The South Island Robin is one of my favourite birds. You don't see it very often in Lyttelton, because there are too many predators (cats, dogs, rats and stoats) and not enough bush to hide in. I have seen them quite often when out tramping in native forest, but it was a delight to encounter one at my friend’s place on the West Coast.
When the weather gets colder, I will be buying seedy fat balls from the Lyttelton farmers market to hang out on the bird table I made. I also put out seeds, grains and water. But in the meantime I am happy to let the birds fatten up on the sunflower seeds from the heads I saved. I think next year I will grow a lot more sunflowers as I love the look of them and I love watching the birds.
Growing figs, feijoas and olives in New ZealandRead More
It is cooling off now in Lyttelton, New Zealand and that means NO MORE CABBAGE WHITE BUTTERFLIES! Hooray!
And a gardening program I watch (Gardening Australia) suggested using vegemite in snail traps. Apparently it is the yeasty smell they are attacted to in beer traps. I hate using good beer in traps, so I’m trying a sugary yeast solution. We’ll see if it works.
When we were living in the Basque Country, we discovered the bean dish, pochas. It was a kind of bean soup, made with semi-dried beans, from that year’s harvest. I have looked up the recipe for this and it varies widely. Most recipes use a sofrito of finely chopped vegetables, often onion, carrots, peppers and garlic. A quartered tomato is added to this fried reduction and sometimes all of these vegetables are then either strained all pureed . I couldn't be bothered with that and I also wanted to use my borlotti bean and courgette harvest and some home-made chicken stock I had, so this is my interpretation of pochas.
Ingredients For Pochas (for 2 people)
A cup or two of beans harvested from dried pods
One small courgette for the sofrito (or use a green pepper) and one to add at the end (or a chopped red pepper)
2 garlic cloves
250 ml chicken stock (or use vegetable, or water)
paprika, salt and pepper
Dice the carrot, onion, courgette and garlic cloves and fry in olive oil on a low heat until soft. Quarter the tomato, add to the sofrito and cook until it begins to break apart. Stir well, or puree if you can be bothered. Add the beans and stock and top up with water until the beans are just covered. Simmer for 45 minutes, or stick in the oven at 180°C degrees centigrade for the same amount of time. Add the other finely-chopped courgette and a teaspoon of paprika (picante or dulce, hot or not) and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to season before serving with bread and guindillas (mild spicy green peppers). If you have a meat tooth (like the boyf), you can add a few slices of chorizo that have been warmed in a pan.
It wasn’t exactly as I remembered it in the restaurants in Spain, but it was good!
Yesterday was 25 degrees but it plummeted about ten today. And the sun is getting lower and will soon be disappearing behind the crater rim mid-afternoon. Time to get the winter veggies in.
I’m hoping the purple-sprouting broccoli I also planted does as well as it did last year.
Most of my tomatoes did ripen in the end and I have harvested the last of them and put the green ones in brown paper bags with bananas to ripen them). They haven't tasted as good as last year and I'm not sure why. We haven't had a lot of rain, but they taste a little watery. perhaps because I have had to use a hose and they have had too much at any one time. So to intensify the flavour I have roasted them in the oven with my home-grown garlic and thyme and a bit of olive oil and salt.
I then put the roasted tomato mixture in sterilised jars. I'll be testing some of it tonight with pasta.