The Colour Yellow

Walking around the garden this morning I realised that yellow is the colour of the moment. Of course, given the time of year you couldn’t ignore the wattle, in this case the Ovens Wattle (Acacia pravissima) which dominates the yard.

Acacia pravissima, the Ovens Wattle, September 2013.
Acacia pravissima, the Ovens Wattle, September 2013.

There is also my beautiful bowl of yellow tulips:

Tulips, September 2013
Tulips, September 2013

A new addition to the garden are several plants of Ozothamnus diotopyllus, Gold Dust, a small native shrub which I hope to plant out, if we are ever given the go-ahead, in our front garden where the termites were found.

Ozothamnus diotophyllus, Gold Dust
Ozothamnus diotophyllus, Gold Dust

All around the garden our brassicas are flowering. In this photo the majority of yellow flowers are from our turnips, which have gone to seed rather than produce tubers. At the very front of the picture and towering above are the flowers of the native Bulbine Lily (Bulbinopsis bulbosa), which are also destined for the front garden. At the back is the chook palace and if you have sharp eyes you can just spot the red comb of our Australorp Dottie in the centre of the photo.

Bulbine Lillies and brassicas
Bulbine Lillies and brassicas

Last but far from least is the yellow of our dwarf Meyer Lemons.

Dwarf Meyer lemons
Dwarf Meyer lemons

Several of these were destined, along with three of our ‘golden’ eggs to be made into a Lemon meringue pie that we are having when our friends come over for dinner tonight.

All served up and very tasty too!

Lemon meringue pie.
Lemon meringue pie.


Eat your greens

Green vegetables definitely make up the central ‘spine’ of our garden. They grow all year round and even through our Canberra winter, but … we don’t always use them as much as we should.

How good are these red mustard greens, lush and full of goodness, ready to eat.
How good are these red mustard greens, lush and full of goodness, ready to eat.

We can easily justify growing all these greens because even if we don’t eat them our chooks do, especially anything from the brassica family. So it is with a somewhat guilty feeling that I’ve decided to have a real go at eating more of our greens. Thankfully several articles about how to best use these vegetables have turned up int the last few days.

The first recipe that I have used is from issue 125 of Fine Cooking magazine, where Maryellen Driscoll gives a series of recipes for kales, collards and mustard greens, all members of the brassica family. As we grow all of these greens at Chez Fork it’s wonderful to get some new takes on how to use them. I made Mustard Greens with Chorizo and white beans (all the recipes from this article can be found on the Fine Cooking website). Not only did I have those red mustard greens growing beautifully in the front garden, but TB was also able to contribute a chorizo that he had made last year.

Mustard greens and chorizo, ready for lunch.
Mustard greens and chorizo, ready for lunch.

All I needed to add was a can of white beans which I had in the storage cupboard. This turned out to be a very easy meal which only took a very short period of time to cook, about 15 minutes all up. This made a tasty, if somewhat rustic lunch, perfect for a day when it felt more like winter than spring.

Amazing, it even looksa bit  like it did in the magazine!
Amazing, it even looks a bit like it did in the magazine!

I did try eating this on top of TB’s sourdough bread, but shortly after I took the photo the whole lot toppled into my lap.

Now on the bread, soon to be in my lap.
Now on the bread, soon to be in my lap.

Now that spring is here the chickens are going into full egg production and while we are giving quite a lot of eggs away, we still have plenty for our own use. So tonight we made an omelette stuffed full of red mustard greens, fresh tarragon and flat leaf parsley.

Omlette fixings.
Omelette fixings.

We quickly sauteed the stems of the mustard greens, followed by the leaves. These were then put aside while the eggs were beaten and then cooked with the tarragon and parsley. Just prior to folding the omelette over the sauteed greens were added. Fantastic, another fast, easy and tasty meal on the table.

Mustard green, tarragon and parsley omelette.
Mustard green, tarragon and parsley omelette.

And coming soon to our dinner table, the first asparagus of the season.

The first asparagus of spring makes its appearance.
The first asparagus of spring makes its appearance.

 

Child’s play

Reversion to childhood seems to be the theme of my past week. I’ve spent lots of time fistly digging in mud and then digging in dirt. I’ve been harvesting!

Water chestnut harvesting.
Water chestnut harvesting.

Firstly it was the water chestnuts. When you taste these sweet crunchy delights in a stir fry you start to understand why texture should be an important part of any meal. Luckily for me we’ve been basking in above average temperatures for the first few days of spring – so for once at least I wasn’t shivering through a cold wet harvest at 10 degrees C. It certainly looks like the water chestnuts were well on the way to being past harvest time as quite a few were already shooting.

A water chestnut, shooting already.
A water chestnut, shooting already.

This has been a good year for water chestnuts. Not only did we harvest enough tubers to fill 6 litres of icecream containers, but most of the tubers were of a good size – all the easier to peel them.

Some of the water chestnut harvest.
Some of the water chestnut harvest.

Of course we are not sure how we managed to get such a good-sized crop this time. We think that we may not have used as much rich compost in the tub this year, which probably meant less energy was spent of growing leaves. That’s our theory anyway.

My other close encounter with the soil was digging up our Jerusalem artichoke crop. Again the tubers were starting to shoot away so I think I got them just in time. Because it’s very easy to break the delicate tubers when harvesting I sat on the ground and dug them out with the ho-mi. The cat came to keep me company and the chickens were very keen to get the worms and the curl grubs that I found while digging. I harvested just over a bucket load of tubers.

A bucket and a h bit of Jerusalem Artichokes.
A bucket and a h bit of Jerusalem Artichokes.

So we ended up having some for dinner along with some beetroot in a Jerusalem Artichoke and Beetroot borscht.