Good morning garden

It’s rained overnight so all the autumn colours in the garden are quite intense. Our potted yuzu; the Japanese Maple; the pomegranate and some golden Ginko leaves.

Our yuzu is producing only small fruit, but they are big enough to brighten up a gin and tonic
The Japanese Maple. It’s doing pretty well for a plant I bought for $1.
The pomegranate fruit definitely needs to be picked
I never tire of seeing the beautiful golden leaves of our Ginko

Thoughtful gifts

As a keen gardener I am always happy to receive garden related presents. This time my friend has given me two special ones.

A lovely pot for two succulents which have been hidden away in a make do plastic pot. Looking great now.

Pretty as a picture.

The second part was equally useful as they are pretty, a home-made plant marker kit complete with pegs painted ready to go and a Sharpie for writing on them. Bravo M, what an excellent idea.

Just in time for all the new seedlings.

We’re Moulting!

Just a quick chook update. With amazing foresight, that clearly eluded our political leaders, our 3 chickens decided to simultaneously moult at the same time as we got the stay at home notice for the pandemic.

So not only did we have to stay at home, we also had to buy eggs. We are in complete shock.

Three chooks in moult down.

At least they are making themselves useful, eating the last of the brassica crop which is completely covered in aphids.

Whisky in the biscuit!

I was feeling a bit ‘meh’ yesterday, but some biscuit inspiration today from Dan Lepard, has at least got me moving again.

Originally Dan gave included some beer in his Secret Ingredient biscuits. I saw his Instagram post updating the recipe, this time substituting a dram of whisky for some the beer. I do like a dram of whisky, but these days apart from pleasure it’s also likely to give me indigestion. Now I can spare some for cooking, without feeling too sad about it.

The recipe includes 200grams of chocolate chips. As I didn’t have quite the amount of chocolate chips required I made up the amount by using some golden raisins, which were duly soaked in the aforementioned dram.

I was a bit surprised by the direction to put mix in the fridge to stiffen – something I have not done before, but there is method to his madness. It turns out that these biscuits are of a very louche nature and sprawl all over the baking sheet with great abandon.

The biscuits fresh out of the oven and cooling on a handmade wire rack, passed down from my Grandma

The biscuitd tasted just fine even though they don’t have test-kitchen regular shape. Even better they freeze quite well, as long as you can resist eating all of them at once.

Great outcome! Coming soon Dan’s Oat and Fig biscuits. (That is if the supermarket has any dried figs!)

Breakfast with the Galahs

I think we were all surprised when I pulled the curtains back and we were all face to face this morning.

Two Galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) feasting on the ripening Wattle seed in our garden.

Galahs in the Wattle tree.

The Galahs were also here yesterday. They are happy to stay eating when I look at them through the window, but move off to the power lines when I leave the house.

Marbled Gecko time

Wow, look what we found this morning. A Marbled Gecko, (Phyllodactylus mamoratus) actually two of them. The first was spotted as we packed up all the bottles and cans collected on our walks to go to the recycling depot. The geckos appear to be living in a large stack of bricks, next to where we stash our bottles and cans for recycling.

This gecko must have been inside one of the cans we picked up.

Lucky gecko, found and return to the safety of the brick pile.

Thankfully, we found it in the bottom of this plastic bag at the depot and it got safely taken home and released where it came from. This is a new species for our garden. We have seen Stone Geckos (Diplodactylus vittatus) several times on the brickwork around the house.

Turnip time

I was clearing out my seed box earlier this year and decided to plant some turnip seed. The good thing is that the seed germinated and I got a good lot of seedlings.

Hiding under the turnip leaves, a lovely turnip for our dinner.

Fast forward to now, some months later and I have started finding these beauties.

Turnip time.

The extra bonus is that the chickens love eating the leaves.

Start of the Mushroom Season

Yesterday I went with one of my friends foraging for mushrooms in the local pine forests**. We found our first Saffron Milkcap mushrooms for the year. It looks like their season are just starting so we will go back again soon to see how they are progressing.

Saffron Milkcap mushrooms showing their characteristic orange ‘milk’ where they have been cut on the stems.

Slippery Jack mushrooms were everywhere. While these mushrooms aren’t generally considered to be the greatest fresh eating mushroom around, I find it worthwhile collecting and de-hydrating them to be added to soups and stews through the winter months to round out their flavour.

The super gelatinous top gives Slippery Jacks their name. You can also see the spongy yellow underneath of the cap.

We split our haul so there was only enough Saffron Milkcaps for one meal. I found a good selection of recipes at the website of the Forager Chef, aka Alan Bergo. I decided to go with his Catalan style Saffron Milkcaps with chorizo. It was also good that apart from the chorizo, the other key ingredients tomato, garlic and parsley all came from our garden.

Catalan style Saffron Milkcaps with chorizo, tomato, garlic and parsley.

**Please do not go foraging for mushrooms unless you have had suitable training in identifying edible species. In the recent years several people in Canberra have died due to eating mis-identified mushrooms.