Pandan Nasi Lemak ~ Made in the USA

With no “hawkers”, which is what we call food vendors in Singapore, when I have a craving, I invent ways of creating what will satiate.

Nasi Lemak is rice dish that is cooked in/mixed with coconut milk. It is commonly sold in any foodcourt, hawker center & even coffee-shops … but alas, not where I live right now. I craved Pandan Nasi Lemak yesterday, so to the garden, then to the kitchen, then the cooking began.

Long, fibrous Pandan leaves were cut up.

Long, fibrous Pandan leaves were cut up.

Put in my little cup blender with coconut cream.

Put in my little cup blender with coconut cream.

Add 1 cup of water or what your “mini” blender allows, then blend away…

Blended concoction poured through sieve.

Blended concoction poured through a tea strainer into rice pot.

Add some salt and more water to your rice – up to the required (usual) level of cooking – then cover and press the “Cook” button. Pandan Nasi Lemak is in the making.

I decided to be really Singaporean and knocked up some dried anchovies and peanuts which usually accompanies this dish.

Dried Anchovies and Salted Peanuts (common snack) out of a bottle

Dried Anchovies and Salted Peanuts

So what did I end up having for dinner?
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Ma Nature’s Pest Controllers

It is often difficult (very, very difficult) not to want to just spray or sprinkle some lethal weapon of pest destruction when you see those vicious bugs munching on your food crops like there’s going to be no tomorrow. I’ve even learned to squash larvae with my bare fingers in rancor!

Painful though it is, I usually grit my teeth and divert my attention to another stint. My consolation is the most recent video of a more experienced Permie (someone practising Permaculture) in a similar situation.

Today I walked around checking to see that with so many destructive squirmies around, has Ma Nature set up her roster and assigned her pest controlling brigade to my garden yet. OK, I can see …

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Been Beezy checking Bees & Combs

Sky was clear and air was still. Lots of bees were out foraging for nectar and pollen and we decided that conditions were ideal to do a special check on our “new” hive, which began with a swarm that visited our Swarm Box in early April and were moved to their new home-hive in mid-April. Our main concern today was mites, which if found, we wanted to get rid of at an early stage.

So, the roof of the Top-Bar Hive got removed & the combs were inspected bar-by-bar.

Looked healthy, mite free.

Looked healthy, mite free.

Walls, base, combs looked "clean".

Walls, base, combs looked “clean”.

Apart from mites, we were also trying to spot the Queen …

Lots of nanny workbees, some drones, capped cells ~ but can't spot the Queen.

Lots of nanny workbees, some drones, capped cells ~ but couldn’t spot the Queen.

8 combs build in about 12 weeks.

8 combs build in about 12 weeks.

They were healthy and happy (except during our short intrusion)

They were healthy and happy (except during our short intrusion)

We now have peace of mind for these “newcomers”.
It is our hope that one day we will be granted audience with their Queen.

 

 

Pandan Wrapped Chicken

Summer heat is on; humidity is high … it’s just like in the tropics.
Pandan plants are happy! In case Pandan growers run out of ideas as to what they can do with them apart from rice and cakes, try wrapping meat then steaming or baking.

Today's tropical vegetable harvest.

Today’s tropical vegetable harvest – Pandan, Chili-Pepper & Water Convolvulus.

I made Pandan Wrapped Chicken (again) and as usual this is when I really do not mind the lingering aroma emitted from the air-oven, of Pandan, hovering around the house for a couple of hours after dinner.

Chicken all wrapped up.

Chicken all wrapped up.

Baked Pandan Chicken

Baked Pandan Chicken

Tiny shredded Pandan pieces added to the marinade.

Tiny shredded Pandan pieces which were added to the marinade.

We had this with white steaming hot Jasmine rice and Spicy Stir-Fried Water Convolvulus, just a simple home style Asian meal.

 

Water Convolvulus (蕹菜) ~ I’m doing it my way

Growing Water Convolvulus (or Kang Kong) is illegal in Florida because it can be very invasive, so be forewarned. DO NOT grow this and leave it be, especially not in Florida anyway, because you will get ditches blocked, probably get a fine and that’s downright environment-unfriendly.

But!! like grandma who was taught by her mother and who taught my mother, who taught me, how to make rice wine in the kitchen for home use, no one got fined or imprisoned for personal “moonshine” brewing ~ so I grow this very, very carefully, strictly for my kitchen’s wok only and away from my backyard ditch.

