Recipe: Bruschetta with Baby Marrow Pesto

Recipe: Bruschetta with Baby Marrow Pesto

Ingredients:

Pesto:

• 400g Baby marrows
• 100g Toasted cashew nuts
• Handful:
 Fresh basil leaves
 Fresh coriander leaves
• 2 Small crushed garlic cloves
• 80ml Olive oil
• 125ml Grated parmesan
• 120ml Lemon juice and zest (2 lemons)

General:

• 300g Crumbled Feta
• 120g Sundried tomatoes
• 10 – 12 Slices toasted bruschetta

Method:

• Place all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add extra olive oil if needed and season to taste.
• Heat a griddle pan and toast the bruschetta.
• Spread pesto on toast and top up with feta and sundried tomatoes.
• If you don’t like sundried tomatoes, peppadews will work just as well.

Contributor: Bets Janse van Rensburg

Please send us feedback and remember to check out our online shop. Enjoy!

Recipe: Herb Vinegar

Recipe: Herb Vinegar

Ingredients

• 1 garlic clove, peeled, optional
• 300 – 320 grams fresh oregano, basil or tarragon sprigs
• 1-1/4 cups white vinegar or white wine vinegar

Directions

• If desired, cut garlic in half and skewer with a toothpick.
• Place in a glass jar or bottle.
• Add your herb of choice (oregano, basil or tarragon). Set aside.
• In a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a simmer (do not boil).
• Carefully pour into containers. Let cool to room temperature.
• Remove garlic after 24 hours. Cover and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

Source: Taste of Home

Herb vinaigrettes are mostly used as salad dressings, but can also be used to marinade meat.

If you use a beautiful and interesting glass bottle, it makes for a great gift.

I am sure other herbs can be used as well. Why don’t you experiment with different herbs and herb combinations? Please give us some feedback and remember to purchase your herbs from our online shop.

 

 

Recipe: Pumpkin Crème Brûlée (Jack-be-Little Pumpkins)

Recipe: Pumpkin Crème Brûlée (Jack-be-Little Pumpkins)

Ingredients

• 2 Cups Heavy Cream
• ¼ Cup Sugar (additional sugar will be needed for caramelizing)
• ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
• 8 Large Egg Yolks
• 1 Cup Canned 100% Pure Pumpkin
• ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
• ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

Method:

• Preheat oven to 180 deg. (Celsius)
• Cut tops off each pumpkin and save for presentation.
• Scrape out the seeds and fibres from pumpkins.
• Place pumpkins on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
• Remove from oven and let cool.
• In saucepan, combine cream and sugars, stir until sugar is dissolved.
• Remove from heat and set aside for later use.
• Whisk eggs with an electric beater on high for 2 minutes (will be lemon coloured).
• While the mixer is running on low speed, slowly keep adding the cream mixture in small batches until all of the cream mixture has been added to the eggs (do not add all of the cream mixture to the eggs at once).
• Add the remaining ingredients, mix.
• Spray the inside of the pumpkins with a non-stick cooking spray and divide the mixture evenly among the cooled pumpkins.
• Place the filled pumpkins in a large roasting pan and set on the oven rack in the 180 deg. (Celsius) oven.
• Pour hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the pumpkins.
• Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centre of the pumpkin crème brûlée comes out clean.
• Place reserved pumpkin tops on a baking sheet the last 20 minutes of baking.
• Cover and chill all for 2 hours.
• Remove from refrigerator and place about 1 teaspoon sugar evenly on top of each pumpkin crème brûlée.
To caramelize the sugar, use a kitchen torch; broiling may burn pumpkins.
For leftover batter, place in ramekins and bake with the same instructions. Pumpkin Crème Brûlée in ramekins can be broiled in the oven to melt the sugar on top.

It might even be possible to use Gem Squash instead of pumpkin. Enjoy and please give us feedback about the recipe.

You can purchase Jack-be-Little Pumpkin seeds from our online shop.

Source: Design Your Life

Seed Focus – Beans

Seed Focus – Beans

Spring and Summer – the time to plant beans.

There are so many varieties of beans available. Some are green, some are purple, some yellow! In Durandt’s Heirloom Seeds online shop, you can find 66 different heirloom varieties of beans that was grown organically.

So what’s the big deal on beans? Beans are part of the Legume family and not only are they “capsules” of concentrated nutrition with a myriad of health benefits, they are also good for the environment. No other food in its natural state is as rich in protein as legumes. Beans contain between 20 to 30% protein. It also contains Vit. B1, B2, B6, niacin and folates. Including Vit. C to your meal can equal your absorption of the iron found in beans to that found in meat. Apart from the nutrients, beans contain lots of fibre.

Environmentally, beans fixes nitrogen to the soil causing following crops to be well fed.

Durandt’s Heirloom Seeds would love to supply you with the organic heirloom bean seed you need! Go have a peek at this interesting and exciting variety: Blue Peter Runner Bean.

 

Homeschool Heirloom Gardeners Winter Challenge 2018

Homeschool Heirloom Gardeners Winter Challenge 2018

Winter Challenge 2018 – it was a challenge indeed!

Winter is a time when things slow down. This season is usually seen as a time of preparation for spring and summer.

Homeschoolers, however, are a different breed. They are used to doing things differently – to think outside the box. As a matter of fact, they will only use the box if it serves a practical purpose and enable them to learn and grow! It is therefore not surprising that they jumped at the chance to take on the Winter Challenge put to them by Durandt’s Heirloom Seeds.

