… it’s been a while since I contributed anything here. Not that there hasn’t been any action to report! Here goes…
FRUIT & VEG GARDEN’S AUTUMN TRANSITION
Summer tapered off gently in Adelaide. We worked our way through peaches and plums, followed by a long stretch of grapes (the birds did discover them eventually so we’ll have to net them next year), a few more strawberries, and enough tomatoes to try out the passata machine and make a few very jolly good, simple pizza sauces. We ate pizza. And more pizza. Zucchini and eggplant had a workout. The pumpkin vine produced 4 good size Jap pumpkins, of which 3 are put aside for the cooler weather. Then Mum’s apples somehow escaped her resident possums and made it to our place, so we haven’t bought much fruit for a while. Summer veg have mostly been cleared and winter greens and some broad beans for green manure sown in their place.
Then 2 nights ago we had rain – good, soaking rain – and more wind than I realised. The next morning I found our poor little mango tree flat on the ground. It had dropped one mango (perfectly ripe and unharmed!) and was hanging onto its last green one for dear life. Naturally I relieved it of that. Amazingly, the tree was intact, just bent right over, while its hardwood stake had snapped right off. This is the mango we had in this morning’s breakfast fruit salad – a perfectly formed if slightly small R2E2, all flesh with hardly any stone, no stringiness, all gorgeous dense flavour right to the skin!! Who says you can’t grow mangoes in Adelaide?
Meanwhile, a little ‘Bacon’ avocado tree is waiting patiently in its plastic bag to be planted on the verge come spring. They don’t like cold winds, I’m told. So it’s sheltering in the lee of a dense hibiscus tree at present, while on the other side of the fence…
…I’m planting a shelter belt of dwarf tea-trees. I hope these will just slow down the chilly southerlies while the avocado is getting established. Of course that depends on them growing to 10 times their current height by spring. Sounds like a job for… worm castings!
The other main bit of native action has been Trees for Life. 420 seedlings including 4 varieties of eucalypts, some sticky hopbush, myrtle wattles and tea-trees made it to Sue’s at Williamstown last weekend, where they will now have to learn to outrun the hares and kangaroos. Tomorrow the final 60 seedlings (drooping sheoaks) will travel with Ben and me to Onkaparinga Hills to help revegetate another property, where they will have sheep to contend with. And then my seedling trolley will be clear for nursing baby winter veg… Asian greens, broccoli, spinach, beetroot…
A couple of months ago we put our heads together with staff from our local community childcare centre and came up with a proposal for a learning garden at the centre, incorporating a Coles Junior Landcare grant application. Well, we’ve won the grant! YAY! Stay tuned for updates as the little tackers’ garden takes shape.
OK, HERE COMES THE RECIPE
The highlight of the last month, for me, has been visiting our friends Tom (from Adelaide) and Vanh (from Laos), to see how they are transforming a dusty rented backyard into a cross-climate, cross-cultural oasis complete with banana palms, pawpaw trees and a multitude of Asian herbs. Lunch featured mouth-watering Chicken Laap and Green Papaya Salad – YUM!!! Ever since, I have been eyeing my herb garden in a whole new way. Yesterday I made a slow-cooked pork roast in the wood oven (another story, but suffice to say it was a huge hit, thank you Jamie http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/bone-in-shoulder-roast) and the leftovers lent themselves nicely to a bit of Laos-style spicy action tonight…
LAOS-INSPIRED PORKY NOODLE SALAD
- 1 cup finely chopped roast pork
- 2 ‘nests’ vermicelli noodles
- 1 1/2 cups shredded wombok
- 3 grated carrots
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup basil leaves (I used sweet and purple types)
- 2 spring onions
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
- 4 Tbsp ketjap manis
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), finely sliced
- 2 medium chillies, finely sliced
- Place dry noodles in heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain and snip into manageable lengths.
- Mix with finely chopped pork, shredded wombok and grated carrot.
- Finely chop all the herbs. Mix herbs and peanuts through the salad. (Reserve 1 tbsp peanuts)
- Place reserved peanuts, ginger, lemongrass and chillies in mortar and pound/grind until a rough paste is formed. Mix this paste in a small bowl with ketjap manis, fish sauce, lime juice and sesame oil.
- Pour dressing over salad and mix through, serve in bowls and wolf it down.
- OR, if you want it to look pretty (not that it will stand a chance as soon as anyone smells it), prepare more noodles, spread them on a platter, pile dressed salad on noodles, top with more pork, peanuts, wedges of lime and coriander leaves.