Month: December 2012

Finally some rain!

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Sydney rain radar
Sydney rain radar

It’s been a long time coming. As an “inner-city farmer”, rain becomes an important thing, closely watched and hoped-for.

The main vege patch has a watering system, but the tanks ran dry a week ago (all 10,000L), forcing us to switch to mains water.

The food forest at the back relies on rain. And there hasn’t been rain of substance for six months now, leaving the ground parched and the plants struggling.

Finally, it rained last night, as shown above. And it’s kept raining today, heavily at times.

Rain on Christmas Day, not normally considered a good thing … but great for the plants. We’re relieved.

Local rare breed pork roast for Christmas

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Rare breed pork belly -- yum!
Rare breed pork belly — yum!

This Christmas we cooked a roast pork belly for lunch, when all the relatives came around.

But this was no ordinary, supermarket-sourced cut of pork. Instead, it was a rare breed, free range pork belly, sourced from Farmgate, who have a shop just around the corner from work in Redfern.

The pork belly was incredibly easy to cook. Score the skin with a knife, and rub with oil and spices. Then roast on a high heat for 30mins, and on a lower heat for an hour. Let rest.

The result? Incredible crackling, with enough for everyone. The meat itself was tender to the point of falling off the bone. Delicious!

This was the best of all worlds. A great meal, with minimal fuss. Ethical meat sourced from a local grower. It’s now so easy to eat wonderful food, why compromise on second best! 🙂

Backyard garden plan (Christmas 2012)

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(Click on the image to see a full-sized plan.)

With a little bit of spare time in the lead-up to Christmas, I sat in the back garden and drew up a plan of what we’ve planted so far.

As much as anything, this is to help us keep track of what’s in the garden. We’ll keep it updated as we plant new things.

(The question marks note existing plants or gifts that we don’t have identification for, hopefully some knowledgeable visitor will fill us in.)

As discussed in the post The before shot, this will be a native “mini bush block” garden, designed for a semi-shaded position. Hopefully we’ll have a photo in six months that’s all green rather than brown! 🙂

Multi-coloured carrot cake

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Coloured carrots, all in a row

We say: why just stick to orange carrots!

One of the greatest things about growing heirloom crops are the surprises you get when you pull things out of the ground. This carrot is purple! This beetroot is yellow!

It certainly makes for an interesting sight when they’re piled on the counter 🙂

We had lots of multi-coloured carrots that we made into a multi-coloured carrot cake, using a regular carrot cake recipe from the Woman’s Weekly.

Yum! And see those little dots of bright colours throughout…

Our multi-coloured carrot cake
Our multi-coloured carrot cake

Purple artichoke in full flower

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Purple artichoke flower
Purple artichoke flower

This year we decided to grow artichokes, having seen a plant in the nursery while shopping for other herbs and vegetables.

In theory it was a Globe Artichoke, like the ones you buy in shops (and then eat). While it produces beautiful flowers, it was a struggle to find the edible part.

So I think it comes out after it’s finished flowering. Any tips for the specific variety to look for, in terms of easy harvesting and eating?

Purple artichoke
Purple artichoke in closeup