Food & Drinks, Simplify

Stir-Fried Lettuce

Chinese do not usually eat raw vegetables. So being from Chinese ancestry, I have been eating stir-fried lettuce when growing up in Malaysia.

Now living in a land of abundance, I realised that this happens to be the easiest and fastest way to get rid of a whole lot of lettuce. All you need to do is to cook the lettuce leaves in a little bit of vegetable oil, add some garlic and a dash of oyster sauce. This method allows you to reduce a whole head of lettuce into just a bowl of green veggie goodness. You may eat this with rice, noodles, or heck I put it in between my bread.

I might be the inventor of the stir-fried lettuce sandwich?!

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Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Brain-Melting Heat

A few days ago, I wrote about the sorry state of the lawn. I also mentioned the tough survival of certain wild plants, namely wild daisies and dandelions. So after lunch today, I picked up the necessary tools, put on my gloves and tidied up the yard by removing the wild weeds. I just cannot stand not doing something about it. Phew… and I survived the brain-melting heat!

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Weed Control

For two afternoons now, D and I have been clearing our lawn of clumps of weed. Unlike clovers, these plants with tiny yellow flowers tend to be very dense and are choking off the grass. So, armed with an aerator rake, a regular rake and a hand rake, D and I are eradicating this out of control weed one patch at a time. Watch out, here comes the weed control team!

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Belgium, Simplify

Green Green World

Yesterday and today, D and I visited some ecological gardens. I think the last time we did this was three years ago! Maybe it is just me but I have a feeling that these eco-gardeners have grown significantly in the past years. I also noticed that a large number of these all-natural gardens do not have any form of a lawn. All available surfaces, even the vertical surfaces, are covered with growing and flourishing plants. The world has been green, green, and green this weekend. Maybe there is still hope…

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Pesticide Ban

There is a very simple reason as to why I refuse the use of pesticides or any harmful agents in my garden and lawn. I do not want to kill or harm any of nature’s beasties that happen to come along for a visit and some foraging. This includes insects, birds, bats, toads, and so forth. On top of this no-kill list are the honey bees that adore my wild flowers. Bees are already having a very hard time surviving.

We do not need to own nor maintain lawns that look like part of a golf course. It is 2018 for goodness sake! Killing bees is not cool. Pesticide is not cool. People who use pesticides are not cool.

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Garden Edibles

Despite having a relatively small and compact vegetable garden, I have managed to harvest a variety of edible plants from it throughout the year. Flat leaf parsley, veldsla (lamb lettuce) and young arugula (rocket) do not die during the winter months. Early spring brings in edible flowers from the borage plants, arugula and chives. Since a couple of days ago, I have started harvesting some early radishes. In the weeks to come, there will be peas, purple beans, strawberries, carrots and more radishes. Herbs such as rosemary, lemon balm, dill, lemon verbena, mint, chives, and Chinese chives are also growing well. I am a happy gardener.

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Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Winter Survivors

Today will be the warmest day of the week. Ideal weather for me to tidy up the back yard a bit. First task I did was picking out the dead ivy leaves from the hedge. It may seem like a pointless task to most people, but I find it strangely therapeutic. Then D and I planted out two tomato plants which were given to us by his father. After watering the tomato plants, D went back into the house. I stayed on to manually removed dry moss, unsightly weed and dead grass using a special turf rake. Because it got too warm and I was sneezing non-stop from grass pollens, I only managed to clear out a small patch next to the terrace.

What amazed me the most today was finding, in my vegetable patch, plants which have survived a not-so-mild winter. A bunch of garlic greens, one lovage plant (lavas in Dutch), a few dill plants amongst my strawberries, corianders (wow!), and lemon grass (double tropical wow!). Winter survivors…

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