raori

living handmade


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Garden food: Breakfast – Carrot cake Oatmeal

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Ok, ok: I know what you’re thinking… This girl really has a thing for Carrot cakes! And yes, at the moment I really do, but you will too as soon as you try this!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal 1 pers:

– Mix: 1 dl oats, 2 dl water and a pinch of salt. Cook in the microwave (in a microwave friendly bowl) or in a pot on the stove for 2 minutes.

– Add 1 spoon of peanut butter, 1 tbsp organic or raw sugar, 1 small finely grated juicy carrot, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and mix around to a smooth dough.

– Add some crumbled pecan nuts and enjoy with your choice of milk. I prefer vanilla flavoured soy milk or warmed organic cow milk.


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Garden food – Wild Fermentation

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I grew up with a mum who often pickled vegetables and fruit to store over the winter, but wild fermentation is something completely new to me… I came across a very interesting book, read it and got hooked: Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003. It’s so easy to ferment and you can really do it with almost anything! Lots of the things we have in our cupbords and pantries are actually fermented: yogurt, beer, wine, soya sauce and miso paste (it actually take about one year to ferment the soya beans into miso paste!)

This is my present fermenting project: I’m fermenting carrots! I wonder what they will taste like once they are finished. At the moment they are just very salty, but in time the salt will turn the sweet tasting carrots sour. Here is my very quick tutorial, remember to keep everything including hands very clean:

You need:

– a wide jar made of plastic, glass or clay and a cover (it needs to breath, but not let bugs or bacteria in)

– some kind of weight: a plate small enough to fit into the jar, but big enough to cover the vegetables, covered by a heavy (sterilised/ boiled) rock or a cup of water.

– vegetables (carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions …. anything will do really)

– sea salt

What to do:

– Clean and cut your vegetables into strips, slices, grind them or whatever you prefer.

– put them in the bowl and add some sea salt. For my test run I used about a table spoon of sea salt to three big carrots.

– add your weight and leave overnight.

– in the morning the salt will have let the liquids out of the vegetables enough to cover them (this is called “the brine”), if not, add cooled, boiled water until the water covers the vegetables.

– put the cover on and store the jar somewhere in reach. Check it every now and again and in a week or two taste them. You decide when they are ready. The longer you wait, the more sour they become.

Update 2015: Look at my new fermentation jar that my mother and father in law gave me for Christmas!!!!!! So much better. Can’t wait to use it 🙂

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Garden food – Carrot cake smoothie

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I had a major craving for carrot cake the other day, but I didn’t have the time to bake it, so I made a carrot cake flavoured smoothie instead. So much healthier! Just throw all the below ingredients into a blender and enjoy. And don’t forget to super charge it with some hemp powder, chia seeds or acai powder for example.

 

 

Healthy carrot cake smoothie (for two) :

 

3-4 dl vanilla flavoured soya milk

1 tbsp chia seeds or finely shredded oats

1 tbsp peanut butter or finely shredded pecan nuts

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 small finely shredded carrot

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp hemp raw powder or Acai powder

carrot cake smoothie-1

 


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The Edible Garden Project 2015 – part 3

Planting a fall and winter garden.

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Our Edible garden project is definitely a work-in-progress project now and we are slowly moving forward. After a huge fight with wild Strawberry runners I managed to empty almost the entire vegetable bed (apart from a few Calendulas that I left behind on purpose). I saved the Strawberry plants and a few runners to plant in my new Strawberry border along the fence by the terrace. After some deep digging and with added manure I planted Carrots, Beets, Chives, Garlic, some salads and some Rainbow chard. I never succeeded very well with Carrots, but after my studies this year, I finally found out why: you need to confuse Mr. Carrotfly! He is a clever little bug and he finds the Carrot seedlings and eat them before you even see them above ground! So for this fall/ winter garden I came prepared: I added some Chives plants and also some Chives and Dill seeds in the ground (hopefully something will come up before the frost comes.) Chives is a perennial so it will come back year after year to protect my Carrots. Yeay!

So, moving on to the other vegetable bed where I planted a few Broccoli and Artichoke seedlings that I planted from seeds in June. Artichokes can grow as a perennial here in Belgium, but I should have planted them in the spring already to be able to enjoy them next summer. Artichokes are just like Rhubarbs: they have to be left alone the first year to be able to come back as perennials. If you harvest them they will not come back the year after and the year after that and so on. So, it’s an experiment with the Artichokes, we’ll see… Oh, and don’t you think my baby Rhubarb is the cutest thing ever? I love Rhubarbs, it will be extremely hard not to harvest it next summer. I will need to ask my neighbour for a mature plant that I can harvest from immediately as well.

 

 

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We did a major harvest last week, but there are some vegetables that stay on as long as they are producing. I was getting tired of the Lemon balm and Mint spreading out their roots all over the place, so I put them in pots for now. I hope that they will stay happy there with some mulching over the winter. I re-planted Peas in a wine crate in July and they are now growing steady and I should be able to harvest some pods for salads already next week. The Rainbow Chard that I planted in June are growing so big now, that I thinned a few out and planted them in the bigger vegetable beds instead. The three Courgettes that I planted out in June are still producing 2-3 zucchinis/ courgettes per week now! As I didn’t have a lot of space this year, I hope you can see that I’m growing them upwards, on bamboo sticks. It works really great 🙂 Finally, my son really wanted a Jack o’Lantern Pumpkin for Halloween. But he told me in early July so I really didn’t think anything would come out of it if we planted. Still, I let him plant a few seeds just for fun and to my surprise one of the Pumpkin plants is growing fast now and is already growing a Pumpkin! It’s only about 8 cm wide, but there is still another month until Halloween so maybe, maybe… 

By the way, growing vegetables with kids is so much fun! I love seeing their expressions when they see the result of their planting and as they water and watch the plants grow. I can’t wait to get the chickens… It will be such a great experience for them.

 

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I also finished my Strawberry border this week! The Strawberries look a little sad, but it’s only because they haven’t rooted yet. I added the little Citronella tree here as well. The smell will keep the mosquitos away from the terrace I hope. A also store-bought a Rosemary and a Thyme, both herbs are frequently used in our kitchen.

 

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Now all we need to do is a rain-dance like my daughter here, so that this fall and winter garden will grow well and produce lots and lots of delicious and healthy vegetables!