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The Southland Times - - Front Page -

2 sprigs thyme, plus ex­tra

to gar­nish

1 tsp flaky sea salt

Poached chicken

500ml chicken stock

2 sprigs thyme

4 slices lemon, plus ex­tra to gar­nish 2 medium chicken breasts

Heat oven to 180C.

Pre­pare veg­eta­bles and toss with oil, thyme sprigs and salt un­til well coated. Spread them out on a large, lined bak­ing tray and roast un­til ten­der and coloured, 20-30 min­utes.

Chicken: Heat stock with thyme and lemon slices. Add chicken breasts, cover and cook at a gen­tle sim­mer un­til cooked through, 12-15 min­utes de­pend­ing on thick­ness. Re­move from heat and let rest for a fur­ther 5 min­utes, then re­move from stock and slice.

Ar­range chicken slices on the warm veg­eta­bles and gar­nish with a cheek of fresh lemon, a few thyme leaves and a driz­zle of olive oil.

Serves 6

Pork & ba­con roll with roasted five-spice plums

Asian spices team per­fectly with juicy pork fil­let and plums.

The roast­ing juices from the pan are re­served to make an easy, flavour­some gravy. 2 medium pork fil­lets

4 rash­ers streaky ba­con

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp five-spice pow­der

tsp car­damom seeds

6 ju­niper berries, crushed 6 plums, halved

1 cup red wine

1 cup chicken stock

cup maple syrup

2 tsp corn­flour mixed to a paste

with 1 tbsp wa­ter

Heat oven to 180C. Trim pork of any sil­ver skin and ex­cess fat. Wrap each fil­let in 2 ba­con rash­ers and place in a lined roast­ing dish. Driz­zle oil over meat and sprin­kle with five-spice.

Add car­damom seeds and ju­niper berries to roast­ing dish. Ar­range plums around the out­side. Pour com­bined wine, stock and maple syrup over plums and pork.

Roast 15-20 min­utes or un­til pork is cooked and plums are start­ing to caramelise. Re­move meat from dish and set aside to rest for 5 min­utes be­fore slic­ing.

Trans­fer cook­ing juices to a small pan and bring to the boil. Add corn­flour paste and stir un­til slightly thick­ened and glossy.

Serve the sliced pork on a plat­ter with the roasted plums, with the spiced wine glaze spooned over the top.

Serves 4-6

LILIES

Plant lily bulbs as soon as you get them – do not let them dry out – in part shade or full sun in welldrained, hu­mus-rich soil.

Plant at least 10cm deep and put in stakes next to taller va­ri­eties so as not to dam­age roots once the flower stems ac­tu­ally need the sup­port.

Note that lilies do not like ma­nure or lime.

ORNAMENTALS

Put the or­na­men­tal beds to bed for the win­ter, by re­mov­ing spent an­nu­als and cut­ting back peren­ni­als. Then mulch around plants with com­post, fol­lowed by pea straw. Fail­ing that, use an­other type of straw or pine (the lat­ter is par­tic­u­larly liked by marigolds, snap­drag­ons, zin­nias; gar­lic, onions, pota­toes; blue­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, straw­ber­ries; lilac, roses, hy­drangeas, rhodo­den­drons and aza­leas).

Leaves and lawn clip­pings are also use­ful and read­ily avail­able win­ter mulches. Saw­dust from un­treated wood can be spread among aza­leas, camel­lias and rhodo­den­drons.

Many peren­ni­als can still be di­vided and re­planted.

Lawns may still be scar­i­fied, aer­ated and top-dressed as long as the fine mild weather con­tin­ues. But not if it is frosty or very wet.

VEG­ETA­BLES

Plant bok choy, cab­bage, sil­ver­beet, and win­ter let­tuce.

Now is the time to sow broad beans and shal­lots.

FRUIT

Weed straw­berry beds. And plant new ones – some­where sunny with well-drained soil.

Pre­pare ground for new fruit trees by in­cor­po­rat­ing gen­er­ous quan­ti­ties of com­post into the plant­ing hole.

Spray cop­per on stone fruit trees with fun­gal dis­eases, such as brown rot and leaf curl. Re­mov­ing fallen leaves and fruit will help stop the spores win­ter­ing over.

THRIPS

The long hot sum­mer has seen a surge in thrips pop­u­la­tions. These tiny in­sects usu­ally live on the un­der­side of leaves and feed by punc­tur­ing plant tis­sue and suck­ing out the cell con­tents. In­fes­ta­tions are eas­ily recog­nis­able by sil­ver­ing or bronz­ing of the leaves – in se­vere cases the whole plant, not just a branch, may be af­fected. Fruit and flow­ers can also be af­fected.

A va­ri­ety of plants host them, from bay lau­rel, vibur­nums and berge­nia to rhodo­den­dron and fuch­sia. About 50 species of thrips have been iden­ti­fied in New Zealand; the most com­mon is prob­a­bly green­house thrips.

An in­fes­ta­tion is usu­ally not fa­tal – cut off the in­fected parts and wa­ter and fer­tilise to en­cour­age new growth.

Var­i­ous sprays are avail­able to kill them (in­clud­ing neem oil), most of which are safe to use on fruit trees and veg­eta­bles. Talk to your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre about which will best suit your needs.

– Mary Lovell-Smith

Above left: Spinach & brie tart; roast veg­etable salad with lemon & thyme poached chicken (left); and pork & ba­con roll. PHO­TOS: AARON MCLEAN

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