Saturday, December 31, 2011

Prawns and Pumpkin In Coconut Gravy

As year of 2012 is getting closer, Adelaide temperature is soaring and we probably lost many vegetable plants due to the extreme heat. Several of our plants had perished this week. New Year day is predicted to be more than 40 degree Celsius. We probably lost many tomato plants this week and when their fruits are just starting to get bigger or ripen. Many warm loving vegetables flower bloom this week but they won't set any proper fruit at all. During Christmas week, many of our plants at the back of our backyard fence were being eaten. However, we caught the culprit now. Well Rayyan stumbled upon him nipping our cabbage leaves while Lenay was watering the plants. Never did I taught that the culprit was a big male rabbit. I think he was someone pet before and was abandoned. Not sure whether it was purposely left near our garden though. Don't think he was given that much vegetables before perhaps more on pelleted food. He is very tame. In the mean time, he has been taken inside the backyard garden and treated like a pet. Feel really bad leaving him outside without any source of water especially when we have extreme weather at the moment. He probably came out of thirst each time after we watered our plants previously to lick water from the plants.
We harvested our first Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Pumpkin and shallots this month. Garlic are drying in the shed at the moment. I found this interesting recipe that I can use from our fresh harvest of pumpkin, garlic and shallot from 'The Best Of Chef Wan A Taste of Malaysia' recipe book. Chef Wan is the most popular Malaysian Chef.  A celebrity chef that was once in his early career an accountant. I recommend this book if you like Malaysian food. 
Prawns and Pumpkin In Coconut Gravy
300gram pumpkin, peeled and cut into large chunks
500ml/2cups coconut milk (or extracted from 1 grated coconut and 500ml water)
1 Turmeric leaf, finely sliced, if desired
200gram prawns, cleaned and shelled
Salt and sugar for seasoning

Pounded Ingredients:
2 Tablespoon Dried prawns (shrimps) , soaked and drained
3 Shallots, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
5 red hot chillies, if desired

~Put the pounded ingredients, pumpkin and coconut milk into a pot. Bring to boil and simmer until the pumpkin is soft.
~Add the turmeric leaf and prawns and cook for a further 3 minutes.
~Season with sugar and salt. Garnish as desired and serve with warm rice.

A Happy New Year to You!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sayang Kinabalu, The Versatile and Liebster Award

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A Giant Russian Sunflower bloom for us on Christmas day.

Usually at the end of the year my family will usually spend this part of the year on the Land below of the wind which is Sabah one of the Malaysia state that is  one part of Borneo island. My Japanese friends will come and visit Sabah tomorrow and my parents will entertain them as my replacement. I hope they enjoy their visit there very much. The last time we were in Sabah was December 2007 and Ilhan was still a baby learning how to sit.
Bamboo Orchestra- Sayang Kinabalu (Loving Kinabalu)

Tinggi Tinggi Gunung Kinabalu (As high as you are Mount Kinabalu)
Tinggi lagi sayang sama kamu (Higher is my love for you)
Biru biru hujung Kinabalu tengok dari jauh (How sky blue is Kinabalu peak appear from faraway)
Hati saya rindu... (My heart miss you Kinabalu)

Kinabalu dekat di Kundasang (Kinabalu is close to Kundasang)
Banyak sayur boleh pilih pilih (So many vegetables to choose from there)
Apa guna pergi luar negeri (What is the use going overseas)
Naik Kinabalu hati saya rindu... (My heart miss climbing Kinabalu)

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South-East Asia (higher than Mt. Fuji). Although, it is a few hours drive away from my mama village, we can clearly see its peak on a sunny day. There are many beautiful diving sites in Sabah. My brother obtained his scuba diving license recently and hopefully I get to dive with him to enjoy the ocean garden that can be very mesmerising. He probably has to refresh my memory about diving basic since its been almost 10 years? that I last did scuba diving.

I would like to thank Phoebe from Ballynoe Cottage for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks to Jody (Spring Garden Acre) and Lrong (Potager Y @ Japan) for the Liebster Award.
I feel very honoured and humble that our blog was selected.

"Liebster" is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. 
The Liebster is awarded to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.

Now for the rules (I just copy and paste it):
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have fun!

So without any particular order, here are some of the blogs that we have enjoyed reading that we like to pass on the Versatile Blogger Award and Liebster Blog:

Angelina~ The Meow Factor;
A cat with her big family which is involved in many different kind of charities and organisation. Ehem... I hope their balcony garden will be fill up with many plants soon. They are very good in Maths. Always wonder how they did they came up with big numbers so soon.

