Jane's Delicious Garden Blog


Eating the rainbow 🌈

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the July 21st, 2022

I love combining colours when I cook. Tonight’s meal was deliciously vivid!

Roast butternut with pomegranate, feta, basil and almonds.

  • Peel butternut, remove pips and cut into chunks
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, pul biber, harissa spice, powdered lemon peel, a drizzle of balsamic reduction and raw almonds.

  • Roast at 220 C until butternut is tender.
  • Sprinkle with feta. Return to oven at 200 C for about ten minutes.
  • Sprinkle with pomegranate jewels and torn basil leaves.

Grilled sweetcorn ribs

  • Using a very sharp knife (and keeping your hands out of the way!) slice sweetcorn lengthwise into “ribs” (keeping the central core to hold kernels intact).
  • Toss with salt, lemon skin powder and chilli.
  • Dot with butter and roast at 220 C for about ten minutes.
  • Move rack higher and grill until starting to brown.
  • Squeeze with fresh lime juice just before serving.

Serve with

Zucchini and snow peas, sautéed with onion and garlic.

And . . .

Roast chicken quarters.

Rubbed with a mix of: Coffee, dried oregano, pul biber, black pepper, salt, lemon skin powder and cumin.

Even the compost was colourful!!

Red Hot and Green. . .

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the July 13th, 2022

Winter calls for warming colours and flavours. Tonight’s meal:

  • Pomegranate and naartjie salsa;
  • Sesame and lime zest encrusted tuna steaks;
  • Stir fried vegetables;
  • Whole grain basmati rice.

Spicy pomegranate and naartjie salsa

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x naartjie (remove pips and pith, chop into chunks)
  • 1 x pomegranate (remove jewels from shell)
  • 1 x red onion finely sliced
  • About ten spekboom leaves (roughly chopped)
  • Hot small chillie (finely sliced)
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD:

Mix all ingredients together and leave for about 20 minutes to meld flavours.

Tuna steaks encrusted with sesame and lime zest with stir fried vegetables.

TUNA STEAK MARINADE INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x tuna steaks
  • 2 Tbs teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Indonesian sweet soy sauce

CRUST INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Tbs sesame seeds
  • 2Tbs lime zest
  • Pinch or two of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pul biber.

METHOD

Mix all marinade ingredients together, pour over tuna steaks and leave to marinade for 30 minutes, turning often.

Mix crust ingredients together. Remove steaks from marinade (reserve it) and dunk them in the crust so all sides are covered.

Cook steaks in hot pan until all sides are seared but middle is still pink (approximately 5 minutes).

Add marinade and let it sizzle for a short while. Remove from heat and keep warm.

VEGETABLE STIR FRY INGREDIENTS

  • A mixture of sliced/chopped vegetables (I used snow peas, zucchini, baby corn and bok choy.)
  • Chopped garlic and ginger
  • A couple of dollops of teriyaki sauce.

METHOD

Stir fry vegetables in a wok starting with the zucchini then adding the peas and corn. Add the ginger and garlic, stir fry until fragrant and add the sliced bok choy and teriyaki sauce. Stir through and remove from heat.

Tomato bounty

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the March 2nd, 2022

Tomatoes are pouring out of the garden. This recipe from Ottolenghi’s book Simple is sublime – and quick to make.

Here is the recipe.
Charred Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Cold Yogurt

Ingredients
• 350 g cherry tomatoes
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• ¾ tsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp brown sugar
• 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1 lemon, shaved to get 3 strips of lemon skin and then finely grated to get 1 tsp lemon zest
• flaked sea salt and black pepper
• 350 g full fat Greek yogurt
• 1 tsp Urfa (or pul biber) chile flakes
• basil, shredded, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 220 C.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the olive oil, cumin, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano, lemon strips, ½ tsp flaked sea salt, and a grind of black pepper. Toss to combine, then transfer to a baking dish. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt with the lemon zest and ¼ tsp flaked sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done, spread the cold yogurt on a serving platter or in a wide bowl. Spoon the hot tomatoes on top, along with any juices and herbs from the pan. Garnish with the chile flakes and basil. Serve with sourdough bread for scooping.

Garden harvests

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the March 2nd, 2022

Fluffy, tasty, delicious savoury muffins.

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the November 18th, 2021
These muffins are made with strong-flavoured cheese, tangy kefir, high-protein flour and freshly picked greens and herbs. If you don’t have these - use what you have in your garden
Herbs and greens 
~ Pick a colander of rocket, chives, watercress,kale, thyme, oregano and rosemary (just a sprig or two). 
~ Wash, spin and finely chop all greens and herbs.
Cheese
~ 30g strong runny Camembert or similar. 
~ 2 cups grated strong cheddar cheese. 
Dry ingredients
~ 1 cup stone-ground cake flour. 
~ 1 cup home-ground spelt flour. 
~ 2½ tsp baking powder. 
½ tsp mustard powder. 
½ cup walnuts. 
½ tsp salt. 
 ¼ tsp pul biber or mild red pepper flakes. 
~ good few grinds black pepper. 
Wet ingredients.
~ 2 large eggs, beaten. 
~ 1 cup milk. 
½ cup kefir. 
~ 50g melted butter. 
Method
~ Grease a 12-hole muffin tin and heat oven to 180C. 
~ Mix the warm melted butter with the Camembert and mix it together (it doesn’t need to be smooth). 
~ Mix all the dry ingredients together and whisk until all blended. 
~ In a separate bowl,  mix the herbs/greens with all the wet ingredients, including the butter/Camembert mix and stir well. 
~ Add the wet to the dry – do not over mix! About 7 big stirs in total. 
~ Dollop spoonfuls into the muffin tin. Run your finger around the rim of each muffin hole. 
~ Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until just browned on top. 
~ Leave to cool for  10 – 15 minutes before removing.
~ Put on a rack to dry completely. 
 

