All posts filed under: Green

I have worms

No, not the itchy bum kind. Not the metres long kind growing in my belly so that I can eat the world without the increasing waistline. I’ve got Tiger worms and Blue worms. They are composting worms. I’m going to tend these worms to in return for their “liquid gold” poo juice (or some call it worm wee). From the Wormsrus Worm Bin ad: Great starter worm bin complete with worms , bedding and instructions. Collector base with tap for worm tea. 2 food trays. Bedding. 250gms compost worms including Tiger worms and Blue Worms. Easy set up. Great price. Full after sales service for life with the worm experts , 15 years in the industry. I received the package on Thursday, but didn’t have time to set it up. I hoped that the worms would be ok in their box for another day. Wouldn’t it be awful if I killed our new friends before they even got here? Well, after a Friday afternoon beer, I set this the bin up and I must say, …

Scallopini in the house

I planted a zucchini seed from the packet on the right before we left New Zealand and our friend Lum had been tending to it while we were away. The tiny seedling I left two months ago is now a huge beast that takes up most of the planter. Turns out it wasn’t the sausage shaped zucchini I thought it would be. These flower petal shaped things baffled me. The frog and buddha didn’t know either so I had to ask The Googe what they might be. The Googe said they were Scallopini Squash. What do you cook when you haven’t really cooked in 2 months? We never ate salmon while traveling. Something about eating NZ salmon in a foreign country just doesn’t sit right with me. So salmon was definitely on the cards. I roasted the larger of the scallopini squash in a bit of oil, garlic and fresh rosemary. Paired with some potato mash and the salmon that I’d been missing, made for a simple but slightly fancy first dinner for some jetlagged …

Love Your Mountain Day – Pics

I made it to Love Your Mountain Day a couple of weekends ago. It was a sweltering summer day, not really idea for a mountain ascent. I wanted to go, but I didn’t fancy being a sweaty mess so I left it a little later in the day hoping it would cool down in the afternoon. It didn’t. It took about 2 hours to visit Government House, Eden Garden and the mountain itself including the walk to/from my house. All were free entry and there were guided tours for those that were interested. Government House The tour at Government House was led by a gardener. It was quite cool to listen to someone so knowledgeable and passionate about plants. When someone asked what species of grass it was, I thought it was a joke, but the gardener knew the answer in a heartbeat. This is the secondary residence of our Governor General. A big old Redwood Sequoia and 2 Nikau Palms. The lawns were really beautiful and I thought about our brown, sad looking lawn …

Given the chop

A few weeks ago, a massive pine branch fell in our backyard and obliterated our washing line. It had been really windy and the branch fell overnight. That branch was chopped up and removed. Then a week later, a second, larger branch fell. It was a perfectly still, summer afternoon and witnessed by us and our neighbours. It made a hell of a noise and the creaking branch just before the fall warned our neighbours who came over to warn us. It was kinda cool and weird to see it fall without a breeze in the air. The broken stump at the top right was the first break. The new break is on the left. The poor washing line was hit a second time, so lucky it hadn’t been replaced after the first branch. Tofu found the fallen branch fascinating. Can you find him in this photo? The tree gave privacy from the housing block on the other side of the fence. But they couldn’t risk another branch or the entire tree falling so the decision was made …

Love Your Mountain

I have my very own volcano on my doorstep. It is called Mt Eden or Maungawhau and it takes me 40 minutes return to walk from my house, to the base of the mountain, up to the top of the mountain and back. Not long at all. Yep, my little life would be over in a heartbeat if it were to erupt. Having a volcano in the ‘hood means that our soil is rich and the area really flourishes with green goodness. So let’s celebrate this sleeping giant! This Sunday is Love Your Mountain Day 2010. There will be guided walks and free entry into Eden Garden and Government House grounds. Sunday, December 12, from 10am to 4pm. In past years there have been origami cranes and wishes strung up to a big tree. I think they might be able to use my origami crane skills. After folding 1000 cranes for our wedding, I like to think I’m somewhat an expert at folding. More info here. p.s. I love you.