Liz~Suburban Tomato;
She has a very productive veggie garden. She lives in Australia too but her winter is a little bit colder than us. Amazingly, she harvest her vegetables all year round. Check out her nice recipes as well.

Sean L~ Half A Pound Of Treacle;
He writes on a wide range of topics and very thoroughly did  research regarding the topic he posted. I learn many new things from his blog such as about Malaysia native plants, cultural festival, and beautiful places to visit. His balcony is growing with many variety of plants. It must be an amazing sight when people look up to his balcony garden from below.

Sue~Our Plot At Green Lane Allotments;
I learn a lot from her about gardening and I enjoy looking at her nature and wildlife photos too. There are many useful links in her blog for novice gardener on how to grow things. Sue very good at knowing good and bad insects in the garden too.

Lena~Frozen Wings;
Each time Lena posted new recipes on her cooking blog, I am so amazed on how creative she is. One day, I hope she teach me how to bake. I remember how she made our traditional kuih pulut panggang look like sushi.

I hope you visit this wonderful blogs and enjoyed the music as well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

End Year Container Garden 2011

It has been sometime that I have not posted pictures of our container garden. This is because of the cleaning up of winter plants and waiting for the right moment to sow warm loving veggies made the container garden look very not organise and bare. So now some of the containers has filled up a bit. It probably look greenish now but continuous high temperature will make them look very dreadful later on.
From Container Garden
Orange sweet potato veins at this corner of our container garden. They don't follow orders really well so this summer they have been isolated from the rest of the plants. Experimenting in one of the containers is growing soy beans and sweet potato together. Soy bean plants grow straight right up whilst sweet potato leaves will keep the soil more moist as they cover up the soil.
From Container Garden
Growing "Jack Be Little" pumpkin at this corner and this pumpkin plant actually giving some shade to strawberry plants. The strawberry plants is clever enough to send out stalk for the berries to ripen while keeping it foliage out of the harmful summer sun.
From Container Garden
This summer is our first time trying to grow purple skin and white flesh sweet potatoes. I thought it has purple flesh at first but bought the wrong one. Young seedlings of jicama (sengkuang) and Clemson spineless okra sharing the same container. I had some encouraging result growing them together last year so repeating this combination again. Leek and parsnip growing side by side. Dragon carrot growing together with cherrytime capsicum.
From Container Garden
This is a bit of complex situation because that trellis was intended for bitter gourd. But bitter gourd end up sharing that trellis with volunteer tomato plant. The spagetthi squash is also inching its way to the trellis as well. There are one promising (indicate with arrow) spagetthi squash at the moment. We are excited to harvest the fruit cos this is our first time growing this squash and of course will be our first taste of it. Lenay spied one female bitter gourd flower this week and has pollinated it with male flowers. Hopefully the success for the female bitter gourd fruit to grow won't be deterred by the very warm days we are having for several days.

Last year we did not have that much a problem starting cucumbers early. But this year the cucumber seeds seems to be on strike until end of November when those seeds favor to sprout. Its not only one variety playing hooky but all the varieties of cucumber that we plan to grow this summer. So we probably have late cucumber harvest season this summer compared last year if growing them are successful. This corner we grow cucumber "Suyo Long" in container together with beetroot and Topweight carrot.
From Container Garden
At the back row are orange sweet potato and "Royal Blue" potato plant. In the front, angled luffa growing together with "New Red Kuroda" carrot and jicama.
From Container Garden
Another volunteer tomato growing in the garlic container. This is the only garlic that I have not dug out yet. I probably should since all the leaves dried up. But it was too hot this week I simply don't have the motivation. We also grow white sweet potatoes at this corner here. First time growing shallot and I am not sure when is the perfect time to harvest and cure them. I need some advice; from looking at the shallot in the container, do you think it is ready to be harvested?
Hope you have a joyous moments with your love ones during this festive season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Poppy Candu

I really like poppy in the garden. Looking forward for them to bloom in spring every year. I received some opium poppy seeds from a very generous blogger friend this year. I sowed the seeds at first too early because I was too excited. But the seeds germinate well in May~June.
The opium poppy foliage is different from the Shirley poppy that we usually grow. The seed pods are much larger as well. Wonder if we have volunteers next year.
Bees love them as well.
A shy bee hiding behind the poppy stripey petal.
Hope you get all your festive season shopping done.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saraba Summer Sweet Corn (さらば夏のトウモロコシ)

