Archive for May, 2008

So far, only one zucchini actually is growing. I must have failed with the dusting on the others.
Still, a success! It should be ready to eat in a few days. Yay!

And – oh dear, the purple-rimmed bell pepper flowers…

…seem to make purple-black peppers! I didn’t expect that! I certainly didn’t buy black pepper seeds…
They’re pretty, though.

Everything else is still growing well. Nothing new about the tomatoes – a few more buds, a few more blossoms. There are some pretty red chilies now, which I will harvest and freeze soon. Also bought some more pots for repotting the other zucchinis and tomatoes.

PS: Oh! There is one strawberry plant that made it. It’s stretching out its little creepers everywhere now – it will get its own pot soon!

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Salmon roe and avocado slices on sushi rice (decorated with some spring onion and black sesame), soy fishy on top of wakame salad, a pickled ginger rose, and 2 inarizushi as dessert.

The BF gets the same and some leftover teriyaki salmon (smeared with a miso mixture before baking, which is REALLY delicious!) on a salad leaf.

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Base, we have tomato blossoms, I repeat, we have tomato blossoms!
Now how to support them?

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Mmm, lasagna. Nice, heavy, stick-to-your-ribs food for those cold winter days.

I love lasagna but I suck at making bechamel sauce. I am not particularly fond of the buckets of butter that go into it either. And since I’m vegetarian, fillings are a challenge… and take quite a bit of time to prepare, normally.

So because it’s springtime and the ingredients are actually present at the shops, here’s another of my favourite, light, low-work-intensive spring lasagnas!

Instead of bechamel, I exclusively use ricotta cheese. This light, crumbly Italian cheese is made from whey and therefore very light, has just the right creamcheese consistency and is really tasty! It’s kind of hard to get here in Sweden and seems to be seasonal (it wasn’t present at all a few weeks ago).

The chewy part of the filling is made from baby leaf spinach, and the sauce is almost pure tomato sauce.

This recipe makes two lasagnas (2 forms) which should be enough for 4 persons, or a dinner and a bento for 2 :)

We’ll start with the tomato sauce:

1tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 packet (500ml) pureed tomatoes
2 Tsp. Herbes de Provence (plus preferably chopped fresh rosemary, basil and oregano)
Salt, pepper, sugar

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic. Then add tomato sauce, herbs, spices and sugar to taste. I like my tomato sauce sweet.

Spray the lasagna forms with olive oil and spread a little sauce in the bottom.

Now you’ll need:
2 lasagna forms
1/4-1/2 kg babyleaf spinach
1 packet (250g) ricotta
1/2 packet pre-grated cheese
~3 sundried tomatoes
some crushed pine nuts
Salt, pepper
Parmesan cheese
Blanch the spinach by spreading it in a sieve and pouring boiling water on it. This is the quickest variant, but don’t let me stop you from sautéing/steaming it with some salt and garlic.

Put 1-2 lasagna leaves in the form (I cracked the edges to make them fit) and spread some spinach on top.

Put another leaf on it, spread it with some ricotta. I also mixed in some sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and pepper to make it spicier.

Repeat to the top of the pan or the end of the leaves. Alternate spinach and ricotta or make every layer ricotta on the bottom and some spinach leaves on top.

Pour the tomato sauce over the lasagnas and spread grated cheese (for example pre-grated Mozarella) on top.

You can be generous now. The rest of the lasagna is already light enough :)
I also spread some parmesan cheese on top which makes a nice burnt pattern when it bakes:

Pop in the pre-heated oven (about 225 deg C should do it) and bake for 15-20 minutes.

And try not to burn your tongues too much.

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This has been a productive month for my plants! Spring has finally come to Sweden and the biomass seems to be doubling by the week.

I’ve finally gotten around to replanting the tomatoes. It was high time, too. I felt sorry for them in their tiny pots of ground, but just didn’t have the time…
*mumbles at work stealing all my time*

All lined up for replanting:

And repotted into two self-watering pots:

The bell peppers were also replanted. One of them had grown the loveliest white blossoms with a pretty purple border!

The others have normal white blossoms, so I suspect that either they or the purple one is a different breed that I planted by accident. I put some seeds from a supermarket-bought bell pepper in the planting box, but I don’t remember any growing up!
Here the family of peppers is united with their relatives, the chilis, on the westside windowsill.

The bell peppers are also in a self-watering pot now. It’s quite easy and cheap to make them yourself with pvc pipe, leca balls and fibertex if you know how.
I spread some bark on top to keep the dirt from drying out. And because I think it looks spiffy.

The chilis have also been productive:

Here’s another thing that I planted “by accident” out of my fridge. Does anyone want to hazard a guess as to what it is? ;)

Oooh, and when I went to replant the Physalis, I saw it had not only flowered, but started to grow little lanterns!
I’m so thrilled I can’t describe how much. I hope they’ll be ripe before we go on vacation so I can put one in my bento.

Oh, and the zucchini…

…are still monsters.

And growing little zucchini. I am busily dusting them and hoping they’ll take.

They are beautiful, though…

And that’s the gardening diary photodump for this week. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I do!
As a little note of success: Grandma was fascinated that my zucchini were already blooming. She who didn’t think a windowsill garden would work at all when I first told her about it! Woo hoo! :D

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This bento contains fried Halloumi cheese drizzled with thick balsamico vinegar, couscous and baby spinach salad, cherry tomatoes, ecological garden salad, a wedge of grapefruit and spices.
Mmm, lots of my favourite tastes.

The BF gets the same, plus some grapes and a Mr. WA Mozart chocolate truffle.

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Some photos from my gardening diary in the last few weeks…

I found my first female flower, complete with a tiiiny little round zucchini on the bottom, this week. Today it opened (and got some pollen carried to it by me… I’m such a pervert).
There are two more lined up what I can see on that plant. The others have only male flowers yet, but look how many of them!

From the end of April:

And how the zucchini looked when I first repotted them.

Could this eally be the tiny physalis that I didn’t think would even survive?

It flowered this weekend, but I only noticed it after the fact. The bell peppers also had one or two blossoms. The chilies havebeen putting out lovely green chilies regularly now, though they aren’t especially strong :( I wonder if they’ll get stronger as they ripen.
The tomatoes are also steadily growing, though they aren’t flowering yet. I think I need to re-pot them again:

And for the end, a picture of my thyme that I liked.

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