Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Fallen apples and Strawberry spinach

So that you don't think I was exaggerating about the blustery winds over the past few days.
Look at these fallen apples!
Here they are, raked and all clumped together. These cooking apples albeit small have all fallen off the tree at the bottom of my garden. The apple tree is strategically placed blocking the passing commuter trains. Every year, around autumn time, we had become used to a gentle windfall, so that we could harvest some of the cooking apples. Sometimes there were so many that we were giving them away. But last year for the first time ever, we didn't get to enjoy a single apple from the tree. Not sure exactly what happened. Of course we were disappointed, but we are in a fortunate position as we could purchase some from the grocery stores, but the birds that had become accustomed to making this apple tree a stop came and went. Anyway this year signs were good, that was of course until the wind came and knocked so many of them down.
But I look up and still see some there. I may still get to eat home-grown apple crumble, apple ice-cream and hopefully the waxwings will come back too.
I spy my first broad bean.
the first courgette di nizza, a round variety,
the first hestia dwarf runner bean,
The wild strawberries are growing well. There will never be enough to make a dessert with, but that okay, as I love just picking and popping them into my mouth as I potter around the garden. So much more sweeter than a wine gum (which incidentally I gave up eating many, many years ago because of the animal gelatin content).
Here's a surprise, finally my strawberry spinach is appearing. The triangular leaves with spiky edges themselves have been poor, but the berries are starting to make an appearance. I don't know why it is called strawberry spinach as the berries to my eyes look more like raspberries or even red bramble berries. Strawberry Spinach botanical name Chenopodium capitatumis. It is also known as strawberry sticks, beetberry, strawberry blite and even miniature dwarf bearded iris . Both the leaves and berries are edible, and can be eaten either raw or cooked. The berries taste nothing like strawberries at all they have a mild flavour similar to the leaf. I am a little disappointed in them, the same way I was disappointed when I grew sweetcorn 'strawberry 'pop' corn' that went all mouldy.
Here is a pot that has a number of Brassicas growing in it such as Tuscan kale and two cabbages. I may have messed up here as they are all fighting for space to stretch. I can only watch now and hope that they give each other space to grow.
What is growing well in the plot though, are my broccoli. So many of them are shouting to be picked before they flower.
So I did pick a few with some peas. They will be part of our meal this evening. For lunch though, I made this Orzo salad. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta.
Last month I made orzo salad with courgettes and carrots, but this one is with the green and yellow beans I had found in the freezer last week.
Orzo, green beans, olive and lemon salad
150g - 200g Orzo cooked according to packet instructions, drained and set aside
300g French beans, trimmed
4 spring onions, sliced
8 – 12 black olives, stones and cut into rings
½ preserved lemon, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the beans in plenty of boiling salted water until just tender. Meanwhile put the onions, olives, preserved lemon, garlic and olive oil into the salad bowl and mix together. Add the orzo to this as well. As soon as the beans are cooked, drain and add them to the salad bowl, swirling them around so they are well-coated with the dressing ingredients. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to your liking. Feel free to adjust the flavourings to suit your taste buds. You may want it more zingy. Idea inspired by Catherine Mason’s Vegetable Heaven.


  1. Your veg looks fantastic, mangocheeks! Your broccoli looks picture perfect. I bet it tastes good.

  2. it looks to me like your garden is doing so well! I hope to one day actually start a vegetable garden in my back yard. I have plenty of room for it but I am terrible about remembering to water things! Your pictures and recipes inspire me to try though!

  3. Nice garden with lovely veggies and fruits.Strawberry spinach is new to me.They sure look like raspberries.OrzoGreenBeans salad looks delicious.

  4. Great broccoli harvest! That's exciting. I've often wondered about those strawberry spinaches...I've seen it in seed catalogs, but never in person.

  5. What a wonderful harvest it looks to be. Never seen strawberry spinach before. Maybe the wind now will be good for the rest of the apples, giving them more space to grow? I hope so. Our trees are loaded, but the deer keep visiting so I am not sure how many they will leave us. They have leaped over our deer proof fence and eaten all our brussel sprout plants and some of our red cabbage. What can you do? Perhaps, not bother with building a fence....

