Another Zucchini Recipe

If you have zucchini plants growing in your garden, chances are that it is now providing an abundance of fruit.

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If not watched carefully, the fruits grow into mammoth proportions. This has happened to us a few times this summer! Fortunately, there are hundreds of ways to use zucchini of all sizes. DH has chopped up the really large ones to make into relish. I have spiralized a few to make “spaghetti”, sliced several lengthwise to make “lasagna” and shredded the smaller ones to make into zucchini bread.

Gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 small – medium sized zucchini, shredded

6 Tablespoons cocoa

2 cups almond flour

6 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered stevia (or sugar, if preferred)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

3 large eggs

6 tablespoons extra light olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 4 small loaf pans.

Shred the zucchini and put into a paper towel lined colander to absorb excess moisture.

Using a wire whisk, combine all the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

Stir the eggs and oil together.

Press as much moisture as you can from the zucchini, then  add it and the egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Mix everything together and divide into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely before slicing.

Tip: This zucchini bread freezes very well.

 

 

 

A Currant Event

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This story had its beginnings many years ago when, as a child, I went with my parents to my great uncle’s farm to pick currants – both black and red. I remember being told that the black ones were to be picked individually. It was easier to pick the red ones because  they could be picked with their stems attached. I’m not sure how much I helped filling the baskets but it is a fond memory and I have loved black and red currant berries ever since.

Three years ago a DF gave us three black currant bushes to plant. I knew not to expect any fruit the first two years, so it was exciting to discover tiny green blossoms on the plants this spring and even more exciting was the fact that bees were buzzing from flowers to flower. Over the weeks since I have checked the progress of our very first currant crop, watching the berries turn from green to red to black. Finally, it was time to pick. Under the blazing July sun I sat at each bush and carefully picked the fruit sampling the odd one or two. Blackcurrants-2

When I had finished I’d managed to half fill a 3L basket – not bad for a first crop.

Black Currant Syrup

300g black currants

125 ml raw honey

150 ml water

juice from 1/2 lemon

Wash the black currants and remove any green stems that may still be attached.

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and cook very gently over a low heat for two hours.Blackcurrants-3

Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and suspend the sieve over a large enough pan to contain the  juice.  Pour the cooked berries into the cheesecloth and allow them to drip overnight:

The next day pour the strained syrup into a sterilized jar and store in the refrigerator.

This yielded 250ml of syrup, (and about an equal amount of mashed berries):

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Enjoy the syrup as a refreshing cordial: add a  large spoonful to sparkling water and ice.

The mashed berries: well I plan to mix a generous spoonful with my favourite unflavoured yogurt.

Black currants are an excellent source of vitamin C –  better than oranges!

Loving Lavender

The other night DH and I were watching an episode of Downton Abbey. One of the  characters, (Daisy), was busy in the kitchen stripping the dried flowers from lavender stems. She mentioned that the flowers were going to be made into sachets which would then be used to scent clothing and linen cupboards. Lavender scent famously repels moths as well.

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It was a long, cold winter and I worried that my English lavender plants would be killed off. Happily all three survived, are in full bloom, fragrant and abuzz with wild bees.

Feeling confident about their ability to thrive in our less than optimal growing conditions I thought I’d try an experiment to see if I could propogate lavender from stem cuttings. I found abundant  information on the internet  with directions to do this.

The first step was to take a few woody stem cuttings using a very sharp knife:

After stripping the leaves from the bottom 5 cm and removing the flower from the top end I dipped the bottom end into root stimulator; natural unpasteurized honey.

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I had prepared a clay pot ahead of time by soaking it overnight in water. When I was ready to take the cuttings I filled the pot with potting soil.fullsizeoutput_68

The prepared cuttings were then inserted into the soil, evenly spaced around the edges of the pot.

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Finally, I enclosed the entire pot in a clear plastic bag and placed the pot in a bright window.

 

Only time will tell whether my experiment is successful.

A Colourful Transition

The wetter than normal spring and early summer that we enjoyed rewarded our garden with plentiful and beautiful hydrangea blooms. Over the course of the season the blooms changed colour  from brilliant blues to mauve to pinkish -green. Although I hate to cut any flowers, I know that the hydrangea bloom’s beauty can continue for months as they dry indoors. hydrangeas_colour-1-2hydrangeas_colour-1-3

I cut the stems to fit and removed most of the leaves before arranging in  shallow bowls. Because I want them to dry, I don’t put any water in the bowls

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It’s coming soon! Hope to see you there:

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