Saturday, 31 March 2012

Garden glut goes global

today's yellow-green sweet chilli pick
  • yellow-green chillies
  • chillies
  • lettuce
  • rocket
  • parsley
  • basil
  • radish
  • eggplant
April and May -  two of my favourite months of the year in Sydney -  will see me overseas for work and a bit of vacation time too.  I have decided that , if I keep a blog while away, focusing on the same sort of things I look at on this blog, then I might offset some of the homesickness and garden sickness I might have.  My Garden Glut International blog will look at the gardens and food of where ever I am.  I hope you can join me there sometimes.

Patch  entrance
broccoli patch - big arent they!

In the meantime I wanted to document where the garden is now, so that when I come back in 2 months time I can see the growth. So here is a little tour of the garden at the end of March.

The broccoli patch is booming.  The plants are bigger than they usually are at this time of year.

self-seeded sunflower

We are pretty vigilant with the green grubs but they are making a bit of a mess of the leaves.  Today is a sunny hot day and so that is why they look a little limp.

I have some self seeded sunflowers that have popped up in the broccoli patch.  Its pretty weird to have sunflowers at this time of year.  They are starting to form their flowers (looking closely at the top of the pant I can see them forming). If they provide too much shade to the broccoli, the lad will pull them out.

lettuce, thyme, chives

You will have noticed that much of my current pick is lettuce, rocket and radish. Here is some of the lettuce in with the thyme and chives.
A clump of fennel  - three plants together, has come up - self seeded. I have some other younger fennel in other spots too.

At the edge of the broccoli patch is a line of beetroot and parsley.

beetroot and parsley at the edge of the broccoli patch

snow peas, cauli and cabbage
The snow peas are ripping along.  There are three plantings of snow peas - this is the most advanced.  Sharing the same bed if some cauliflower and cabbage babies.

spring onions and lettuce
I also have several plantings of spring onions.  This is a middling planting. The three sets will keep us going for quite a while!

I still have two 'normal' chilli plants producing as well as the long cayenne. And many of my eggplant are still producing although the fruit is on the small side of things.
The lemon and limes have recently had a little pruning, especially the espaliered limes to make sure they are in shape.

So that is where things are at the moment.   Bye by garden, I will miss you!

Join me in Garden Glut International to follow gardens and food in Thailand, China and Mongolia.... more soon.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Saladings, finger limes and mystery cucurbit...

tonight's radish pick  -  the first pick
  • lettuce
  • rocket
  • parsley
  • radish -  the first of the new pick!
I think I have confessed to you all before -  I am really in hungry gap. I didn't really plan the transition well enough.  I went from summer glut to hardly anything very  quickly.

But it was only back on 25th Feb that I sowed the rocket and radish seeds and I have been picking the rocket for a while. Today I picked the first radish.  The great thing about this blog is that I know how short a time it has been to get something up and on the plate!

The radish are a little imperfect, but totally edible.  The are a bit crusty on the outside but a flick of the knife fixes that!

Tonight it is bangers (posh ones -  lamb and oregano), chips (hand-made ones)  and my green salad with the added extra of radish.

Collete the finger lime with more tiny flowers

Took a little look at Collete this evening in my post work garden de-stresss.  And she has three more flowers, this time open.  Here they are - like I said in a previous post, very stameny! 

Yippee, more baby finger limes!

mystery cucurbit

And maybe you can help me... what is this lovely thing - a cucurbit I guess -  coming over the fence?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A glut of lemons (3) and finger lime progress

Tiny tiny first finger lime
  • lettuce
  • parsley
  • herbs
Last Sunday I noticed a tiny flower on the finger lime 'Collette'.  I have been watching its progress closely.  The pink flower bud opened into a small but very stameny flower white in colour.  I wish I had taken a picture because the flower didn't last very long at all!

the first finger lime flower

 One week later and the first fruit has begun to form. Collette is supposed to have black shiny fruit -  certainly it looks like that is going to happen!  The fruit at present is a dark dark purple.  Here is the picture of the flower I took last week.