Rose 🌹 Petal Sugar

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the October 13th, 2021

Roses are in full bloom – perfect time to make Rose Petal Sugar.

This deliciously fragrant sugar can be sprinkled on pancakes and desserts, used in icing, baking and infusions, added to smoothies or cocktails, plus much more.

Tips

  • Don’t use roses from a florist – they will have been sprayed. Only use ones that you know have been grown organically.
  • The more scented the rose the better the sugar.
  • Store it in an airtight container in the freezer.
  • The amounts below are a guide – you can adjust it to your taste.
  • Don’t wash the petals but rather put them in a colander and shake gently to remove any bugs.
  • Recipe

    200g caster sugar

    1 cup rose petals, tightly packed.

    Blitz in a blender until smooth. Decant into an airtight bottle.

    Spring asparagus and artichokes 😋

    Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the September 24th, 2021

    With the recent warm weather my sprouting broccoli is starting to produce little white flowers. These sweet heads are the perfect companion for the first of the spring asparagus and artichoke harvests.

    • Line a bamboo steamer with black palm kale leaves.
    • Roughly chop the broccoli and asparagus.
    • Place on top of the kale.
    • Slice the tops off the artichokes.
    • Fill a large pot with boiling water and add the artichokes. Place the bamboo steamer on top.
    • Steam the kale/broccoli/asparagus
    • Mix for about six minutes or so. (leave the artichokes simmering until an outer leaf comes off easily. )
    • Remove the kale leaves and slice them roughly and mix through with the broccoli and asparagus.
    • Toss with just a little of a dressing of: mixed burnt butter, chilli flakes, dried mint, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and wasabi mustard. Sprinkle with calendula leaves.
    • Serve the artichokes with lemon butter for dipping the leaves, and the asparagus / broccoli mix on the side.

  • Purple broccoli in cannelloni with a crunchy winter salad. Hug

    Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the July 19th, 2021
    I remember seeing a recipe somewhere for asparagus in cannelloni, so when I harvested purple broccoli today – I decided to try a version. This is a truly delicious recipe – the cheesy, creamy, melting cannelloni is balanced by the fresh crunchy salad.

    Cannelloni

    • Slice an onion and cook in olive oil until just translucent.
    • Add apple-smoked bacon bits (from Linden’s Cheese Gourmet) and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onion is browned and bacon is crispy.
    • Add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
    • Add a couple of chopped tomatoes. Cook, stirring every now and then, for a further five minutes or so. Remove from heat and place in the the bottom of a baking dish.
    • While cooking above make the Cheesy white sauce (below).
    • Place broccoli (keep the central core for the salad) into the cannelloni tubes, with the stems inside and the florets sticking out either end. Place them on top of onion, bacon and tomato mix.
    • Pour over the Cheesy white sauce.
    • Sprinkle with bread crumbs, a little more cheese and red pepper flakes.
    • Cover with foil and bake at 200° C for 40 minutes. Uncover and cook for a few moments more until browned.

    Cheesy White Sauce

      Melt butter in pan and add flour, sweet paprika, pepper and salt. Stir until browned then quickly whisk in milk.
      Bring to a boil, stirring often.
      Simmer til it thickens and then add a mix of grated pecorino and Parmesan. Stir until melted.
  • Crunchy winter salad.

      Pan roast pine nuts until browned. Add dried mint and red pepper flakes.
      Finely slice the inner core of the broccoli.
      Finely chop a sweet apple.
      Finely slice snow peas.
      Mix above together and add a few grinds of black pepper. Gently toss in chopped avocado.
      Serve with a mix of lettuce, rocket and Asian greens (mizuna, tat soi, bok choy and mustard.). Drizzle with a light lemony mayonnaise dressing.

    A meal in a salad.

    Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the March 8th, 2021

    I love making layered salads – tonight’s began with a layer of cos lettuce, with: 

    • strips of courgette (tossed with herbs de Provence and flour and pan fried in olive oil til just browned).
    • sweet snow peas, steamed til just tender.
    • mixed cherry tomatoes.
    • grilled haloumi cheese.
    • kalamata olives.
    • shredded basil.
    Plus red potatoes, steamed til tender and pan fried in olive oil until crisp, tossed with chives, parsley and sea salt.
    All served with a side dressing of mayonnaise, yoghurt, freshly grated turmeric, chopped fresh mint, ground dried garlic, curry powder, salt and chilli flakes.
    Most delicious.