Strangely this warm season we have many self-seeded tomato plants growing in containers by itself. A lazy gardener that I am, I did not weed them and I just let them grow in the container. So this week some of the self-seeded tomato fruit had ripen like the yellow pear cherry tomatoes. Not sure what variety the red tomatoes is. The yellow currant cherry tomatoes harvest is more than 1kg every week. 
I thinned out some purple top turnip yesterday as its foliage was shadowing our capsicum plants. We also harvested some beetroots and a Lebanese zucchini before our night visitors enjoyed them. Some of our flowering capsicum and beetroot leaves has completely became bald each day last week. I have not encountered yet "our night visitor" that is enjoying our plants at the back of our backyard fence (council reserve land). But judging on how the plants were attacked it looks like the work of a big animal like possum. In one night, this visitor managed to eat 2 green capsicum fruit and the whole plant leaves. Furthermore, it also enjoyed many of our carrot blossoms that were planned for collecting seeds. Sadly, most of our young capsicum plants has gone missing or without leaves. A new challenge.
We harvested some self-seeded Chinese spinach,a kohlrabi, some baby leeks, eggplants and a sweet corn. I think this is the only decent looking sweet corn that we are able to harvest for this summer. Its hard to grow sweet corn which is a heavy drinker here in the driest city in Australia in summer. After 3 consecutive summer growing sweet corn with unsatisfactory results, its time for me to give up on them. Better to grow sweet corn at the end of summer and early fall which we had good harvest this year.
Therefore, farewell (saraba/sayonara) summer sweet corn.
I sowed sweet corn at the end of August this year and it managed only to grow about 30cm until now. I think it such a waste of water to grow them. Might as well grow other drought tolerant edible plants that does not required too much water. Too much stress for the sweet corn to grow in summer season here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

IRIS (Larkspur Seed Give-Away Winners)

This is our first time growing iris and we were so excited to see them blooming last spring. Thanks to Berry Gnome for sharing with us so many iris rhizomes last fall. Even my mama got to bring some iris rhizomes back to Malaysia. My mama iris did grow very well but unfortunately papa mowed them through when he was mowing the lawn. So I thought of sharing our iris bloom with her for her belated birthday.
I really like this iris colour.
Brighten up this veggie patch when there were only tiny veggie seedlings.
Yellow coloured iris blooming together with gazania.
Visit Ewa for Flowers on Saturday.
We did a larkspur seeds give-away a few days ago.
Our boys pick the winners with the old fashion way of writing names on the paper, roll paper, shake rolled paper and randomly pick the rolled the winners are:
Hope the winners can email us your mailing address so we can post the seeds (
Have a great weekend.
We are having a few showers this weekend which made our plants happy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Salmon and Green Bean Potato Patties

Many of our potato plants gone yellow and wilted. So had to dig and find spuds. Although I do wish that they grow much longer, rather than finding so many tiny little spuds. Because many of the plants are rather young. Yesterday, pull out some dragon carrots and purple top turnip as well.
Not many edibles to harvest from the garden at the moment. So we have to depend on our frozen goods. We are trying to use up our frozen beans from last summer which should be more than 9 months sitting in the freezer now. So we found this recipe to enjoy those fresh potato and carrot with some of those frozen bean. This is our first time joining in Robin's Thurday's Kitchen Cupboard.
Salmon and Green Bean Potato Patties
(adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly~The $ Smart Cook)
150 gram green beans
800 gram potatoes, chopped coarsely
20 gram butter
1/3 cup (25gram) finely grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
415 gram can red salmon
1/3 cup (35gram) packaged breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
3 medium size carrot (coarsely grated)

(1) Boil, steam or microwave beans until tender; drain. Rinse under cold water; drain. Chope coarsely.
(2) Boil, steam or microwave potato until tender; drain. Mash potato in large bowl with butter, cheese and egg until smooth.
(3) Drain salmon; discard skin and bones. Add salmon, carrot and beans to potato mixture; mix well. Shape salmon mixture into patties; coat in breadcrumbs. Place patties on tray, cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.
(4) heat oil in large frying pan; fry patties, in batches until browned lightly and heated through. Drain on absorbent paper.
A very very very simple lunch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Imperial Larkspur Life-Cycle (Seed Give-Away)

