Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

First harvest of 2012!

Well here we are.  Cabbage sown inside in September and planted out in October into the brand new veg bed.  I’ve just cut the first one to go with our dinner this evening, how exciting!!  Seeds from SimplySeed, variety Advantage F1.  Hope it tastes as good as it looks!!

Spicy tomato soup

This is my attempt at the spicy tomato soup recipe posted on Little Balcony’s blog.  I blended mine with the stick blender when it was cooked, and I’ve just had it for lunch. Yuuummmmmmmmmyyyyy!!!

Thanks Laura, it was delicious!!!

 

Book review: The Allotment Chef

The Allotment Chef: Home-grown Recipes and Seasonal StoriesThe Allotment Chef: Home-grown Recipes and Seasonal Stories by Paul Merrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in a row that I have read about someone starting an allotment and how they fared. This one is written by a chef from London (all three have been based in London!) who decides to grow his own produce and then write a book about it with recipes using the stuff he grows.

The first half is the biography bit, the obtaining of the allotment and the trials and tribulations of clearing it, planting, getting the family involved, trying not to visit the supermarket ever again, etc. Again it is not a how-to book but is fun and interesting.

The second half is the recipe section, with which I think the author has used some artistic license. I don’t think all the produce in the recipes came from his allotment but they do all look very tasty and hopefully I’ll give some of them a go.

View all my reviews

A short local walk, first turnips & last tomatoes

Chester has a cycle path that runs between Connah’s Quay in Deeside to Mickle Trafford a few miles east of Chester.  It is along the route of an old railway track so is very flat and ideal for strolling along.  I have walked a couple of miles of it from the nearest access point to our house before but had never been to the Mickle Trafford end, so yesterday morning we packed the dog into the car and parked at the far end.  There is no official parking area but the owner of a nearby industrial unit allowed us to park on his forecourt as long as we didn’t break an ankle and sue him as a previous person had done!!

We walked for about half an hour along the track to where it goes under the A55, and then the skies were darkening a bit so we headed back.  Along the route were some interesting pieces of art…

This morning I had a mooch about the garden and found that the last of the tomatoes are ripening up finally, possibly because I gave them a good drenching after not watering for a good 10 days.

I picked the ripest and I think I’ll give the rest another week.

In the patio bag I noticed a couple of the turnips pushing back up through the compost I had earthed them up with a couple of weeks ago, so I investigated and pulled out these two

I don’t remember ever having eaten a turnip so this will be a new experience for me.  I’ll probably just roast them in some olive oil this evening.

My onions are coming up quite well now, there are about 20 little green shoots, but no sign of the garlic yet.  The peas are doing ok and the cabbages now have collars.

I picked some of the French bean pods that have been drying in the shed and shelled them.  I’ve got plenty of seed to attempt to grow in the spring now.

Finally I sowed a few more sweet peas in the growhouse, Tall Mixed this time, and that’s about it.

No liposuction required………

……….but I have a lovely new butt!!

This one is to go on the patio.  We have a drainpipe that collects all the water from the new extension roofs and existing rear house roof so it shouldn’t take too long to fill once it is connected.  It is a narrow “space saver” water butt, 100 litre capacity.  I ordered it from greenfingers.com in their clearance sale for £19.99 plus a stand for £7.99.  I have got a connector kit separately from this seller on ebay, so that’s a job for the weekend when we find a suitable tool for making the hole for the connecting water pipe to fit.

You get free delivery if you order over £29, so because I was a little short I ordered this (rather substantial when it arrived) dibber and a pair of very fetching knee pads!!

On Sunday morning I planted out my 7 cabbage seedlings and covered them with fleece until the cabbage collars arrive.  And I think that is now it for the sowing and planting until the spring.  I currently have onions, garlic, cabbage, peas and broad beans in the veg bed, turnips in the patio bag and the last of the tomatoes desperately fighting to ripen on the patio.  It is quite sunny (but cold) today so fingers crossed for a few more before I have to bring them in.  I cut down and hung my French beans in the shed to dry for seeds.  But I have no idea what the original plants were, (which I bought as small plants unlabelled at the local hardware store,) let alone if they are F1s so I will have to get some other seeds as well, I was thinking of Blue Lake as they look the most like the ones I had this year.

I did have a slightly amusing tomato, a siamese twin…..

I am currently reading a book called Allotted Time, an amusing account of two guys who decided on a slightly tipsy night out to get an allotment when neither of them had ever gardened before.  I’m about two thirds through so will review it when I’m done.  And I have been adventurous in my cooking with two recipes from River Cottage Veg Every Day last week and another planned for tonight.  The River Cottage TV series to accompany the book just started on Channel 4 on Sunday evening and I am very pleased to say it doesn’t clash with the Strictly results show!!

Quick round-up and a yummy dinner

I’ve not done a lot in the garden since the last post.  Tomorrow I will be planting the peas and cabbage that are in the jiffys and coir pots into the ground as they are doing well.

Pea Meteor (front), Cabbage Advantage F1 (back)

None of the ones in the ground are showing through yet but I did buy a cheap plastic cloche on ebay.  1.2m long with three wire hoops – £3.49. It probably won’t hold up for years and years but at that price it was worth a punt. Although now I think about it, it probably wasn’t a good decision eco-friendly-wise!

Next to the peas in the growhouse above are the sweet peas with 3 to a pot, all of which are starting to show

I think I’ll sow some more sweet peas as I had another free packet on Grow Your Own magazine this month, Tall Mixed, and I could put them along the boundary fence in the veg patch to encourage the bees.

Remember I repotted the blueberry?  It has decided to produce flower buds!! (apologies for blurry photo!!)

A friend of ours is complaining that her spring bulbs are coming up and she only planted them two weeks ago.  A couple of my onions have started to make an appearance

And finally I have been reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book River Cottage Veg Every Day, and during the week I made Chachouka.  Here is my effort and very tasty it was too served with warmed crusty French stick!!