Showing posts from October, 2010

Rose Petal Jelly

For some reason I woke up yesterday thinking about rose petal jam. Maybe because the roses are in full bloom and absolutely beautiful and the forcast rain would ruin them a bit. A google search revealed some very simply sounding recipes. I settled on two, one for Jam and one for Jelly.
The Jam required twelve cups of rose petals that have had the white part trimmed from the base, a bit time consuming but trimming fragrant rose petals is a nice occupation! then simply boil the rose petals with four cups of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice.
This is the end result.

I actually think this recipe is flawed, although is appears many times and think it needs the addition of four cups of water as well. The resulting jam is very sticky and oversweet although the rose flavour is very nice. However I wouldnt bother with it again as the Jelly is fantastic. Interesting and easy to make as well.
the method is to simmer one litre of rose petals with one litre of water for fifteen minutes. At …

A Feast For the senses

The garden is a feast for all senses at the moment, despite the messiness there is an abundance of colour, lots of different textures to brush against but it is the frangrance that almost makes you dizzy.
As you come in the back gate the lavender and rosemary hedge is now quite tall and dense, the lavender is in full bloom and smells delicous. On a warm day you can also catch a whiff of the wormwood groundcovers that are now quite extensive and add a sharper note to the florals of the lavender.
The citrus are in full bloom and absolutely loaded with blossoms, they are the predominant perfume for most of the day.

I planted a native frangipani so we could enjoy the scent and have it waft towards the house. It has grown really well and is flwoering now as well. It has a smaller flower than the frangipani's you see in Sydney and on the coast but hte same delightful fragrance. It is a bit of a shame it is flowering at the same time as the citrus as they tend to overshadow it at this st…

Seasonal Food

I have been thinking about what it means to eat seasonal food of late. Lots of food magazines, restaruarant reviews etc. pay homage to the idea of local seasonal produce, then, when you read the menu or list of ingredients there are things that could not possibly grow in the same season and location. As we are trying to grow most of our own food and the so called "fresh" food we have access to is of such poor quality, seaonal food is becoming our daily reality. It is a real challenge to me as like most people today I am used to eating whatever it is that I feel like eating. Example, the other day we needed some fruit and there is not much in the garden at the moment except the lemons and some out of season passionfruit that somehow decided to set fruit over the winter, so Peter bought some oranges. They look quite nice, in fact, two weeks later they still look nice, but they are inedible. They are still sitting in the kitchen as I cant decide what to do with them. There must…

Rain and Roses

In light of the recent rain I felt it appropriate to update my blog template with this new rainy day look. It gives a bit of an idea of how it looks from the back door. Very hard to believe I know for all those who have only seen "Balmoral Park" in its parched sunburnt state.
The roses are going to be spectacular this year. They are already looking fabulous, if at times a little hard to see because of the lush growth of the weeds, especailly the Pattersons Curse which is just every where. However they are grwoing really well and at this point not an aphid in sight.

This is the predominantly pink and yellow garden in front of the veranda.

One of the climbing roses, growing on the ladder structure that Peter built. Cant wait until they cover it all up.
This is a little white old fashioned bush rose. These should grow quite large, like a hedge and be a bit of a wind break as well as a habitat for little birds.
And little pink ones the same as above
Just Joey's, planted for our …

My poor garden

Ten days ago i thought I was really on top of everything in the garden and it was starting to look a bit organised again. I had to go to Sydney for a few days work and then Peter got really ill and ended up in Orange hospital. He is on the mend now and yesterday i was home early enough to have a good look around. The weeds are running riot and it all looks very neglected again. In the midst of all the chaos though things are growing beautifully.

I planted a new strawberry garden in the autumn and they are just starting to fruit.

My new raspberry canes are all thriving and this one is flowering, so maybe we will have our first raspberries, very exciting!

The Veggies are growing like crazy and yesterday I was most impressed with the beautiful snow peas.

Hopefully Peter will be home from hospital tomorrow and I can get stuck back into the gardening.


There is very heavy rain predicted here over the next few days.Since it actually started to rain in late January the weather forecasts have been very accurate so we are taking it seriously. Peter is rushing to get the new roof on the veranda so the house is water tight and I am trying to get as much mowing and weeding done as possible as well as fertilise all the fruit trees.We both had a very busy day.At the end of the day there were lots of vegetables to prepare for dinner as well. I had been looking forward to the first of the artichokes, especially after our Paris food safari artichoke experience, but, at the end of a really long day in the garden, the fiddly process of preparing artichokes was not what I really wanted to do. If i didn't do it then though they would be too old and tough to eat by the time I got back home from my trip. I relaxed by sitting in the garden and shelling the peas then did the artichokes. When the artichokes were lightly steamed I added them to a sor…

Spring Flowers

I don't generally get as excited by the flowers in my garden as i do by the vegetables. Probably because growing vegetables is the only way we will get to eat good quality ones out here. The state of the veggies in Coles and Woolworths out in the bush are abysmal. You can rarely find anything that you want to eat. But, I digress, this is supposed to be about the flowers. We are also enjoying an amazing season of flowers. There is color everywhere in the garden at the moment. I threw a couple of packets of poppy seeds out into the back garden a while back. they were out of date and i thought that there was never going to be a good time to plant them. I have been watching this one emerge over the last few days and was eagerly waiting to see what color it would be.

