Saturday in the Kitchen and garden….

Roger (aka Roboman) spent the week at work up in the hills spraying gorse. He has been exhausted at night but sleeps like a baby and this morning was up and out in the garden at 5.30. He weeded furiously for several hours ending up with a mammoth heap of weeds. Went to the shop, butchered a sheep, took rubbish to the dump, collected a huge ute load full of peastraw, came home, put alot of it around the garden…left a pile in the herb garden to finish later then took the car down the bottom where he unloaded it for the big garden… then had to repair a gate he broke in the process. Trimmed and bagged up 10 kg of onions. Helped me pick cranberries then got ready to go and play golf for the afternoon. Getting ready for his shower at 2 pm he walks past me singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…” and plants a kiss on my head and walks off full of the joys of life…. and plenty of energy.

I was sitting at this time pondering the mess in the kitchen and wondering if I really wanted to go back in there. I am still sitting… I have decided it might be a good time to post photos and listen to music!

This, folks, is my kitchen at the moment:

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Another shot:

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There is a little bit of everything going on there. Cooking in the pots is a batch of tomato sauce and in the other scrap meat for the dogs. On the other side of the bench is a big pile of dishes, in the oven is jars for sauce. 2.5 kgs of plums still need bottling, the smaller zucchini are ready for freezing. We did not grow those huge tomatoes by the way – ours are only just beginning to ripen and we needed sauce so I bought some over-ripe tomatoes at a farm gate.

Bottled peaches and Drunken Plums

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For Drunken Plums, layer fruit and sugar in a sterilised jar right to the top. I halved these to make them fit better and not use too much sugar. Once full pour gin or vodka over. Use a knife to get rid of air pockets and fill to the brim. Lid and store for two months, shaking or turning daily. The plums will float to the top, these can be eaten and the liqueur can be bottled and drunk! (Recipe from HOMEGROWN: NZ Gardener Magazine) I have never tried this before and wanted to make it last year but didn’t get 1 plum.

 Pickled onions and peach vinegar

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Zucchini have been done for freezing, these are the marrow after not picking all week.

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Our first pick of cranberries this yearImage

 1.5 kg to go into the freezer until I do something with them, put in a pretty bowl for a photo 🙂

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 This year our two big peach trees gave us not a peach but grew heaps, really disappointing fruit wise. Our little dwarf peach gave us around 5 or 6 kg.

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 The blackberries are growing well but ripening slowly.Image

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Bigger onions to store in old onion sackIMG_3302

We have friends who work on a farm where garlic is grown, they are allowed to glean all that is left after the harvests. This is the box they dropped off, we swap for whatever we have available. Some will be pickled, some used for cooking, the biggest saved for seed garlic next season.

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Sometimes I moan that summer is taken up by days like this (in our spare? time) but when I look at these photos I know this – we could not afford to buy most of these foods. Zucchini, garlic, onions…yes, maybe occasional peaches or plums if we wanted to eat floury, flavourless things. These fruit trees were self sown, the blackberry a cutting, the cranberries were purchased, 12 at $1.25 for seedling sized plants – they are now ready to have cuttings taken off for a hedge down one side of the vege garden. This is good food, grown cheaply, eaten year round.

Garlic Hummus

Hummus is so simple to make and is cheap to do. A wee pot of it here costs around $3 – $4 but a batch of around 1 1/2 cups can be made for less than $1.50. I also prefer the taste to commercial hummus.

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I use chickpeas that have been cooked and frozen in bags. Instead of Tahini I use sesame seeds that have been ground in an old electric coffee grinder.

11/2 cups chickpeas

3 tabslespoons sesame seeds, ground

3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbspn lemon juice

1/4 – 1/3 cup olive oil

Throw all in a kitchen whiz and process until smooth, adding as much olive oil as is needed for a smooth, creamy texture. To serve drizzle with a little extra olive oil.

This basic recipe can be used with heaps of other options. Roasted garlic is nice in it rather than fresh but I don’t find it worth the hassle of doing it especially. Roasted pumpkin or sweet potato can be added (with garlic omitted) as can sundried tomatoes, roasted capsicum.

I would’ve shown it in a nicer dish surrounded in nice fresh vegetables from the garden but we had visitors and no time to take a photo so apologies for the less than exciting photo of it 🙂

How To Grow, Cure And Store Your Own Garlic

Old World Garden Farms

Garlic is a staple in our household.  Whether added to a pasta dish, salsa or stir fry – it seems like a clove or two finds its way into our meals almost daily.  In addition, the consumption of garlic has many well known health benefits – including its antioxidant properties.  It is also an easy crop to grow and store, making it a great addition to grow in your garden.

There are two basic types of garlic – hardneck and softneck.  Softneck garlic grows well in warmer and milder climates, and usually are grown in the same calendar season.  They do not produce scapes, but do tend to store a little better than the hardneck.  Softneck varieties are used to make the garlic braids you see in stores.

Hardneck varieties grow best in the cooler climates of the Northern US – and are the most commonly planted form of garlic.  It is…

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