Saturday, 31 August 2013

Beetroot pickle

A quick overnight stay in #bessiebus and a supper of focaccia from the wonderful Hitchin Bakehouse, local ham and some homemake beetroot pickle and not forgetting a glass or two of wine!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Beans, tomatoes, carrots and onions

Late summer evening

Love my evening visits to the plot - the shadows are getting longer and I have to make sure I don't stay too late or it's dark.

More harvesting ...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bank holiday picnic

What better way to end the bank holiday, with a harvesting picnic at the plot!

Practical Herbalism at Triangle Gardens

On the Saturday 27 July I went on a Practical Herbalism workshop with Amy Allen at Triangle Gardens in Hitchin.  
I did a workshop with Amy last summer and she was brilliant and so full of information that I needed to go back and get another fill of her knowledge!

This was more hands on and she showed us how to make oils, tinctures and vinegars using a variety of plants. 

Three weeks later after leaving all to infuse, the potions were strained through muslin and bottled.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Surfinia Tower

These were planted up around Whitsun and have performed so well this year.  Regular deadheading (one of my favourite tasks) has just kept them blooming.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Herb Garden

The herb garden is now taking shape.  The recent hot weather followed by the rain has seen really good growth.  The gaps are starting to fill and it is all starting to flavour the cooking.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Extremely Moist Chocolate and Beetroot Cake

Having a glut of rather large beetroot ... I flicked through various cookery books and stumbled on this recipe in Nigel Slater's Tender.  Having received a bar of chocolate from The Grenada Chocolate Company I decided to put it to good use!

The recipe is quite involved and certainly not a quick wizz up mix in the blender.

It didn't hang around for long once I got to the office!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Marrow and Ginger Jam

Sophie Grigson recipe - always comes up treat and has made a big dent into the overgrown courgette glut!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Potato Harvest

About a sixth of the crop so far .... spent Monday morning delivering bags of tatties.  By the thank you's you would think I had putting little pots of gold on the doorstep!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Begonia rex propagation

Trying to propagate my thriving Begonia rex ... these are leaf cuttings - fingers crossed.

First tomato

First ripe tomato ... didn't last long on the plant!  Here's to many more to come.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Rosa 'Margaret Merrill'

James Wong Homegrown Revolution

On Friday 26th July (sorry bit behind on the blogging at the mo!)  went a massively inspiring talk by James Wong at Woodside Hall in Hitchin.   Despite being very warm in the hall, he spoke with such enthusiasm that I have been converted to the revolution!  

His argument is quite simple, why waste time, energy and money on growing crops that are not suited to our climate/conditions - leave those to the commercial growers (and support British wherever possible) and instead concentrate on high yielding, pest and disease resistant crops that are ideally suited to our conditions.  Time to rethink the planting plan for the plot I think.  
What really gave me food for thought is that many of these crops are perennial .... so once you have invested they come back time and again.

Inspired by the talk I have got the following:

Bergamot Plant
technically a Monarda but will recreate the taste of Bergamot to make your own Earl Grey Tea.

Vanilla Grass (Pandanus amarylifolius) and Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix)
Being a home cook I liked the idea of being able to harvest these as flavourings.

Let the revolution begin!!!!

For more info check out James Wong blog.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

From plot to home

From plot ......
.... to home (with many more to follow)

Monday, 5 August 2013


 I was rather taken by the Gloxinias at trip the garden centre some months ago and purchased one on an impulse.  It continued to bud but the flowers never opened fully and would drop off.

However in temperatures of the over 30 degrees it seems to have come into its own and is now flowering wonderfully on the side in the kitchen.  Long live the hot weather!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Elderflower and Rose Syrup

The world of twitter is quite amazing .... from Higgledy Flowers to 10 Minute Gardener to find this wonderful recipe for Elderflower  and Rose Syrup.

Rather late in July for Elderflower blooms, but luckily the rains had yet to arrive so I managed to get 10 heads so made a half quantity of the recipe.  The rose petals came from the new roses in the garden - this blend has 'City of London'.

The resulting syrup is so delicious that I will have to make the full quantity next year.  It is sweet with a taste of turkish delight.  
Wonderful over ice cream, make a good long drink with sparkling water and I have yet to try with bubbly.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

First Earlies

Arran Pilot - ready for harvest.

Friday, 2 August 2013

July Meadow

The recent hot weather has dried out the meadow, and the walk down the path is accompanied by the sound of the crickets.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Bountiful harvest

The sweet peas are blooming, beetroot ready for harvest and the first lone raspberry is ready.