Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas from all of us at Bliss: Vita, Pippa, Dolly, Willow, Delia, Merlin, Surprise, Kadootje, Macavity & Jeeves, doggy Tara and me. XX

copyright 2011; Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Capering Capers, Batman!

Comedy culinairy capers are very easy to make and you do not even have to have a Capparis spinosa aka a Caper bush growing in your garden. Just plain old Nasturtiums will do. You do grow them, don't you? Nasturtiums are dropdead gorgeous,

even more so when you add a beautiful Maine Coon kittycat like my Dolly Daisy into the mixture, and by doing so crank up the comedy capers content a notch or two.
 Nasturtiums can be very in your face colour-wise but subtle as well.
 Tasty they are too, both the leaf and the flower will spice up your salad, so not growing any Nasturtiums in your garden or on your balcony is definitely of the sense that is non.
In short: grow Nasturtiums! And make capers out of them, the seed pods that is coz it's soooo easy. Here's the recipe:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 Cup Nasturtium Seeds (still firm and green)
  • 1 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
  • 5-8 peppercorns (slightly crushed)



  1. Rinse and drain the nasturtium seeds and blot them well on paper towels.
  2. Pour the seeds into a 1 pint canning jar.
  3. Bring the vinegar, salt and pepper to a boil and pour over the seeds.
  4. Seal and refrigerate the jar and let them sit for about 3 months. Then enjoy!

The basic recipe is very simple. You can use them as is, on salads and in vegetable and fish dishes. Or you can create your own blend by adding a few additional spices.
To spice things up try adding: A clove of smashed garlic, a pinch of celery seed or pickling spice, a couple sprigs of thyme or a bay leaf.
copyright 2011 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, August 18, 2011


After waiting for 10 years, I finally have my pond. Huzzah! *does Snoopy Dance Of Joy* Next up will be fish, I cannot imagine a pond without them. I've missed the fish in my old pond very much as the little whatsits ate out of my hand. That's right, not only am I a cat whisperer and a dog whisperer but a fish whisperer as well. *takes bow* What can I say? I love animals and the feeling, as they say, is mutual.

copyright 2011 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An Utterly Delicious Fence

What a difference the new fence makes. Where once there was an extremely ugly and very, very large Leylandii hedge there is now a fence. An edible one. Pretty too.
All in all, the bit of the fence that borders the potager is about 20 meters long and in a strip of soil that's no more than 40 cm wide there grows an amazing amount of stuff. Most of it edible, some of it just because it's pretty and sometimes both.

Since June I've been harvesting purple runner beans
and lately yellow ones too, all growing against my new fence.
Nasturtiums are running riot,
pumpkins, sunflowers and hollyhocks are reaching for the sky,
Zinnias trying their hardest to fry your optic nerve,
sugar snaps melting on your tongue .....
In short this new fence of mine is a wonder to behold, taste and smell.
Smell? Of course there is scent, this is Bliss, don't you know? The Sweet Peas have been having a scented ball for months now, not only in the potager but in the house as well.
It's simply amazing how much you can grow up against a fence in a bit of soil no more than say 8m2: pumpkins, hollyhocks, sunflowers, nasturtiums, fennel, red & white currants, raspberries, sweet peas, sugar snaps, Italian runner beans, purple runner beans, yellow runner beans  and inbetween all that zinnias, beetroot, lettuce, lady's mantle, ivy and even the odd weed or two.

Who in his or her right mind would want a Leylandii hedge or a plain wooden fence when you can have all this instead? So what are you waiting for Constant Reader? Get cracking and create your very own edible & delightful fence.

copyright 2011 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Sandwiches

A few years ago I wrote a blogpost and was very surprised by the response I got about 1 particular picture I had posted of a slice of bread with radishes. Eating radishes on bread is something that is par for the course in Dutchland so I hadn't realised that perhaps not everybody on this big blue beautiful planet of ours was aware of this culinary delight. Now there are radishes and radishes and some of them are mayhap slightly less familiar to you than the ordinary red&white ones, be they round or elongated. In the pic above there is a slightly less common variety called Rat's Tail, for obvious reasons, which are easy to grow, a delightful green and utterly nomnommy. If you can get your mitts on them (Raphanus sativus) I heartily recommend growing them.
Earlier this week I had this brilliant idea (I have them quite often, can't tell you what a drag that is but oh well, we all have our crosses to bear) of showing you some more culinary Dutch delights of the sandwich variety. Pictured above are 2 of them: tomatoes on bread with either a pinch of salt or a light sprinkling of sugar and strawberries on bread; with of without sugar or, if you're so inclined, with a drop of balsamico vinegar. All are very toothsome, easy to make, healthy and, if you go easy on the sugar and your choice of butter, margerine or whathaveyou, a great choice if you need to lose some weight.

