Monday, September 26, 2011

Smashing beans!

Ms Tagalong has never had a penchant for broad beans, their floury texture and rather bland flavour has not inspired her to incorporate them into her diet. But maybe Neil Perry can convert her?

His springtime appetizer, featured in the weekend edition of the Sydney Herald, of buffalo mozzarella, smashed broad beans and ricotta salata on bruschetta sounds very appetising indeed.

He also mentions how good they are over freshly made egg noodles. For those of you who know that Ms Tagalong has recently made fresh pasta perhaps she will be even more adventurous and try the egg noodles sometime. Sometime soon, she thinks, as the broad bean season doesn't last forever. So take Neil's advice, after podding the beans blanch them in boiling salted water then refresh in iced water and drain. Then here comes the tricky part, peel the beans and just use the innards to mash with a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. The addition of 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and parsley finishes of the smashed mix nicely.

Spread on toasted bruschetta, top with buffalo mozzarella and some ricotta salata. Now if you don't know what that is, join the club. Ms Tagalong had to look it up. It seems you can make your own but maybe that is a stretch too far for most of us.

So now the broad bean glut has been taken care of, Ms Tagalong must comment how good it is to see no black flies/aphids on the beans. It has been her earlier experience that broad beans and black flies were like the proverbial horse and carriage.

Talking about smashing; the rain at the weekend, whilst thoroughly watering all the garden, did knock a lot of the new seedlings about. Ms Waatif (What-are-all-the-initials-for?) arrived with replacement seedlings this evening and was happily planting while Mr Ideasman was putting a few minor design faults to right with the pizza oven.

And finally, what you are all waiting for, the latest news from Ms Mova at her permaculture course -sorry to disappoint, no news as of yet, but do look at where she is and what wonderful things she is going to learn.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pretty lettuces all in a row!

There are many working bees in the garden. They live in the stone wall behind the pizza oven. Ms Tagalong could see them curiously flying around as Mr Ideasman put the finishing touches to the mosaiced (spelling?)oven. Thought you might like a sneak peek!

But of course there are working bees and working bees. This last weekend saw a few intrepid gardeners working up quite a sweat in the unseasonably hot weather. It is supposed to be Spring, Ms Tagalong heard the poor little seedlings say. They really enjoyed the friable soil though and smiled at the water retention. It is a long way from the heavy clay we started with. Loading on the compost, leaf and grass mould and lashings of poultry manure, Ms Tagalong thinks that we have a good season ahead of us.

The row of eggplants looked a little lonely so a row of pretty lettuces are now keeping them company. Ms Mova constructed a tepee of bamboo for the zucchini and cucumber to grow up, and the centre is adorned yet again with some pretty leafed lettuce.

Roofman has been using his skills building a deluxe edition henhouse with windows, skylights and decking. All mod cons don't you know. Four of the ladies couldn't wait for the renovations to be complete and spent the night in there on Saturday.
Not much to perch on. Talking of chickens, which of course we often do, Ms chicken Whisperer down from the wilds of Inverell brought tales of Teapenny and Lucky. Lucky they have quite a few roosters! Not so lucky Teapenny has been unable to turn a blind eye! Creeping up on her blind side one of the roosters has worked out how to have his wicked way by sneaking up.

Not much to do in Inverell, apparantly!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The healing power of green

Many members of the community garden decamped this weekend with nearly disasterous consequences for our feathered friends who fretted and fumed waiting to be let out to forage. In a bid to gain some inner peace and knowledge and vicariously learn some inside tips on tasty vegetarian cooking from Kurma Das the local cohort had wended their way in convey down to Mangrove Mountain.

Growing vegetables, Spring time, blossom and quiet spaces. Impressions of Mangrove Mountain will remain with those of us who spent time observing the gardens. Ms Mova was not content with observation, she strode off in her wellies determined to learn all she could about bush regeneration. Ms Runaround wasn't; running around that is; she was coping with 48hour Facebook withdrawal symptoms!

A guided tour of the vegetable garden culminated in reverent observation of the rhubarb beds. Did you know you can actually sow them from seed? Talking about seeds our imparter of knowledge informed us that we should buy seed in bulk from Royston Petrie and not worry about waiting for plants to go to seed. I'd hate to be the one to break it to Red as she is so good at collecting seeds!

There was quite a parade of fashionable wellies this weekend but Ms Tagalong thinks that the red roses interlaced with skulls probably took the biscuit.

Legs Eleven, who actually looked like Legs Thirteen at the rate she grows, was in fine fettle and crowning her successful completion of the herb spiral she kept us all entertained all weekend. Can't wait for the next working bee to harness all that energy!

We all were there at Mangrove Mountain for different reasons but as a very wise woman said to me at the end of the weekend, "You don't always get what you think you want from an ashram but you always get what you need!"


Monday, September 5, 2011

It's all afire

Spring may be here but the comfort of a warm brazier at night in the garden is still appreciated. It was not even a balmy night but it was a very pleasant end to the week with hot soup, snacks and drinks to celebrate one of the gardeners turning 29. Well, Ms Tagalong thinks that's what she said! It set everyone to reminiscing about the events the garden has seen in the last couple of years with the film nights taking a favourite poll position. Roll on those warm nights so that we can run some more for friends and families in the neighbourhood to enjoy.