I love borage and so do the bee’s, it’s lovely to have it back in the garden again. It’s been a time of lot’s of little things around here lately. Reorganising cupboards, cleaning out the old and unused and trying to pick as many tomatoes as I can, when I can, and turn it into delicious things like Tomato Sauce and Tomato Jam. The citrus keeps coming so another batch of Marmalade is next on the list! And suprisingly I have still been getting chilli’s, so sweet chilli sauce is a must. Thankfully chilli’s and tomatoes can be frozen, so if need be that can buy some time.
I have noticed a change in my garden this Winter, we have had a few frosts in the end of the garden where the vegetables grow, however the shrubs and trees around it seem to have created a little micro-climate where it is not getting frost damage. That and the sprinklers turned on before the sun hits. I have been thinking though that the sun would not hit my vegetables until after the frost would of melted anyway. It’s amazing how the garden changes and evolves as it grows. We have been having extremely windy weather and it’s a little sanctuary down there, protected from that too. I find the chickens, geese and ducks happy to hide down there for the best part of the day in extreme conditions, they have the best of everything now, shade, protection from the wind and tomatoes/ weeds flying out of the vege garden when farmer Jo is in there! : )
I have been making sure the chickens have a nice deep layer of mulch in the chook pen, and feeding out plenty of leafy greens like arrowroot leaves, comfrey and chicory. I have chicory all the time in the vegetable garden, it’s extremely hardy and grows year round, self-seeding. It has a deep taproot and helps to break up compacted soil, so a great addition to your garden. You can find it on the Green harvest website if you would like seed here in Australia.
Happy, healthy chooks means lovely eggs, and, it just makes me happy to see them happy. The other day I collected 19 eggs! I’ve had such lovely feedback from people saying how much they enjoy our eggs, doesn’t get much better than that!
This is a meal all in itself a goose egg in my AUS-ION pan, these are from SOLIDTEKNICS. I have finally finished with spending money on pans that promise the world and just don’t last. From now on it’s cast iron or these which are amazing and much lighter than the cast iron. These are made from wrought iron. Now that I have finished seasoning it, the food including eggs slides right off. It has a date of when it was made in the handle, why?? Because your Grandchildren will be able to use it! They are expensive, but when I think of the money I have spent over the years on other products. Even if I buy one a year, and keep on with my cast iron, that’s fine with me. One or two things to remember is heat the pan before you put your food in, never wash in dishwashing detergent. And unlike a lot of other products it keeps getting better over time.
This is my tomato sauce, it’s so good. I can guarantee you, if you make this and taste it, you will not want the shop stuff again! Even if you have no tomatoes, it’s still delicious with tin tomatoes. My recipe is from the ever reliable Sally Wise, out of her “A Year In a Bottle” recipe book, and it is called Winter tomato sauce (I think because you have the option of fresh or tin tomatoes). I have been making it for years with tin, fresh and frozen tomatoes.
For the above result, 9 jars I doubled the recipe, which requires a large pot, or if it gets a bit scary like mine did, you can use two pots until it’s reduced down enough to fit it all into one : )
Into a large pot place
- 500g sugar
- 2kg tomatoes
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 cooking apple, cored and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 dessertspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 3 cups white vinegar (I always use apple cider vinegar)
Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until the mixture has thickened to a sauce-like consistency. Then you need to push it through a sieve, once cool. I take my pot over to the sink and have a large bowl in the sink, as well as my chook bucket. Then I take cup fulls of the sauce mixture and push it through the sieze then what’s left in my sieve goes into the chook bucket. Repeat until you’ve finished and put the sauce back into a clean pot. If it seems too runny, I like to thicken it with a mix of vinegar and cornflour, you make a runny paste, put into the cooled sauce and heat the sauce gently again. The end result should be a nice thick sauce.
Have jars boiling on the stove, take your jars and place them on a board. Fill them, I find using a funnel to be the easiest way, seal with sterilised lids that have been boiled with your jars and your sauce will keep for up to a year.
I feel like the garden is getting ready to burst into a new song! The Hollyhocks are getting very tall and on the verge of opening up into flower as well as so many other things. When I stand in there, I feel like it’s just about ready to burst! I love to just sit or stand and take it all in, so much to be grateful for. I made a lovely cream of chicken soup the other night and it felt so good to go and pick fresh, organic celery and carrots from the garden to put in it, as well as corn I had grown and frozen. The work of our hards is never in vain, all the little things add up to make one big life! Yours and mine, however your days might look, it’s all important xx