Saturday, April 24, 2010

Confused Weather

I was entertained by last nights news telling me the sea off Swansea was going to be confused today. I don't know about the East coast but I was utterly baffled by today with howling windys and torrents of icy rain interspersed with bright clear blue skies!
We managed to fit in a very busy day of work for the business and a walk in the afternoon, even planting the garlic out with Sir Talks Alot- they are going to have two tyre beds- last year they had only a styrofoam box and were planted on Winter Solstice which resulted in lovely but rather small bulbs- I am hoping that the larger space and earlier planting will yield bigger bulbs. I was so proud of how quickly my little man learned about planting garlic- it only took us a couple of minutes working together! He marched back in and told his daddy very proudly "Pwant the garwic pointy end up wike this Daddy!"
I have been embracing the cooling weather and home grown pumpkins with much cooking. 
Pumpkin and date loaf is popular with Master Me Too whilst the glorious husband and Sir Talks Alot seem to be addicted to home made crackers. The first batch  needed work, I will make them thinner and cut them with a scone cutter next time but the key to making them "crackeresque" is beating the dough with a rolling pin which is fun.
Tonight I had a hankering for some comfort food so made a vegetarian "shepherds pie" not really very shepherd-ish though without any lamb. It was great and surprisingly hit the spot tasting better than the original in my humble opinion!
Vegetarian "Shepherds Pie"
1 cup brown lentils- pressure cook in two cups of water for half an hour. put aside.
about 300g of pumpkin and same of potato(my pumpkin was a bit underripe and therefore starchy- I would err on the side of more potato)- cut into 1inch chunks(peel the pumpkin)and cook for about 15 mins in microwave until soft enough to mash. Mash with one tablespoon of butter.
return pressure cooker to  high heat with some olive oil and add:
half and onion (chopped)
1carrot (medium dice) and fry for about 5 minutes then add
1 small garlic clove (bashed but not minced)
half a teaspoon curry powder- fry for about two minutes (lots of stirring too) then add
1can tomatoes 
lentils from above,
I also found about quarter of a can of baked beans in the fridge and in they went too!
half a teaspoon of mixed hebs
half a teaspoon of stock powder
a few drops of soy sauce
cook over medium heat until nicely thickened and reduced.
pop into lovely dish and top with pumpkin and potato mash and a little grated cheese, if you have a good fierce grill brown off the top or just bake it at 200c for 20 mins.
Very well received by the small loud people who I live with (including the cat)

I haven't included a picture as brown stew like foods photgraph so badly!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Re-purposing Running Riot...

I have been having fun finding "non traditional" objects to grow plants in. 
I found a perfectly good galvanised bucket on the side of the road- well, it wasn't so good as a bucket because it had holes punched in the bottom but it started me on a rampage of repurposing. It has basil growing well now and was quickly joined by  an olive oil tin with mint and an old mixing bowl which had a crack in the glaze which has had some drainage holes drilled and is supposed to be growing chillies but seems to have silverbeet instead(!?).
Having our regular "lunch out" we spotted some giant olive tins behind a patisserie so lovely husband popped his head into the kitchen window and asked if we could have them- they are now either side of the door with pansies and marigolds growing in them.  
I have also planted a lemon tree in the drum from an old tumble dryer- I think it is a lovely thing, all stainless steel and shiny and even had holes at the bottom already. I have already turned a couple of wide tyres inside out and made successful little gardens in them. 
I can't wait to find some more things to repurpose- at the moment nothing is safe as long as I can figure out how to get reasonable drainage there could be a plant in almost anything! Special mention must go to my long suffering husband who is very supportive of my mad ideas and pulls apart tumble dryers, drills very difficult holes in bowls and asks for tins for me!