Organic, Chemical Free Garlic

Garlic is one of our favorite ingredients and is used and consumed daily.

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When I arrived at my present abode about 5 years ago, the entire garden was one large ball of heavy clay. Even the raised garden beds were totally clay and I cannot understand why people would go to the trouble of creating a raised garden at huge expense and then fill it with clay. Furthermore the garden was covered with plastic ground sheets which in turn was covered by a layer of pebbles. The soil (clay) underneath all of this resembled an old rubbish dump with steel and metal (including old engines) interspersed with glass, rocks, plastic and concrete – this is the 21 st century. I have never seen any viable garden using steel, concrete, stones, glass, plastic and clay as a basis. The total arable area I have for planting food is only about 50 meters square.

Five years later and having turned the “soil” over many times supplementing with at least 800 Kg of lime and a similar amount of gypsum in several applications, as well as many Tons of Quail, Chicken and Rabbit manure and bedding.  I also have very active compost bins and worm farms, all of which goes back into the garden. In the process I have recovered and discarded many hundreds of kilograms of metal, concrete, glass, plastic, rocks and other rubbish. Each season the soils were planted to a variety of crops on a rotational basis. Unharvested greens were chopped and worked into the ground as well. For the first two years I have not seen any earthworms or any other soil live, but lately its is noticeable how the soil ecosystem has evolved and became alive and many earthworms are present.  I am proud to say that I have not once used any chemicals, purchased fertilisers (Except for gypsum and lime) or used any sprays in achieving this.

BACK TO GARLIC

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The garlic patch I have allocated to this crop for the 2019 / 2020 season is about 6 meters square and I have planted it with about 600 cloves of some of my last year’s crop as well as some purchased seed for the sake of variety, which will produce enough to eat, give away and seed for next year.

I preserve garlic in three ways.  1 – Just hang it to dry in clusters or pleated. 2 – Peel and sun dry, then seal in airtight containers.  3 – Peel and put into containers with a little bit of Olive Oil and pasteurise.

 

 

 

Do not store your Potatoes too well !

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I harvested about 80 kg of potatoes from my garden three months ago and was very chuffed because I would have had enough potatoes to keep my grandson, who is an absolute potato fiend in great organic potatoes for a very long time as well as having a bit over for the rest of the family.  I  very carefully stored the potatoes in plastic drums – one layer of potatoes followed by a layer of hay repeatedly until full. I filled about 5 X 25 liter drums, tightly sealed them and stored them in a cool dry place out of the sun – at the southern side of the house. The unforeseen, by me, has happened and the potatoes which were VERY GOOD for some months have gone sweet. Grandson does not eat sweet potatoes so he has refused my lovely baked offerings for the last few meals and reproached me for planting sweet potatoes instead of the real stuff. Knowing that I did not plant sweet potatoes I decided to read up. Apparently the place where I stored my precious harvest was too cold. Easy mistake to make in Dunedin, especially during the end of winter. Here is a link to the article explaining why cold potatoes become sweet https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/cold-potatoes-black-bananas/

The next crop would be stored in a warmer space with a north facing window and wall! Never too old to learn. I now have a lot of sweet potatoes to eat myself, but there is hope as you presumably could partially reverse the sweetening process – next experiment!

Pasta con la Rucola

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We had lemons from the tree of a friend of a friend and lots of flowering rocket that we had to use or lose. Mrs BYF came up with this delicious pasta using the ingredients at hand, while I was busy making cheese.

Lemon and Rocket Pasta

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 chilli or some flakes, as much as you prefer, but at least a bit is essential

2 handfuls of fresh rocket + 1 handful of fresh rocket

zest of 2 lemons + zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

cracked black pepper

1/2 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano

Add the pasta to salted, fast boiling water. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce.
Heat the olive oil and add the garlic and chilli in a pan that can hold everything including the cooked pasta. When the garlic is translucent add the 2 handfuls of fresh rocket to the pan. When the rocket has wilted slightly add the zest of 2 lemons and the lemon juice. When the pasta has cooked, add a few tablespoons of boiling pasta water to the sauce. When al dente, remove the hot pasta from the pasta pot, drain the water and add the hot pasta to the sauce in the pan. Stir the sauce through the pasta. Portion out the pasta into the plates and scatter a few of the fresh rocket leaves, a bit of the lemon zest and cracked black pepper over the pasta. Add liberal amounts of parmigiano reggiano and serve immediately.

