Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The week that was

In General

It's been an awful week ...No sooner did Easter Friday come round than I picked up a rotten headachy, sore throated, Phlegmmy, fluey cold...Took 4 days before I resurfaced out of the house and now 6 days later my eyes and nose are still streaming..Had to stop driving this morning at one point as I couldn't see properly from my gungy, streaming, aching eyes ...... I don't do ill well ...But this week from good Friday to the 30th was to be the "finish the vegetable garden week" and I had booked the week off to do so with McD...


We did however get out yesterday and drove over the big hill into the Wairappa... Stopped off in historic Greystown to look at the boutique style shops. Especially the Antique ones and lifestyle shops ...one place sold a heap from other countries such as Afghanistan and India... the woman shop owner (?) said that they had bought a factory in India and had shipped it over here.. A table long enough for 20+ people was pride of place in the shop with a SOLD sticker on it over the price ..McD had a peek at its $10K price tag ..Too big for our house and too big even for the garden you have to wonder who would have bought it. But how awesome it would look set up for perhaps an extended family meal outside on a sunny autumn day ..... Anyway a good day for us really ..Poor McD, fed up with me being ill was slowly going stir crazy at home ...We stopped off at Gladstone Inn and had lunch. Not the best of food unfortunately but very nice sat outside with a cold drink ...


Vegetables Without a Vegetable Garden

We've had quite the little harvest this autumn ... Tomatoes planted in amongst the dahlias have provided a steady crop and are still going strong.. Looking better now than a month or two back we probably will get more from them yet. Though the Autumn sun is much lower now and the sunshine hours in the garden reducing significantly ... It's the major downside of the garden we have. Cherry Tomatoes grown in hanging baskets fruited extremely well and we had about 4 major harvests from them that were used for salads or for our favourite chicken casserole dish ..The flavours were so good. I was picking them and eating them straight off the vine whenever I went past. We've grown tomatoes like this for the past 3 or 4 years and they've never failed us .

With the larger Toms we made Chutney using a recipe I had from some 20+ years ago.. It's an Indian Tomato Chutney recipe without the heat. I'd only made it once before but was well liked by my family at the time. And well liked this time too. It goes very well with meats and cheeses. Sweeter than I would normally go for but very nice ..

Dinzie Harvest
Fruits of our not-so-hard labour

And talking of very nice ....At the entrance of our garden where the forest meets the fence line a large Bramble bush has grown .. This season all blackberry bushes have had a bumper copping year ...With a little TLC in the way of a weekly watering when I water my pots around the yard this bush has flowered profusely and fruited regularly with the sweetest of blackberries.... It's a strong willed individual who doesn't eat blackberries straight off the bush .. Even fighting off wasps and thorns we've collected a few bowls of them now .. McD even made me blackberry and apple crumble !! Apart from the fact we can’t buy the old fashioned cooking apples any more, it was delicious .."Just like mum used to make" :O) in those days of my childhood when we kids would be sent off over the fields to collect blackberry fruit by the bag load for pies and wine making ..Of course back then we'd also be picking Sloes (small wild damson) straight after the blackberries were finished and after the first frost to help sweeten the sloes ..(So sour when picked off the bush they would shrivel the inside of your mouth if you ate them raw. The Sloes would also make wine or be steeped in Gin and sugar to make that wonderful Sloe Gin.....Of course we always also kept an eye out for the field mushrooms. I loved them. Some of them grew as big as dinner plates with their jet black undersides ...Mum would fry them up to have with a meal or mixed with bacon to have on toast ...Sometimes she'd add cream to them ............Ok I'm drooling like Homer Simpson right now ... But have to write about this next thing..

With it being autumn my mind had turned to these little child hood remembrances of such bounties. Especially the mushrooms... So With a spare shed in the garden doing nothing I thought about growing my own mushrooms. Duly looking them up on the internet and as quick as that had ordered two lots of Mushroom growing kits.. Oyster mushrooms to be exact ... Easy to set up we have them down in the garage for the time being...

Oyster Mushrooms in Bag

Oyster Mushrooms In Bag

Our first crop was a shared excitement with McD helping in their cultivation. Watching the white roots spread through the straw compost and then finding a precut hole in the plastic bag watching them burst forth into large clumps of ripe mushroom .... So much more mushroom flavour than the white or brown button mushroom we can only get at the superstores locally ....We cooked them up and added a little cream and had them on toast - "Just like mum used to make " ...

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster Mushroom Growing

So what next - well my two hanging baskets of small Chiles are ripe. I thought I would make a chili condiment .. so will try the Indonesian "Sam bal Bajak"...Definitely not a recipe from my childhood :O). I've also grown two Quince bushes against some trellis in the front garden ... Though not well established yet I have seen that there is a single Quince fruit on one of them ... Back to childhood memories - I always remember autumn at my parents and the smell of the quince fruit still on the bush ... Just love the smell of Quinces .....

Lilies in Sun

Dahlia in sun

Bee on Dahlia

New Dahlia