Monday 20 December 2010

Easy Christmas Pudding


I have made this easy Christmas pudding recipe for years ever since my Auntie Win gave it to me.
So it is really called Auntie Win’s Overnight Christmas Pudding. It is a light flavourful pudding and is great eaten cold the next day.

1  375 gram pkt of Mixed Dried Fruit
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of sherry or rum or brandy
Mix the above ingredients together and stand all day.
Then add
1 cup of freshly made breadcrumbs
1 cup of Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 small teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon of honey or golden syrup
1 or 2 beaten eggs
Mix well .
Spoon into a greased pudding basin.
Cover with buttered greaseproof paper.
Cover with aluminium foil.
Tie these around the lip of the bowl with cotton string.
Leave to stand overnight.
Next day boil the pudding for 3 hours in a pan with boiling water and a lid.
Remove from the pan, allow to stand for 15 minutes, turn pudding onto a plate and serve with custard, cream and seasonal berries.
This pudding keeps for months in the refrigerator or it can be frozen.
The original recipe had 1 cup of sugar which I leave out. Dried fruit, honey and sherry add ample sugar. I usually multiply the recipe by 4 to make 4 puddings and I substitute 1 375 gram pkt currants for the mixed fruit. Dried black currants add a wonderful flavour and richness.

Monday 13 December 2010

Mulch Making Monday

Seedsaver Maggie-16Mulch Making-5

Mulch Making-4Mulch Making-11

We have been trying to find time to put all our winter prunings through the mulcher for weeks.

Today we finally managed in 2 hours to put this great pile of organic matter through the mulcher and spread it all over some of our garden beds as summer mulch.

I still have lots of dried grass cuttings which I shall use to put around small seedlings.

Lovely organically home grown and processed MULCH for our summer garden.

Lucky we put the mulch down today, tomorrow is going to be 35 degrees Celsius.

Adelaide has lots of rain in winter so dried grass cuttings provide ample mulch and summer prunings will be mulched and then composted.

Spinach Soup with Leeks, Garlic, Black Pepper and Pizza Thyme.

Sometimes you cook something which is absolutely delicious.

After a busy day I went into the garden to find lots of spinach ready to be cooked and eaten.

I felt too tired to make spinach triangles and as it is a cool rainy evening soup seems very appealing.

So I blanched some spinach, drained it, added some cooked baby leeks, black pepper, chopped new season garlic, salt, a little cornflour blended with some milk and a handful of pizza thyme.

I cooked this gently for a few minutes then pureed the mix.

I served the soup with a dollop of sour cream and voila! an amazing delicious, nutritious soup.

All fresh from the garden and more delicious than most soups I have tasted.

Spinach Soup-6

Monday 6 December 2010

From Seed to Table - a great blog to read

The Blog “From Seed to Table” has a most amazing summary of what Michelle has grown, harvested and processed this past summer in California.

What makes it even more interesting is that what she is harvesting is just about the same foods that we are planting now and hopefully will be harvesting in the near future.

I am certainly going to try several of her recipes including her November 30th post recipe for

Slow Roasted or is it Quick Dried Chile Peppers.

Please check out this blog for new ideas of how to preserve and use summer produce.

Congratulations Michelle and thankyou for such a great blog.


The photos below were taken last summer in our garden.

Many South Australia gardeners are still planting up peppers, eggplants and chillies.

Others here are harvesting zucchinis, lettuce, spinach, onions, radishes, rocket, basil, artichokes and the last of the broad beans.

Tomato bushes are flowering and some folks are already picking early tomatoes. Beans, cucumbers and figs are growing nicely. 

It is apricot, berry and cherry harvest time in South Australia and fresh platters of mixed berries are appearing on dinner tables.

Eating local, organic and seasonal food is exciting. There is always some favourite fruit or vegetable reappearing at the dinner table.

There is always the anticipation of different things to grow, harvest and preserve.


Xmas Garden1

Thursday 2 December 2010

Glandore Community Garden

Last weekend some of Adelaide's most famous Gardening Gurus from the Hills and Plains Seedsavers visited the Glandore Community

Garden for a pizza garden afternoon.

