Garden to Table

An Island Anecdote & Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe

I couldn’t believe my good fortune one day many years ago when a born and raised islander came up to me in the Spar parking lot offering me milk kefir grains. I had been wanting them but didn’t want to buy them. Just like plants for the garden, they’re much more special when received from a loving space which they’ve outgrown rather than purchased from a shop.

Because fermenting cultures reproduce and eventually one has to either give them away, throw them out, compost, or feed to one pet or the other, I believed they’d eventually come to me fortuitously. So, this was my day and when she said ‘Someone told me you might like these’ (I had told no one I was seeking them), I squealed with delight and gratefully accepted. Never did I dream someone on the island had any or I certainly would have made my desire known. Anyhoo, my hobby of fermenting was no secret and now I had kefir grains so I immediately put them to use. Continue reading

Ukrainian Pierogi Recipe–Looking East Before Heading West

I’m heading off to the States today but before leaving I wanted to share the Ukranian pierogi recipe I mentioned in my last post.

What makes the Ukrainian pierogi different from the Chinese dumpling, the Italian ravioli, or the Japanese gyoza? A question that certainly deserves deeper investigation, but in my meagre two-hour internet research, I found similarities and differences that amounted to much grey area, leading me to believe they have more in common than not.

Other names for the eastern European product include pirogi, pirohy, pyrohy, varenyky, derelye, and coltunasi. They’re all very similar–some of the doughs have oil rather than butter or neither at all, some have eggs while some don’t. Like the dumpling, ravioli, and gyoza–pierogi are flour based doughs prepared with a variety of fillings. And the country of origin? It’s unclear. Could be Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, or Russia, and they could each possibly lay claim to their own original version.

The recipe I’m sharing today is from a Ukranian friend. After he served them at a dinner party, I was determined to make them myself. No surprise, there was a massive difference between his and the store bought ones I had had back in the States from the grocery store freezer section. He agreed to teach me and kindly gave a one on one cooking class. Now they’re a family favourite. Continue reading

Pumpkins, Pierogies, Megalithic Tombs & The Tale of Diarmuid agus Gráinne

Happy Halloween! Our pumpkin patch has been bare for a couple weeks already and seaweed has already been laid atop the soil in preparation for next spring’s planting.

Just as our gardens continue to grow and enrich our lives, so too do the students who visit us three times a year to sow, plant out, and harvest their pumpkins. Continue reading

A Recipe of Thanks-Veggie Burgers

A couple posts back I mentioned making a veggie burger that I was finally satisfied with, ‘No crumbling and falling apart, no mushy centre, and just the right balance between the creamy inside and the crunchy outside.’

I used black beans in that recipe and felt most beans would work well with it. This thought was put to the test after I attended a party at Urban Wellbeing, and gratefully won a hamper filled with an amazing array of nutritious and delicious food items from Evergreen Healthfoods via a raffle offered by the amazing Helen Finn of Combination Cooking. We were very excited with our basket of goodness and wanted to create something using the ingredients to express our appreciation. Continue reading

My Quiche ‘How-To’

After posting a picture of 3 quiches I recently made on my Facebook page I received a request to share the recipes with a group I’m in, Green Earth Organics health eating.  Now that I’ve done so, it seemed only right to also share that effort here on my blog.  I’ve called it a ‘how-to’ as it doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of a recipe but it does provide detailed and practical advice on how to make them yourself.

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3 quiches- Latticed courgette, deep dish pumpkin & goat’s feta, and baby carrot, broccoli, & corn.

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What’s cooking good looking?

This time of year sees me in the kitchen slightly more than the garden.  My intention is always to produce food that is good for us, tastes amazing, and makes us feel good from the inside out.  Here are a few things I’ve created during this last month…

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I’m feeling these are my best fermented eggs ever. I added in some nice pickling spices this time including coriander & mustard seeds, ginger, chilies, cloves, bay leaves, allspice, juniper berries, peppercorns, and cassia (which has an amazingly cinnamon-like flavour). They’re both sweet & sour at the same time and super nutritious & delicious. The carrots and onions give some needed natural sugars but add so much more than that to the finished product. 😍 Wish I could let you all have a taste!   Continue reading

Garden to Table: Homegrown Pickles

Someone on my Facebook page asked me to show a picture of my pickles when they were jarred– this after I’d posted the picture below with the caption ‘Time to make dillicious fermented pickles.’

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Here are a few pictures of the process I undertake to create my beautifully delicious, incredibly healthy, and quickly devoured fermented pickles.  While not a recipe per se, it’s obvious just how easy it is to ferment your own pickles with three ingredients, cucumbers, salt, and water, and I do give the ratio if you want to give this simplest combination a try.   Continue reading

Garden to Table: Preserving Tomatoes

 

Start with some lovely fresh tomatoes of any shape, size, or colour.

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Fermenting Magic

Anyone who has ever cultured vegetables knows that moment of uncontainable excitement when the first bubbles appear. After three months, one week, and five days of experimenting, at last, I think I’ve done it! It may be premature boasting but I’m confident in those seemingly magical bubbles.

I’ve tossed umpteen grams of veg to the compost and chickens as well as eaten a few less than appealing pounds just to avoid “waste guilt.” Although these earlier attempts used all organic produce, could it be that this last batch was made exclusively with veg from my very own garden?

I would like to believe veg cared for with doting hands from sow to harvest is more conducive to such biological enrichment, and that would be true.  But my failures were more likely due to practice not product as I’d done minimal research and therefore not adhered to proper room temperature and sterilization techniques.  Only time will tell if my confidence in these magical bubbles will be rewarded, but it’s looking good so far…”

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