Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pumpkins Pumpkins and More Pumpkins

So, I have four pumpkins. Plus the little baby one.

Outstanding: $170.00
May the 14th: $46.50
Total Cost (still) : $123.50

The pumpkins are valued at $11 each at the web page I am using for comparison, so I guess that's $44 I can take off the total owing.

Outstanding: $123.50
May the 28th: $44
Total Cost (still) : $79.50



I have been a bit busy!

Sarah P

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Butternut Pumpkin Ahoy!

Have I mentioned how much I love pumpkins? I don't know why I find them so fascinating. I just do. I love the flavour of pumpkins, love cooking with them, and it turns out I love growing them too.

This is my second butternut this year. The first one was 2 kilos, a good solid size and beautifully sweet. We had half as a soup and half as chunks roasted with vegeta seasoning, and it was lovely. This little... er... big honey is still whole. I've put it her away for future thought!

I've also been harvesting the Maximas too. One of our maximas was swinging from the vine, and eventually the pumpkin grew big enough that it was dropped. It was almost 19 pounds of pumpkin! We got enthused, and have now harvest the next three of similar size. I now have over 30 kilos of Maxima pumkpkin (a Queensland Blue from the look of things) sitting in my backyard... looking pumpkinny. I think I will give one of these babies to the woman who gave us the seedling! And there's still another ten smaller pumpkins growing! Good thing I love them so.

Anyway, on to what we are here for - the ROI of my garden.

So... what have I harvested since I last updated? Ihave been giving away eggplants left right and centre. There's been 11 good sized eggplants going now. Still beautiful. It looks like the eggplants will continue through winter, so next year I won't even lose any time to adolescent growth. Good thing I like eggplants!

So, 11 eggplants at $3 as they are bigger than the previous harvests. I cut some broccolli, but only one was viable. So we had that in dinner. Unfortunately, the aphids appear to have destroyed the rest of the crop. I could have eaten the stalks, on further reflection, as they are excellent stirfry vegies. I realised this after I have pulled up most of them and put them into the compost bin. Oops. And 3 kilos of butternut pumpkin. Butternuts are going for $3.49 a kilo at Woolies.

Eggplants: 11 x $3 = $33
Broccoli: 1 x $3.99= $3
Butternut Pumpkin: 3 x 3.49 = $10.50

So, together we have: $46.50

I'll tally the maximas up properly later.

Outstanding: $170.00
May the 14th: $46.50
Total Cost (still) : $123.50

So, we still haven't quite recovered costs yet. I think the maxima punkins will definitely put a big dent in the remaining money, and there's still tomatoes being grown, I have just failed to harvest them. I am thinking of planting potatoes where the broccoli were, to make sure of the next few seasons while the eggplants still produce.

We have a new bed in place now, so there's twice as much fun to be had in the garden!

Sarah P

Monday, May 04, 2009

Vegie Win!

Tonight's dinner was awesome! Chesh and I have a couple of favourite Japanese restaurants - the kind of places where we always order exactly the same thing every time. One of these places is Mr Samurai, who does an amazing Tempura B special, which is tempura made of julienne carrot, potato and onion with a drizzle of a sweet and soy sauce, rice, and kara-age. That's what I have every time I go! Chesh has the beef rice bowl, which I believe I have already mastered!

Over the weekend I went to a lovely Hen's Night in a Japanese resturaunt, and one of the many many tiny entrees they served was a tempura fried eggplant with a dollop of tonkatsu sauce. Since I happen to be giving away eggplants more often than I am eating them, I was excited to find a new way of serving it. And it was good, but the other tempura was definitely the star of this dinner!

Mr Samurai Tempura

1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup icey water

Vegetables - all in similar lengths and widths, julienned (matchstick size)
One small onion
One medium potato
One carrot
One eggplant, other vegies, or even a couple of prawns.

Drizzling Sauce
Soy sauce
drop of sesame oil

Slice and dice your vegies. I chunked the eggplant up, and used the above batter for all of the vegies in this recipe, and the eggplant. I wanted thick chunks for the eggplant to provide a bit more aesthetic appeal, and to be able to withstand uncertain frying. I'm still learning the ins and outs of frying, but after tonight I am very happy!

Make the drizzling sauce by mixing the three items together. I microwaved it for 20 seconds to loosen the honey up.
Put the rice cooker on.
Start the oil heating for deep frying.

Make the batter last. It should still be cold when you are frying. This gives it the tempura lightness and crispiness. You just mix it up. It should still be lumpy.

Do the eggplant or extra vegies first, dipping them into the batter and then dropping them into the oil. If you are doing prawns, do them last. Also, if you want the traditionally straight prawns, you need to use a skewer with each prawn.

Once that is all done and cooling, chuck in the julienned vegies. I dried mine a little with a tea towel first, since I had kept them in water, and then used a hand to mix them up and then put small handfuls into the oil.

When all done, serve with steamed rice, and drizzle the sauce over the top! We served the eggplant with a homestyle tonkatsu sauce.

How simple, and yet awesome, is that? All I need now is some sesame icecream, and life would be perfect!


Friday, May 01, 2009

Aphids Suck!

Aphids have destroyed almost all of my broccoli. We ate some of it, but most of it looks very unhappy.



We have been planning to get backyard chickens for a while now, and we got the plan into action this week after finding out that Monkey Moo's day care centre were having Henny Penny chicken hatching this week. Henny Penny is a company that supplies schools and other appropriate businesses with eggs and an incubator so that kids can see and learn about the hatching process The chicks hatch and stay at the venue in a special cage for 12 days and then they are given away to any parents that want to take them home, and any left are taken back by the Henny Penny franchisee and given to a farm.

I had been planning to get a couple of herritage breed hens, but decided this was too good an opportunity to pass up. Although they are hybrids, all the breeds they listed as using--autralorps, black and white leghorns, sussex, and lohmanns--were ones I would like and are egg laying breeds, so we decided to take our chances.

They were not sexed at hatching, so it was a case of taking a bunch and playing rooster lotto--apparently now we will not be able to tell the hens from the roosters until about 6-8 weeks of age, at which time we will re-home the roosters and/or excess hens.

In the end we decided to take six, two of each kind available, two blackies, two yellowies and two brownie/yellowies. I am not sure what breeds they are, I have tried searching google images for clues but I am not really finding any difinitive answers there. I am really looking forward to seeing what they grow into.