Archive for October, 2008

Purple potatoes and what to do with them.

What to do with purple potatoes

What to do with purple potatoes

I love to grow veges which are a bit different.  They delight us and our guests and give me a new riddle to solve – what to do with them.  Of course recipe books don’t cover the food I have, mostly grown from heirloom seeds, so I have to make up my own.  When I plant something new, half of the fun is thinking what to do with them.  I like plain cooking:

“Suppose you learn plain cooking. That’s a useful accomplishment, which no woman should be without,” said Mrs. March, laughing inaudibly at the recollection of Jo’s dinner party, for she had met Miss Crocker and heard her account of it.  Excerpt from Chapter 11, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

And what is plainer than mashed potatoes?  These beautiful Urenika purple potatoes are divine boiled (the water turns green) then mashed with butter and milk.  So creamy.  And the purple looks enticing on the plate alongside salad greens. 

I love to make Shepherds Pie.  It’s very easy.  In a bowl, I just mix together a bunch of freshly harvested, washed, chopped, leafy vegetables and some cooked ground beef with some chopped tomatoes (I used last season’s tomatoes which I froze in blocks of 400g, lightly thawed, then chopped in the food processor).  When this was mixed together, I put it some pretty oven proof dishes, and the mashed potato was put on the top, under some grated cheese. 

As for the vegetables to put in Shepherd’s Pie, whatever is green and in the garden will work.  At the moment there are a lot of silverbeet, leek, asparagus, celery, parsley.  Just think what vitamin and mineral goodies this combination of vegetables have in them!  Soon there will be beans (here in New Zealand).  So depending on what is available, this dish will always taste different.  And you don’t need to have ground beef.  My 13 year old daughter made up a beautiful recipe with tuna (same principle, but no longer called Shepherd’s Pie, she calls it Tuna Bake).  Or you can put beans in, or lentils.  Or sausages, or not have meat at all. 

This is cooking freestyle, kind of Plain Cooking.  Surprise me!

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Silverbeet, baby leek and asparagus with pasta and brie sauce

Yum!!!

Yum!!!

One of the benefits of drinking my breakfast smoothy in the garden, is that I get to see what is happening and what is ready to harvest.  So today I harvested and made up a recipe for what I had.  Click on the image if you want to try it.  Doesn’t that food look so tempting sitting there on my mosaic outdoor table?  YUMMMMMM!

Bon appetit!

Plantings in the Enjoyment Garden

The Enjoyment Garden as of 18 October 2008

The Enjoyment Garden as of 18 October 2008

Today I got out there.  Felicity and I went for a drive out to Woodend, and on the way, we got 2 trays of 5 sweetcorn plants, and some lettuce, which I should have looked at more closely, as there were only three plants in there.

Then when I got home, I saw that the red orach I bought last week could really go in, or at least out of the glass-covered patch.  I also planted the kohlrahbi which I bought last week.  I thought they would be ideal in the enjoyment patch.

The Enjoyment Patch is in the corner, directly in front of the compost bin.  So the lettuces will be slightly sheltered from the sun in the heat of summer and hopefully won’t bolt too quickly.

And as usual, what enjoyment I had there in the garden.  I watered the earth first (didn’t put any compost on, but will pile it all up tomorrow when I get a chance), then weeded and dug some holes for the plants with my NIWASHI.  It’s my favourite tool for the garden.  So I made sure it was in the photo.

This morning I had been a bit creative, and made some slightly curled photo edges, so I thought it would be ideal to use one of those in my wee layout above.  Click on it for an enlargement.  The font, of course, is my own handwriting, jules-writing (also known as jules-te-reo as it uses Maori macrons), the painted butterfly is from my Spring is Sprung element pack (well, Spring is here in New Zealand in October), the slightly shabby striped paper behind everything is from an old paper pack of mine called Autumn Chalk Papers (really should re-release that).  The notepad sheet with the wee dog sticker on it is a freebie that comes with my NB Note Well Notelets.  The photo edge is a set I am getting together at the moment which still needs more work.  The only thing that is not mine is the All is Green by one of my favourite designers, Theres K.  By the way I have made a 6×4 Quick Page 300dpi freebie, a simpler version of the above layout with only my own designs.  Please download it here.

Next weekend is Labour weekend, traditionally the weekend for tackling most of the preseason garden projects.  I can hardly wait!

A new season

Today I dropped my parents (aged 81 and 93) back to the airport after a great week together.  On the way to the airport we stopped in at the Strickland Street Community Garden spring fair, where I spent $9 and got the following:

5 chamomile lawn seedlings (I have seeds but this is a kick start for my patch in front of the sitting area)

1 wonderlight tomato plant (a lightbulb shaped tomato)

1 tray of kohlrabi

1 tray of lettuce

Then after the airport, I called in at the Southern Seed Exchange seed swap, where I am a member.

I got the following seedlings:

curly lettuce, red orach, a variety of pumpkin which is like a gourd, raspberry, anjelica, freesias,

plus some seeds:

sunflower, crown pumpkin, dwarf beans, and I think a couple of others.

When I got home, I planted what I should, and put the rest in my glass cloche, with my vege seedlings.  It’s a bit too early in the season here in Christchurch to take the risk with my seedlings and baby plants just yet, so they can stay under the glass where it is sunny and warm. 

Unfortunately I have lost my gardening notebook from last year, where I recorded all my harvests, plantings etc.  It was a shabby wee thing anyway, so I have decided that this year, I will record things properly in a nice book, as well as writing this blog.  So I will have a page for harvests, plans, and this part of the blog will cover what I am doing generally.  Should I also have a wishlist for longer term plans?  After all that is how my garden got to be what it is today.

Spring is here, and although I still have silverbeet, asparagus, maori potatoes (urenika) from previous years still producing, today is the start of the new season now that I have officially planted stuff in the dirt.

Life is good.


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