All posts filed under: Green

Bright lights

We have lots of rainbow silverbeet in our little vege garden. For those in other countries, you might know of silverbeet as swiss chard. This variety is called Brighlights. I’ve seen other gardens with pink, red, orange and yellow but ours only sprouts red, pink and the very normal white. Silverbeet grows easily in New Zealand gardens though it is often hated by kids and grown ups alike. It can be used in place of spinach in just about any recipe. I think it’s quite beautiful. It’s just begging to be shown off on a colourful plate of food. p.s. This blog just went over 200,000 hits this week! Thank you for the hits!

Home Grown Radishes

This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. I am the host for this month’s event. If you have a blog and have tried something new with food this month, come and join this event. Growing vegetables gives me a sense of child-like wonder. I get excited about each new advancement and I’m eager to visit the bottom of the garden every other day to view the changes. I’m proud of every little thing and show off each new thing to The Koala and to Tofu the bunny (one is semi-impressed, the other just wants to devour everything). I’ve never tended to a vegetable garden before but I’m sure glad for all the resources available these days. According to numerous websites, radishes take 4 to 6 weeks from seed to harvest. So every other week for the from 5 weeks, I would pull up a finely prickled plant to check if the radishes were ready. They weren’t. They weren’t bulbing and there …

Tofu Tuesday: Terraced Pallet Garden

Growing your own food is uniquely satisfying. I don’t know if it’s my age or the times but more and more of our friends are growing their own food. I’ve hinted at our vegetable garden before, but I didn’t want to share it until we started eating from it. That time has come. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll know I have a slight obsession with up-cycled pallets and vegetable gardens. We live in a rented villa so we didn’t want to spend much money on our garden in case we have to move. Both The Koala and I have day jobs that revolve around paper so we have free access to wood pallets. In hindsight, we should have started this garden when we moved in 5 years ago. I could “what if” at my 5 year old vegetable garden all day, but you gotta start somewhere and late is better than never. The bottom of our garden has a gentle slope so we terraced the space using the pallets. Sloped ground drains water in random ways so terracing flattens …

Easy Chalkboard Garden Markers

My sister and I were ages 6 and 8. Eager to witness the magic of food production, we would visit our carrot plot in the garden every day, select a carrot and pull it up to examine it’s size. More times than not, it was still too small and went straight back into the ground. I don’t remember if our daily checking harmed the carrots but you can’t fault us for our enthusiasm. Like many foodies and home cooks, starting a vegie garden seems like a logical, noble and wholesome thing to do. After 5 years renting the same property, we’ve finally started digging around the garden. Of course I wish we had started this garden 5 years ago, but it’s better late than never. I have a bunch of seeds sown directly and some in peat. In the meantime, I’ve been on the look out for pretty garden markers to sort our tidy our new garden. I’ve seen beautiful ones online for up to $20NZ per garden marker. When you consider it costs a …

An OOOOBY Review

OOOOBY stands for Out Of Our Own Backyards and is an Auckland-based company that offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA has been popular in other countries for years and with the trend towards organic and locally grown foods as well as growing in our own backyards, it is a recipe for success. Last week, we switched from the vege/fruit original OOOOBY Box to the Vegetable Box. The Vegetable Box costs $8 more than the Original Box but has a hefty amount of vegetables. With double the vegetables, it was too much for two people. We’re both back to working 40 hour weeks at the moment so I’m not eating at home as much. Therefore, we are taking a break from our subscription this week so I’ll take a moment to review OOOOBY’s services so far. Boxes We’ve had three deliveries and tried two different boxes out of their range of four. We tried the Original Box and also the Vegetable Box. We haven’t tried  the Fruit Box and Family Box which don’t suit our two-person …

OOOOBY BOX WEEK 3

To get more efficient in our grocery shopping this winter, we are replacing the 2 to 3 trips per week to the market, with a weekly CSA delivery. I plan on topping this up with a fortnightly trip to (or maybe even delivery from) traditional supermarket and a fortnightly trip to Nosh (a local gourmet food store). Local CSA project OOOOBY has a great concept and ethic and we are in week 3 of our subscription. This week our CSA box included: Vegetables only 2 bulbs of garlic (self certified organic) 4 kaffir lime leaves (self certified organic) Half a crown pumpkin (certified organic) 1 cabbage (conventional sprays) 7 carrots (conventional sprays) 2 broccoli (certified organic) 2 silverbeet (certified organic) 1 stick of rosemary Fruit and sweet vegetables There is no fruit this week as we’re trying out OOOOBY’s vegetable only box. We still have kiwifruit left over from last week so we aren’t entirely fruitless. I got an Add On of kumara sourdough instead of ciabatta this week for a change. For those not in kiwi-land, kumara is the Maori word …

Kale chips and a CSA box review for Week 2

The Koala: “What are you making?” Me: “I’ve already eaten them. They were kale chips.” The Koala: “Kale?…Chips?!? What were they like?” Me: “Like dry, crunchy leaves. I ate the whole bowl.” The Koala was unconvinced and secretly glad there were no kale chips left. Even I’m not convinced, but I did eat all of them before I realised what was happening. A good way to get rid of an abundance of kale I guess. This recipe is easy and you might as well give it a try if you have kale. Maybe you’ll like it. Or maybe you’ll find that you ate the lot before you could decide if you liked kale chips or not. Just make sure you keep a close eye on these suckers in the oven because they can burn in a heartbeat. Kale Chips Makes a bowl enough for 1 or 2 as a snack Ingredients 1 bunch of kale 1 tablespoon olive oil A sprinkle of salt, paprika, and/or garlic salt Preparation Pre-heat oven to 170°C/340°F. Pick the leaves from …