Community Supported Fishery

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is when people from the community provide financial support to their local growers in return for a weekly bounty of seasonal produce. Maybe this has come out of the locavore movement: people preferring to eat locally grown and produced food. Well, now there is the next step for seafood lovers out there. CSF stands for Community Supported Fishery and for a fee or a share a supporter receives a weekly portion of the catch during a season. It means that fishermen can have cash in advance of the season. With CSF, fishermen are paid a flat rate per season instead of being paid for the fish they catch. The usual model means that fishermen are forced to chase whatever fish fetches the highest price. Instead, this model discourages fishermen from overfishing the most popular more lucrative fish as there is no bonus for doing so. It means the supporter can get to try all sorts of bounty from the sea rather than the limited range supermarkets sell these …

Clucky.

One day, I want to be a chicken keeper. Chickens can lay 5 eggs a week. The poultry keeping limit in Auckland city is 6 hens which would more than enough for me and The Koala. 4 chickens would probably be a good number. We would have enough for us and some to give away and to trade with. We eat a lot of eggs at our place and we always run out of eggs before the next big shopping trip. A tray of 30 eggs generally lasts 2-3 weeks. There are only 2 of us at home. Luckily, roosters are outlawed in Auckland urban areas. I remember when we were holidaying in Niue and hearing the rooster choir begin at 4am. I started counting them and I could count over 70 rooster crows per minute. Chickens are great for eating weeds and chicken scraps (on top of their chicken feed). Chickens will also dig up soil so you can place a chicken coop on top of your planned vegetable garden. Once the soil is …

A very hungry caterpillar

A very hungry caterpillar slaughtered my cauliflower. Bones. I am furious that they just left bones. With that out of my system, on to better gardening news. You might remember that I planted some basil seeds a while back. Well, here they are. I think they’re just about old enough to leave their shell. The advice I’ve read always suggests sowing 2 or more seeds in seedling trays and then culling back the weakest seedlings to make way for the strongest one. I can’t bear to destroy on any of these basil seedlings so I separated the roots out very carefully. Fingers crossed they all make it and I haven’t damaged them all. That’s right, 10 basil seedlings. If I get a bumper crop, I plan on making pesto with my own basil and with macadamias from our backyard nut tree. Wouldn’t that be freakin’ awesome?! This sage plant was grown from a cutting. I’ve now taken 3 cuttings from this plant and I’m hoping that they will grow into more plants. I love sage. There’s …

Stunted growth or death by rabbit

I have 3 brussels sprouts plants that are all the same age. 1 is over a metre high – a goliath living happily dwelling a deep planter. The other 2 struggle in pots and measure about 20cm. I think it is glaringly obvious that brussels sprouts need deep soil. There is no more space in the planter, so what to do? Make or buy another planter and spend another fortune filling it? Plant into the ground and pray that Tofu the rabbit ignores them? If they stay in pots, they’d never get any bigger and we would never be able to get a harvest. If I plant them into the ground, and Tofu ate them, then at least someone will be able enjoy them. So I’ve planted these into the ground. The smallest one has already been eaten. The others have been left alone so far. Perhaps the smallest one smelled the sweetest? Fingers crossed now that these two plants will reach full size (before becoming rabbit food). Russell the Goliath. The slackers.

Lo-what?

On the way to the supermarket today, I passed by a tree heavy with fruit. I remember eating lots of these fruits in a family friend’s backyard as a kid. I haven’t seen them since. Today, I couldn’t resist picking one and biting into it. Delicious. Just the way I remembered it tasting. Loquats are a Chinese fruit and are also found in Japan where they were introduced many years ago. Loquats seem to do really well in Auckland climate. Why is this the first in 12 years that I’ve seen this fruit? Loquats have the grainy texture of a feijoa but are less tart and strong. Think of a milder, slightly peachier flavour of feijoa and you just about have it.