Many thanks to Lyn, Helen and Harry and others who made us feel so welcome.

It was a great afternoon, with garden tours of the plots and much discussion over the size of plants and what everyone was growing there.

There was always lots of laughter and great energy as we meet together and planned bumper crops for our own summer gardens.

In the Glandore plots there were lots of winter plants going to seed and lots of summer plants coming along nicely.

The pizza from the wood oven was delicious, thanks again Lyn for setting this all up for us.

There is always something new to learn when we wander around others gardens particularly when everyone there had many, many years of gardening experience.

Some Seedsavers had just come back from touring Italy and told us all about visiting Puglia, home of the Bari cucumbers we grow and an area where Cima di Rapa (another winter vegetable we grow) grows in abundance. We initially got some Rapa seedlings from Andrew who got seeds from an elderly Italian neighbour. We passed on many seeds & seedlings to many others in the group. The Bari cucumber seeds came to our group when an elderly Italian vegetable grower asked Kate to keep his cucumbers growing on. Several Seedsavers did & now we enjoy these unusual cucumbers.

We hope to go back soon for a seed swap and chat about our summer gardens.

Here are some photos from this delightful event.

Seedsavers at Glandore1

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Rosella Enjoying Salad Burnet Seeds in the Garden Today

Rosella in the Salad Burnett-16

We save seeds to plant out in our next seasons garden.

We let plants go to seed so they self seed and reappear in our gardens as the seasons change.

We save seeds to give to others.

We save seeds so we have nourishing food next season.

We let things go to seed to enjoy the beauty of the flowers and seeds.

We let things go to seed so bees and birds and other insects are attracted to our gardens.

These visitors pollinate, eat bugs and keep our gardens healthy.


Tell us a tale of your seed saving adventures!

Friday 19 November 2010

A Passion for Gardening

Daniel's Garden

One of the segments on Gardening Australia ABC TV (6:30pm tomorrow) will be Sophie Thompson interviewing Daniel in his amazing garden.

Daniel is one of our most enthusiastic  Hills and Plains Seedsavers. His knowledge, enthusiasm of gardening and willingness to share with others endears him to all who know him.

If you cannot wait till tomorrow, check out the video and article on the Gardening Australia website. Daniel's Garden

There is also a wonderful article in the December 2010 Gardening Australia magazine about Daniel.

Monday 8 November 2010

Plant it, Grow it, Eat it --- Italian Style Spinach & Onion Triangles

Many months have passed since we sowed Erbette spinach seeds in our well composted garden beds (home made compost).

We waited for them to germinate, then thinned out, divided and replanted where necessary.

More waiting for the seedlings to grow and the leaves to be large enough to harvest.

Some leaves have been used in dahls, curries, Greek spanakopita, spinach soup, veggie cakes and frittatas and some bunches given away.

But as the sun heats up and the plants start to go to seed dreams of more spinach triangles flash through my mind.

So we leave some of the healthiest plants to go to seed.

Next step harvest an enormous amount of leaves to wash and blanch.

Old leaves are saved to give to the gnomes for their chickens.

Many of the plants must go so as to make room for the summer seedlings which are almost ready to plant out.

Chillies, capsicums and aubergines will be looking for space in our small garden.


Spinach & Onion Pie-7

Next step is to decide what else to add to the spinach for flavour and to add more nutrition.

Companions to cooking from the garden today were some freshly picked onions, heaps of chopped parsley and oregano (last week it was chervil, but I could have used bronze fennel or Russian tarragon, dill would have been great if we had it) and some chopped chives.


Spinach & Onion Pie-11

Mix all together with some fresh ricotta, fresh eggs, some rice crumbs, salt and pepper and a little grated pecorino cheese and use as a filling with filo pastry to bake delicious spinach and onion triangles.


Spinach & Onion Triangles-16

Now all this takes a lot of time and energy to produce such wonderful fresh, healthy organic veggies.

BUT nowhere on this planet could you find a more delicious tasty treat.

The spinach and onions made a sweet silky, creamy spinach pate with a hint of oregano.

The left over filling had more eggs, seasonings, some milk and cream added.

