The Annual Egg Glut Games – Day 11 NaBloPoMo 2017

 

Despite being mostly older ladies, my six lovely chickens are laying for all they’re worth at the moment. So, as we do every year, I’m giving away eggs to family and friends and making a lot of egg-based dishes. We’ve had custards and cakes, hard boiled eggs in salads and whole egg mayonnaise.

At the moment, I’m also suffering from a spring glut of salad greens – life is tough (not)! So, I picked a bunch of vegetables this morning and made a rich and luscious pastry-free quiche for lunch. It’s a very easy recipe and I often make it as a vegetarian meal as eggs are a great source of protein. But today, I added a couple of rashers of diced bacon, fried with garlic. It also works really well with cooked and shredded chicken, pork or cooked white haricot beans or chickpeas. I’d also recommend adding chopped fresh Italian parsley or chives, it’s really dependent on what you have on hand.

 

Deb’s Vegetable & Bacon Quiche (Serves 4)

 

6-8 free range eggs

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 thick bacon rashers

2 small leeks, washed and chopped (can be substituted with shallots or spring onions)

4-5 cups shredded green vegetables (spinach, silverbeet, kale, collards, rocket, pak choy, mustard greens)

1/2 cup milk (can be substituted with 1/4 cup cream)

1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour

2 cups of grated Colby cheese (Cheddar would be fine)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

a little grated nutmeg

Method: 

Preheat an oven to 160 C (320 F). Dice the bacon and fry gently. Add the minced garlic towards the end, taking care not to burn it. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Whisk the eggs until frothy, grate in nutmeg, mix in the milk (or cream) and flour.

Using a fork or mixing spoon, gradually add the chopped vegetables and grated cheeses. Stir through the cooled cooked bacon, making sure everything is well incorporated and coated in the egg mixture.

Pour into a greased 20 cm (8 inch) souffle dish and bake for 45-55 minutes. This makes a soft-set quiche, but if you want it firmer, I recommend covering with foil and baking a further 10 minutes.

Serve alone as a light lunch or with a salad for dinner.

Let me know if you try this and what you used in your mix – I love your feedback!

Take care and I’ll see you tomorrow ❤

Garden Update – Day 8 NaBloPoMo 2017

Yesterday, I wrote about teaching Food Gardening so I thought it was only right and proper to give you all a little update on my own urban farm.

While it’s undoubtedly spring and the soil is starting to warm, I suspect my patch is about two or three weeks behind where we were last year. Raspberries were setting fruit this time last year and I was getting ready to lift the main garlic crop for curing. At the moment, all the berries are only just flowering and the early garlic (my main crop) is nowhere near ready yet. Nevertheless, there’s bright spots – it looks like I’ll get my first Tayberries this summer ❤

Tayberry flower

Also, we’ve had a rough entry into spring, with very warm weather followed by snow and a few very cold nights in the past month. This didn’t seem to hurt my young apricot tree, which has quite a few fruit on this year. The plum an nectarine are loaded and I’m thrilled that my pollination plan with my 2nd year dwarf apple trees worked a treat. All four trees are looking incredibly healthy and all carrying fruit. I’ll be thinning it pretty drastically to encourage stronger trees and discourage biennial fruiting but I’m very, very happy to be finally looking at a few home grown apples at the end of summer.

Baby Royal Gala apples

Because of the up and down weather, I haven’t planted out this summer’s tomatoes yet, but I decided to grow them on a bit longer in folded paper pots. It’s a really good way to use up newspaper and come planting time (this weekend I hope), I can put the whole thing in the ground and avoid transplant shock.

Mama Mia tomatoes, waiting for the sunshine

As you can see above, I mark the plant name and the date they were potted up as I tend to lose plant tags. If anyone’s interested, I’ll write up some instructions on this great little paper recycling tip.

In the meantime, the zucchini’s are in the ground (most of them survived the cold) carrots are starting to size up, the late garlic that I’ll be lifting in the new year looks fabulous but a good deal of the early garlic that I normally dig up in November looks like it’s rotted in the ground. Incredibly distressing! Also, the Snow Peas were decimated by slugs this year but the potatoes are looking great.

Through it all, the chickens just keep on laying eggs! Considering most of my ladies are quite elderly (4 years and older) they really are quite remarkable and I’m struggling to keep up with them!

Madame Mephisto

So that’s all for today – I’m off to bed early tonight as I have to do my six monthly blood test tomorrow morning and I’m helping out with a fencing job afterwards. Sometime tomorrow I have to make bread, write a story draft for uni, do my prep for teaching work on Friday and maybe do some catch up with weekly work for uni. (I’m tired just thinking about it!)

Take care friends and see you soon ❤

Sunset from my backdoor

Celebrating – Achievement Unlocked!

Hi everyone,

I know I’ve been a bit lax posting lately but I’ve been busy with all manner of things. Despite it being winter, a time when a lot of folks think there’s nothing to do, I’ve been flat out!

I’ve planted dwarf apple trees in wicking barrels, made sauerkraut, started shooting a music video with The Superstars, preparing for a debut gig this month with my student Callum, also from OAK Tasmania – all of which I’ll write about in the coming weeks.

But last month I reached a milestone – I’m officially halfway through my online Bachelor of Communications with Griffith University and Open Universities Australia. I won’t pretend – it hasn’t been easy! And there have been times when I’ve thought (however briefly) about giving up.