Onion Weed Dumplings

Maybe you have a ton of onion weed in your backyard like we do. It’s chive smell can be experienced every time we or a neighbour mows the lawn. Onion weed is actually quite pretty with it’s fairyland looking flowers. It’s hard to imagine that it is so offensive to some people (being a noxious weed and all). If you are unsure, don’t eat it. Otherwise, happy foraging! Tofu the bunny doesn’t pay onion weed any attention. Since our neighbour mentioned they eat onion weed in dumplings, I’ve been dying to try it out. So here’s a recipe I fudged together. Enjoy! Onion Weed Dumplings Makes about 50 dumplings Ingredients 500 grams (1 pound) pork mince 10 leaves onion weed 7 onion weed flower tops (about 5 flowers each) 12 dried shitaake mushrooms 1 tablespoon black vinegar Salt 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon chili seasoning 1 teaspoon minced ginger 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 cup of water 1 packet of dumpling wrappers Preparation Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water for a 5 minutes. …

Eating noxious weeds

Onion weed grows everywhere in New Zealand and is considered a noxious weed. Why  it hasn’t become a national ingredient is beyond me. We have a lot of onion weed in our backyard and I found out a little while ago that it was edible, but I hadn’t decided how to use it in my cooking. Our neighbour came around to our house last week – he and his baby daughter like to visit Tofu in the garden every now and then. My neighbour’s wife is Mongolian and he mentioned that Mongolians eat onion weed. His wife uses the leaves and flowers in dumplings. I often use spring onion or chives in pork dumplings, so onion weed would be an easy substitute. My first attempt to cook with onion weed was nothing fancy, just some scrambled eggs. My bouquet of onion weed, sage and coriander just before I chopped it up and added it to my scrambled eggs. Onion weed scrambled eggs with an onion weed flower as a garnish. The flowers have a much milder …

The Last Fish Supper

I just read an article by Anna Hart called The Last Fish Supper. If you eat seafood in New Zealand, you should probably read it. You can read it here. Here are some insightful parts: …Some of the hoki caught off the coast of New Zealand is sent to China to be processed, before being imported back into the country… In New Zealand, Hoki is really popular as a cheap, everyday fish. It’s nuts to think that we’re sacrificing freshness for cheap labour. What can we do about this? I’ve heard of produce that are sent elsewhere to be processed and packaged and then distributed nation or world wide. This includes being sent back to the area it was grown/harvested at in the first place. What’s the point in buying locally when there’s a huge carbon footprint? …most restaurants in Waiheke have to source their fish from Auckland, as only one local fisherman has a quota entitling him to sell fish from an island renowned for abundant snapper, kingfish and trevally… This is ridiculous. Why aren’t …

Paper packets

The doorbell rang loudly this morning and I was greeted by a little crowd of children. One of them waved a paper packet at me and asked if I’d like to buy some carrots. Carrots? In a paper packet? What is wrong with kids these days? It was a fundraising exercise for their school and instead of flogging chocolate bars, they were selling packets of seeds. I sat down and flicked through their box of goodies. There was a good range of vegetables, herbs and flowers. I bought these 3 packets at $3 a packet. All edibles of course 🙂 Schools encourage mass chocolate bar consumption when they ask students to flog boxes and boxes of chocolate to their friends and family. This is a more conscientious, “save the planet” way to raise funds. Well done McGregor’s! Good luck little ones! I hope you reach your $60 target! Here’s a couple of photos of what my garden is up to at the moment. Brussel sprouts Broadbeans (Fava)

Easy Pork Chop dinner

This is the first time I’ve ever grown silverbeet, and while it’s not my favourite vegetable, it’s super easy to grow and easy to cook too. Here I served up sauteed silverbeet with some roast vegies like garlic, potato, onion and mushrooms. The porkchop was thickly coated in apple sauce, a little sugar, salt and pepper and pan fried until done. The black caramelised bits tasted like intense, savoury, applepork. Yes, applepork is a word. Well, now it is.