Thursday, August 30, 2012

Turkey Garden Soup & other recipes

late summer Rudbeckia
my favourite harvest flower
One of the tastiest things I've come up with to do with zucchini has been a snack: a round of zucchini topped with jalapeno havarti and wrapped in philo dusted in a little olive oil & butter. Baked until golden with melted cheese and crispy baked zucchini...yum. I've made a recipe-to-remember double chocolate zucchini cake, came up with another great recipe for Zucchini Pineapple Walnut Spice Cake, made a crustless quiche, muffins... 
I'm not tired of zucchini yet, especially not the pineapple spice cake.

I made more tzatiki than we can eat or give away. I think it's time for pickles.

The jet lag has really got me beat this year. I still feel groggy and off schedule nearly two weeks later. ::excuses, excuses:: Summer has gone by in a blur of gluttony and wine; and it's been wonderful. I always start the season with intentions - good intentions - of documenting the growing, photographing the product, following it all to the kitchen. I thought about that a lot while I baked and ate the zucchini (the Spiced Zucchini Walnut Pineapple Cake mostly to myself). It doesn't help that I left the garden to its own devices for more than a month, but also... I haven't been giving it as much attention on my devices since we returned. I've been too busy eating it and playing real Scrabble (not online!) with old friends. I really have to give it to those people who can stick to updating regularly. 
With its bursting tomato plants and a beanstalk wall, our edible garden is a bit of a mess - at first sight. I've taken out the remains of the peas, spinach and radishes, cleaned a few containers, made room for some fall planting. There are still some weeds, and the unsightly grassy patch which needs a mow - and lord know the dogwood needs to be pruned..but, the bees are indulging and so are we, so a few unsightly edibles doesn't bother me. There are little bits of beautiful everywhere.
a bee favourite
Butterfly Lavender
Tonight leftovers from our recent barbecue turkey dinner are being boiled together with garden herbs, carrots, kale, chard, and beet tops, onions, leeks ...and celery from the store. Turkey Garden Soup. Our little kitchen Bay Laurel supplied some lovely leaves to the pot, along with tarragon, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Though I hope I'll get around (sooner rather than later) to updating my food blog with my recipes and results, for now this will have to do. As I enjoy the last slice of Zucchini Spice Cake with Pineapple and Walnuts, I nod out the window to the garden and say, thanks.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Garden Grown Wild

A zucchini has grown into the pine tree, and we have cucumbers appearing everywhere in a garden grown wild. The untamed cucumbers are the size of zucchini people joke about and try to give away. The dogs are loving the fresh garden cucumbers though, and I see a lot of tzatziki and tabouleh in our future.
Returning after more than a month of neglect I found some zucchini the size of Clifford, and made way for more. Thank goodness we have Cindy & Kevin coming to help us eat - and Thanksgiving not far away.  Cakes and muffins are going to feed our weekend guests.

The tomatoes are as abundant - as expected, nearly ripe. Soon we will be making sauces and salsas - and I can't wait. Beans, beets, basil, ..some carrots (though still not as many appeared as I would have hoped), but everything else is thriving. The kale and chard survived the caterpillars and are screaming for soup...yum; and of course our own Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving. I'll plant some autumn peas, radishes, and spinach if I ever get over the jet lag.

The fence R built can barely hold it all in. ...not that anything daring enough to grow through it will survive. Four legged nibblers will chew off anything that roams..

All the tomatoes require staking, and a little pruning..had we been here during their peak growth we could have controlled it, but now they're just out of control. Hopefully I can untangle them without losing too much. Next year when we go away I am organizing garden management ..

Clifford finds a shady spot under an Early Girl tomato
to lick the last bits of cucumber of his nose,
while Gromit searches for more.
The Thunbergia is climbing eagerly, 
nearly up to the back balcony railing; 
I can't quite capture how incredible it is.
hostas blooming
Morden Blush

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gardening Australia

Reading Australian gardening magazines is not much different than the Canadian mags. What I find so interesting are the planting times, seasonal differences... Right now, in July, there are daffodils blooming - along side Bird of Paradise flowers and Jade plants in the ground. Rhododendrons grow higher than rooftops, and cherry blossoms are just beginning. Camellias are blooming, and other natives like Pilotus, Callistemon, Pauciflora (Eucalyptus Snow Gum) and Eremophila (Emu Bush) are mentioned. For three years now I've tried studying the plants while I'm here - this year I've taken to wandering through garden centres, taking photos of the plant tags. Some day I hope to know as much about Blue Mountain flora as I do about Northern Ontario.
a book I think our garden needs
and the book ends to hold it
I adore this watering can...
wish I could fit it into my suitcase

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oz Wedding & a Rainbow of Tulips

42 Rainbow Tulips
The Three Sisters, Scenic World Australia
When organizing flowers for a wedding overseas, with email the only form of communication, I put  lot of faith in The Little Flower Shop in Wentworth Falls - and could not have been happier with the result. Louise really did read my mind and my heart. Her arrangements were beautiful, delicate, romantic - perfect. My bouquet, a rainbow of 42 tulips, was incredible. 
Most outstanding were the floral crowns for our nieces, our precious flowergirls - who looked so, so pretty. I wanted their crowns to match in colour, but with flowers other than tulips (which I didn't think would hold up in hair). Their bouquets were tulips - yellow, and Hannah's was white (for my father). The flowers were everything I had imagined and more.
rainbows and ruby slippers
Rohan & Amy
Oz Wedding 29 July 2012