In My Kitchen: December 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen December 2013. This month, in my kitchen are…

pics-peanut-butter

Pic’s Peanut Butter is made from Australian peanuts and a touch of salt.

maleny-cheese

I was lucky enough to win $100 worth of Maleny Cheese (some of which is featured in the photo above). There may be some left for sharing with family at Christmas.

aeropress

Here’s an action shot of Matt using his aeropress to make his morning coffee. (A great gift idea for guys.)

felties-fruit

I am still making felt vegetables for one lucky niece. This month I’ve made banana, strawberries, pear and a lemon.

maggies-xmas-cover

I wrote a book review on Maggie’s Christmas. And visited the Good Food and Wine Show and L’Angolo Bistro.

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for organsing In My Kitchen December 2013.

The Garden Share Collective: December 2013

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

figs

We’ve been waiting and waiting for it to rain, and finally it did! Yeah. The garden is now looking fresher and greener. Our fig plant is fruiting and so is one of our limes. The acerola cherry has berries on it and the coffee plants are just thriving in this weather.

mystery-plant-bed

We planted Egyptian spinach months and months ago, and only now has it started to come up. We must confess we didn’t know what it was when it first came up and someone identified it for us on the Brisbane Local Food Ning.

kale-bed3

Only the third bed is planted out with huge amounts of kale and behind it you can see the Egyptian spinach. In the forth bed, there are the tiny beginnings of cucumber, rockmelon and zucchini – fingers crossed they make it through the next couple of hot months.

It’s going to be pretty quiet in the garden because it’s just too hot to be outside working in Summer. So the plan is to keep everything alive for the next few months.

Post for the Garden Share Collective challenge hosted by Stayed Table

Review: Good Food and Wine Show 2013

gfws-media-pass

I was lucky to be able to spend a day and half at the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show. Friday was nice and quiet and I was able to get into some masterclasses. Saturday was busier and some of the sessions I wanted to go to were booked out, so it pays to book early.

gfws-cheese

In the Celebrity Theatre I caught the always delightful Maggie Beer and the cheeky Anna Gare. I paced myself trying wines in the Riedel Wine Theatre. Then I sampled some new cheese in Cheese Alley. I also watched Bella in the Chopping Block.

gfws-miguel-me

One of the highlights was meeting Miguel Maestre in the Chef’s Table. He was entertaining and humorous.

gfws-chefs-table

I ate a tasting plate of three course allergy friendly Bulletproof menu. It was totally vegetarian and Italian themed. Instead of pasta, Miguel used a lettuce leaf and zucchini spaghetti in a creative way. I learnt a handy tip – that his mama used to say “one garlic clove per person”.

gfws-wine-tasting

Later I attended the wine tasting Riedel masterclass, where we sampled six regional Australian wines. I was impressed by variety of wine tasted and the good value with the gift pack of glasses and a bottle of wine.

gfws-cheese-tasting

The cheese tasting experience was interesting. I learnt that mozzarella in Italy is always eaten the day it is made. I particularly liked the Tuckers Natural caramelised onion crackers.

gfws-coffee-tasting

At the end of the day, I attended the Nespresso coffee tasting journey. I quickly picked up how to use the machine and we tried four different coffee pods, including an affogato – decaf on Movenpick vanilla ice cream.

gfws-maggies-icecream

Maggie Beer’s new icecream – malted milk and chocolate biscuit wins the best food sample in my book.

gfws-book-salami

Overall an enjoyable way to spend a day exploring and tasting your way around some of Queensland and Australia’s best food and wine producers.

Highly recommended.

Thank you Square One PR for inviting me to be a guest at the Good Food and Wine Show

In My Kitchen: November 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen November 2013. This month, in my kitchen are…

rosies-gf-biscuits

We continue to watch Recipe to Riches, but our enthusiasm is starting wane. We only bought one product from the show this month – Rosie’s Kitchen almond meringue biscuits. They were nice and had a great texture, but I don’t think they were special enough that I’d buy them again.

herbies-november

Herbie’s Spices had four Australian spices for the month – akudjura (bush tomato), lemon myrtle, saltbush and wattleseed. I’ve been experimenting with them all, and we tried the spicy nut recipe on the back of the saltbush packet. I also cooked a chicken and akurjura rissotto based again on the recipe on the back of the packet. I have been enjoying lemon myrtle on fish and particularly liked tuna and lemon myrtle penne.

james-squire-cider

I have been enjoying different ciders, and my favourite at the moment is James Squire’s orchard crush apple cider. I am also fond of the perry – a traditional cloudy pear cider. I made an apple cider fruit loaf with the first one.

felties-two

I am still making felt vegetables for one lucky niece. This month I’ve made beans, carrot, daikon, radish and zucchini. I’m yet to make some felt fruit and that will be next.

