwise choice. I don't want to end up a waddling whale like George and Gary. Borrowing out huge cook books from the library each week and perusing lots of food blogs may not be the way to go to avoid a further expanding waistline...
Then, I remembered a post from a while ago from thestonesoup.com regarding the 4 hour body diet:
Relooking through this info, I started formulating thoughts about better options than how I've been eating recently - lots of sandwiches, pasta, etc which are quick and easy and make the rest of the family happy. And me chubbier, despite running ~5km 6 days a week, pushing the baby in a pram...
The diet suggestions include:
- Nothing white or what could be white - so no pasta, bread, potatoes etc
- Replace white carbs with beans/lentils where possible
- Eggs for breakfast
- Eat whatever you want, one day a week, so your body can't get too used to the diet so that it can continue to work well and so that you get rid of any cravings and end up feeling sick and so strengthen your resolve to continue with the diet.
Breakfast: A banana, blueberry and yohgurt smoothie (I've been doing this for a while, nice way to start the day.)
Snack: Apple or pear
Lunch: Eggs with tomato and spinach (eggs cooked up quickly in microwave..)
Snack: Cheese or yoghurt
Dinner: Meat with a salad/lentils
And have a day off a week and eat whatever I want.
I'm adding in more meat than I have been eating, after waking up from a dream about porterhouse steak (I must be iron deficient) and also more dairy due to pitted nails but going gluten-free as much as possible.
In terms of lentils, I found the following recipes fast and tasty, recipes with modifications from www.thestonesoup ebook that you get when joining the blog, plus some others that I have used previously:
Lentil, beetroot and feta salad (similar to the popular beetroot and feta salad with lentils added):
Tin of lentils (rinsed and drained)
Tin of baby beets
Some feta, broken into small pieces
Handful of spinach
Mint, coriander, cumin
Balsamic vinegar and oil to dress salad
Throw together for a nice salad...
Chickpeas and Parmasen:
Tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
Handful of spinach/lettuce (whatever is at hand)
Sprinkle of parmasen (or feta)
Spoonful of pesto
Again mixed together for a salad
Chickpeas and Rocket (I think that something like this might have been in a Nigella Lawson book):
Tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
Handful of rocket
Spoonful of tomato paste
Dash of balsamic vinegar
When my family was demolishing fish and chips, along side some grilled flake I had a salad like this:
Fennel and Pear Salad:
A small fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks, core removed
Pear cut into matchsticks
Thrown together with some lemon squeezed over the top.
It was yummy enough and tasted so healthy and crunchy that I didn't steal even one chip.
My sainthood must be in the mail now.
For a larger salad, with a big fennel bulb, this can be dressed up with some chopped almonds and a honey mayo dressing:
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
Whisk together and drizzle...
These salads are quicker or as quick as knocking up some pasta, and pretty tasty so there was no excuse for me not to continue with the diet attempt..
After 5 days of following the diet, running as per usual, and adding in some pilates stomach tightening things into my daily exercise, I've lost ~1.5kg and 3cm from my middle - possibly the results of not being bloated from gluten - hopefully the trend down will continue....
I broke the diet today with Mother's Day lunch prepared by my husband - roast lamb with potatoes, etc, followed by chocolate pudding - yummo, and tea with macaroons for afters:
Macaroons - no gluten, lots of refined sugar though :)
300g Almond Meal
150g Icing sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons rose water (or to taste)
Icing sugar to dust
Mix dry ingredients and then mix altogether
Kneed mix and roll into balls, then roll these in some sifted icing sugar to coat
Cook on baking paper covered tray in 180 degree oven for 20 mins.
I was further confused this week was due to a news story regarding the poor treatment of free range hens:
The video apparently taken in the Somerville Egg Farm shown on channel 10 was appalling, with the hens having no sunshine, no feathers, and minimal room to move, stacked to the roof, with some hens dead on the floor, no better than battery hens. We hope this isn't the norm for free range animals, though could explain how, beyond just squeezing the farmer, Coles and Woolworths are able to sell free range eggs for $4/dozen. We are also considering how a little chicken coup would go in our small place too... Not sure how good I'd be at handling them - lots to think about.