OOOBY BOX WEEK 1 – Review

Our first week trial run of local CSA company OOOOBY was a success. Every single item from last Tuesday’s CSA box was eaten before the next box was delivered although for a moment it looked like we weren’t going to get through all the fruit. But a solid weekend of fruit eating got us through the lot. I picked up a trick via Youtube on how to prepare kiwifruit and having pieces of ready to eat fruit on a platter made it more enticing. It was so much fun peeling kiwfruit this way, once I started, I couldn’t stop. Last week our CSA box included: Vegetables 1 garlic (self certified organic) 1 red skinned turnip (self certified organic) 6 carrots (conventional sprays) 1 fennel (certified organic) 2 brown onions (certified organic) A couple bunches of silverbeet (certified organic) 6 agria potatoes (certified organic) 1 large bunch of Italian parsley (Certified Organic) Fruit 6 newstead gold apples (conventional sprays) 3 mandarins or naval oranges (BioGro certified) 9 green kiwifruit (certified organic)  Meals for week 1 included: Baked …

OOOBY BOX WEEK 1

CSA CSA is a way for locals to support their local food growers and producers but subscribing to a set price per season (or month) in return for a weekly delivery of produce. I’ve written about CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in 2009. Back then I wasn’t in a hurry to sign on because of lack of control over what we received. 3 years on, I appreciate the concept more. CSA is a great way to get variety into your weekly meals with local, seasonal and organic produce. It connects local growers and their communities together in the most efficient way possible. CSA usually involves fruit and vege, but there is also CSA for meat and eggs, and CSF which stands for Community Supported Fishery. In the summer, I adore my walks two to three times a week to the various local markets to buy fresh food. But now that it’s winter, the days are short and cold and it’s dark by the time I get home from work. No part of me wants to leave home and walk …

Letter from the Minister for Food Safety

The food bill has been something that has been in the news recently both in the US and in NZ. The biggest concern to your average home gardener and foodie was the policing and regulation of growing, sharing and gifting food and seeds. It was one of those things that sounded too ridiculous to be passed. But when you show apathy because something seems too retarded to happen, it could very well happen right under your nose. I recently signed an online petition against the food bill and today I got this letter back this afternoon. Sounds very promising. I’m guessing that those that make a few dollars selling their excess bounty may be concerned, but will anyone bother policing a few bags of tomatoes? What are your concerns on the food bill?

Monsoon Garden

The weather in Auckland right now reminds me of monsoon season in Borneo around this time last year. Only this is a bit colder. It’s supposed to be summer. This week we’ve had intense bits of rain followed by intense sun. No one seems to be enjoying it except the garden. I ate my first garden strawberry this week (we planted 2 varieties) and I’m getting excited at the prospect of our tomatoes. They’re a still green at the moment, but you can tell they’re going to be all different. To get more interest out of the 3-drawer filing cabinet planter, we’ve planted 3 tomato plants. Beefsteak  – a deep red, large (one of the largest kinds), uneven shaped tomato. Sweet 100 – a prolific red cherry tomato. Yellow Plum – a bright yellow egg shaped tomato.  

Forage something and cook with it

There is loads of onion weed in the garden again and a recent post on Alessandra Zecchini’s blog reminded me of the onion weed dumplings I made last year. I’m loving daylight savings time and it’s nice to be able to cook and photograph in natural light after work. I made these potato cakes for a pre-dinner snack but I think it will be easy to find another reason to eat these. I used the bottom 10cm of the plant which is the white/green base. It’s crisp rather than stringy. Thoroughly wash the onion weed and don’t use any that may have been sprayed with yucky chemicals. Otherwise, happy foraging! Onion Weed Potato Cakes Makes 8 Ingredients 2 large potatoes 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup chopped onion weed 3/4 cup grated cheese salt (garlic salt optional)  black pepper Oil 8 onion weed flowers for garnish  Preparation Preheat oven to 180°C. Peel the potatoes and remove the skin. Continue peeling the potatoes until it gets too hard to grip. Reserve for another use – about a …

A Taste of a Poison Paradise

We had a bit of a scare this week when Tofu ran inside on his own and sat under my desk hunched up, trembling and grinding his teeth. Teeth grinding in rabbits can indicate pain and he refused food and water including bunny favourites like carrots and pellets. When he gets his cheeks and arms rubbed, Tofu stretches out his arms to say “OOoooOooh yeah, dat’s good”. So he got plenty of that and it was a relief that he was responding to touch. He was hunched up like this for over an hour. We kept him warm by covering him a folded towel, patted him and tried to entice him with food. Rabbits graze all day so it’s a concern if they refuse food for any period of time. It’s often bad news. Suddenly, he was fine again. All the untouched food we had laid before him, was demolished ate with great fervor. He devoured everything. Heatstroke? The last time he was sick (last summer), we suspected it was heatstroke. But Auckland is only about …

Malthus, Meal A Day

Meet Malthus. Malthus is an aquaponics* unit that is designed for the next generation’s home kitchen. This is a conceptual piece and has a planned production of 100 pieces. It grows 1 portion of salad and 1 portion of fish each day. I love the concept but I wouldn’t enjoy eating the same food every day. You wouldn’t enjoy me blogging about fish and salad every day! Or would you? Maybe I could rename the blog “365 ways with fish and salad”. I could write a cookbook for future generations. But…if you could grow 1 portion a day of any meal, what would it be? More info here at Conceptual Devices. * I’m guessing aquaponics is a portmanteau for aqua+hydroponics.