Barbie's garden Bloggers Harvest Day Home page features Recipes

Iris Delight

I have missed my garden and I have missed my gardening friends and I have missed my best friend – all because of too much work and bad weather, in that order! I can never have too much work, because this means there is a positive feeling out there in the market! The bad weather isn’t really BAD – just when too much rain takes over the garden, I don’t feel like playing outside!

Well, I have been missing all the action!!!

My Louisiana Irises have been having a party without me! These flowers are always such a special treat because my best friend gave them to me (tons of rhizomes have grown since) and with the blooming I celebrate my friendship!! So, my buddy! Happy Iris Day! I miss you and wait patiently until we can garden together again! So I send these loving delights so you can see how beautiful they always are!

How beautiful!! What a great start to the sunny weekend ahead! So much to look forward to!

Happy gardening my friends xxxx


Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Recipes

Garden on a plate

Wow – that was some storm we experienced over the weekend. I was so worried that the hail storm was going to ruin my veggie patch and when it rained cats and dogs, it was going to wash everything away! Glad to report that there are only small pools of water and the garden has survived. So much so, that I could pick an amazing lunch salad from the greens all around my garden. Take a look at the colourful plate of goodies – even edible flowers.

This collection of greens makes for the most delicious salad. I have experimented with edible flowers and include the peppery nasturtium flowers and the cucumber tasting borage flower. I have also added chamomile fronds and these are so delicate and have their own unique flavour. This is why I garden – to create beautiful plates of food. All it needed was a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon (from my lemon tree!) – nothing more! The flavours speak for themself.

The beautiful borage flower is also packed with healthy goodness.  This is called the happy plant, historically known to bring comfort and joy! It is said to be mildly antidepressant. It has anti-inflammatory properties and used by the pharmaceutical industry for its oil (this contains gamma-linolenic acid). Borage is used for its leaves, flowers and seeds. What a marvelous plant – also used in the garden as a green fertilizer! Multi-tasking at its finest!

Did you know that Nasturtiums is known as “Mother Nature’s Antibiotic” because it is packed with Vitamin C? It is great in assisting fighting colds and flus by assisting the immune system. The leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible! It has a fresh peppery flavour so a big must in any salad! And the colours are eye catching, brings a simple salad to Master Chef level!!

The salad greens are a variety of seedlings I bought – oak leaf, curly red, cos and butter lettuce. The rest were sown from seed, such as the english spinach, broad been shoots, fennel  shoots, tender celery tips and new swiss chard leaves.

My first ever attempt at growing Baby Chinese Greens – tatsoi (a spinach mustard), Mizuna (a lettuce), Arugula (we know it as rocket) and Bok Choy (also known as Pak Choi – a chinese cabbage). What you see here (above) in Bok Choy. It is the tender new growths that I use. I am busy thinning, so it is a great way to use these in salads.

This is, for me, the the joy of gardening! My edible garden! What makes you happy about your garden??

Enjoy xxxx

Barbie's garden Bloggers Harvest Day Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Recipes

Garden Bloggers Harvest Day for March

Welcome to our third Garden Bloggers Harvest Day this 5th day of March 2012. Our Two Gardens have surprised us again this summer!  We love sharing with you the delights of our gardens on this day each month! Also, having a peek into your veggie patches will inspire and delight! There is so much to grow and enjoy! We can create great meals from our patch of heaven in our gardens! What’s growing in your edible garden?

Let’s see what can be harvested from Barbies Garden this month

Well, I have never enjoyed such a bountiful harvest as I have this month. I picked and picked and picked……. tomatoes and chillis and butternut squash. I have enough to see me through to the next season. I have never been successful with butternut squash and all my fellow Philadelphian veggie gardeners are green with envy because all their squash was stung by something – I could not give then any advice, though, because I did nothing special! Wonder what it is! The leafy greens have delighted and are still producing, regardless of the intense heat! What champs! The herbs are plentiful and keep all my dishes flavourful and colourful. Thank you, my garden – you have done well. This month of March I have cleared the beds for the winter sowing. I will keep you posted on what I plant. Enjoy yours!

