Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Let the gardening begin!

The weekend just passed was a long one – Auckland Anniversary Day. Often we go away, but this year we stayed at home, enjoying the great weather and the fact that we live about 50m from the beach!!!! On Saturday morning though we felt like doing something a bit different, so we went across the bridge for a morning at the Britomart farmers market and then a little bit of shopping in Newmarket.

I have been to the Britomart farmers market a couple of times before. I was pleased to see that it has grown a little bit more. There are lots of great things to buy and taste – quite a bit of meat which is interesting and also two stalls with smoked fish. We were coveting some smoked salmon, but will have to go back another day as we were still planning on being out for a few hours and had no way of keeping it cold. However, we did purchase a delicious pain aux chocolat with almonds from a little French bakery stall (absolutely delicious!!! – the almonds made it very moist, the pastry was buttery and the chocolate slightly warm!!), some organic flat green beans (tied in a bundle with string which looked so cute), salami, a huge bag of basil and most exciting of all, some basil and flat leaf parsley plants and a bucket planted with mesculin salad!

While I am not a great gardener (in fact it is not really my thing at all!), before we moved houses in August last year, I always had a herb garden and the rest of our garden was filled with bay trees, citrus trees, apple trees, feijoa trees and my favourite of all – a fig tree!. Since we have moved I really have missed walking outside to pick fresh herbs or a lemon etc. Then, last year when I got Jamie Oliver’s new book in which he cooks from his garden, I felt so inspired to grow my own veggies. Also, I have heard Lynda Hallinan, editor of NZ Gardener, speaking on the radio about her challenge of being self-sustaining and she is so inspiring! She has published a magazine which takes you through month by month what you should be planting in the garden etc. I have decided to follow what she recommends as a guide to my own veggie garden.

Until we get the new house built and I can get my father-in-law to build me some raised beds, I am going to make do with some pots. I was going to start next week after we have been away for yet another long weekend, but the bucket full of salad leaves and herb plants at the farmers market really got me going. I am very excited and found myself spending a lot of the time over the weekend shifting the pots according to where the sun was – whether it be into more sun or more shade! So hopefully my fingers will start to have a slight tinge of green to them!! My P A gave me a Jamie Oliver diary for Christmas in which you can record month by month your gardening diary. My first entry was in the weekend!

With the basil that I bought from the market, I made a bulk lot of pesto. The ratio I use is to about 1 cup packed basil leaves, I add ¼ c pine nuts, 1 clove garlic, ¼ c grated parmesan, about ½ c olive oil and some salt. I’ve frozen it in glad bags in 3tbsp lots in the freezer.. Although I did use some yesterday to spread on toasted foccacia (actually left over bread from my first daring baker challenge that I had frozen - it was still good) which I then sprinkled with feta and topped with sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper and a drizzle of good evo. Now, that is a real taste of summer!!!!

By the way, with dinner last night we had a salad using some of my baby salad leaves together with cucumber and avocado – it tasted so good!!

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