Japanese Delinquent Gardening

 photo WP_20170421_020_e_zpsknf6xk7r.jpgLook there, I type whilst gesturing at the screen. Purple potatoes starting.

Apparently I’ve adopted what’s known as yanki zuwari in my gardening. You can safely Google that, let me just double ch…yeah you’re fine. I can’t kneel, JACK KNEES TO NO-ONE! JACK IS KING OF….ahem, yeah, I’ll actually just fall over if I do. Balance issues when you’re my height are pretty common. So, squatting saves my back, the plants I’d inadvertently crush and everyone’s a winner. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t we just have a gardening post? Isn’t Jack wonderful? One out of two isn’t bad. A lot can change in a day. I’ve been experimenting with sous-vide cooking, successfully thankfully, but as far as recipes go it’s just me slow cooking meat for twelve hours. Fork tender beef is great, as is the gravy you can make with the juices. I’m trying a new version of curry recipe tomorrow, making it a vegan pour over. If it works then that’d be nice, if not I’ll know how sous-vided chicken tastes. The recipe is vegan, I’m not, but I do my homework when catering to other diets, so it should be fine. If you do find mistakes then speak up, dear reader, nothing more bothersome than an incorrectly marked recipe.

 photo WP_20170421_018_e_zps4u9tfoby.jpgWow, the bamboo I planted is really grow…I’m joking. Get back here! Stop planting those sticks.

Can you grow bamboo here, no! I have enough…I mean it. As you can see I have been busy, I’ve planted out my cabbages and some cauliflower that I hadn’t realised I’d hardened-off. I misread it as cabbage, no problem. I did end up with a larger variety due to a mistake in the order, but it’s fine by me. Albino broccoli is albino broccoli, right? The cabbage had to be a certain type and size, a small head, tightly packed. Can I be an obnoxious bore, or teacher if you’d rather? Be careful when purchasing seeds online, check the varieties in Google. The photos and descriptions don’t always match up and you can end up with plants that aren’t suitable due to size, weather requirements. Get a few articles together and compare between them.

 photo WP_20170421_019_e_zpskzzt4wvb.jpgBerry bushes are really flying it. I got some cheap pellet fertilizer so they’ve finally been fed. Weeds are doing wonderfully too…

Now that I have one year under my belt…What belt? The one I’ll smack you with for interrupting me! I know a bit more about planting out. Luck is still a factor and supposedly we’ll be getting a cold spell, to match the imagined warm weather we were promised this week I suppose. I have prepared though. I have fleece netting to protect the seedlings if needs be, but since they’ve been hardened-off well they should be okay. I have slug pellets scattered all around, but not around the plants, I want to draw them away and them let them die away from my seedlings. It’s worked well so far. Though complacency will cost you. Jack is vigilant. I also added sugar water to the seedlings to help with transplant/root shock and each has a cabbage, or brassica, collar to protect against root fly. I need more and might have to make my own. Another point to Google.

 photo WP_20170421_022_e_zpsln7k23jn.jpgPotatoes are really huge, though I like when they don’t pop up in surprising places.

I will sort out some cloche rings (Birthday present), and some rough bamboo ones too, but they’ll come later, I want the plants established a bit before I cover them. It’d be too easy to have them eaten and not even notice when they’re covered with netting. It’s butterflies you have to watch for. They lay eggs and just forget it. I don’t use spray pesticides so I have to cover, cover and cover. I’ll take it day by day and make changes as needed. When I had them growing last year some of them bolted and I was just about lucky enough to have replacements. So this year I’ll keep a few of the seedlings, I have so many!, and pass around the rest. I have the other section to plant yet. I think broccoli, more cabbage, the purple broccoli might go into pots as it’s harvested as needed. I also want a few Brussels sprouts, just a few as they’re such slow growers.

 photo WP_20170421_021_e_zpswcrhz8qz.jpgAsparagus. Did I make the tee-pee tee-hee joke?! No? Oh…

