Carless and careless

The drama of this week was our car’s starter engine giving up the ghost. Usually we only make one grocery trip per week, with maybe an odd top up mid-week. Without a car, it took us three attempts to complete the weekly shopping. The corner store stocks most things and is only a 15 minute walk. I also got some fresh fruit and vegetables from the local Sunday markets which was a 45 minute round trip by train. The prices are reasonable and there’s a good variety, but sometimes the produce is a bit rough looking. It’s pretty frustrating without a car, even if we only use it on the weekends.

Luckily there are plenty of beans in the freezer. We also harvested some purple and white flecked eggplant and some plain pumpkin. We ate two gorgeous aromatic rockmelons, and the watermelon is still going strong.

The corn has petered out, and I’ve since learnt that you shouldn’t plant two different varieties of corn that close together as they might cross pollinate. I’ve started to pull out the stalks that have browned off and added them back into the compost bins.

We both attempted to bandicoot some potatoes but neither of us has found any yet. There are two possibilities, we are either not digging down deep enough or the no-dig layering was still composting when we put the potatoes in and the soil was too hot. We are both leaning towards the second answer, as there were no plants at the centre of the plantings (where it would have been the hottest). This was a real shame as we were hoping for a big bounty to boost our progress total.

Best guacamole

We have one young avocado tree but it’s showing no signs of fruiting. They can take up half the backyard, but ours is a dwarf. Avocados are high in good fats and are great for your skin.

We often have guacamole on Sunday afternoon as a snack. After lots of trial and error this is currently my favourite combination. Big M doesn’t like any type of onion so I leave it out for his half. We like to serve the dip with Byron Bay corn chips as they aren’t covered in fake flavouring and let the guac shine through. I only season with pepper as the corn chips are usually salty enough.

Best Guacamole

1 avocado
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lime or ½ lemon, juiced
1 large tomato or a small handful of cherry tomatoes
1 spring onion or onion chives

  1. Cut avocado in half and remove the seed. Then gently dice the flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, taking care not to break through the peel.
  2. Squeeze avocado out into a bowl. Mash the avocado and mix in the olive oil.
  3. Add the juice of a lime (or lemon) for zing.
  4. Then whisk vigorously with a fork to combine. You could use a blender if you wanted a really smooth texture.
  5. Cut up the tomato and add.
  6. Finely slice the green part of one spring onion, or dice a few onion chives. Add and just mix to combine.
  7. Season with pepper.

Optional: If you like add diced coriander and/or chili for a more authentic taste.

Heart shaped corn fritters

Heart shaped corn fritters, with oven roasted tomatoes and crispy bacon strips. This is an easy recipe to remember and is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.

Corn Fritters
310g can of corn kernels, rinsed and drained
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs plain flour
vegetable oil

  1. Place the corn, egg, parsley and flour in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. To create the heart shaped fritters I used a cookie cutter that had been coated in a little butter so the fritter would fall out easily. You can,  of course, spoon a tablespoon of batter straight into the pan.
  3. Repeat to make 3 more fritters, leaving about 2cms apart, and cook for 2 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through. Repeat until the batter is all gone.
  4. Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half, and grill the wrong side for 2 minutes. Turn over to the cut half, and sprinkle with finely chopped garlic and parsley or other herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over olive oil. Grill for a further 6 minutes.
  5. Cook strips of bacon as usual, and serve together with fritters and tomatoes. Preferably to a loved one in bed!

Serves 2.

Written for the latest Donna Hay Challenge.