Zucchini, parsnips and bol choi seedlings – a little heat singed from the 35 degree days we had just after I planted them
Tomatos and the beds around the old tree stump – it needs wood chipping
Garlic!! Yay – we have lots and lots, I think I got a little carried away planting them in the winter.
Carrots, peppers, onions
Peas and bean bed – with eggplant at the back buried under the slight over zealous bean plants.
Pumpkin plant that self seeded
Corn and one of the multitude of self seeded borage that have popped up all over the place after last years borage plants
Corn and sunflowers – the sunflowers are from the lovely Lisa over at Little Coffee Beans.
It’s not looking particularly attractive out there at the moment. A combination of weeds, sun burnt leaves and over zealous growth. But it is pretty productive. I’m trying really hard to get organised for the next round of planting. The autumn beds to go in. Kale, broccoli, kohl rabi, second round of peas. But also trying to jut enjoy going out and picking or pulling up what we need. Thats a pretty good feeling
It’s actually a shameful representation of the gardens productivity. We are also eating home grown carrots, parsnips, bokchoi zucchini, blueberries and beets. But this was the picture that made me smile.
I am so proud and delighted she is sharing in the things that I remember from being a child, eating fresh shelled peas like candy. She’s more focused than me though – she shelled the whole lot without getting bored or stopping or eating to many. Not a feat I could have achieved at her age! Ha or now – fresh peas are one of my many weaknesses!
We are slowly settling into 2015. Dragging ourselves out of holiday/festive mode and into the new year and modified routines and good intentions. One step, one day at a time. Someone said to be about running ‘just put one foot in front of the next’. So thats what I’m gong to do. Just. Keep. Moving.
A stollen at Christmas was a tradition for my mum. She made one every christmas. So this year, for the first time I decided to uphold that tradition and make one for our home over christmas. Actually I got slightly over excited and made 4. In 2 days.
I use a basic recipe I found on the web and adapted it to make it taste like mums.
To make the yeast sponge
1/4 cup of warm water
3/4 cup of warm milk
tsp of honey (or maple syrup if that’s all you have in the pantry)
About a tbsp of yeast (I use a basic dried yeast)
Combine the water and yeast, then add the milk, honey and flour. Combine and leave to bubble and rise for about 30 mins (can be longer)
A cup of raisons/candid fruit mix – this is personal, I prefer slightly less raison/fruit in mine, you can add up to a cup of each if you prefer a fruit filled Stollen. I soak mine in a little orange juice but you can use rum or brandy if you want.
1/2 cup of chopped almonds – toasted (optional) It tastes more like mums without, but I like it with!
tsp of mixed christmas spices
1/3 cup of honey
tsp of salt
tsp of spices
1 large egg
1/2 cup of melted butter
I mix all the wet ingredients together, and add to the yeast sponge. Then combine in 2-3 cups of flour, adding about 1/4 of a cup at a time, mixing well until the dough binds together – turn out onto a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth. Then grease bowl and pop in, cover and leave to rise for between 45 mins or whenever you remember to go back and shape it.
Spices to sprinkle on
Marzipan – I think mine was a 300g block that did 2 smaller loaves.
To shape turn out onto a greased surface and flatten out into a sort of oval, or 2 oval if your making 2 small loaves. Sprinkle with spices and granulated sugar (you can omit the sugar if your popping marzipan in the middle) I rolled out my marzipan so its the same length as the dough, put it along once side and roll up the dough around the marzipan sausage. I then slightly flatten the long sausage of dough (with its marzipan centre) and fold it back on itself.
Leave to rise for, well, until is double in size or until you once again forget it, and then remember it.
Bake at 190 degrees for about 25 mins
So I though that now spring is here and nearly summer I’d resume my weekly walk in the garden
The beds are mostly all full now, a brassica spring bed that so far resisting bolting. Peas, peppers and garlic behind the wind shelter (which saved them from the 160km/h winds last night). My skinny potato bed, the area behind the beds dug and plated with self seeded sunflowers and corn. A new bed for zucchini and tomatoes and herbs. The back area (with its empty bed ready for manure and a frame to protect the autumn brassicas) the lines of carrots and onions surrounded by garlic, peas and beans in lines the more shaded bed with some random self sewn peas and pumpkin plants in the front.
Since coming home from our wonderful break away in Oz we have been busy settling back into our rhythms and routines. Baking muffins (pear and chic chip, delicious! Kind of used this recipe) A little light romper suit that was a last minute make before the holiday. Super easy pattern but so versatile. Breathe and exhale. Think about the next month or so. A birthday party to plan and christmas to prepare for. Dresses to make, recipes to try out. Exciting.
And my veggie bed make, an old pallet. Hubby split it apart for me and removed the worst of the nails. The uprights are old tree stake posts, from one that snapped when we were banging them in. Sawn into the size I needed. It was the fastest make ever and SO rewarding. Some nails that we already had, a hammer and saw and away you go. I didn’t even crack out the tape measure.
