Monday, January 31, 2011

Always harvest your zucchini plants thoroughly!

Otherwise you might miss one and end up with a marrow like these 2 whoppers!

The little one is about the size I normally harvest about 12 cm. The other two weighed in at 5.1kgs..and 15kgs!!

These 'babies' will be cooked up for the chooks I think. That's way too much marrow for us!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hibiscus flower and RAIN - lots of it!

 This hibiscus (I think it is a Fijian one) has just started flowering and is beautiful. The flowers only last for one day (especially when it's windy!).

And we've had a lot of wind and tons of rain, the rain gauge is totally full from the dump of rain with tropical cyclone Wilma that has just passed over the North Island of NZ. So much rain that our pond overflowed, through the overflow pipe, but also over the driveway..not so good as we've lost a bit of the stones off the surface. Apart from that though, no other damage, the chook house remained standing, and the ground has had a bit of a watering, and the water tank is looking a bit more healthy.

From nothing to this in 24 hours!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to use up those egg whites - make friands!

Slack of me I know but I hadn't really bothered (until now) to find out what I could make with egg whites - apart from meringue and Pavlova of course..And I have rather a lot of egg whites in containers in the freezer, from all the ice cream recipes (will post on this topic soon) I've been making that requires yolks only...

Then the other night I was surfing the net and found this great blueberry friand recipe. I've made friands once before, a rather fancy chocolate and lavender recipe which used whole eggs, separated.

I think the blueberry friands taste delicious, and I'm so pleased to have found an easy recipe to whip up some yummy treats for tea time. Give them a go!

Tomato sauce recipe

31/2 kgs tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon (about 4 cm)
1 tsp celery salt (I left this out as I didn't have any)
4 tsp salt

Wash, peel, core and quarter tomatoes. Let them stand in a colander to drain off excess liquid.
In a large preserving pan mix tomatoes, onion and cayenne. Bring to the boil, cook until tomatoes are soft (about 15mins), stirring occasionally. Put through a sieve and press to extract juice. Add sugar and return to pan. Bring back to boil then simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until reduced by half.

In another pan combine vinegar, cloves and cinnamon (and celery salt if you have it). Cover and bring to boil. Remove from heat and let stand.

Strain spiced vinegar mixture into the tomato sauce. Add salt. Simmer until you reach the desired consistency (about 30 mins). Stir often.

Pour into hot jars and seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 mins. (Leave a small headspace in jars if doing this).

N.B. I don't remember where this recipe came from so sorry I can't provide a reference.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Seasons Garlic

We harvested our garlic a couple of weeks ago and this year I plaited it up for storage. It wasn't too tricky once I got the hang of it. I used these instructions. We harvested approx 3kgs this year, each plait weighed in at approx 500gs and there were x6 in total when I finished plaiting them up. The biggest cloves will be saved for seed for next season.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big mama tomato

I roasted up a dish of fresh tomatoes (Brandywine) together with some freshly harvested garlic and basil from the garden, they were delicious in a pasta sauce with homemade meatballs.

And I picked the biggest Brandywine I could find, are you ready for it.....?...:

 Possibly not quite ripe but I didn't want to risk losing it, especially after all the heavy rain we've had on the weekend. It's already starting to crack at the top.
This big mama weighed in at 733gs!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brandywine Pink tomato

A nice ripe Brandywine Pink tomato

Sliced and fried with breakfast
This morning I checked the tomatoes and found a nice ripe Brandywine Pink tomato, the first of many more to come. We had it sliced in two and fried with our bacon and eggs this morning. It was delicious, so tasty!

Banana and cranberry bread

This cake came out very well, nice and moist and a lovely flavour. It will go in my recipe book for making again in the future. You can find it here. The only change I made was to add Cointreau instead of Bourbon and I used frozen cranberries (thawed) since they are not available fresh in my neck of the woods.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On my mind today...

..are fresh tomatoes out of the garden. Here is a selection of what's ripe at present: Black Krim, Roma, Green Sausage and a 'Cocktail' mix. They taste wonderful. I'm really looking forward to the Brandywine Pink tomatoes too, some of which are not far off ripe and one or two are enormous! Will be great sliced or halved and cooked up on the BBQ hotplate... YUM!

This is my contribution to Rhonda's 'On My Mind' post over at Down To Earth.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New chicks - who's who

I've been checking to see which colour chick is which breed and think I have them sussed!

Yellow chick is Light Sussex an the black one is Plymouth Barred Rock
The gauge of the chicken wire is a little bit too big for a broody box, they keep trying to go through it! Hence the yellow one sticking its head in!

Gold chick is Rhode Island Red and the brown striped one is Barnevelder

Mummy hen is an Araucana
Here they are enjoying a good scratch around the jade plants in pots.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another photo of Myrtle

The tiny flowers
Hi folks, here's a better photo to give an indication of the size of those flowers.


My little myrtle tree is in flower:

Poor Myrtle, she's had a bit of a hard life. I started her off in a pot, then she was transferred into the ground, but not in a good location and didn't do very well. Consequently she's back in another pot in another location (more sheltered) and seems to be doing OK so far. Looking a bit woody though, so maybe I'll give her a prune when the flowers are over, although I'm loathed to chop too much in case she sulks! The flowers though as so delicate and pretty, like miniature pohutukawa flowers only white:

I read somewhere that in times gone by myrtle was commonly used in wedding bouquets. I can see why as it would be just gorgeous on mass. I hope I can nurture this little tree into one that produces a lot more flowers in the future.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Baby chicks have hatched

Aren't they cute?

7 out of the 12 eggs I purchased hatched out over 12/13th Jan. Here are 5 of them that G managed to catch for the photo!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Update for early January 2011

Greetings everyone
Time for a wee update here on Cabbage Tree Farm.
First off, we were given a cute little dish of homemade pate from our lovely neighbours (yes we do have some!!) D and M-F.
This recipe used rabbit and olives, and tasted delicious.

We've been enjoying some of the produce from the garden, zucchini (of course!):
 Some nice sized beetroot, this one is Chioggia:
 It has pink and white stripes when raw, but cooks up pretty pink:
 Cucumbers ('mini white'):

We've also been enjoying lettuces, beans and herbs - especially basil (I made some pesto yesterday to go with fresh pasta). The tomatoes are starting to ripen, and the chillies are fruiting at last, this one is my Jalapeno:

Jalapeno chilli pepper