Posted by Tricia on 19 May 2012 | 4 Comments

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I've finally got around to making another batch of plum sauce. The last precious bottle was consumed nearly a year ago and by gosh I've missed it. I don't care for any of the commercially made sauces. I use my plum sauce on burgers, sausages, fried eggs (divine), and pan fried potatoes. I do have plum trees but they haven't got to the age yet of producing enough plums for sauce or jam making. I had some plums given to me last season and was too busy at the time to make them into sauce. They keep well enough frozen for sauce making so I freeze them in 2.7kg (6lb) lots until I'm ready and psyched for a day in the kitchen. Today was that day. It was cold and rainy, and Molly, my eldest daughter was visiting. We had planned to do some house painting. Instead we stoked up the fire, and spent a day inside cooking and eating. For recipe read the full post.

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Chickpea Potato Top Bake

Posted by Tricia on 4 May 2012 | 6 Comments

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Chick peas are great don't you reckon. Creamy hummus in summer, stews and casseroles in winter, chickpea flour in pies, cakes and biscuits, roasted in a bit of tamari for nibbles. My Bulent's chickpea recipe is always a hit and here's another keeper. This one is perfect for autumn/winter meals for lunch or dinner. There are absolutely no fancy ingredients but it's tasty enough to serve up to guests!

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Quintessential Quince

Posted by Tricia on 4 May 2012 | 4 Comments

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My latest fad is cream cheese and quince jelly on toasted gluten free bread. The cream cheese and the quince jelly are perfect foils, subtley enhancing each other. I confess I'm a little addicted.  Have you ever got up close and personal with a quince. The aroma of the ripe fruit is divine, evoking tropical flowers. The quince is actually a pear, though astringent until cooked. It's under-rated and under-used in my opinion. I have two different types of quince trees growing here. The Japanese and the European. Both are suitable for jelly making. The Japanese quince makes a darker coloured jelly which I have used this time.  For the recipe read the full post.

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Bottling Beetroot

Posted by Tricia on 1 April 2012 | 8 Comments

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I gathered up the last scraggy beetroots from my summer garden and bottled them today. I preserved the main crop about a month ago. These were the ones that weren't big enough then. They still haven't grown much but needed to come out of the ground. I buy beetroot from the vege shop all year long, boil or steam it, slice it and keep it in apple cider vinegar in the fridge. It comes in handy as an extra veg for most meals. Come next spring I'm going to grow a main crop of beetroot for bottling and will aim to cultivate a years supply. They are so very easy to bottle. Here's how.

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Vege Lasagne

Posted by Tricia on 12 March 2012 | 4 Comments

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Sounds dull doesn't it! Vege lasagne, It won't win awards for haute cuisine, but it does win awards in my book. What I'm looking for in a meal is something that tastes good, looks good, is nutritious, and is packed with fresh vegetables. This dish changes seasonally, is freezer friendly, child friendly, nutritious and delicious. I usually make two and divide one into single-sized portions to go in the freezer. For more details read the full post.

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Rongoa Maori weekend workshop

Posted by Tricia on 27 February 2012 | 7 Comments

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Where to start! What a weekend. I attended the Rongoa Maori, traditional Maori medicine workshop with Rob McGowan (Pa Ropata) and the lovely Donna Kerridge in Te Puke. Nestled in the ngahere, lush coastal forest, we were taken on a journey. Rob shared his knowledge of the land, the plants, the birds and our own history captivating us all. Each person carefully gathered samples of plants and brought them to the table. These would be our focus for the weekend. We were encouraged to get to know each other because a lack of community says Rob is one of the major sicknesses of this world. Learning is easier when we are together as friends and not strangers. For more details read the full post.

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COMFREY Symphytum officinale

Posted by Tricia on 14 February 2012 | 6 Comments

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Comfrey was first brought to my attention after the birth of my son more than thirty years ago. My domiciliary midwife, the wonderful Joan Donnelly was a staunch advocate of eating weeds and comfrey was one of her favourites. She was a picture of health and as well as her weed salads she used to knock back tablespoons of cayenne pepper to keep any bugs at bay. Undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with and she was a guiding light in the homebirth movement in this country. But I digress... comfrey also a force to be reckoned with, there's no getting rid of it once it establishes itself. Every little rootlet will grow a new plant. I used to curse it when my garden was tiny. Now I welcome the huge clumps it makes and I have created gardens around it. In early spring when I am planting seedlings or planning to make a comfrey tea for the garden I can never get enough of it! It has had some very bad press during the last few years for causing hepato-toxicity in laboratory experiments with rats, but there's no need to throw out the baby with the bath water. Problems can occur from ingesting the roots, in quantity. Topically it is one of our most marvelous healers for all manner of wounds and injuries from the skin through to the ligaments and the bone, nicely backed up by placebo double-blind trials I might add! For more details read the full post.

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Savoury zucchini slice

Posted by Tricia on 27 January 2012 | 4 Comments

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At this time of the year anyone who has a couple of zucchini plants in their garden and a few chooks is overrun with you guessed it..... zucchinis and eggs. This savoury slice recipe takes care of both of those little problems and what's more you can freeze them in convenient meal-for-one sized pieces. I live alone most of the time and find it quite diffficult to make healthy meals for myself. I love cooking for OTHER people and I like to cook BIG meals so I'm am particularly challenged in this respect. These savoury slices are ideal for vegetarians as well as for getting vege's into your kids. A perfect light meal on a hot summer day accompanied by a fresh garden salad. The actual recipe I'm sharing with you here is only a suggestion. Create your own version with what you have on hand. I do use some fabulous recipes that I follow to the letter but this is a dish that invites your own input, inspired by seasonal availablity or your own personal taste preferences.

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YARROW Achillea Millefolium

Posted by Tricia on 20 January 2012 | 2 Comments

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Yarrow is a plant many of us welcome into our gardens without really knowing the depth and breadth of her true personality. She's been around for centuries, used on battlefields of old to staunch many a bleeding wound from sword or axe. She has an affinity with blood, strengthening vessels and tightening tissues as well as eliminating waste and toxins through the skin and the kidneys. She's a tough old bird, loving the dry and sunny conditions. In fact this is when she is at her strongest, the active ingredients and volatile oils she produces at their peak. She is best harvested in Summer when her blooms are full. Cut a few long stalks with leaves and flowers intact and hang inside to dry. Next time you are feeling a bit off colour or in the early stages of a cold or the flu make a brew from your dried yarrow. By having some close at hand you are so much more likely to remember these simple remedies in a time of need. Instead of a bathroom cupboard stocked with pharma drugs why not start another sort of collection. Gather a few different healing plants and hang to dry. Start with one or two, and add to them as your knowledge grows. For more details read the full post.

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Posted by Tricia on 30 December 2011 | 7 Comments

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Every couple of years I make sure to grow between eight to twelve plants of gherkin cucumbers and pickle enough gherkins for about three years worth of eating. They are one of the easiest vegetable plants to grow and they produce prolifically. It takes some commitment to be around during January and early February. This is when they produce their main crop. During this time you check your plants every day and collect the fruit that you deem large enough for pickling. I start collecting the little cucumbers when they are approx 10-12 cms long and keep them in a plastic bag stored in the fridge. When I have collected about 50 cucumbers I make the first brine solution. The cucumbers will stay in the brine for up to 7 days and I gently stir them at least three times a day.  While this lot is in the brine I'm storing the daily pick in the fridge until I again have 50 or so, and keep repeating the process until the plants ease off production. For more details read the full post.

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