Harvest Monday, February 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background behind Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres blog.

Snakebeans and cherry tomatoes:
Snake beans, Cherry tomatoes

The snakebeans have been described as “cute”.

Bunya pine nuts:
Bunya Pine nuts

You know those pine nuts that you buy from the shop for about 90AUD per kilo? Well these are a giant version of these.

I didn’t grow them, I foraged them. The pine cones of Araucaria bidwillii can be the size of a football or larger, and I collected about 4.5 pine cones – approx weight 5kg. I then reduced this to 1.5kg worth of viable pods, and stripping out the outer layer, reduced it again to about 1kg of actual nut. Last year I only got about 4 viable nuts per bunya nut cone, this year it’s been about 15 per cone. These will be frozen for storage, and then turned into pesto or added to soups for bulk. Others have turned their harvest into a “milk”, or roasted for extra yumminess. Usually the bunya pine fruits every 3 years.


Not grown, swapped. The other swapper was happy to give them away for free, but I didn’t feel that was fair. So I swapped four of my snakebeans and a small amount of honey. Once the other swapper saw the honey, she gave me some extra silveebeet and a ‘bottle gourd’ sample to try. I’m supposed to cook it like zucchini. I still feel like I came away with the better part of that deal.

So dear reader, what have you harvested this summer?


Harvest Monday, January 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the January 2019 host of Monday harvests, please visit the From Seed to Table blog.

This sounds daft, but summer has been hot, hot, hot. We had a week of 35 deg C + temperatures, and not only that, but 15 of the hottest places were in Australia last week. So for that week, I got up stupid early to water the garden and hang up gauze cloth coverings over the most vulnerable plants.

Cherry Tomatoes:
Cherry tomatoes

I think I got the plant via a crop swap. My neighbour dislikes cherry tomatoes, too fiddly for her, but I like seeing these little jewels glowing amongst the greenery. This garden bed now has a Olla embedded within it, and the plants are looking really lush. I am filling this Olla about once every two days. Yes, I got the Olla via a swap.

Snake Beans
Snake beans

I planted some snake bean seeds, one germinated, and then I planted this seeding out. I went away, came back three weeks later, what is this plant? It’s snake beans! First time growing them, it’s amazing the growth that the beans can put on overnight. the vine itself is growing over the shadecloth framework.


I bought these seedlings, didn’t realise it, but it looks like the beetroot itself is a striped variety. This got turned into a Sri Lankan beetroot curry, along with some leftover pumpkin from last years’ harvest and some curry leaves fresh from the garden.

Sri Lankan beetroot curry

It was quite an unusual curry to my palate – I haven’t really used fresh curry leaves before, but they do give an interesting taste to any dish.

Beatbox hive honey harvest

Harvested from the batbox hive. These ladies are on the cranky side, so as soon as we lifted the quilt off, the noise level “went up”. I think I’m going to have to put the callout for somebody to take over this slightly hot hive, because I cannot cope with having to hide in the house for the remainder of the weekend/week, just because I played with the bees on one day.

This crate is approximately 12kg worth of honey. I harvested 12kg in December 2018, and about 1kg in November (one frame: the reason why there is one bright white coloured frame in this box). That makes 25 kg this season.

Beeswax harvest is a little harder to calculate, as I have a big 20L bucket which contains (still) honeycomb waste from last season, as well as being topped up with honeycomb waste from this season. One advantage of this hot weather is having my solar wax extractor working perfectly.

So dear reader, what have you harvested this summer?

2018 Review Thingo

Questions repeated from Shauna Reid 2017 Review Thingo, because the actual reverb thingy appears to have stalled on the interwebs.

Earlier “year in review” posts can be found:

2014 part one, part two

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Visited the Great Barrier Reef (Lady Elliot Island).

Celebrated thanksgiving in the USA.

To me, celebrating Thanskgiving is kind of how Australians celebrate Christmas. I enjoyed it. There was cranberry sauce (made from fresh cranberries – I’ve never been able to try that before), the bird, sweet potato casserole, cheesy corn casserole, green beans & toasted almonds, green beans in garlic (because I thought beans & almonds was too boring), some kind of cheese choux pastry. Then a super rich cheesecake made in an “instant pot” pressure cooker/slow cooker.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

Gratefulness – I thought about doing it, on and off.
100% – Nope. I practiced a little more active listening.
Me time – some. I made an effort to go to the gym at lunchtimes. I also found a great massage therapist. OK, so she’s on the other end of town from where I am based, but, finding a good massage therapist makes it worth it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Amelia says: “Hello!”


