Monday, June 28, 2010

Mushroom Soup

Ms Mova really liked the mushroom soup that Ms Tagalong contributed to the working day last weekend. She said she liked it so much that she wanted the recipe. Ms Tagalong has been thinking long and hard about how she made it and will try her best to recreate it here. But, Ms Mova, there are no guarantees it will taste the same!

1 Brown bag of mushrooms (peeled and sliced)
1 onion sliced
1 clove garlic
Vegetable stock
A large handful of mixed herbs from the garden
Ms Tagalong found coriander, thyme, basil and comfrey all growing wildly in the garden!

The onion was well and truly browned with the chopped garlic. It might have even been caramelised with brown sugar!

The chopped onions were added and fried and then stock was added.

When the mushrooms were cooked through the chopped herbs were thrown in with gay abandon. (Now did you know that comfrey is a very special healing herb?)

The whole lot was whizzed with a handheld mouli type mixer.
Milk was added to the desired colour.

Soup was served with a dollop of sour cream and some more chopped coriander.

I have to acknowledge that I stole the photo from a fellow blogger but I promise mine looked just like that. Apologies to Kevin in Toronto! His recipe might be more precise than mine but not sure that it would feed the hungry hordes working in the garden!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shed Knowledge

The best brains of the area came together on Saturday to resurrect the storm-blownshed, piece together the conundrum of the shade shed and to work out how best to raise the tanks for gravity feed. A few head scratchings, 'my idea is better than yours' but brawn prevailed and we were off. Suddenly Ms Mova, who of course was orchestrating the whole event without seeming to, didn't even need to direct operations. The whole moved as one, but each with his own 'to do' list.

The hard core of the group were there plus many others. They came from far and wide to lend their skills. We had ring-ins. Brothers and sisters came for a short time and spent the day flexing long-forgotten skills. Little Miss Pretty chalk-painted artistic creations on the concrete.>
She was so glad we had made a cubby-house for her. It (the shade-house) was soon parked with sit-on toys and bikes.

Ms Tagalong managed to flit around doing a bit of everything and nothing much. She does have an incredible knack of starting a project and leaving everyone else midway to get on with it! She did however wield the angle grinder with incredible aplomb. Ms Mova fell back on her journalistic talents and recorded a pictorial history of the day.

The ladies (chooks)probably fared the best as they unexpectedly gained a whole new area to forage in. Metal fencing of the recently purloined variety soon found a use as a new delineator of chook area and lo and behold we now have room for about 20 chooks!

Hunters and gatherers were foraging in the garden for seeds and fruits to sow next season. Planters and weeders were digging and turning. Sweepers were sweeping. Nail extractors were working on the recycled timbers. Such a satisfying job, even if half of it might be burnt in the brazier at the next get-together. Ms Caterer Extraordinaire was dispensing tea and coffee and at the appropriate time, womaning the barbeque with flair. The working bee threatened to sink into a let's enjoy the lovely day sitting here chatting and drinking but Ms Tagalong soon put a stop to that and admonished everyone in her dredged up school marm voice that the party was over and let's get back to work. And we did.

The practically destroyed, don't think we can do much with this shed was suddenly transformed by a couple of very capable brains, full of shed knowledge. Personal Trainer, who is more used to cracking the cycling whip over two very leisurely riders, pointed out that the knowledge within the shed might have increased when they stepped out of it but hey it's only going to be used for worn out tools.

As the sun set over the yard arm or over the coal loader arm really, we packed away, tidied and sat enjoying the last rays with a glass in hand admiring everyone else's handywork. What a successful day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Culinary Coriander

Great green luscious bunches of it. It goes well with pumpkin soup. Ms Mova and I were sharing a stuffed pumpkin and talking of all things gardening and not. I had recently had a birthday and guess what I received? A hole digger, a weeder, a fork and trowel and a subscription to Organic Gardening. What more could Ms Tagalong wish for?

We took a lettuce, some bok choy and of course some coriander to our friends this weekend and enjoyed the idea of fresh food with bunya pine nuts and of course bok choy and coriander!

Mr Ideasman is planning the mounting of the tanks. I think that his plans and mine diverge somewhat. Visions of covered spaces with blackboards, storage spaces, children's tables and playplaces are changing to a utilitarian line of tanks linked by pipe, raised for gravity feed with a storage area behind along the fence. My visions will adapt, we have to do what is practical. Calls will go out this week for assistance and money to help with the construction.

Ms Mova wants detailed plans. She told me so. Mr Ideasman moves in a more organic way, seeds of ideas once planted and receiving verbal manure change and flourish into quite a different plant! I have however been successful in gaining some scribbled diagrams on the back of a napkin. Don't the greatest of ideas start like that? So do I now sanitise these ideas, blow them up on large pieces of paper for the willing workers or keep them secret?

Whilst we were away a secret fairy seems to have donated an aerobin for compost. One of the big jobs this weekend will be sorting out the donated items and moving things around so that the garden looks a little less like Steptoes' yard. (A reference for those young and not into English sitcoms, about a rag and bone father and son who had an amazing back yard full of everything useful and useless that you could imagine.)

So gird your loins, my friends. Bring on the tools and the manpower. Let's erect the pergola and the shade house, the shed and the tanks. Just remember to leave some space for the plants!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Following followers!

Welcome followers! I am curious to know who is out there. I don't seem to have developed a multitudinous list of followers hanging on my every word but I would like to be able to respond to some comments. So come on you shy readers. Make my day!

Lighting up the night!

It's winter and the monthly cocktails in the garden seemed out of place. Usher in the barbeque and the brazier. Ms Mova and Ms Tagalong prepared the area anticipating a flood of new visitors after our community garden escapade. Ms Mova had the lamb chops marinating and the sausages at the ready. Ms Tagalong made a spicy pumpkin soup kept warm on the barbeque. I was told by Mr Ideasman that this must definitely be a strange English custom somewhat like wearing a pink cardigan to the beach. Being guilty of the latter I just laughed and hoped he wouldn't tell everyone!

We chatted and laughed with the arrivals. Some bearing bottles, some bearing nibblies and some just bearing themselves! We didn't have to wait long for the moon to rise behind the clouds fringing them with light. The lighting up continued, some illicit, in the darkened corners of the garden away from tiny prying eyes. They were far too interested in trying their hardest to put out the brazier with ill-timed applications of chicken straw. I spotted one with a blazing torch and held my breath as he tried to set light to his friend's eyebrows.

Mr Surfgiant arrived in a very friendly mood. He was happy to see all of us and although it was not always easy to follow his flow he seemed to think the garden was coming along well. Some more people popped in to say hello, and some left. We finished dishing out food. The lamb and sausages served with grilled eggplant and a stir fry of bok choy, spinach, beans, and coriander from the garden.

There was a distinct huddle arranging secret men's business about planning the tank stands and inflowing water collection. The poor purloined shed had already taken a beating during the week's inclement weather and a small boy had now taken up residence in it 'Boy's tent no girls allowed.' I worried about its future.

So the brazier was alight, the moon was alight and by this time so was one of the guests! Little Miss Pretty declined Ms Mova's offer of a lap and said she didn't like sitting on anyone's lap other than her mother. So young, so wise! Around the fire we were treated to a discourse on Buddhism and the joys of trees and nature. The conversation swung between coherence and incoherence and I remember an anecdote about a cliffdweller in Biarritz. A very enlightening evening all round!