In our garden, larkspur grows really well and thrive with neglect as long as it received ample sunlight and the soil is not dry out. The blooming period of each plant growing in different corner of our garden varies starting from mid-spring until mid-summer. Sometime Imperial larkspur plants can grow over 1.5metre tall. Pruning the spent bloom will help to make the blooming season longer. Imperial larkspurs make nice cut flower.
Larkspur seed pod near our watermark.
The seed pod will automatically pop open by itself when its ready.
 You probably get many self-sowed larkspur next year.
Larkspur ancestor colour is commonly purple.
So purple will be the dominant colour.
Fresh collected larkspur seeds.
The seeds are very easy to collect.
 Seeds that had just germinated.
It was easier to differentiate those seedlings to avoid weeding it out.
The seedlings have stripe leaves at this stage.
How young larkspur seedlings look like.
We found many self-seeded larkspur seedlings from early April through the month of May.
Probably indication the best time to sow Imperial larkspur seeds here in Adelaide plain.
Imperial larkspur flower bud.
All of those are self-sowed flowers~larkspur, calendula and sunflower.
The imperial larkspur is not a bushy plant.
So it can be grown closely together.
Larkspur grows well in container as well. 
These are larkspur volunteers.
It was not our intention to grow them in container.
Larkspur growing in container blooming with dragon carrot side by side.
Most larkspur plant are toxic.
Don't take a chance nibbling on them.
Like to have them growing in your garden?
Just drop a comment.
We will pick 5 randomly.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rigatoni with Zucchini, Lemon and Mint

We have started to harvest some of our topweight carrots that were sowed end winter (August) on the sunniest patch in the garden. It is grown on hard clay soil. So we got a funny looking roots but the roots are strong enough to grow through hard soil. Before we have some several days of hot weather it will be best  to harvest all those carrots before it become bake carrot in the soil. The exposed carrot root are becoming blackish instead of normal greenish. We harvested our last florence fennel as it is not growing that much due to the warm weather we have during the day. The location that I planted them was too sunny and dry for them I reckoned. Contemplating at the moment to try growing them in container during this summer.
Yellow currant tomatoes are still very prolific. It takes a long time to harvest them. There are also many self-sowed yellow currant tomatoes near this plants. Our volunteer yellow pear cherry tomato plants also has some ripen fruits. But it did not make it to the harvest basket as it is consider as rare item in the garden at the moment. So it is always pick and pop in the mouth.
Harvested some Lebanese zucchines and Lebanese eggplants last week.
Just for fun, the total cost for us to make this dish is less than AUD5.00. It says that it is for 4 servings. But it was quite a lot that it was for lunch and dinner for us. This is the first time we tried zucchini with pasta.
Rigatoni with Zucchini, Lemon and Mint ( The Australian Women's Weekly-The $ Smart Cook)
500gram rigatoni pasta (coles brand AUD1.00)
60ml olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed (home-grown)
3 medium zucchini (~360gram), grated coarsely (home-grown Lebanese zucchini)
180 gram ricotta cheese (I used less from leftovers for leek and fetta triangles)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint (home-grown used less 1/2 cup cos not many leaves at the moment)
70gram roasted slivered almonds, if desired ( in a rush I forgot about them)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from neighbour)

(1) Cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling water until just tender; drain.
(2) Meanwhile, heat oil in large frying pan; cook garlic and zucchini, stirring, 2 minutes. Add cheese; cook, stirring, until just heated through.
(3) Combine zucchini mixture and pasta in serving bowl with remaining ingredients.

We harvested all our Nero Black kale and Red Russian kale leaves last week as I wanted to clear some patch for warm loving vegetables. My husband seems to be allergic eating Red Russian kale but not Nero Black kale. Do you know whether this allergy to particular kale is common? My hand itch too when I harvest Red Russian Kale especially at the part that has been cut probably from the oozing liquidy thing.
I am only successful at growing small cabbage head. 
Some potatoes, leeks and kohlrabi harvested yesterday.
Visit Daphne's Dandelions to see different kind of harvest from different season such as winter or summer and the all year round tropical climate.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