I enjoyed watching the final episodes of The Great British Bake Off, but I can’t believe we are three years behind! I wrote a book review on the The Great Australian Bake Off, and I also wrote a book review of Bill’s Italian Food.

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for organsing In My Kitchen November 2013.

The Garden Share Collective: November 2013

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

heartsee

It’s Spring time but there’s not much happening in our garden. Not one of the bulbs I planted came up! Matt pulled out all of the brassicas in our vegetable beds because the caterpillars were winning that battle. There is not much remaining in the beds, just some kale and beetroot.

lemon-tree

The dwarf Meyer lemon tree that was on it’s last legs has been revived with some chicken manure and seaweed solution. We repotted the herb garden we were given at Christmas and it’s doing really well. I was surprised, because it was planted in soil made entirely from grass clippings!

We lost a couple of fruit trees this month with the lack of rain and heat. I think they were mostly lychees which a colleague had warned me that they were too fussy for Brisbane’s hot weather. I did grow them from seed, so it was sad to see them wilt and die.

Matt was given a gardening kit for his birthday and it was made up of two narrow tin pots for the windowsill. Unfortunately the combination of the tin being too hot and the coir bedding material meant it needed to be watered every day. The lettuce ended up pathetic looking and only the dill is doing really well. Matt has abandoned it as a failure.

Here’s hoping we get some more rain so we can revive the garden this coming month. I am planning on planting some flowers in the outer garden and some drought-hardy vegetables in the vegetable beds.

Post for the Garden Share Collective challenge hosted by Stayed Table

The Garden Share Collective: October 2013

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

I volunteered at Northey Street City Farm, but it’s starting to get too hot to be working outside in the garden in the middle of the day.

In the vegetable beds, I planted Red Kuri pumpkin, Eggplant Listada di Gandia, Leek Elephant, Hales Best rockmelon, Sugar baby watermelon and Minnesota midget rockmelon. Some of these seeds were old, so it’s more than likely they won’t come up. We also need some decent rain to soak the beds.

bottlebrush

The red bottlebrushes of the King’s Park are spectacular and are really the highlight of our garden this month. The rainbow lorikeets adore them.

bottlebrush2

We have been harvesting lots of green beans and green leafy vegetables. My parents had an abundance of lettuce, so we got a bunch and made lettuce soup – delicious, if not unusual and very subtle.

Plans for next month include working out how to revive my citrus tree that looks half dead but still bares a fruit. I also want to plant out the first bed with more vegetables.

Post for the Garden Share Collective challenge hosted by Stayed Table

In My Kitchen: October 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen October 2013. This month, in my kitchen are …

croqs

Concetta won the first week of Recipe to Riches. They were delicious, but I’m not sure we’d buy them again because we don’t eat very much frozen prepared food.

chocorn

Last week’s Recipe to Riches was won by Chocorn – corn covered in caramel and then chocolate. They are marketed as a premium product which I think is their downfall. They were overpriced at $8 a box. The dark and milk chocolate were fantastic, but the white chocolate was sickly sweet.

We also tried Sweet Billies the previous week but found them too sweet as well.

sumac

Sumac is Herbie’s Spices spice of the month. We have been having it on our chicken fajitas. The berry goes well with avocado and tomatoes, so it’s perfect with guacamole. You can also add the tangy lemony flavour to salads as a garnish and seasoning rubs on grilled and roasted meats (sprinkle on before cooking).

marmalade

My Aunty made cumquat marmalade, which goes perfectly well my spiced fruit cider bread. I’ve been trying to perfect a bread recipe, and this one finally turned out well.

felt-vegetables

I’ve been having some fun making felt vegetables. They are supposed to be a Christmas present, but I’m afraid I like them too much to give away.

Posted for In My Kitchen October 2013 hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

In My Kitchen – September 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen September 2013. This month, in my kitchen are …

eggplant

We discovered the Samford Markets which are held on the second Saturday of the month. They have two stalls selling seedlings. We found some mandarins at 10 for $2, and a bag of Listada de Gandia eggplants for $2.50.

mandarins

We have been eating lots of mandarins from the markets and the supermarket. The strawberries have come into season at a great price. We were gifted some bush lemons – which were rather ugly but perfect for the juice and I made Lemon barley water with them.

sept-herbies

I’ve been experimenting with Herbie’s Spices. This month I have Vanilla Bean Sugar, Ockkah – an Australian version of Dukkah (with hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seed, pistachio, akudjura, wattleseed, salt and native pepperberry) and lastly a Bread Maker’s Seed Mix (with sesame, black sesame, toasted sesame, nigella, blue and white poppy seeds and ajowan).

sept-lindt

As Lindt chocolate was on a great special I decided to do a taste test of their Creation range. The only one I was missing was Creme Brulee. The divine hazelnut was creamy with little crunchies of nuts. The velvety vanilla almond was a rich caramel with the texture of slivered almonds. The sumptuous orange was the perfect combination and my firm favourite of the three.

