Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quest and rest

In the garden this week:
Somewhat uncleverly, my husband put painful dermatitis on his hand in close proximity to rotting matter when turning the compost without gloves on.  In the process managing to lose his wedding ring amongst the muck.
I suggested a trip across town to borrow his dad's metal detector, but he preferred to carefully look through the decaying matter (with now gloved hands) in his quest for the ring.  Half an hour later, he immerged dirty but triumphant, ring on finger, quest complete.  And apparently the compost was really well mixed now too.  Awesome.
We have harvested spinach, coriander, lettuce, parsley, and broccolini - very yum.
Roses have been pruned also - despite the fact that they were still flowering - otherwise I'd never have gotten around to it...

For some garden inspiration - 

I also took my folks and baby on a tour of the Fitzroy gardens in the city led by one of their gardeners - it was free and a really great way of hearing about the history of Melbourne, via the development of an amazing garden...  The garden is worth visiting, even without the tour though - lots of little surprises around each bend in the path, with my favourite being the Conservatory - a riot of colour and breath taking plant displays, open every day except Christmas, 9-5pm.  Tours start at 12:30 on Wednesday, outside the Conservatory.

In the kitchen this week:

  • Lemon soup - mentioned last week was trialled and much loved by all, including the baby - with shredded chicken put through the soup for meat eaters.  Good winter meal, especially if you are getting a sore throat.
  • Breakfast for dinner - tonight we had scrambled eggs as per Tetsuya - delicious and prepared in under 2 minutes - excellent!

Monday, June 6, 2011


In the garden this week, we have harvested, spinach, radishes and the first brocollini and lemons.

A few years ago, gall wasp attacked citrus trees through Melbourne and we were told to cut off all affected branches.  My dad and father in law performed the tree surgery, leaving us with a mere stump of a tree.  It was very sad.  More happily, in recent years, we have been told that you just need to cut into the gall wasp bumps on the tree so that affected trees can be allowed to grow.  Ours has regrown and this is the first year where we have a decent crop since the sad stumping.

In preparation for the ripening of the fruit, I'm including my recipes for dealing with a glut of lemons:

Lemon and hot water - excellent cold remedy, important as the weather gets colder and my nose starts running like a tap.

Preserved lemons:
I follow a recipe from Maggie Beer -
Preserving lemons is quick and easy...
With the bitter pith removed, the peel can add a punch to anything savoury, beyond tagine cooking.  My favourite uses are adding it to greek yohgurt with some mint for a kebab sauce, or adding it with tiny diced veggies to couscous for a bright looking, sharp tasting salad...

Lemon slice:
I saw this being made on tv last week - looked very tart but yummo:
I've lost the little book that I have my normal lemon tart recipe in. Grrrrrrr.

Lemon soup?
When picking up our son at school, one of the mum's was passing out lemons from her tree, and another took them all very happily, to make 'lemon soup', a big family favourite based on a staple from Greek Easter - we will be giving this a go - very intriguing.

Lemon Ice Cream: (Makes 8 inch ice cream cake)
For an easy cake for a celebration, try this ice-cream cake.
The only difficult bit of this is standing over the lemon curd stirring as it sets, but is worth the effort for a decadent dessert.
Lemon Ice Cream
1 recipe lemon curd*
500mls cream
6 tb sp icing sugar
lemon juice to taste
 Beat curd until smooth
 Whip cream and sugar
 Fold in curd
 Freeze for 3 hours
  OR alternately, freeze for 1.5 hours and then fold in some meringue for lemon meringue ice cream.

   *Lemon Curd (makes ~1lt)
     4 large lemons
     250g butter
     360g sugar
     6 beaten eggs
       Grate zest
       Squeeze juice and add to sugar and butter
       Double boil it until butter melts
       Add eggs and stir for 20 minutes until it thickens and is translucent...
       Sieve mixure..

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Autumn leaves are falling and the broadbeans have hit around 50cm high, radishes, lettuce, spinach and herbs are being harvested.
On ABC Gardening (Channel 2, 6:30pm Saturday nights) a while ago, they said you could plant out the roots of spring onions and they’d grow again.  As I've said on previous posts, I tried it and it works, and since then I’ve been chopping some off most nights and they keep regrowing which is handy.  With the roots already grown, the veggies shoot up really quickly.

With some experimentation, I’ve found that works for leeks too.  On cold days, it is great to wander out the front and get some leek for a winter soup.
It is nice to find that you can recycle kitchen scraps for something other than the compost.