Saturday, 13 April 2019

Food things interspersed with garden bits

I have been occupied over the last couple of weeks with tomatoes and plums and feijoas, and in one instance apples, pears and rhubarb. And the corner shelf of the laundry pantry (we have a pantry in the kitchen as well as one in the laundry ...) is full. But feijoa season is well and truly on us and Rachel has brought me four lots so far.

So today I will make some chutney as well as some more feijoa jelly - you can never have too much feijoa jelly (as long as there is cheese, there is a requirement for feijoa jelly, in my view), and I am going to have to give Rachel at least one more jar, because less than 5 hours after giving her a jar (only a small one, Marilyn, she said), she told me she had had some with cheese and then some slathered on a large cracker with peanut butter - she was married to an American, so the jelly and peanut butter is explained, I suppose. But her one jar isn't going to last long, so best I get cooking! ** Change of plan - bugger the chutney - it's more jelly all the way!

On Friday we caught the bus down to Bruce and Gary's place to help celebrate Bruce's 66th birthday with drinks and nibbles from 4pm. I decided to make curry puffs as my contribution - not authentic as they were really just little closed mince pies made with flaky pastry - shop bought of course as puff pastry requires far too much time and patience. They tasted good, but the mix did ooze out a bit. I contemplated not taking them as they weren't perfectly formed, but overcame that thought. I also took a couple of tiny jars of the fruit chutney and the tomato and chilli chutney to serve them with. And they all got eaten, so their appearance (better off the oven tray and in a dish) didn't appear to matter.

Yesterday we had Rob here to do gardening and he performed his usual magic, and because the drought is well and truly over and the weather has been warm as well as wet, everything has taken off in a big way. Four and a half years ago when we first arrived here in Rata Street, we could not see part of our back fence from the back door, and Rob and Luke between them sorted that out, with the removal of a number of trees that had been planted too close together, the removal of 6 woolsacks of wandering willie/tradescanthia and the digging out of several thousand (!) arum and elephant ear lilies. Since then Rob has replanted the area, Luke has installed a grape vine trellis, a concrete tiled pad and a path to the washing line. And everything has flourished (the feijoas haven't fruited but I will forgive them for the moment). And, as is the way in Waikanae, everything that has dropped seeds has little babies growing. The list includes but is not limited to:
  • the strawberry tree - the main one is about 20 feet tall now and severely trimmed back by Rob and Luke as it was overhanging the house. It took a year off from flowering while it recovered but is back in business feeding the tui on its berries, and they are doing their job of pooping the digested berries down on  to the washing line area ...
  • the tree fuschia - Rob pruned the main one to death by accident, but that didn't stop its previous production and yesterday he removed a seedling 3 foot tall from the vegetable box, another one that was 5 foot tall from by the back fence (and overshadowing the plumbago) and 5 or 6 baby ones that were hiding in plain sight. One of them has been moved over to a convenient gap by the camellias.
  • foxgloves - baby plants are all over the place - yay!!
  • lilies - gggrrr!!!
Rob's partner Brian came and joined us for dinner and I cooked a spatchcocked chicken that had been marinated in lemon and herbs (by the local butcher), we had scalloped potatoes, coleslaw with vinaigrette, and beetroot and carrot salad.

David and I love beetroot and carrot salad, which we have only just been introduced to. When we were in Tauranga a few weeks ago, Pauline made it and it was so simple and yummy. When I came to make it at home a couple of weeks ago, having found a forgotten crop of beetroot in the vegetable box, I couldn't remember what dressing she used so I looked up recipes online, but they all had multiple ingredients. And then I remembered that Pauline just uses white balsamic vinegar. I don't have any white balsamic, so have used the dark stuff and it tastes just as great.

If you are interested, here is what the salad has:
  • about equal quantities of grated raw (peeled) beetroot and grated raw carrot
  • a handful of sultanas or raisins
  • some crumbled or cubed feta
  • some pan-toasted slivered almonds or walnuts (most recipes call for the latter, but I prefer almonds)
  • A Jamie Oliver style drizzle of balsamic, i.e. a drenching ... Add more if it seems too dry.
I grated the beetroot and carrot, added the sultanas and feta, poured on the balsamic and left the almonds to be added just before serving so they don't sog.

I have seen recipes with mint as well, and I will give that a go next time, as mint has a lovely freshness and zing.

ALL of the beetroot and carrot salad went last night - Rob boldly had seconds (David was out of the room). So I can see this is going to be added to the menu for the Mid Summer Kiwi Christmas on the cut - somewhere on the Oxford I think.

Is that OK by you, Julia? I will still do the kumara and orange salad, fear not!


Bernice said...

Hi Marilyn,
Just a note on your salad, I use cranberries rather than sultanas and soak them in a dressing made with balsamic, oil, dijon mustard and a little honey or maple syrup, before adding them to the salad. Mint and or coriander and a bit of chopped red ontion is also nice as is a sprinkle of chopped walnuts on top for a bit of texture.
When are you off to the UK? We go the middle of next month. Are you on messenger to be in contact once you are there?
Look forward to hearing from you
Bernice Vannini

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Bernice,
I have emailed you.