fbpx

A modern prawn cocktail

This is a modern take on an old classic, perfect for entertaining in the warmer months. You will need 4 dessert, martini or short rocks glasses for this recipe. Serves 4.

Printable recipe version here

Ingredients:

For the base

  • The flesh of 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon mint, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra for serving
  • 400g watermelon cut in 2cm dice
  • 200g Greek feta
  • 4 lemon slices for garnish

For the prawns

  • 12 raw prawns (shelled and de-veined, tails left on), coated in 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt to taste.

Method:

For the base of the cocktail, we need to make an avocado puree. Blend together the avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, mint leaves and salt until smooth and set aside. For the prawns, fry in a hot pan for approx. 1 minute each side, do not overcook. To assemble your cocktail, divide the avocado puree in the bottom of your glasses. Add watermelon pieces and crumble in some small chunks of feta. Arrange 3 prawns in each glass and sprinkle a little salt over the top. Garnish with a few mint leaves, an extra squeeze of lemon and a lemon slice in each glass for some retro flair!

Chillies from Around the World

Grow a whole world of chilli flavour with these new chilli varieties from Oasis Horticulture. And I’ve got a cute way of growing them in pots with labels so you don’t mix them all up!

Happy Gardening Gardenette Melissa x

Budget Gardening Tips & Tricks

There’s nothing like swooning over other peoples gardens or day dreaming over the beautiful creations at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. But the trick is to take inspiration from these 5 star gardens and bring them back to your own backyard without breaking the bank!

Our 3 key tips for a budget friendly garden:
1. Grow from seed
2. Propagate your own plants
3. Get creative Investing in a greenhouse from Sproutwell Greenhouses is brilliant for the beginner gardener – look at their lend-to-models or those that are similar in size to a wardrobe. (Check out their range here: http://sproutwellgreenhouses.com.au/)

A greenhouse can help you get a head-start on the season when growing from seeds, nurture young seedlings before they are ready to plant out and improve the strike rate of cuttings……continued beneath video…

Most seeds like a soil temperature of around 18 degrees or more to germinate, so a greenhouse is the perfect place to keep them warm and germinating well. And the Sproutwell range of greenhouses have adjustable vents to regular the temperature inside.

When choosing what to grow in your garden, think about the herbs you use weekly and might be buying from the supermarket at $3 a bunch. And think about the vegetables you and your family can’t do without. It’s these herbs and veggies that you should grow in your garden – this will save you loads of money and it’s great knowing exactly how they’ve been grown.

So you have a continuous harvest rather than a produce flood, you can plant another round of seeds once the first lot you planted have reached the stage where they are ready to plant out into the garden. And remember if you grow too many seedlings, you can always trade them with friends or at a local crop swap meet.

If you want a garden full of flowers, remember to grow as many as you can from seed or cuttings to save you money. Many plants like succulents are super easy to propagate from cuttings and they set root and grow easily.

And when it comes to growing things in pots – get creative about your containers. Look for unusual containers in op shop like tea cups, kettles and old vases – just drill a hole in the bottle for drainage and old biscuit tins are perfect for herbs. You don’t need a lot of money for an incredible garden, just a creative mind and a bit of ingenuity.

Upcycled Succulent Project

I spotted this sad and lonely set of bedside drawers on the roadside ready for a hard rubbish collection….and immediately knew what I wanted to do with them. An upcycled succulent project – yes Succulents in Drawers!

With a bit of prep work and a coat of paint to jazz them up they were ready to go.

My hints when looking for furniture to use as planters;

1. Look for a stury frame and base – you want it to be able to hold the weight of potting mix and plants!

2. Go for something with interesting shape or texture – don’t panic about its colour (you can always change that).

3. Remember your plants will need to either have drainage holes or you’ll need to prep the planter to cope with no drainage holes (see my tip in the video).

4. Hunt down roadside hard rubbish collections, flea markets, second hand stores and your local Facebook Buy Swap Sell or Freebie pages. And remember to keep an open mind!

A coat of paint on your upcycled furniture can make the world of difference to look of the finished piece.

