Mittwoch, 19. März 2014

Frugal gardening

There is no need to buy pots to raise seedlings. Especially for plants with delicate roots - as sweet peas for example, this home made pots are a clever and unexpensive solution. Just gather lots of toilet paper roll inners or the inners of kitchen paper towels. Make a cut, 1.5 cm deep, every quarter, into one end and flap the ends together as in folding a cardboard box. Fill with soil, place seed add some more soil and place the pots into a tray. My trays are plastic boxes in which carrots were sold. Did not spend 1 cent.
There is no need to remove the pots after the plant has grown enough to be planted into the garden. Just plant with the paper roll on, or what is left...

Gardening season

Today I started with the first planting session of the season. I visited a local nursery and bought lilly bulbs, flower seeds (sweet peas, cosmeas), salad seeds and some plants. First I planted boxed strawberries. Boxed because I hope I can keep some out of the reach of snails. It is an old and delicate variety called Mietze Schindler. Here we have four Mietze together with one future husband called Korona. I placed the Korona in the middle of the harem. To fill the big willow basket I put some wood and rotten plant material first and filled up with potting soil afterwards.The basket is layered with firm plastic foil.

And I planted 8 different colourful sempervivum into a bigger clay basin/bowl (40+ cm diameter) as present for a friend. One of the plants is named "chocolate kiss" (cute!!!)

First I filled some styroform chunks halfway up the bowl and added potting soil mixed with small pebbles and covered with pebblesafter placing the plants. I also put a little moss in between (craws like to clean my roof by picking up the moss and tossing it down on the stairway):

Dienstag, 18. März 2014

Old-fashioned potato salad

Last weekend we watched a cooking show on TV, 30 minutes all about potato salads. Husband asked for this one: "Oh, yes, yes, I like this kind of salad the most!" and so on...

Remember this is not the dessert. In fact it is an old-fashioned potato salad, typical northern german I suppose - but forgot. Anyway, yes, it is pink. The reason is simple, it is made with freshly boiled beet root. Potatoes, beet root bulbs and pickled herring to be more precise. Strange enough?
If you are rather adventurous and eager to learn more about german cooking here is the recipe for 4 servings:

  • 3 big potatoes, firm kind for salads, boiled, peeled, quartered and sliced into 0,5 cm slices
  • 4 small beet root bulbs, boiled, peeled cut into 0,5 cm thick strips
  • 300 g pickled herring filets, ready to be eaten (I used the milder type called Matjes) cut into 1 cm thick short slices
  • 1 red onion, diced into small dices
  • 2 medium-small german style pickled cucumbers (vinegared brine), diced
  • 4 sprigs parsley, chopped

  • 125 g firm yoghurt or german sour cream
  • 125 g mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 big lemon, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (mild)
  • 2 teaspoons hot mustard
  • salt a very good pinch and more to taste
  • pepper
Boil the potatoes and beet roots (unpeeled) until you can stick a fork into them. Don't boil the potatoes too soft or the salad gets mashy. Let the beet roots and potatoes cool down until lukewarm before peeling and cutting.
Stirr together the ingredients for dressing. Toss everything together in a bigger bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a few hours - this will improve the flavor.

Goes very well with dark german bread... and german beer.

Samstag, 15. März 2014

Japanese Taiko drums

I visited a concert tonight together with some friends. The japanese percussion group named Kodo gave a concert in our concert hall. All in all it was an great experience, very touching and those guys and girls are great performers. Later on we were discussing how to gain so much power, beside of the art it is very hard labour, the body has to be in great shape. I did not take any pictures but my japanese aquaintance Etchan did.
Thanks for sharing.

Sonntag, 2. März 2014

Shogayaki - gingered pork (sort of)

This weekend I visited my mother and stayed overnight. Last week she had her old cherry tree pruned and the gardener cut down quite a bit, especially some big old branches.  Mother wanted me to take as many logs as possible back home (for my fire place) and therefor I had to put 3 heavy packed wheelborrows of logs into my car. The gardener had already sawed the wood into small logs - very convenient. I refused to put some more into the car and she was a little bit nagging about the "good cherry wood" and "what a waste..." but I had to ride back home for a few hours and I was not sure wether my car could handle this heavy load properly, so her neighbor got his share of cherry tree logs too.
After I returned home I had to put the logs behind the house. Not that kind of work I like to do very much, but the male members of my family were not available.

Therefor today I only made a quick dinner: gingered pork (here some leftovers)

and some salad cabbage,bellpeppers and carrot:

I cut 1 pork tenderloin (700 g) into slender slices. 
For marinade:
  • 1 huge knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic glove, grated
  • 3 tablespoons soysauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon worcester sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste

I marinated the slices 30 minutes.
Afterwards I fried the slices in four batches in a little oil (common oil and a little roasted sesame oil), only for a short period of time on each side, and kept the fried pork slices in a bowl.
Afterwards I added 1 leek, white part only, cut into slices, into the pan and stir-fried a little, added the meat, meat juices and marinade and a shot sake and let it heat up again.

Meanwhile I boiled some rice. I had prepared the salad beforehand.
It was just 1 carrot, 1 bell pepper, 1/4 crisp white cabbage - all shredded and tossed with 1/2 lemon (juice), a few spoons mayonnaise, some yoghurt, mustard, salt, pepper.