My leeks are ready! I love love love leeks! So, time to find some exciting new ways to cook them. Believe it or not, I’ve never made a quiche before. So I made a leek and bacon quiche tonight and it was so yummy I thought I should share it. 🙂
Some of my beets are getting pretty big so I harvested on of those as well to roast and serve with the quiche along with sweet potato, peas and carrots.
The photo doesn’t do it justice. It looked yummier than this.
Frozen puff pastry
2 small leeks
6 short cut bacon rashes
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup milk
Thaw out enough puff pastry to line your quiche tray. Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees celcius. Halve and thinly slice leeks. Chop bacon into 1cm squares. Line quiche tray with puff pastry, prick and put in the oven for 15 mins, until it starts to go golden. Melt butter in a fry pan and add leek and bacon. Cook for 10-15 mins, until leeks are soft. Once pastry is golden, allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, then transfer leek and bacon mix on top of pastry. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk and pepper in a jug. Sprinkle tasty cheese over leek and bacon mix, then pour egg mixture on top. Add parsley and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 30 mins. Serve with salad or vegies.
I’m really just procrastinating about painting the cupboards of our butler’s pantry with sticky, enamel paint. For someone who hates painting, I sure do a lot of it! Ah, the joys of buying a 1890’s unrenovated house!
On my way to the shed to grab our giant bottle of turps, I walked past a larger than usual amount of blue bird poo. I first saw blue bird poo when my last crop of beets were attacked by something that created beak-like indentations in the beets. For the next few days there was blue bird poo everywhere. Suspicious?
This time round my beets appear to be intact. Perhaps someone else’s beets are being eaten nearby? Or perhaps there’s a whole other explanation for this recurring blue bird poo? It’s certainly more fun than normal old white bird poo. Sorry, there’s the nurse-who-gets-excited-about-poo coming out there.
Anyway, back to painting 😦
I’ve just planted the next crop into vegetable box #1. I’m still amazed how quickly the soil level drops. Thankfully, after the last top up we had a couple of wheelbarrows of 5 way soil left (2 soils, 3 manures) so I didn’t have to buy more soil for this top up. From left to right: leeks, baby spinach, beetroot. I tried to plant the leeks in mounds because I’ve read that this promotes more white growth in the leek, but it didn’t really work. They just started falling over and I ended up pushing the mounds in anyway so they had a bit more solid ground to hold them up. Maybe they need to be bigger first? Or maybe I just needed to persevere a little more. I’ve never grown spinach before but I love baby spinach and use it heaps so I’m excited to see how they turn out. This is my third lot of beetroot. If you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, I love beetroot!
It’s tricky spreading pea straw over such small seedlings and not burying them with it. This layer is pretty thin so I’ll top it up when the seedlings are a bit bigger.
I’m still trying to adhere to my crop rotation. Because I seem to have to top up the soil a fair bit each time, plus I give the existing soil a good turn over, I’m not too worried about the details of which family should follow which to get the best nutrient composition of the soil (like planting legumes after brassicas to help replace the nitrogen). Plus, since I don’t have much space for my vegies, I’d prefer to plant the ones I want, rather than one that will help improve the soil. And guess what I noticed as I was turning the soil? I’ve got worms! Lots of them! Finally they came! Clever little wormy’s getting all the way to the top of the vegie boxes!
Question: when I’m turning the soil should I avoid mixing soil between areas that had different vegies in them? Will this just spread pests/diseases throughout my vegie box and defeat the purpose of crop rotation? (not that I’ve had any pests other than caterpillars this time ’round but they’re not exactly hanging out in the soil waiting for the next leafy vegetable).
I officially have no more beetroot left growing in my vegie box (at least until I plant more which I except will be asap!). I harvested the last 5 all at once. I’ll make a beetroot salad out of 3 of them from my Beetroot Salad For Australia Day recipe. They’re grated and sitting in a bowl in the fridge to soak up some lemon juice and olive oil overnight. I’m so glad I put the recipe on my blog because I’d changed it a bit from the one I’d originally written down and it was so yummy I’m glad I can replicate it! So often I make the same thing over and over and it tastes different each time because I add the odd tweak here and there but never write down which tweak was good and which was not so good. A bit like George’s Marvellous Medicine, the book by Roald Dahl.
