Did My Garden Survive?

It was good to be home after three and a bit weeks away.  Arriving back late in the evening, I couldn’t wait till the morning to view my garden.  I had been wondering how the garden would cope without my attention for almost a month.

In the early morning light, I grabbed my camera phone to capture the first glimpses of the ‘reunion’.

Well as you can see the garden not only survived but perhaps thrived in my  absence (I like that I need my garden more than it needs me).

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Learn How to Build Wicking Raised Garden Beds

We have built the frame of two raised garden beds, at Buxton Community Garden (Buxton is part of Wollondilly Council, at the base of the Southern Highlands – an hour South of Sydney, Australia).

Buxton Community Garden will now be building wicking (water reservoirs) inside the raised garden frames.  The purpose of this is to save water and help with watering – like a self watering system.

The date to build the wicking water reservoirs is September the 27th.  Everyone is welcome to come along and learn while getting involved (or welcome to just watch). This is a FREE event.  Children are welcomed and encouraged to get involved too.

For all the details check out our event listing.

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The raised garden bed frames, will soon have an inbuilt water reservoir, soil and plants.

Our Vegetable Garden Gets Us Through Tax Time

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I'd rather be gluing glitter than doing my tax

The brand new fiancial year, means the commencement of a period of being ‘out of balance’. 

Complaining isn’t helpful so I focus on just getting the job done – completing  our tax returns for our businesses.  If I had a full day or two the task would be relatively easy however this is the season for juggling multitasks.

There is a slight saving grace this tax period – our veggie garden.  For over two weeks we have been totally eating out our pantry after totally eating out the fridge.  However having fresh produce in our garden meant it didn’t matter that we hadn’t got to the  grocery store in weeks. We ate well and have now got to the grocery store but I still need to finish my tax return.

Community and Council Working Together for Food Growing Initiatives

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Joynton Park edible community, garden patch. Gadigal Ave, Zetland, Sydney, Australia - near the undercover BBQ area

This is a good news update, regarding the community garden patch at Joynton Park, Zetland, Sydney, Australia (food growing patch).

You may recall that the garden patch had deteriorated to the point of needing to be replaced.

The Parks Department of the City of Sydney came to the Green Square Growers rescue, by recently carriering out some urgent repairs.

A large piece of formply has been attached to the front of the garden patch.  This repair isn’t a permanent solution but will give GSG approximately 12 months before we will have to replace the garden bed.

Within this 12 months time the Green Square Growers will:

* update / replace and potentially extend other garden beds, that GSG has installed in the area.
* replace the garden bed mentioned above and potentially extend it.
* continually work alongside City Council, local residents and all those who are keen to help.  For the community and by the community!

What Happened When Coles Stopped Stocking Dairy Free Creamed Cheese?

Our local Coles and Woolworths grocery stores, have both stopped stocking dairy free creamed cheese and dairy free cream.

Unwilling to start buying a dairy base alternative, I had to rethink many of my dairy free recipes.

I love a good roasted vegetable bake or a good vegetarian lasagne.  In these two meal examples, I usually subsitute the cheese component for a commercial dairy free alternative but alas I now needed to get creative (as I can’t buy them Iocally anymore).

So I got thinking! What about turning the traditional basic white sauce into a dairy free option? What if I could make the basic white sauce even yummier?

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Dairy free vegetable bake with garlic white sauce

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Dairy & gluten free lasagne with white sauce

Dairy & Gluten Free Garlic White Sauce
(also vegan)

1 clove of garlic very finely chopped
Oil (I prefer rice bran oil)
80g of dairy free butter  (I prefer Nuttelex)
4 tablespoons of sifted, gluten free plain flour
1 & 3/4 cups of rice milk
Salt to taste

* Add some of the oil in a fry pan.
* Fry garlic over a medium heat.
* Add dairy free butter and melt.
* Remove from heat and mix in flour with a large spoon.
* Add a little of the rice milk and mix well.
* Return to heat and gradually add remaining of the rice milk while stirring continuously.
* Boil for 3 minutes while stirring.
* Remove from heat and add salt to taste.

Then:
Pour over your roasted vegetables in an oven tray. Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C until top is golden brown.

Or Then:
Pour over one of your lasagne layers instead of cheese.

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised that my dairy free, garlic, white sauce tasted better in these two meals, than when I used the commercial dairy free creamed cheese. Everyone in the family enjoyed both meals – the non dairy intolerant ones, the meat eaters and the toddler.  Giddy up this dairy free alternative is a keeper (and lots cheaper).

A Yummy Winning Recipe for Stale Bread

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Bread and butter pudding - easy and yummy way to use stale bread

The smell of hot cinnamon wafts from the kitchen and fills the cold Autumn air.

Yep it is still blowing a gale here.  Everyone you speak to is rattled by the wind.  Everyone has been staying indoors.  This recipe was baked with my neighbours in mind (fingers crossed we will soon be outside enjoying a windless, sunny Autumn day soon).

This recipe is great for using stale bread (reducing food waste).  However it is so easy and yummy, why wait till bread goes stale?

Bread and Butter Pudding  (gluten and dairy free)

5 free range eggs
2 cups rice milk
5 tablespoons of coconut cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 slices of gluten free brea bread, crusts removed (stale or fresh)
Jam of your choice (I had kiwifruit jam on hand)
Handful of sultanas

*  Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
*  Grease a medium sized baking dish.
*  Whisk eggs, rice milk, coconut cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl.
*  Spread both sides of each bread slice with jam.
*  Arrange half the bread in rows in prepared dish.
*  Sprinkle with half the sultanas.
*  Repeat with remaining bread and sultanas.
*  Pour egg mixture over bread.
*  Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.
*  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and set.
*  Serve with a spoonful of coconut cream (or two spoonfuls).

Conclusion

“ohhhhh” “yummm” was all I heard, then slience until everyone finished.  I just love it when non gluten and dairy intolerant people enjoy my food too – not knowing it is gluten and dairy free.  Giddy up, this was a winner!