The all tee-pee is for runner beans, whilst, yes, I could use while, but I like whilst, just get o’er it, the smaller one is a split between more pea onward and sugar snaps. Whereas the tee-hee is for school girls of all ages. Phew, I almost missed a chance to make a stupid pun. A lot of this is going to have to be adjusted as I go, today I might think one way and another I’ll have to think again. It’s going well, worrying about imagined failures isn’t going to help me any so I’ll try to keep those bugbears away. I had a nice surprise today in the greenhouse. Another table king squash has started. I might yet see the full quota of five. Yeah, I’m aware that that isn’t that exciting, I just love squash. More than you, dear reader? Why, how could you ask that? Of course more than you.

 photo WP_20170421_016_e_zpsdkrtenqb.jpgThese are hyacinth, right? Mystery bulbs until the last, eh?

I think I might see the rose garden in full bloom this year. The bareroot transplants are doing really well and they all seem healthy. It’ll be a few years before the whole lot really comes into its own, but compared to the wild and weedy mess it once was it’s really great. I can’t wait for the rose-like ranunculus to bloom. I’ll be patient, but the first bloom of a flower is really special. A reward for the work put in. I seem to have all my smaller Summer bulbs starting, you can see some oxalis deppei if I’m right, starting above. They’re in the tires, on the walls and in a few pots. They sold out quick, but I snagged all I needed for a flowery Summer.

 photo WP_20170421_005_e_zpsntfphuss.jpgRose buds, rose hips?, are starting to appear.

I think for the next few days there’ll be a flurry of activity followed by more waiting and watching. I’ll enjoy it for now. I’m setting up the vegetable area for future use. There are a few weed fabric paths being added to help with weeding and not dragging soil everywhere. I think it’s the best use of he space there, I often say that if I grew one hundred cabbages I’d wish for a hundred and one. I grow what grows and I’ll be content with that. Until next time, dear reader.

 photo WP_20170421_017_e_zpsotw5vlap.jpgA early starting Dahila. The first I’ve seen at least.

Studied Stupidity

 photo WP_20170420_010_e_zps3rl5mpg6.jpgIs this even real or Is this just an elaborate prank on Jack?

What? You think that yours truly, Jack the ever audacious, is faking?! You think I do know what I’m doing and have been learning. How…how…did you know? Okay, yeah I think I do know more than I did last year, a lot more if I’m honest, but to temper that, and to keep me humble, there’s still so much I have no idea about. Gardening is complex and involved. But anyone can get in and learn, look at me, I’m actually doing it. Sure, it often feels like falling down a waterfall in a bottomless bucket, but occasionally the cataract slows and the bucket steadies and this metaphor has gotten away from me. What? No, I’m not implying anything about your eyes! Don’t make you hit you with a thesaurus, again, dear reader.

 photo WP_20170420_011_e_zpse8ja5k2q.jpgThe Shirley seem to deepen in colour as they age.

Now, I have spoken before on my compost bins, rather too frequently for a recipe blog, but that’s life, sometimes you’ve got to talk compost. Beats all that bull…Woah! Family-friendly blog! Anyway, I added a whole wheelbarrow’s worth to my vegetable patch a few months ago and covered it, last I dug it it was soft, rich looking, still a bit rough. I’ve dug it again in preparation for the Cabbages and Brussels Sprouts and I tell you, no word of a lie, that it was like sinking a warm knife into butter. Put that knife down, dear reader, you’ll listen to compost talk because I’m a deft hand at swinging shovels and digging holes. Hmmm? Threatening to murder my readership? Where did you get that idea? Must be those cataracts. Anyway, the soil was so wonderfully workable, whenever I found a weed I could shake off all the soil and get to the root and get rid. It’s been turned and forked, scattered over it is fertilizer and tomorrow I rake it and then plant. There has been a lot of learning and working to get here, but it’s wonderful to look at he fruit of my labours and even better to be able to share them with a captive audience. Don’t pull at that chain so, it rattles me.

 photo WP_20170420_003_e_zpsawzh4aw7.jpgDeeply hued and rich. Unlike Jack who is pasty and poor.

 photo WP_20170420_004_e_zpsdcvowm8w.jpgThese had a growth spurt while hardening-off. You have to time it as best you can.

