Graham Kerr’s February 2013 blog post http://www.grahamkerr.com/healthy-personal-science/
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© May Georgina DeLory
Great title isn’t it. It’s the
title of Graham Kerr’s foray into kitchen gardening. Kerr, star of the “Galloping
Gourmet” TV show from 1969 to 1971, used to jump over a TV set dining room chair
while holding a glass of wine. Some say it was a dumb stunt. More stayed glued
to their TV and couldn’t get enough of GG. I watched, from my own dining room chair, Kerr
slurp many a glass of rich red wine. There were always nuggets of wisdom couched between offerings by the host…if you listened carefully. There was and never will be anybody even
remotely like Graham Kerr on or off television again.
Born in London, England, Kerr moved to New Zealand in the late 1950s, eventually
writing many books, receiving countless accolades, an Emmy nomination; a James
Beard Foundation Award; recipient of the Julia Child Cookbook Award—winning Graham Kerr’s Minimax Cookbook, an honorary life membership in
the American Dietetic Association; induction into the American Culinary
Federation Hall of Fame; and, an honorary doctorate in culinary nutrition from
Johnson & Wales University, Rhode Island. Recently, Kerr is involved with health
organizations, government agencies, and educational facilities to light a fire beneath
those who believe healthful eating is too complicated to be doable.
up a personal confession in his latest book: “Until this year I’d never met a
plant that I couldn’t kill. I was my
very own herbicide.” Kerr admits to decades of blowing the petals off flowers
as he rushed past to who knows where, so why stop to smell the roses. Kerr’s 29th book reflects his change
in thinking and taste for earth-to-table wisdom. He’s finding an exciting rhythm to this new
life, growing peas, beans, cabbage, tomatoes, chard, peppers, eggplant,
carrots, parsnips, beets, summer and winter squash and lettuce on one acre of
land with views overlooking Skagit Valley in Washington State.
Kerr’s first attempt at growing strawberries (fabulous recipe for Australian Strawberry Pie near end of this post) in
the first year proved a failure. A friend sent him crowns (mother plants) from
a farmers market. The crowns were not
identified, but Kerr thinks the plants were alpine or wild strawberry crowns. The pink flowers of the fruit the first year showed off and looked pretty he
writes in his book; but, sadly, bore little delicious eating fruit. So, back to
the drawing board for the Galloping Gourmet.
Kerr has learnt a few tricks of the trade for growing strawberries the second time around. He recommends planting beds in a series of
mounds 10 inches across and 12 inches apart and about 4 inches high. In this
manner, if you choose your variety well (day neutral), Kerr suggests you should
get less vigorous runners and berries that last all summer long. Remember to
pinch off early blooms and runners to increase the size of the fruit, he says. Growing At The Speed of Life covers everything
from mache (great amongst a strawberry patch) to rutabaga. Fabulous section on
growing herbs, recipe section for a slew of vegetables and fruits (strawberry jalapeno
salsa), a recipe for pie crust, vegetable stock, Italian bread with olives and
rosemary, yogurt cheese, grain recipes for health, sharing the harvest with
your community, section on Ethmix recipes (Kerr’s rendition for “ethnic
mixtures”), a section on cooking methods for maximum flavor and nutrition and
more how-to stuff. It’s vintage Kerr and then again not. He breaks barriers
with taste, aplomb, and common sense. Kerr explains that he wrote the kind of book beginning gardeners would like to read, not too difficult to digest and he hopes a lot of fun to read. Kerr takes your hand and gently leads his reader through his garden gate, just like the days when he would run madly into his audience and grab someone by the hand and pull him/her up on stage to share the meal just prepared. I was one of those lucky guests, all those years ago.