[one_half]Bountiful butternut harvest![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Second growth of broccoli[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Mass of mint – I think it is spearmint[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Italian flat leaf parsley – the best![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Red cabbage nearly ready to pick[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Still enjoying the hot chilli[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Figs are nearly over-mine were lovely[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Melt in your mouth sweet and juicy[/one_half_last]

[one_half]What a bumper crop I got![/one_half]

[one_half_last]All the best ingredients for a pasta sauce[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Let’s not forget the sweet basil[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of leafy greens in my garden[/one_half_last]

Not quite ripe yet

[one_half]Love my lemons-patiently waiting[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Guavas are a winter fruit-still awhile to go[/one_half_last]


Pick of the Month

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – Chard and the other beets are chenopods, a group which is either its own family Chenopodiaceae or a subfamily within the Amaranthaceae. Although the leaves are eaten, it is in the same group and subfamily as beetroot (garden beet), which is usually grown primarily for its edible roots. Chard is also known by its many common names such as Swiss chard, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights (due to the bright and vivid spring colors when they are cooked or provided as a medley of vegetables), seakale beet, and mangold and is one of the cultivated descendants of the sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima.

Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K and C, with a 175 g serving containing 214%, 716%, and 53%, respectively, of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein.

(Courtesy of

Bone health benefits: This high in calcium content dark green leafy vegetable is easy to absorb. Together with vitamin K and magnesium it provides more than six times the daily requirement recommended for your body. As per research, one cup of cooked leaves of Swiss chard helps to support healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. We all know calcium plays a great role in maintaining our bones but when added with vitamin K1, it helps to prevent excessive action by osteoclasts i.e. the cells which act as a main agent to break down bone. Presence of vitamin K2 helps to anchor the calcium in place.

Act as antioxidants: Swiss chard is a store house of antioxidants along with vitamin K; vitamin C and vitamin A. Antioxidants provide a helping hand to protect the body from the free radicals and harmful toxic substances. As per various researches, antioxidants present in this green leafy vegetable helps to prevent and treat coronary artery disease and various other diseases.

Prevent inflammation: Presence of various vitamin and mineral help to prevent inflammation which has been occurred exterior as well as interior.

Reduces Blood Pressure:  1 cup of cooked leaves of Swiss chard contains a person’s daily recommended content of potassium, which helps to maintain the level of blood sugar. Swiss chard being rich in potassium content helps to reduce the level of blood sugar, especially when it gets replaced by the sodium. On the other hand, Swiss chard contains high amount of fibre content that helps to reduce the level of blood cholesterol.

Maintain proper heart health: Along with various other vitamins and nutrients, Swiss chard stores vitamin K that helps to classify the blood vessels and hardness the arteries. It also helps to maintain clotting of normal blood. Presence of magnesium content helps to deal with various cardiovascular diseases. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, Swiss chard acts as a helping hand to deal with hypertension.

Maintain proper skin health: Swiss chard is good for skin maintenance and skin health. This cousin of spinach helps to boost up skin glow. Presence of vitamin A along with vitamin C plays a great role in the production of collagen, providing skin health and prevention of acne.

Boost up immune system: The immune system gets a boost from Swiss chard. Vitamin A and vitamin C is essential to stimulate and improve the function of body immune system.

Maintain proper eye health: Swiss card feature 110% of the daily requirement of vitamin A content in your diet. Vitamin A content in Swiss chard helps to protect your eyes against macular degeneration and ensures good eye health.

Prevent anaemia: Swiss chard is useful for people suffering for anaemia. Swiss chard has a good source of iron and as per research; iron is always consider for the treatment of anaemia. Presence of iron content is essential to make red blood cells which act as an oxygen carrier. The leafy vegetable also houses B complex vitamins, which helps to cure tiredness and depression.


