After such an extremely hot mid Spring, most Newstead gardens lost the end of winter vegetables. I know that the cauliflowers were terribly burnt in my veggie plot when the temperatures reached 38 degrees C. Always a pity not to be able to stretch the season and leave produce in the ground until required. Having made enough cauliflower soup to put the family off completely (!) I’m afraid that I wasted what was left in the garden beds. Too hot to make soup to freeze, so into the compost they went. At least with a compost heap, chooks next door (and hopefully soon for us too) as well as a rather large Brown Dog with a complete lack of selectiveness when it comes to food – there’s hardly ever any waste at out place!
December’s produce exchange saw a reduced amount of fresh produce due to the heat effectively ‘stopping’ our growing period for a week or so. Happy to say, though, that I still had a few red cabbages that had formed nicely and was able to swap for some Spring Onions and eggs, as well as a lovely dip of broad beans. A great way to use up the end of the broad beans just as the heat hit. Easy to make with a food processor. Just blanch the beans and then refresh under cold water. Add a clove or two of garlic, season and maybe a bit of lemon juice and if feeling brave, some chilli powder or a few sliced chillis and whiz away. We had it that night with some toasted pita bread and impressed our alfresco dinner guests!
I also took advantage of one exchanger’s extensive seed collection and stocked up on rocket seeds – great to sow in stages and always have tender leaves as it tends to bolt so quickly in the heat. Am dreaming of lightly crumbed and pan fried calamari rings on a bed of rocked leaves with wedges of lemon and garlic aoli for a lazy day lunch under our quince tree over the Christmas break!
We won’t be holding a January Produce Exchange due to it’s proximity to Christmas and the New Year. The first for 2010 will be under The Red Store veranda Saturday 6th February from 10:30am.
Best wishes to all for the festive season… from Liz