In Ron and
Jennifer Kujawski’s book on vegetable gardening, Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, it is recommended that newly planted
strawberry blossoms be pinched the first year to establish a strong root system
and produce a higher quality fruit the second year. Strawberry is an excellent
choice for container growing. Introduce a small trellis into the soil before
you plant the strawberry as this kind of fruit likes to have something to
climb. Marigolds planted near strawberries dissuade nematodes from gorging on
are the ultimate small-space berry crop and grow merrily along in window boxes and
hanging baskets, so says Andrea Bellamy in her book Sugar Snaps And Strawberries, published by Timber Press. Andrea writes
a blog on urban organic gardening; she has a certificate in garden design from
the University of British Columbia. Want to grow shiitake mushrooms on your
tiny balcony? Ask Andrea, as she herself has had great success doing so.
No Guff Vegetable Gardening published by No Guff Press is a
He-Said/She-Said-kind of gardening book written by Donna Balzer and Steven
Biggs with illustrations by Mariko McCrae is a little busy for my liking but you’ll
get truly valuable stuff like, He said:
I like to use straw for my strawberry bed. It sops up excess water, and keeps
shoes from getting too muddy. She said: Using straw is like
broadcasting weed seeds in the garden.
Let’s face it, except for flax straw (which never seems to break down),
the other straw—wheat, barley, and oats—all have a lot of seed. I use hay on my
garlic and asparagus in the fall, and it usually breaks down by spring.
Bartley, author of The Kitchen Gardener’s
Handbook, grows strawberries as an edible groundcover, under shrubs and
trees. She says strawberries look good
spring to fall with changing colour. Strawberries are perennial (a nice treat
each year) and will fruit for many years, with the best fruit the first year.
June-bearing berries send out many runners.
Runners are the junior plants and will be the most productive the
following season. Jennifer suggests to
plant berries in two planting swaths.
One year let the berries send out runners into the unplanted bed. Dig up
the patch that has already produced berries and amend that soil leaving a new
bed for the strawberries to send runners to. Remove the older plants in
established beds for the younger plants to thrive. Strawberries need at least
six hours of direct sunlight a day and regular watering due to a shallow root
reminds his readers to mulch strawberries with straw under the fruit and close
to the roots to control root rot. I like
the way Graham’s mind works. He
wonders: (Could this be the derivation
of the word straw-berry?) There is a
most interesting section on choosing a greenhouse with valuable input from
Graham’s local pal Charley Yaw of Charley’s Greenhouses. When it comes to living in a glass house you
need to know the value of your light source: HID bulb or an MH or the latest
fluorescent or the new neutron 16 that uses microwave technology. Charley’s got the answer.
one time were used to control grasses in strawberry plantings—great if you are
allowed to keep geese. They will not eat strawberry plants unless starved for
food. The use of geese in small plantings can still be of value. Geese do not eat round-leaved mallow, docks
of Growing At The Speed of Life:
For each 100 g raw (3.5 oz; ½ cup): 32
calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 2 g
dietary fiber, 1 mg sodium.
Water: moderate, drip irrigation. Full sun to
partial shade. May use companion planting to keep the bad bugs down, and pests
such as birds and mice. Plant melons. Do not plant nearby broccoli or anything
from the cabbage family. Don’t follow strawberry with beet, corn, tomato,
pepper or pea. Varieties: Everbearing (Day Neutral): Alexandria, Fort Laramic,
Quinault (early summer through autumn). Single Crop: Allstar, Benton, Earliglow
(late spring, early summer). Cultivated Wild: Yellow Alpine, Pineapple Cross,
This, growing your own fruits and vegetables, is a lot of work and worth the labour to
some. The very idea to raise a crop may be nuts to you; but, I rather got a kick out of
reading the gardening books. I do believe I’ll try growing strawberries in a
bin or container of some sort next year on my terrace. If you
cannot grow your own strawberries for just-picked rich and juicy flavor, there
are always the pick-your-own farms. Healthy exercise, too, this picking your own
fruit. What can be better than sharing such an experience with a child? Red ripe strawberries are so pretty you needn’t go to a lot of trouble to make a serving statement. Just place in an attractive bowl, cup or glass and away you go. Drizzle your favourite preserves over the top or just add whipped cream. The possibilities are endless and so simple. Make sure your fresh strawberries smell sweet and not dull. Freeze the leftovers for smoothies. Enjoy all the sweetness and abundance of the
summer months where you live. From the blueberries of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, strawberries and peaches of Ontario, raspberries and other small fruits dressed in sweet maple syrup from Quebec, Saskatoons of the prairies, and cranberries of Canada’s east coast to the apples and quince from the West coast…fruits are plentiful in each and every part of Canada.
