Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another gardening update

So just to keep track of what I'm planting and seeing how it goes, here's the seeds I planted today:
8 climbing beans (3 bean mix from diggers) in a row
11 beans from Elena (she's my godmother)
5 small gourds (phoenix)
5 watermelon - sugar baby (diggers)
5 zucchini blanco (diggers)
4 silverbeet (diggers)
5 pumpkin (diggers)

I've turned the soil with a little compost, and did some weeding before that. The chilli in there is doing okay, and some of the garlics so far are doing alright. Out of the 5 original cloves, 3 are doing well - and one out of the 2 I planted later.

Cabbages seem to do okay leaf-wise, but I need to try again to cook them. Carrots also seem to have done rather well. I look forward to seeing how they go. Maybe I should try collecting seeds from them too?

The seeds from the daikon radishes seem to develop randomly. The ones I've collected have been all different shades from green to brown. On the bright side, they are the same size as the original ones I planted so hopefully they do well. I want to see if they improve in terms of adapting to the local soil.

The broadbean harvest was 400g in the first batch, + some spare for planting next year, and 800g in the second batch with some more also for drying. There are still plenty to go. The first batch we just ate in a simple recipe as the bulk of the meal - boiled, then cooked with some fried onion. This batch I'm planning on turning in to tamiya/temeya.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Minor gardening update

In the interests of recording how things are going, it looks like:

3 daikon radishes came up and bolted
1 onion has come up
1 silverbeet has come up
any rocket coming up in the last month or two simply bolted
the first batch of broadbeans are going gangbusters. Took a first haul off them today. I will be keeping some and drying them out for next year! I need to build them a zimmer frame next time as they have very soft stems and keep falling over. It's quite difficult to keep them dry in there, so I'm worried about rot. Also, some leaves have started to grow some kind of rustiness on them.
Any of the bolted mustard lettuce seems to attract aphids. I do want to collect the seeds though. Similarly, I want the seeds from the old daikons from the first batch. They seem to take ages to mature, although I have no idea when they are ready to collect.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gin sours are very tasty!

So I was out with some lovely friends last night, and at the Union Hotel in Newtown, we hit the cocktails. Started with Martinis, moved on to Manhattans, but then I wanted something else gin-based that wasn't pink and fluffy.
After a bit of a conversation with the lovely bar staff, we agreed on attempting a gin sour. I'm writing this here because it was absolutely awesome. To balance out the Tanqueray, there was some Cointreau added as well. Add lemon, eggwhite (whisked of course), and sugar syrup and you get 11 different kinds of delicious. I need to recreate that. When I do, I'll put up the recipe here.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Next things being planted

Today I managed to plant a bunch of different things to see how they go. Planted were - including where the seeds came from:
  • Small gourds - Phoenix Seeds
  • Onions (creamgold) - Diggers
  • Daikon raddish - Diggers
  • Celeriac (alabaster white) - Eden Seeds
  • Silverbeet (5 colour mix) - Diggers
  • Mini cabbage - Diggers

Also, on the need to rethink list is choi sum (or was it pak choi?) Either way, they botled over winter without even thinking of making enough leaves to . Yes winter was a little warm, but still I would suggest it didn't work. The only other option I have is to plant them in the shade and see if that works better.

There are also some broccoli but they don't seem to do so well. Broccolini also bolts. I'm also trying alternatives to regular corriander. I've planted some seeds that are a different leaf type (purchased from diggers), and also a perennial corriander tasting other herb I had posted to me.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Some of the current harvest

So it looks like daikon radish is the way to go here! Much more impressive than the carrots (which I haven't given up on yet). Also a winner has been the mustard lettuce and the snow peas (although the plant has gone a tad mouldy).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Current Soap Experiments

Okay, so I've made soap a few times now, and I'm trying to find a good recipe that I like the result. The most successful one so far was the one involving some lard. I'm now seeing what happens if you put even more lard in there. Also, for comparison, I've done a batch to exactly the same recipe except for replacing the lard with tallow. And a different colour so I can easily identify them. I should add that the animal fats are there to make the soap harder wearing, and therefore longer lasting. This is something that can really be noticed over the humidity and heat of summer. From the research I've done, the choices for making soap harder wearing is adding either animal fat or palm oil to the mix. I've gone with animal fats.