I think now that I’m marking the beds and the pathways it’ll be best to line the paths with weed-proof fabric. The beds are the best use of he space as far as I can see. There will be a second teepee once I get even more bamboo poles. I have no idea where all I had last year went to, I think they’ve been shrinking as I seem to have all but the required size. If you were a true friend, dear reader, you’d have dashed over when I found myself in need. No, no. It’s too late now, but as the saying goes: What’s some bamboo between friends? That’s not a saying? You sure? Well, I suppose I’ll take you word for it. It’s all I’ll get from you anyway…no, I’m not bitter. Just bamboo-less.

 photo WP_20170420_005_e_zps5yohqljq.jpgNext in are some harlequin squash, purple and green broccoli.

 photo WP_20170420_007_e_zpsktytvvu7.jpgThe purple heart ranunculus started! I’m very excited about these.

There’ll be work all over the Summer, weeding, feeding, screaming obscenities at stunted plants. The usual. I feel that I know more this year and know when to worry and when it’s not worth worrying. I hope everything will go well, dear reader. In truth I felt that there was a presence missing, there’s an emptiness in the garden without Naru, I’ll just have to fill it with new life. I’m glad I took a chance on few seeds a few years ago, they’ve grown into something amazing. They even turned me into a gardener. Funny how life changes. Fear not, Jack might be a little more informed, but he’ll ever and always be the most humble, incredible, outstanding…hey! Get back here!

Quinoa Flour Savoury Waffles

 photo WP_20170419_002_e_zpsxq7i5px4.jpgI’ve yet to try the novelty plates.

Ah, dear reader, welcome to Jack’s Mansion of Waffles! That’s all the waffle jokes I’ve got. Yeah, back with yet another flour and another couple of waffles. I had hoped that these might have shared the crustiness of my Quinoa Bread, but sadly no crust. I will try frying them in butter eventually just to see how well they crunch up, either that or toast them. So, like with most promising recipes the future will hold wonder whilst the present just holds, well, waffles. Good waffles. I’ve had no troubles with stuck waffle so far, plenty of oil in the batter seems to work really well. These are similar to the previous recipes, the difference here is that these have less of a crispy texture and more of a skin, but inside they’re absurdly fluffy. It seems to be the most amazing property of quinoa flour when used with flaxseed and a lot of liquid. The batter here will be very runny, much moreso than waffle batter usually is. More of what a quinoa crepe batter would be. There’s a future recipe. I didn’t bother with sugar, I wanted these for sandwiches and you can always add sweetness afterwards, though sugar, white seems best, in the batter does help the waffles crisp up more. Another recipe that proves you can do without a lot of extra additions when using free-from flours, assuming you have the knowledge to use them or the patience to learn. See you again soon, dear reader.

 photo WP_20170419_004_e_zpskiqinfac.jpgI mostly use these as change up from bread.

Ingredients

150ml Water
100g Quinoa Flour
1 Large Eggs (70g to 75g in shell)
50ml Olive Oil
10g Ground Flaxseed
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt

Makes four waffles.
Can be frozen.

Method

1. Beat Eggs, Water, Olive Oil and Salt until frothy using a whisk.

2. Add in Flour, Flaxseed and Baking Powder then whisk until a smooth, very runny batter has been formed. Rest for five minutes.

3. Turn on Waffle Iron. and when heated add enough Batter to warmed Waffle Iron to fill the plates, close and cook for 7-10 minutes until waffles are golden brown and the bottom is crisp. Remove with a rubber spatula and let cool for a few minutes, Waffles will soften slightly as they cool. Repeat until batter is used up.

