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December in Malibu

december basket

 

It’s December. But, this is Malibu… so yesterday I harvested this luscious basket of fresh goodness from the garden. As you can see, the basket contains varieties only found in summer gardens in other places, as well as more traditional winter produce. We are incredibly lucky to be able to eat this fresh bounty year-round here in Southern California.

This is what’s ready to harvest this week here in Malibu:

Swiss Chard
Pasilla peppers and jalapeños
Tuscan kale
Heirloom and black cherry tomatoes
Spinach
Asian greens: mizuna, tatsoi, choy sun, and whole heads of bok choi
Lettuces
Red, gold and Chiogga beets
Yellow cherry tomatoes
Cauliflowers, and cauliflower greens
and half a bed of pea tendrils (snip the tops)
Also apples, mineolas, and always a lot of herbs.

And just in case you’re wondering, this is what I did yesterday to make this happen…

A lot of cleaning and pruning, also some weeding and hand-watering, and a little planting. Also some singing, dreaming, pondering, and problem-busting, which are the other things that happen when you’re gardening, which are perhaps almost as central as growing the produce.

So while I sang, I cleaned the tomato, cauliflower, lettuce and kale beds. I removed yellow leaves, rotting fruit, weeds, and bugs. I squished snails and composted rotten tomatoes.

I pulled weeds, including nasturtiums, which have pretty edible flowers, but are also basically fancy weeds.

And I hand watered a lot of stuff not on the list yet, because it’s still growing, including a lot of Napa cabbages. Anything I hand-water, I water with water from the fish pond, because it’s rich in fish poop!

With all the cleaning and clearing done, I got to plant 3 heads of garlic, which will become about 60 new garlic bulbs by the time they’re ready to be pulled, at the end of March.

And I planted about 70 red onion sets around the garden, so we have red onions to eat, and also so the other crops are protected from aphids and other critters… none of the beasties like onions, except us.

Next week I’ll plant more lettuces, and yellow onions, and I’ll also hand-water the acid-loving crops with water laced with vinegar… that’s the blueberries, strawberries and asparagus.

And I’ll add a little seaweed to the Romanesco cauliflowers to give them a little swirl to their curl.

By the way, the flower cutting garden is less showy than in September, but still has plenty of beautiful red and gold kangaroo paws, white cannas, Peruvian day lilies, wild fennel blooms, craspedia globosa (drumstick flowers), lemon verbena flowers, cerise and yellow yarrow, blue bachelor buttons, and purple pincushions. So we’re doing okay for flower vases too…

Happy holidays!
xx Ysanne

Cup. Cakes.

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This week I was busy. Quick trip to London, then whizzed back to Malibu for a photo shoot. Not me, my food! Lots of fun playing with fresh ingredients from the garden, particularly the cauliflowers which are sweet and enormous right now. And somehow, I suddenly was inspired to create a new cupcake recipe.

Gluten free. Sugar free. Yummy.

No flour. Lots of pumpkin seeds.

And blueberries, a ton of fresh and dried blueberries, all squishy after being baked.

Recipe coming your way in my new cookbook, due out sometime in 2014… subscribe to my newsletter so you know when it’s ready and available, you won’t want to miss it, Mmmmmmm!!!

 

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