Soooo apparently I am banned from picking bay leaves from our bay leaf tree, a ban imposed on me by Tim after I picked a few to go in to my “huevos rancheros’ (mexican poached eggs with chilli and tomatoes) this was a part of my cooking challenge from our jar (which I will explain later).
I guess I should explain the ban, well I was ‘TOLD’ I had to explain the ban if I was going to write in my blog about it. So here goes……. We brought a bay leaf tree to add to our ever-growing garden of vegetables and herbs. It is not a big tree yet, not very big at all, but it is healthy and had I would say 10 leaves if not more. We got said tree home, planted said tree in the ground and every now and then I would pick a bay leaf and use it in my cooking. So I picked three Sunday morning to make this delicious brunch for us and oh was it good.
Later that day tim goes outside, comes inside and says “that’s it as of tonight I’m imposing a bay leaf ban” I laughed so much, I have been told no more picking bay leaves until we let the tree grow a bit more and it is more established *insert big sigh here* ‘ok tim ok’ *insert giggle here* hehehe.
So now I have that out of the way I would like to bring you all up to speed on where our garden is at, you all have some background information now and we have worked hard for months to bring it to where is now.
In my previous post I left with the fact we had two garden beds, had managed to grow some veggies successfully and others not so much and the fact we were learning a bit along the way. Well we now have four garden beds, a kaffir lime tree, lemon tree, blueberry bush, raspberry shrub (called Robert, yes, yes we named it), strawberry plant and some more herbs! I know lots right?
We successfully grew zucchini, capsicum, rocket as well as the veggies mentioned before, currently growing in our winter crop we have beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, snow peas, garlic, garlic chives, carrots (we will see how they turn out this time) brown onion, lemongrass, capsicum and chilli.
Our third and fourth garden beds were carefully put together under the watchful eye of site operations manager Missy and site supervisor Snikkers, they make sure we do a good job! and we even wore our dorky sun hats out in the yard on the hot day. See some pictures below.
That was a while ago and since then the garden is thriving, Robert has grown quickly and continues to grow each day, we have an abundance of snow peas and last night we got to pick beetroot for the first time to have in our dinner, not only using the beet, but also using the stalk and leaves with Tim cleverly sautéing them mmmm mmmmm, he’s quite the cook my Tim we make a pretty good team in the kitchen.
Well as promised last time I said I would share a recipe I made recently, a delicious almond cake with a rhubarb, apple and strawberry topping (I am almost drooling as I know how good it is) I made this particular cake to share with my work colleagues. Lucky there was a left over piece for Tim as there was quite the belly grumble when he heard it was going to my work…. More about Tim’s belly another time.
Ingredients for the cake
2 cups Almond Meal
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon baking
3 eggs beaten (best at room temp)
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (I use pink himalayan)
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil melted (make sure its not to hot)
the rind of 1 lemon (make sure you keep the lemon for use in the topping.
Preheat the oven to 150
Line your cake tin with baking paper, this cake is not a large cake and being gluten free will not rise high, I used a 9 inch spring foam tin.
In a large bowl whisk together the almond meal, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon at this stage as I love my spices.
In another bowl, combine the beaten eggs, honey, coconut oil and lemon zest. Use a whisk and mix well, pour the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients and stir until combined and pour the mixture in to the tin.
Bake at 150 for approx 35 – 40 minutes, check the cake by inserting a skewer in the middle if the skewer comes out clean and there is no wobble to the mixture at all when shaking tin slightly the cake will be ready. The cake will brown quickly and will appear dark, if you need to stop it burning or browning to much you can cover it with foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes.
Once baked take out allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
2 large stalks of rhubarb peeled.
5 large strawberries
1 large apple
1 Tablespoon honey
Lemon juice from half the lemon left over.
chop the rhubarb, strawberries and apple in to pieces place in to a saucepan or fry pan on medium to high heat. Add the honey and begin to stir as you do so after a while you will notice the rhubarb apple and strawberry begin to soften and caramelise, creating a rich red saucy mixture that thickens, adjust heat accordingly through the process. Squeeze half the lemon in to the mixture and stir allow to thicken a little more. Taste test as you go, you should have a mix that is full of tar rhubarb and lemon while mixed with the sweet strawberry apple and honey.Once you have a thick saucy mixture with pieces of soft mushy strawberry, rhubarb and apple, set aside in a bowl to cool.
Once cake and topping have cooled, spread the cooled topping mixture on the top of the cake!! Enjoy on it’s own, with a little whisked coconut cream, cream or ice cream…
While this recipe is healthy and has no refined sugar it still has natural sugars from the honey and fruit so everything enjoyed in moderation
As I type this now, two puppies lay at my feet on their bean bags with the familiar sound of Snikkers snoring loudly. Tim is cleaning the kitchen after cooking me another amazing dinner. So I best stop typing and go and help so we can enjoy our evening together, I also need to get started on chicken bone broth which I will slow cook overnight to use as stocks for meals and soup.
I will be back another day, with news from the veggie patch, some exciting news about an adventure and an explanation in to our cooking challenges from a jar.