Sunday, December 17, 2017

Jam and Chutney Week.

After the jam making last week, this week it is all about the chutneys and pickles.
I had some tomatoes to use up from the garden so decided to use them on a chilli and tomato chutney and ended up with 5 bottles, tasted really nice too.

A mixture of garden tomatoes

The following 3 days later after a visit to the community garden more tomatoes, this time I decided to use up leftovers with them, dried apricots, raisins, some apples and a couple of onions. Another 5 bottles later have a wonderful fruit chutney, even had a little bit left for dinner that night with crumbed fish. Worked really well.

Cooking away

Like the colour it turned out.

Little bit at a time adds up.

So if that wasn't enough preserving for the week today ended up picking all the beetroot. It had been there a little bit too long so a lot of waste but managed to scrape up 2 pint bottles of beetroot in spiced vinegar. Once it has seeped a month or so it will be just right.

Garden Beetroot

It is good to get back to the preserving with all that has been going on this year, with my  medical trauma, mum, 3 lots of travel, and  the community garden, my life feels like it has gone a bit haywire, hopefully 2018 will be a bit more settled into a routine.

What tomato is this?

 This tomato was from the Community Garden. We were given a few heirlooms but don't know the name should anyone recognise it. Some sort of Paste tomato. Kept the seeds and the rest went into the 2nd. chutney, as it had ripened nicely by the time I started cooking.

The heat is really starting to settle in now, so I am letting the garden work drop, gathering seeds and watering where needed. Next year will be a big change as going to change the whole front garden and add raised beds,  while we can and to make life a little easier for the future.  As I am writing this on Sat. 16th today is our 45th wedding anniversary.

Till Next Time

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Grumichama Fruit

Surprise ,surprise when I was watering the garden this week the Grumichama tree was loaded with ripe fruit. Don't know why I haven't noticed before, I knew some were there but not two containers full. They aren't that big. but delicious. Anyway picked and picked from above on the top level, then from below on the bottom bank garden,  which really told me how high this tree actually is. Had it about 6 years now, and small amount of fruit last year.

Glad the birds hadn't attacked it, and really don't know why. If you haven't head of a Grumichama it is a small fruit with two seeds inside, and the closest taste to a cherry as you can get with a tropical tree. Delicious to eat on their own, but as I am home alone at the moment while John is putting in a kitchen for our daughter, couldn't eat them all. I did leave some on so I hope I haven't taught the birds about a new tree for them.

So in the end figured I would make jam, couldn't really see it as a chutney, my go to preserve at the moment, as we don't eat a lot of jam. Next year though I am hoping to use the jam, for a different monthly challenge on the Homemaker's forum. This year if was A Fancy Cake  Challenge which was quite successful.

De-seeded cooking.

I decided just to throw the whole lot into my jam pan and cook till soft get the seeds out and add the sugar. Sounds easy doesn't it? The first mistake was throwing it all in the pan. Millions of tiny seeds later I had to pick them out one by one. That meant tipping the lot into another pan,which is of no use for jam making, it catches on the bottom. Tipping all the juice back into the original and then I tried to put small amount through a sieve, that didn't work either just a lot of mush and a lot of seeds. I then got a slotted spoon and bit by bit took the seeds out of it and threw what was left into the jam pan.

Actual Grumichama and the two seeds..

2 hours later aaaaaaaah. and a giant sink full of bowls, spoons, tongs, pots, finally had a mixture which I started to cook. I wasn't sure of the pectin in this new fruit so I added 2 lemons worth of juice and 4 old apples to thicken, and boiled the lot down, with 2 1/2 cups of sugar. I wanted to keep it tart, there was about 5 cups of mixture in the pot. Finally it started to set and ended up with 7 jars exactly, of Grumichama jam. It is sweet, glad I didn't add more sugar, cherry taste like but not quite, and should be nice on scones and toast.

Back to the housework. I was hoping to have a quiet 2 weeks to really get the house sorted,  and have  been out everyday for something or a-rather. Barely keeping up with the day to day catchup, let alone declaring war on the linen press or pantry.

Till next time.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Digging up Potatoes

I have been digging up the potatoes that I planted in pots and I wrote about back in August  HERE . 
They have been absolutely delicious and although not huge I was happy with the quantity  that I got from only 2 or 3 seed potatoes that I planted, in each pot.

This was a month ago and some of the plants were still green, but had started to die back so I knew they were ready. John had to lift them as very heavy.

Getting ready.

The soil that is left after the potatoes was wonderful. As I was away my sister had been filling up the pots as the potatoes grew, with a chipped mixture from the branches after halving the size of our fruit trees, a huge pile.

All on the bottom

I find that potatoes in this sub tropical area don't really grow from higher up the stem, hence why we fill the pots up. They all tend to be at the bottom. If you grow potatoes would love to know where yours grow from. I still have 5 pots to go, so will be digging these up soon as all the green has now died off.

This is two pots worth.

The other thing that I  have been enjoying is my gladioli. Last year I planted bulbs but was away as usual when they flowered so not sure what happened if any flowers at all. As I was cleaning up I put all the bulbs in one area and have had lots of lovely flowers coming up. They are so beautiful on the long stems.

Back area even had a few. 

Love this Pink.

These apricot ones are from my Aunty Betty's Garden and seed everywhere. She died 3 years ago so just love them.

First week

2nd week

Since those two pickings I have had more white, a lovely yellow one and apricot. I shall certainly be keeping my eye our for more bulbs especially on sale.

