Author: Minette Tonoli

Newsletter – August 2018

Newsletter – August 2018

The latest newsletter is now available at the link below. All about gardening in August when we feel like spring has sprung, but have to be a bit more patient, and featuring strawberries as the herb of the month, miner’s lettuce as vegetable of the…

21 July – First sowings of tomatoes and chillies for 2018

21 July – First sowings of tomatoes and chillies for 2018

Now that I have my heated propagation area in place (eek, so excited!!!), I’ve put in a few of the first tomato and chilli seeds for my 2018 garden and for sale at the markets later in spring and summer. Just love it when a…

21 July 2018 – Flowering Now

21 July 2018 – Flowering Now

It's not a floriferous time in the garden for most things, but if you look closely, or plant smartly, even mid winter can be a flower show in the garden. I don't garden with many flowers just for their prettiness - in my mind they have to have some "other" use too, an added value, like being edible, or being exceptionally good in bringing in pollinators, or be a companion plant to my food crops, or have a medicinal action associated to them.

I took a quick walk in my garden this morning, to catalog exactly what is flowering now, as we officially have about 6 weeks left till (calendar) spring day...

 

 

Snapdragons
Fairy Primula
Calendula
Sweet violet
Nutmeg Pelargonium
Bulbine
Carpet Rose - Pink Splash
Love in the Mist
French (L. dentata) Lavender
Abutilon - pink
Calendula - Sunset Tones
Pineapple Sage
Dogsbane - Plectranthus
Abutilon - Defiance
Nasturtium
Rosemary
Miner's Lettuce
Spanish (L. stoechas) Lavender
Broad Beans Hughey Crimson
Alyssum
Pea - Blue Shelling
Tagetes (T. lemmonii)
Anemone
Miniature Daffodil
Fern-leaf Lavender
Violas
Pansies
Pelargonium Sidoides
13 July 2018 – New Moon, New Beginnings

13 July 2018 – New Moon, New Beginnings

It’s New Moon in July. It stirs my blood. Even as cold winter clouds hang low, and the midday temperature outside battles to lift from the low teens, I feel eager and excited: Spring is coming. Exactly 50 days to 1 September. And even then……

Edible Flower Cookies

Edible Flower Cookies

No secret I love edible flowers. No secret I love baking. And in our unschool-homeschool, Friday is baking and gardening day, so 1 + 1 + 1 = kids making edible flower cookies today! Extra points scored for our science experiment on which flowers will…

How To – Roast Garlic

How To – Roast Garlic

Garlic everywhere and garlic in everything! We’re a household that loves to cook with garlic, and naturally, I also have a few special garlic medicines ready to dispense for a variety of ailments.

Garlic, Allium sativum, is truly an amazing ingredient to always have on hand in your culinary and medicinal pantries! Used worldwide in an astounding array of cuisine, this pungent herb has a very long history as a folk medicine, and is, among other things, a very strong anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, tonic, stimulant, stomachic and antispasmodic agent.

I include garlic in my Tomato Tea for Sinus Congestion, and it is an important ingredient in the Cider Tonic I made recently. Garlic in Honey is a potent remedy for colds and flu, or if you can stomach it, a raw clove a day is sure to keep the doctor away.

Here is one of my favourite ways to make garlic – slow roasted to a sweet and delicious condiment. I serve this with roast Mediteranean vegetables such as zucchini and eggplant, or with sundried tomatoes and olives on Bruchetta. You could also enjoy it with a great cut of steak too! Or… when no one is looking, just slip a clove straight into your mouth. Mmmm!

Newsletter – June 2018

Newsletter – June 2018

Brrr! Cold and wet weather set in to most of the country over this past long weekend. Metservice published their June outlook, saying we’re swinging between cold and warmer-than average from week to week through the month, with rainfall predicted to be quite volatile as…

Crystallized flowers

Crystallized flowers

Crystallized flowers! These candied flowers are a favourite of my little girls to make. Here’s how you can also make the most of the pretty edible petals in our garden by making Victorian style flowery delights! A glorious project to get into on a rainy day…

Chimichurri – Argentinian Green Sauce for Grilled Meat

Chimichurri – Argentinian Green Sauce for Grilled Meat

The first time I made chimichurri was out of necessity – I had harvested handfuls of gorgeous Italian parsley, and after drying some, freezing some, and making a lot into parsley pesto, I had to do something else with what was leftover. A quick search in some recipe books I had, introduced me to a new favourite – chimichurri! Isn’t even the name just delicious to say!?

Basically, it is a raw sauce with loads of parsley, some garlic, oregnao, red pepper (chilli), olive oil and red wine vinegar. It does absolute wonders for grilled meat – and my favourite is to have it with steak. Honestly, I love steak for just being steak, and a good steak is great on its own, but chimichurri makes it even better. I promise. Even my husband who is not a great fan of parsley, loves this!

There’s many variations out there of this uncooked sauce, with every chef, and wannabe grill-master probably having their own special version. The recipe that follows is a very simple one, and my favourite to make.

 

Chimichurri sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed parsley, cleaned and dried (flat-leaf Italian parsley, or curly “fancy” parsley, or a combination of the two)
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons oregano, cleaned and dried
  • 3-5 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or some chopped fresh red chilli (optional, to taste)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method
  1. Pulse the herbs and garlic in your blender until well chopped.
  2. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chilli if using, and mix through.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Rose Panna cotta with rose jelly and a cardomom-pistachio biscuit

Rose Panna cotta with rose jelly and a cardomom-pistachio biscuit

I love combining rose with cardamom – it is a lovely Middle Eastern combination and puts me in mind of all the exotic places I visit \vicariously through the internet and travel books. Actually, the first time I combined these particular flavours, it was when…