Category Archives: Food, home + garden

UPDATE: Veggie-scrap gardening

Here’s a little update on the progress and results of my first attempt at veggie-scrap gardening.

The squashes, parsley and camomile didn’t make it. Slugs and snails. I tried everything! My new tactic —for the remaining flowers/veggies— is to put fruit and veg compost ~near~ the things they like to nibble on, but far enough away to make them not want to get there. Little jerks.

I think the only reason why the celery, onions and garlic survived the slug massacre is because they simply don’t like ’em.

Before -and-after celery

celeryCelery - all grown up

Before-and-after garlic

garlicfirst garlic from the ga

Green onions

straight from the garden

straight from the garden

Fresh blueberry compote

Fresh blueberry compote

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert
Website A sweet pea chef
This recipe for fresh blueberry compote is easy to make and very versatile. You can add it hot or cold to pie, spongecake, ice cream, yoghurt, French toast, pancakes, waffles, crepes.


  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (Keep a few separate to add in later.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 stick vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice ((optional))


This is a borrowed recipe (see above), which I have merely added a couple of extra ingredients that I love to make this a lovely, spice-infused compote.


Step 1
Pick some fresh blueberries (or buy them or take some frozen guys out of the freezer).
Step 2
Pour the fresh blueberries (minus the few) into a medium sauce pan. Add all the other ingredients (minus the lemon juice) and cook over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Step 3 After 10 minutes, gently smash the blueberries against the pan using a wooden or plastic spatula. Add the remaining blueberries and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes to heat through.
Step 4 Add lemon juice, if you choose — to taste. It gives the compote a bit of a tangy kick. Use it or don't use it, but only use a fresh lemon if you do.
Step 5
Pour onto something equally delicious, then have a taste-gasm within the first bite.

You can also eat the compote cold.

Homemade Frank’s hot sauce

Homemade Frank’s hot sauce

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Breakfast, Dips, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Website food


  • 25-30 fresh cayenne chili peppers (depending on size)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (depending on size)
  • 450ml white vinegar
  • 3.5ml salt


This is a slightly different version of this recipe. I've added more peppers and garlic and offer alternative puree methods. It is easier to buy it, I know. But I can't get it here in the Netherlands. I have received numerous care packages from home containing –among other Canadian delights– bottles of Frank's. Then, my super, awesome friend started supplying me from the UK. Thanks everyone!

Demand over supply had me always trying to find replacements and then I stumbled upon a recipe (above) and have now perfected it.


Step 1
Wash and cut stems from the cayenne peppers. Cut off the tips too, if they're gnarly; otherwise, toss them in too!
Step 2 Roughly cut the peppers in 2.5 cm | 1 in chunks (yes, seeds too...they are the magic part!)
Step 3 Roughly chop the garlic in a blender or by hand.
Step 4
Add everything to a pot and let it come to a light boil, then reduce heat enough to keep a slight boil. Continue cooking (and salivating) for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The pepper flesh should be softer. Then, it blends easier.
Step 5 Remove from heat.
Step 6 Here you have two options:
1) Whir it all up with an immersion blender until you have a fairly smooth mixture.

2) Allow mixture to cool...and I don't mean cool-to-warm, I mean no heat. Pour into the blender and whir it up until you have a fairly smooth mixture. Do NOT try to puree in the blender while the mixture is still hot/warm. The steam created within the blender will pop the top off once the blender starts. And then...mayhem and possibly pain.
Step 7 Return mixture to the pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 8
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and mash the mixture to get the most sauce out. Don't waste a precious drop!
Step 9
Let it cool and then pour into a bottle. Store in the fridge. I believe it will keep for several weeks, but we use it so fast I have no idea how long it will last.

Now, what do YOU put hot sauce on?

Veggie-scrap gardening

So, I planted some of the lobbed off end bits of veggies and plopped them in the dirt to hopefully get a sprout or two, but it’s actually been quite fruitful!

Some bedraggled parsley above. After rescuing the parsley from a snail zone, it has been thriving.

I used to like snails and slugs…but they’ve been such a menace to my garden that my sentiment towards them has waned rather drastically. I’ve had to do daily Slug Patrols to relocate the little slime balls.

This little growing project was kickstarted because of this websitee. They soak their ends first…I didn’t, but it’s worked out good so far.

Anyway, here is a white onion




I have coffee grounds sprinkled around the outside of the growing celery zone to keep the !#*& slugs away.


I have some carrot ends buried too, but so far I haven’t seen any green fringe emerging from the dirt.
All you have to do is save the root ends from your veggies and put them in a soil-filled pot or plunk them right into the dirt in your garden. Water. Wait. Then…magic happens!

Sampling the liqueurs

I may have had to taste the three liqueurs I’ve been making after adding the simple syrup. Currently making ginger liqueur, raspberry liqueur and rosemary grappa.

I may also have over-tasted.


Ginger liqueur

Ginger liqueur

Serves 30
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Beverage
Misc Serve Cold


  • 4-6 knobs ginger (you want to yield about 2 cups of shredded/grated ginger per litre of vodka)
  • 1l vodka
  • 2 vanilla bean (two beans per litre)

Simple syrup

  • 2/3 white sugar
  • 2/3 water


Step 1
Grate or finely shred the peeled ginger.
Step 2
Then, add the ginger to a rubber-sealed bottle or mason jar.
Step 3
Pour in vodka. Here, I have used two bottles because I didn't have any bottles big enough to fit everything in. *In hindsight, it is easier and more efficient to use mason jars —bottles don't allow easy removal of the ginger. 😉
Step 4
Split the vanilla beans and scrape out the deliciousness. Add to bottle.
Step 5 Give it all a good shake and store the mixture in a cool, dark place for two to three weeks.
Step 6 After the infusion period, strain the mixture through a coffee filter, cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer. Then, add the liquid back into the bottle.
Simple syrup
Step 7 Make the simple syrup by adding the water and sugar to a saucepan over low heat. Whisk it until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Step 8 Pour the simple syrup into the bottle. Shake, shake, shake and pop it back into the same cool, dark place for another two to three weeks.
Step 9 Drink as is for a light sipping drink or search the internets for recipes using ginger liqueur. Enjoy!