This was spooned into a grease baking dish, sprinkled with paprika, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, a little pecorino cheese and then  baked at a lower oven temperature until set and golden. Yummy!

This is one of many of my own stories of PLANT IT, GROW IT, EAT IT.

Happy gardening everyone.

Sunday 10 October 2010

10/10/10 Today in Our Garden

Ripening Mulberries

Succulent mulberries

Flowering Herbs

Flowering Herbs

Californian Poppy

California Poppy

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes just about ready to plant out


We love chicory

Sage and Oregano

Sage and Oregano

We have spent several enjoyable days working in our garden. The weather has been lovely and we have been able to make lots of mulch from our winter pruning's.

We have made a zucchini bed, a potato cage bed and a pumpkin patch. Our artichoke bed is looking good and we have lots of mulberries on our small trees.

The highlight of our garden is the herbs, rapa and rocket plants going to flower and forming seed.

We have planned our summer garden and we will are just hoping that we do not have heatwaves and that we can keep our garden healthy and productive. So for the moment we are dreaming of a mild Adelaide summer with tropical rain showers and cool nights. Reality will hit in January or even in November like last year.

Happy gardening to all.

Tickle Tank, South Australia Open Garden Scheme

Tickle Tank is open to the public today.

Tickletank Artist Irene Pearce's intimate and imaginative garden">
24 Hill St, Mount Barker 10am-4.30pm $6.00

Creating a beautiful home from a concrete water storage tank!

If you are thinking of converting a concrete water tank into a home this is the place to look at.


Tickle Tank is the home of talented artist Irene Pearce .
"You will visit an intimate and adventurous multi-level garden which surrounds a house made from a converted water storage tank. The garden is filled with garden art, mosaics and sculptures made from recycled materials which add humour among the colourful array of spring bulbs, hardy natives and cottage plants. An inspiring garden, brimming with artistic ideas."
See the video at the ABC website: Tickle video (scroll down to the Tickletank video).

Sunday 3 October 2010

Adelaide Spring Garden Bee Feast

Here are some pictures from our Adelaide spring garden with rocket, brassica rapa, parsley & flame tree mustard green going to seed. And an amazing array of flowering herbs including sage, borage, pineapple sage, thyme, watercress, salad burnett, society garlic & many more flowers attracting a myriad of bees other insects.

Spring Garden-28

A bee enjoying our borage

Spring Garden-83

Colour maze

Spring Garden-119

Brassica rapa going to seed

Spring Garden-54

Flowering coriander

Spring Garden-78

Watercress flower

Gardening Australia & Video of Seed Saving

Most Aussie gardeners have grown up watching gardening Australia each Saturday or Sunday for many years.

The programs continue to inform, entertain and delight us as the years roll on.

Did you know that wherever you live around the world you can watch the video clips of the different segment of the program online.

Just go to and then you can choose what you would like to watch.

I particularly enjoyed Jerry’s segment on Seed Saving which was aired on October 2, 2010.

Monday 30 August 2010


Nirvana Organic Farm offers gardeners a chance to share Deb’s 30+ years of experience in creating a productive landscape in a unique and beautiful living classroom.

compost cover


Sunday, September 5th

9.00 - 12 30 $45

Principles of composting and mulching, techniques and materials used and how they can be used most effectively on your garden or farm.

veggie cover (2)


Sunday, September 12th

9.00—12.30 $45

Practical guide to establishing and maintaining a productive and healthy

vegetable garden.

bd cover



Improve your soils water holding capacity.

A one day course to introduce the practical concepts of the biodynamic methods to farmers and gardeners.

The Bio -Dynamic method is a modern organic method that creates a holistic approach to building healthy soil, plants animals and humans.

The course covers history, concept of a living organism, soils, compost, special preparations that enhance nature and equipment required.

Sunday, Sept 19th 2010. 8.30 am. -4.30 pm. Cost: $110

Includes: notes, lunch, Membership of Adelaide Hills Biodynamic Group

planting cal.cover


Sunday, September 26th 9.00-12.30 $45

Working with the rhythms of nature can develop your skills in fine tuning your garden and can add a new dimension to your gardening experience


orchard cover


Sunday, October 10th

9.00 -12.30 $45

Practical guide to orcharding. Includes establishment, soils, ground covers, maintenance & pruning.


poultry cover POULTRY KEEPING.

