Sunday, March 31, 2013

Garden Chive Fiesta Muffins

looks like i spoke too soon about the beautiful spring weather! the past two weeks have been sub zero and snowing! again! oh well, i guess we have to wait a bit longer. the snow has slowly evolced into more rain and flooding. my garden looks a bit like a swamp at the moment and the hens are hiding under the hen house. i can't blame them one bit.

to lift some spirits i wanted to pep up easter sunday with these warming Garden Chive Fiesta Muffins. they'll transport you straight to that sunny mexican beach holiday you're dreaming of. i also posted them as chives seem to be the only crop in the garden at the moment, along with the purple sprouting brocolli. but i decided that maybe 3 back-to-back posts on PSB would be too much.

these muffins look impressive, taste impressive and whip up in impressively no time at all. 15 minutes in the oven is all they take to double in size and cook through. i love the kick that the pickled pepperoncinis give to the muffins and married with chives, cheddar, and sour cream makes for one big fiesta of fun. their texture is airy and moist, almost popver-like. they bake perfect everytime.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Charred Purple Sprouting with Hollandaise and Poached Eggs

what a change in weather from last week! we've had some rain but the frosts subsided and its just begining to feel like spring. just in time cause it was starting to get me down! (see last post) for paddy's day this year i spent the afternoon in the garden, a long awaited treat. i planted seed potatoes as many people did for paddy's day, (it seems to be a tradition here in ireland.) i opted for three floury types: coleen's (a first early crop), record (main crop) and golden wonder (a late main crop). i wanted to try and introduce a bit of crop roation to my current garden's second year. so i planted them where i planted roots and onions last spring.
the idea of crop rotation is an old one. the basis is: different plant families take different nutrients from the soil as they grow. in turn they release new nutrients to the soil that benifit other plants. in a lot of vegetable gardens this determines alot of the seasons planting scheme. after some research there turns out to be some debate on what rotations people use. im following a four year rotation plan:
do you use a different roation in your garden than the above one?

after planting spuds i was able to clear bolting kale plants, weed the flower beds and sow my first bit of lettuce, radish and beetroots. i popped in some garlic sets for good measure and much needed slug protection. in the lettuce area of the garden i was hoping to create an artistic planting effect by alternating plants with different colours and textures: frilly red mustards next to a row of little gem lettuce heads, followed by red beetroot and a row of pea shoots. its an exciting prospect to add a bit of colour and intrest to the veg plot. we'll see if it turns out as planned! fingers crossed.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jam Jar Dressings

i love watching cooking shows and eating! am i alone here? i don't think so. there's something so satisfying about it, your eating something delicious and watching someone make something delicious at the same time. what could be better, really? if you havent done this before i highly recomend doing so.

while eating and viewing i came across a great idea for a blog post. i was watching the program, Hugh's Three Good Things, with Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, and having a bowl of stir fried kale with steamed rice. and one of his recipes was for jam jar salad dressing, (which i make myself at home all the time), and bingo, a blog post was born.

im not the first person to make salad dressing this way, but i still thought i'd share a couple of my favourite recipes for salad dressing made in a jam jar. and since i have been chasing my tail all week trying to stay on top of things. these jam jar dressing recipes fit right in, they are easy to whip up in a rush - just throw your salad items into a bowl, shake up a jam jar full of dressing and go! (or go veg out on the couch watching cooking shows!)

My favourite seed sowing guide, better than an iphone app!

i did find time this week to sow some seeds in the window sill for the polytunnel. tomatoes (4 types - money maker, sungold and tigerella were saved seed from last year, and a new one: chocolate stripe), tomatillos, two varieties of aubergine, and 2 dozen modules of sweet peas (for outside). i also got new nest boxes attached to the outside of my hen house. which is wonderful, it means i don't have to go inside the run to collect the eggs, just open a door and presto! the eggs are collected.

d.i.y. hen house made from a dog house