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Home grown

Home grown

THE JOYS OF GARDENING – SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT

A new achievement today in the backyard after just a couple of years of growing my own veggies.

My home grown first asparagus.

I planted these a year ago and nothing. A friend told me you never get anything from asparagus in the first season. The plants have looked like weeds all winter then suddenly like a ‘Christmas Miracle’ in the last few weeks they appeared.

These are going to taste good!

Home grown

FROM MY GARDEN – STILL PLENTY OF VEGGIES DESPITE THE COLD

Despite successfully growing many vegetables over the past two Spring/Summer periods I am yet to transfer my so-called green thumbs to similar amounts Winter crops.

Maybe I’ll have a green house up in time for next Winter.

That said my backyard garden has not been completely useless since the cold weather struck. I am still getting large amounts of spinach, Swiss chard, kale and lettuce’s. The broccoli plants I put in are starting to show small heads too.

On top of this my first attempt to grow mushrooms in the kitchen have been encouraging.

I think it’s time to make an Asian inspired winter soup with these and a few other veggies.

Home grown

FROM MY BACKYARD GARDEN – WINTER HASN’T SLOWED THINGS DOWN

Is there not many feelings better than harvesting fresh and nutritious produce from your own garden.

Despite entering the third week of winter where I live, my backyard garden is still producing large amounts of vegetables.

This afternoon I spent some time out in the sun pulling out weeds (they don’t mind the cold), clipping back some bushes and picking the fruits (or is that the veggies) of my summertime labor.

Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, red and green bell peppers and a spaghetti squash.

Now what to cook?

 

Appetizers/ Home grown/ Snacks

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE PLANT HEALTH MAN CAFE

After picking the last of my tomatoes a few days ago I decided to make something I had eaten in the USA several times, fried green tomatoes.

The most memorable ones where at The Hominy Grill in Charleston, SOUTH CAROLINA.

So I made two versions to try:
– Cajun flavoured; and
– Traditional with Old Bay Seasoning.

The last of the tomato crop my backyard for the season.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE PLANT HEALTH MAN CAFE

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 pieces Cooking Time: 10M

Ingredients

  • 1 large green tomato
  • 1 cup of unprocessed wholemeal flour
  • 2 tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of Cajun Spice Mix
  • 2 tablespoons of cheese style sauce powder
  • 1/2 cup of plant based milk (I used soy on this occasion)
  • Dipping sauce
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla coconut yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh or defrosted blueberries

Instructions

1

Place the plant based milk and cheese style powder into a bowl and mix well.

2

Place half of the flour in a second bowl and the other half in a third bowl.

3

Place the Old Bay Seasoning in bowl number two and mix well with the flour.

4

Add the Cajun Seasoning Mix into the third bowl and mix well with the flour.

5

Place a non stick pan on the stove on medium to high heat.

6

Cut the tomato into four equal slices.

7

Dip the first two slices into the cheesy milk mix and drown. Remove then place into bowl number two to coat both sides well with the seasoned flour mix.

8

Repeat with the third and fourth piece except place them into the third bowl after drowning.

9

Place tomato pieces into the hot pan and cook until golden brown on either side.

10

While they're cooking make up a dipping sauce of your choosing. On this occasion I combined vanilla coconut yogurt with some defrosted blueberries.

Notes

There is no need to add salt as the seasoning mixes already have plenty.

Home grown

PICKED FROM MY GARDEN – THE LAST OF THE TOMATOES

One of the greatest joys you can have following a plant based lifestyle is growing your own food.

Knowing where the produce you cook with and put in your body came from is so satisfying.

The time has come for me to start planting winter crops. This has meant picking the final tomatoes from my backyard vines and turning over some of the garden beds.

One of them had some spinach in it. I have another full bed of spinach that I’ll maintain. I just can’t keep up with it all. It grows so well.

If you don’t grow any food, consider giving it ago. Even if it means a few pots on a balcony. You won’t regret it.

Dinner/ Home grown

FROM THE GROUND VEGETABLE STACK

One of the things I enjoy about growing so many vegetables in my backyard is being able to experiment with unlimited combinations just by walking outside.

This roasted vegetable stack is literally from the ground of my backyard with the exception of the carrot and potato.

It contains zucchini, potato, tomato, carrot, eggplant, kale and peas topped with caramelised onion and mint sauce. Served with Tuscan herb infused peas in an Asian spinach leaf.