She was born in February 2018.

4. Did anyone close to you pass away?

Not someone close to me, but a colleague lost her mother-in-law one year after she lost her husband. Both to bowel cancer. Awful.

5. What countries did you visit?

Taiwan (Christmas/New Year 2017/18) and USA.

6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked in this one?



7. What dates from this year will remain etched upon your memory?

The week that I spent on Lady Elliot Island, in the Southern part of the Great Barrier Reef.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making time

9. What was your biggest failure?

Stopping procrastination.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, in the second half of the year, I did something to my leg and then I was trying to rest it, and I was all sad because I couldn’t get my endorphin rush from going to the gym.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Hmm. Massages for me.

12. Where did most of your money go?


I told you last year that I bought my first solidteknics pan.
I have now bought a lot more pans, and replaced all of my teflon frypans (as well as ones that claimed to be for life). Now these ones are actually for life, even if you do burn them to a crisp while cooking.

The first pan I bought, the deep pan, I have *ahem* sold, because it was too heavy for me.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My first visit to the Great Barrier Reef.

Going to Brisbane to see a production of Terry Pratchett’s Men At Arms.

Eating lunch at Chez Panisse cafe.

14. What song will always remind you of this year?


15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?

Marginally happier.

b) thinner or fatter?

Marginally fatter. Too many american breakfasts in a short period.

c) richer or poorer?

Probably poorer due the amount of solidteknics metal I have purchased.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Massages for me.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

The last working day of the year, or what I would term ‘Christmas Eve’, I spent at a BBQ with cycling friends. I didn’t make last years Christmas cycling event, perhaps I will in 2019.

Road trip for the real Christmas date in the calendar.

19. Did you fall in love this year?

20. What was your favourite TV program?

Doctor Who

The Checkout, a consumer affairs show which has now sadly been cancelled.

21. What was the best book you read?

Not sure if it was the best book, probably the only books I read were:

David Holmgren’s Retrosuburbia – case studies on how to downshift and retrofit your house.

The subtle art of not giving a f*ck – took me a while to get to this book. The GM left, and the very next day, a copy of this book was found on the street library bookshelf in the office.

But I am looking forward to receiving my copy of Forage, Ferment and Feast, a book co-written by Wei’er Higgs, one of the founders of Gutsy Ferments. They make lots of different kinds of yummy sauerkrauts, amongst other ferments.

22. What was your favourite film?

I really only watch movies when I’m on a plane, going for an overseas holiday. So…. this year I have seen The Incredibles 2, The Kingsmen 2, Mission Impossible: Fallout (6), Deadpool 2. Looks like I chose only to watch sequels (or sequels are the only things available).

CRAZY RICH ASIANS. I saw that on the plane. The other movies I enjoyed. This one I might make an effort to see again.

23. What did you do on your birthday

Went to work. It made me sad.

24. What kept you sane?

Gardening. Cycling when I couldn’t go to the gym.

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


26. Who did you miss?

A more content me.

Harvest Monday, December 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background of, and other posts relating to Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres Blog.



YUM. Nothing beats a freshly picked blueberry off your very own blueberry bush. It can taste a little on the sharp side, or warmly sweet from the sunshine. I haven’t weighed or counted the number, but I have been getting a few blueberries every morning for about six weeks as I tend to the garden.


I am not quite sure why I grow oregano. I think it was planted by my neighbour. I don’t actually cook with it that much, but this bunch I had to prune because it was starting to sprawl. I dried a bunch – but then what? I still don’t cook with it. Someone suggested on the crop swap group making a tomato and oregano salad. I had all the ingredients in the pantry, apart from the tomato, so that’s what I made:

Tomato and oregano salad

I actually used only half the amount of oregano recommended in the recipe, and it was *still* borderline too strong. Maybe I have the wrong kind of oregano.

Can you think of other possible uses for my excess oregano?

Harvest Monday, November 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background of, and other posts relating to Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres blog.


Green garlic Nov 2018

It’s getting into the warmest part of the year, and my garlic was still looking spindly. It was one of the last lots planted in late April/May 2018. I decided to harvest so that I could use the bed for spring/summer crops. This is a mix of supermarket garlic and Italian purple.
I then mixed mushroom compost through the garden bed to improve the sandy soil, and planted corn and beetroot.