Sunday October 17th

9.00 pm – 12.30 $45

All you need to know about getting started with poultry. Includes selection, housing, feeding, breeding, pests.




Sunday October 24th

9am – 4pm


.The ideal way to recycle your garden prunings. This introduction to natural fibre weaving will show you the essential techniques, suitable plants & other materials to make baskets, fences, or trellises.

Course includes all materials, lunch, morning & afternoon tea.

To enrol click here or get further Information

phone Deb or Quentin 8339 2519

Posted by Deb at 4:21 PM 1 comments Links to this post

Labels: Biodynamics, Chooks, Compost/gardening, COURSES, Education, Fruit, herbs, Kitchen Gardens, Organic Gardening, Vegetables, workshops

Sunday 22 August 2010

World Kitchen Garden Day August 22nd 2010

Welcome to World Kitchen Garden Day from Adelaide, South Australia.

It is winter here which means lots of winter rain and mild temperatures.

Our garden looks lovely with masses of Asia greens, Italian broccoli rapa, silverbeets, leeks and spring  onions, parsley, fenugreek, coriander and almost every kind of herb you can think of.

We have rocket, rapa and coriander going to seed.

We have calendula's, German chamomile and speckled borage everywhere.

Today we have friends coming to see our garden and then a large afternoon tea at another kitchen gardeners home.

So I look forward to today and I hope you all enjoy your garden and what ever you have planned for today.

Greetings from Adelaide.


Herbs & Olives

Friday 30 July 2010


It is winter in Adelaide, it is cold and wet and lots of folks have coughs and colds, so it is time for thyme.

Thyme is a great addition to your medicinal herb garden.

Thyme contains thymol which you will find in toothpastes and throat gargles.

Thyme, honey and lemon make a great soothing mix to sip if you have a sore or dry throat.

Infuse some thyme in green tea, add a little honey and you have a great tasting herbal tea.

Thyme has great antiseptic properties as well as aiding digestion and boosting the immune system.

And thyme tastes great!

Combine thyme with other herbs such as sage and rosemary and the uses and health benefits of using these herbs is amazing.

Thyme is used in equal quantities with sumac to make Zatar which is used in Middle eastern cookery.

Thyme is used with cumin in Cajun cookery.

Thyme, parsley, bayleaf is tied in a bundle to make a bouquet garni which is then added to most French stocks and casseroles.

Thyme is a great herb to include in your cooked vegetable dishes, meat and fish casseroles, soups, baked goods, egg and cheese quiches, veggie and tofu burgers, salads and salad dressings.

In fact thyme goes with just about every ingredient I can think of that you have in the kitchen.

The many varieties of thyme enhance you food with different flavours.

We even add thyme, parsley, sage and oregano to our dogs raw food diet.

Herb Garden

Saturday 3 July 2010


  Garden & Horseradish-23

Horseradish grows well in our garden, it establishes itself very easily and will propagate like a weed if you leave any bit of root behind. It is best to leave the roots for a couple of years to get a reasonable size (medium carrot size), but if you can’t wait then by all means dig some up when the leave die back.

Processing is best done in a food processer or with a hand grater and is best done outside because of the extreme pungency of horseradish.


I have an old food processer which I use to grind chillies, horseradish, turmeric and any other pungent or stain producing food stuff.

Once grated I add a teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some apple cider vinegar, just enough to cover and moisten the horseradish. It is good to then spoon the mixture into to small sterilized jars, seal with a lid. Our horseradish lasted for 12 months in the refrigerator, but it started to lose some pungency after six months or so..

The horseradish prepared in this way is great to serve with meat or vegetables. You can add some to whipped cream or herb flavoured ricotta cheese to serve with smoked salmon and melba toast.

Horseradish has amazing health properties and is a great addition to any refrigerator medicine “kit”.

Friday 25 June 2010

K is for Kale, F is for Fenugreek and C is for Coriander and Chilli.