A pretty pie, just for you, dear reader. South Australian Strawberry Pie (A Graham Kerr creation for an Australian Christmas,
but good year round, anywhere).
Makes pie for 8 to 10 servings.
½ lb beef
suet, ¾ lb raisins, ½ lb sultans, ¾ lb granny smith apples, ¾ lb currant, ¾ lb
brown sugar, ½ lb mixed lemon and orange peel, ¼ lb blanched almonds, rind of 2
lemons, juice of 2 lemons, 1 vanilla bean (grated), brandy, 5/8 cup, nutmeg,
allspice, cinnamon, coriander, ginger –
all ground – ½ tsp of each.
4 cups all
purpose flour, 1 ½ cups butter (fresh), 1 tbs castor sugar, 1 egg yolk, 8 tbs
strawberries, cream (100%) 1 ¼ cups to garnish.
ingredients for mincemeat together and moisten with brandy. Place in jars and
seal. Make one month ahead. (Graham says one month is the minimum)
into small cubes, measure flour and sift. Separate egg.
- Pastry: make well in the sifted flour and
place the butter in the well. Add egg yolk, sugar, salt and 2 tbs water.
Combine all ingredients except flour with fingertips, then work in flour,
adding iced water as needed. Knead several times and place pastry on plate
and let it rest for an hour or so in the refrigerator.
- Roll out half pastry to fit a 10in. pastry ring. Prick with a fork and cut round of greaseproof paper, place in
pastry case, fill with dried peas or rice.
Prick base once again and bake pastry blend in 400 degree F oven
for 15 minutes. Remove paper and rice and allow pastry case to cool.
3. Fill cooled pastry shell with mincemeat. Roll out remaining pastry for cover,
crimp edges and glaze with egg yolk. Place in 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes
until golden brown.
4. Remove pie from oven and cool. When cold cover with whipped cream and cover the
entire surface with strawberries.
Serve on a large cake stand.
suggests a good fruity hock to drink www.nataliemaclean.com . And suggests a little freshly ground
pepper on the strawberries. Kerr says it helps to bring out their flavor.
As soon as I finished reading Graham Kerr’s section on strawberries and the tough time of it he had I promised myself I’d have a go at it. Recently, and on my way back from a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto (Avenue Road & Bloor streets), I saw something I just had to have. Teatro Verde moved from Hazelton Lanes to Yorkville Street in the city of Toronto: ripe red strawberries dangling from a hanging basket spoke to me in no uncertain terms: BUY ME! For the first time since a forced move to Toronto after gardening one acre I will choose juicy strawberries at will and enjoy; perhaps the country will restring its song and I’ll be off to the merry old countryside one time soon.
Check out one of my favourite books by Graham Kerr: the gathering place. You’ll enter a cultural discovery in the Hawaiian islands (Pinneapple Crepes dusted with Kona coffee); or, get your tongue quivering with the “melting pot” of Caribbean cuisine. Food photography by David Burch; travel photography by Treena Kerr.
http://www.saskatoonfarm.com/about.html Saskatchewan, Canada.
Events and Festivals in Nova Scotia, Canada. Telephone 1-800-565-0000 Ask for operator 243
Nova Scotia Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival 19 August to 3 September. Check for current event date. www.novascotia.com
www.tasteofnovascotia.com TF: 1-800-281-5507 Twitter.com @tasteofns
www.cirillosacademy.com Cooking classes for adults, kids, corporate events, off-site catering, and culinary gifts in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Want a Strawberry Social for your next party in June? Just ask John Cirillo!
www.atlantictours.com Telephone 1-800-565-7173 They’ve tours that take in the east coast of Canada, including PEI where The Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge visited in 2011, so ask about their culinary tours.
http://www.canadianliving.com/ Looking for a great recipe? Canadian Living magazine and website offer extensive opportunities to learn about making fruit pies and desserts.