Back to the lemon glut... I have made a cake called 'Canadian Lemon cake'.

Canadian Lemon Cake
This is a recipe that I cut out of a newspaper a long long time ago.  I suspect that it was from Melbourne's Age newspaper when we lived there, but that was now around 12 years ago that we left that fine city.

I quote from the  newspaper cut out, "Quite simply one of the best lemon cakes of all time. The mixture is buttery and light and the lemon syrup gives a fresh tart flavour that everyone loves."  Hard to resist right?  I copy the ingredients here as they appear but have simplified the method -  you know how to make a cake...

Lemon cake, eaten warm
125g butter
1 1/4 cup caster sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon*
3 tablespoons lemon* juice
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons lemon* juice
grated rind of 1 lemon*
1/4 cup caster sugar

Prepare a tin and heat the ovento180C.

Cream butter and sugar and then add lemon rind and juice and mix.  Beat in eggs gradually.  Sift flour with baking powder and add to the mix alternately with the milk.  Turn into the pan and bake at 180C until browned on top and firm to the touch. Remove from the pan when a little cooled.

In the meantime, put all syrup ingredients in a saucepan and heat until sugar has dissolved.  Pour the syrup onto the top of the cake and allow it to run down the sides and soak into the cake.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

A glut of lemons (2) and gifts for Harriet

Today's pick
  • lemons
  • limes
  • eggplant
  • chillies
  • lettuce
  • rocket
  • parsley
  • mint
  • chives
  • squashed  cabbage moth green grubs on the broccoli
    We will get to the lemon glut a little later, first I wanted to tell you of the gifts that are left for Harriet. Harriet is our cat.  She's a quiet lass, she is not much of a hunter -  thankfully -  she does assist with a bit of mousing, mostly catching really little ones.

    Over a few years we have noticed that Harriet has an admirer who leaves her gifts -  tokens of his affection and hunting ability.  What does he leave for petite, well behaved Harriet?  Large decapitated rats!  Over time he has left around 5-6 rats for her - we've lost count.  One day he left one for her on the front door mat and I in a pre-caffeinated state on my way to work, stepped right over it without even noticing.

    Harriet unimpressed with her gifts

    This week, Harriet's admirer has left yet another one for her in the garden -  the spot he usually leaves his gifts. Hmm, charming... She doesn't pay him or the rat any attention. She is very sensible.  I wouldn't hang out with a lad that brought me such gifts!

    On lemons -  well they just keep falling off the tree.  I collected another pile today and picked some limes, eggplants and chillies. I need to get stuck into the lemon glut again. Tonight I made a dish that uses, rind, lemon quarters and lemon leaves.

    Lamb kofte
    This recipe comes from Gourmet Traveller November 2009. I have made it a couple of times and it is delicious.  The lemon leaves that wrap around the kofte balls really do impart a lemony flavour to the meat.  The amounts here are true to the recipe, except I have added some chia seeds and an egg to the recipe - the egg holds it together a little more. I've just rolled the balls and will cook in just a little while. 
    * from the garden

    Ready for the flame
    1 kg lamb mince
    100gm bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons chopped mint*
    1 tablespoon grated lemon* rind
    2 teaspoons fennel seeds roasted and ground
    1 teaspoon cumin seeds roasted and ground
    2 tablespoons chia seeds
    1 egg
    1 lemon leaf for each kofte ball
    lemon* wedges to serve

    Combine mince, bread crumbs, mint, lemon rind , chia seeds, egg and spices and mould into balls - large walnut sized.  Wrap lemon leaves around each ball ( they just have to wrap around a little more than   half way and that is fine) and put leaf-wrapped ball onto metal skewers, skewing half way thru the ball and going thru both ends of the leaf.  Grill or BBQ until cooked, about 5-6 mins. They will go on soon.

    Green salad
    I will make this salad to go with it. It is really simple and really lovely with  this dish.  It is just a combo of greens and herbs and, even better,  it all comes from the garden.* from the garden

    Today's home picked greens
    lettuce* leaves
    rocket* leaves
    olive oil
    lemon* juice

    Combine leaves and herbs and dress with lemony vinaigrette.