You may think it strange to have fresh strawberries on a slice of bread but is it really when so many people eat strawberry jam on a regular basis? And what does strawberry jam consists of but strawberries and sugar? Exactly! But fresh strawberries are more yummy and don't need that much sugar if any at all to tickle your tastebuds
Another delicious option is goat's cheese with cherry tomatoes on top on which you can dab a bit of homemade pesto if you like. It has to be homemade of course. And if you need to ask why, you've obviously never tasted the homemade one and are now wasting valuable time that is better spend whipping up your very own homemade pesto presto!

And speaking about time; it's high time to bid you adieu Constant Reader as I think I have delighted you long enough with these culinary Dutch delights and you are without doubt chomping at the bit to make some of your own to stuff down your neck. Happy chomping!

PS The header? That's a rather exclusive snuggle sandwich courtesy of Vita (l) and Willow. Also good for your health.

copyright 2011 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Wildlife Pond

Get a wildlife pond, they said.
I did

It will be easy to make, they said.
It was.

A wildlife pond will look ever so pretty, they said.

It does.
It will attract loads of wildlife to your garden, they said, such as frogs, newts, toads, hedgehogs, birds, dragonflies and much, much more.

Yeah, riiiiight!

If you'd like a wildlife pond too, and who knows maybe you will be lucky enough to attract other wildlife than just the local moggies, here's how I did it:
- dig a biggish hole
- bung in a black round mortar tub (you can get it at a builder's merchant, it's cheap as chips, mine has a diameter of 56 cm)
- make sure it's level
- backfill round the sides & keep checking the tub is level
- fill the tub with water
-  hide the ugly black rim with plants and rocks
- bung in at least 1 oxygenator plant and some other aquatic plants of your choice such as a teenytiny waterlily for a small pond such as this
- make an escape route from the pond for frogs, toads & hedgehogs, so the little darlings won't drown, by putting some rocks on top of each other until the last one reaches the surface of the water. BTW that rock that's just above waterlevel is also a handy place for bees and other insects to land on and get a drink from the pond

- sit back and enjoy!

My wildlife pond has been in for 2 months and apart from handsome and thirsty Jeeves quite a few other animals enjoy it too.

copyright 2011 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grow Your Own Food; The Unusual Suspects

When I tell people that I grow my own food most of them seem to think that I grow rows and rows of leeks, spuds and cabbages in my kitchen garden. I don't. What's the point? Firstly I don't need to grow food to feed an army or an orphanage stuffed to the gills with hungry kids, and secondly I don't even like leeks, spuds and cabbages all that much to grow them in vast quantities. For me the potager is there to grow quality food that is tasty, pretty to look at and either not available in the shops or not even half as tasty  bought than grown by my own fair hands.
This is a spud, a purple one, that I'm growing this year in my potager and I'm growing it for 2 reasons: 1. you cannot buy these potatoes (Blue Congo) anywhere and 2. I've extended my potager by removing an humongous hedge and spuds are very good to losen up the earth when you garden on concrete heavy clay. And although I'm not that much of a spud eater (how very un-Dutch of me) I am rather partial to new spuds and when they come in my favorite colour, well, bonus!
What I am very partial to are radishes and that's what these are. They are called rat's tail radishes, for obvious reasons and they come highly recommended by yours truly as they taste just as radish-y as ordinary ones but more juicy. Also, you get more value for your money as an ordinary radish plant produces only 1 radish but the rat radish produces around 30 to 40 per plant as it's the seedheads you eat, not the root. Not bad, eh?And this is my favorite way to eat radishes:
Take a slice of wholewheat bread, butter it, decorate with radishes in frightfully artistic way, sprinkle with sea salt. Happy munching! Also good with goat's cheese with radishes on top. Yum!
The fun of growing your own food for me is not just in the sowing, the growing, the harvesting and the eating but also in the experimenting to my heart's content with the often wonderfully weird & whacky varieties of vegs, herbs, spuds and fruit that are available.
These are the beets I'm growing this year. Why grow the ordinary red ones when you can have these? Can't wait to serve them to my dinner guests in a few months time, the look on their widdle faces alone will be worth the effort. Yellow beets? And white ones and o, look these have concentric circles in red and white.

As children we are told not to play with our food, but take it from me, gentle reader, playing with food is fun. Startling your friends and relatives with purple spuds, yellow beets, green rat tail's radishes, edible flowers and drinkable roses is a hoot!
Cavolo nero is worth growing for its beauty alone. Stunning, innit?
Some of the unusual suspects I grow in my potager are cavolo nero, sorrel (see pic above), tomatillo's, artichokes, chard (unusual in Dutchland), red lamb's lettuce, olive tomatoes, Jerusalem fartichokes, fat marrow peas (not available fresh in the shops), gooseberries (not to be had for love nor money over here), tasty purple taters, tropaeolum tuberosum and much, much more. But how about you, what unusual suspects are lurking in your veg garden, plot or potager? One enquiring gardener loves to know!
Tropaeolum tuberosum, family of nasturtiums, produces pretty flowers and edible roots
copyright 2011 Y.E.W. Heuzen