Holy shit batman, That’s not a strawberry, this is a strawberry! The cultivar is “Lowanna”, and was just planted in Spring this year. Although the strawberry looks impressive in size, it tastes much like a supermarket strawberry, a little bland in flavour. The centre is hollow. My friend points out that the tip is still white in colour, so perhaps I could’ve waited another day before harvest.

Post Harvest, Oranges:


Photo is from July 2018. Tree does not look like this anymore. But these are my oranges! Six years ago, I transplanted a miserable looking anonymous citrus out from the ground and into a pot. Two years ago I think I got 1 orange. This year, I got a wonderful July harvest.

What have you harvested in the garden this Monday, dear reader?

Harvest Monday, 15 October 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The state of New South Wales is 100% drought declared, but we have had rain in the Sydney Basin for the past fortnight. Rain not where the farmers want it. But it is falling in the city so way the cityslickers don’t realise that just because it has rained in the city, does not mean that we are still not in drought. I have gone from saving every drop of laundry grey water to water my plants with, to letting it run down the sink because everything is so soggy.

Butter Lettuce:

Butter lettuce

I got some seedlings via crop swap, and this has just grown so much from the rain. I have been stir frying lettuce for dinner greens.

Pepino Melon:

Pepino melon

These have been hanging on the plant (Solanum muricatum) basically all winter. Most of the greenery and smaller fruits were lost to frost. The original plant cutting I also got via a swap.

Curly Kale:
Curly kale

My brassicas have been covered by a net to keep the worst of the vermin off. It has kept the aphids on the kale to manageable and squashable numbers, but reduced the “chill hours” that the brussels sprouts need. I think this year is my last attempt at brussels sprouts.

What about you dear reader? What have you been harvesting this month?

Moroccan Soup Bar Two Go, Fitzroy North

I love the Moroccan soup bar. I love its ethos, the fact that it gives refugee woman a place to work and find their feet, and I love the vegetarian food.

Everytime I visit Melbourne, I find an excuse to wander past on the no. 11 tram and have my fix of the chickpea bake. I have tried to make this dish, but even with the release of the recipe as part of the cook book, I could not get the taste right.

So when I found out that Hana Assafiri had opened a second soup bar, it was open for lunch and now PIZZA was available: how could a good foodie say no?

At lunchtime, there are two options, an open plate and soup with bread.

Open plate ($12.50):
Lunch plate - angle 1

Lunch plate crispy potatoes

Moroccan cabbage salad, cous cous salad, pearl barley salad, a little chickpea bake, hummous, a piece of deep fried haloumi, a mixed vegetable fritter, crispy slices of potato. I was dining in a party of four, and everyone else had googly eyes for my plate.

Spinach and Lentil Soup ($7.50):

Spinach and Lentil Soup

There are two kinds of soup available when we visit: harira and a spinach and lentil soup, both with a tomato base. The harira soup is like an Italian minestrone with chickpeas instead of pasta. It’s lifted with the addition of pureed preserved limes. The spinach and lentil is tangy, perhaps with a little vinegar.

Marrakizza pizza ($15):


Moroccan pizza. This has a thin crust but an extra yummy chewiness. It’s not just pizza toppings on a flat bread. Tomato base with feta, dried black olives, diced tomato. The whole lot is topped with crispy sweet potato shards, fresh rocket, a swirl of spicy chermoula and preserved lemon puree. Gluten free is available for $1 more.

Dinner box ($12.50):
Dinner Box

You can order an open dinner plate to eat in ($15), takeaway with or without your own container. The takeaway dinner bowl included chickpea bake, saffron rice, tomato & lentils, baked vegetables, some green salad and a few pickles.

Nus nus:
Nus Nus

This is Moroccan style coffee, served with a mini piece of Turkish delight. There is a layer of milk, a shot of espresso, and a layer of foam on top. Like a little weather system, the whole thing kind of swirls around with the temperature differential. It is good to sit and sip, and I want another one.

I love the Moroccan soup bar, but I love the two go version a lot more. It’s open at lunchtime (so i don’t have to wait until after 6pm for my fix), and the lunchtime open plate is a bargain. You can still get the banquet here. Service at night can be a little haphazard as they rely on a raffle ticket numbering system for both dine in and takeaway. You save $2 if you bring your own takeaway container. And yes, you can still ask for a whole serving of chickpea bake in your takeaway box.

Moroccan Soup Bar Two Go
street: 316 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, VIC 3068
Phone: +61-03-9486-3500

11:00AM – 3:00PM , 6:00PM – 10:00PM
1100-1500 hours, 1800 – 2200 hours.
Closed Monday lunch