Friday, 13 September 2013

Holidays

We have been away for the last three weeks,just hubby and myself and our motorhome. No teenagers and no dog. We have been away on our own for a long weekend before but not for this long.Now I love my boys to bits but I am afraid I have to say it was bliss. We went on the overnight ferry to St Malo and then headed off to the west coast of France.We stopped over to see a couple of friends we have along the way then headed across the Pyrenees to the Med.We ended up so close to Spain we could sit on an evevning looking at the Spanish coast line. We snorkelled in the clearest seas and wild camped on beaches. Meaning we were the first in the sea in the morning , this had the added bonus none of the fish had been disturbed so the shoals were massive. There were big ones, tiny ones, purple ones and silvery gold ones. They were so close to you you could touch them.I even saw my first squid- alive that is. We didn't have a waterproof camera otherwise we would have bought loads of photos back to bore everyone with.We then headed up through the middle of France zigzagging our way back up.Visiting  Carcossone and Rocamadour and obviously a few Vineyards along the way.
 Other than the lovely time I had just having hubby to myself I shall remember the fish,the sun and Oradour-Sur-Glane.We visited this village on the way back up France.During World War 11, a Regiment of German soldiers burnt this village and over 600 occupants, including women and children.There were only 6 survivors, the village has been left as a reminder to the rest of us what mankind can be capable of. I was unable to take photographs as it just felt so disrespectful. We have done War graves before, but this is something entirely different and will always remain with me. 
On returning home Autumn is coming but there is still lots of summer colour.








                 
                                                        

The boys did cut the grass,water my greenhouses and collected plenty of veg. So now I am trying to cook as much as I can and have spent the morning baking chocolate courgette cakes which I have put the recipe in a previous post and Courgette Crumble!!!! A sweet dish not savoury, for some more courgette recipes take a look at  http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 9 August 2013

Courgette Recipes

There are so many different courgettes and squashes today's pickings




It is the first time I have grown these Patty Pan mixed but am really pleased with the different colours, the biggest one in the picture above is a Crown prince squash weighing 2.5kg!! The smaller courgettes are usually sliced length ways marinated in sweet chilli sauce and put on the bbq.With so many I have had to come up with some different ways of using them, one of the chef's at work suggested courgette and cumin soup, so I gave it a go and the end result was this


I had it with some Stotty Cake which if you see a previous post you will know it is actually a bread.The soup was just so easy to do, I made enough to use a courgette up and had enoughto go in the freezer too.
1oz butter
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
3 tsp cumin   ( I tried one but felt it needed more)
5 oz potatoe peeled and cubed into 1cm cubes)
12oz courgette thickly sliced and quartered
3/4 pint chicken stock
1/2 pint milk

I melted the butter and sauted the onion, then added the cumin, stirred the potatoes and most of the courgette( I saved a bit for a garnish) I cooked all of this for a couple of minutes
Add stock,milk and seasoning,bring to the boil and simmered for about 10 mins until everything was soft.
I then pureed with a stick blender and then garnished with slices of the saved courgette.

Then for pudding, I do apologise taking this photo with the chocolate icing dripping but was going to work and new this cake would not be in one piece when I came back !!





Chocolate Courgette Cake, I did get this one on-line and there are many out there. Now I am not a great lover of chocolate cake but thought I had better taste this before I went to work as I new if the males in my house tasted courgette it would be a definite no no. You do not taste the courgette at all, you get a lovely crunch from the toasted hazelnuts and the cake is sooo moist and it has a really lovely rich chocolate flavour. If I haven't sold it to you I suggest you really must just try it yourself.

350gm Self raising flour
50gm cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice
175ml extra virgin olive oil
375gm golden castor sugar ( I didn't have any so used normal sugar)
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
500ml courgette grated ( measure by volume in jug)
140gm toasted hazelnuts

Icing
200gm dark chocolate ( I used milk as males in my house don't like dark)
100ml double cream

Oven Gas 4
24cm round tin lined with greaseproof paper

Combine flour,cocoa powder,mixed spice and 1 tsp salt
In another bowl combine olive oil,sugar,eggs,vanilla and grated courgette. Mix both lots of ingredients and then fold in hazelnuts.
Pour mixture into lined tin and bake for 40-50 mins until knife inserted comes out clean( I found it took about 70 mins) Cool in tin for 10 mins then turn out

Icing
Break chocolate into a bowl, bring cream to boil in a pan. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until completely smooth. Leave to cool slightly until thickened , then spread over cake.
Enjoy with some crème fresh

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Ladies in waiting,in hiding and in bloom

I don't mean to be sexist with this post but the 'ladies' refers to flowers and a butterfly.
 So the Ladies in Waiting


 

In Hiding






 In Bloom
           
           


           

Along with all the salad leaves, onions,beetroot, tomatoes and courgettes we have also had our first cucumber


I had a change from the usual this year and tried Franchi Cetriolo , they are smaller than we are used to but very tastey .What is everyone else eating?