And Then There Were Plants

 photo WP_20170418_009_e_zpsjsnor2ft.jpgThese cathartic haiku
Observing verdant growth
Let stress float away

 photo WP_20170418_006_e_zpsjnicrewe.jpgElegant tulip
All dressed in midnight hues
Who do you mourn for?

 photo WP_20170418_008_e_zpsxoyjwhxt.jpgCor blimey, look here
Stone the crows, black inside and out
Lovely! God bless my soul!

 photo WP_20170418_001_e_zpszpqdvbpe.jpgAll is balanced
Never too serious, reader
Life is too short, smile

 photo WP_20170418_002_e_zpszbl5ny9u.jpgThese rescued flowers
Have found new life in my garden
Nothing better than free

 photo WP_20170418_003_e_zps1ynja9hg.jpgI hope for flowers
China Asters covered
Or, perhaps, just weeds

 photo WP_20170418_010_e_zpseokqqqqn.jpgLupins and lilies
Onions and more garter weed
Not for long, damn weed

 photo WP_20170418_011_e_zpsbu67y7x5.jpgOne pink anemone
I forgot to photograph
Take my word for it, please

 photo WP_20170418_012_e_zpskln1lntn.jpgHyacinth fade away
You’ve joined the crocus in rest
Tulip, stay a while

 photo WP_20170418_013_e_zpssjtoswwl.jpgGladioli gladly grew
Nerine just starting to show
Anemone wasn’t dead

 photo WP_20170418_014_e_zpsgowv59p8.jpgSummer and Spring part
A place for Autumn in there too
Winter as well

 photo WP_20170418_015_e_zpsrgcvvnvy.jpgPromised garden
Begins slowly to take its shape
Flowers for my best friend

 photo WP_20170418_017_e_zps5trqz8ou.jpgThe table king is late
The harlequin are running wild
Nine fools and one king

 photo WP_20170418_016_e_zpsyzuta4mr.jpgNothing as it seems
A Strawberry no berry at all
Science is confusing

 photo WP_20170418_019_e_zps7wnxwhmy.jpgArtichoke growing
Exotic immature thistle
How do they taste

 photo WP_20170418_020_e_zps3eyjmci7.jpgA tumbler beetroot
It actually worked, well then
Jack smug for a while

 photo WP_20170418_022_e_zpsxziwwsqe.jpgCabbage, Brussels sprouts
Getting ready for planting out
Brassica aplenty

 photo WP_20170418_021_e_zpsr8rcbgbn.jpgImprove the soil each year
Rotate the crops, smother those weeds
Enjoy every step

Putting The Best Food Forward

Hello again, dear reader, I’m trying to keep things running as normal. Grieving has its place, but life goes on regardless. If these posts aren’t up to the usual chipper, cheerful tones then I hope you’ll give me a pass. I so rarely write these weight loss, I’d rather not call them tips, that sounds much too like click-bait. These…eloquent elaborations on my personal success in maintaining long-term weight reduction. I’m joking, but in all seriousness I feel there is a need for people such as myself who have kept up their success, but don’t utilize it as a marketing tool. I’ve found that the most useless advice I’ve seen is the ones that deal in absolutes, even if there’s truth contained within them, perhaps worse in that case. Why? The pressure they create. Think of the difference between overcoming an issue and dealing with it. The same advice framed differently can create very polarised results. I hope I’ve hit a balance in these posts. The one problem I face is trying to find the formula to what I’ve accomplished. To lead you through the thorny bramble ridden path, stumbling and falling offers you no worth, but if I can examine where I’ve come from and find a short-cut that is helpful then I will try my hardest. It’s just a small part of the whole, but it’s better to have this alongside the hyperbole, right? I hope so.

So, what flash of clarity has been bestowed upon me? Hmmm, I’ll fill this in first. When you’ve lost the weight your stomach undergoes a reset, not without a fight, but let’s keep to the positive, and it can no longer hold as much as it used to. I think it’s hormones, but that doesn’t matter, it happens, looking up the why will probably occupy you instead of this, so focus. That can be undone, but that’s another post. So you have a set amount that you can consume, that’s great right? Yes, it is, but it’s only half of the story. To maintain good health, stable weight, all the good results, you have to put the food that’s best in your diet at the top of your priorities. Fill yourself up with all the healthy food you can and there’ll be little to no room for the junk food. It sounds simple, but it isn’t always easy. The opposite is by far the easiest. Eat too much cake? Then skip that healthy bowl of porridge, chugging soda and don’t want that broccoli,  toss it, etc, the mistakes add up.

