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!


Venerdi Rosso


Mario is at the kitchen counter preparing vegetables and fruit for the juicer. Luigi stands watching holding a plumber’s wrench.

I am not mourning the loss of the watermelon!

You could always buy another.

It would never be the same….How could you say such a thing?

I’m hungry. I’m not nice when I’m hungry. You should know that by now. Make me a sandwich, why don’t ya!

You are not getting a sandwich. I’m making juice.

What sort of sandwich is that?

Has your hearing gone with your hunger?

I’m fainting.

Luigi drops his plumber’s wrench and falls to the floor dramatically. Mario ignores Luigi and continues juicing.

Green pepper, beetroot, ginger, carrots, orange, Choi sum, cucumber.

Flaming Hot Red Chili Peppers to Knock Your Socks Off

Don’t rub it in your eyes when cooking.
No seriously.
Don’t even get the back of the hand near your nose.
Don’t do it.
I mean it.

I warned you.
And especially never before having guests over.
Otherwise well you know..
Don’t apply mascara before chopping chili.
More mess to clean up.
Chopping board and face.
And 15 minutes behind schedule.
In reality a hour behind.

Capsaicin, the irritant, is not soluble in water.  So splashing your face with water doesn’t achieve anything except make you feel better only but momentarily.
Blink excessively.
Tears will flush the chili away.
So crying DOES help.

Do you need a permit to handle chili?
Say what?
Do you need a permit?
If you rub it in your eye yourself do you need a permit?
Well, isn’t that just homemade Mace/or pepper spray?
So if I were in Russia, it’s a “self defense device” so that would be fine, not so in Tasmania, Australia, an “offensive weapon” under the same category as carrying a knife. Whereas in New Zealand you would need to apply for a permit to carry it from the police. Complicated.

Now if you put chili in your socks well that would keep you warm in winter in Russia and avoid frostbite.  Circulation stimulation. Smart. Survival skills.  No permit required.  Vodka would be beneficial too, but not in the socks.

This post is based on fictional characters and no one was harmed in the writing of this post.  Chili was not applied anywhere.

Courgette Frittata

Closeup of finished Courgette Frittata

Vegetables cooking in the pan

Bacon cooked separately without oil

Beaten egg mixture with fresh coriander and chili

2 courgettes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
10 broccoli florets, small
3 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
4 new potatoes, small
4 eggs, free range
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 handful of feta cheese, crumbled
salt & pepper
1/2t red chili flakes
1t parsley
1T coriander, fresh
2T olive oil
4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped small (optional)

Pierce the potatoes with a fork then wrap them in paper towels.
Microwave for 4 minutes. When cooked, cut the potatoes into quarters.
Sauté onions, garlic and courgettes for 10 minutes until cooked.
Add broccoli, mushrooms, green peppers, new potatoes when the rest of the vegetables are nearly cooked.
Fry the bacon separately without oil.
Add to the vegetables when cooked.

In a bowl add eggs, salt and pepper, parsley, chili flakes, coriander, feta cheese. Whisk.
On a medium heat add the egg mixture to the vegetables.
Place a lid on the pan and wait till the egg mixture has cooked through. About 7-10 minutes.
Place a plate on the frittata and turn the pan upside down.

Serve immediately or cold.

All ingredients together with lid off

All ingredients together with lid on

Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Makes 4 large servings