Canadian Living: Cooks Step by Step by Daphna Rabinovitch is a cookery book full of fabulous recipes and photographs that help you understand the start-to-end process. Great “learning” book. Check out her “Very Berry Chiffon Pie“.
In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley is another time-honoured fav cookery book of mine, published by Random House. Daley is a woman after my own heart. She believes some things are best left as is, and strawberry shortcake is one of these things. Utterly mouth-watering recipes for chantilly cream, and what to do with berries. Daley gives variations, using Lemon-Poppyseed Shortcakes with Blackberries; and, another for: Cardamon Shortcakes with Strawberries and Lemon Cream. Yum isn’t the half of it. Try it! http://www.randomhouse.ca/index.html
Forage for your supper at Smoothwater of Temagami Lodge in Ontario, Canada. Just take the train from Toronto, Ontario at Union Station. to the historic train station at Temagami.
www.smoothwater.com I checked out Smoothwater of Temagami and the place came up smelling of roses! and a lot of other yummy good-for-you food and ambiance. I gotta get another invite from my good friend Caryn. Caryn Colman, cookery book author and owner of Smoothwater of Temagami at Temagami,Ontario, Canada, offers the opportunity to forage in the wild for your supper to learn about local herbs, edible flowers and plants, and berries to incorporate into breads and pies and many other recipes that may indeed surprise you. Caryn shares ancient beliefs and medicinal uses for locally grown plants. The edible flowers salad pictured here was foraged in the wilds of Temagami and includes wild blackcurrents, Ribena blackcurrent syrup, snow peas, French sorrel, mallow, tomatoes, musk mallow pink edible flowers and many greens from the wild. But it truly was the Ribena blackcurrent blended with walnut oil and apple vinegar that made the day. Within the hour after foraging for our afternoon meal Caryn has us all at a pretty table to savour our labours. Exciting weekend retreat in music, cooking classes, art, singing, painting, yoga, ancient forest hiking and a lot more. MICAH BARNES VOICE WORKSHOP http://micahbarnes.com/
$100 pp Lodging options available
Back for year four, Micah provides professional training to develop new voice talent. Micah also conducts voice class in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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http://www.discovermuskoka.ca/ You’ll find many pick-your-own farms and roadside stands selling fresh fruit all summer long in Ontario, Canada cottage country.
http://www.inniskillin.com/ The finest ice wine in the world if you ask me; and it’s made in Ontario, Canada. I pour it over vanilla ice cream and strawberries. Just a touch of ice wine will do the flavour trick. I’ve been drinking Inniskillin ice wine since the beginning.
http://youtu.be/1I0n7Z3OPDo The Prince of Wales speaks to the issue of organic foods and trusts.
Mark Cullen on tour in Canada! Mark makes dirt look pretty. Check out Mark’s gardening book for kids. http://www.markcullen.com/
L’Occitane has a wonderful hand cream for gardener’s. Biologique Brightening Hand Care by L’Occitane. http://ca.loccitane.com
Your Garden’s healthy produce:
Look for these signs in your vegetables and fruits that point to deficiency symptoms of trace minerals in the soil: cracked cores of cabbage and cauliflower; uneven ripening of apricots and tomatoes; yellow margins on the spinach; rusty streaks in the lettuce; split stalks of celery. Such symptoms occur only when the plant is deficient in one mineral or other. Ask your friendly garden supply store for information on the best way to incorporate more minerals into your garden soil.
South Australian Strawberry Pie recipe & photo of Galloping Gourmet courtesy of Graham Kerr
I’m as normal as blueberry pie! And i’m in love!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMO72_TF9JY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3V-88kinMM&NR=1&feature=fvwp Check out Graham Kerr and his great way to cook organic beets! Order his seasoning mix for the Kerr taste.