Make it a Stew Sunday with Bay Laurel

It’s a rainy day(sometimes freezing), on days like this, it’s good to curl up with a good book or a good movie.  But what to cook for Sunday supper?  My favorite on days like this is stew.  Stew easy to put together and it fills your house with memories of childhood. My favourite is Jamie Oliver’s Steak, Guinness, and cheese pie with a puff pastry lid (recipe here). It calls for fresh rosemary, you can pick it up in the produce section of any supermarket. I like adding a bay leaf while it’s in the oven, it gives the stew more depth.  Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog, Bay Leaves. The Bay Laural Tree(Laurus nobilisan) is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region The laurel can vary greatly in size and height, sometimes reaching 7–18 (metres 23–59 ft) tall. (Wikipedia). Can you grow it inside during winter? Yes, you can.   Make sure you have a bright, even sometimes direct sun(east, west, south, window).  Make sure from about November to March you don’t water it a lot.  Most plants need what I call a time to sleep.  A rest between growing, most plants in their natural surroundings need a time of rest.  Make sure you do not give any fertilizer during this time, you don’t want it to grow.  Whenever you are pinching out (means trimming)  to make a fuller tree, save the leaves and dry (Click here for full instructions)them away from any heat or the sun.  Either lay them on paper towels or hang the branch you cut.  Make sure they are fully dry before storing them in a container (picture below)

         

I have had about 4 plants over the time I have been growing herbs(latest picture above). Yes, I know it doesn’t look great, most of the time they have died because I forgot about them during winter(like this time) or in the heat of the summer.  When you grow them make sure the pot is big enough and transplant starts to get root bound. They are not hard to grow and the rewards will have your food tasting great. I will start another one in the spring time, fingers crossed!

The Beginning

Growing up in the country I have always loved being outside, every year my family had a vegetable garden and we canned everything.  The long hot August summer nights were always hotter because of the canning during the day.  This was before most people had air conditioning.  My mother also had house plants, but when she went to college when I was about 13, the houseplants dwindled until there was only one Easter cactus.  I asked my mom if that could be mine and she bought me a purple passion plant. I had the Easter cactus for over 20 years. My obsession had begun!

I gradually accumulated houseplants until our house literally looked like a jungle. My mom bought me a houseplant book that I would look at to decide the next plant I had to have. I would spend days cleaning, transplanting and moving the plants to different parts of the house.  Once I decided I had become an expert (in my opinion),  I decided I wanted to move it outside and learn about herbs and flowers.  Carefully over the next several years, I planned out my parent’s lot, thankfully they had an acre and a half of land.  By the end of about four years, I had 19 different sections of gardens, not counting the vegetable gardens. My love for herbs and flowers have grown over the years and I hope I can bring you some knowledge, mistakes, recipes and most of all some of the excitement I feel whenever I walk into a garden centre or open a gardening book. Below are some pictures of the vegetable garden.  It was not as big as it used to be.  it went almost to the tree in the one picture.

The Goddess

 

                                                                   Parents Gardens outback