Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday rounds

I love a good Saturday, and today has scrubbed up pretty well for fun. In fact, if I was allowed to choose a favourite day of the week, Saturdays would just sneak it in over Sundays, because for me I always seem to make my new discoveries when the weekends are young. On Sundays my brain switches off somewhat. Cooking eggs on Sunday mornings is all I'm good for...

Take this morning as an example. I was out there doing my 'Saturday rounds' of the garden, saying hello to all the inmates, including the ones I tend to neglect, or just presume are doing fine without me, for the other six days of the week. One classic case of such a neglected inmate is the ancient looking hanging basket down one end of the pergola, where a succulent planted there last spring is simply belting along now. But what's this I see on the side of the basket? From a distance it looked like lichen, so I just had to investigate...

Just a patch of green, still looked like lichen from a few feet
away, and then when I got up nice and close...

It's a moth, disguised as lichen. Haven't got a clue what kind of
moth it is (can anyone help out here with an ID?) but it looked
serenely asleep, and so that's how I left it.

There have been a variety of residents in this old twiggy basket
and the latest is this succulent, Senecio jacobensii. It has grown
like mad over spring and summer, as it started out in the basket
from a bit which broke off the parent plant which is in the ground
(broke off when I trod on it, that is). It was just a little piece that
went into the basket, but it has gone forth and multiplied very nicely.

This is the in-ground parent plant, which is also enjoying life
in the new succulent patch. These senecios should start to change
colour in winter, showing red blushes when the chills arrive.

Speaking of changing colours, this Crassula
'Campfire' which puts on an astonishingly
vivid show of pinks and reds in the cooler
months, is starting to turn already. 

We're also entering a purple phase here now
that autumn has arrived. This potted little
Tibouchina 'Groovy Baby' is a sickly little plant
which need constant attention, but then it
flowers its head off in spring and autumn.
Its bigger brother, Tibouchina 'Jules' is close by
and covered in flower buds, but it'll be another
week yet before it become delirious with colour.

When I say we're entering a purple patch I really do mean it.
Next door to the Tibouchinas, the Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'
is in its pomp right now. It had always been hard to keep plants
under the canopy of our olive tree happy, due to the semi-shade
and the olive's big root system, but this Plectranthus just settled in
 from the start; a great plant for semi-shaded spots. It'll be
getting a major trim back in a couple of months from now
once the flower show has finally subsided.
Well, that's it for my lovely Saturday morning in the garden. I pulled out all the chilli bushes and eggplant plants, clearing the decks for planting some winter crops, but photographically that's all pretty dull stuff. 

Instead, to finish, what I would like to show you is my latest discovery in the kitchen. Now, I am sure most of you have heard of that South American grain called quinoa, which is very trendy right now. Well, there's a new 'next' trendy grain that's similar but different, called 'Freekeh'. Quinoa is an ancient South American grain, and Freekeh is an ancient Middle-Eastern grain. It's actually a type of wheat – young green wheat which has been roasted. Here's a link to the website of an Australian freekeh grower which includes info, recipes etc. The woman doing the video is a worry, announcing that's she's "your personal trainer in healthy eating", but if you're prepared to forgive her for that, it's a fairly handy website.

Our excellent local Middle-Eastern food
specialist shop, with the demure title of
Crazy Coffee and Nuts, stocks this Jordanian
brand of Freekeh, and I'm trying it out
tonight. Love the packaging!

Here's what it looks like uncooked. Just like wheat. It takes a bit
more time to cook than rice, is loaded with protein and other
stuff that's good for you (forget what exactly!), and I am planning
on making a salad as a side dish to accompany barbecued lamb
shoulder, combining cooked Freekeh, Puy lentils, currants, pine nuts,
coriander, parsley, chopped eschalots, olive oil and lemon juice.
Hope it all works, but I just love experimenting with new flavours! 
That's the other thing I love about Saturdays. It always seems to be the day that I end up having lots of fun in the kitchen in the afternoon. The quinces are almost ready (they've been slow-baking for five hours now – here's how I did them last year) and if all goes well with the Freekeh salad I'll update you on that little bit of Saturday living later on.


dirtgirl said...

The pic of the moth is fantastic. It looks like a Leuconycta diphteroides ( or Green Lichen patterned moth) how fabulous to have one stopping by in your garden!

Jamie said...

Thanks for that, Dirtgirl. And nice to know it is called the green lichen patterned moth, perfect description.

Lithopsland said...

Hi Jamie!

You're a real tease with that side salad; it sounds divine!! I think Jamie's recipe book might be on the cards.? And what a book it will be! Can I please reserve one!? Love the name Freekeh! Reminds me of that song by Chic - "Le Freak"!! Freak out! Yee-ha!! :P

Jamie said...

Lithopsland, afterwards I thought I should have done a couple of separate blogs, one on the moth, and another on Freekeh, but I just lumped everything into the one big grab bag.

The salad did work out well. Here's a link to another Sydney cookery blog – How to Shuck an Oyster – which has a very nice Freekeh recipe in it (not the one I made, but a really good one that inspired the one I made).

Lithopsland said...

Thanks Jamie! I'll have a closer look. :o)