Picked straight from our Adelaide winter garden, sautéed with some garlic chives and local olive oil and then added to freshly made organic chicken broth.

A real good bowl of healthy fast food.


Tuesday 15 June 2010


There is a kindly bloke over at Magill who likes to grow vegetables in his backyard. He calls himself the backyard farmer. Whenever he is not busy with his other business or travelling the state with work he can be found digging and planting in his garden. His labours and a large suburban block meant that he has been able to feed a hungry family, an amazing variety of fruits, eggs, nuts and veggies for many years from his backyard. His enthusiasm and willingness to share his knowledge has meant that many people have been inspired and enthused to start their own kitchen gardens and enjoy all the health benefits and pleasures this brings.

He writes about his garden on a blog called the Adelaide Kitchen Gardeners Blog , click HERE to read more about Andrews garden and the nourishing ways he and his lovely German born wife prepare much of their produce for cellaring.

At our last Hills and Plains Seedsavers meeting Andrew gave us a butternut pumpkin which has now been made into pumpkin and nutmeg soup. Some soup devoured by us, some soup given to others. Good, wholesome healthy soup is a great winter gift for family and friends. And when we give lovely organic produce from our gardens and kitchens we give others the experience of our labour and skills. We give the experience of what organic food tastes like and the knowledge of what real nourishing food is.

We give sensual flavours and memories of real food and happy thoughts of gardens and gardeners and sharing meals together.

Saving pumpkin seed ?, well that’s another story for another day. A story about how many more gifts can be given by giving one pumpkin to another gardener. Maybe a story told by the backyard farmer himself.

Pumpkin Soup-9

Thursday 10 June 2010

Methi, coriander rice cakes

Methi Rice Cakes-3

Take some cooked rice add sliced spring onions, sliced fenugreek leaves, some sliced fresh coriander, some red chilli , some salt , white pepper and some farm fresh eggs.

Cook small amounts in a little oil, turn and when brown and crisp serve with Greek yoghurt flavoured with lots of crushed garlic.

We are so happy to have discovered the delicious flavour of cooked fenugreek leaves, now I can understand why fenugreek is such a popular ingredient in Indian cookery. 

This has to be the smells of an Indian restaurant on a plate!

Good Weather for Ducks

Ducks on the Roof2

This morning in Adelaide a noisy group of ducks arrived on our roof to check out the scenery. The trees have all lost their Autumn leaves now and look wonderful silhouetted against the grey sky.  This morning brought light rain and a cool 8 degrees Celsius. As soon as they saw me with the camera they flew off towards the Hills.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Be Nice to Nettles Week!

Did you know it is Be Nice to Nettles Week. Check out the website called Be Nice to Nettles Week.

Stinging Nettle

The picture above shows stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica).

Nettles play an important role in an organic garden. They are excellent added to a compost heap. They can be made into a liquid manure & used as an excellent tonic when sprayed on leaves & soil.

Nettles also have an important nutritional value as they are rich in vitamins A & C. The formic acid is destroyed by cooking so they can used in the same way as spinach. Use only the top fresh leaves. Nettles can also be made into teas, beers & wines.

Nettles are an excellent addition to cattle fodder & poultry feed as they are rich in chlorophyll, iron, nitrogen & calcium.

I hope you check out the Be Nice to Nettles website as it has some great information.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Fenugreek, Methi

Chillies & Garden-43

Every winter I plant a small patch of organic fenugreek sprouting seeds in the garden. They germinate quite quickly and you soon have a great harvest of beautiful nutritious leaves. You can use the young sprouts in salads, and the leaves (not the stems) in cooking.

Fenugreek leaves can be added to just about anything you cook. Traditionally they are used in Indian cooking. So can be found added to dhal, fried pakoras, curries, saag, Indian roti bread,  sambars and sambals.

Fenugreek leaves are the herb and have a lovely earthy flavour. Once picked from the stem they can be frozen.

Fenugreek seeds are the spice and once again appear in many Indian recipes or curry powders.

Fenugreek seeds can also be spouted in the kitchen and would be a great for folks who cannot garden outside in winter.

