Jane's Delicious Garden Blog

Jane’s Delicious Kitchen!

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the June 24th, 2010

It is finished! Jane’s Delicious Kitchen went to print on the same day the World Cup began. So there were millions celebrating along with me!! I can’t quite believe that another book is on its way. It seems like just yesterday that I was waiting to see the first copy of Delicious Garden – which is now nearing 9,000 copies sold!

I have spent the last six months cooking the recipes from the book, which we then photographed and ate. For me the joy of cooking comes when I don’t follow a recipe, but use it a springboard. I couldn’t do that with these – I had to follow the recipe exactly. Even though they were all my recipes, it has been very limiting for me. So I have really enjoyed the last few weeks of letting loose in the kitchen again – sans recipes!

I have been “spring” cleaning, although it is the winter solstice. The dining room had been turned into studio, with piles of plates, cloths, mats etc. So it was great to clear it all out and have our lovely north facing dining room back – with the hammock for lazy sunny winter afternoons.PICT0592
Which of course the animals love too . . .

The last week has seen the coldest weather in Jhb in June since records began. All my frost sensitive plants are blackened and limp – the moon flowers, poinsettia, hen and chickens etc. But, they will all pop back up come spring. Don’t be tempted to cut off all the blackened bits – leave them on the plant to protect the rest of the plant from further frosts and only cut them back after the last frost is over. The broccoli loves this weather and is busy forming fat buds.

My office is north facing with a window seat and at this time of the year I migrate there so I can bask in the sun while I work. In my veggie garden, I have a Bay tree on the northern border. If left to grow it reaches well over five metres, blocking precious winter sun from my veggies. So in early autumn, this tree is trimmed right back and is one of the few “lollipop” shapes in my otherwise wild landscape. I use the trimmed branches throughout the year as support for all the plants that need it. I also have an elder on the northern border, but it loses its leaves so is not such a sun blocker.

Talking leaves – this time of year is fantastic for collecting masses of leaves for both the compost pile and to create leaf mould. My leaf mould bin is overflowing. I use these leaves for mulching all my beds. In addition to all the other benefits mulching has, it also deters Tosca’s interest in digging up newly transplanted seedlings. Luckily she likes to dig up lawn which, if she is compelled to dig, I prefer too. Tosca is almost the same size as Tilu – here they are in their baskets: Tosca in front.
And on the lawn – note the overturned chair behind her, covering up a bit of dug up section . . .

Exciting plans are being discussed for the launch of Jane’s Delicious Kitchen – revolving around the Johannesburg Good Food & Wine Show in September, so watch this space . . .

June harvesting

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the June 8th, 2010

I arrived back from the Good Food & Wine Show and went straight up to Dullstroom where I presented Jane’s Delicious Kitchen to the Jonathan Ball sales conference. Ceri had made mugs with pics from JDK on them – including a pic of me. Of course I’m calling it my mug shot . . . .

We stayed at Walkersons Country Manor and after I had made my presentation I had the afternoon free. IMG_1394
After all the busyness it was so relaxing to spend the afternoon walking amongst the lakes.
After dinner that night we sat around a blazing fire playing 30 seconds. The best clue of the evening was “Monkeys in bad lighting” for Gorillas in the Mist! I also discovered a delicious winter warming drink – hot chocolate with whiskey. I can feel the whiskey purists grimacing, but try it before knocking it.

One of my favourite TV shows is Grand Designs and the first ever Grand Designs Live show was held at the Dome at the end of May. I gave two talks there. It was a very cleverly laid out show. I find exhibitions at The Dome can be very confusing. Because of the circular shape, you can never quite walk it in a grid pattern, so you land up walking past the same stall five times and missing others completely. Grand Designs had an impressive pink tented entrance way, which provided a central focus point (sort of like CT’s mountain – you always know where you are . .) The circle was then divided into wedges, with each wedge containing grouped stalls under food, house, garden, etc.

Despite it being the first week of June, I am still harvesting beans, squash and a few tomatoes! I have never harvested these crops this late before.
Picking last night’s dinner!