Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Growing fig at home






















Fresh figs are expensive at our stores simply because they are too delicate to transport across the globe. Eating fig is almost a luxury here. Not only are they rarely available, they are usually not lusciously sweet.

Before my friend gave me his fig plant, I had never imagined they'll do so well in Singapore. The plant I have is just about 1.5 metre tall and it takes up very little space. It doesn't require any special attention or care. In less than a year, I have harvested about a dozen plump and delicious figs.

If you're a fig lover like me, you should start growing your own plant at home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vine-ripened tomatoes



















I leave my tomatoes on the vine until they have turned a deep shade of red because that is when they're so unbelievably sweet and delicious.

I don't pick the fig until it is dark and almost cracking. That is when the flesh is honey sweet and succulent.

Being able to savour my own organic sun-ripened fruits is what makes gardening so rewarding.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Using herbs


















What do I do with all the herbs that I grow? I use fresh basil leaves in salads, pasta and pizzas to give the dish some kick!





















Herbs like thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary are perfect for marinating roast chicken. Pound a handful of fresh herbs together with garlic, and mix with salt and olive oil to form a paste for rubbing all over the chicken. Let the marinate do its magic for few hours or overnight before putting the chicken in the oven. The chicken will smell and taste fabulous!

If I have too much herbs growing in the garden, I make herb oil and vinegars. It is easier than you think. Just put some fresh herbs in a jar and pour olive oil (room temperature) or warmed vinegar (red wine vinegar or cider vinegar) inside. Shake regularly and they will be ready in 2 weeks.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Four kinds of basil




















 

I normally have Thai basil growing in my patio. They grow so quickly in the hot weather and are useful in Thai dishes like stir fried minced meat.

Recently a friend gave me some sweet basil cuttings (also called Mediterranean basil) and I was surprised they're soing so well in my garden. The recent cool air must have played a part. I should harvest some leaves for making pesto.  With herbs, the more you cut, the bushier they'll get.

The red and green holy basil cuttings from another friend are coming along nicely too. It helped that I let them acclimatise slowly in the shade. Now they're strong enough to go under full sun. These are great with stir fries and have lot of medicinal value if you know how to use them.

It is the first time I have four kinds of basil growing side by side.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pretty Vegetable flowers

I don't always harvest the vegetables that I grow. If I leave them in the pot long enough, they start to produce flowers. You'll be surprised at how much flowers a small cai xin plant can produce! They so pretty, they really brighten up the garden!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Growing rice

I've always wanted to grow rice at home and wondered if anyone grew rice in Singapore years ago? Afterall, rice farming is practiced in all the neighbouring countries.

I know it's impossible to grow enough for eating in my little backyard but that didn't stop me from trying. I managed to get hold of some rice grains and promptly sowed some in a container at home. The seeds germinated within days and now I have a tiny pot of rice growing at home. It's a dream come true.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fig is ready

I think I'm just impatient. I keep checking on the figs and waiting for them to ripen that I lost count of the number of days they've been hanging around. It has only been a couple of months since the fruits developed.

While waiting for them to ripen, new ones began popping up along the trunk. Now I have more than a dozen fruits to watch over. Finally, one looks quite ready. It feels a little tender and has turned a shade of pink. I hesitate, wondering if I should wait another day but decide to pick it anyway in case the birds beat me to it.

Now I have one precious fig waiting to be savoured but I'm still thinking how I should eat it. Maybe with cheese and wine? It's so small it'll be gone in a pop.