Spinach and Feta Quiche – Barbies own fool proof recipe


1 cup cake flour
50g hard butter cut into small blocks
1/4 cup ice water

Directions: Please flour in food processor and blend in the butter blocks to create a crumbly consistency. Add the ice water and watch the dough ball form. When it is a ball, remove and knead it for at least 1 minute to break the gluten to get a springy, elastic consistency. Wrap in glad wrap and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes. In this time you can prepare the quiche contents and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Spinach and Feta Quiche:

Collect handfuls Swiss Chard/Spinach from your garden
2 to 3 blocks of feta cheese
3 organic eggs, from your friendly chickens – beaten
1 cup cream

Directions: Clean spinach and add wet to a pot to blanch for 1 minute until wilted. Chop up into small pieces. Chop up the feta cheese into small 10mm blocks. Put to one side as you take out the pastry and roll to fit into a quiche dish, sprinkle flour to your work surface. Once nicely laid out add the spinach and feta cheese evenly. Add the cream to the beaten eggs and pour over the top of spinach and feta. I do not need to add any seasoning, but if you wish now is the time. Back in oven for at least 30 minutes or until it springs back when you touch it and the crust is lightly brown.

Enjoy with a garden salad!

About Garden Bloggers Harvest Day

Please join us on the 5th of every month and show us what you’ve harvested. Whether you have a massive vegetable garden or grow a few herbs in pots or just pick a few peaches from a tree … we’d love to see! Its all about sharing our experiences, photographs, successes and failures as we “learn to grow”.

So prepare a post on your blog about what you harvested this past month, link up to us at The Gardening Blog and then, add your link to the Mr. Linky below so we can all visit your blog and “share in your harvest”. And leave us a comment! We LOVE hearing from you!

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets — Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

Annuals Barbie's garden Bloggers Harvest Day Gardening Home page features Recipes

Garden Bloggers Harvest Day for February

Welcome to our second Garden Bloggers Harvest Day this 5th day of February 2012. Our Two Gardens have yielded a collection of incredible edibles this summer!  Sharing with you what comes out of our gardens on this day each month will be fun! Also, having a peek into your veggie patches will inspire and delight! There is so much to find in the back garden!

Let’s see what can be harvested from Barbies Garden this month

The summer heat is on and the greens need lots of water. I have had a few of them wilt away, so I need to prepare the next batch carefully. But the tomatoes are tasting amazing but the plants don’t look so good this year and the butternut squash is growing out of control in my garden (good thing I love butternut squash).  The Broccoli has been eaten and the celery has gone to seed. I have also noticed that the veggies grown in the raised beds are thriving compared to the veggie patch along the side of the house. It really has paid off preparing the soil carefully by composting, mulching and adding manure right at the start. Have a look and see what’s coming out of my garden.

Lots of leafy greens – from cabbages to lettuce and Swiss Chard.

[one_half]Just picked sweetcorn for lunch tomorrow[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This is growing mad in my garden[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of tomatoes are ripening[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tomatoes in different stages[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Spring onions growing tall[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Broccoli was super delicious this year[/one_half_last]

Courgettes were plentiful and with 3 plants we had them coming out of our ears!

[one_half]Lots of chilli in my garden – enjoying the flavour[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More cabbage – takes awhile to grow[/one_half_last]

Pick of the Month

The Butternut Squash:

Butternut can be eaten in many different ways, from baked, steamed or puréed. It is fairly low in calories, so can be eaten freely. The main benefit that butternut has, is that it is a source of the phytochemical beta-carotene. That has antioxidant abilities and can inhibit cancer cell development. Alpha-carotene is best absorbed by the body when it is cooked and eaten with a little fat. It is most beneficial to eat this as part of a meal.

It has more vitamin A than that in pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the cucurbitaceae family with highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for vision. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A helps body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.

It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.

It has similar mineral profile as pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.


Butternut Soup (from the


  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.

About Garden Bloggers Harvest Day

Please join us on the 5th of every month and show us what you’ve harvested. Whether you have a massive vegetable garden or grow a few herbs in pots or just pick a few peaches from a tree … we’d love to see! Its all about sharing our experiences, photographs, successes and failures as we “learn to grow”.

So prepare a post on your blog about what you harvested this past month, link up to us at The Gardening Blog and then, add your link to the Mr. Linky below so we can all visit your blog and “share in your harvest”. And leave us a comment! We LOVE hearing from you!

