Thursday 25 March 2010

Turmeric flowers and leaves

Turmeric flower and leaves

One of the loveliest surprises this year in our summer garden was the beautiful flowers on the turmeric plant.

Dried and fresh turmeric root has amazing health properties so we look forward one day to harvesting some delicious turmeric root to add to our curries, soups, veggie burgers and vegetable pates.

Now if you want to read more about home harvesting of turmeric and ginger please check out Julie’s blog Towards Sustainability.

Julie lives in Newcastle New South Wales and if you check out her blog entries for Ginger harvest Saturday July 4 2009 and her entry for her Turmeric harvest Thursday July 2 2009 you will be amazed at her harvest for last year.

I reckon Julie is a garden hero!

Friday 19 March 2010

Indian Curry Leaf Tree - Seeds, Berries and Leaves

Curry Leaf Tree Berries & Chillies1

Do you know what this tree is?  Well it is the Indian Curry Leaf tree (Murraya koenigii syn.).

A favourite cooking ingredient in Sri Lankan and South Indian Cuisines.

Check out Wikipedia information on the Curry Tree or Isobell Shipard's description of the Tree

I love this tree, I use the leaves in South Indian recipes.

Nothing can compare to the flavour the leaves impart to curries, Indian rice dishes and baked goods.

I freeze some curry leaf leaves in summer when they are green and flavour full and then use them in winter when the leaves turn brownish in the cold weather.

I love the way the leaves fall on the branches and the fragrance as you brush past this tree in the garden.

To grow a curry leaf tree, simply eat the outside of the berry and then plant the seed in a pot, keep it moist sheltered from extreme temperature. Do not eat the seeds, they are poisonous.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Cultured Activities

In the early 80’s I always made my own yogurt. I  had a dacor yogurt maker, fairly simple an esky with a 1 litre glass jar and thermometer it always made good yogurt and the next batch was started from the previous.We then met up with the folks from Paris Creek Dairy , they where just starting out so it was a good idea to support them so I sold the yogurt maker and we bought yogurt. Over the years we consumed more and more yogurt  Paris Creek for on cereals, yogurt cakes,potato salad. Jalana on pancakes,as a cream subistute. One of the problems is all those plastic containers , I know they make good plant labels and my plastic container  cupboards and freezer are  full of them but at  2 a week they start to mount up , sure you can put them in the recycle bin but I’d rather not have them.

We are very lucky to buy our milk, unparerised direct from the only dairy left in our district. They have a honour system get the milk from the fridge and leave your money.  At $4 for 2 litres its dearer than the crappy stuff at the supermarket. You Know most goes direct to the farmer the rest in bottle washing and replacements. It is sold in 2 litre glass flagons that you return when empty (no storage space or bin required )  and the taste, well how milk should taste ,rich creamy and wholesome. The seasons are reflected through the subtle changes in flavour something you’d never notice in supermarket milk. 

Since we have such good milk I was thinking about making yogurt again. A visit to Maggie & Bobs confirmed this as we tasted a lemon and rose sparkling drink and milk fermented  with kifir and Maggie said she was trying yogurt and had read several tips on various blogs . So I decided it was time to restart yogurt culturing after all it was so easy.

So I made a batch how I remembered , bring milk to boil then  drop down to around 40oC, add some yogurt and put in a warm place. I used and esky and put stubby holder around the jars and left them overnight. They worked Ok and tasted fine  but were quite runny(made good yogurt cakes) It seemed to me they needed the heat sustained longer so I dusted off the heat pad plant propagator to use but Quentin suggested putting them in with the  brewing beer.  The beer is brewed in an old solid wooden  sewing cabinet that opens at the side and also at the top so the beer can be siphoned out the top . This means the brew bin does not have to be moved so sediment stays on the bottom and does not end up in the bottles.It is also fitted with a light globe that keeps it at 30oC


Yogurt keeping warm in their ‘crows’* stubbie holders**
Yummy yogurt
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Crow yogurts keeping warm by keeping close to bubbling beer.

Lingo for non South Australians

*Crows - Adelaide’s Australian Rules football team. They won the AFL premiership in 1997 & 1998.

**Stubbie Holder-. An insulated cover to keep 325 ml bottles of beer cold and keep your hands warm while holding ice cold beer.

Footballers and supporters have an affinity with beer.

The scientist in me insisted on a trial of different yogurts.I used 3 x 300ml jars .Easy to clean,reusable and useful size for us. I tried Maggies suggestion ( she read it on a blog somewhere.) That you can to freeze commercial yogurt in ice cubes and use it as a starter. I did this with some Paris Creek Swiss Style using  I ice cube still frozen, I also used 1 tablespoon of Paris Creek Greek style and 1 tablespoon of Jalna Biodynamic whole milk yogurt.  All jars where filled with Pine Heights milk that had been brought to the boil then cooled to 40oC. They where stirred, lids and jumpers fitted and put in the brew box and left overnight. They where left this long as it was easy and we like it tangy.Next morning they where all set nice and firm. Each tasted like their starter. I liked the Jalna best as its tangy where as Quentin liked the Paris Creek Swiss Style with a mild flavour.Now I can freeze some starters and make a range of yogurts anytime.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Fun in the Garden

Kate's Farewell 

Today was a beautiful day here in Adelaide and some of us Seedsavers met for lunch at the beautiful Urrbrae House in the Waite University grounds to view Basketry SA’s amazing exhibition of contemporary woven works of art.

We also said goodbye to Kate who leaves for Tasmania soon.

I made a presentation bouquet of a lovely organic cabbage from Doof Doof on Duthy Street ($3) and forever thoughtful Deb had prepared a pantry starter kit.

The kit contained some sour dough bread starter, some elderberry jam, some elderflower champagne, some bean seeds and some pickled limes which delighted Kate for more than my cabbage (no not really).

We shared a basil pesto, fetta salad roll, some biodynamic raspberry muffins from Deb and some of Meg’s cous cous salad and stuffed eggs.

Deb poured some of her lovely elderflower champagne and Bob was photographer again.

We chatted about Deb’s courses which start this Sunday, about our gardens, about Tasmania and holidays we shall all be planning there now.

Once again we met, laughed a lot, shared delicious home grown produce and had a great time.

Have fun in Tassie Kate.

Monday 1 March 2010

Weaving Magic in Adelaide Gardens Today

Garden of Unearthly Delights

Today, Monday the 1st day of March 2010, Adelaide welcomes thousands of people from all over the globe as it hosts a myriad of amazing events.

Some of the events in Adelaide this week include The Adelaide Festival of Arts, The Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Writers Week, Artist’s Week, Womadelaide and The Garden of Unearthly Delights.

A highlight for us as gardeners is the magic of woven garden materials created by the very talented members of Basketry SA in their Warp on the Wild Side exhibition, including Deb Cantrill from Nirvana Organic Farm.

This is a contemporary basketry exhibition which reflects a diverse range of techniques displaying intricate patterns, flowing lines, expected shapes and sculptural forms using plant fibres found in Waite Arboretum. Besides the beautiful woven items in the exhibition there are also many items for sale.

Deb’s dragon fly and gnomes house are amazing and can be seen at Urrbrae House from 11 to 4pm daily.

More excitement for us today is the appearance of the beautiful turmeric flower seen above and the yummy cheese and zucchini pie we had for dinner.

If you are in Adelaide and would like to meet up with some of us Seedsavers, Kate, Deb and I shall be at Urrbrae House, or wandering around the rose garden or walking the newly created wooden tree trunk labyrinth in the grounds from 1:30 pm Wednesday, please say hello we would love to meet you.