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Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day today, which got me thinking a bit about what would be most relevant to talk about in today's blog post.  
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Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

After a bit of a break over the summer, I am putting my blog-writing hat back on this week.  And it's Valentine's Day today, which got me thinking a bit about what would be most relevant to talk about in today's blog post.  

Hopefully by the time you read this, you will have already put some effort into making that special person in your life feel loved and appreciated....
.... but what about your garden??  How much do you love your garden?
Last week we moved house.  At this time of year, most of you who have a kitchen garden are probably right in the midst of reaping the rewards of all your seed-sowing and seedling-raising and are busy dealing with a welcome avalanche of produce. 

Probably just like you, February would usually find me in the kitchen, making masses of tomato passata and trying to keep up with the zucchini harvest.  Not this year.  We've sadly left our productive garden behind and will be swapping easy-peasy gardening in the wonderful Bay of Plenty climate for gardening on the Central Plateau in a little clearing in the bush at about 500m above sea level.  In our previous garden, our main concerns were keeping the garden watered, and keeping up with the sowing/planting schedule (and the harvesting) - here we will be gardening amongst possums, in a completely different climate.  It's a lot colder up here by the mountains!  I am missing my garden already!

So my gardening thought for this week is ....  (drumroll ??....)
....LOVE YOUR GARDEN!   Make the most of what you've got!  If you've got acres of sunny, sheltered land with regular rainfall, enjoy it!  If you've got a tiny balcony in the city, use it!  If you have some space on the kitchen bench for some herbs or microgreens, go for it!  If you have awkward spaces, short seasons, cold climates, hot climates, drought, possums or rabbits, non-green-fingers partners or ANYTHING else that makes gardening a challenge, GET ON WITH IT!    It's always worth it. 
the first gardening

We arrived here last Saturday, unpacked on Sunday, and on Monday I sowed some microgreens and set some sprouts to soak on the kitchen bench.  
pak choi seedlings

I have sowed one tray of microgreens - the Pak Choi has already germinated - still to come is the Basil and the Celery for Cutting, but I can see them showing some enthusiasm - they won't be far behind!   

I am looking forward to learning how to make this new gardening environment productive.  Wish me luck!

Today my chickpea sprouts are ready, and so I thought I would share a recipe with you for Sprouted Chickpea Hummus.  
Chickpeas are ready

You don't have to pre-soak and cook your chickpeas to make hummus.  (Or open a tin.)

I was attracted to the ease of making hummus this way, but of course there is always more than one reason for doing something, and I was really interested to find out that  the process of sprouting grains, legumes and seeds allows a number of "good things" to happen which means that you get food that is better for you, just by the simple process of sprouting....

One thing that happens as part of the sprouting process, is that any phytic acid present in the seed/grain/legume is neutralised.  This is a good thing because phytic acid binds with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc, making it hard to absorb those nutrients.  The process of sprouting also neutralises enzyme inhibitors, making the seed/grain/legume easier to digest.  The complex sugars responsible for the notorious issue of gas-production are also broken down by the sprouting process, making digestion easier.  The vitamin B content is increased by sprouting, and the process of germination also produces vitamin C.  What's not to like about all that?

So, for anyone who's keen to try doing some sprouting (see here for sprouting instructions), please play around with the following recipe.  You can alter ingredient quantities to taste - I like just a tiny bit of tahini, not too much garlic and lots of lemon juice.  You can add cooked pumpkin, kale from your garden, or sun-dried tomatoes, or you can add handfuls of fresh coriander or parsley.  Paprika or cayenne pepper, or even add a dash of balsamic vinegar is also nice.  It's basically all good....




Making Hummus 1


2 Cups of Sprouted Chickpeas
2 Tablespoons of Tahini 
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Lemon Juice to taste - I used two lemons 
2-3 large cloves of Garlic
1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
a little water, to thin



Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until the mixture is the consistency you like.  You can leave it a bit chunky and rustic or blend it until it is creamy.  Taste the mixture for flavour and add seasoning to taste.  This is a FLEXIBLE recipe - just mess around with the quantities until you have the flavour you like.  

Making Hummus 2

Fantastic with carrots sticks, breadsticks, or spread on toast.  If you remember to put some more chickpeas to soak, they will be sprouted and ready to make another batch by the time you have gobbled up this batch of hummus!  

New Garden

So after that detour into the land of hummus, back to Valentine's Day.  This Valentine's weekend, as well as loving that special gardener in your life, don't forget to show your garden a bit of love.  Your garden is pretty easy to please!  All you have to do is provide some water, sow a few seeds, water in a bit of fertiliser, turn a bit of compost, do a bit of pest removal or some weeding from time to time and your garden is quite happy to keep providing you with food for your table, flowers for your home, and a fun hobby/pastime/?obsession? 

What are you planning to do in your garden this weekend??

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