Winter is a wonderful time for growing greens and brassicas in Blackheath. On Sunday at Blackheath Community Farm we harvested cauliflower, kale, land cress, rocket, radish greens, a variety of lettuces and silverbeet.
As well as being delicious raw, they can all be cooked as well.
Check out our recipe for Orechiette with cauliflower and walnut brown-butter pesto below
Mizuna, or Asian mustard greens, are growing particularly well at the moment and are really attractive throughout winter. The red elk mizuna at the Farm is spectacular and the more you harvest the more it appears to grow. It tastes like wasabi eaten raw, and is delicious in salads, but gets milder when you chop it up and throw it into almost anything you might be cooking
We’ve also just planted green mizuna and red giant mustard.
The beginnings of our new mixed lettuce and mizuna bed
The chooks also love the mizuna I’m growing at home
Red giant mustard is positively sculptural at full size and provides a beautiful colour accent to the garden. I love peanut butter, red mustard and tomato toast and I’ve even fermented it to make kimchi. It’s incredibly versatile. Fascinatingly, its milder during winter (you can treat it like lettuce) but gets a much stronger wasabi bite when the weather warms up.
Baby bok choy
Bok choy is another great Asian green and grows far more quickly than cabbages. I’ve got a few baby bok choy growing in my home garden and Nick from Megalong Farm brought some up to sell at the Community Farm on the weekend, along with his sweet potatoes and spinach.
There’s even a gorgeous bok choy growing in Blackheath’s fabulous verge garden beds in the village. This one’s on Wentworth St:
Peas are taking off at the moment too, and their lovely shoots can also be added to salads and stir fries.
It’s worth exploring the whole range of Asian greens currently available because they grow so brilliantly in our cold winters and are great at self seeding so that you have plenty into the future.
While it was a bit chilly, we had a glorious day at the Farm on Sunday. We built new beds to suit our irrigation system,
transplanted some very tiny beetroots (fingers crossed they’ll survive)
and planted almost 300 garlic cloves. It’s later than we’d usually plant but we’re hoping they’ll still grow just as well.
We even did the tedious job of pulling out and replanting our chive border to get out the weed!
A big thank you to Will who built us a retaining wall to create a small terrace in one part of the garden. It will help stop soil being washed away in heavy rain and allow us to build up our garden bed along the fence.
We had an absolute ball on Sunday and looking forward to being back again next Sunday at 10am.
Enjoying our tea break
And just for the record, we’re also still harvesting raspberries!
Orecchiette with cauliflower and walnut brown-butter pesto
350gm (½ small) cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
500 gm dried orecchiette (small ear-shaped pasta)
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, juice of ½, plus lemon wedges (optional) to serve
Finely grated parmesan, to serve
Walnut Brown-butter Pesto
185 gm cold butter, diced
¼ cup (firmly packed) sage leaves
80 gm roasted walnuts
30 gm grated parmesan
1 long red chilli, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 250C. Place cauliflower on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Roast until golden and edges are slightly charred.
Meanwhile, for walnut brown-butter pesto, cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming and nut brown, then add sage and stir until crisp. Set aside a few leaves for garnish, then transfer sage butter to a food processor, add remaining ingredients, blitz to a coarse puree and season to taste.
Cook orecchiette in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving about 80ml pasta water, and return pasta to pan. Add pesto, cauliflower, lemon rind and juice, toss to combine, adding a little pasta water to loosen, and season to taste. Top with parmesan and reserved sage leaves and serve with lemon wedges.