Archive for November, 2011

Posted on 14th November 2011

grow | carrots


Carrots (Daucus carota) may seem to be the most ordinary of vegetables; the stock standard for meat and three veg, but, what most people don’t realize is just how wrong that assumption is.  In fact, carrots come in many shapes and sizes, from round, radish-like shapes to white, purple, yellow and red colours.  They were, in fact, selectively bred to be orange, by the Dutch, in honour of their Royal family, whose colours are such. If one digs a little deeper, and looks at the heirloom or old fashioned types, you can still get seed stock of these fascinating relics
from yesteryear.

Carrots can basically be sown all year round, and the trick is to sow them directly into the ground or in pots where they will be grown, as they don’t transplant at all well.  The seed is only fine, so you can mix it with dry sand if you wish to make spacing the seeds a little easier. Cover them very finely with about 1cm more of sand or fine soil, form them down and keep them moist whilst they germinate.  As you pick, harvest them evenly along the row to allow the remaining carrots to fatten.  It takes carrots about 12 weeks from sowing to be ready.  Staggering your planting, waiting a month between rows will allow for more even production.

Another trick with carrots is to make sure that your soil is well prepared, as rocks and clods will force you carrots to stop their taper and fork.  Another problem can be over fertilising, as too rich a soil can have the same effect.  Generally carrots grown where a high yielding crop like tomatoes have been will be ideal, as these will have stripped some of the excess elements out already and make it perfect for a carrots.

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Posted on 14th November 2011

harvest | carrots



When freshly picked, the small leaves from carrots can be used in salads. They have a mild spicy flavor and are best the day of picking. Carrots should be rinsed of any dirt, packed in a vegetable storage bag and refrigerated for up to 1 week before using.

What to do with glut

  • Preserve

Carrot & ginger relish

Serve with burgers, chicken schnitzel and roast pork

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp grated ginger
7 carrots, peeled, finely diced
2 long red chillies, chopped
¼ cup sultanas
1¼ cups apple cider vinegar
¾ cup caster sugar

1. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium. Cook onion for 5 mins, until softened. Add ginger and cook for 1 min, until fragrant. Add carrot, chilli and sultanas and cook for 5 mins, until well coated.
2. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-50 mins, until carrots are tender and relish is thick.
3. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

pickled carrot recipe

  • To Freeze

Chop, blanch, freeze.
Carrots freeze well. Simply peel, chop and blanch in boiling water for 5 mins. Drain and refresh under cold water. Store in clip lock bags and freeze for up to 2 months.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted on 14th November 2011

cook | carrots


carrot recipe

Honey lamb cutlets with carrot salad

8 lamb cutlets
½ cup honey soy marinade
4 carrots, peeled, shredded
¼ wombok, finely shredded
3 green onions (shallots), shredded
¾ cup coriander leaves
lime dressing
finely grated rind and juice of 1 limes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp fish sauce

1. Place cutlets in a shallow dish. Pour over marinade and turn to coat. Set aside for 10 mins, to marinate.
2. Meanwhile, combine carrot, wombok, onion and coriander in a large bowl. Mix together all dressing ingredients. Add to carrot salad and toss to combine.
3. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill on high. Cook lamb cutlets for 2 mins each side for medium rare or until cooked to your liking. Serve cutlets with carrot salad.
Serves 4

try this … Carrot tart
Mix together 2 finely grated carrots, ¼ cup ground almonds, 2 eggs, ½ cup cream and ¼ cup chopped walnuts. Pour into a 22cm, par-baked pie shell and bake for 20 mins at 180C or 160C fan, until filling is set and golden.

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Posted under cook
Posted on 1st November 2011

grow | asparagus


how to grow asparagus

Asparagus is a fern-like plant to about 2m tall that grows easily in well drained, sheltered positions and is actually quite a handsome perennial to include in your garden.  Growing asparagus is an investment, as the plants themselves take a few years to be of bearing age. Like all investments, proper preparation will ensure that you have good returns.  This means careful clearing of all weeds, loads of manure dug through prior to planting, and regular watering so that the emerging shoots don’t dry out.

Planting is usually done from root rhizomes, bought in late autumn and winter, then planted out, but you can also buy seedlings which are ready for planting in spring, but do take another season to be old enough to crop.  Once “of age”, you will be able to crop tender young shoots as they emerge from their winter sleep for many weeks, but remember to leave some to unfurl, as the plant still needs foliage to grow into a descent sized bush.

There are purple sprouted forms (called Mary Washington) and the white shoots are a result of blanching the new growth by excluding the sunlight, by means of piling on straw mulches or similar, to extend the shoots and block the development of chlorophyll.  This makes a sweeter delicacy.

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Posted under grow
Posted on 1st November 2011

harvest | asparagus


home grown asparagus spears

Asparagus deteriorates quickly once picked. Store asparagus in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

What to do with glut

  • Preserve

Asparagus, cauliflower & onion pickle

350g asparagus, trimmed
150g cauliflower florets
6 small eschalots, peeled
2 rosemary sprigs
3 cups white wine vinegar
¼ cup caster sugar
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds

1. Pack asparagus, cauliflower, eschalots and rosemary in sterilized jars.
2. Heat vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and fennel seeds in a pan until boiling. Pour over vegetables, making sure they are covered with vinegar mixture. Seal. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 month. Refrigerate after opening. Serve with sliced ham, chicken, corned beef.

asparagus pickle recipe

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 1st November 2011

cook | asparagus


asparagus, pancetta and labne spaghetti recipe

Asaparagus, pancetta & labne spaghetti

400g spaghetti
100g sliced pancetta
2 bunches asparagus, chopped
Grated rind of 2 lemons
200g labna

1. Cook spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water according to packet directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.
2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a frying pan on high for 1-2 mins, until crisp.Add
asparagus and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring, until just tender. Add half of the lemon rind and labne with the asparagus mixture to hot spaghetti. Toss on low heat, until just combined. Serve in bowls topped with dollops of remaining labne and lemon rind. Season well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

tip ….
Labna is a soft cheese made from drained yoghurt, stored in stored in tubs of sometimes flavoured, oil. It is found in supermarkets or specialty stores.

try this ….
Barbecued asparagus with pangratata
Heat 1 tbsp extra vigin olive oil in a frying pan on high. Cook 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs for 2-3 mins, stirring, until golden and crisp. Remove from heat, add grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Season well. Trim woody ends from asparagus spears. Toss in a little olive oil and season. Cook on a barbecue plate for 3-4 mins, turning, until charred and tender. Serve topped with crisp breadcrumbs.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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