  6. Your garden is amazing! I wish I had an apple tree in my yard :) I love the strawberry spinach! Your kale and broccoli are doing so well also! My broccoli is so small and cute right now. I highly doubt it will get as big as yours :)

  7. I love seeing your garden produce. Last year we had absolutely no cherries from our tree, so I found it interesting that you had no apples. This year was only a few, but that's better than none! And it looks like you'll have some apples this year, yay:) The waxwings are lovely, wish they would come around here, we usually only see them when they are migrating.

  8. Your garden food looks awesome. I would love to grow veggies and fruit. With my picky eater hubby it would go to waste though! Thanks for visiting and I'm happy you got to see sand dollars for the first time.
    Hugs N Herbal Blessings, Mandy

  9. Your fruit and veg have given me inspiration, I'm growing a few basics but that's all I can seem to manage before it all goes wrong.... The salad looks yummy, I will be giving it a go, thank you.

  10. Sorry about the apples, hope you get enough for a pie! The orzo recipe looks good, but I have never heard of a preserved lemon. How is it preserved, is it a canned good?
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I love comments!

  11. looks so fresh. i love easy and healthy recipes like these. i love this with extra garlic

  12. Lovely brassicas, much further on that our broccolli! I'm impressed!

  13. Hi, I have found your blog via Robin’s. You grow some lovely broccoli!
    I have never heard of Orzo, I thought that on the picture it was rice.

    Lovely blog and I like the sidebar too, lots of useful information!

  14. Thank you FlowerPowerGirl.
    I am rather pleased with the broccoli. 'picture perfect' you say, lovely compliment and happily accepted.

    Thank you Darlene.
    I am sure you will get a little patch oneday and then your grandson can help you and get his little mitts mucky.

    I grew the Strawberry spinach for novelty factor. The leaves are rather disappointing. Once the seed packet is finsihed. I may not bother growing them again.

    Thank you Rose.
    Now that i've grown the strawberry spinach - I think I'll pass next time, only because the leaves have been disappointingly small. But i have tro admit the berries are a marvel to look at.

    Its my first time with strawberry spinach. The leaves are a bit on the small side.
    Yeah I should look on the positive side, the fallen apples will hopefully have given those remaining more space to grow.

    I hope the visiting deer leaves some apples for you to munch on. Ooh sorry to hear about them chomping on your sprouts, does that mean you won't have any for Christmas?! or do you have a back up supply growing somewhere else?

    Thanks Carissa.
    Its small, but is growing and providing some edibles.
    I do hope your broccoli grows as big as mine:)

  15. your garden looks wonderful - never heard of the strawberry spinach but it looks so pretty - hope some of those apples hang in for you and the birds

  16. Thanks Janet.
    Interesting to read that last year you you got no cherries from your tree and me no cookign apples.

    I agree the little that you have got this year is certainly better than none! Hopefully, i'll get some apples too:)

    The waxwings were lovely amazing. I renamed them punky birds. We only get to see them when they are migrating too, hence our tree had become a stop for a load of them.

    Thank you so much for your comment Mandy aka Herbgirl. I really appreciate it.

    Oh Mandy, Thank you for such a lovely compliment.

    Thanks Sandy.
    Hopefully we'll get some for a pie, but fingers crossed for much much more.

    You can buy preserved lemons or make your own. Preserved lemon or lemon pickle is a North Africsan condiment, normally used in Moroccan cuisine. Lemons are pickled either quartered, halved, or whole in a brine of water, lemon juice and salt. Sometimes spices are added. The pickle is then allowed to ferment at room temperature for weeks or months before it is used. The pulp of the preserved lemon can be used in stews and sauces, but generally it is the peel (zest and pith together) that is most valued. The flavor is mildly tart but intensely lemony. Totally recommend it if you haven't tried it.

  17. Thank you so much Maaya.

    Thanks Mrs Dobby.
    The brassicas must be liking my soil, otherwise I don't quite understand why they are so much further than yours!

    Thank you so much for coming by vrtlarica.
    And your lovely comment. I'll come on over and visit your blog later today.

    Yeah, the Orzo does look like rice. I thought that too when I first saw it.

  18. Thank you Johanna.
    I too hope that some of those apples hang in for us and the birds.

    Tweet Tweet.

