Thursday, May 30, 2013
I like eggs. I'd like to have my own chickens, actually, but we live in a townhouse and - according to my husband - there's not really enough space. Me? I'd be happy to coop them on our balcony or Nelle's, find spaces to throw down scraps for them in our tiny garden. I think we could make it work, really truly.
Please, sweetie. Give me chickens. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease?
I also want native bees, but that's another story. I know better than to plead for too much at once.
In my dreams, with all my sweet happy chickens, I'd have fresh eggs for baking and breakfast every day. Our dog, who loathes the neighbourly native possums, would somehow become protective of our birds, and would dote on them unterrifyingly.
|my child wants chickens, too. and no, I didn't put her up to this ...|
A girl can dream, right? I'll keep making not-so-subtle hints about these things, and we'll see how we go. But what we have done with our limited spaces is plant as big a garden as possible. We have a large garden bed, full of worms and basil and amaranth, parsley and chillies, sorrel and sweet potatoes - because that's what grows best for us. We've tried so many other things over the years - tomatoes and carrots and silverbeet and eggplants ... but they don't seem to do so well. They get watered and worm-juiced, but they don't like our sun or soil or competing with the bottlebrush tree roots that keep creeping in. Ah, well. The herbs and greens are all we need.
Whenever people come over to our place, they always ask about the garden - because it's full of unusual things. What's that? What do you do with that one? We wander around the small bed, and nibble on samples of leaves - lemony sorrel, heart-shaped sweet potato, purple amaranth.
These are the plants I find easiest to grow, and I'd recommend them to anybody for gardening. Sorrel. Once you get sorrel going, it goes and goes - regrowing itself phoenix-like - and you can't beat it for salads. It's zesty and tangy and sweet all at once. Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes vine somewhat uncontrollably, but produce infinite deep-green leaves that you can eat raw or cook up like spinach. These are the best value-for-effort greens you'll ever grow. Amaranth. Amaranth not only gives you gorgeous greens to eat raw or cook, but attractive purple flowers that look amazing dusted across salads or pasta dishes. Amaranth also self-propagates, meaning it'll produce babies to keep your garden going strong. Basil. We do well with basil, and I like the magical rejuvenation of perennial varieties - new growth popping up at the bottom of old stalks, ready for sunlight. But I also love basil flowers, so I'm inclined to let my plants go to seed ... basil flowers pack an intense basil flavour into a tiny bud that you don't even have to cut, slice or tear. You just pull the flowers off the stalk and sprinkle them on salads or mains or even ice cream.
Imagine what we could do with chickens.
Not that I'm implying I'd make them into ice cream ...
Not that I'm implying I'd make them into ice cream ...
Today I'm going to share with you a recipe for a crustless quiche, based on the greens from my garden. I used mainly sweet potato greens, but you could easily substitute spinach or kale or silverbeet (chard) depending on what you have on-hand. This quiche is super-easy to make, because you can just chuck most of the ingredients into a food processor, whizz it together, and pour it into a buttered dish for baking. No crust means less effort, and makes this a great recipe for those cutting down on their bread or gluten intake. I'm not gluten intolerant, but I don't like having bread bread bread all the time, so this is a perfect dish to focus on the eggs and the greens.
I hope you love it as much as we did ... we had ours for dinner Sunday night, and work lunches during the week. Sometimes with tomato sauce, sometimes with mayo, sometimes with dashes of habenero sauce. You could probably substitute other veggies, but this is one of my favourite ways to eat greens, so GET YOUR GREENS!! Do it!!
And have a great weekend, while you're at it. I'm off to the countryside for two nights, so see you when I get back!
Crustless Green Quiche
10 min prep + 30-40 min baking
2 spring onions, chopped
4 cups greens, washed and patted-dry (I used mostly sweet potato, with a handful of baby spinach)
4 organic eggs
1/2 cup organic whole milk
2 Tbs brown rice flour*
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
~50g crumbled goat cheese (or another strong-tasting cheese, like vintage cheddar)
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
*This makes it gluten free, but you can substitute regular flour if you don't have rice flour on hand
*Try to use organic when you can, especially for eggs and milk and greens.
*I used our food processor, but a good blender would do. Alternatively, you could just really finely chop everything.
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (360F) and butter a pie dish.
2. Put all the veggies, milk, eggs, flour, herbs and seasonings into the blender and whizz till smooth.
3. Pour into your prepared dish and top with cheese and then tomato slices.
4. Bake for ~30-40 minutes, until the quiche is set.
5. Let it cool slightly (or completely - up to you) before serving with salad and sauces.
This quiche is thriftier than many, because it forgoes the crust (butter/flour/bread) and makes eggs and greens the main show. Using organic ingredients - including homegrown greens (with a handful of spinach thrown in) - this quiche cost me ~$5-6 to make, and lasted us a few meals.