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A Pitta Bread Recipe & Sad Potatoes

It’s been a strange week at the allotment as there has been some lovely ‘highs’ and one massive ‘low’ which I’ll tell you about in a minute.

The highs first…..The produce is coming thick and fast and I am picking peas, podding them and blanching them as soon as possible (and I’ve still not managed the one hour turn around that ‘Birds Eye’ do, lol)….but they still taste delicious!…together with the mange tout that my husband and youngest daughter fight over when I cook them for dinner.

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I’m picking salads crops almost daily now and I can honestly say they taste far better than supermarket salads, that don’t seem to have any taste.

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The cucumber in the photo is from a spare plant that I put in my polytunnel at the allotment and it has been producing cucmbers for about a month now.  The plant was grown at exactly the same time as the other three plants that I have in my greenhouse at home, but this plant is far further forward than the others.

It could be that this plant was planted into the ground in my polytunnel (the greenhouse plants are in pots), or it could be I have shading over my greenhouse at home which has slowed the growth?….I will probably never know.

My greenhouse cucumbers

My greenhouse cucumbers

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This week I picked my first beetroot and boiled it for a salad tea.  It was so sweet!

These are the beetroot that I sowed in newspaper pots back on the 8th April and transplanted to my allotment a few weeks ago.  I have read that beetroot dosen’t like to be transplanted, but by growing it in newspaper pots there is no root disturbance and they can be sown earlier, before the ground has warmed up.

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I’ve also been picking my first gherkins from my polytunnel.  This year I haven’t grown so many as I find that they don’t last too long when you pickle them.  So I have only grown enough for a few jars over summer.

I pickled my first crop this week.  It’s really easy to pickle gherkins and I wrote how to do it here if anyone is interested.

Gherkins that I pickled this week

Gherkins that I pickled this week

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One thing I did at the allotment this week (with Mr Thrift’s help) was to start a new compost area.  I have a problem with rats in my compost bins over winter, so I decided to put my bins on slabs to see if this may help.  We laid some spare slabs in the utility area and I will start to gradually move my dalek compost bins over each time I empty one.

These bins are where I put my peelings, etc.

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And now for this weeks allotment ‘low’…..my potatoes have succumbed to the dreaded ‘blight’!

I didn’t spot it at first and dug up my first potatoes of the year (which incidently were mouth wateringly delicious):

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These are my second early potatoes called ‘Marfona’.  As you can see they are still quite small, as these actually grow much bigger and can be used as baking potatoes.

…..But then I spotted the tell tale signs of blight!

First I spotted the marks on the leaves:

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And when I looked underneath I found a couple of stems where it had spread:

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There was no doubt about it….it was blight.

I always find potato growing such hard work and it is so disappointing when this happens!

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Blight is a wind blown fungus that can travel long distances.  It spreads when the temperature is above 10C and the humidity is above 75% for two consecutive days, known as a ‘Smith Period’.   In the UK outbreaks can occur from June onwards and apparently it is usually seen in the south west first.

The early stages of blight can be easily missed and not all plants are affected at the same time, however it will spread rapidly.

Symptoms usually seen are brown patches that appear on the leaves and stems and spread very rapidly.

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I noticed that the blight had only spread over half of my ‘picasso’ potatoes (early main crop) and half of my ‘marfona’ potato crop (2nd early), but I know it spreads really quickly.

If you catch blight early enough you can stop the fungus from going down into the potatoes by cutting off all the foliage, so none of it is above the soil and then leaving the potatoes underground for at least two weeks without digging them up (so hopefully they are protected).

So this is what I did.

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Unfortuanately, my potatoes won’t grow any bigger now, but I will be happy with the potatoes I have if this saves them.

Incidentally, you CAN put the blighted top growth in your compost as blight can not live on dead plant material….but it will survive in the seed (i.e.potato) which is another reason to use fresh seed potatoes each year and dig up any ‘volunteers’ that grow around your plot.

I noticed that my ‘desiree’ potatoes and tomatoes that are growing in a different patch have not yet been affected, so I will be monitoring them very, very closely.

One thing I am wondering, is when I used the ‘Nemaslug’ (nemotodes) for the first time last month as a trial, I had to keep the soil moist for two weeks (which I wasn’t happy about at the time as it was a lot of work).  I wonder if all my watering increased the chance of blight as the leaves were continually wetted for two weeks?….I suppose I will never know.

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At home this week….

I cleaned three old photo frames using bi-carb, water and an old toothbrush.  And they came up lovely.

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I also sowed up a hole in my old ‘comfy’ trousers, which will keep them going a bit longer.

