Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tomato and mango salsa


















 The tomatoes may be small and sour, they were perfect for making salsa. Adding sweet mango makes it even better. Toast some thinly sliced baguette and spread the salsa on top to make bruschetta.

The recipe for salsa is simple:
1. Dice tomato and mango.
2. Mix balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice) with olive oil and finely chopped garlic.
3. Toss in some chopped onion.
4. Pour dressing over the salad and garnish with coriander and black pepper.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tomato story

Having grown cherry tomatoes (Roma variety) and regular tomatoes (seeds from Bangladesh), I find growing Roma is more rewarding because the plant stays strong and keeps producing fruits for more than 6 months.

While the latest attempt using seeds from Bangladesh was quite successful with about 20 tomatoes on the plant, it started dying soon after. Now, I'm left with many fruits on a dead plant.

Unlike the crisp and sweet Roma, these tomatoes are sour with thick skin. That explains why the deep red tomatoes are still on the plant!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Growing tomatoes

Knowing how much I love to grow my own food, my dear friend Hakim brought some tomato seeds back from Bangladesh for me. Even though I've not experienced much success growing tomatoes (except for the Italian cherry tomatoes), I sowed the seeds in several pots and crossed my fingers.

All the seeds germinated. Some seedlings died and I was left with three healthy plants. One started to wither after bearing one fruit. I removed it after it dried up completely.

I continued to tend to the two remaining plants and voila, they're producing tomatoes! Each time I see them, I spot new fruits emerging. The first one is beginning to turn orange and I can't wait to taste it.

Growing coloured greens

It has been a while since I posted but in case you're wondering if I have given up... well, no. I'm still growing vegetables at home! In fact, I am growing nice coloured 'red' greens (what an oxymoron) like red mustard and lettuce.

This company in Singapore (www.pocketgreens.com.sg) imports an interesting range of seeds that germinates easily and grow well in our climate. As you know, freshness of seeds is important as it translates to a high germination rate.

Take a look at some of the plants growing in my balcony right now.

This is red bak choy. As you know, we're always told to eat more coloured vegetables, so I'm very excited to be able to grow them organically at home!
 Despite our hot climate, the red romaine lettuce (below) grows well too. They even survived the heavy downpours that we've been having lately.
The best looking ones are the red mustard. The leaves may look delicate but they're really resilient. After a heavy downpour, I was dismayed to see them flattened by the rain but to my surprise, the leaves sprung up shortly after and looked even more fresh than before.

I harvest the larger leaves for salad and let the plants continue to grow new leaves. They're my current favourite - pretty and tasty.
 I sowed some kai lan seeds too. At first they were growing slowly, but after I transplanted the seedlings to a bigger pot, they began to flourish. I went away for 4 days and was surprised to see how much they have grown.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A salad fairytale

It reads like a fairytale. Buy salad, eat the leaves, grow the stump and eat more leaves. Well, it happened right here in my patio.






















The robust regrowth of new leaves is quite amazing. I made a large salad out of them. In fact, I find the new leaves more tender and tastier after the regrowth.

Salad leaves with tomato, sauteed onion and portobello mushroom, walnut, raisin and parmesan.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Capers

Have you ever wondered what capers really are? You know, the sour and salty stuff pretty much like miniature olives usually served with smoked salmon or carpaccio?











I always thought the little pickled thing is a fruit until I came face to face with them in Sicily. They are actually the unripened bud of the flowering plant! They grow wild everywhere in the rocky valley of Scicli. The best thing is, they're free for anyone who is diligent enough to pick though it can be back breaking work!

Reading David's post reminded me of my encounter with this fascinating plant few years ago. If you wish to know how the buds are prepared for eating, he describes it very well here.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Regrowing lettuce























One of the lettuce stumps rotted away after a week but the other one kept producing new leaves. I am so pleased with how the experiment is going!