Another good reason for getting up early!
My day began with an hour long phone call to my mummy whilst I ate my toast and drank my tea. I then made a second cup of tea and took it up to the end of the driveway where I cleaned up my flower bed by the road. Removed some straggly annuals, chopped up some rowdy perennials, cleared all of the leaves even though I know there is more to come and pulled up weeds. Looks much better. Then I set to planting the remainder of my new bulbs for this year. I have gone kinda light on the new bulbs this year, partly because Im kinda running out of room for bulbs ( I figure I have somewhere in the 2-3000 range hiding underneath the surface of my garden); 150 daffodils, 75 tulips (I still hate that these are annuals in the South), 24 alliums, 5 new day lilies and 3 moved from another area, 3 trout lilies (which I am intrigued about as I have never grown before), 40 spider lilies and 3 colossal blue hostas.
I then ate my lunch on my beautiful back deck, following which I had to rest my eyes from the sun and fell asleep for just a short while! Long enough to get a numb botty though!
I begun the immense task of clearing the leaves on our property. Before you say get a leaf blower, I have a leaf blower, and in places I use it. But there is something so very therapeutic about raking leaves for me, and I like getting down and dirty in my flower beds so that I can see all the new naughty weeds poking through. The weeds are reasonably thin thanks to my July blitz and thick layer of mulch, so that was a pleasant surprise. I moved two new baby rose of sharon hibiscus that were growing in odd places and gave them some prime real-estate. I obviously did not clear all of the leaves but I can see the ground in several flower beds so that makes me happy! Unlike most (my husband being one of them), I really like clearing leaves. I have to be careful when I do it though, do it too early and you will have to do it many many times over. Do it too late and the many bulbs are already popping up and you end up being unable not to step on some and squish them. Leave it even longer and the tiny snails contingency strengthens their numbers ready for the spring on-slaught. Another reason I like being out in the garden at this time of year is that the birds are migrating and swath into the trees in huge numbers, squawking all day long. Not to mention that it is just beautiful in my backyard!
Tired of being outside I began to clean the kitchen so that I could mess it up! I made short crust pastry which became the ugliest mince pies you have ever seen in your life! I roasted some root vegetables and made myself a delicious vegetable dip for my mid-morning snacks at work. If you ever think you need to just work some veggies into your diet, try this as a dipping snack - you can even dip it with carrots and sugar snaps (my current favourite snack!) to add more veggies.
Beet Vegetable Dip
2 medium beets
1 potato (sweet or baking)
1 bulb of garlic
Any other winter veggies you fancy - winter squash, rutabaga/swede, parsnips ...
Wrap in foil and bake at 400F until soft and tender, about one hour. I tend to wrap the big things separately and the little things together.
Im sure any greens would be fine too, just cook til tender.
Place all of your veggies in the food processor (squeezing garlic out of skins and peeling the beets) with a glug each of olive oil, lemon juice and orange juice. Add some seasoning; this time I used italian herbs, salt and pepper but another good choice would be fresh rosemary and thyme, mint and lime or if you are so inclined you could add hot sauce. I also added two large pinches of cumin, I think this is essential to deepen the flavours.
This is the crucial point in this dip... taste! I dipped with chips but I think carrots or veggie sticks would be awesome too. Then adjust whatever you need to your liking. I like lots of black pepper, so I added more. Its delicious warm but great cold too, an awesome snack to take to work or to a party with some pita chips.
So where were we, back to what else I did with my day. Since I still have lots of jacket (baked) potatoes left over from fake bonfire night, I made some gnocchi. First time ever, and I have to say, I was a little nervous but it was so stinking easy! I havent tasted it yet, so Im not going to give you the recipe, but when I eat it later and its delicious, I will post the altered Epicurious recipe.
While shaping my mince pies, I talked to Danny's grandmother on the phone, but no, I do not think this is why they are so ugly. I think I just got lazy and wanted to eat the mince meat. Thankfully there were a few teaspoons too many in the jar, which of course needed to go into the dishwasher so I had to eat them!
Now that I have taste tested my veggie dip, eaten the left over mince meat in the jar, and checked a couple of the mince pies once they came out of the oven, Im not sure Im going to be able to eat dinner when Danny gets home! Its late anyways, maybe I can just make him some soup! Good thing you can freeze gnocchi!
Anyways, that's what I did with my saturday. I wonder what sunday has install! I guess Ill need some sleep to recover!