sarah's own natural garden

updates from our lifestyle block – gardening, chickens, green cleaning and more


A week of eating ugly from the garden

slim pickings in the garden these days

I have a massive veggie garden and people often look at it and assume we’re self-sufficient in vegetables but I buy an embarrassing amount. Last week I decided to be resourceful and only cook with vegetables from the garden.  I was inspired by the high cost of vegetables at the moment and my general love of not wasting things.  Due to our exposed windy site and a terrible summer it’s not been very productive. Yes there’s stuff growing – it’s just half eaten by bugs, in small quantities or kale. How do I make meals from it? Continue reading

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Making pesto from the garden

Pesto recipe

a forage from the garden for pesto and dinner making

a forage from the garden for pesto and dinner making

I love making a mixed green pesto as it uses a variety of raw greens I know are good for me but I probably wouldn’t include in a meal unless I was having a salad or a smoothie.  And I struggle with having a green smoothie. A traditional pesto recipe uses basil, pinenuts, garlic, oil and parmesan cheese but it’s very flexible really. When I make it I swap out pinenuts for whatever cheaper option I have on hand and instead of just basil I use whatever garden greens I’ve got growing .  It’s hard to write a recipe with exact quantities because it depends on what greens you use and what your own taste preference is.  I’m still refining my pesto recipe but this should give you something tasty to work from – Continue reading

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Pumpkin laksa

I started writing this post months ago and thought I should get finished it since it’s about pumpkin based soups and here it is spring.  (Though as I type it’s a typical spring – raining and a little chilly so I could well imagine a bowl of something hot right now).

I’ve been trying to do a weekly meal plan and that includes some prep for meals later in the week to save time.  I roast pumpkin one night when the oven’s on so it’s quicker to use when cooking with it.  I leave the skin and seeds on and just cut it into large quarters – it’s easier to cut up and take the skin off when already cooked.  It can be turned into a seafood or chicken laksa (see below) although there’s nothing wrong with pumpkin soup.  If you don’t like spicy hot food don’t be put off by the idea of a laksa – most of the jar sauces you buy aren’t that spicy hot but are full of flavour. Use less rather than more if you’re not sure.  (Ok, ideally you would make your own laksa or curry paste from scratch anyway).


Roasting pumpkin

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Make your own museli


I find most breakfast cereals too sweet or too plain which is why I started making my own.  It’s also cheaper to make it yourself – you just need to plan ahead so you don’t run out.  I usually make it at night when I have something else in the oven or do some baking to make use of the oven being on.  Most museli recipes seem to have loads of nuts and seeds but nuts are especially expensive so it can be costly to make.  Mine is bulked out with rolled oats – making it more like a dry porridge with added extras.   Store bought museli (and recipes for it) also contain oil, and often alot of it, which toasts the museli.  I don’t add any oil instead I use the liquid below.

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Spaghetti squash


Cooked spaghetti squash

I love to grow things.  And being a practical person I love to grow things with a purpose (food mainly) so I’m always reading about and trying to grow unusual plants and like to think I’m up with the play.  So I was a little bit surprised to find that spaghetti squash is something I should know about but had never eaten – this is probably due to my lack of enthusiasm for squash.  However ‘spaghetti’ really does mean it’s like spaghetti and after hearing people talk about it I was intrigued.  Too late to grow it but I did see it for sale now so decided to give it a try.  It was organic and grown here so a bonus. Continue reading