Archive for the ‘garden’ Category


The Dread Herb Robert

April 27, 2008

Not really – just herb robert (geranium robertianum), which sprang up and is flowering in our back garden. So many lovely wildflowers here.


It has started

February 15, 2008

saffron crocus

This is a saffron crocus from our front garden. We are growing our own spices, even in cold old England. And daffodils are starting to spring up. Yay!



February 8, 2008


Ok I know they’re imported, ok I know they’ve all but eradicated the native red squirrels on this island, and I so know what havoc they can wreak on a garden, but grey squirrels are so cute! So cute! These rather blurry A-Current-Affair-style photos were taken through the window so excuse the picture quality (and taken by a very amateur photographer – ptooey Jacques!). The friendliest neighbourhood squirrel buried a peanut in one of our herb planters for winter safe keeping. I am now resisting the temptation to bore you with multiple letters and exclamation marks. Cuuuuuuuuuttttttte!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oops.

Oh yes and if your life has been incomplete without the mystery sound Jamesy finally figured out how to put it on an internet.


Food is where it’s at. Man.

December 4, 2007

It’s been a little chillier than I’ve been used to. Average max. daytime temperature in Sydney, I’m told, for winter, is 19C. Lately, it being but Autumnal here, we’ve been living in just over half that, I have been told.
Time for some time in the kitchen. (As always, but it sounds better when you’d rather not be outside due to inclemency of the weather.)
Roast pheasant, stuffed with butter and sage, alongside roast onion, garlic, parsnip and potato. Bloody great, and only £4 for the bird as opposed to the comfortably more than £10 that we’d pay for a(n organic) chook (that’s a chicken for any non-antipodean types who’ve found their way here.) It’s smaller, of course, but tasty as all get out. And it’s not some weird inbred specimen.
And they say English food is shite. Well it is, but it doesn’t have to be! The ingredients are all here!
Here’s another bargain delight:
Mussel risotto pan
The mussels are less than £4/kilo, (that’s live, so the shells make up most of the weight) and a kilo is enough to flavour vast amounts of tucker – this risotto was muscularly flavoured with just the stock from steaming them open in wine, never mind the vast wealth of flavour when the mussels themselves were added at the end. It was almost a disservice to the rice, and the homemade chicken stock it was mostly cooked in, the way the mussels wrestled them into submission, but a little fennel (bought), and bronze fennel (the fine dark strands in the picture) which comes out of our garden, with a little of the parsley which grows beside it lifted it all again, the way fresh herbs do. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the cheese! You may know that a trad risotto has a Parmesan quotient, but we figured that that wouldn’t play nicely with the mussels. Luckily we found at the market a fun mozzarella di bufala that was mild and lovely and NOT rubbery, but melted in delicious strands around the other ingredients – I’m tempted to do it all again next weekend!


Signs of Progress

November 25, 2007

I wasn’t going to do a post today (or most other days, you may have noticed) but I bought a new thing (for me), and decided that something, anything really, was in order by way of celebration.


I’m not that interested in the Brussels Convention, though I’m sure it has its enthusiastic proponents, and they’re perfectly entitled to their views. And while I’m no expert when it comes to the Kyoto Protocol, I’m far more interested in its outcomes than those of its Belgian cousin.

Therefore, in honour of the events of the weekend just passed, the sound thrashing of the rather unpleasant Howard regime and the impending Australian ratification of the above Protocol, I propose the celebratory renaming of this vegetable to “Kyoto sprout.”

May the incoming government be as timely, sensible, fruitful, straightforward and as good steamed with butter and a little salt as this fine work of nature.


Wow all these weeds are native to Islington! And they have the cutest names!

September 11, 2007

front garden

Ok not these ones, the ones in the link below. Weeds are just plants in the wrong place.

Fun things I just bought for the back garden

The back is tiny, mostly London clay (as they call it here) and now horsey goodness – 10 bags of it from the local horse man – in fact the whole family came along to deliver it. Cute! As soon as the native plantey goodness makes it into an oasis of bird, bee and butterfly life, there will be photos aplenty.

In the meantime let me tell you about the front garden – we have had marvellous success with rocket – one kind from Alan Titchmarsh, one from nice Italian seed company – (so there, Steve Mac – I shouldn’t give up gardening – I knew it was just a sun issue) and, encouraged by such abundance, have in the last week planted coriander (risky), parsley and basil – giant, for wrapping stuff (oops forgotten variety, but direct from Italy). It may be even smaller than a postage stamp out there, but it gets sun! Sage, thyme and rosemary were here when we came – we have added fennel, tarragon, sorrel, oregano, mint, peppermint, creeping savoury and bay. And we discovered pineapple mint yesterday. Must get the tiki cocktails happening without delay!



April 16, 2007


I’ve just spent a lovely day in the garden (yes one of us is still unemployed) sweeping tending and watering. Yes watering. In England! It hasn’t rained here for 3 weeks and everyone is commenting on the lovely but highly unusual weather. Tops of 24 degrees and in April! It’s all spaghetti straps and footy shorts over here. Yikes.

The best part was that after I swept last year’s oak leaves away from the concrete pavers, did a bit of digging and watering, the robins were very curious to see what was going on – three of them flew into the garden and hopped about eating bugs and bits not more than two feet away. They sing so well.

Thankyou to for the pic. I’m afraid the camera phone isn’t quite good enough yet for such a zoom and the other camera is in constant use…