Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Discovering the Veggie Garden - by Torchlight

Since Kate headed off on her big Vegetable Vagabond adventure I've been left in charge of the vegetable garden!  Kate is so incredibly knowledgeable and experienced at vegetable gardening, especially compared to me who knows almost nothing, that I am somewhat daunted by this responsibility.  Not only do I want to make sure everything is in good shape for when she returns, but I also want to make good use of all the produce the garden provides and not let it go to waste while Kate isn't here ... and that's what I can see is going to be the biggest challenge.  There is just so much out there!

When Kate is here she harvests all the produce and does the cooking.  It's not that I dislike these things but just that I always seem to be busy on other things (work tends to get in the way) and we have fallen into our roles over the years ... and Kate is just so amazingly GOOD at it all.  But, now Kate isn't here and its all up to me -- and Alex until he heads off to Oxford very soon.  So, here is my big chance!

One hard thing I am finding is that its dark by the time I get home!  This makes it very tricky to pick things from the garden, especially when you have as little idea as I do just what exactly all those different things in the garden are and are not at all sure which is bok choi, asian greens or broccoli leaves!

imageBeing a good engineer, I made a rough plan of the garden as Kate was explaining where everything was and what to do.  I am quite sure Kate thought this was just another one of those "engineer" things she feels is totally unnecessary and just slows everything down but has learnt to tolerate over the years.  But, believe me, this is a godsend and I would be lost without it.  Used in conjunction with Wikipedia, its amazing what you can find in Kate's veggie garden by torchlight!

Tonight, Alex and I cooked up a big stir fry.  When I got home, I headed off into the garden with my trusty torch and plan.  By the time I returned with basket full of promising looking candidates - bok choi, kale, fennel, asian greens, broccoli leaves, spring onions and asparagus -- Alex had the wok, some kangaroo pieces and a selection of tasty looking oils and sauces all ready to go.  We cooked it all up and it was absolutely delicious.

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(The broccoli leaves were actually a mistake.  I mistook them for the bok choi at first.  Don't tell Kate.  I'm hoping they will grow back by the time she gets back and she won't notice!)


Pattie Baker said...

Roger; What a pleasure it is to read about you in the garden! I tsounds like kate was right there at the meal with you and Alex, in many, many ways. Keep the posts coming!

chaiselongue said...

It sounds delicious. I haven't tasted kangaroo, though, as we don't have them in France. I promise I won't tell Kate about the broccoli leaves when she gets here next week! Looking forward to hearing what you find in the garden next time you go out with your torch!

Veggie Gnome said...

Wonderful garden/kitchen report, Roger! What did the broccoli leaves taste like? Did you enjoy them? Keep up your reports, please! :)

Maggie said...

Now we know where each veggie is there might be more of us wandering around your garden with torches. Just kidding we have heaps of greens too. Now the secret is you get up early, pick what needs to be eaten and put them in a jug of water. They miss the heat of the day and are ready waiting for you all crisp and fresh.
I notice we are now posting in Kate's time, we have not gone crazy writing all night.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind comments everyone. I wasn't expecting such a response!

Veggie Gnome: The broccoli leave were fine but we only put a few in the stir fry with everything else so you couldn't really pick them out. There are some more left over which I will cook separately. I read they are bitter but have found a recipe on Chef Talk that suggests blanching them then tossing them with some oil and garlic in the frying pan. I'll try it tomorrow night and let you know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

I cooked up those Broccoli leaves and they were absolutely delicious. I tore them into pieces, dropped into boiling water for ~1.5 mins, drained, then tossed in some olive oil and garlic, a dash of soy sauce and mirrin again for just a minute or two in the wok. Delicious. Not at all bitter. This experimenting is fun.