Just late spring I found an ideal spot to insert a “mini-lake” where water supply is constant for its summer growth since it is an aquatic plant.

Right next to my air-conditioning unit!

Right next to my air-conditioning unit!

Constant supply of water

Constant supply of water

The container is actually a tire-tube checking basin costing $1 from Dollar Tree. It is buried in soil with only 1 inch of the basin above soil level. I have drilled 2 small holes at soil level for excess water outflow.

My small amount of fresh supply carefully monitored.

My fresh Kang Kong supply carefully monitored.

So where does excess water go to?

Out the drilled holes to surrounding soil ...

Out the drilled holes to surrounding soil …

Around this mini-lake, at present, I am cultivating sweet potatoes and some native tomatoes. IF this grow method works, I might try growing water-cress too next summer.

I’m growing this in a little 14″ basin to get a type of vegetable not sold in supermarts around me. Why waste gas driving 32 miles to the closest Asian store to get a half-pound supply, which incidentally is loaded with calcium, iron, protein, vitamins A & C, when I can get weekly harvests 25 steps away from my backdoor? And who is growing these to supply to Asian stores all over the US? Some lucky grinning farmers somewhere must be growing this invasive weed legally & selling it to us Asians … and for real US$ too!

 

Re-doing my paths ~ Sheet Mulching with Cardboard

Right now, I am a busy Cardboard Hunter a.k.a. Dumpster Diver. Those dump bins used by stores, emptied by forklifts are so huge and deep, it’s really quite a feat trying to get discarded cardboard boxes out of there (& not fall in). Slow and steady … hey! I’m just helping to recycle …

My 2nd retrieved batch

My 2nd retrieved batch

It’s summer and with Florida’s seasonal downpour, I’ve found it’s the best time to “re-pave” my pathways. Yes, I use cardboard as sheet-mulch as it is biodegradable, blocks weeds and allows me to do my part in recycling.

Pathway cardboard mulched.

Pathway cardboard mulched.

~ then covered with hay

~ then covered with hay

Cardboard mulch & hay all the way.

Hay, hay, hay it’s magic ♫

 

Now, to wait for tomorrow’s rain before I walk all over it in rubber boots to “shape” it.

Oh, and I use cardboard low boxes as biodegradable raised beds too. They blend in, disintegrate, become soil and my plants can’t tell the difference.:mrgreen:

Seedlings in their temporary raised beds.

Seedlings in their temporary raised beds.

Oops! By coincidence I saw Jennifer Nichole Wells’ site so I’m joining in the fun.

One Word Photo Challenge: Cardboard

Was it because of the Full Moon?

or Summer Solstice?

The nocturnal animals were having a “wail” of a time partying last night in my backyard. It was 3.30 a.m. and their wailing simply got louder and louder like a banshee style screaming alarm clock. It was 10 times louder than normal and I’m not kidding!

I finally decided to get my camera, went out the backdoor and recorded the sound effects of their crazy “moonshine” party.

I had no choice but to close the windows and wondered if these night partying animals were actually affected by Solar and/or Lunar peaks. Even with windows closed, I now bear the brunt of their noisy partying ~ puffy eyebags & bloodshot eyeballs ~ while they are in their states of blissful slumber.

Ever experienced a boozeless hangover?😦

Comfrey Harvest – Part 2

Comfrey harvested slightly over 2 weeks ago got hung to dry, then moved to the garage for a couple of days when Tropical Storm Colin came to visit and got moved out again for summer sun drying for 7 days.

When nicely brown and dehydrated, I laid it in a cardboard box and sprinkled it with a scoop of compost. Then it was left to cure for another 7 days ~ almost similar principle to preserving vegetables.

Comfrey curing in a cardboard box.

Comfrey curing in a cardboard box.

I use cardboard boxes as it absorbs moisture and prevents condensation and rot. After proper curing, those leaves are now covered with mycelium! So sweet smelling …

Leaf stems

Leaf stems

Cured Leaves

Cured Leaves

Almost looks like winter frost, doesn't it?

Almost looks like winter frost, doesn’t it?

Now it’s ready for use. I will mix some into potting soil, some into vegetable beds, some into soil-mix to be used for Fall planting and some into my worm bin. This will be done in summer while all Comfrey plants are growing extra fast & producing leaves extra big and thick. This is my form of organic soil enrichment which I think has Ma Nature’s approval.