    And later I think we need a lemony pud.

    Lemon delicious pudding
    I love this sweety.  It is a real Australian favourite I think, and takes no time to make.  There are many recipes, I seem to have mislaid the one I got from my mum (or my grandmother, I don't remember from whom).  This one comes from  Happy days with the Naked Chef - a Jamie. He calls it lovely lemon curd pud. I have used the name that is used in my family ( and probably more broadly?). * from the garden

    55g butter
    115 g sugar
    grated rind and juice of 1 lemon*
    2 large eggs, separated
    55g self-raising flour
    285ml milk

    Pre-heat oven to 200C. Cream butter and sugar and lemon rind. Add egg yolks and flour and mix, add in milk and lemon juice and mix. Leave aside.

    In a separate very  clean bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff.  Fold into the other mixture, be careful not to knock too much air out while you are doing this. Gently place into an oven dish - I use a pyrex one cause the dessert separates into lovely layers and its worth being able to see that.  Put  glass pyrex dish into a larger baking dish and add water to half way up the side of the pyrex.

    Cook for about 45 min or until the top is spongy and browned (but light and fluffy).  It will be lemony curdy in the bottom and light and fluffy sponge on top.

    Wednesday, 21 March 2012

    Pond life (2)

    small tadpole and thumper
    • the first  pick of the new rocket
    • parsley
    • spring onions
    • basil
    • mint 

    David took some good tadpole shots that I wanted to share with you.

    The tadpoles like to hang around the rock in the pond.  They don't seem to do much -  just sit.  We have at least three 'clutches' of tadpoles. 

    contemplating frogness

    Some quite small ones, some middling ones and some thumpers who are getting their back legs and who are already contemplating being frogs. You can see it in their lovely dark eyes. (Click on the picture to get a bigger format and look into its eyes...)

    And maybe there will be more to come?  I can here the 'plonking ' of frogs right now!

    Tuesday, 20 March 2012

    Fettucini bolognese

    tonight's herbs for pasta
    • parsley
    • basil
    • oregano
    Mmmm, home made pasta, made by the lad who has some Italian genes. Thank goodness!  Lovely silky home made pasta.  The lad uses a Jamie recipe.

    Everyday quick pasta recipe
    This is from Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef.  The amounts given here are what we make up for dinner for two,  Jamie makes a bigger batch.

    200g strong pasta flour
    2 eggs
    extra flour for dusting

    Mix flour and eggs together, knead until smooth and silky.  We use a pasta maker to roll out the pasta and cut it.  I've never made it, David says it's easy but he has pastry hands...

    Boil a big pot of water, put the pasta in the boiling water for a short time.  I don't know how long, but not very.  Try it after just a few minutes to see if it is how you like it.

    Tonight the lad made bolognese sauce to go with it. I suspect Australians are pretty obsessed with this pasta sauce.  It's almost the first one we experienced as kids. It's also comfort food.  I am not sure what the appeal is, but tomatoey meaty sauce is a good start. And the saltyness of good Parmesan?

    Our bolognese recipe
    home made pasta
    I am sure that this is not very different  to anyone elses' bolognese, but I'll share our version with you.

    minced beef -  good quality
    tinned tomatoes
    a little home made rocket fuel chilli paste* (just a little!)
    black pepper

    Finely chop celery, carrot and onion and cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Add crushed garlic and cook a little then add minced beef and brown off meat breaking it up as you cook.  Add tinned tomatoes and a little bit of chilli or chilli sauce - we use rocket fuel in any tomatoey sauce - not much just a little bit.  Add a couple of bay leaves - I like the fresh - ones and cook till it is a consistency you like.

    Put sauce over your favourite pasta and sprinkle on the chopped herbs.


    But  you must have your favourite version?  Veal mince instead of beef? A mix of minces?  Adding your homemade tomato sauce? no carrot, no celery?  What's your version?