Chillies & Garden-46

Sunday 23 May 2010

CHILLIES - a rainbow of colour in the garden


After many hot and warm days here on the Adelaide Plains our chilli patch is laden with lots of multi coloured, multi shaped chillies. A real rainbow of colour and anticipated heat for cold winter days.

Most of these chillies will be frozen for use in soups, pesto's, curries, casseroles, veggie burgers, meat koftas, spice rubs, sauces, salsa’s, salad dressings, marinades, chilli jam, pickles and chutneys. Maybe even chilli brownies or chilli chocolate cake.

Chillies & Garden-1

Purple Tiger is a great chilli to grow. Not only are the leaves beautiful and colourful but it produces masses of purple and red chillies. One purple tiger chilli will give enough heat for a really hot curry.

I think the hotness of chillies is dependant on many factors, like soil, water applied, heat from the sun, length of time on the bush and age of the chilli. More mature chillies are definitely sweeter.

I have picked chillies from the same bush and have found the heat content can vary. The membrane of chilli is the hottest part so if the seeds and membrane are removed, the chilli will not be so hot.

Have you experienced differing heat content and flavour in the same variety of chillies you have grown?

Chillies & Garden-14

Today’s harvest of aubergines and green chilli has already been made into a spicy pasta sauce and the red chillies are all in the freezer.

I notice most food gardening bloggers are not blogging much lately. I imagine they, like us, are busy processing the last fruits and veggies of a warm autumn and pruning, composting and planting out seedlings grown for winter vegetable gardens.

Saturday 15 May 2010



If you follow this blog you will be aware that grass in Adelaide, unless watered, turns golden and does not grow in summer because we have very little summer rain. But as soon as the rain comes in Autumn, the grass grows again.

So the neighbouring agricultural high school paddocks are green again.

It is then that the cows are put back in the paddocks to graze on the winter grasses.

The goats appeared in a neighbouring paddock a few days ago and today the cows are back!

The animals are from the local agricultural high school and are kept in back paddocks during summer but in winter they are in the front paddocks and many local people bring their children to see the animals.

So now my young grandson will be elated, because all summer I have told him as we gazed at the barren, sun dried paddocks, when the rain comes, the grass will grow and when there is green grass in the paddocks, the cows will come back.

I repeat myself many times about some things I would like him to be interested in and remember.

WOW! the cows are back or WOW! the seeds we sowed have germinated and WOW! this parsley is from the seed we saved then threw over the garden in summer, WOW! this lettuce is yummy, WOW! look at all the worms in the worm farms.

Why? well it is important for us all to be aware of nature and the seasons.

The seasons bring many changes in our gardens and lives, foods appear once a year and then they are gone until next season.

Each month brings a different fruit or vegetable to enjoy, preserve or let go to seed so it can be replanted next year at the appropriate time or just left in the soil to germinate when the conditions are right for it.

Next week when he visits and we shall enjoy watching the cows chomp on the green grass and wander the paddocks.

And why are their 5 cows this winter and there were 10 cows last winter, well that is another story for another day!

We love the cows and we love the fact that they are eating lovely green grass, and that they look so healthy and content.

Saturday 8 May 2010

Pine Mushrooms Asian Style

Autumn in Adelaide brings chestnuts and pine forest mushrooms.

Today we spent quiet afternoon wandering a friends property gathering mushrooms for dinner.

We arrived home to walk the dogs then head for the kitchen to prepare these delicious mushrooms.

We cleaned and sliced them and then fried them in a little olive oil with lots of fresh garlic, chilli and grated ginger.

We cooked some Hakubaku soba noodles and added a little with sesame oil.

We returned all the mushrooms to the pan and added freshly sliced Asian greens, fenugreek and coriander leaves and some tamari and already cooked chestnuts. We bought the chestnuts last weekend from Nirvana Organic Farm they are fantastic.

We served the mushrooms with the noodles. They were absolutely delicious, I reckon we might head to the forest again soon.

And I think we shall also prepare this delicious, best in town 3 minute noodle dish.

Mushroom Foraging-11

Pine Mushrooms Asian Style-2