Enjoy.

FROM THE GROUND VEGETABLE STACK

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 40M

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Kale leaf
  • 1 Asian spinach leaf
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1 teaspoon of mint sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Savannah's Middle Eastern spice mix or similar
  • 2 tablespoons of Dr Furhman's Tuscan Herb sauce or similar
  • 1 teaspoon of Slap Yo Mama New Orleans spice mix
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • Lite salt and pepper to season

Instructions

1

Slice potato, zucchini, eggplant and carrot into large chunks then steam for 10 minutes.

2

Season the vegetable chunks

3

Potato - Rosemary

4

Zucchini - Oregano

5

Eggplant - Savannah's Middle Eastern spice mix

6

Tomato - Basil

7

Carrot - Maple syrup

8

Air fry or bake until they start to brown well. While this is happening slice the tomato, season with lite salt, pepper and basil. Cook in non-stick fry pan until the centre starts to soften then remove and set aside.

9

Using the same pan place garlic and onion inside and dry fry until caramelisation starts. Add a splash of water. After another 60 seconds remove and set aside.

10

Still using the same pan, cook the peas for 5 minutes then add the Tuscan herb sauce. Cook for a further 5 minutes then set aside.

11

Just before your chunky vegetables are cooked, add a kale leaf covered in a New Orleans spice mix of your choice to the air fryer or oven. It will only take a few minutes to crunch up.

12

Once this is done plate up as shown in the photo above or vary as you see fit.

Dinner/ Home grown

MY GARDEN ON A PLATE

The health benefits of a plant based lifestyle are undeniable!!!

I was thinking about that when starting to cook dinner. One thought led to another, then another. The end result was this.

Plant based mince cooked with garlic and dried Italian herbs, yellow squash, brussel sprout, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, broccolini, thick gravy, oregano baked pumpkin pieces, rosemary mashed potato, chargrilled baby tomatoes, baked baby carrots, basil, thyme and spring onion.

It was also very satisfying to know that many of the ingredients came from my own garden.

Dinner/ Home grown

GO MENTAL FOR LENTILS AND GREENS PASTA SAUCE

Incorporating greens into your meals is critical to ensure you are getting enough nutrition from your food.

Greening up some of your favourite dishes is easy especially if you are mixing it with other flavours like tomato.

Add in some brown lentils and you have a super nutritious basis for a meal.

TIP – Because brown lentils are a nutritionally superior form of starch, I shy away from having wheat pastas with this sauce in favour of vegetable based ones to keep the glycemic index of the meal on the lower end of the scale. This is particularly important for diabetics.

LENTIL AND GREENS PASTA SAUCE

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 45M

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • 2 handfuls of sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 bottle of tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 diced celery stem
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • 2 stems of rough chopped spinach
  • 2 stems of rough chopped Swiss chard
  • 2 cups of pre-soaked or 1 tin of brown lentils (rinsed
  • 1 handful of nutritional yeast
  • 2 shakes of dried basil
  • 2 shakes of dried oregano
  • 2 shakes of dried rosemary
  • lite salt and pepper

Instructions

1

Place the garlic (crushed or finely chopped) and diced onion into a frypan and cook until starting to brown.

2

Add a splash of water to mix the caramelisation throughout the garlic and onion.

3

Add in the mushroom and cook for a further few minutes.

4

Add tinned tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, herbs, salt and pepper to the pan and and stir well then allow to reduce.

5

Once reduced add in the brown lentils, broccoli, celery and bottle of tomato pasta sauce. Turn up to high heat until bubbling then down down to low heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

6

In the last 5 minutes add in the spinach, Swiss chard and nutritional yeast.

7

Serve on vegetable pasta or noodles. I used zucchini and carrot spirals steamed for just a few minutes.

Notes

The beauty of this sauce is you can freeze the leftovers in individual portions to have a ready-to-go sauce for any cooked vegetables.

Home grown

PICKED FROM MY GARDEN OF NUTRITION

I love being able to walk out into the backyard garden and pick such a nutritious collection of food that I know will nourish my body. This is from earlier tonight.

Now what to make with all of it?

  • Basil

  • Swiss chard

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Yellow squash

  • Extra large zucchini

  • Round ball zucchini

  • Beetroot

  • Mumma’s Delight red tomatoes

  • Low acid yellow tomatoes (more orange than yellow 🙂

  • Sage

  • Red hot chillies

  • Spaghetti squash