Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Busy (Bad) Blogger!

So sorry that I've been slack with the posts lately.. it's my busy season and between writing, the radio show, weekend lectures and regular life, there has been little time for blogging. Truth be told, I think that blogging is one of my favourite forms of communication. I love reading about other people's gardens and watching the progress of their crops and the seasons.. I love getting inspired from their photographs and ideas. It's like going on a garden tour every day! 

I've also been held back by technology!! I've been trying to post this entry for 2 days now!! Since the cord that connects my camera to my computer 'magically disappeared' three weeks ago, uploading photos has been a challenge.. how do things disappear so completely.. it was on my desk and presto, it's gone forever!! Argh!! 

 The good news is that I think I've semi-mastered the art of the Belgium waffle!! For years, I've just quickly whipped up a pancake-like batter for weekend waffles, experimenting with a variety of whole grains to boost the nutritional value.. But, after enjoying authentic waffles in Belgium last month, we've been spoiled.

There are two main types of Belgium waffles - Liege waffles, which are dense buttery treats that glisten with caramelized sugar (I haven't attempted these yet - but will soon!) and traditional 'light as a feather' waffles that are crispy, yet airy. So delicious! These are what I attempted ( I did scour the internet and my cook books for a good recipe. This is a yeast batter and I decided to try the allrecipes one because it was highly recommended. I whipped up the batter before bed and then let it rise  overnight in the fridge - spectacular!! It rose and was gorgeous - I hated to dip the ladle in to scoop it onto the waffle iron!

We topped them with fresh sweet whipped cream and local maple syrup. Maple syrup may not be a traditional Belgium topping, but it's our Canadian twist! In the market in Bruge, the artisan topped our waffles with a thick layer of super-light whipped cream. Divine.. and I'm pretty pleased with my version. As you can see, the kids added some sprinkles for extra colour!

Now, I'm on the hunt for a local source of Belgium sugar - chunks of sugar used to make Liege waffles. I've heard that you can just roughly chop sugar cubes for a similar product.. but, if possible, I'd love to find the authentic sugar. In any case, I won't be attempting these waffles this weekend, as it's going to be a busy one. I will be speaking on Saturday afternoon in Western Shore, NS at the annual general meeting of the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs. Amazingly, the event sold out months ago! I can't wait, that will be so much fun! It's always lovely to meet and re-visit with some of the amazing gardeners in our region. Then on Sunday is the radio show - Andrea Bellamy, the author of Sugar Snaps and Strawberries (and the blogger behind Heavy Petal) will be joining me! I'm really looking forward to that conversation!

Anyway, in other gardening news, my own veggie patch has also suffered from neglect (along with the blog). First, many things were delayed because of our recent trip and now that I'm home, I'm behind because there is just not enough time in the day. Mind you, the deer and slugs are not helping me in any way!! We have been working on the garden fence when time allows - usually in the evening alongside clouds of blackflies. The posts that will surround our biggest garden are in finally in, but we haven't put up the deer netting yet and we need to finish the posts around the 2nd garden. So far, we've been very very lucky that we haven't hit any large rocks! It seems our soil grows big rocks!!

In regards to the darn deer, they have been wandering in at night and nibbling on the peas, but have so far not been too damaging. I tossed a lightweight row cover over the peas for now and thanks to the added warmth from the cover, they're growing like crazy and the deer can't get to them. Of course, that makes staking them difficult.. hopefully this weekend we'll get garden 1 fenced in and I can get the pea supports up!

I've also been using simple cloches to cover my newly planted tomatoes each night. Like many gardeners, I tend to use recycled objects - plastic milk jugs, salad containers and even large buckets. At night, the plants don't need a clear cover to allow light to penetrate, all they need is a barrier against a potential frost, so pretty much anything will do - even a sheet of newspaper or an upside down box! My neighbour is extremely clever! She uses old punch bowls that she bought at a garage sale and even large wine and margarita glasses!! Check out the photos below! Love it! She had these glasses over her small newly transplanted tomato seedlings and then over these cute lettuces.. so much fun! 

Fence posts awaiting their new home!

The mache is in bloom - soon I'll have the seed for next year's crop!

The pollinators love the dainty flowers of mache. 

My box of 2012 Proven Winners container plants arrived.. Fedex played catch with it!

Poor damaged plants.. I'm hoping they come around. 

Found some old peat pellets and thought I should use them up. Don't usually like them, but I'm not going to waste them!

An elegant lettuce!

1 comment:

  1. Have been using recycled 2L pop bottles for a few years. Cut them in half and then cut a little window out of the bottom so that rain can get in or easy watering. The other end I use as well because without the cap it also allows for watering as well as maintaining temperature


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)