Monday, 31 December 2007

December Vegetables and Salutations

I am so in love with our veggie garden right now (apologies to David Lebovitz readers, otherwise known as those who profess to hating the word veggies. I shall continue to use the word unashamedly). We have harvested multiple batches of lovely zucchinis, which we have grilled on the barbecue, grated into zucchini slice (or 'cake', as Mini Chef wishes it to be known), shaved on a mandolin and drizzled with vinaigrette for a carpaccio, and stuffed with goat's cheese and topped with pepper and fresh mint, wrapped in foil and thrown onto the Webber. I can't wait until the little experimental eggplanty ones are ready to simmer with our green chillies (not yet taken by possums - fingers crossed it stays that way) in a curry.

We've also harvested plenty of cherry tomatoes, however I think our grape tomato plant is one of those high yield, low taste varieties. To overcome the issue, we roasted them with garlic and fresh thyme, then added them to breakfast pizza and pasta dishes (recipes to come at some stage in the not too distant future).

The Rosemary looks extraordinarily healthy... since planting it out last year it has just gone wild, maybe because we eat so much of it that it's constantly being pruned.It has served us well with many stews and roast lamb dishes. My personal favourite involved an entire bottle of rosé - minus the glass I had to have during the preparation, of course. I'd quite like to use this particular variety of rosemary as an edible border in the front garden, as it's bushy enough that it will probably make for quite a good sound barrier (unfortunately we are located down wind of an RSL with an all night liquor licence). It's so hardy that even if you just chop off a bit and plop it in the dirt, it manages to take root.

What I'm most excited about though, is the latest trial plant, the Lebanese cucumbers. Clever Husband made a little teepee for the three plants to climb up, and they seem very pleased with the arrangement. One of the plants has a cucumber that's ripe for the picking, and I plan to do just that this evening. I was thinking I might make a little salsa with the cucumber, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onion, garlic (also from the garden) yellow capsicum and maybe some of the green chillies if I can find any that look big enough to eat.

I've always appreciated the thrill of skimming through a cookbook or food magazine to plan the perfect meal, but the whole experience becomes so much more exhilarating when the ingredients are coming from your own garden. Makes you feel sort of creative and a bit smug... and for some reason, the voice in my head has a British accent when I write (or think) about the veggie garden. I must be channelling Monty Don, or Alan Titchmarsh, or someone. Admittedly, Clever Husband does most of the growing... I weed, prune and pick and, well, cook.

Wishing all the growers, cookers and eaters out there a delicious New Year's celebration meal... let's hope that 2008 is filled with more tasty treats than our food-obsessed minds can conjure.

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