They were asked to grow broccoli, cauliflower, peas and swiss chard. Sounds easy enough hey? But as with everything in life, things are seldom as easy as it seems. They had to facilitate and manage the whole growing process from seed germination to harvesting the veggies for consumption.

The enthusiasm with which the teams took on the challenge was inspiring. We loved the fact that the whole family got involved. Team Badenhorst and Team Du Plessis took their planning very seriously.

One of the criteria used to determine the winner of the challenge, was soil preparation. This turned out to be a challenge in itself. Our teams are from all across South Africa and as such they were faced with different soil conditions. Once again the teams rallied and adapted. Team Bornman were not fazed by the rocky soil on their farm. They used old truck tyres as planters and horse manure to build up the soil.

Earthworms were also used to ensure that the soil stays healthy and aerated. Team Ashwell found some earthworms in their garden refuge and relocated these handy helpers to their veggie boxes. Finding useful resources in unexpected places, is one of the reasons why organic vegetable gardening is so much fun!

Some of the teams had to contend with drought and water shortages. This meant that they had to manage their water usage carefully. Mulching was used as a way to hold in soil moisture and protect their vegetables from drying out quickly. Team Ashwell and Team Maree fashioned their own drip irrigation systems. Team Ashwell made holes in 2-litre plastic bottles and “planted” them in the veggie boxes. Team Maree lined the inside of old tyres with thin plastic pipes, connected to a tap. The holes in the pipes allowed just enough water through to prevent over-watering.

Innovative ideas and solutions were definitely not in short supply.

In an effort to start seed germination whilst using water wisely, Team Koen used a germination jar. You need a glass bottle with a lid that seals properly and an organza bag. Put crushed egg shells in the bag, followed by compost and add lukewarm water from the kettle. Plant the seeds in the bag, put the bag in the bottle and put the lid on. The bag must not touch the water at the bottom of the jar. When the seedling is ready, it can easily be transplanted without disturbing the roots.

In other parts of the country, the rain just wouldn’t not stop! Team Strauss tried their best to get their veggie garden dry enough to start planting. They dug trenches to speed up water drainage and used straw and cardboard boxes to build a veggie patch.

Team Allen also took up the challenge with enthusiasm and even “imported” an expert from Zimbabwe to give them some guidance.

Excitement was high when the teams shared photos of their first seedlings. Every effort were made to keep things organised. The seedling trays were labelled and Skye from Team Ashwell made tags herself and even laminated it.

Team Botha were blessed with a good crop of seedlings, which, I am sure motivated them to keep going.

The planting stage brought with it its own set of challenges like curious farm animals and pesky monkeys!

Team van Schalkwyk had to battle a massive snail infestation and they came up with interesting solutions. First they tried beer traps, complete with a lettuce leaf ramp to lure the unsuspecting snails to their death. The traps were not really successful (seems like the snails are picky drinkers!) so they tried strong coffee! I don’t know if the coffee yielded any results, but Team van Schalkwyk was so determined to win the Great Snail War that they even resorted to biological warfare! They rescued a couple of slug eaters (duberia lutrix) from the dairy and relocated them to the vegetable garden. So glad I am not a snail in Team van Schalkwyk’s veggie garden!

There is no denying it – the Winter Challenge was tough, but through it all the teams were undaunted and remained focused. Some beautiful produce were grown and a lot of valuable lessons learnt.

It wasn’t easy to decide on a winner, because all the teams excelled in some way. The judges from Durandt’s Heirloom Seeds narrowed it down to the three best teams determined by set criteria and then could not reach a consensus on first and second place. In the end we asked two independent judges to settle the matter. They were:

  • Marisa Haasbroek from the United States, she is a homeschool specialist and the owner of http://www.oolfant.com a valuable homeschooling resource.
  • Jane Griffiths, a well-known and respected author in the gardening fraternity.

 

One of Jane’s books, Jane’s Delicious Garden was the main prize up for grabs (sponsored by 10yo Durandt himself). Jane was so kind to sponsor a year’s subscription to Janes Delicious Garden Planner.

Ladies, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to become part of our journey!

Even Marisa and Jane were divided about which team won. In the end, we placed those two names in a hat and drew a winner. The final results were:

  • First Place – Team Bornman
  • Second Place – Team Ashwell
  • Third Place – Team Maree

Dürandt and the rest of the team from Durandt’s Heirloom Seeds, would like to congratulate, not only these three teams, but also all the other teams who took part in the challenge. Your enthusiasm and perseverance will continue to inspire us.

So what’s next?

Our next challenge entry is HATCH-A-PUMPKIN-PATCH and entries close 15 September 2018. We have 3 categories: 1) Homeschoolers/Unschoolers 2) Cottage Schools 3) Organic Gardeners. Category 1 and 2 can go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/homeschoolheirloomgardeners/ for more information, Category 3 can visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623929750991066/?fb_dtsg_ag=AdyZ5fTl8cebJp3mIiDY_b1iIqGUMREdPt7_N_82AiNZGQ%3AAdy66DSxtcqzc2uWXZYqCfB0MTG9VbPmUDRWQK1Jc5SI_g

Hope you join us in this exiting challenge!

Keep sowing and growing friends!