Recent Posts

Newsletter – May 2018

Newsletter – May 2018

And just like that we are in the last official month of Autumn – but as always, for the gardener and herbalist alike, there are still lots to be done with herbs this beautiful time of year. In this Newsletter for May 2018, read about…

Recipe: Baked Earl Grey Cheesecake with Lavender

Recipe: Baked Earl Grey Cheesecake with Lavender

Ingredients Base: 1 packet biscuits (I used Tennis Biscuits from South Africa, Coconut Based) 115g butter, melted Filling: 500g cream cheese (2 tubs) 100g caster sugar 100ml sour cream 1.5tbsp cake flour 2 large eggs 1 egg yolk 1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds 50ml…

Newsletter – March 2018

Newsletter – March 2018

The first month of Autumn! And while March is still relatively warm, one can start to see the changes in daylight and feel a slight drop in night temperatures too (at least I can!) I’ve even spied a few leaves turning yellow and red on deciduous trees nearby… making me think of planning our annual camping trip to my favourite lakeside botanical collection of trees at Lake Mclaren…

Plenty of harvesting and planting, and planning to do in the garden this month – read more about Autumn in the garden in the newsletter, and have a look at the March Moon Calendar for ideas on what to sow and grow now (it’s not an extensive list, just a few thoughts on what should do well).

If you have ever wondered about Hibiscus as a Herb, I discuss a few different herbal hibiscus in this month’s newsletter, together with all your favourite features such as FAQ, Kids in Nature, Vegetable of the Month, Flower of the Month and Recipes!  Enjoy the read, and as always, happy to hear your thoughts!

MeadowSweet Herbs & Flowers Newsletter for March 2018

Newsletter – February 2018

Newsletter – February 2018

Wow! We’re in the last (official) month of summer already, and the gardens are full of produce and flowers. This month’s newsletter focuses on my top 10 herb flowers for use in food, medicine or cosmetics. Perfect time to harvest these beauties! NewsletterFeb2018 Also the…

Do-It-Yourself: Seedling Soil

Do-It-Yourself: Seedling Soil

I’ve been making a lot of my own seedling soil and cutting mix for a few years now. It’s super easy to make, and you can control exactly what goes into your mix. I’m not convinced it saves money unless you make a lot over…

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes – How To

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes – How To

The cherry tomatoes are dripping fruit… and it’s a race to get to them before the birds do! But what to do with all of them once they are picked? I’ve done dehydrator “sundried” cherry tomatoes, and of course, we snack on them constantly, but still I had more than 3kg picked the other day!

Then I found Pickled Cherry Tomatoes, and I’m in love – I enjoy almost any kind of pickle in any way, and it really looked like the most beautiful way to preserve a harvest of mixed cherry tomatoes! So this is what I’ve done, and having tried one a few days after the initial bottling, can say that I’m super happy I gave this somewhat unconventional way of preserving tomatoes, a go – delicious!

Easy peasy too!

The recipe below made about 7 (400ml) jars

Ingredients

  • 2kg ripe cherry tomatoes, washed and pricked with a toothpick *
  • 5 cups of cider vinegar
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 Tbsp sugar (can be more if you like it sweeter)
  • 5 tsp Kosher salt **
  • 2ml peppercorns per bottle/jar
  • 1 clove garlic per bottle/jar
  • chillies (optional)
  • basil leaves (optional)

Method

  1. To make the brine, heat the cider, water, salt and sugar in a pot until all the granules have dissolved.
  2. Put half a teaspoon (about 2ml) of black peppercorns and a clove of garlic in each sterilised jar.
  3. Pack in the washed and pricked cherry tomatoes.
  4. Pour over the brine.
  5. Let cool slightly, tapping the sides so all the air bubbles can escape, seal and store in the refrigerator.

According tot he original recipe, this will keep for about 2 months in the fridge, or if you go ahead and can it properly with a waterbath, may last a couple of years.

How to use your pickled tomatoes

Once I posted this on social media, people were intrigued about how to use it – I’d say they are best just liek that as a snack out the jar! Or tossed into salads in winter when fresh tomatoes are too expensive! Halve them and add them to pastas with olives and garlic and herbs… or as a side for a cheese plate…

* This helps the flavour permeate the cherry tomato, and helps them sink into the brine too.

** I only had pink Himalayan salt, and it worked beautifully for taste, but did cloud up the pickles a bit.

Week in Retrospect : 8 JAN 2018 – 14 JAN 2018

Week in Retrospect : 8 JAN 2018 – 14 JAN 2018

We are Open While I know this is supposed to be a retrospective post, I feel it will be remiss if I don’t add that today, 15 January, officially marks the opening of MeadowSweet Herbs & Flowers for 2018.  🙂 North Shore Herb Group If…

Week in Retrospect : 1 Jan 2018 – 7 Jan 2018

Week in Retrospect : 1 Jan 2018 – 7 Jan 2018

And just like that, it is a new year! 2018 marks the 5th year that I’ve lived in New Zealand, the golden year of immigration adjustment, if sources are to be believed. I’ve always loved being a Kiwi, but let’s hope this year will indeed…

Rose Petal Jam – How To

Rose Petal Jam – How To

When life gives you rose petals… make rose petal jam (or jelly)!

Every day that my Westerland climbing rose is in flower and I walk up to, or out of my front door, where the scent from it is strongest, I long to capture that magnificent soft fragrance for the winter days when the roses are bare and the heady days of summer is a distant memory… Together with petals from my (okay, my daughter’s) DL Braithewaite (for the colour more than the scent), I decided to make a rose petal preserve to try and do just that.

Far from being my most fragrant rose – Blackberry Nip gets that title, nevertheless it is sublime, and this year my favourite rose in my garden.

Recipe for Rose Petal Jam

Ingredients

  • 4 cups packed rose petals, rinsed and bitter white heel snipped off
  • 3 cups sugar (I find jam setting sugar works really well)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste

Method

  1. Pack the rose petals with 2 Tbsp of the sugar between each layer in a sealable container (non-reactive) and leave them overnight.
  2. Bring the rest of the sugar and the water to a boil and then cool down slightly.
  3. Add the rose petals and sugar and the lemon juice and bring back to the boil until setting point is reached (around 104ºC), or a rolling boil.
  4. Pour into sterilised jars and let cool before sealing and storing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is really sweet, but delectable, and the colour came out amazing! We had it on pikelets with fresh (tart) blueberries from the garden, cream and some lemon basil. It was delicious! Next up I’ll try it with scones and Earl Grey tea.

 

 

 

Chamomile Tea – How To

Their white and yellow daisy heads nod on their stems above the fresh apple-scented ferny leaves as bumblebees and bees flit to and fro. Summertime is chamomile time. Take the time to harvest and dry some of your own chamomile for a year’s worth of…