Last night we watched the finale of Masterchef and I was surprised Emma won. I was backing nice guy Lynton. I also caught the repeats of The Great Australian Bake Off and again backed the wrong person thinking that Maria would win. But in retrospect I can see Nancy was pushing her skill level and that was the reason she won.

We’ll see if Recipe to Riches keeps me entertained to the end. Matt thinks it’s a very clever advertising scheme. I wonder if the brands will have staying power.

Posted for In My Kitchen September 2013 hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

The Garden Share Collective: September 2013

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

sept-carrot

I volunteered twice at Northey Street City Farm in the nursery, so I learnt how they propagate seeds and then make the seedlings ready for selling to the public. I got some rejects to take home and plant – Purple Dragon carrots (above) and kale seedlings which seem to be doing well in Bed 3. Some old potatoes have also come up in this bed.

sept-bed-brassica

This is bed two – we been eating lots of baby cauliflower and green leaves from this bed. Matt picks off all the caterpillars by hand each afternoon. 

sept-bed

This is bed four – we are harvesting green beans and kale from this bed. I fertilized all of my fruit trees with yellow leaves with Epsom salts.

sept-beans

I planted two seeds of Giant Pumpkin for a growing challenge, but they unfortunately haven’t come up. Matt bought a chilli seedling and planted it in bed one. It’s Scotch Bonnet orange – very hot.

The highlight of the month was going on a tour of Northey Street City Farm, which I had to go on before I volunteered to work there. It was very inspiring. I’d like to go back to volunteering again before the weather becomes too hot. I also wrote a blog post on what is a herb spiral?.

This coming month I’d like to plant out some seeds in bed one and three.

Post for the Garden Share Collective challenge hosted by Stayed Table

The Garden Share Collective: August 2013

Garden Share Collective

Welcome to all the new readers and hello again to my faithful long-term readers. I’ve decided to join the Garden Share Collective as a way to track the progress we are making in our garden and as a way to motivate us to get out there and make the most of the our backyard.

Our garden

We have been gardening for 6 years now, and learnt many lessons along the way. The garden is based on permaculture ideas and we use organic methods and inputs. We try as much as possible to use open-pollinated, heirloom seeds. Around the perimeter of the garden is planted out with natives to attract wildlife and provide a wind break.

We have four beds for vegetables, where we practice no-dig gardening. At present, Bed 1 is mostly fallow with some self-sown parsley and Queen Anne’s Lace.

broccoli seedlings

cauliflower

Bed 2 has some broccoli seedlings, cauliflower and kale from Northey Street.

Bed 3 has some Egyptian spinach which is not doing anything. It was recommended to us from Annette McFarlane in a talk at the Queensland Plant Expo.

brassicas

Bed 4 is doing the best, but we aren’t exactly sure what we have planted. The seedlings were gifted to us from Matt’s Mum, and we think they are either purple cauliflower, broccoli or kale – they are a brassica of some kind! We also have two lots of heirloom beans which all came up.

buckinghamia-celsissima

We have about 11 herbs in pots, and 19 fruit trees and vines in big pots which we are gradually putting into the ground. Matt planted our two free plants from the Brisbane City Council along the fence line. They were both Buckinghamia Celsissima (above) and they have the most interesting shaped leaves. Matt also planted into the ground a sea grape, peanut tree and a pomegranate.

lillypilly

There is lots of new growth on the lillypillies and black sapote.

Highlights from the month

tumeric

We recently pulled up all of our tumeric plants to harvest them and got a bumper crop. We got lots of inspiration and ideas from The Queensland Garden Expo and the highlight was meeting Costa. With some recommendations from Jerry I wrote about Plants for honey bees.

I was fortunate to interview Marion Grasby and also Ian Hemphill, Herbie’s Spices.

To do list

I must confess I’m not very good at planning the garden month to month, so this month is just going to be to plant in some more fruit trees into the ground and plant some seeds in the two empty beds. I’m also hoping to attend one of the free tours on a Tuesday at Northey Street City Farm.

I’ll be happy if I keep better records and I hope blogging for the Garden Share Collective will motive me to do just that.

Post for the Garden Share Collective challenge hosted by Stayed Table