I had a weekend of cooking & thinking about my vegie garden now that Spring is almost here. I say almost because we’ve had some pretty cold, windy, wet weather in Melbourne over the last week. Still, the early bulbs are out, the wattle is blossoming everywhere & my roses have started some new growth after their winter prune.
I did some cooking on Sunday. When I make soups or casseroles, I don’t do much measuring, I just throw in the vegetables, spices, herbs, stock etc & hope for the best. Sometimes the result could use some tweaking but this vegetable curry is one of the best I’ve made – &, of course, I’ll never be able to do it again! The sauce is just right & the flavour is just how I like it. There’s some for dinner during the week & some for the freezer.
I’ve been watching Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers on iPlayer & I thought I’d try the cake he made with beetroot. Nigel is my new favourite cook. I love his easy recipes & his garden & especially his beautiful cat who makes several appearances in the second series. I couldn’t take down the recipe while I watched so I looked it up on the internet later & here’s the result. It’s a Chocolate & Beetroot cake &, as I was boiling the beetroot, melting the chocolate, making the coffee, beating the egg whites, I kept thinking, I’m sure there wasn’t this much faffing around when Nigel made it – & not so many bowls used either. And didn’t he just grate the beetroot? When the cake was in the oven & I’d finished the marathon washing up, I had another look at the episode & discovered that I’d made a completely different cake, the only common ingredient was the beetroot! Here’s the one I watched Nigel make & here’s the one I made. The mention of poppy seeds was the confusing element, I think. I tasted the crumbs from the tin after I’d turned out the cake & it tastes delicious. I added some chocolate icing after I took that photo & took it in to work for morning tea.
Inspired by Nigel, I’ve ordered several cookbooks. Nigel’s Tender which I’ve had a look at at work seems to have lots of the recipes from Simple Suppers so I won’t make that mistake again. He also talks a lot about how he started his vegie garden. I’ve also pre ordered his new Kitchen Diaries. I’ve also ordered Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book, Three Good Things because Hugh is my other favourite cook with a garden. I love his Veg & Everyday cookbooks & use them often.
I’m also starting to get excited about planning my vegie garden for this spring & summer. My broccoli has been a success & I ate the last of it in a stirfry on Saturday night. I’ve been borrowing books from work & reading my Organic Gardening & Your Vegie Patch magazines to inspire me for the day when
I can make use of the compost I’ve been adding to all year & get the soil ready for planting.I will definitely get the tomatoes in earlier this year & I hope to have more success with lettuce. I can’t wait to plant lots of basil too as I love pesto & I still have one container left in the freezer from last summer’s experiments. As well as ordinary pesto with pinenuts, I tried making it with cashews or walnuts & using different flavoured oils, garlic & lemon. It was all very good & I’m looking forward to more.
It was too cold to do much more than take a photo of the compost bin yesterday afternoon but as soon as I stepped outside, Phoebe appeared from nowhere & decided to investigate the flapping coming from next door’s garden (I think it was a piece of plastic flapping against the fence).
A strong gust of wind made her think twice & she jumped down on to the rubbish bins on her way back to ground level.
Lucky was sensibly sheltering from the wind on the little shelf under the back steps.
Have a good week everyone.