When the bluebells and irises start to come out, I know that Spring is here. This year the garden is going mad, the weeds in particular are growing spectacularly well. We have recently sprayed the garden with a liquid fertilizer called Calsap (www.optimaagriculture.com.au for more information) and that with the recent rains have made everything explode.
The garden and paddocks are starting to dry out and not every outdoor expedition requires gumboots. We have had a couple of spoiling trips away in the last couple months, one to the snow and one to the sun (or more specifically, rain with patches of sun) so now it's time to get back into the busiest time of the year in the garden.
We have recently built a new vegetable garden and because it has been so wet we have been unable to do all the earthworks to finish it, so the sun shines but I am not madly planting as I should. It is really big and I am quite terrified about being able to maintain it:
I said three would do but as usual my husband, who is big picture man and fancies himself as a talented garden designer (step aside Paul Bangay) said I never plant enough vegies for more than a feed and we need a berry cage, an asparagus bed, herbs and rhubarb which are all perennials plus a cutting bed and lots of potatoes. He was most insistent that it be big enough but I can tell you now he will never set foot in it.
I made a beautiful summery salad on the weekend for some friends. The picture looks like a bit of a dog's breakfast as this was the leftovers, the original looked much better!
250g day old bread (I used a french stick, but any loaf of white bread will do, except processed sliced bread), crusts removed and torn into pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8-10 tomatoes cut into wedges (again, any will do, romas are good)
2 red capsicums, seeded and cut into pieces
3 red onions, cut into wedges
1 zucchini, sliced
300g bocconcini, sliced
150g rocket or mixed salad leaves
Balsamic vinegar to taste (or vinocotto would be good too)
Preheat oven to 200. Toss bread in enough olive oil to lightly coat and add garlic and oregano, mix up well. Place in a roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes until crisp and golden.
Place tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini and onion into another large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, season well and cook for 20-30 minutes until softened and lightly browned.
Put veg into a large bowl and mix in the bread. Leave for 10-15 minutes to absorb the juices.
Add bocconcini and toss well with the salad leaves and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste.
Great with a barbeque