This is what they look like:

Pretty boring but at least you can see which one is which. The pink one is the lard, and the yellow is tallow. To the left is also some pure "Castile" soap. It's 100% olive oil. Apparently Castile soap should be white, but this one went a yellowy colour. Any ideas what conditions are required for Castile soap to go white? I made it hot process, using a NaOH lye.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Things and stuff

So the weather has been a bit strange this year. This is the cumquat going in to flower in a big way while there are still fruit developing:

The smell of blossom was very nice and rather strong. The small lemon tree out the front is about to go in to flower again, but of course out of sync with this one.

I've also had another go at making Hunan-style salted chillis. This time I've grabbed a more appropriate chillis and acutally measured the salt.

Packed in to a jar:
And now to wait for it to be ready. Oh and to work out what to cook to taste these with. The method/recipe came from : Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province by Fuchsia Dunlop. I just need to choose which thing to cook.

In unrelated news, after the last carrot harvest, there were some other undeveloped carrots still left in the ground which were now ready:

Surprisingly they seem to maintain their colour even after microwaving:

Fresh and delicious!

Last but not least, the correa and lavender also seem to be enjoying this strange weather:

You'll need to click on the image to see the correa flowers more clearly. The chickens have also decided that the lavendar tastes great again. We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Finally a charity for me to join in

So the usual big do something silly charities don't really work for me. I have a mo, so Movember isn't much point. Similarly shaving for a cure doen't seem like much of a challenge since I shave my head twice a week anyway.

Time for something new and different. Something less folically oriented. Time to don the cape for Capril (their facebook page has some photos). While it doesn't seem to have taken off just yet, I'm hoping it does. The money for this one goes to Beyond Blue.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An afternoon in picures

Blackbird cafe

Grasshopper Laneway Bar

Marble Bar

Zeta Bar

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Current harvest!

So some of this years harvest was fairly feeble. Planed an awful lot of corn, but only 3 stalks came up. This left us with only 2 cobs:

We also experimented with trying to grow carrots. Not the most amazing results, but encouraging and clearly worth doing again:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Margate revisited!

So this time when we went to the Margate Train, it was open!!! (As opposed to last time). Well, it was mostly open. Oddly enough there were still some shops closed.

While we did go through a few of the shops, we ended up here:

I had a good chat to the guy running it who wasn't there in 2009, but had since taken over the shop and started on a quest to convince other shop owners that it might be good to be open during tourist season.

We bought a refreshing drink:

which was rather tasty. Well, a sweet soda taste (reminded me a little of creaming soda). Rather pleasant and I'd get it again. According to Wikipedia, the Dandelion and Burdock soft drink recipe has been going since around 1265.

The main booty which we brought back was:

Mulled-wine flavoured lollies (top left), dolly mix (top right), soor plooms (the green ones at the bottom; apparently first invented in 1337), a Kendal Mint Cake, and the Nipits (licorice pellets) as well as Tunes (they just looked tasty). There was a lot in that shop. Yes, I was a kid in a candy store.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Animals along the way

These are some of the characters we ran in to on the walk around Coningham. No idea who this little chappy was, but there were a lot of them and they move quickly Glad to get even a vague photo.

We were lucky to see the pair of these twice and get some happy snaps. It's suggested that it's a Swift Parrot. That makes me feel quite privileged (although happy to be corrected).

And finally, here's a shiny beetle:

Hopefully more photos soon!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vistas from Tasmania!

All of these photos were taken with a (BlackBerry 9800) smartphone, and then pasted with the current version of Hugin. Hugin did well to paste together the rather badly taken photos. I have to say that for whatever reason, apparently my concept of horizontal is somewhat lost when taking the photos with the smartphone instead of a camera.

Either way, here's some of what we saw.

Here's the view from Mt Wellington on Boxing day, straight after a sudden "snowstorm". It was pretty cold although the ground was too warm for any snow to settle.

Here's what we saw on the way to Hartzview.

The next two were taken along the walk at Coningham:

In the next exciting installment.... more photos!

Monday, January 10, 2011

What I did on my holidays

An essay by Mr Snerg, esq., aged that and three quarters.

I made stuff! Did things! Went places!

Just wanted to post a few piccies of things to remind myself of what I got up to, now that I'm back at work.

I made some soap! Here's the 3 different soaps I made. The first two batches, on the right, are my usual recipe (vegetable oil, no palm oil), are also as usual rather soft. So the third one I made using about 1/3 lard. I haven't used the lard one yet (still curing), but I am looking forward to finding out the difference. Apparently hard wearing soap is achieved by using either animal fat or palm oil in the recipe.

I'm rather happy with how the colours turned out, and the fragrance seems right too (that one is green tea and jasmine; the other two are frangipani, and lavender).

In the next exciting episode...