Do not forget a glass of home made red to finish it all!!

ENJOY!!!

 

Multi Purpose Rocket

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Yet another crop with many uses! This time it is rocket which is in abundance in our garden at this time of the year, sowing itself all the time.. Apart from great salads and pesto, the flowers make a really nice display for the kitchen window sill. Also enjoy the pesto as a pasta sauce, with fish or on fresh bread or toast

Pesto Recipe

100 g Pesto Leaves

25 g roasted Pine Nuts

20 g fresh Garlic

150 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 g Salt

Blend all the above ingredients well in a blender, or if you have the energy, mash it up in a mortar and pestle

50 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana cheese

20 g grated Pecorino cheese

40 g melted Butter

Fold the above indigents into the blended product

 

It will last up to a week in the fridge, but is better fresh (after resting for about an hour from making it – the pesto not you)

ENJOY and do not forget a glass of the home made red!!!

 

 

 

DEFYING WINTER / PASTA CON BROCCOLI

F4C3750D-884C-4C80-905D-5620F6F5CF0CIrrespective of the cold winter weather Dunedin is encountering at present, the garden seems to defy the seasons and continues to produce, which keeps me healthy and out of the supermarkets with some spare change in my pocket.

BROCCOLI PASTA

This is a quick, very easy and delicious Garden Meal

  • 1 Head of Broccoli – Washed, dried and broken into pieces of about 25 mm in diameter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove of Garlic – Chopped finely
  • 1 Fresh Chili – Chopped finely
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana Cheese – Grated

While you boil the water and cook the pasta in salted water, prepare the Broccoli sauce. In a large cast iron pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and fresh chili and cook for a few n minutes until soft, but not coloured (about 1 minute), then add the Broccoli and toss well in the oil and cook until the Broccoli is soft but still crispy and not mushy (about 2 – 3 minutes). Ad salt and black pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta al dente to the pan with the Broccoli, garlic and chili and toss well.  Serve immediately while still hot and dress with a dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, grated Parmigiano and crushed Black Pepper

ENJOY !!

Do not forget the homemade red to wash it all down.

 

 

 

HARVEST OF THE DAY

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It is officially winter here in Dunedin and from the temperatures, snow, mist and sleet I can vouch for that. Nevertheless the garden keeps on producing and I was more than pleased with the organic harvest of today. The soils are healthy and for the first time in four years I have large numbers of earthworms helping me.

GNOCCHI

It definitely is Gnocchi time again in the BYF household (Use the gnocchi link to go to the recipe). We have been using our own home grown potatoes for about four months now on a “dig when required” basis and must have consumed well in excess of 15 – 20 Kg of beautiful, fresh and organic potatoes already – my grandsons are addicted to roasted potatoes.  Today I needed the space where the rest of the potatoes were still underground as I am preparing soil for further planting and I also cleaned Quail Cages leaving me with about 200 Kg of manure and bedding material which I had to dig into the potato patch. I have today harvested another 28 Kg of potatoes and this, plus what we already consumed, will probably be enough potatoes for a whole year – all of this from only about 4 square meters.

ROASTED POTATO

This simple recipe never fails. Wash the potatoes well and boil in well salted water until almost done, but not soft. Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half. In an oven baking tray melt (do not burn) a generous amount of butter – about 50 g per small tray. Now place the potatoes in a single layer – cut side down – in the tray. Ad a fist full of rosemary and enough unpeeled garlic and bake at 200 C for about 5 minutes until the butter is sizzling and the potatoes have absorbed some of the butter. Now flip the potatoes over with the cut side up and put them back into the oven until they are golden brown. Dribble with good extra virgin olive oil, some chopped up parsley, salt and black pepper and ENJOY!!!

Do not forget the home made wine to wash it all down.