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Green Bean and Corn Succotash

During the Easter weekend, I spent time with family which, of course, means the over-consumption of food.  Not wanting to contribute to the fat-fest that is Easter (and thus contribute to the size of my thighs) I decided to make some slightly healthier (but also tasty) options for our family gathering.  I quickly made a Tuna Loaf , which everyone always enjoys and, if there’s leftovers, can be eaten the next day and freezes well too.

I then thought about making a salad.  Now, I eat salad pretty much every single day.  Which can get a little bit dull, to be honest.  I didn’t want to make the usual lettuce-cucumber-tomato scenario, so I went with this yummy Green Bean and Corn Succotash.  My ex Mother-in-Law used to make this for me whenever we got together for a family event.  It is fresh and vibrant and so colourful.  This isn’t her exact recipe – I haven’t been able to find her original one (which I put somewhere very safe and now, well, you can guess the rest) but it is pretty close and I reckon, with some tweaking, one day I might replicate hers exactly.  In the meantime, I will enjoy some delicious trial and error 🙂

This recipe, below, is adapted from Celebratemag.com

Ingredients

350g green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 small red onion, diced

3 cups corn kernels (fresh, or frozen, drained and cooled)

1/2 red capsicum, diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs: parsley, basil, or cilantro

2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar (start with 1/2 tsp, then add other half if you think it needs it!)

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook green beans in boiling, salted water until bright green and barely tender, 2 minutes. Plunge beans into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well on paper towels.
  2. Sauté diced onions until softened, 3 to 4 minutes, in the 2 tbs olive oil. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool.
  3. Add corn, beans, capsicum and herbs to onions, tossing to combine;
  4. In a small jar, combine remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard, and pepper; cover and shake to blend. Dressing can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored at room temperature.
  5. Just before serving, cover, and shake dressing jars to blend; drizzle on salads.

Voila!  Yummy, healthy and a bit of a change from a boring green salad.

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Thank you for popping in 🙂

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Going to Pot

I’ve been on a re-potting frenzy this week.  All my succulents need attention at the moment – they’re all a bit cramped and needing rehoming.  Some of them have so many pups they’re crowding themselves out.  I have loads more to do, but have started with the ones shown here.

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Crassula (Green Pagoda, I think!) – I am hoping those little pink tips bloom into something blossomy…but I’m not sure if this one does that.  I bought it at a recent Garden Show in my town and, despite me neglecting it, it has grown quite well and remained super bright green and healthy.

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Haworthia Retusa (I think).  This one is part of the whole plant I got at Amanda’s Garden earlier in the year.  It was in a sad little plastic pot and needed freshening up, dividing and rehoming.  It will out-grow this little pot fairly quickly, but for now it will be ok.  I put the other sections of it into this lovely vintage sugar bowl (below).  I think it suits the colours of the bowl and the squat shape/design (also, by this stage, I was running out of pots ha ha).  My Aunt gave me a whole box of little mugs and pots, bowls and other receptacle for succulents – this was one of them).

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Haworthia Attentuata – this is the sad little one I got from my Mum after she nearly killed it and then gave it to me for some TLC.  It’s doing a lot better although I needed to repot it again, so I have done so here.  Hopefully it will perk up again and not have those daggy dry bits on the ends!  I find the Attentuatas reproduce very quickly and prolifically, so I am  forever dividing them up and making new arrangements for them.  Below are some more specimens.  My “Piggy” pot was overflowing, and the plants were starting to look a bit unhappy, so I divided off the babies and re-potted all of them.  They are easy to grow and I love their stripey, spotty patterns.  Hopefully, the Mother plant will start to feel less cramped and will start looking less brown and grumpy.

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Euphorbia Milii Crown of Thorns.  This poor little thing has been waiting at least a year or so for re-potting.  I’m not a huge fan of this one.  I love the bright, red flowers but I’m not so keen on those nasty spikes.  Re-potting it was a delicate operation!  The leaves look healthy enough so I am hoping it will keep growing ok and be happy in its new home.

So, that’s a few down, several bazillion to go.  I am such a procrastinator.  But, now that the weather is cooling down somewhat, I should be able to get stuck into the other plants too and sort everyone out.  I keep talking to them, promising them new accommodation and neighbourhoods (ie moving them to a different part of the garden or spot in the sunshine).  My bathroom is overflowing with succulents now – they seem to love it in there so I keep adding more pots.  I really do love to garden, in my own slightly slap-dash way.  And, in the absence of any pets, these little life forms give me something to care for and interact with – even if it is a one-sided  conversation 🙂

Super Succulents

Super Succulents

I am increasingly enamoured of my little succulent collection.  I feel almost guilty about it, seeing as how it was my friends FK and MD who introduced me to them.  They’ve created a monster.