The first poppies that emerged were these purple ones. They look pretty and blend in with the artichokes, they only last a very short time before they blow away. I am hoping that in future seasons poppies will just come up…

A Spring dinner from the garden

Every day I am completely delighted by the abundance in the vegtable patch. So many things to choose from and of course I have to find a way to use them all. I am not buying any vegtables at all at the moment and starting to give away quite a lot as well. At the same time there is not quite enough of anything to make it the main ingredient of a meal, except perhaps for the lettuce but i dont have an idea for that as a meal.
Friday afternoon I picked some lovely lettuce, dill, radish, snow peas, sugar snap peas,nasturtium leaves and flowers for a lovely fresh salad. Dressed with a drizzle of caramelised balsamic!

Peas, broccoli, broccolini and leeks went with some fresh eggs and Fetta into a lovely sour cream pastry tart case for a spring vegetable tart!

I also baked some beetroot and stirred a dollop of sour cream through. A delicous dinner, almost all from the garden. When we were eating it we thought we should get a goat or a cow so we can make our own cheese.


Gardening is certainly a pastime that teaches me patience.Waiting for seeds to come up, waiting for plants to flower or ripen.I guess the anticipation is all part of the fun but so are the unexpected suprises. I planted tomato, capsicum and eggplant seeds a month ago, as soon as I got home from my holiday, so they would have a head start. I have a little cold frame that I put the seed pots in. A month later, nothing, no sign of any seedlings at all. I fussed over them, inspected them several times a day and then decided that something had gone wrong and I was now a whole month behind. On Wednesday I almost threw them out but didnt. Yesterday the seedlings started to emerge. There are about ten tiny seedlings now.
It it the week for planting root crops this week. so far i have planted several varieties of carrots, orange and purple varieties, radishes, daikon and beetroot. …

The disorganised vegetable garden

The Vegetable Garden area at the back of the house is a somewhat disorganised garden. My plan here is to have if full of perrenials, herbs, rhubarb etc. as well as things that self seed and come up where they will year after year. i have found when I have struggled to grow ssomething here that every now and then a random plant will come up somewhere, from seed in the garden and be really strong and vigorous. So we have artichokes that spring up all over the place, sometimes I move them to a more auspicous spot, a variety of lettuces all over the yard now and of course the Italian parsley. I am hoping these poppies will spread all over the yard as well. I think I am aiming to choose my own weeds! then I can just admire them, or eat them, instead of pulling them out.

I have a lot of leeks and garlic that have either come up from seed or from bulbs that I didnt find when I harvested them last time. I have been thinning them out and using them for a few months now. The garlic is quite mil…

So much going on in the garden

There is just so much going on in the garden at the moment. It is hard to know where to start, both in terms of actual gardening or blogging. Yesterday I spent a few hours weeding and tidying up my biggest area of vegetable garden and i have to say that the vegetables are what give me the greatest joy. Because it has been such a battle and because we can eat them and then dont need to buy any horrible old vegetables from coles or woolworths. My day so far today, I have had some lemon juice from my lemon tree, two passionfruits, which were an out of season bonus from our new vines, an egg from our chickens and some home made sour dough bread. Not much from the supermarket at all! Dinner last night was rice noodles and tofu with loads of vegies from the garden as well.
Part of my garden is quite orderly and organised, by my standards anyway, at the moment, and I have a plan of what i will plant where and when. I am trying to be guided by the moon planting ideas of planting root crops, …

Lovely Lemons

The old Lemon Tree is loaded with lemons at the moment. It is an interesting tree as I am sure it has at least two different varieties of lemon on it. One thinner skinned than the other and some that are almost round in shape. I think it is a very old tree and has been neglected in the past. I would guess at some point that some shoots have come up from below the graft and been allowed to grow. It doesnt matter the end result is a tree that fruits nearly all year. During the drought the quality of the fruit was marginal. At present it is magnificent, the juiciest lemons you could wish for.

Sunday I decided to use lots of them and made some preserved lemons and lemon curd. I like using preserved lemons in my cooking and it is always hard to get up here as well as being very expensive. These should be ready in about eight weeks and they will last for ages. The only problem making them was some of the lemons were so big had to seperate the quarters instead of leaving them joined at the …