How do you do this? It differs from person to person. I think a meal plan helps, if you have a list of foods you should be eating you have an extra barrier between you and poor eating habits. You have to disobey the rules you’ve established rather than just making mistakes due to poor planning. This isn’t a fast and loose rule either, you have to maintain this at all times. Parties, events, whatever, don’t matter, you should eat before you go if you won’t be able to stick to your diet. A few days is all it takes to mess it up and it’s harder and harder to get back to where you were before. Also, on the flip-side, the more you do it the more the habit becomes ingrained and hard to break. You’ll feel the difference in your general well-being when you slip slightly and won’t want to feel that way. It’s simple sounding, hard to do, but possible. I did it, dear reader, I’m still doing it and have never faltered, I won’t say you have no excuses or any of that arrogant spiel that pervades articles like this, but you should never have enough excuses not to try and try again and again. Okay, that’s it for today. I’ll be back again.

A Storm in The Break

There may be no interruption to the blog, it just might be a little sombre for a while. I’ll just copy this from elsewhere. I’ll be back again, dear readers.

Today we had to say goodbye to Naru. Over thirteen happy years and I can say with certainty that no one ever had a better friend than I did Naru. I don’t think I ever met a dog with a kinder, gentler nature. Some people could learn from Naru’s example. She’s now in the garden where she spent many a happy day and she’ll have flowers in abundance to keep her company.

 photo PicMonkey Collage_zpsfpaej3tt.jpg

Rice Flour Waffles

 photo WP_20170410_001_e_zps9wqgbt4e.jpgThe freshest eggs from happy hens make it really yellow.

Quick recipe time again. I just reached into my seemingly endless supply of recipes and fiddled with a Rice Flour Crepe recipe to make these. I just wanted a quick waffle to use for sandwiches. Waffle-wiches? I could try to fuss it into crisping up more, but by the time I’ve topped it with whatever I want it’ll probably get slightly soggy. I had a turkey rasher sandwich, I gave up conventional a long time ago, dear reader, and due to the hot rashers ended up with a cascading waterfall of warm butter. They soak well so it wasn’t so bad. So, these slightly crisp, very fluffy waffles are just fine by me. One annoyance is that I’d like all brown rice flour but all there ever is is the mixed blend from Dove’s Farm. Not a bad flour, just annoying when you want exact consistently predictable results. I’d say all brown should be fine here, even all white might be okay, but I’d side with the brown more.

 photo WP_20170410_004_e_zps7qkkrk9c.jpgTop and bottom. They look like two different waffles.

I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to be pulling out of my waffle iron, but they’re stable, cooked and fluffy so that’s enough for me. Waffle perfectionists will have to look elsewhere. I do flip them part way to get the other side a little more crispy, not that it does much. As for changes, I guess you could ditch the sugar and go fully savoury. I will eventually look into a egg free recipe, or rather make my own. I’ll get there in time. All things in time, dear reader. That’s it for today. Class dismissed. Heh.

Ingredients

100g Rice Flour (White and Brown Blend)
2 Medium Eggs (60g-65g in Shell)
75ml Low Fat Milk Or Water
50ml Olive Oil
25g Sugar or Honey (If using Honey they will brown more)
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

Makes 4 Waffles. Can be frozen.

Method

1. Turn on Waffle Iron. Beat Eggs until frothy using a whisk, then mix in Milk, Olive Oil and Sugar beat until combined.

2. Add in Flour and Baking Powder whisk until a smooth, runny batter has been formed.

3. Add enough Batter to warmed Waffle Iron to fill the plates, close and cook for 7-10 minutes until waffles are golden brown and the bottom is crisp. Remove wih a rubber spatula and let cool for a few minutes, Waffles will crisp up slightly more as they cool. Repeat until batter is used up.