Archive for September, 2011

Posted on 21st September 2011

community | floriade


First three photos by Following photos by Meredith Kirton:



(Above) The Australian War Memorial will be at floriade with the Victory garden to share the history of wartime kitchens and gardens and the scheme that encouraged so many Australians to grow their own during the war, this helping not only their diets but also the war effort.



(Above) Citrus sculptures from Griffith

Floriade’s theme this year is Feast of the Senses and there are a few gardens worth visiting.  The Victory Garden, which is the scene for talks by various garden notorieties such as Graham Ross and Jackie French, plays homage to the 75th Anniversary of WWII and the efforts made by ordinary Australian’s to feed themselves and thus help the war effort.  Talks by War Memorial Staff will also enlighten audiences.  See for daily schedules.

Of course, our very own Meredith Kirton will also be at the Lindeman’s Open Garden with Dominique Rizzo, talking about growing your own kitchen garden produce and turning fresh vegetables and herbs into simple, delicious meals.  It would be great if some of you bloggers could make yourself known if you’re there… Meredith will have a special giveaway for those of you who brave it!

Photography by MEREDITH KIRTON | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

Posted under community
Posted on 14th September 2011

grow | peas


Kitchen garden growing peas

Peas (Pisum sativum) are perhaps the most commonly eaten green vegetable, but mostly from the frozen food section of your supermarket.  The shame of this is not only how delicious fresh peas are, but also because growing peas is one of the kindest things you can do for your garden’s soil.  And that doesn’t even touch on the socially enriching time that shelling peas together around the kitchen table can be!

Peas seem to celebrate spring.  They are fast growing, very pretty with either white or purple flowers, nutritious and can be eaten fresh or cooked in a wide range of cuisines from salads to stir fries or with the Sunday roast.  Even the new growth is edible and peas can even be sown on a windowsill for pea sprouts fresh year round.

Peas are normally sown in autumn or winter, but can be sown into early spring in cold areas like Tasmania and even into summer in areas where it doesn’t get too hot.  You plant they seeds directly where they grow every 5cm or so and then gently firm them down into the soil.  Dwarf peas don’t need any support so are ideal for pots and hanging baskets, but taller growing peas will generally need 1.5m tall stakes to help support them, and if possible run this north to south so they get the most sun possible.

Peas take about 8-10 weeks to start cropping, and the more you pick the more you get, so pick regularly.  At the end of your pea season, dig your pea stalks back into the ground and you’ll enrich your soil with not only organic matter, but also nitrogen, as peas have a magical way of using special nodules on their roots to take nitrogen from the air and turn it into a plant useable form.

planting peas

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 14th September 2011

harvest | peas


When peas are ready for harvest the pods should be shiny and plump with the seam almost bulging. If purchasing peas, avoid pods that are dull or have yellowish speckles.
Peas deteriorate rapidly once picked, so use within 2-3 days of picking. Store in a clip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

What to do with glut

  • Blanch & freeze

Blanch freshly shelled peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 mins. Drain and refresh under cold water. Transfer to clip-lock plastic bags and freeze for up to 2 months. Use as you would fresh peas.

frozen peas

Pea, almond & mint pesto

1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan on medium. Cook 1 crushed garlic clove for 1 min, until fragrant. Add 1 ½ cups shelled peas and ¾ cup of chicken stock and simmer for 4-5 mins, until tender. Cool.
2. Place pea mixture, 1 1/2 cups of mint leaves, ¾ cup of grated parmesan and ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Season well, add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and process until smooth. Transfer to sterilized jars, cover the surface with a little extra oil and seal. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
3. Use as a spread on bruschetta or as a sauce for pasta or gnocchi.

Makes about 2 cups

Pea pesto recipe

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 14th September 2011

cook | peas


prawn avocado and pea recipe

Warm prawn, pea & avocado salad

20 green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact
juice of 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, chopped
pea salad
1½ cups shelled peas, cooked
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 eschallot, finely chopped
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp white sugar

1. Place prawns, lime juice and garlic in a bowl. Season well and set aside for 10 mins, to marinate.
2. Meanwhile, prepare pea salad. Cook peas in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 3-5 mins, until tender. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again and place in a large bowl. Add tomato, avocado, eschallot and mint. Whisk together lime juice and rind, oil, chilli and sugar. Add to salad and toss to combine.
3. Heat a frying pan on high. Cook prawns for 2-3 mins, each side, until pink and cooked through. Pile salad on each serving plate and top with prawns. Season with cracked black pepper and serve.

Serves 4

tip ….
You will need about 1kg pods to yield 2½ cups of peas

try this ….
Pea mash
Cook 2 chopped eschallots and 2 cups of peas in a knob of butter for 5-7 mins, until the peas are tender and all the juices have evaporated. Season well and lightly mash. Serve with grilled fish or chicken and of course as a topping for a meat pie!

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 13th September 2011

community | Norton Plaza


Norton Street Community Garden

The rooftop of one one Sydney’s busiest shops, Norton Plaza in Leichhardt, has developed a kitchen garden on top of it’s retail centre and opened it up to the community.

This area, known for it’s Italian heritage, will be perfect for growing a wide range of Mediterranean herbs and potted trees such as olives.  The inside of the centre has even planted mini winter gardens throughout the plaza to demonstrate potted edibles and advertise the scheme.
At present they are looking for a garden guardian to help coordinate the scheme.

For more details go to

or visit

Photography by MEREDITH KIRTON |Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under community