November 2013


I’ve been thinking more about plants recently. Not just stately trees, but smaller plants. My husband is responsible for some of this thinking on my part. He’s set up two vegetable patches, set up high, well away from any rabbits who may drop by. 

We’ve been getting excited about bonsai trees again, my husband and I. We’ve both been playing with bonsai for many years, and have our own bonsai trees we’ve tended since before we moved to the country. I’m not sure whether any of my plants actually go back that far (we moved to the Mallala district in 2008). One of Graham’s trees is that old though. It’s a jade tree, with a worthy trunk and stately manner…

The vegetable patches have been in place for about two months. We’ve just begun enjoying the fruits of his labours – with two beans picked from the patch and consumed this morning. They weren’t huge beans, but they certainly had a suitably ‘beany’ flavour!

I’ve tried some of the carrots, with are only the size of my little finger (I have quite small hands). I’m trying to leave the vegetables alone so they can grow bigger and better! We also have a fine crop of coriander, and some basil growing too. Added to this is the pot of chives that we’ve had growing for many, many years. It dies down every now and then, and we pick produce from it sometimes, when a meal needs a little bit of the zing chives can bring.

I actually picked some chives yesterday afternoon, for the salad I made to take to an event we both went to. The salad started out as a plain waldorf salad, with walnuts, celery and apple. Then I put on some yummy garlic sauce, instead of coleslaw dressing, with some sweet chilli sauce for some sweetness. 

I felt we needed more to make it a bigger bowlful, and didn’t have any more celery to add. We have more apples, but putting any more in would have unbalanced the salad. So what to add? Mushrooms, obviously. In times of need, you go to what’s in the fridge! Then I put the chives in, but still felt the salad could take a little something extra.

A look in one of the kitchen drawers reminded me of the dried fruit, nut and seed mix I often put on my breakfast cereal. I sprinkled some on top and mixed it through, and then came the taste test. I was a little worried about whether the garlic sauce and sweet chilli sauce would work, but I needn’t have concerned myself, it was a great mix.

The next concern was this – would the Mallala Lions like my quirky take on the simple waldorf salad? Well the proof to the answer for that one was the empty bowl, once dinner was done! I’ll definitely try this version of a family favourite again. I suspect it will have another run during Christmas Celebrations this year!

Do you have any stories of your own variations on basic recipes? I love the creative choices cooking brings! Creative cooking is so much more fun than slavishly following a recipe in a book!

 

Today I noticed two birds that seem to have metaphorically bitten off more than they can chew. The two birds appear to be not as fledged as they thought they were. They are perched precariously high up in the dead gum tree at the back of our place. They’ve been there for at least an hour, because that’s how long I’ve been keeping a bit on an eye on them.

They’re partly fledged swallows, I think. They the right size to be swallows, but that’s not why I think that’s what they are. I think they’re swallows, because adult swallows have been flying over to the pair for quick visits. It’s not the same swallow flying in every time, and I’ve seen that at times one swallow visits, then flies off and another visits. 

There seem to be more swallows flying around the area, although I may just be imagining that. We do get a lot of swallows around our place. They like to zoom over our roof, and fly around our swimming pool, dropping in for a quick dip, or mouthful of water sometimes. 

I got our binoculars out and had a look at the birds. They seem to be a bit fluffy, the way young birds are. The last time I went out, the pair seemed to be restless. It’s quite a windy day today, and quite warm, about 33 C. I’m going to the Mallala Bowling Club soon, to watch my husband finish off his game of lawn bowls. I’ll check out the intrepid pair before I go, and again when I get back home.

I feel like I should do something, but I know they will either be OK, or not, and I shouldn’t interfere. I can’t interfere, I can’t think of anything I could do anyway … I welcome the thoughts of others about this. It’s the time of year in South Australia when young birds try their wings out …