  19. I'm sorry about your apples, the quail ruined all my strawberries, they just nibble all around the berries and they look like a red mushy ball hanging from the plant, how sad! I love all the photos from the garden, everything looks really good and you have some interesting things you're trying, it's fun to grow new things. Your past few recipes look incredible, I love the cauliflower tart and the kiwi avocado salsa and the green bean/orzo dish looks pretty good as well:-)

  20. Thanks Patty,
    But i am hopeful that we wil get some this year.

    It made me giggle - but I am so sorry to read that the greedy quails nibbled all your berries. All that work and you don't get to enjoy them. Perhaps consider covering them with netting next time. I do hope some other berris come through for you to enjoy.

  21. Nice mini-harvest! Hope you will get a decent amount of apples this autumn. Always breaks my heart when I pass houses with apple trees that go unused and rot on the ground. Such a waste.

    I've never heard of strawberry spinach. Interesting. This year I planted Regal and Bloomingdale, definitely getting a better harvest out of the former.

    I love orzo...that salad looks wonderful. I bet it tastes lovely the next day when all the flavours are absorbed. I will definitely keep this recipe in mind when, hopefully, my bean harvest arrives!

  22. Thanks you for visiting my blog and commenting on Tuesday Trivia Tie in. Your blog is so full of delicious sounding recipes, and interesting information, I'd love to see you link up on Tuesdays.

    I am absolutely fascinated with strawberry spinach and may have to look into planting some for us next year.

  23. Thanks Christine.
    It breaks my heart to - to see food go to waste, whehter its falling of the trees or not being used properly in the kitchen :(

    I've planted some ordinary spinach too, just can't remember the name of it top of my head. It has germinated.

    I agree the orzo salad tastes much better the day after when the flavours have had an opp. to kiss each other. The preserved lemons is good in it. Please don't miss that out.

    Thank you for repaying the compliment and coming by my blog Troy.

    If you do grow strawberry spinach, I do hope your crop is better than mine.

  24. Sorry to hear about the apples, he rest of the garden looks in great shape though! Never seen strawberry spinach before! The recipe also looks great, I like lemon with orzo or rice :-)

  25. Ah thats okay Alessandra.
    Yes strawberry spinach is interesting. And the orzo salad was good.

  26. Miss Mangocheeks, I stopped by to say thanks for visiting me, and Girl you have made me sooo Hungry ! :) Wow! Everything here looks so Delishious!! Your Orzo Salad looks Fantastic:)
    Have never seen Strawberry Spinach, however does look like Raspberries. Everything here looks sooo Yummy!
    Have a Great weekend ~

  27. Thank you so much Angel for your lovely comment and for coming over and repaying the compliment.
    I am so pleased that you enjoyed your visit
    And Thaks for agreeing with me that the strawberry spinach berries look more like raspberries than strawberries.

  28. I am very much hoping my mum has some brussels in her garden, otherwise it will be the local market again at Christmas.

  29. Kath.
    For you I to hope your mum has some brussels to share with you from her garden!
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  30. fruit trees often seem to have a year off fruiting for every year on!

    the strawberry spinach looks amazing and I know you won't waste so much as a pip or a tip. I've never heard of it before. Did you buy the seed or where you given it?

  31. Thanks Nic.
    That msut be the case, but at least its growing this year.

    Your right, I won't waste any of the strawberry spinach leaf, let alone its berries. Will prob use it in a salad. I have some seeds left over, so will pop them in the post to you in the next few days.

  32. Hi Mangocheeks, I really like the look of this salad....I think we call orzo "risoni" for some reason. Very tasty! I've just spent a most enjoyable amount of time perusing your blog and just loved looking at all of your pictures. Our garden is quite bare at the moment (winter in Australia), so I have been focusing on a fruit tree area until things warm up a bit. Thanks for all of your yummy recipes :)

    PS The post on your travels to Culloden gave me shivers. I remember being interested in the battle after reading some Diana Gabaldon books.

  33. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Christine. I am so delighted to read that you have enjoyed reading my blog, travels as well as the photographs.

    Some of my Australian readers have been saying its quite nippy there. Its summer here, but it feels like mid November - rain, rain, rain. Do hope you have a good spring and summer when it comes, but for now huddle up. Kind regards.


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