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And I decided to make some pitta bread at the weekend to go with my homemade houmous.

So it has been a good frugal week.

I realised I haven’t shared my pitta bread recipe with you before.  I use my breadmaker to knead the dough, but you can just as easily knead it yourself.

I hope this easy recipe will help someone out there:

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Pitta Bread

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500 grams strong white flour

2 teaspoons of fast action dried yeast

25 grams margarine or butter

½ teaspoon salt

310 ml water

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Put all the above ingredients into your breadmaker on a ‘dough’ setting or ‘pizza dough’ setting.

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When the dough is ready, preheat your oven Gas 7 / 425F /220C.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a rough ball.

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On a floured board, use a rolling pin to make oval shapes approx. 4″ x 8″

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Put them on a greased baking sheet.

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Put in the oven for 5 mins and then turn them over and for a further 5 mins until they are cooked.

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Wrap them in a tea towel to keep them soft and warm if you aren’t quite ready to eat them.

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Enjoy with home made houmous (recipe here).

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time.

Strawberries And Cake

I thought I would start with a look in my greenhouse at home:

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The tomatoes and cucumbers are doing well and I have my first fruits forming.  I will now start to feed my plants with a high potash comfrey feed.  You can see from the photo above that I use old Blood, fish and bone tubs as pots for my plants.  I just drill a few holes in the bottom and use the lids as saucers to catch the excess water.

I am also still removing the side shoots from my tomato plants as they form.

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The hanging baskets that I planted up myself at home are starting to flower well too and I will also be starting to feed these this week, with the same high potash feed that I use for my tomatoes and cucumbers.  Soon the flowers will cover the sides of the baskets and you won’t be able to tell that I used a ‘compost bag’ to line the basket.

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As the weather has been lovely here this week I have managed to finish planting the majority of my vegetables at the allotment.

I planted some beetroot that I started off in newspaper pots:

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  I remember reading that beetroot doesn’t transplant very well, but it is fine when I grow it in newspaper pots as there is no root disturbance when I transplant them, as I plant the whole pot into the ground and it just decomposes.

Just in case anyone is unsure if this will work, below is a photo of some beetroot that is growing at my plot that I planted last month in a newspaper pot and as you can see it is growing well.

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In front of my beetroot I have planted my parsley plants.  I keep hearing that parsley is hard to grow, but again I never have a problem.  I sow a pinch of seed in newspaper pots filled with compost and they germinate well.  I just remove any extra seeds that germinate and then I transplant them again when they are big enough (I plant the newspaper pot into the ground as well).

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This week I also planted my swedes, kohl rab’s and turnips.  Again I’ve read swedes don’t like to be transplanted, so get around this by using newspaper pots and I have great success this way.

The birds love to eat these so I have built my usual cane and bottle cage around them:

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I also planted my perpetual spinach plants.  I think perpetual spinach is such an under-rated plant.  It doesn’t ‘bolt’ like ordinary spinach does in the summer and it lasts for months and is hardy so it can be eaten in winter when there isn’t much else around….but most importantly it tastes nice like spinach and can be used in exactly the same way.  I love adding small, new leaves to salad and the larger leaves are great to cook with.

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Also at my allotment, the pansies and violas are looking stunning now at the front of my plot.  These were all reduced a few weeks ago from Tesco and I paid just £3 for all of them.  I don’t usually like these plants and I only bought them to fill a patch before my own bedding plants were ready, but I think I have finally been converted as they look stunning:

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This week, I picked my first broad beans.  I love to open the first pod and eat the beans raw.

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I gave the above beans to my ‘in-law’, as they absolutely love broad beans too and I must say there are loads more nearly ready to harvest.

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And we are having salads nearly every day now, as I have so many ‘webbs wonderful’ lettuces in my polytunnel and I have mixed salad leaves in my greenhouse at home, which is great.  I am also picking radishes and spring onions from my polytunnel.  I particularly like to add coriander to a bowl of salad, which I have also been growing in my greenhouse too.

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My strawberry harvest is going well too this week.  On Wednesday I managed to pick a whole carrier bag of strawberries (and I probably ate another bag while I was picking them lol).  There really is nothing like freshly picked juicy strawberries, that are warm from the sun.

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While I was wondering what to do with all the strawberries, I decided to try some of them with the homemade vanilla ice cream I made this week and it was delicious!…

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….And a few hours later my eldest daughter made this cake (which was even more delicious)….

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I felt like a queen, having a cake made for me.  Though I am going to have to stop eating all these lovely things if I don’t want to end up enormous!