    Sunday, 18 March 2012

    What's happening in the garden?

    finger lime flower bud
    • chives for the poached eggs for breakfast
    • basil for lunch 
    • lemons - they just keep falling off
    •  savoy cabbage seedlings
    • spring onion seedlings
    • feed the citrus and eggplants with seasol, chicken manure pellets and iron chelates
    limes on the way

    While the pickings are quite slim, there is quite a lot going on in the patch.

    Firstly, on the citrus... the big news is that 'Collete' the finger lime is flowering!  Or rather she has 4 tiny flower buds. They are unbelievably small and a delicate pink and look rather like tiny rose buds. They are quite beautiful.

    chrysalis of a pink horned grub

    The Tahitian lime too is flowering, unfortunately in amongst leaves that are badly affected by citrus leaf miner. However, my guess is that now the weather is cooler,  the stink bugs wont get these babies.

    The large grub that I spotted in the lime last week has turned into a chrysalis.  Here it is, it looks like a fat leaf.  Looking at it live, it occasionally wiggles inside its hardening case. I wonder if it is garden friend or pest?  In any case, I am leaving it where it is, it is fascinating to watch. I wonder if it will make a beautiful butterfly?

    a fist full of lemon

    The lemon tree keeps dropping fruit.  I get dirty knees from crawling under the tree in amongst the lawn clipping mulch to collect them. Some of the fruit are enormous.  Take a look at this fist full of lemon!  It looks a little green on the outside but the inside is full to bursting of really juicy flesh and anyway I think the tree is happy to have dropped these heavy fruit - the limbs are quite weighed down in parts.  

    praying mantis in lemon

    The lime and lemon are regularly visited by these smaller praying mantis.  Last week, without camera, I saw one like this (perhaps even this one) sitting near the previously mentioned lime flowers eating a bee which had probably come to do some pollinating. Again terrible citrus leaf miner attack and leaves that needed the feeding I gave them today!

    The brown berry tomatoes are still going strong.  While all other tomato plants weakened and have been removed, these ones are busy setting fruit.  I do wonder if they will ripen, but in the meantime I am leaving them do their thing.

    brown berry tomatoes setting

    Fennel seeds planted a while a go now are starting to come up.  However I  fear I have lost many during the heavy rain -  possibly washed away or just rotted. Only about 5 of around 15 have come up.  I will wait a while to see if any more emerge and then plant some more.

    snow peas starting to climb

    The snow peas are starting to climb now, reaching for the chicken wire.

    It's a lovely time of year, I love watching the new plans emerge and get strong, even if there is little to pick mostly because of my poor planning!

    Saturday, 17 March 2012

    Slim pickin's

    today's lime pick - two big fat juicy ones
    • parsley
    • spring onions
    • lemons
    • limes
    • mint
    Not much too pick at the moment, just a few regulars, but enough to contribute to some of our meals.

    Today David made tabbouleh to accompany our lunch of flat bread, baba ghanoush and kofta. Yum.  David makes a  mean tabbouleh and it's one of those salads that can come mostly from the garden -  parsley, mint, spring onions and lemon (and tomatoes if you have them -  we don't at the moment). When all else fails or when nothing else is ready to pick you can almost always pick yourself enough for tabbouleh. We always have burghul in the cupboard for those moments.  David says tabbouleh invigorates him... is it the mint I wonder? or all that iron-rich parsley?

    The other salad of the day is a  pea, mint and feta salad one that I love.

    Pea, mint and feta salad
    The original is a 'Jamie' - you know who I mean -  and comes from his Jamie Oliver - Naked Chef book  that David bought me when we lived in England.  There was something about Jamie's food when we were in  England that reminded me of home (Australia).  I think it was the freshness of the food, the no nonsense attitude and the bright colours of the pictures and perhaps the Italian influence that we'd routinely find in Sydney and Melbourne as well? 

    Anyway, looking back at the recipe now I realise that my version varies quite a lot from his.  Here it is. * from the garden

    feta crumbled -  I use half a pack
    frozen peas - boiled until just cooked (I like the petite pois)
    mint* torn
    lemon* juice
    olive oil
    black pepper

    Combine peas and crumbled feta in a bowl, add mint and separately make a lemony vinaigrette add to the salad with black pepper.  Eat while still warmish.

