Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July.........In Pictures.

Very wet spider.

Straight from the allotment.

Double  last years harvest.

A belated birthday present.
No-Bake Ginger & Lime Cheesecake...page 87

More jam


Birthday cake.
Jonathan.... The neighbours new kitten.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reclaiming My Allotment.

With  flooding last October  and a bad back in February. Then we moved on to the so called Summer. I'm afraid my allotment got out of hand. I can't complain everyone is in the some position.


Things got off to a fairly good start. The garlic was coming on. We had more purple sprouting broccoli then we knew what to do with We were still using the chard.. Even the cutting patch was doing OK. I was waiting on the back of the plot to dry out so I could put in potatoes.

I did get 2 rows of early potatoes into the ground in a dry patch about half way up the plot.

 The yield was not great up they tasted great when I dug them up at the start of July.

By May things were moving forward slowly. The broad beans and the onions were in.


The weeds were  under control. The back of the plot was still to wet to do anything with.

Fast Forward to June.

My allotment is in there somewhere. In some parts the grass is up to my waist.

 It took 2 day to cut through the grass and I had to leave a small patch to allow the field mice to move out. Yes I know they are small but I'm still a coward.

 The raised bed were cleared ready to start again.

Not a great photo but I put some borlotti beans a few kohl rabi and a few Pak Choi into the raised bed. I put some perpetual spinach into another bed. Which is doing great All thanks to Little Black Fox who sent me seeds in her give away.  Here

I have failed the last few years to get anywhere with the bolitti beans and I'm new to pak Choi and kohl rabi. I decided to put them into the ground, at least there they might have a fighting chance but at home the plants were been wiped out by the slugs.

 I know the leeks are tiny but they were starting to go yellow in the  cells

At this moment in time it is doing OK. I feel like I'm just about ticking over. I'm planning on working on the raised beds at the front and just keeping the grass at the back under control. It has crossed my mind to put in weedkiller at the back because I have holidays coming up and I'm afraid I will be back to where I started again.

 I dug up the garlic on Monday. All I have to do now is find somewhere to dry it.

This is my complete broad bean crop. The black fly thought they were lovely.

There was no sign of any of the dahlias so I dug over the bed they where in and all 6 tubers have rotted. 2 where down to dust. I think I will give the bed a good dig and see about putting something else in there for this year.
I have a couple of Brussels sprouts plants that need a home, and I found last years seeds for purple sprouting broccoli and some cauliflower which I planted and the seedlings are coming on nicely.

 The gooseberry crop is up on last year. This time there was enough to make a sauce to pour over ice cream.

All in all things could be worse. At least my allotment is a hobby and not my lively hood and things will get better.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shortbread......... 2 ways

Shortbread is one of those handy recipes to have when you want a to fill the biscuit tin.This shortbread is lovely with a cuppa but add a layer of toffee and chocolate and it is a very special treat. Millionaire shortbread is one of those things that takes a bit of time to make but worth it once in awhile. You can get 2 trays out of this recipe 1 plain and 1 millionaire. or you can half the recipe or make 2 plain. 
The possibilities are endless.

Line 2 x 8in square tins.

260g very soft butter
120g caster sugar.
260g plain flour
120g cornflour.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until soft and light.
Sift in the plain flour and the cornflour.
Bring together to make a soft dough.
I find this is best done by hand.

Divided the dough between the 2 tins. Flatten it down and gently push it into the corners. You can do this with the back of a spoon (or your fingers).

Put into the fridge to chill while you heat the oven to 160C fan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. If keeping it plain sprinkle 2 tablespoons of caster sugar over each tin.
Leave in the tray to go cold.  When cold cut into 12.

Toffee Layer.
1x397g  can condensed milk
100g caster sugar
175g Butter.
3tbsp golden syrup

Put  everything into a pot and gently heat until the butter and sugar dissolves.
Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 6 minutes stirring all the time.
Pour over the cold shortbread layer.
Put into the fridge to set.

 Chocolate Layer
Melt 175g of chocolate with 25 g butter,
Pour over the toffee and return to the fridge to set.
When set carefully remove from the tin and cut into squares


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mixed Nut Roll

This is one of those vegetarian recipes that is quick to make. It tastes great hot with roast vegetables and garlic potatoes or cold with a green salad. It freezes well too.

175g mixed nuts, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.
90g wholemeal breadcrumbs
125g cheese, grated
salt and pepper
2 medium eggs, beaten
300g plain flour
150g butter

Heat oil. Fry the onion and cayenne pepper until soft and slightly golden.
Stir in the 125g of the chopped nuts, breadcrumbs and cheese. 
Bind together with beaten eggs. reserving a little egg for glazing
Season well and cool.,


Place the flour and 1tbsp of nuts into a bowl.
Rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in 4-5 tbsp of water and make a soft dough.

Preheat the oven Fan 180C
Line a baking sheet.
Roll pastry out to a rectangle 
Using a rolling pin, lift pastry onto a baking sheet.
Make some slits in the middle.
Pile nut mixture evenly down the centre.
Brush  edges with egg and fold pastry over.
Careful turn the nut roll over so the seam is on the bottom
Glaze with egg and sprinkle with remaining nuts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.