Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Gardening and dinner

I have been writing about gardening and especially about growing vegetables, and I have the feeling that it might seem like a lot of work.
In past times, people all produced a large part of their own food, and yet still had complete other lives as well. We can do the same.
Yesterday I had a very busy day. I was barely at home, and yet the vegetables continued to grow. I did quickly walk around the garden to see how it was in the morning (I did this with my coffee cup in my hand, and found some broccoli sprouts on the "already picked" patch.)
This morning I went out to see the chickens and the vegetables before I left for a series of council meetings and inspections.

I did take some pictures....
This is a picture of some Siberian kale. I have quite a row of very healthy kale like this, but this plant is cut off really severely. This is because I arrived home late the evening before and needed to cut some dinner kale after dark (sunset is still quite early these days) and so I took a knife and cut a couple of plants just like this. This is not really the optimal way of harvesting leafy vegetables, it is better to cut individual leaves from the outside of the clump and leave the smaller leaves to grow bigger... collecting vegetables in the dark is not the best idea, but it happens!
This morning I found some blackspot on the broad beans near the house. This is not good, but I'll leave the plants there for the time being. they are flowering and will no doubt produce quite a few beans. I'll watch for any plants in this clump that don't have many black spots, because these might have some resistance and their offspring might be useful.
These broad beans in the back garden, past the chook yard, don't have any black spot at all. From now on, I'll go to check this patch before going near the "house patch" just in case I take any germs with me from one place to another. It's like caring for children really!

This (below) is a shock. We have had no rain for a few days and so the artichokes are looking wilted... this is the same disease (fusarium wilt) that tomatoes can get... this is a real niusance, but having got these plants to this stage, I'll nurse them along and get some artichokes. It's interesting that this variety (not so spikey) have done this in another part of the yard before, but the prickly awful plant that grows near the clothes line never seems to get any diseases!
While we have regular rain, these plants sould survive, and after that I'll think about what to do with the soil here... I had been thinking of protecting it from the really hot sun during the summer, but I might rethink that if this persists. Sterilising the soil might be a better option... it's a matter of waiting and watching.

As I travelled around the council area today, looking at properties that had development applications to consider, I found some beautiful spots. Almond and fruit trees are flowering all over the place... really lovely...
And this is on the road back to Kapunda... about 8 or 10 km down the road from here....
.. and this gate was right there too,where I stopped to photograph the blossom. I had never noticed it before though I've driven past many times!

Home again, and I went out (in daylight) to get some broccoli and Tuscan (black) kale for dinner... it was sitting on the bench with the eggs and looked pretty interesting...

Our instant dinner consisted of "Eggs and Vegetables" and is a common dinner here when life is busy and time is short.
Tonight we had one onion, two potatoes, one big carrot, a handful each of broccoli and kale and 5 eggs, pepper and salt, four Roma tomatoes (bottled last summer.)
John had lit the fire already, so I put a couple of small logs onto the fire, and put the pan on to heat while I went outside to collect the broccoli (from the "already picked" patch... I'd seen them there already) and kale.
I heated the olive oil (local, from Angle Vale) while I sliced the onion, the carrot and the potato fairly thinly. Added the onion and fried it until it was brownish, soggy and cooked. (I could have added a jalapeno at this time, as there are still a few on the bush, but I didn't think of it at the time... I think it would have been better.... next time!
Then I added the potato and the carrot (already sliced.) Covered the skillet (I use an odd lid that fits my pan, but you can use aluminium foil or an oven tray if you don't have a lid for yours.) I let it fry and steam until those vegetables were almost cooked, checking it occasionally so that it doesn't stick too much. Then add the green stuff (tonight it was broccoli and kale) and the tomatoes that are pretty much cooked because they were bottled (with basil) last summer.
Beat the eggs with a tiny bit of water, salt and pepper. I added some parmesan cheese to this too, as it was left over from last night's risotto, grated and it doesn't keep its flavour for long once it's grated.
Add the egg mixture to the pan and let it cook for a few minutes, then turn it in parts to cook the "top part." I don't stir it, but kind of turn lumps over, en masse.
If you're serving this to other people, now is the time to chop some fresh parsley or coriander to sprinkle over it as garnish, though I didn't do that, as it was already dark outside!

There are many different versions of this recipe... and the vegetables vary with the season. Here are three...
1. Spicy ginger and coriander.... add the grated ginger at the same time as the onion and sprinkle with lots of coriander.... you can never have too much coriander.
2. Tomato, capsicum (not available in the winter) and olives with grated parmesan in the egg (pizza?) In winter I add leafy green things instead of capsicum.
3. "Indian spiced" with yoghourt or raita. My Indian spice combination includes aniseed, fenugreek, cumin, kalonji and mustard seed in equal quantities, and I keep this mixture in a jar by the stove. You need to fry the spices first, before the onion so that they cook in hotter oil, then add the onion.

No comments: