December 2016 - Part 2

Hello Everyone

It is nearly Christmas Day, the meals have been planned, the garden is happy with its summer flowers, and a group of ladies are enjoying a lunch in our garden as I write. The delphiniums, along with other perennials, are being cut back so that they will give a second flowering in March.

Photo 1: M Long.

I have had two trips to Melbourne recently, one being to co lead a tour in Melbourne and Central Victoria, and a return trip to prepare a new itinerary for next year. We are travelling in October instead of November, so accommodation rates will be lower.

Photo 2: Arthropodium milliflorum, the vanilla lily, taken by my colleague and co leader of the tours to Melbourne and Central Victoria, Stan Smith, in a local reserve in Central Victoria. Stan described this scene as “a perfume of sweet vanilla drifting through the air from these treasures.”

Marilyn McRae has provided a very nice salad recipe which could be useful in the days after Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when there are leftovers.

Summer Salad

Put the buckwheat in a dry pan over med-high heat and toss until toasty... for 2-3 minutes. Cover with hot water and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and cook until just tender...about 7-8 minutes. Drain, run cold water through it, drain well again.

Use a vege peeler to cut thin slices off the courgettes, avoiding the seeds. Cut the asparagus or beans into thin strips diagonally (blanch these if preferred). Place veges in a large bowl with apple and buckwheat; make dressing with crushed garlic, oil and lemon juice, season and pour over ingredients in the bowl. Stir gently to combine.

Serve on a large flat serving dish, sprinkled with the lemon zest and torn mozzarella or crumbled feta. Drizzle with extra olive oil and a grinding of black pepper.

This salad is yummy served with leftover Christmas ham, sizzled in a pan with a bit of butter; or with BBQ-ed meats. It’s also nice with fresh, young rocket or watercress stirred through before adding the dressing. Serves 4-6 people

Best wishes to you all for a safe and happy holiday season. I think it is not perhaps the best time of the year to put much information into the Writings.I do enjoy all of the correspondence that I receive from readers, so please keep it coming.

Regards

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