So if you want some raised veggie beds. But don;t want to spend any money. Go get yourself a old pallet. In NZ your local ITM will likely be giving them away, seriously giving them away. Other countries I’m less sure, may be try local building and landscape supplies. Or the local supermarket. Interesting tip – you can fit a pallet into a reasonably roomy car with a bit of gentle ‘persuasion’. Just so ya know. Not because I’ve done that or anything.
Cheese straws for snacking
While finishing (or nearly finishing, not quite ready to properly photograph and enter in Magic Onions 2014 collection)
I’m really hoping to complete a few more bits and get a lovely dawn light with a crispy frost, but you know, that might not actually happen, I may end up submitting variations of these. Or similar. Or it might snow and then I’ll get epic awesome snow pics, or not.
Speaking of snow it went for it today for an hour or so, but then cleared up and melted off. SO disappointed. Moo was too. She sat by the windows watching the flakes exclaiming every few minutes “mama its snow, real snow …. winter is here at last …. its been a long long time coming”. We are into town tomorrow to meet some lovely friends but hopefully on sunday we’ll be able to head to the hills and find some for her to play in.
In light of my attempts to pacify my unhappy stomach I’ve been looking at ways to try and minimise the impact of gluten without totally excluding it from our lives. Mostly because I’m crap at cooking with gluten free flours. seriously the pits. everything. is. a. brick.
Ive started a sourdough starter. So far (2 days) so good. It’s not dead yet lol. I used this guide – incidentally Im loving this blog generally too. And I made some crackers with this recipe which we love. And lastly I put in a batch of no knead refrigerator dough. Hoping that a long proof (3 days) will help make the gluten more digestible.
The fridge bread is a simple linseed mix, I start it as usual, leave it to rise for about 3h after mixing. Then pop it in the fridge. You can use it after a night or so but Ive read around and it seems leave it for about 3 days is about right. bring it out, shape, leave to rise. Bake. Eat. This post explains it really well – and you can make bulk too.
I also made the banana cake I mentioned in my last post (or the one before that?) and its delicious. Even hubby likes it.
Wow, I’m really linky at the moment. Sorry.
Brassica, beet and spinach bed – the spinach is not going great guns, no idea why its struggling so much.
Courgettes and broccoli are still coming through – although the last 2 nights frosts might have done in the courgettes!
Below is the back garden which is in its winter/mid project/earth moving/weed mat needed/alterations slowly being made state. The middle back bed is up as we are suffering from encroaching roots from the big tree behind it. Weed mat goes in this weekend and then lots and lots of manure on top, plus some pea straw and that will be left to mulch off till late winter. The bed not the right of that will have the same treatment. The 2 far left beds have been manured and topped with the soil from the dug out bed. You can just see the courgette plants out of the left and right beds. The long skinny bed on the right didn’t do well as a bean bed this year so will be a potato bed next summer. The bed with the brassicas will continue through winter and the be deep mulched and manured in late winter. The front left bed with all the new soil in will be the pepper bed.
We are also hoping to put up wind breaks on both front beds to protect those crops when the nor’wester comes through (its strong and very dry so really damages the crop)
Some flowers around the place, not many left but I love the fact some push on even in the cold and frosts. Sadly the nasturtiums were knocked out by the frosts this week so will be tidied up.
My autumn garden is looking a little ropey, but its still producing pretty well. Carrots, onions, spinach, beets, squash and courgettes are all coming into the kitchen every few days.
Newly planted spinach and kohl rabi plants, my slightly eaten brassicas in a party dug over bed (they will get moved I think). The back gardens, a slightly more healthy selection of broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Onion bed – nearly finished now. Carrot bed with its courgette plant. Squash still coming through. My helper. Flowers and the Monarch butterfly who visited us.
A number of the beds have been turned over and are ready for fertiliser and mulch and setting a side for winter. So its looking kind of messy!
This weekend I’m hoping to get the resting beds properly sorted and covered and the back tidied up, poles sorted. Trampoline moved out onto the concrete.
Over winter we will do more planning and getting some new new beds in.
Some outtakes from this week, when I’ve grabbed the camera to take a quick, often unfocused, badly lit pictures.
Baking – cookies. Damn they were good. Yoghurt making. A new tea towel that makes me happy. A knitting project (dishcloths) and a book to read form a lovely friend. The equine dude who decided to nap on our front lawn – I adore having a free range only at this time of year. Pinecone decorations by a little lady, garlic hanging in the background – I grew that! A wet wet run and soggy feet – but it was fun. And my lady, in all her frozen yoghurt eating, bum wiggling glory. She is so funny.
This week had been good. Rainy. We have walked and biked when we could, sometimes just snuggling up when the weather said ‘no’ to outdoor activity. There have been highs – and lows. Such is parenting
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