The joy of nightshades

Watching things grow is quite the challenge.
The more you watch the slower they seems to change,
When you give them space they appears to grow up over night.
Patience, persistence and perseverance are necessary.

This year is the first “real” vegetable garden we have. By real I mean a garden with various “crops”. And by crops I mean rows of different vegetables. Last year was an experiment to see if I could grow anything, the kale survived and so did the shiso. Which reminds me I haven’t planted the seeds I collected.

Seeing our first eggplant appear on the plant was quite magical. I thought it was a shadow at first it appeared so silently. Now there are two.


Solanum melongena (eggplant/aubergine)


Capsicum annuum (jalapeno)

All the plants seen here are members of the nightshade family, the tomatoes, the eggplants and the peppers. We have jalapenos and green bell peppers.  I didn’t plan this, it just happened. Some people have health issues/intolerance with plants in the nightshade family. Potatoes are under the nightshade umbrella too. I have never had an issue with them.


Solanum lycopersicum (tomatoes)

Cherry tomatoes seen here are starting to ripen up. There are huge numbers awaiting their moments of brightness. Can’t wait to pick some more. Almost enough for a salad.   I read somewhere that if tomatoes are starved of water then they are sweeter? True or not? It has been a hot dry summer and I am trying to keep up with the watering. Time for a nap!

beetroot and watermelon mustache

From the garden: kale, spinach and parsley
From Elsewhere: New Zealand oranges, beetroot, ginger, watermelon
Wasn’t thinking so clearly this morning and I put the kale straight into the juicing machine before it’s photo shoot. Then I juiced the spinach before the second photo shoot. Ah well. The juice today was A+. The watermelon cancelled out the bitterness of the kale.
A juicing mustache today.

Limoncello Tasting

image1(1)Appearance: Slightly cloudy, pale pastel lemon
Aroma:          Lemon zestiness
Taste:            Smooth, lemony, not too sweet
Aftertaste:    Lemony fresh

So happy with the results. A glassful of Italy.
So easy. Why not try making it yourself.
Now to look for a recipe for marmalade to use for the leftovers for next time.

The recipe
Limoncello Part 2
The process.
Limoncello Part 3
The bottling stage

Vegetable garden update

There are many way to support tomatoes. I went with the pole approach. I tied up cord, one fore each plant and secured it at the bottom with a rock. Twisty ties, string and like to tie the branches and stems of the tomato plants for support. I chose the hottest time of day to do this job. Hot. Hot. Hot. Do not do as I did. All done now. Let’s see if it works.
Ignore the weeds. You can see that I have. I am going for imperfect gardening this year. If a job gets done it’s a bonus. If it doesn’t get done. Never mind. I got a bee sting on my stomach today! Ouch!

Limoncello Part 3

For those that have waited in anticipation for the end result, hold onto your seats because here is the finished product! Taaaaa daaaaaa! My very own bottled limoncello. I made 5 and a half bottles. Bottles are 750ml. If you notice the difference in colour the ever so slightly darker one is the big peel limoncello and the lighter one is made with smaller lemon peel, or the second batch. Oh and remember to stir the batches well before straining and pouring into the bottles so you have an even flavour throughout all the bottles.
Have I tasted it? No. Not yet.
Why not? Well it was 8am when I bottled it so I thought I would wait till later.
I have placed the half bottle in the freezer to freeze for the rest of the day.
I have put temporary labels on the bottles. I want to make fancy labels later.
I am now wondering what to do with the leftover lemon peel????
Sugar coated lemon peel recipes, perhaps.

Limoncello Recipe
If you want the recipe.
Limoncello Part 2
If you want to see what limoncello looks like during the process.

Let’s juice again, like we did last summer


Ingredients: Carrots, New Zealand oranges, ginger, beetroot, kale and spinach
From our garden: spinach and kale

The vegetable garden is very giving. My spinach seems to have gone from a weenie thing to a giant overnight. I think I blinked.
There is satisfaction in growing vegetables.
Kale is a little bitter so I only included three stems this time around and the sweetness of the oranges and carrots balanced it nicely.
I’m making smaller juices this year.