Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Serendipity And Free Seeds


  According to Wiki the word serendipity was first used on January 28th 1754 which makes that word 260 years old today .
 As for me I've had a moment of serendipity too. A seed company that I purchased from last year also has a forum and for 2014 they are holding a growing competition and although I read it and thought maybe , possibly I might give it a go I actually did nothing and then last week I got a Tweet from SeedParade asking if I wanted to join in the growing competition and in return they would send me out free seeds . I had purchased seeds several times in 2013 from SeedParade and I am pleased to say that they performed quite well providing me and my family with vegetables that I would never have been able to purchase in the supermarkets. So I accepted the challenge at the weekend and I am pleased to say that the seeds arrived :




Pumpkin Dill's Atlantic Giant 6 seeds £1.39 somehow I was sent 2 packets of these.



 Seeing that postage from SeedParade is £1.79 it seems that I am already a winner of sorts before I even start the competition by saving the grand total of £10.52 before I even begin . May the sowing commence, Serendipity indeed!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Snowball Onion Sets Monday 27th January 2014


 Despite the rain in the morning by the time I awoke in the afternoon (I had been working a nightshift) there was actually signs of the sun . I had some errands to run but in the midst of them I found a fifteen minute window in which I managed to visit the allotment and took the opportunity to plant some Snowball Onion sets in to modules that I would keep in the yellow coldframe for now whilst the ground is still saturated.




I'd purchased these last year and had just got around to planting them.


I planted the bulbs into modules for now.


Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th January 2014

Will complete this page later this week

Friday, 24 January 2014

24th January 2014

Apologies to anyone who has clicked on to this post I am in the middle of updates.

The penultimate Friday in January 2014 began as with most days so far this year , rain .
  I made a quick trip to the allotment in the morning to harvest some Spinach . I ended up harvesting 123 grams of spinach today which ended up in a pizza base in the evening.   

Parsley Stalks for Bouquet Garni
Persillade
Experimental Pizza Bases

20th - 23rd January 2014

Apologies to anyone who has just clicked on to this post I am in the middle of updates to this week.


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Sunday, 19 January 2014

16th to 19th January 2014

On Thursday 16th January I transferred the Silverdust plants from the back garden to the front garden. In the afternoon I visited the allotment and harvested 500 grams of Jerusalem Artichokes and did a quick tidy as the ground is still very wet.
Friday was spent mainly doing housework so I didn't do any gardening.
Saturday morning vIsit trimmed the front garden hedges and rose bushes. In the evening I harvested 20 grams of Rosemary from the back garden to use in a foccacia .
Sunday I visited the allotment and harvested Hamburg Parsley ( 100 grams of leaves , 120 grams of stalks and 116 grams of parsnip style root ),   48 grams Swiss Chard , 130 grams Curly Kale and 40 grams of Walking stick Cabbage.
The Parsley stalks will be frozen to use as an alternative to Celery in making stocks and soups.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Refreshing the front garden 15th January 2014

After nightshade and continual rain today was my first chance to tackle some garden tasks this week. Hopefully I will get to go to the allotment tomorrow but today I managed to refresh the front garden somewhat by removing dead plants and leaves which were put in to a garden sack ready to turn in to compost . I planted out some purple cyclamin , Erica Gracillis and Viola Cornuta all of which had been purchased from a Dutch flower stall just before Christmas and only now have had the opportunity to plant them out .
  In the back garden all I did was burn some dead vegetation ready to add to the compost bin.
Erica Gracillis

Viola Cornuta and Cyclamin



Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday 12th January 2014

I managed to visit the allotment today . The ground is very much saturated still so all I did was add the vegetable feelings from the kitchen to the compost bin and harvested some Curly Kale for the evening meal . I ended up harvesting 200 grams of Curly Kale and I uncovered 3 apples weighing 227 grams that had been hidden amongst the Kale .

At the moment the plot is looking rather neglected.

Banana Muffins and Cake


I managed to bake some banana muffins and cakes whilst the weather was horrid outside. Basically it is the same recipe just that the cake takes 5 minutes extra to bake in the oven . The ingredients and recipe is listed under the photographs below.
 I had been up early hoping to get things done on the allotment but the weather had other plans . Rain , rain and more rain . It was mid afternoon before I got to try out the fire basket purchased yesterday - it worked! I suppose it would have worked better had the prunings been dry but smokey as they were they still burnt in the end , the ashes from which were later spread on the very small vegetable patch I have in the back garden and then I had some cake to enjoy and life isn't too bad after all despite what the weather might bring.

I started with 6 ripe bananas.