    Friday, 16 March 2012

    Pond life - some welcome, some not

    pond-side fern
    We have a frog pond. Some years ago now, we dug a big hole, lined it with pond liner (a thick durable black plastic),  placed sandstone rocks around the edges, filled it with water, added some aquatic plants got a small container with taddies in it from our local nursery and populated the pond.

    moss and lichen
    Over time the pond has 'gone native'. Now it looks as though it has always been there.  It has some great clumps of moss and lichen, the native violets are sprawling down to the edges of the pond, some ferns that grow in the front brick fence have been transplanted to the pond side and have taken.  It looks amazing.

    We have had generations of tadpoles now and in summer the 'plonk' of amorous frogs fills the evening air.

    This year - a La Nina - the frogs have been extra amorous and we probably have more tadpoles in the pond than ever. Our frogs are striped marsh frogs.

    Native violets - Viola hederacea
    We also have become a breeding  pond for dragonflies. We get red and blue dragonflies breeding here. They lay their eggs on the surface of the water in a skipping sort of  fashion, and eventually strange long aquatic cicada-like  nymphs can be seen scooting thru the pond.  Then, much like cicadas, they crawl out of the pond onto the pond plants, their shell splits and a baby dragon fly emerges, for a while sitting beside its old shell stretching its wings in the sun so they dry out.

    Today, I visited the pond for a bit of therapeutic pond staring, and what did I see?  New pond life!  With its characteristic mode of movement, I new exactly what it was immediately.  A leech.

    amorous striped marsh frogs in the pond
    Hmmm, should I feel proud that I have created an ecosystem? Or annoyed that I will not be able to go to the pond in a relaxed and comfortable mood?  Unfortunately by the time I went back inside to get the camera it had disappeared.  Perhaps slipped into the pond to wait for its prey? You'll just have to believe me... you don't want to see a picture anyway do you?

    Suddenly a whole lot of scenarios filled my head.Will the frogs or the dragonfly nymphs eat leeches? Or will my frogs suffer from leech bites? Will I have to search my cat's nostrils for leeches? Apparently that is where dogs and cats often get a leech.  That would be horrible. Will El Nino deal with them? If so, bring on the next drought! I will have to do some research.

    I did hear the other day on the radio that Sydney is having a leech plague at the moment because of the very wet summer.  Does anyone else share my unwelcomed  pond life?

    Thursday, 15 March 2012

    Retro apron inspiration (2)

    I had to do it, I made two more aprons.  Here they are!

    Both have a 3-piece skirt the join covered with  ric rac. Here is one that mixes a multi coloured paisley fabric with a yellow cotton. I would have made it entirely out of the paisley but didn't have enough fabric. It has bias finishing the edges.

    The second one is an aqua version of the purple goldfish one I made last week.  I think I actually like the aqua one better, except I think I made a fatal error in making the waist band feature -  bias with ric rac  - in orange.  I think it would have been better keeping the white theme going...

    Just as with last week's aprons, these are based on an old favourite  -  the artists' apron. The only real difference is I go a little further with the bias and ric rac - especially on the waste band, and I widened the ties, but otherwise all measurements and features copy the original.

    I think they will all end up as gifts, that is if I can part with them... Postcript -  I have now set up a little shop of my home made things called Cumquat.  Take a look!

    Tuesday, 13 March 2012

    Veg I don't buy

    home grown spring onions
    • spring onions
    I am sure you have a list of veg that you never buy.  In my situation, there are two reasons why I never buy some veg. One reason is because with little planning and effort, I always seem to manage to keep myself supplied  from the garden.  The other reason is because I can't imagine ever eating the shop bought version and am therefore happy to only eat seasonally and  when they come from my garden.