I love watching them develop and grow.  It’s exciting (sadly) to see the little buds of new growth.  I talk to them and encourage them, which is sadder still.  But, when one does not have any pets, one must make do with plants.  They’re still living things, even if they can’t converse with you.  But, if they do start conversing with me, I probably won’t share it on here.  I might start looking at some sort of medication though.

My two little lithops are currently causing me to go “Squeeeee!” a lot because they are splitting and dividing with abandon.  Well, ok, to be truthful, they’ve only done it once each so far.  But that’s exciting, right?  I haven’t killed them or caused them to wilt/rot/disintegrate which is awesome.

The “Living Stone” lithop is particularly wonderful.  Look at that perfect division! I didn’t even know they could send a four-leafed new shoot out.  I just assumed it would be a two-leaf scenario that popped up.  I haven’t seen any that do four before.  Maybe it’s like a four-leafed clover!  Should I rub it and then buy a lottery ticket?

IMG_7964Ooh.. Just starting to split…

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Little bit more…can see the leaves inside now…

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…and – ta daaaaaa!…So cute and pretty 🙂

The same thing is happening with its neighbour, the “Baby Toes” lithop.

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…When I bought baby home…

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…a year later…

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…and now! Hooray!

I am hoping this means they are happy.  My friend’s lithops died fairly quickly after purchase, so the fact that mine have thrived makes me happy and somewhat bemused as to why mine decided not to cark it.  When I don’t really know what the heck I’m doing.  Maybe it’s the idle chatter I spout at them.  I could be on to something.  If only I had thought of doing that with my roses, I might have glorious blooms that would be the envy of the neighbourhood, instead of the sad specimens I currently have.  That look like thorny sticks with wilted pot pourri on them. Oh well…

Have yourself a super day today 🙂

Lavender Farm

Lavender Farm

During our trip to the South West last month, we travelled to lots of pretty places, through still-green-and-lush countryside.  One such place was the Lavender Farm in Balingup (about 240km from Perth).  My Mum and I had been there before, about ten years ago and were eager for our UK visitor to see the property and perhaps share some delicious tea and scones.  We were disappointed to find they no longer serve lunches (I’m absolutely convinced that they used to – but maybe I am muddling them up with a different places…) so we just looked around the garden instead.  Sadly, the lavender itself was not out, having been pruned back to small clumps.  Disappointment again.  But, we made do with the rest of the garden which was pretty and colourful, with a few individual lavender bushes, California poppies, bulbs and other beautiful blooms.

The property is nestled in the hills of Balingup and the countryside itself is gorgeous.  It’s kind of an Aussie version of a English dale.  Green and lush, rolling hills dotted with fluffy sheep and little farmhouses.  So pretty.

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I love lavender – its smell and colour and just the look of it when it is in full flower.  It’s a shame we didn’t get to see the farm in full harvesting bloom, but the little amount we did see was lovely nevertheless.  The bees seemed to be happy enough 🙂

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The California poppies were gorgeous – that orange is so sunny and bright.  I loved the just-opening ones.

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We saw lots of these Scillas on our travels.  Scilla Peruviana to be precise.  I only know this because I looked it up ha ha.  SO pretty.  That bright, bright blue-purple is dazzling.  Another favourite with the bees.

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Lots of irises.  The icy white complemented the purple ones – very beautiful.  When we returned home, Mum was pleased to see hers had flowered in our absence – they are stunning.  Such a favourite in the garden at this time of year.  They are elegant without being too showy.

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I wasn’t sure what these flowers were called so I had to look them up when I got home.  They are everywhere at the moment.  Blooming on the side of the road, in people’s gardens, and in council displays.  They are so bright and cheerful and pretty.  They’re Ixias, or African Corn Lillies.  Native to South Africa, these bulbs seem to like our warm climate and flower beautifully in the Spring.  The colours range from yellow to red, pink to purple, with every shade in between.  Lovely.  They also make a nice cut flower – lasting well in a vase for a pretty arrangement.

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So, we had a nice hour at the Lavender Farm, despite the general lack of Lavender, and got lots of gorgeous flower photos.  Mum even got to see a Blue Wren, her favourite little bird, so it was worth the trip even for that.  I’ll write up about the bird life in a future post.

A beautiful part of the South West 🙂