The other 2 beets were used for this very bright beetroot dip. I’ve never made beetroot dip before so I looked online for some inspiration. None of the recipes really stood out for me so I just took bits from each and did my own thing. It tastes pretty good! For your benefit, and also so I don’t have a repeat of George’s Marvellous Medicine where I can never recreate it, I’ll write down basically what’s in it (the quantities may be slightly off because I free poured it all and added a bit more here and there according to taste but I’ll give it my best estimation).
2 medium sized beetroot
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup Jalna fat free natural yoghurt
1 large/2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs cumin
mint leaves (my mint leaves are still pretty small so I added about 12-15 leaves)
Place beetroot in cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 25 minutes, until soft. When beetroot is cool enough to handle, peel and chop beets into quarters. Place in food processor and blend until smooth. Add all other ingredients and blend until well combined. Transfer dip into a bowl and garnish with mint. Serve with crusty bread.
Australia Day is one of my favourite days of the year. It always involves sunshine, friends, good food, nice beer, and listening to all my favourite songs in the triple j hottest one hundred. What more could you want?
Since my beetroot is growing nicely, I thought I’d harvest a few and make a beetroot salad in true Australia Day spirit.
3 medium beetroot
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup fat free natural yoghurt
1 tbs real mayonnaise
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs raw sugar
Peel and grate beetroot. Mix together lemon juice, olive oil and 1tbs raw sugar. Pour lemon mixture over beetroot and refrigerate overnight (or for at least an hour). The next day… Roast walnuts in the oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together sour cream, yoghurt, mayonnaise and 1tbs raw sugar. Choose one or two shallow bowls and lay a bed of baby spinach in the bowl(s). Spoon beetroot mixture on top of spinach. Spoon sour cream dressing over beetroot. Sprinkle roasted walnuts on top. So refreshing, so Australian, so yummy! 🙂
As promised, it’s time for another beetroot post. This is my second beetroot crop, and it’s done just as well as the first.
I roasted it, along with some sweet potatoes and served it with baked salmon and steamed green beans. I don’t actually like the taste of fish :(. But I think it’s an essential part of a healthy diet, and I do like the texture. And salmon has a very subtle taste anyway so it’s easy to mask the “fishyness” with herbs. Mine is coated in garlic, lemon, sage, thyme and pepper. My partner is more normal and loves the taste of salmon so his just has a bit of lemon, pepper and garlic on it. I’ve just baked them for 15 minutes at 180 degrees celcius (non fan forced) and they’re perfect. I also wrap them in baking paper before I put them in the oven to keep the juices and flavours in.
To roast the beets, I leave the skin on and roast them at 200 degrees celcius (non fan forced) for about 1 hour 15 minutes.
We washed ours down with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir from Red Hill, Victoria. Awesome start to date night :).
I plan to make a risotto out of the beetroot greens. You can find the recipe on one of my previous posts, Lovely Beets, No Waste.
Original crop planted on November 25. From far to near: lettuce, beets, bok choy (far box); chillies, tomatoes (near box).
Everybody’s happy and jumping out of the vegie boxes (the caterpillars are happy too – see prev post). I’ve been giving my poor lime tree some TLC too (you can see it in the far pot) and it’s got lots of new growth after a good dose of fertiliser and oiling the leaves to get rid of the bugs.
My first attempt at growing beetroot has been a great success and I’d been excitedly looking up recipes, deciding what to make with my last two beets. Went out to check on them this morning and somebody has pulled them out and had a good ol’ beetroot feast. 😦
Just picked some beautiful beets ready for my not so beautiful cooking skills (I cook with love but I’m still having plenty of less-than-successful dishes).
Roast beetroot, peeled and chopped
Baby spinach and rocket
Low fat fetta
Olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing
Served with some lamb chops and boiled potatoes. Yum!
Risotto with beet greens
Chopped leeks – sautéed until tender
Add 2 cups Arborio rice
Stir in 1/4 cup white wine
Add 3 cups chopped beet greens
Add 5 cups of chicken broth 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring in between each move in candy crush saga (or whatever you’re doing to entertain yourself for the next 25 mins)
Stir in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, some black pepper and some lemon juice
Don’t tell your partner they’re eating beet greens or that it’s a vegetarian dish – just let them eat away in ignorant bliss 🙂
From left to right: Garlic, bok choy, cos lettuce, beetroot, leeks.