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Classic Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Classic Heirloom Tomato Sauce

This is my go-to sauce. It is simple, allowing the gorgeous taste of the heirloom tomatoes to shine. It’s got no added sugar, and just a dash of balsamic for an added depth of flavour. It still preserves well because of the natural acidity of…

JANUARY 2019 : WEEK 2

JANUARY 2019 : WEEK 2

What did I say last week about it not being hot? Was I out of my mind?! Goodness me, this past week had some scorching temperatures (I’m Auckland based)… and no rain to speak of… So how do you water when it’s hot? I prefer…

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

If you have never had lavender as a food herb before, I encourage you to give it a try! I love the slightly bitter floral taste it gives, especially to something sweet. While a few people cannot get over the fact that lavender is mostly used as a cosmetic or fragrance herb (making them feel like they are eating their grandmother's soap), the flower actually has a long history of being used as a culinary herb with old recipes of the famous French herb blend 'Herbes de Provence' calling for the inclusion of lavender blossoms.

The best culinary lavender to use, is English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Many cultivars of this species plant exist, many specifically created by the horticultural industry for long flower stalks, greater bloom time, specific colors, or deep fragrance. Personally I like the plain one most, but 'Grosso', 'Hidcote', and 'Lady' all do well too.

The other lavenders are not poisonous per se, and are all digestible, they have a bitterness and camphor-like taste that does not pair well with food. But in a pinch, if you don't have English lavender, my degree of use will be as follow: first Lavandins (Lavandula x intermedia), Allard's lavender (Lavandula x allardii), French lavender (Lavandula dentata) and then Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas). I don't think I'd ever go as far as to eat fern-leaf lavender (Lavandula multifida), so keep that one just for prettiness' sake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 5 stalks lavender flowers fresh, or half a teaspoon dried blossoms
Method
  1. Combine sugar and 1 cup water and lavender in a small saucepan and boil to dissolve. Leave to cool with the lavender flowers.
  2. After a couple of hours, remove the lavender stalks and strain the flowers.
  3. Add the lemon juice to the cooled syrup and the remaining water to taste.
  4. Keep in the refrigerator
  5. Enjoy ice cold on a hot summer's day

 

lavender
Butternut and Feta filled Ravioli with Burnt Butter and Crispy Sage

Butternut and Feta filled Ravioli with Burnt Butter and Crispy Sage

A culinary match made in heaven – butternut and feta and sage. Add in the nutty taste of burnt butter, and throw in some pasta, and you have a meal on your hands that would make any Italian Nonna proud!You can use any culinary sage…

January 2019 : Week 1

A new year, and a new set of goals, or at least, let’s be honest, a new (re)start on an old set of goals! And you know what, that’s okay – I’ve realized that it is never too late to start, or at least, start…

Newsletter September 2018

Newsletter September 2018

It’s Spring! Lots to do in our herb and vegetable gardens, including planting bee-friendly flowers, and if you don’t have one already- starting a compost system!

Enjoy the latest newsletter featuring bee plants and composting, available at the following link: Newsletter for September 2018

As always, comments and feedback much appreciated. And if you have anyone who you think would like to receive my newsletters via e-mail (yourself included), a new newsletter subscription database will soon be launched, so keep an eye out on my website and facebook pages.

Calendula and Lemon Balm Tea – a welcome to Spring!

Calendula and Lemon Balm Tea – a welcome to Spring!

It is undeniable – there’s an undercurrent rising in the soil, teasing seeds awake, nudging dormant perennial roots, and tickling growth buds on shrubs and trees. It’s the feeling of spring, and although the Lady herself (whether you name her Ēostre, Flora, Yarylo, Thallo, or…

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 plan comes together.

Now to test the contraption out over the weekend, but I’m sure it will work supberbly (Rick put it together after all!).

Today I put the following seeds in:

Tomatoes

  • Russian red x9
  • Small fry x6
  • Tony Tim x6
  • Tumblar x6
  • Is of capei x6
  • Dr Walter x9
  • Back x6
  • Moneymaker x6
  • Cuor de bue x6
  • Giant polish paste x6
  • Alma paste x6
  • Sunrise bumblebees x9
  • Piks Yugo x3
  • Delicious x12
  • Costoluto Florentine x9
  • Burnley x6
  • Riesentraube x9
  • Mortgage lifter x12
  • Tommy toe x9
  • Federle x6
  • Voyage x9
  • Sam marzano x9
  • Zebra x9
  • Watermelon beefsteak x3
  • Scoreby dwarf x9
  • Marmande x9

 

Chillies (all x6)

  • Chiltepin
  • Marconi
  • Bishop’s Crown
  • Cayenne – Long Red
  • Habanero – Chocolate
  • Cubanelle
  • Bhut Jolokia – Peach
  • Carolina Reaper
  • Habanero – Yellow Sun
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Naga Morich – Black
  • Padron
  • Aji Norteno
  • 7-pot Yellow
  • Fish PEpper
  • Habanero – Red
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…