So to celebrate my achievement, tenacity and sheer bloody-minded stubbornness I bought myself a little present. Below is a fresh Tasmanian black truffle that arrived Friday via courier from Perigord Truffles. There were two in the pack, which are now nestled in tissue paper in a glass jar in my refrigerator. While I’m working out what to cook with them, they require daily airing which makes the whole house smell utterly divine…….

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With the chickens laying again, I’m definitely having scrambled eggs with shaved truffle in the coming days and I’m planning to make ravioli with some herbs and vegetables from the garden too. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

Meanwhile, I have to get back to researching another assignment. Take care one and all, and don’t forget to be nice to yourselves occasionally as well as others ❤

Rain!

I caught a break in the mad weather we’re having to take a few pics of the garden and a short film of the Ladies Who Lay, who were looking quite bedraggled this morning. Being down in Hobart, I think we haven’t had as bad a time of it as friends up north or on the east coast. Nevertheless, the tropical low that’s torn down the eastern seaboard of Australia has left it’s mark here too. The rain gauge was overflowing and my water tanks are (thankfully) filling again, but normally free draining areas are starting to pool, particularly in the chicken’s run. I’m also worried about the rhubarb bed as the crown’s are overdue to be lifted and divided. But as the changing weather patterns keep telling me, it will be what it will be and we’ll cope with it 🙂

Italian Purple Savoy Cabbages with baby weeds!

Italian Purple Savoy Cabbages

Further to my post last night, some of these photos will give you an idea of how much things have grown in the last month. Especially the weeds! It’s hard to imagine I had most of the beds clear three weeks ago, but with the mulch it’s fairly easy to remove them and the chickens love the tender new shoots.

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Some of the Kale in the foreground, looking to Silverbeet, the remaining Leeks, mini Broccoli and Garlic in the next bed. And thriving weeds!

Also, I checked the new asparagus bed, which I top-dressed with seaweed and aged chicken poo from Cluckingham Palace. I’m thrilled but also slightly disturbed by some of the shoots the bed is still throwing up.

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The crazy asparagus bed

Given I’m in Hobart, asparagus should be well and truly dormant by now but these barely six month old crowns are still throwing up new fronds – and some ridiculously big ones too! Since planting them out in March this year when it was still very dry (and abnormally warm), the plants have thrived. To get an idea of how much growth they’ve put on have a look at them here.

The rabbits being mostly sheltered from the north easterlies are doing fine and I suspect wondering what I’m fussing about – they are getting more than their usual ration of greens at the moment because of all the sudden growth. I should point out too that after consecutive days of frost last week, yesterday and today have been very mild. I was out in my wet weather gear and sweltering!

I’ll leave you with my lovely little hens, who are still laying enough eggs for my needs despite a statewide shortage of free range eggs ❤

My heart goes out to all the folks who are inundated across not only Tasmania but the entire east coast of Australia, as well as France, Germany and parts of the US. Wherever you are on this beautiful planet, take care ❤

A Day of Quiet Bliss – Day 29 NaBloPoMo 2015

It was very overcast and quite humid in Hobart most of today. Although I was supposed to go to an event nearby, I decided to stay home and potter around the garden. The girls were very pleased because this meant lots of extra treats for them and they rewarded me with eggs as usual. Boudica Bunny is also eating enormous amounts at the moment and all the babies are out and starting to get the hang of this eating solid food caper.

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I potted up more basil, chillies and Green Shiso (Perilla fruitescans var. crispa), a wonderful Japanese annual herb, which I primarily use in stir fries and salads. I’ve grown it in the past but never had such a fabulous strike rate as I did with this year’s seed supply. It’s looking wonderful and already has that unmistakable flavour and aroma. I find it likes a rich potting mix and lots of warmth for quick growth, similar to basil.

And then there was the completion of half the “corner of shame”. This is a classic before and after situation.

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Before

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After

Admittedly, we’re only half way there but that’s a lot further than we were a few weeks ago!

After removing the worst of the perennial weeds, I put some dolomite limestone over the area and covered it with several layers of cardboard.  Then we laid some cotton mats, donated by family members, that were old and worn and heading for the rubbish tip. (I think half our garden is recycled!)

A thick layer of coarse sand went over that and it was topped with some well composted native bark mulch, which I’ve found considerably less acidic than pine bark mulch. We did the same thing behind the chicken house and I’ve planted two Australian Tea-Trees (Leptospermum sp.) there to provide some extra wind protection for the ladies who lay.

The weeds will grow back – but not as quickly or as vigorously as they have in the past. I want to plant a couple of English Lavender here in the next few days and I’m planning to put netting or shade cloth above the fence to give a little more height for growing climbers in tubs and privacy both for and from our neighbours. Next spring, this is the likely spot for my beehive, angled in towards the garden.

I also finished the garlic crop, which has been curing inside the last two weeks. It’s now cleaned up, the tails have been clipped and it’s in three plaits, hanging off the laundry/kitchen door. It’s quite a decent amount this season, considering I’ve used and given away at least half a dozen or so heads already – and there’s more in the ground that needs pulling!

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Tomorrow is back to music work and teaching, the beginning of my birthday week, first day of my next university semester and the last day of NaBloPoMo – and I’m picking up my birthday present to myself tomorrow too 😀