Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gelatine Sunday

Two lots of stock today. I started the beef stock last night and cooked it in the slow cooker until midday today. Then I switched the cooker off and left the stock to cool until it was manageable. It is now strained and in the fridge. Minestrone later in the week I expect. Too bad that it is summer and thus quite heavy food. But any other favourites for using beef stock which are more summery in style are welcome.

The fish stock is cooking as I type. That will be used tomorrow night for potato and green olive tagine. Currently we have neither green olives or a tagine dish in the house but this recipe from Cuisine magazine has worked with lots of adaptations in the past so should work tomorrow also.

I also made sushi and basil pesto today. The tomato pasta sauce I am leaving for tomorrow. A girl can only be so good in the kitchen in one day. I put some finely chopped celery in the sushi as according to Laksmi my herbal/cranio-sacral/massage therapist, celery is very very good for me. So is ginger, which I also put in the sushi. I've been reading more on Chinese medicine and some people are deficient and others are excess. I'm excess. I am also damp and need cooling and drying foods. Well well well. It's quite fun being a food nutter. All sorts of new things to try and to think about. The book I am consulting for all of this (Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods) also says alcohol is bad. I did go alcohol free Monday - Friday last week, but not in the weekend. I'm not that committed.

I forgot completely about today being seed sowing day until I read Nikki's blog tonight once it was dark. Seed sowing is risky with Brighid around anyway. But I did spread some more pea straw on the old chook run. I left one tomato to grow along the ground unstaked as an experiment. I'd read somewhere that they can grow well like this. We are eating yummy cheery tomatoes from this snaking along plant and tonight I discovered that it has made roots in new places. One way of increasing the nutrient intake I guess.

I also watered the zucchinis and globe artichoke with my seaweed and comfrey brew. I've been watering the tomatoes and brassicas with this over the past few days but I've still got a few litres left. My comfrey plants have grown vigorously, all in places where many other plants don't grow. Two plants are in the shade and in a relatively dry spot. Two plants are in partial shade which is a bog for all of spring. As nothing else grows in the boggy spot, I'm going to put more comfrey there for next year. I've cut most of the comfrey down and chopped it up. It has half filled my large rubbish bin and been covered with water and then with the lid. Next time I go out to the beach north of smallwettown, I'll gather seaweed and add it to the brew.

The strip of garden along the back of the house is one I made myself in early 2007. I started with broad beans (which we mostly didn't eat) and then grew tomatoes in it last summer. The celery I put in there lasted all winter and the brassicas have done moderately well this summer. It is on quite a slope though and the bottom part gets very wet during the very wet season which here is about nine months of the year but particularly in Spring. I have often looked at it and thought we need to wait until we can afford a truck load of compost, or a trailer load at the very least.

But my latest, and definitely better, plan, is to build it up in small sections. I started last week with the mushroom compost. The rocket is poking through there and the radiccio (which I misnamed chicory when I last blogged about it) is looking healthy. Tonight I found a piece of wood and used it to set up a small terrace effect just under a metre below where the mushroom compost patch finished. Then I sprinkled dolimite lime, boron and powdered blood and bone. I covered that with sheep poo and covered the sheep poo with kinpack powdered sheep manure which is a product from ground up sheep dags. Then I forked on big wads of pea straw and grass clippings from the compost heap. I have only just remembered that this is possibly the site where I buried the chicken bones last week. It should be Jack and the Beanstalk country at this rate. I watered all that in with the hose and in a week or so I'll plant some seedlings.

A few weeks ago, maybe a month, I took cuttings from my neighbour's rambling rose bush. I potted up three cuttings and two of them 'took'. So I have them on the outside table hardening up a bit before I plant them. I had thought all new flower acquisitions would go in the side garden but I already have red and orange flowers there and the rambling rose cuttings are pink. Perhaps I should put them in along the back of the house, which would suit pink. Where I have just made the richest new soil imaginable? Hmmm. Then I could add garlic there in winter. Given that garlic and roses make each other so happy in the garden. Then maybe as there are two cuttings, I should put the other one along the side fence out the back (no I don't expect anyone else to visualise where that might be!) where a kale plant died last week. Hmmmmm. I was thinking more veges for those spots but gardens don't have to be all veges (though mine has to be mostly veges). I guess I'll have to sort out trellis or some kind of training apparatus for the roses, no matter where they go.

On the subject of roses, I assumed that the yellow one I planted out the very front by the big climbing tree and on the edge of the driveway, would be swamped and suffering. Everything else in the yellow garden patch seems to be rather overgrown. But no, it is growing and indeed has a flower on it. So it can stay there, where I shall build up some rich goodies like blood and bone and compost around it, and eventually it can wind and twirl itself along the old fence which borders the driveway and smother it with yellow roses. There might be a lot of mess and rough edges on our section, but it most surely is growing food, flowers and pleasure for my family.


Johanna Knox said...

Hi Sandra - What about French onion soup as a light-ish thing to do with beef stock?

Johanna Knox said...

.. Unfortunately two members of my family won't eat anything with obvious onions in it ... but the other two love it!