    Up in the clouds at Kings Walden

    Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the December 18th, 2020

    To spoil Keith for his birthday, I arranged a few nights at King’s Walden, just outside Tzaneen in Limpopo province. I have wanted to visit here for years. Friends have phoned me while enjoying a picnic under the trees, telling me I HAVE to come to this garden. I’d salivate over Bridget Hilton-Barber’s magnificent photos on her Facebook page, with endlessly different views and moods of this beloved garden. So; finally, we were going to visit. Bridget was expecting us around midday on Sunday but to winkle ourselves out of our hunkering lockdown shells took a while. Just after midday I was eating my padkos sarmies sitting in the Combi – in the driveway.

    If you are a hardware store nut, the R71 between Polokwane and Tzaneen is the road to take. It is hardware store heaven; I stopped counting after 30. In the town of Nobody, where there is almost one on every block, we spotted Mr Price Hardware Store (no relation to MR P nationally) and Xpress Build Nobody. (There was also a workshop and petrol station called Total Nobody.) After Nobody comes Moria, where SA’s largest Christian gathering takes place twice a year. After that the road begins to climb into forested hills, mostly plantations, but pockets of rich indigenous forest remain.


    King’s Walden floats above Tzaneen in the Agatha Forest. We arrived as the sun was setting, just in time to walk across the lawn and lose myself to the view dropping away from my feet: the blue and purple Wolksberg mountains dissolving into the distance, lights beginning to twinkle in the fertile valley below and the famous stark ‘lightning tree’ etched against pink and orange clouds.

    This massive blue gum was planted by Bridget’s grandfather’s first wife, an Australian who brought saplings as a reminder of home when she came to marry a man she had never met. He was Billo Tooley, who bought this farm just over a century ago and named it after the English village where he was born. His parents ran a parklike estate and Billo, following in their green footsteps, set about growing food. But the climate of this verdant farm was very different to his home village and soon avocados, tomatoes, litchis, oranges, pecans, granadillas and more flourished. Unfortunately, his Australian wife did not and she passed away, leaving her gum saplings to grow into stately trees. It was under one of these that Elsie Dickson, a 1930s journalist from Johannesburg, marveling at the same view I was now soaking up, famously said “Oh, it’s so beautiful here, I never want to leave.” Standing next to her, Billo replied to the woman he had just met, “Marry me and you’ll never have to.” And she did.

    Romance and tragedy run deep in these gardens. In her best-selling book, Garden of my Ancestors, Bridget writes of the sorrows and joys of Elsie and Billo and their descendants. Of wild champagne parties and fiery creativity. Of tragic deaths and how, through it all, this garden, this healing spiritual haven was at the centre, holding the frayed threads and weaving them back together again.

    The farmhouse sits atop a vast lawn which drops down into the gardens. Elsie created the structural bones of this garden, with her vision of creating a ship sailing south into the mountains. She sculpted the terraces and wide steps and began the tradition of using sculptures (particularly lions) and fountains.

    Her daughter Tana, free-spirited, wilful and wild, poured her soul into these gardens. And Tana’s daughter, Bridget, who has inherited her ancestors’ independent and creative genes (and some of the wild ones!), is continuing the custom.

    On the ‘prow’ of Elsie’s boat, on the southernmost tip, is the Bibighar Garden, named after a place in Mayapore in India, made famous in Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet. At its centre is a round reflecting lake, watched over by a pair of white sphinxes. Reflected in the water is an evocative ‘ruin’ with crumbling walls and an atrium.

    Leading from the lake are winding paths to explore and discover the explosions of colour, secret courtyards, Italianate statuary, cool white gardens, endless flowing water and arches framing breath-taking views.

    Although a one-day visit would suffice, it takes a few days to really do these gardens justice and connect with the spiritual energy that dances and shines here. To honour the many departed souls whose stories and lives are entwined in this garden and who are commemorated here, on benches and fountains, courtyards, steps and statues.

    Cinnamon from homemade morning breakfast roll wafts through the lounge as we browse through the extensive library (this is a literary family).

    The farmhouse is now a boutique hotel, with superb meals created by Michelin trained chefs. My favourite was a deceptively simple tomato tart, roasted until caramelised and a bit blistered, wrapped in a butter puff pastry base.

    Almost all the produce is local, sourced from nearby fertile farms and dairies. The beer is from Zwakala Brewery in nearby Magoebaskloof. Its name means Come Closer. Which is what King’s Walden invites us to do.

    One night, sitting on the outside deck with a cool evening breeze playing at our shoulders, we sip local pink gin and listen to a Spotted eagle owl, whoo whoo as it swoops into the forest. We take photos of the lightning tree, using a torch to illuminate it and a long shutter speed. The results show the bare bones of the tall stately gum standing out against the starry sky. On the night that Elsie died, this gum tree that had stood sentinel over the gardens she created, was struck by a freak bolt of lightning, killing it instantly. Nature saying a dramatic farewell to an ancestor of this garden.

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