For this upcycled succulent project I’ve chosen to use black spray paint and I’ve masked off some areas so they remain the original timber colour – because I love the contrasting look.

I picked black because I love the way plants really pop against it and because it modernises the retro piece a bit.

I used a wood furniture polish to bring out the colour in the original timber parts too.

For the full instructions on this upcycled succulent project scroll down and watch the video.

And taa daa here it is finished! A upcycled drawer work of art on my front doorstep.

Now my tip for watering these babies is to use either a large needleless syringe (you can get them from pharmacies) or a small watering can with a very narrow spout. Either way they won’t need much water at all and when you do water make sure you direct it at the base of each plant and not over the foliage or over your upcycled drawers.

So start hunting around your local op shops or hard rubbish collections (if you are allowed) and pick up an old neglected piece of furniture and give it an upcycled makeover. You can also check out our other succulent projects or why not try your hand at some creative, inspirational potted garden projects.

Gardenette Chloe x

Mexican Style Salsa Recipes

Here’s two delicious mexican style salsa recipes that are sure to impress at your next gathering or party.

They just so happen to be vegan as well! Serve with your favourite dipping veggies, tortilla chips or flat bread.

Gardenette EJ Butler xx

Download the printable recipe HERE

 

Pico de gallo

Ingredients:

½ red onion that has been macerating in 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar for at least 10min

3 ripe tomatoes finely diced

Juice of 2 limes

½ cup finely chopped coriander

1 long green chilli or 2 jalapenos finely diced

¼ tsp smoked paprika.

2 tsp salt flakes

Method:

Drain the vinegar from the onion and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Check for seasoning/chilli and adjust if necessary. Let the pico de gallo sit for at least 15 minutes to let the flavours infuse before serving.

Charred capsicum and corn salsa

Ingredients:

Corn from 1 fresh cob

1 large red capsicum charred on the stovetop or bbq (stalk, skin, seeds and pith removed)

1 tsp salt flakes

½ tsp chipotle powder

1TBL olive oil

Juice of ½ lime

Method:

Puree all ingredients together in a blender or food processer. Check the salsa for seasoning before serving.

Drying and storing herbs

We’re often asked for tips on how to harvest, dry and store herbs – so here goes! Our top tips on drying and storing herbs….

The woodier herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, Bay and Oregano are often the easiest to dry because they don’t have high moisture content. Sure, air-drying can be a slow process but we love it because it doesn’t cost you anything and the herbs retain lots of their essential oils and flavour. Plus how pretty do they look all hanging in a row.

The best time to harvest your herbs is in the morning after the dew had dried and before they flower, that’s when their flavour is most intense. If you’re picking them for drying you don’t want any moisture on the leaves or they’ll rot – and be sure to shake off any dirt or insects that are trying to take a ride.

Harvesting your herbs helps to keep plants looking nice and bushy – just don’t cut the whole plant unless it’s time to replant it. About a 1/3 of the branch at a time is a good
rule of thumb.

I always remove the lower inch or so of leaves (you can save them for drying too) and then just bundle the cut herbs loosely together in a bunch – don’t jam too many sprigs in there – you want some air circulation. Then hang the bunch to dry in a warm, airy spot away from direct sunlight. Depending on the herb they’ll be dry in about ……xx

Or if you are a little impatient you could place the leaves and stems in the oven for 15 minutes at 150 degrees celcius. The leaves can then be stripped from the stems and kept in airtight containers. I like to store the leaves whole then just crush them before use to retain more flavour.

Some herbs like Basil, Chives, Mint and Tarragon can be successfully stored in airtight plastic bags in the freezer. 

Coriander is one of those wonderful herbs that you can use from root to tip. But because it’s a fragile herb it’s tricky to store well. So if you can, have it growing close
to the kitchen so you can pick and eat it fresh from the pot or patch.

 You can keep your coriander fresh for longer by treating it like a bunch of flowers. Simply cut the stems and pop it in a glass of water. Just don’t submerge any of the
leaves, re-cut the stems frequently and change the water every day or so. You can even put the jar in the fridge to keep it for longer. I’ve even stored chopped up
coriander in ice trays.

So there you have it – drying, harvesting and storing herbs Gardenettes style.