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets — Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Recipes

Tons of Tomatoes

New tomatoesWow – have a look at my harvest of tomatoes! And there are still lots more on the vine. Hannes and I had some fun this afternoon just taking these photo’s. He is such a great creative director! Just makes a boring tomato photo shoot a total fun event!

I hope you enjoyed the tomatoes, Chris. I also gave some to Kristen, and she was so amazed and said, “Wow, and this is how a real tomato should taste!” It makes the growing and nurturing a real joy when this is the resulting feedback!! I love my GARDEN!!!



A quick and simple tomato sauce recipe: Great for pasta and meatballs or just as a condiment instead of chutney.

2 -4 large roma tomatoes (cut up in slices or blocks) – depends how many people you are having for dinnner – just add more tomatoes (and freeze the rest)
chopped parsley
chopped fresh coriander
chopped fresh origanum
chopped fresh margoram
chopped fresh sweet basil
chopped fresh spring onions
chopped fresh thyme

And this can all come from your own herb garden.

Simmer all these ingredients in a small sauce pan with a blob of butter. Just don’t add any water. This will spoil it, as the beautiful juices from the tomato will be suficient. Add salt & ground black pepper and a tsp of sugar. And Voila! A simple and super quick sauce! You don’t have to boil, just give it 10 minutes or so and you are done. You have just enough time to make a bowl of pasta! Keep a sprig or two of sweet basil for garnish. It always completes the dish!


Christine's garden Gardening Recipes

What to do with all the Basil?

[one_half]Basil Pesto[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Sweet BasilSweet Basil[/one_half_last]

It’s really hard to believe that after two weeks of starting my veggie planter I have so much Basil that I need to find a use for it. I think I planted the first Basil plant about a month ago and together with the batch I planted in the new veggie planter I have so much that I decided to make Basil Pesto.

Here’s my Basil Pesto Recipe:

Ingredients for approximately 250mls of Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups of freshly picked basil leaves (I packed the cups so they were stuffed with basil leaves)
  • Quarter cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (try to use a really good quality)
  • Quarter cup of pine nuts (you can also use walnuts if you can’t get hold of pine buts)
  • 2 garlic cloves freshly minced (you might like to use a bit more garlic than this – its a personal taste preference)
  • A tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of salt – (also optional, and its a personal preference – like to use a dash of Maldon or sea salt, seems to make the pesto pop!)


  • Pick all the Basil leaves off the stalks and rinse them in cold water (throw away any leaves that aren’t perfect)
  • Chop the pine nuts in a food processor (or blitzer if you have one)
  • Add the basil leaves and garlic and continue to chop / blend them together
  • Slowly start to add the olive oil and lemon juice and blend until you have a thick, smooth paste
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and blend it in


  • Some people prefer a slightly less “blended” Pesto with some lumpiness to it … blend the pesto to your preference
  • I know someone who adds a teaspoon of sugar to her Basil Pesto – I prefer the pinch of salt – but they are both options
  • If you plan to freeze your Pesto you should leave the Parmesan cheese out of it and add it after thawing – I personally don’t freeze Basil Pesto – I like it fresh!


  • If anyone has any great variations on my very basic Basil Pesto Recipe, I’d love to know – please leave a comment below!

Happy Gardening (and cooking!)

Barbie's garden Miscellaneous Recipes

Fig Jam Recipe

Fig JamFig Jam
5 pounds chopped fresh figs (2.5kg)
6 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of lemon juice

 To prepare chopped figs: Cover figs with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain, skin, stem and chop figs (I prefer it without the skin on, but the extra schlep is worth it).

Combine figs, sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick (it took me 45min. I think the trick is to really let it boil until the desired thickness). Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add lemon juice and cook 1 minute longer. Pour hot into hot, boiled jars, leaving a little head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes on a boiling water bath. I got 4 jars of jam.

I added less sugar than the recipe called for because I wanted the jam to taste natural, rather than sweet. I noticed that the figs were a bit spotty when I started. I understand that when the small spots form, as in bananas, the natural sugar in the fruit is changing and rising to the skin as the fruit ripens. As the figs cooked the sugar dissolved into the jam causing most of the spot to vanish.