    Veg I manage to keep myself supplied with

    Spring onions
    I always have spring onions on the go in the garden.We do make lots of food that uses spring onions and they are so lovely fresh. Their long leaves are always round and fat with air and sound lovely when you brush them beside each other. I confess, I have only so far grown them from nursery bought seedlings, but I have ordered some spring onion seed and am going to try from seed  very soon. Does anyone out there have advice on growing spring onions from seed?

    spring onion, with parsley and eggplant
    I love beetroot but not every day and so it is easy to keep yourself in them.  One glut every now and then is enough and if you can't wait for them to get to a certain size, then you can always eat the baby ones... and their greens.

    It is pretty easy to keep us in rocket too.  It grows so quickly that constant picking, even when very small is essential to keep on top of the supply.  And nothing ever goes wrong with rocket.  It just grows!

    I always grow enough to have a stash in the freezer.  That never seems to run out before I start picking fresh ones and I always preserve lots of chillies in various forms each year to tie me over even if the frozen ones run out.

    Lemons (but you said veg, lemons are fruit)
    Yes, you are right but they are another of those thing I manage to keep myself in.

    Other things I never buy are herbs like, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and Vietnamese mint

    Things I can't even imagine buying and am happy to eat seasonally

    Snow peas
    tonight's spring onion pick
    Home grown snow peas are a treat to anticipate. I cannot imagine eating the ones I see in the shops that are almost always grown on too long for my taste and often look pale. I can deprive myself of snow peas until I pick my own easily. I will stagger my crop this year so that my supply lasts longer. I have some up already and when they start to flower I will get another batch in. When the crop is ready to pick  I pick snow peas every second day. Sometimes they don't even make it to the back door. I often eat the pick in the patch.

    I like all sorts of lettuce but cannot imagine eating the shop bought ones which are always floppier than the home grown. You also can pick off individual leaves as they grow so you don't have to wait till the plant is mature.

    I have noticed that the list of things I don't buy is not really very long and will be aiming to increase the number...

    What do you mange to keep yourself supplied with? What can't you bring yourself to buy?

    Sunday, 11 March 2012

    Citrus celebration

    Collete the finger lime
    •  mint
    I confess, I love all sorts of citrus and if I had more space I'd grow more types.  Sydney is apparently a great climate for citrus, that's what I am told anyway.  I have a lemon, two espaliered Tahitian limes and my newly acquired 'Collete' the finger lime -  an Australian native plant that is becoming a bit of a feature in some restaurants because of their pearly citrus bubbles that pop out when you score their rind. That feature, along with the crazy colours they come in, have made them a bit of a sensation. 'Collette' has a shiny black skinned fruit and dark lime green bubbles. I can't wait till she starts producing although I have been told it can take some time.

    As well as her fashionable status, I kind of like the idea that I am growing a tiny little bit of bush tucker...

    Here are my citrus.

    Here is 'Collette' -  I am enjoying her new growth which is a lovely dark red. She has tiny leaves and monstrous spikes and lives in a pot. She's only little.

    Lemon tree, very pretty

    This is my lemon, planted in this spot as one of my first gardening acts when we moved here in 2005. I am ashamed to say that I don't know if it is a Lisbon, or Meyer or anything else. It's one of those things I need to pay attention to - varieties.  It doesn't have spikes, if anyone knows what it is I'd be grateful.

    It has a bit of a bad case of citrus leaf miner but its doing fine and I can put up with curly leaves.  I have a glue trap hanging up inside the tree in case you were wondering if I grew square lemons!  I have had a few of my fruit stung with fruit fly this year but most of the fruit is completely usable so again it's of little concern and better than spraying. My basil stash is growing beneath it and it (the lemon that is) gets a regular mulch of grass clippings.

    I sometimes make this lamb meatball on skewers that uses lemon leaves as the main seasoning, it is just fantastic, you can't imagine how much the citrus flavour goes thru the meat.  I'll put it up here when I next make it.

    Tahitian lime

    Here is one of my espaliered Tahitian limes - this is the older one. It is currently fruiting quite well despite a stink bug attack earlier this season. I have fruit about to ripen and some babies on the way and  flowers just starting out so I should have a couple of crops to come if I can keep the stink bugs away.