'Topweight' Carrot for Winter season

We have been trying to sow carrot seeds each month (succession sowing) to ensure continuous supply for our kitchen as it is one of our favourite vegetables.  Sowing carrots in winter is tricky it probably won't give you root but gives you flower. Last cool season, we tried growing 3 different varieties of carrot which is Afghanistan carrot, dragon carrot and topweight carrot. Sowing Afghanistan carrot and dragon carrot after the month of May (end autumn) has the tendency to bolt rather than produce root. This is the second year we grow topweight carrot in winter season and they tend to be more resistant to bolt. I sowed some topweight carrot in polystyrene container early winter (June) and the seeds germination rate was good. The seeds germinate quicker than it usually does.
New topweight carrot seedlings last June.
After 16 weeks from sowing, a reasonable size of carrot roots to harvest. In winter, growth should be slower than usual so I was not expecting a big root. Winter growing carrot taste sweeter.
We usually harvest only the amount needed and left the rest to grow. But by November all those carrots have to be harvested because the carrot core begins to become woody. It was nice to have fresh carrots in spring while waiting for the spring-sown carrot roots to grow.
Topweight carrot seems to be a good all year round carrot.
This variety also does well in partial shade.
It also can be force grown in hard clay soil.
But you won't expect a good size of root from clay soil.
But you can get a baby carrot size.
We started to harvest topweight carrot sowed in end winter.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Leek and Fetta Triangles

For the last few weeks, we have been harvesting leeks that were transplanted last autumn. We have harvested most of these leeks as some were showing the sign to form flower stalk. In replacement of those leeks, we are trying to grow Turkish leopard melon. Not sure whether it will go well with growing melon here as with little water and very hot soil, success rate is probably close to 0%. We did not have trouble growing carrot here in fall/winter but spring/summer grown carrot here don't look good. Leeks were starting to yellow due to hot weather. It was so green during cool season.
Today, we harvested some Musselburgh leeks growing in a container. There were some volunteered bayam (chinese spinach) harvested as well.
This is our first time using fillo pastry and fetta cheese.
There were a lot of guessing how to use the fillo pastry.
So if you have any tips on using fillo pastry please advise.
We still have many extra fillo pastry.
Leek and Fetta Triangles (The Australian Women's Weekly-Fast Vegies)
100gram butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium leeks (700gram), sliced thinly
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
150gram fetta cheese chopped coarsely
1/3cup (40gram) coarsely grated cheddar cheese
4 sheets fillo pastry (depending on the size you want to make)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

(1) Heat half of the butter in large frying pan, add garlic and leek;cook, stirring occasionally, until leek softens. Stir in caraway seeds; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
(2) Combine leek mixture in medium bowl with cheeses.
(3) Preheat oven to 200 Celsius/180 Celsius fan-forced. Lightly oil oven tray.
(4) Melt remaining butter in small saucepan. Brush one sheet of the fillo lightly with butter; fold in half lenthways. Place the leek mixture at bottom of one narrow edge of fillo, leaving a 1cm border. Fold opposite corner of fillo diagonally across the filling to form a triangle; continue folding to end of fillo, retaining triangular shape. Place on tray, seam-side down; repeat with remaining ingredients.
(5) Brush triangles with butter; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until browned lightly.
Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cup and Saucer Canterbury Bells

It required a lot of patience to grow Canterbury bells flower from seeds here. I thought at first the seeds won't germinate at all and almost gave up on them. After almost 2 months suddenly there were new seedlings in the pot. I probably sowed the seeds too early and was lucky that not all those seeds got rotten. If  I remember correctly it probably best to sow them in May/June which is late fall/early winter here in Adelaide plain. Probably needs colder temperature to germinate because I was surprised to see Canterbury bells seedlings sprouted in early-mid winter. But brace yourself because we had to wait for two Springs to pass for the Canterbury bells plant to bloom (waited for a year and a half). It was worth the wait. Now I understand why it is categorised as a biennal plant. But since we have mild winter, hopefully it will stay as perennial here. Lenay has threaten me many times to pull out our Canterbury bells plants because it just stays there and does nothing before it blooms. I had to beg many times to let it just stay there. Now who diligently does the dead-heading to prolong blooming season of our Canterbury bells because she fell in love with the bloom. Lenay of course.
Purple Cup and Saucers.
Without the saucers blooming near our front entrance door.
Bees simply adore Canterbury bells bloom.
The tall ones need to be staked as it leaning towards the ground.
The ones growing in partial shade does better.
How our front yard looks at the moment.
Kind of messy.
Many of the flowers are self-sowed ones like larkspur, viola, pansy and calendula.
Have a nice weekend!