Hasn't the year gone fast, December all ready, so I hope you are all on time with your festivity preparations. This year our 2nd son is hosting Christmas Day in his new house. I have decided to provide the non alcoholic Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris. So enjoyed them on our holiday have to have them again. I know our daughter will be pleased.

Till next time stay safe.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Roses, Garlic and Onions

This year has been very interesting weather wise. I say this because some plants have been outstanding. The roses comes to mind first. Whether we had a cold winter more than normal or the cooler summer we have had  recently with all our rain, my roses have been outstanding.

My favorite one is the Pierre de Ronsard. This is a patio climber being a small climber suitable for a pole or small trellis or archway.

Beautiful in a vase

Kept on flowering and was so lovely to look at.
The neighbours even commented on it.

This  next rose is on a tall standard and one I thought was dying but it has come good. Won't prune it this year, hoping to keep the long stems and they will produce side shoots.

Red Standard

White  climbing Iceberg
Large Red Rose
The above rose I transplanted and thought I had killed it, and it also has come good. Only one flower so far.

Last of Sweet peas and the unusual Eucomis.
High Scent Sweet Pea
Eucomis Lily
The Garlic in previous years has been a bit dodgy. I plant the cloves but then some grow but produce fairly small cloves making it difficult to use. This year was very surprised at the size once I dug them up.
Onions  need a cold winter, and 30 degrees latitude is maximum for growing onions which we are on so they are difficult to have large bulbs, in our area. I find white and red though much easier to bulb out. Perennial Leeks which I have growing, are wonderful and I am always pleased with them. Really I should devote more space to them and not bother buying or growing the others. 

Once I picked all this I left them in the Glasshouse to dry out completely, this makes sure they store longer and not rot. 

Picked Garlic and Onions,

Very pleased with the garlic.

This seems a very short blog today after all my long ones with traveling. Quite a bit to catch up with my garden and the community garden over the next few weeks. So stay tuned.

Till Next Time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

2017 Holiday - Singapore

I found Singapore interesting but don't think I would go back again. It was very hot and sticky more so than this sub tropical area. It was also so spread out in the shopping areas that you were walking miles to get to anything. If  flying again though, it is a great overnight stop, as the hotel is right at the airport, connected to customs as soon as you go through.

We did a lot of things Universal Studios, Chinese markets, Little India, Bird Park, Zoo, River Walk, Night Safari which I have gone over previously but the most fascinating thing in Singapore is the Gardens by the Bay.
Our first look at it was from the top of the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Roof Gardens. If you remember my height thing, one very high up scary  place.

Sand Skypark Garden 57 floors up.

About as close as I got to the edge

View of the Super Tree Grove

Singapore Flyer

Singapore City

Back  to the view is good.

Once we got our fill of the 360 degree view we descended rapidly via the elevator, to the bridge that goes across the river to the Gardens by the Bay area.

Beginning of our walk across

Went over the Dragon Fly Bridge

Very Pretty

Looking down to the river.
Cornucopias on one of the walks

Walkway amongst the Sculptured Trees. Note Flowers on River.

Very Pretty Metal Flowers

 The walkway led us through a series of smaller gardens Chinese, Indian etc. with lots of statues as well. Very well looked after and very clean.
 Our main aim for the day was to go to the Cloud Forest Garden, and the Flower Dome, and the Super Trees with its sky walk plus a night light show  in the trees at 8pm. Then race down to the river for another bigger light show to music.

As the Cloud Forest had special times that let the mist spray out thus creating a cloud over the forest this is what we went to first. The very, very cold air conditioning hit us first with a gasp. In front was a huge water fall and as we followed the path would its way higher and higher up the" mountain". Taking a lift also here and there.

Very tall Waterfall

Part of the "mountain:

Looking down at the Entrance

Flower gardens set in every turn on the lower level.

Lots of interesting sculptures dotted around.

Wooden Dragon Sculpture
The mist was very gentle to start then it got thicker and thicker, just like if you were in a cloud on a mountain.

Right on time the mist happened

Mist falls down the mountain making a Cloud


Water fall Again

Being brave on the walkway up high, stuck to the middle. You could see through the floor grill either side NOT GOOD!

One floor had a display of stalactites and stalagmites and crystals

This floor had a very interesting display and movies of our future, by looking back on the past.

Just before the exit
This looked good, was on the outside of the dome.

Carved seat at end.

Once our delicious lunch was over which we had to walk miles to get to again, we then headed back to the Flower Dome.

Had to try the famous Satay Sticks

Again it was follow the path and you came upon different sections that represented plants from areas like Australia, Mediterranean, America etc. Dotted here and there some wonderful driftwood statues



At this time they had an autumn theme of pumpkins.

Cinderella's Pumpkin

Note the Dragon on left and horses.

Looking down to the main display

Lots of mature trees as well



Pumpkins Everywhere

 Chickens weren't real but very life like.

Main Display
Alice in Wonderland.

Rare photo of the three of us.

 From there we then went to the Super Trees and the other two went up to the Skywalk, I had had enough of heights by this stage.

From Ground Level

From the Sky Walk

The lights first started with the dragonflys then slowly as the night got darker the trees cam on then a flashing light display to music started.

 The whole area is lit up as we found out racing down to the river display.

Dragonfly Bridge

River Lotus Flowers Lit Up

The next day we left Singapore for home. It all seems like a dream now. We were totally exhausted from this trip and I came down with a cold. It has taken me ages to come good. I leave you with one thing though a pair of Jimmy Choo Shoes.


Till Next Time.