Archive for May, 2012

Posted on 30th May 2012

grow | potatoes

By MEREDITH KIRTON

home garden potatoes

Potatoes revolutionised the world, and made it possible for small land owners and tenants to grow enough carbohydrate to sustain their family in a yard, as opposed to wheat, which needed a large field to have a similar outcome.  The journey they made from the Americas to Europe, and the resulting liberty they created, changed the world forever.  So, rather than “mash” them, treat them with the reverence they deserve!

To grow your own, you’ll need to buy some certified “seed” potatoes.  These are disease free (you don’t want the potato famine at your place) and, if bought mail order seed from Rouse Brothers (Warrigul, Vic 3820, ph 03 5626 1265) or The Digger’s Club (Heronswood, Dromana, Vic 3936, ph: 03 5987 1877) you’ll end up with a great selection of different types.

Dugald from Heide Garden says “Potatoes are easily the simplest vegie to grow easily. They are generally well behaved and stay where they are put.” In fact, some ‘Kipfler’ potatoes had to be lifted after recent flooding, but had still survived! The trick is to chit your potatoes.  This just means waiting about 4 weeks till your potatoes “eyes” are sprouting before cutting the into pieces and planting them into enriched soil.  This gives them a head start and stops them from becoming overcrowded. As they grow, continue to mound soil up against their stems. This causes more and more tubers (potatoes) to form.  Once they are flowering away, you can stop the “earthing up” process and when the leaves start to yellow you’re ready to harvest. This is normally anything from 3 months (chats) to 5 months away from planting. Potatoes need lots of regular water and fertiliser, as well as free draining soil and a sunny position. If you’re really keen, check out the annual Potato Festival in Guyra, New England, NSW

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Posted under grow
Posted on 30th May 2012

harvest | potatoes

By MANDY SINCLAIR

harvest potatoes

Storage:

Store un-washed potatoes in a well-ventilated dark position, in a hessian or paper bag for up to 3 weeks.

What to do with glut

  • To freeze

par-cooked chips

Peel and cut potatoes into chips. Pat dry with paper towel. Deep-fry chips for 2-3 mins, until very light golden. Drain on paper towel. Cool. Store in a clip-lock bag in freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, deep-fry chips for 2-3 mins, until crisp and golden.

Mashed potato also freezes well, store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat before using.

freezing potato chips

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 30th May 2012

cook | potatoes

By MANDY SINCLAIR

potato salad recipe

Roasted kipfler potatoes with poached eggs

1.5kg kipfler potatoes, scrubbed, halved lengthways
2 tbsp olive oil
1 rosemary sprig, leaves stripped
250g snow peas, sliced lengthways
4 eggs
Mustard mayonnaise
¼ cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp wholegrain mustard

1. Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan. Place potato, oil and rosemary in a single layer in a baking pan. Season. Toss to coat. Bake for 45-50 mins, turning halfway through, until golden and tender.
2 .Meanwhile, place snow peas in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water, stand for 1- 2 mins, until bright green. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain. Poach 4 eggs in a large pan of simmering water for 1-2 mins, for soft.
3. To make mustard mayonnaise, mix together mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard.
4. Place potato onto a serving platter with snow peas. Toss to combine. Drizzle mustard mayonnaise over potatoes. Top with poached eggs. To serve, toss together at table so eggs break open and become part of dressing.

Serves 8

Tip
replace poached eggs with soft boiled eggs if you like.

try this …….
Potato & thyme rosti
Steam or microwave whole 10 medium desiree potatoes for 4-5 mins, until par-cooked. When cool enough to handle, coarsely grate. Place in a bowl with butter and thyme. Season well. Mix to combine. Preheat an oiled barbecue plate on medium. Cook ½ cup measurements of potato mixture for 5-7 mins each side, until crisp and golden. Mix together ½ cup of sour cream and 1 tbsp of horseradish cream. Toss together baby rocket leaves and a little olive oil. Stack two rosti on each plate. Top with rocket, sliced smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 17th May 2012

grow | hazelnuts

By MEREDITH KIRTON

Hazelnut flowers

Hazelnut leaves on tree

Hazelnuts are perfect for those with small gardens as the bush only grows about 3m x 3m.
It is a deciduous shrub that does best where cooler winters give it the cold snap it needs for fruiting, but cropping will be better if more than one type of hazelnut is planted so that they can cross pollinate. Catkins from male and female flowers form on the same plant in summer, and, provided pollination occurs, these develop into the sweet kernel everyone loves during autumn.
Plant hazelnuts in an open, sunny position with added humus and mulch well with leaf mould to keep roots cool and moist. Leaves turn quite a pretty yellow before dropping, and there is an ornamental purple foliage form too.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 17th May 2012

harvest | hazelnuts

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Hazel nuts

hazelnuts

Storage:

Hazelnuts stay fresher for longer whilst still in the shell. Once shelled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

What to do with glut

  • To toast and peel

Place hazelnuts on a baking tray. Bake at 180C for 5-8 mins, until brown. Transfer to a clean tea towel, wrap up hazelnuts and while still hot, rub to remove skins. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks once peeled.

Hazelnut praline

Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Heat ½ cup caster sugar and 1 tbsp water in a saucepan on low, until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer, without stirring, for 2-5 mins, until golden caramel. Add 1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts and stir until well coated. Immediately pour onto prepared tray. Cool completely until firm. Break into pieces or pound with a rolling pin for a finer texture.

hazelnut praline recipe

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 17th May 2012

cook | hazelnuts

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Blueberry and hazelnut cake recipe

Blueberry & hazelnut cake

1¼ cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup ground hazelnuts
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 x 125g punnets blueberries
¾ cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
hazelnut topping
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup plain flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 190C or 170C fan. Grease a 23cm springform pan.
2. Sift flour, sugar, ground hazelnuts, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add lemon rind and 1 punnet of blueberries. Toss to combine. Whisk together milk, oil, egg and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fill prepared pan.
3. To make topping, mix together hazelnuts, brown sugar and flour. Scatter topping and remaining blueberries over cake batter. Drizzle with oil. Bake for 50-55 mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Serves 12

Tip
r
eplace hazelnuts with pecans, almonds or macadamia nuts.

try this …….
…add toasted hazelnuts to salads, chocolate cake and brownies.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 1st May 2012

grow | pawpaw

By MEREDITH KIRTON

bagging pawpaw fruit on the tree

Papaya, or Pawpaw (Carica papaya), are easily grown fruit trees for the backyard.  Although they need a basically frost free position, they can be grown in a wider range of climates if placed on the north side of homes, against brick walls, to offer some overnight warmth from the reflected heat of the house.

Papaw have interesting sex lives.  Basically, there are girl plants and boys plants, and the two have to meet via the bees and the butterflies…you know the story.  But wait, there’s a twist, you can actually save yourself the trouble of planting two trees and cross pollinating by buying a bisexual plant, which will fertilise itself.

Plant your specimen in a well drained position, as they can get root rot easily, and stand back.  They are so fast growing you’ll have fruit probably forming the next season.  In fact, they only take 18 months to fruit from seed. Papaw also have the weird ability to be able to develop their fruits, and if the weather isn’t favourable for ripening, they can put themselves into a holding pattern and wait for more temperate conditions.  This means that cropping is variable, depending on when and where you have your tree growing.

Papaw can be eaten green, or allowed to change colour to either red, orange or golden, depending on the variety.  If you are ripening your papaw in fruit fly prone areas, slipping over a specially designed cloth bag is a good idea to exclude this troublesome fly and stop it laying maggots into your crop.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow