25 April 2010

Dig for Victory

In honor of ANZAC Day here's a special post about Victory Gardens.  A lot has been written about them already so I'll let you find abundantly available World War Two information on other sites like Wikipedia. Instead, I have collected some of the beautiful and bizarre propaganda posters for your perusal.  All of the images and film are in the public domain.

19 April 2010


Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa) makes a yummy drink called Jamaica.  It is also used in tea, cordial (a sweet syrup used for non-alcoholic drinks) and jam. I have been growing it in my veggie patch for two years.  Last year it was smothered by the Tomatillos and didn't flower much, but this year I have four good strong plants.  The small blooms last for a day and then close up inside the calyx (the part that covered the bud before the flower opened).  After that the calyx swells and when they are ready to pick they snap off the stem.  If they are still bendy you've probably got a bud that hasn't opened yet.  Here's my photo diary from flower to drying and a recipe for Jamaica.  Enjoy!

Hibiscus (Rosella) flower in bloom

14 April 2010

Autumn in the veggie garden

Brrr... Autumn in the garden.  Things to do this week:  Pull out the last of the tomato plants, pick pumpkins (that's winter squash for you North Americans), pick the last few green beans (I might keep them in for a few more weeks since there are still some flowers), start digging in compost in for winter plantings.

A few images from the past week in my garden:
Eggplant 'Listada di Gandia'
Fireworks-shaped Parsley flower going to seed
I leave some of them to self-seed and then thin them out. The flowers attracts bees and other beneficial insects to the garden.  And they're pretty!

05 April 2010

50's Style

I finished the Linda skirt I've been working on for my BurdaStyle sewing group.  Very 50's!

03 April 2010

Aunt Judy's Famous Escabeche (Mexican Pickled Peppers)

All the vegetable ingredients except the onions were from my garden for this recipe!  

In Southern California and Mexico, there are lots of small take-away places where you can get little soft tacos with with grilled chicken, beef or pork and other healthy Mexican food.  There is always fresh salsa in a variety of styles and heat levels, cilantro (coriander) and at least one spicy pickle - escabeche (pronounced es-kah-BEE-chay).  My aunt Judy has lived in Mexico for 20 years and this is her famous recipe!  The chicken bouillon (she uses Knorr), her secret ingredient, makes a very rich and delicious brine.  You can make it without the bouillon and it's still very yummy.  Some people add cauliflower, I prefer all carrots.  Try it a few different ways and see what you like!  Try it on sandwiches and as a condiment whenever you feel like something spicy!  It gets better if it sits for a couple of weeks but mine doesn't last that long.