    Nearly ready to pick

    The leaves are looking like they need a bit of a feed.  It has been such a wet summer I guess they could all do with some iron.

    What does everyone else do when their citrus leaves look a little anemic like these ones here?

    If I had more space I'd definitely grow a really tart mandarin, and a ruby grapefruit... one day.

    Lemon, lime and mint cordial

    I have to thank 500m2 and Suburban Tomato for their cordial suggestions for dealing with my lemon glut. I made about 1 litre of cordial using Suburban Tomato's recipe for Lemon and mint cordial, I added a few limes to it as I had some shop bought limes in the fruit basket that needed using up seeing as I will soon have my own crop, otherwise I used the recipe. I love it -  much better than Bickford's! I thought it looked nice in front of my citrus coloured glass that is a feature of our back veranda.

    Yesterday's lemon tart and the cordial have reduced my lemon glut to manageable levels now, but more ripen every day.

    Saturday, 10 March 2012

    A glut of lemons and wildlife

    a big basket full of lemons
    • eggplants
    • chillies (just a few)
    • lots of lemons (most gathered from the ground)
    • broad beans in and around the broccoli
    Took out
    • some of the weaker eggplants to make space for some cabbage seedlings
    • chilli plants that have finished flowering
    I have another lemon glut. It is a wonderful thing, I don't want to make it sound like a burden, but I am exhausting my options.

    I dealt with my first summer glut of lemons before this blog started by making jars and jars of lemon butter (or lemon curd), some of which I gave away, but I still have jars left over.  My second glut  was demolished by basically making lots of  lemon tarts and taking them to friends' places over the Christmas / New Year period and by making lemonade.  I also have enough preserved lemons in jars in the cupboard to keep us going for a good while so there is no point in making more of them. So I am kind of  struggling to know what to do with these.

    The glut is  going to go on for a while too - the tree is loaded and I am not even picking the lemons, I am only collecting the ones that have fallen from the tree! Does anyone have any good lemon recipes they can refer me too?

    I could make a favourite cake - a nice Lemony one -  but there is already a cake in the fridge a lovely banana and chocolate one that David made yesterday and you only need one cake in the fridge at a time. So tonight I will make Roasted Lemon Chicken.

    Roasted Lemon Chicken
    This is a real favourite and comes from a mini book that came with a Gourmet Traveller.The little book is called, 'Comfort Food'. I have made it so many times I cannot count. It's one of those one pan dishes that are so easy to make. Here is my version below, it does really benefit from lots of garlic. * from the garden

    olive oil
    potatoes cut into small chunks
    lots of shallots
    chicken pieces
    lots of garlic
    lots of rosemary leaves*
    thyme sprigs*
    2 lemons*

    Prepare the oven at 200C, put in a roasting pan olive oil, the shallots and potatoes. Cook the veg for about 20 mins. Tuck in the chicken pieces among the potatoes and shallots and scatter with garlic and rosemary and tuck in the thyme sprigs near the chicken. Cut lemons in half and squeeze the juice over the chicken and then cut into quarters or smaller if you have large lemons, and tuck in around the chicken.  Drizzle some more oil over and roast until chicken is cooked and golden. This is so yummy and lovely with a simple green salad.

    a big green grub with pink antenna
    David is going to make pastry -  he has the hands for it -  and so I will make another Lemon Tart as well. I am afraid I never get sick of them.

    During this  morning's garden inspection I came across quite a bit of wildlife.   Does anyone know what this amazing grub is? It's on one of my espaliered Tahitian lime trees and seems to be getting ready to make a cocoon.

    another type of praying mantis

    On the same lime tree there was a little green praying mantis - not like the giant bee and house fly eating ones. I guess all living things are enjoying the sun.  What did they all do during the massive rain storm?
    Another lemon tart?

    Post script -  Fresh from the oven, ANOTHER lemon tart. It is possibly the 6th  since 1st January. This one is a  little cracked on the top -  perhaps I left it in a little too long. Could this be called an addiction?


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