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Busy Bees

I have been very remiss and not been on my blog for a whole month!!!! there goes my wanting a post every week that I said at the beginning of the year. But just like these Bumble bees in my lawn, I have been a very busy bee


I put a coin so that you could see the size of them, this is only half the bee, they fly much too fast for me to get a decent picture.

We had the garden open at Fladbury Walkabout 2 weeks ago, hence being very busy, unfortunately we had three of a garden sheds broken into the week before the walkabout £2500 later it was a bit of a mixed week. I did a plant swap for the first time this year, it hadn't been advertised very well but a lot of people were interested and said they would come back next year with a plant.It was all good feedback from the thousands of visitors who braved the very hot weather. There were 19 gardens open this year, a few less than usual but still plenty of other attractions, river trips, market stalls, fun run ,music, pig roasts. Then to finish it of on the Monday night a local florist came and gave us a talk in the church, the theme in the church this year was food


                              We had a wonderful wedding cake

                                          More Tea Vicar

                    In the children's corner they had made a giant sandwhich

                  Sugar and spice and all things nice

There were many many more but to catch up in the garden, the ironing view a month on


The Buddleia nano is out and the phlox, the day lilies in the foreground are just finishing but  Sahin's early flowerer is in the far end of the photo and will go on flowering until November.

The early potatoes are all lifted along with the garlic and the onions, the shallots are having just a bit longer. The raspberries haven't been as big this year but have been all made into Raspberry and Rhubarb jam. The strawberries have been good and have been made into Strawberry and Rhubarb jam. The blackcurrants and gooseberries have been brilliant. We have been continuing to eat all things salad along with Gardeners Delight Tomatoes, the french beans, manetout have also been good. All the brassicas and cabbages are now planted out along with the leeks. The squashes have all gone mad really enjoying this hot weather as are the peppers, chillies and cucmbers.
The lillies have been brilliant and one of my favourites, lilium napelense




                                                 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Ironing in the garden !!!!

Working late shifts can have its advantages and disadvantages.The disadvantage being that you try to do a million and one jobs before you go to work, now I don't detest ironing but I must admit it is not one of my favourite jobs. So when sat in the garden eating my breakfast and going over the million and one jobs I need to do over the next two days and going to work on late shifts, I decided I would do the ironing outside rather than be stuck inside.
I would have much rather been getting some more of the plants in that need to go in, but I live in a house with two teenage sons and a hubby who wouldn't appreciate it too much if I just lived in the garden!!!!
So this is the view I ended up with


 The back faces north/west so I was stood in the shade for most of the time, there wasn't loads to do which was a shame really as I really enjoyed being part of nature. I have said before about a robin who visits us and he came to have a natter with me. The adult blackbirds carried on feeding their chicks, oblivious to me and my iron steaming away. I must admit to getting distracted by also making bread and spaghetti bolognese,cooking beetroot and new poatoes. So was still doing the typical more than one job at the same time, but do you know what, I really didn't mind. This is the view as you carry on up the garden


The old buildings to the right of this next picture are the old privvy, we have spilt it into two and one side is the coal store and the other the log store nearer the house. We have the main log store at the top of the garden but it is a long way down in the middle of winter. The lovely lounger you can see to the side of the privvy my son made for me to try to get me to rest in the garden and enjoy it.





This is where we like to sit for breakfast as it gets the sun first thing in the morning, it is also nice to sit here later in the day if you want some shade as the back of the house gets very hot (when the sun does shine !)
This is looking through the foxgloves from the decking area where the chickens are and fruit trees, we have 6 fruit trees in all a mix of apples and pears


There is a gate in the arch way but I leave it open to remind me I have the water on the tomatoes, I use a drip irrigation from the water butt, I will close the gate before going to work as we have foxes and then will also turn the water off.


This is standing at the gate and what I call the working area !!!!


This is standing past the shed in the last picture and next to the main log store, they are strawberries to the right, beans and peas to the left along with all the salad crops,squashes, onions,shallots,artichokes. We have stopped picking the asparagus now which is in the end of the bed to the left. The same with the rhubarb you can see in the right hand bed, there are raspberry canes past the rhubarb.
In the soil at the end of the raised beds there are potatoes to the left and blackcurrant ad gooseberries to the right.


These are the tomatoes in the one greenhouse enjoying there drip irrigation. There are 18 plants in all and most have tomatoes on. the other greenhouse has cucumbers, melons,peppers,chillies,aubergines and seedlings for later sowings.





I also had time to collect all of my tea for tonight from the garden


Salad leaves,courgette,spring onions,beetroot,carrot,broad beans and egg, along with some lovely strawberries

                  I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my back garden