Climate proofing your garden

A couple of weeks ago we were finally settling into summer in the garden – checking watering systems and hoses, moving tender potted plants into the shade, planning our activities according to the hottest part of the day, maybe even getting out our swimming togs!

Then in a flash the wild winds blew, temperatures dropped, the lightning flashed, the heavens opened and we were plunged into darkness! Now the temperatures have risen again and we’re waiting for a cool breeze. I’m thinking of renaming Climate Change….Climate confusion!

In our nursery, the spring season was so slow that only now are some plants responding to the warmth and looking their best. The vegie garden is super late, and I have only just put in my tomatoes, zucchini and basil.

So how can we adapt to the changes in our weather patterns and the continuing unpredictability of the climate in our gardens?

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Super yummy quinoa salad

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I’ve had quite a few requests for the recipe of my quinoa salad, so I thought I would post it on the site for everyone to enjoy.

The trick is to make it as colorful as you can, with lots of fresh, healthy ingredients. My secret (not for long!) is to caramelize onion with a sweet orange veg such as pumpkin, carrot or sweet potato, which gives this salad a sweet nutty flavor, so you don’t have to add much of a dressing.

So here it is…

Super easy pasta sauce

Fresh ingredients ready to go!

Fresh ingredients ready to go!

If you are anything like me, you don’t have the time or energy to spend making complicated sauces. So, using the freshest ingredients from my own ‘no-dig’ garden, I love to create wonderful pasta sauces using tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchinis, capsicum and loads of herbs. I don’t use a recipe, just whatever is growing rampantly in the garden at the time.

This sauce can be used on it’s own, and is also fantastic when the cooler weather is upon us. I just add it to meats or beans and cook slowly on low heat in the oven. You could use a slow cooker if you prefer.

Gluten free Christmas Pudding!

Have you managed to make your Christmas pudding yet – I’m doing mine today!! I need to make it gluten free for several members of our Christmas dinner gang. So here’s a fabulous, moist, and gluten free treat that will tempt you even if the temperature is 37.7778 degrees Celsius in the shade (that’s 100 degrees in ‘old’ terms!).

This pudding can be made 2 weeks ahead if covered in the fridge. Just reheat the pudding in the basin when you’re ready to serve.
This is a really delicious, and easy to make pudding, so I hope you enjoy!

Raspberry and Lemon Friands

It’s been a wonderful 2 weeks, visiting our friends John and Forrest Woodbury in Albany, Western Australia! We so enjoyed their fabulous hospitality, and Forrest’s delicious cooking. We also had the chance to take a whale watching trip, where we saw dolphins, seals and humpback whales, courtesy of John & Forrest’s business, Albany Whale Tours (see photos below).

While we were there, Forrest baked a batch of her famous Raspberry and Lemon Friands, and was kind enough to share the recipe for me to post on the GPG website.

Here it is for your culinary enjoyment.

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Quizzical Quinces

The quince is a beautiful fruit, but one that is truly paradoxical.  Most fruit is best when fresh, but quinces are dry and astringent enough to make your mouth cringe, and must be cooked with sweetener before eating. They may have a hard furry skin and unattractive dull-yellow flesh, but this member of the rose family turns a rich orange-red when cooked and has an amazing and intoxicating fragrance.

Originating in Persia, quinces have been cultivated longer than apples, and have been linked to many famous lovers, including Aphrodite.  Ancient newlyweds were said to nibble on quinces before entering their bridal chambers.

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PKA Jam and Beetroot Balsamic Relish

Today we have two fabulous recipes from Forrest in WA. The first is a Pineapple, Kiwifruit and Apple jam and I can guarantee that it is absolutely delectable! With this recipe Forrest won first prize in the mixed jam section of the Albany Show for 2011 and 2012.  It really is a winner!

The second is a Beetroot Balsamic relish shared by a friend of Forrest, Mariette Wiltshire-Butler. It’s superb with fish and on bread and cheese.

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