Just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to ‘Argiolus‘ who identified the caterpillar I mentioned on my blog last Friday. It is in fact an Elephant Hawk Moth and he has kindly given a link to some more interesting information about the moth here.
I love receiving comments on my blog, so please keep them coming with your views, questions and answers, etc. which are great for everyone who reads them.
At the weekend Rowley fields allotment society in Leicester had an open day, so we went along. We saw a wonderful plot (or should I say garden), so I took a photo to show you:
How beautiful it was!
This week at home I have once again been thinking about storing my crops, by putting my onions away. They have been drying nicely for the last three or four weeks in one of my mini-greenhouses.
I put them in a large netted bag in my storage boxes with my potatoes and they will store nicely over winter, provided I check them every so often for any that have begun to rot.
At my allotment, my cucumelons are taking over my tomato plants and my poor tomatoes are struggling to ripen!…but dispite this, my polytunnel is heaving with produce:
This week at my allotment I have been pruning my golden gage tree. I don’t think it has been pruned for a long time and as a result I found there were a lot of dead, diseased and crossing branches to prune away.
Also, I have been pruning my lavender bushes that looked so beautiful at the beginning of summer and attracted lots of beneficial insects.
When I attended horticultural college I was told that the council parks department use strimmers to prune their Lavender and after planting my hedge a few years ago, I also use a strimmer to prune my lavender and it works a treat. Provided I make sure that I leave approximately one inch of the current years growth on the plant, then it grows back lovely the next year:
I have also been picking lots of tomatoes from my allotment. I am still expecting ‘blight’ as they succumb to it each and every year unfortunately… but as yet they are still blight free for the moment. You can read about ‘tomato blight here.
As well as making tomato and basil soup (the recipe is here), I have been making passata.
Passata doesn’t usually have any seeds in it, however I think life is too short to sieve the seeds out of the sauce, so I don’t.
All I do is wash and chop them in half and then cook them in a large pan with a cup of water. When they are soft I use my stick blender to liquidise them until there are no lumps.
I then poor 500 grams worth of sauce into bags in plastic pots and when it is cool I freeze the portions. When it is frozen I remove the bags from the pots and put the nice rectangular shaped sauces in my freezer ready to defrost and use when it is needed.
I use the sauce in recipes like pasta sauce, pizza sauce or spaghetti bolognaise.
This week I have once again been busy making jams and chutneys. I started with a beetroot chutney to use up the last of my beetroot. My daughter and sister love this chutney, so I make it every year.
The recipe is here.
I continued to use up the plums I picked by making more plum jelly and I also made plum ice cream sauce. I made the ice cream sauce in the exact way that I made crab apple ice cream sauce here, but I just substituted the crab apples with the plums.
It is delicious drizzled over ice cream (especially the home made vanilla ice cream here).
Unfortunately, I then realised I had nearly ran out of jars and I still have loads of fruit in my freezer to make different jams, etc. I know if you buy new jam jars they can cost quite a bit of money, so I buy the cheapest jars from the supermarket, use the contents and then re-used the jars.
(Incidentally, I don’t buy pickle jars as the smell is hard to remove).
In the past I found ‘value’ marmalade was the cheapest, but this week the cheapest jars I could find contained ‘lemon’curd’ at just 22p per jar.
I gave the contents of a couple of jars to a friend and I have been madly using the rest of them myself.
I started by making mini lemon meringues:
My eldest daughter made a lovely victoria sandwich with lemon curd in the middle:
And finally, we went to a friends house at the weekend and I took some little lemon curd cakes and I even managed to hide a courgette in the mixture too. They did taste good, even though I do say so myself.
You can find the recipe below:
Courgette Sponge cakes with Mascapone Cheese and Lemon Curd:
6 oz of Margarine
6 oz Caster sugar
6 oz Self raising flour
A few drops of Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 medium courgette
½ Jar of lemon curd
250g tub of mascapone cheese
20g icing sugar, plus a small amount for dusting
The juice and zest from one lemon
Preheat the oven Gas Mark 5 / 375F / 190C
Peel the courgette, top and tail it and then grate it very finely.
Place the courgette in a sieve just to let any excess water drain away while you are making the cake mix.
Sieve the caster sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and then add the eggs, margarine and vanilla extract. Mix until they are combined.
Add the courgette and mix until combined.
If the mixture falls off the spoon easily (dropping consistancy), then half fill muffin cases with the mixture.
(If the mix doesn’t fall off the spoon easily then keep adding a tiny bit of water and mix until it does).
Bake for 20 minutes and then leave to cool.
Remove the cake from the cake case and slice it in half and put a teaspoon of lemon curd in the middle
Mix the icing sugar, mascopone cheese and lemon juice together and then spread it or pipe it onto each cake.
Top each cake with a small amount of lemon zest.
Sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar to finish off the cakes
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back at my usual time next Friday.