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To brown thumbs... and veggie boxes

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16 Sep 2010

Hi everyone,

With the improving Cape Town weather, and the brave buds popping up everywhere, Andreas and I have been trying to flex our brown thumbs again.

I say brown, as opposed to green, because – well, we’re not terribly good at getting actual vegetables from sprout to table. Luckily, because we’ve been bandying the word permaculture around for a number of years now, we’ve got quite relaxed with the idea that we’re better at espousing the ideals than actually producing produce.

Our organic veggie garden also provides huge amounts of entertainment opportunities.

Take last Sunday, for example, when we kicked down the tyre stack in which we have been growing potatoes all winter. Or ‘potato’ as it turns out, because once disassembled... all that we could find in the nine wheelbarrows of soil was a single, delicate baby potato – a little bit smaller than a Smartie.

“That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!” exclaimed Benj, our nine-year-old.  “Can I keep it? I think I shall name it Frank! It can live in a matchbox.”

“Of course you can,” beamed Andreas proudly. “I grew it just for you.”(We’re real glass half full of sunshine people in our house.)

Luckily, each season we have one runaway success which keeps us motivated. This winter, we seem to have totally conquered spinach. Seriously, we have more spinach than grass, which is also known in our house as  ‘the evil imperialist weed’. (I told you we were well versed in the theory of permaculture).

I am up to my barren homemade sprout bottles in spinach. Which would be fine, if someone in my family ACTUALLY ATE SPINACH.

It’s a problem, dear readers, of epic proportions... one which I have had to turn to Chef Caro to fix. So while the rest of you are feasting on asparagus, strawberries, beetroot and carrots from your community veggie boxes, I shall be trying to tempt my family with the following gems:

· Creamy spinach, mushroom and bacon pasta - this is so easy and really scrummy too.

· Eggs florentine - gorgeous poached eggs in silky hollandaise, what's better?

· Brinjal and spinach bake with 3 cheeses - a cheesy bake with all the goodness.

· Warm sausage, potato and spinach salad - simple and tasty with a creamy sauce.

Wish me luck. Oh, and feel free to send me spinach recipes too! Bewilderingly, it appears I literally can’t have too many.

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