Sunday, 29 April 2012

29 April 2012 - tidy up after holiday

We had a fantastic holiday camping round the south west of England & popped across to Newport in Wales and then had a fantastic weekend with the hockey lot, last game of the season, then baking cakes for the cake sale (no, I didn't go for the courgette cake this time), manning a stall at the club's coffee morning & sales, then relax! 

So today I thought it'd be a good time to pop down to the allotment and see what's been happening.  I expected to have alot of work to do, but pleasantly surprised I was able to get most of the beds weeded in 2.5 hours.

Here's some before and after photos:
fruit bushes

fruit bushes

beans & strawberries
beans & strawberries
see the row of turnips?
artichoke & roots
garlic - to be weeded
potatoes - to be weeded

We've also been given extra beds that someone else has given up.  The two beds are covered for now and just at the end of our plot (includes the broken compost bin, a gooseberry bush and globe artichoke plant.  There's just a walkway between the two plots - nice'n'handy!  Here's the new plot:

And the addition to the allotments - our very own slug eaters!
The seedlings didn't cope so well, but not all bad, we'll just have to wait and see.  On the plus side, if you remember the experiment with the carnation sprigs I did earlier this year, well, all of them have taken and all the one's I donated to the hockey sale all sold before I got to see them!

Campstove cooking

You may have noticed a lack of chatter, well we've been on holiday and I thought since summer keeps appearing, disappearing and popping back for a visit every now and then, it could be possible to have the odd dinner at the allotment.  We've been camping for a couple of weeks and managed some pretty exotic stuff on a little campstove, so I'll share them with you ;-)

As usual, what was supposed to be used will be in italics.  We had limited space, so just bought a tube of generic herbs & spices, and reused left over herbs, pasta or veges and adapted the recipes.  I know you're not surprised by now!

Fajitas - we used a collapsable camping frying pan, mince (chicken pieces), spices, onions, baguettes, cheese and lettuce
Fajitas cooking
Fajitas al fresco

Lemon pasta - we used a wok, pasta shells (linguine), olive oil butter (oil) & a real lemon for the juice
Pasta cooking
Lemon pasta
Warm chorizo salad - we used the collapsable frying pan, chorizo sausage chopped up, salad, posh bread and a nice rosehip wine
Prepping the salad
Warm chorizo salad
Bruchetta bagels - toasting bagels, add tomatoes, salt and herbs
Toasting bagels
Bruchetta bagels
Courgette & Goats Cheese Pasta - we used the wok, olive oil butter (oil), 1 courgette, cubed goats cheese and pasta shells (spaghetti)
Cooking the courgettes
Courgette & goats cheese pasta
Bacon & Brocolli Stir Fry - we used the wok, full sized brocolli stems (brussel sprouts but "It's not Christmas") and chopped bacon with spices, posh bread and some lovely local cider
Cooking the bacon
Bacon & brocolli stirfry

Mexican Tomato Rice - we used the wok, rice boiled with mint leaves, chopped tomatoes, spices, mixed veges and chopped brocolli
Risotto ingredients
Mexican Tomato Rice

Monday, 9 April 2012

8 April 2012 - Easter work

a well earned Easter Egg break!
Well, it might not look like much, but we have been busy - honest!

Friday was a trip to the park after baking a courgette cake - a 3.5 year old had 4 pieces!

Saturday was bowling and seeing what older kids think of courgette cake (sent it home with them, will find out later, I guess).

Brussel sprouts survived

Sunday was allotment day, Mike sorted out a better cover for the sprouts, and luckily, they all survived the hail/snow/wind/rain we've had last week - the net curtain did the trick, but was a temporary cover designed to keep the hares out.

roots planted

I dug over and planted out some seeds in the roots bed.  Under the mesh is jerusalem artichokes, and there are now one row each of samurai carrots (red), snowball turnips, nasturtium, salsify and beetroot.

The plan is for them to have 2 weeks head start on the next lot of veg, so that we aren't swamped with stuff all at the same time.

3 new rhubarb plants forced
We weren't sure if there was any rhubarb survivor in the existing tyre, so we tried forcing soil - lucky us - there's 3 plants come up!

You have to look close for the 3rd one - it's at the front.

lazy weeding

Mike dug up some of the grass that's grown between the tyres at the end of the brussel sprout bed and that took ages.  Plan B is to cover the grass for now and see if it dies away to make life a bit easier.

Next year, we'll extend the length of the beds to the fenceline.

Oh, and Monday - well that was sorting Ellie's Plot!

Ellie's Plot - Potatoes & growth

Well, it's time to be planting out the potatoes that Ellie's been carefully chitting.  She's got 3 - 2 pink fir apples and a generic one we dug up from our allotment.  Mum and Dad have been given strict instructions of their duties, which I know will be followed to the letter!
strawberries, allotment and chitted potatoes
covering the potatoes

coriander (top), kale (bottom)
The strawberries are looking good, lots of new leaves on there!

While we were at it (and before the rain came back), Ellie put in some more californian poppy and sunflower seeds, because it looked like the cat had been for a little dig in there. 

There are some coriander and curly kale come up, which we were all very pleased to see!  We also left her some cress seeds to plant with Dad during the week.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Courgette and Pistachio Cake

This one's from Good Housekeeping Magazine and I'm very tempted to try it out with different veges, because this one went down SOOOO well at a picnic today!  Honestly - even the 3.5 year old had 4 pieces!

Okay, for the rules (which you must know I don't really follow) the recipe uses a 25.5cm (10in) kugelhopf (one of those round tins with a hole in).  Which I don't have.  The other suggestion was 20.5cm (8in) round cake tin.  Which I also don't have.

150ml vegetable oil (plus extra to grease)
250g self-raising flour (plus extra to dust)
50g pistachios (shelled weight) they only sell them in 40g unshelled bags at my local shop
3 medium eggs
175g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 small courgettes (about 225g) coarsely grated
125g icing sugar
1Tbsp roughly chopped pistachios

Preheat to 180c (160c fan oven). 

Whisk oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Sift flour and bicarb, stir to combine.  Mix in the courgettes & chopped pistachios - I also sprinkled some 100s & 1000s to sell it to the kids!  Cook - Kugelhopf = 35mins.  Round tin = 55 mins.
Ice when cold and put pistachios on top.  If it lasts long enough - store for up to 2 days!