Monday, January 31, 2011

When life sends you lemons... plant a tree!

Building, like biting into a big juicy lemon, is not a pleasant experience in the least and when dealing with the contractors and very uninspired builders we are calmly putting into practice our yoga breathing techniques instead of throwing objects against the newly painted walls!

While the universe keeps feeding us lemons we are going to grow them...Every few days throughout the past year I have been sneaking lemons from our neighbour in awe of how rich and abundant their tree was.

According to the gardening guides its very easy to grow your own lemons! The catch: they do have a few requirements.

Tips on how to Grow a Lemon tree:

    • Lemon trees don't tolerate the cold very well and wont last through freezing temperatures and frost for to long. If you are in an area where frost appears for several days plant the tree close to the house or building, the radiant heat coming off the building will keep the area around the tree above freezing.
    • Sun, sun and more sun. The more the better, at least 8 hours. Lemon trees do however appreciate late afternoon shade on their roots. [picky little buggers]
    • Lemon trees like acidic soil, soil can be made more acidic by adding sulphur or ammonium sulfate fertilisers - enquire at your nearest nursery for advice. Dig the hole double the size of the bag of the tree and always make sure the area around the base of the tree is mulchy which will retain soil moisture. 
    • Lemon trees like a good watering, water well once a week rather than sprinkling it every few days. 
    • 'Feed'! It is important to fertilise the tree before it blossoms. They flower from October onwards and an application of Limestone Ammonium Nitrate (L.A.N) can be done in July/ August. Water well before and after you fertilise. Do not feed the tree with L.A.N after it has bloomed as it will create a thick skin on the fruit and tasteless lemons.
    • Lemon trees grow quite quickly and therefor to keep the lemons in reach need to be pruned.When pruning trim all dead branches and branches that are touching the ground to avoid a way for ants and snails to get to the fruit. 
    • Snails do love lemons so if you find any slithering around the tree use bait  to keep them from getting to the stem of the tree.
    • Lemons can be picked from the time that they start showing a yellowish tinge until fully yellow. Very ripe lemons will fall to the ground. 

our baby tree 27.01.2011


organic: indulgent lemon curd, refreshing lemonade, tangy lemon marinades and sweet lemon cakes will be made and sold at [PS] head quarters in the near future.

[PS] why not grow your own lemon tree....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This season Blue is the new Black ....

We always get excited for January; it’s like waking up after a long beauty sleep - A fresh start. 

Most of us are just getting back into our routines after travelling far and wide, refreshed and ready for another busy year, therefore we can’t think of a better time to indulge in fresh berries.... Blueberries in particular!

Not only are Blueberries delicious sweet little morsels they have some fantastic health benefits:
    • They are the highest antioxidants of all fresh berries – boosting your immune system and preventing  infections. This is mainly due to the pigment responsible for its blue colour, namely anthocyanin.
    • Neutralizes free radicals which can affect aging in the body.
    •  Like our orange friends, They have been proven to preserve vision
    • These little gems even heal brain cells, neuron tissues and keep your memory sharp for a long time.
    • They have the ability to dissolve the bad cholesterol and strengthen the cardiac muscles which aid in curing heart diseases. 
    • The high fibre content in blueberries improves digestion and keeps constipation at bay.
    • They have been linked to reducing the risk of certain cancers.
    •   And our favourite benefit – they aid in reducing the spare tire around the belly.
[PS] how to choose the freshest blueberries:

Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform hue coloured with a whitish bloom. Remember the deeper the colour of the blue the higher the anti oxidants. Make sure they are free of water as that will promote the growth of mold. Shake the packaging lightly, if the little berries don’t roll around then they are likely to be too soft, squished or moldy. 

[PS] Tips:

-         In South Africa blueberries are limited to December and January and then become scares or very expensive. So buy a few punnets and freeze them in freezer bags to use in muffins, cupcakes or in sauces throughout the year. Note when freezing make sure there is no air in the bags to reduce the ice damage to the berries. 

Homemade fresh Blueberry jam

6 cups blueberries
3.5 cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Crush ½ the blueberries in a large pot.
Add teh remaining whole berries, sugar, lemon juice and zest and while stirring often bring to the boil over a medium heat.
Boil for 15-20 minutes or until thick. 
Skim off any foam and ladel into jars, leaving 1cm rim from the top.
White chocolate and blueberry muffins
Makes 12

250g unsalted butter @ room temp
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs whole
1 large egg yolk
250g flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g fresh blueberries
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g white chocolate, chopped

Heat the oven to 180’C
In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy
In a separate bowl lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk
Whilst whipping the butter mix slowly add the egg, bit by bit.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir until combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries, vanilla essence and chocolate pieces with a big metal spoon.
Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cases and fill each case to a 1/3rd full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
Muffins can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Blueberry and Granola breakfast smoothie
Serves 2

1 punnet fresh blueberries
120ml plain yoghurt
120ml low fat milk
2 tbs honey
Handful of ice cubes
2 tbsp granola or chunky muesli

Place all the ingredients besides the granola into a blender and blits until desired consistency. Serve chilled sprinkled with granola.

Quick and easy Blueberry rice pudding
Serves 4   

¾ cup uncooked white rice
2 cups milk
1/3 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup blueberries
½ tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil, add the rice and stir. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Drain and return to the pot.  Combine 1 ½ cups rice, 1 ½ cups milk, sugar and salt. Simmer over a medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes until thick and creamy.
Stir in remaining ½ cup milk, beaten egg , blueberries and vanilla. Cook for 2 more minutes and serve warm.

[PS] Enjoy...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Honey we're home...

For the last few months we have been bouncing around like little children the day before Christmas and spreading the word, as you might or might not know [PS] is moving into their very own home!

Cookbooks are being packed into boxes, the leaning tower of our all time favourite 'food & home' magazines into crates, pots and pans into recycles shopping bags and many a penny is being spent on bits and pieces to make our home as beautiful as it has been dreamt up to be.

This little blog will be our way of documenting the building, alterations and modification of what is now a shell and the progress of growing our own organic vegetable and herb garden. We would love to hear any creative ideas and tips that you have..... our fingers have never been very green and we'll treasure all the help we can get.

Last week we very happily stumbled upon Fantastic during a google search marathon [] and have added this inspirational sticker to our interior decor.... below is an image courtesy of Fantastic, however as soon as the paint has dried and the sticker has been applied we'll post a pic of what it looks like in the kitchen.

Don't you just love it?

[PS] watch this space....