Friday 30 April 2010

Aubergine ( Bringal, Eggplant ) - a vegetable for cooks to enjoy!


This has been a great season in Adelaide for growing aubergines most of us are still harvesting this good looking vegetable.

Aubergine has a distinctive flavour and is delicious when freshly picked, sliced, sprinkled with salt, brushed with olive oil and grilled, baked or fried.

Store bought aubergine often needs to be sprinkled with salt, weighted for 1/2 an hour and then rinsed to remove any bitterness. I have found that this is not necessary with plump, fresh, organically grown aubergines as they are not bitter at all.

Aubergine is great when added to Indian coconut curries, Mediterranean tomato pasta sauces, onion bhajis, mushroom and olive filo parcels, vegetarian burgers, lasagnes, beef or lamb casseroles, meatballs, kebabs and moussaka.

The flavour of aubergine is enhanced with the use of herbs and spices particularly garlic and oregano. But there are many ways to use these purple fruits of the summer garden.

TASTING AUSTRALIA 2010 is happening here in Adelaide this weekend. I wonder if the chefs of the world can cook as well as some of us Adelaide kitchen gardeners gardeners can?

When you have your own organically grown, freshly picked, seasonal produce you have a great pantry of flavours and colours and textures to create with. Or better still lots of our produce can be eaten straight from the garden.

Freshly picked beans and peas, heirloom tomatoes and apples, lettuce, rocket and basil, mandarins and pomegranates, watercress and radishes, lemons and fresh broccoli need no chef or cook, just hungry hands to pick them.

Have a great weekend, whether you are planting or picking or just relaxing and eating.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Autumn arrives in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills

Autumn in the Adelaide Hills

On Sunday we went to the Stirling Autumn Festival to buy some organic seedlings from Diana and Jen. We loved the scarecrows on display as well as the music and all the other plant stalls.

We went to Winterwood Garden and enjoyed the African music, food and garden.

Then we went to visit Deb’s Nirvana Organic farm to buy some fresh Chestnuts for roasting.

Everywhere there was gorgeous orange and red autumn leaves and lush green grass after the recent rain.

So Autumn has arrived, our seedlings and planted seeds are growing and we are looking forward to eating all the Asian and Italian green vegetables we have planted or sown.

The paddocks across the road have tinges of green grass.

All summer as my grandson and I looked at the bare dry, golden paddocks I would say to him “ when the rains come the grass will grow and when the grass grows then the cows will come back to that paddock to eat the grass”.

He is only two so I was wandering if he would remember this. Today was the test. So I asked him as we gazed at the paddock and the tufts of green grass what would happen when the grass grows and the paddock is green again, what will happen?

His reply came quickly “Cows”, yes, well done little one, the grass will be green soon and your favourite cows will be back in the paddock munching away at the grass and having a feast! And when you come to visit you will be able to watch these ever so big cows lead a happy, healthy life grazing in the paddocks.

Saturday 17 April 2010

AKWAABA and the Stirling Autumn Garden Festival -Tomorrow

Experience Africa in a Garden Celebration.

All proceeds to Australian Sponsorship 4 African Kids.

This garden, Winterwood, is an amazing garden with 2 acres of trees, shrubs, orchard, vineyard and flower and vegetable gardens.

There will be African food stalls, craft, cooking demonstrations, children's activities, African children's choir, African Drummers and a whole lot more.



Back in Stirling.

The Stirling Autumn Garden festival will also have gardening talks, stalls and everything you need for your garden.

Diana and Jen from Bickleigh Vale Farm will be selling a huge range of organic seedlings for your winter garden.

Stirling Autumn Garden Festival 18th April, 10am – 5pm

  • Major Sponsor Adelaide Hills Magazine will be launching their Souvenir Autumn 2010
  • Our guest speakers Sophie Thompson and Trevor Nottle will be presenting talks on
    sustainable gardening, gardening in climate change and be also signing books which are for
    sale on the day.
  • Over 50 stalls under the magnificent old oak trees in Druid Avenue will have information and
    products for the garden enthusiasts including stalls by nurseries, garden designers, garden
    sculpture and garden societies who will be showing their garden related products.
  • Singer Jennifer De Grassi will provide music to add to the ambience of the day.
  • Free shuttle buses will be provided to take people to the stunning Open Garden, Heritage
    listed Beechwood (entry $6.00) and to the inspiring two acre garden of Winterwood on Old
    Carey Gully Road Stirling for Akwaaba, an African Garden Celebration with Dorinda Hafner
    providing cooking demonstrations and African Drummers and African Children’s Choir,
    African food stalls and more The entry fees of $10.00 adults, $5.00 children and $25.00 per
    family. All proceeds go to the Australian Sponsorship for African Children charity.
  • The shuttle buses will also stop at Aptos Cruz Gallery, where visitors will find an amazing
    collection of treasures – art furniture and more. This is also the location of Siemers Indian
    Restaurant and The Table Restaurant where enticing menus will satisfy the palate.
  • There will be a scarecrow competition again this year with approximately 40 scarecrows
    made by local businesses and schools being displayed in the scarecrow gallery.
  • The Mt Lofty Districts Historical Society will be conducting one and a half hour tours ($15.00)
    of Stirling, Crafers and Summit Road including expert commentary by one of their
    knowledgeable guides highlighting some of the heritage gardens of Stirling plus a drive
    through the magnificent Japanese Garden of Thorpe.
  • These tours can be pre-booked through
    the Customer Service Counter in the Stirling Library
  • Tuesday 13 April 2010

    Stirling Autumn Garden Festival

    image One of Stirling's oldest and most famous private gardens will be open to the public as part of the Stirling Autumn Garden Festival on Sunday 18 April 2010.
    The festival, held under the exquisite old oak trees of Druid Avenue, will feature stalls by garden designers and nurseries and garden art. Food at local cafes and restaurants will be available. Guest speakers during the day include gardening expert Sophie Thomson and others.
    As part of Australia's Open Garden Scheme throughout the day shuttle buses will transport people free of charge to the garden (entry to the garden is AUD6.00), while other gardens will feature in an historical coach tour (entry AUD15.00) offered by the Mount Lofty Living Garden History Centre.
    Be sure to check out the more than 40 scarecrows - made by local schools and businesses - which will line Mount Barker Road during the week leading up to the festival.

    Friday 9 April 2010

    The Bees and the Rainbow Lorikeets and the Palm Flower

    We made this video this week when we were walking the dogs in the early evening.

    This palm tree looked like something you would see in the tropics rather than dry old Adelaide.

    It was so much fun to see masses of bees and rainbow lorikeets having a supper feast we raced home to get the camera.

    We hope you enjoy this video it gets a bit blurring in places but comes clear at the end.

    Sunday 4 April 2010

    Excel Fig

     Excel Fig

    The excel fig has to be the sweetest fig we have ever tasted.

    It has a rich luscious flavour and is great eaten fresh or made into ice cream (whipped cream, chopped Australian pecans & fig puree which is then frozen).

    We bought this fig as a cutting from Julie at the SA Rare Fruit Society, thanks Julie we love this fig tree.