It's been awhile since I've spoken about our garden hasn't it? When we first started growing our own vegetables about 10 years ago everything was planned and precise. The tomatoes were lined up in perfect rows, cucumbers grew on trellis and each and every carrot had it's place. Si and I are both perfectionists so I guess it was only natural that our garden reflected our anal tendencies. Fast forward a few years and looking at our current garden (aka the jungle) you would never guess they were planted by the same people. We have strawberries in pots sprawled along the pavement in every kind of pot known to man kind. Most of the pots were picked up off the side of the road at verge collection time, some too large for me to lift alone, while others are petite and in need of a good watering every night if they are to stay alive. There are a couple of random garlic plants poking up out of the sand, leftovers from last years crop that came alive by themselves. There's self-sown celery, in the garden bed and poking out the sides of one of the pineapple pots and our goji berry pot. My rocket that went to seed months ago is now over 6 feet tall and desperately screaming at me to chop off the seed pods and bag them for later use. Flat leaf parsley grows from every tiny gap in the garden bed, while Thai basil, with it's beautiful purple flowers adds a little colour here and there. There's one lonely lettuce left that hasn't gone to seed, it grows in one of our chilli pots, you know, as it should and all (self seeded obviously)! Go around the back of our property and you will be greeted by a jungle of cherry tomato plants that grew up out of the compost, there's also some more random celery plants struggling along there and in need of a good watering (my hose doesn't reach that far). The blueberry plant which we brought only a few years ago is long and leggy in it's pot, but is laden beyond belief. And lastly our mangoes are just starting to fatten, I've got my fingers crossed Si's family leave us a few to enjoy when we come home from our trip to Vietnam soon. Ha, but who am I kidding?
That's what busyness will do to a garden, and I guess we've just learnt to let go and realise that it doesn't have to be perfect to be good. Yes it looks kinda crazy and I'd love it if we could grow more stuff, but to be honest... if I can collect a bowlful of cherry tomatoes and a handful of herbs to make a salad for lunch, I'm one happy lady. A bowlful of fresh strawberries for dessert never goes astray too...
Update- This competition has now closed. For the list of winners head to my facebook page. Congrats to all the winners!
Right, giveaway time! The lovely guys behind Sami's Kitchen (my first official blog 'sponsor'!) have kindly offered 10 spice packs up for grabs! Each pack will contain your choice of two of their spice blends, some yummy roasted nuts and a surprise spice pack of something that will be blended especially for you (which they currently don't sell in retail)! Pretty cool eh? To enter...
3. Tweet the following: Come enter to #win @samiskitchen spice giveaway from @mydarlingLT http://bit.ly/1cuhp8r #giveaway
This giveaway is open to New Zealand and Australian readers and the 10 winning entries will be drawn by Random.org on Monday the 18th November. Good luck!
chickpea, tomato + feta salad with pomegranate molasses dressing
You can use leftover cooked chickpeas for this salad like I have, or soak approximately 3/4 cup dried chickpeas in plenty of water overnight. Drain the next day, top up with fresh water and cook for 25-35 minutes or until soft but not falling apart. Drain. If you're in a rush 1 x 400g tin of cooked chickpeas can be used, just rinse them well before using.
Serves 1-2 or more as a side
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo)* see head notes
a large handful flat leaf parsley leaves
a large handful of mint leaves
1 spring onion (scallion) finely sliced (or use a little finely sliced red onion if preferred)
2 big handfuls cherry tomatoes (approx 250g), left whole or halved
pomegranate molasses dressing
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
the finely grated zest + juice 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon lightly toasted and finely ground cumin seeds*
3-4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
runny honey, if needed
Place all the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle with a little fine sea salt and use the side of your knifes blade to mash the garlic to a paste. Place into a bowl along with the pomegranate molasses, lemon zest and juice and cumin. Mix to combine. Whisk in olive oil to form a lovely emulsified dressing. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper. If your lemon is really tart you may find you need to add a teaspoon or two of runny honey.
Pour just enough dressing over the salad to coat (any leftovers will keep in a glass jar in the fridge for a week), mix well and serve.
* Lightly toast whole cumin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for 20-30 seconds until fragrant. Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.