Lanterns at Illuminasia.

A whole bunch of new animals have arrived at the Calgary Zoo!

Well, they’re not exactly alive, and they’re made of nylon and mylar and stuffed with lights.  But they’re pretty cool!

IFP1

IFP4

IFP3

IFP2

These are just a few of the 366 hand-crafted light sculptures featured at the Illuminasia Lantern and Garden Festival, a showcase of culture and talent from Japan, China, and India.  My hubby and I went down on a balmy Thursday evening a couple of weeks ago and spent a few hours wandering around gawking at the lights.  Apparently, each lantern takes a minimum of 10 hours to make.  The detail is quite astonishing. Some of the sculptures, such as the moose I photographed, can slowly move their heads as well.

If you live in Calgary and area, there’s still time to check the lanterns out – the installation lasts until November 1 (Thursdays through Sundays only).  It’s well worth the visit – they’re absolutely amazing, and fun to photograph!

Sprouting fenugreek.

Do you grow your own sprouts?

If I’m not sprouting some kind of seed or another, I’ve usually got a batch or two of microgreens on the go. I don’t have the space to go all out, so the amounts I’m growing are tiny – enough for a couple of sandwiches, perhaps, or to throw into a stir fry at the very end of cooking. I’m constantly resowing and trying new types of crops – it’s like year ’round seed trials on a miniature scale.

I’ve sprouted fenugreek seeds several times before, but I haven’t had a chance to write about them until now (partly because I keep eating them before photographing them – oops!). These guys are super-easy to sprout and pack a spicy-sweet punch that is perfect for so many dishes.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum, called “methi” in India) is a plant of Mediterranean origin, and is widely grown throughout Asia and Europe. It’s a common staple of Indian cooking, where the fresh or dried leaves and the whole seeds are used in a wide range of dishes. A member of the Fabaceae family, this annual reaches about 60 cm tall and prefers to be grown in fertile, slightly acidic soil. Apparently you have to sow fenugreek directly into the ground or containers, as plants do not like to be transplanted. It seems that many people opt to sprout the seeds or grow them as microgreens, as I do.

If you’ve never sprouted seeds before, there are some great resources online: try the information on this website for the Canadian company Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds. I’ve tried both the tray method and the jar method (and had more success with the latter with most crops), but really, the most important things to remember with sprouting is to always use organic, untreated seed, always rinse seeds with filtered water, and ensure your jars, trays, etc. are spotlessly clean. And, eat your sprouts as soon as possible! Most can only be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

(Speaking of eating, fenugreek sprouts are marvellous as an addition to Sweet Potato and Chickpea Hummus…and if you want the recipe for that, please check out my blog post for Grit.com.  YUM!).  🙂

Have you ever grown fenugreek (as a sprout or otherwise)?  What types of sprouts are your favourites to grow? 

Fenugreek sprouts FP