3 to be used to make muffins and 3 for a cake.

The bananas were mashed with a fork whilst the oven was pre-heated to 180 degrees Celsius. 

150grams of sugar was added to each bowl and mixed in.

1 egg was then added to each bowl and mixed in.

75grams of margarine was added to each bowl and mixed in.

In separate bowls 200grams of plain flour was mixed with half a teaspoon of salt , half a teaspoon of baking powder and
1 teaspoon of bicarb of soda. 

The flour mixture was then combined with the banana mixture.

1 lot of mixture was divided in to 2 x 8 inch lined tins.


1 lot of the mixture was put in to 12 muffin cases.

After 25 minutes the muffins were ready.

After 30 minutes the cake was ready.

Once cooled the cake was coated in butter icing.

And went down well with the family.


Planting Christmas Presents

Several of my Christmas presents had been packs of bulbs . It possibly would have been easier had I not been suffering from a chest infection ,heavy rain ,etc. but as it is it was now January 10th so I had to get these bulbs in to the ground . 4 packs of Tulips (Lucky Strike x 8 bulbs , Red Revival x 10 bulbs , Queen of Night x 8 bulbs , Giuseppe Verdi x 10 bulbs ) were all planted in a small bed that we have by the backdoor at home . 

In a hanging basket that it just above this bed I planted 30 pink and yellow gallium ( Ostrowskianum and Moly) . In the centre of these I planted 10 Snowdrop (Galanthus Woronowii)  bulbs . 

At this point the heavy rain that we have been having this past week started again so I was unable to continue . We ended up going out shopping where I managed to pick up a fire basket for under £7 which will come in handy to burn woody and diseased prunings on .
I know this has nothing to do with allotments but what I did find in my first year of having an allotment was that my gardens at home despite only being small were getting neglected so hopefully in 2014 I can combine the two and also incorporate the kitchen after all that is where most of the harvest will end up .


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

7th January 2014 Spinach Pesto


INGREDIENTS:
 100 grams Spinach leaves,
 35 grams Parsley leaves, stalks removed,
 100 grams Pine nuts,
 15 grams Garlic cloves peeled,
 2 tablespoons of Sunflower oil,
 Half a teaspoon of sea salt,
 Quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper.

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius . Spread Pine nuts on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
Once the Pine Nuts have been lightly roasted add all the ingredients together in a food processor and blitz the ingredients until they are combined and finely chopped for about two to five minutes.
Once processed the pesto can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for several weeks.

5th January 2014 and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

 Well the first Sunday of the year has arrived and although I am not fully fit yet I do have to start doing things and those Jerusalem Artichokes in the fridge that I harvested the other day need using up and so I am attempting a Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup first .
 Jerusalem Artichoke Soup 
 INGREDIENTS :
 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
 1 large onion finely chopped.
 2 Celery stalks chopped.
 2 large Garlic cloves ,chopped.
 900 grams of Jerusalem Artichokes peeled and cut in to small chunks.
 1200 ml of vegetable stock.
 Salt & Pepper to taste .

 METHOD:
Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat add the onion and celery for 5 minutes until they're soft and then add the garlic and sauté for a further minute .
Add the vegetable stock and Jerusalem Artichoke and bring to the boil . Reduce the heat,cover  and simmer for 45 minutes whilst the artichokes break down .
After 45 minutes remove from the heat and using an upright blender purée the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
 Once cooled this will keep in the fridge for a week .     

Friday, 3 January 2014

Not The Best Of Starts To the New Year

 I was up early , before daybreak and totally lacking energy . My throat is sore , my nose is running a marathon and so it's been a day of raiding the medicine cabinet and staying indoors resting .
 I have used some of my time researching recipes for some of the produce I harvested on New Years Day . Seems that I might be utilising some of my Jerusalem Artichokes in the coming days in to soup and possibly a gnocchi   via an Italian bloggers website. I shall update when I can but for now I'm resting.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year and The First Harvest of 2014

Jerusalem Artichokes grown from tubers planted in March 2013

My first Hamburg Parsley harvested.
Well first of all may I wish a Happy New Year to anybody reading this .
It may be January 1st but I have been to the allotment  today and have harvested 2.114 Kg of Jerusalem Artichokes , 60 grams of Kale leaves and 125 grams of Curly Kale as well as 62 grams of Spinach leaves and my first Hamburg Parsley weighing 81 grams .
I'm trying something different in 2014 and that is that I'm going to try and record my harvests so that I can see just how much I'm producing towards the family's food.



Darkness is falling quickly as I left.




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