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Finally this week I made some ‘Dark Chocolate Rum Truffles’ and some ‘White Chocolate, Apricot and Brandy Trufffles’ for fathers day.  The recipes can be found here.

I think they make super presents and I would love to receive them.

“I always say a homemade present comes from the heart and not just the bank account and thats what makes it special” 

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So over all, it has been a productive week from the ‘Notjustgreenfingers’ household….and it’s been one of those weeks that I am glad to live the way we do.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time.

Have a good week!

A Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe & My Allotment This Week

Before I start, I don’t usually advertise anything on my blog, but I thought I would make an exception for this:

Transition Leicester are holding a ‘Leicester Green Open Homes And Living’ event….

Their website says “Would you like some ideas about making your home and/or life greener? Come and look around the homes of people who are changing their homes and lives to reduce their carbon footprints and talk to them about what it is like”.

For details on the houses, their availability and features, click here I can imagine it will be a real eye opener.

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What a busy week it has been at the allotment.  Due to all the rain we had last week I have had to work twice as hard to catch up with my planting.

First though, I had to dig up my old spring broccoli and curly kale before I could even start planting:

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I then planted my outdoor cucumbers (burpless tasty green), leaving them under glass to give some protection for a couple weeks as it has been really cold and wet and they do not like these conditions:

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My runner beans and tomatoes were planted out:

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And my sweetcorn, butternut squashes, patty pans and courgettes:

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And more spring onions and lettuces:

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And some more cauliflowers under environmesh and I planted cabbages under bottles as they were small and I wanted to give them a bit of protection from slugs and the cold

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I also planted my leeks that were sown way back in January.  If you haven’t planted leeks before, it is a bit unusual the way they are planted.  You can read how to plant them here.

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I also planted my celeriac, which like plenty of water and they certainly had plenty of rain on Wednesday this week…

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…and I finally got round to planting some flowers- sweetpeas, nasturtiums and tagettes.

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I also planted some nasturtiums around my runner beans as a sacrificial plants.  The blackflies prefer nasturtiums to the beans and so they leave my runner beans alone.

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I also invested in a very large net from ebay this year to stop the pigeons from eating my peas.  I hope to be able to use it for years to come as it wasn’t the cheap sort that you can buy.

A few years ago I didn’t need to net my peas as the birds never bothered with them, but they seem to eat everything these days, including my lettuces which I still find strange.

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Also, I finally got round to nipping the top couple of inches off my broad beans to stop the blackflies as they love the top growth.  The best time to do this is when the first beans start to develop on the plants, but as you can see in the photo below, I was a little bit late on one or two of them, but I’m sure they will be fine.

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Finally at my allotment, I have had loads of people ask me what is wrong with their onions this year and I have said the same thing over and over again….it’s the allium leaf miner, which is a fairly new pest.  You can find information about it here.

My onions have been hit too and I will be covering them with environmesh next year:

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During half term when it was raining nearly all week, it was lovely to have some time to catch up at home.  Especially as my daughters were off school, as I love spending time with them.

One of the things we did was toasting marshmellows over a candle.  I had forgotten how good they taste and they took me back to when I was a Guide (many years ago).

I absolutely love the melted marshmellow taste:

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During the week I also managed to catch up on some long overdue jam making sessions with leftover fruit in my freezer.

I made rhubarb jam and strawberry jam:

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I find jam making quite thereputic and it is so easy to do.

If you haven’t made jam before, you can find a strawberry jam recipe and some jam making tips here if you are interested.

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I also managed to give my drains a bit of a clean  by pouring 1 tablespoon of bi-carbinate of soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar.  It bubbles up like a volcano for a few minutes and then I flushed it all down by running the hot tap for a few moments….the result was clean smelling, unblocked drains!

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I was also able to take time to make some nice salads from my polytunnel and some nice meals for the family without rushing….it was such a pleasure:

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The last photo is homemade shortbread, which is one of the simplist recipes I have.  You can find it here.  I use pure margarine as my daughter is lactose intolerant, but you can use normal margarine or butter and they taste even nicer.

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The photo my daughter took as we picked them

The photo my daughter took as we picked my strawberries

This week I made some luxury strawberry ice cream as double cream was on offer at Tesco….and the taste is absolutely delicious!…and yet again so easy to make.

I used my strawberries from the allotment as they are ripening nicely.  These are a very early variety that I planted two years ago:

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Luxury Strawberry Icecream Recipe:

300 grams strawberries

300 ml double cream

140 grams of caster sugar

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Puree the strawberries in a bowl with a hand blender / liquidiser or a fork

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Add the caster sugar and the double cream to the bowl

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Give it all a mix with a spoon until it is all combined

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And add it to your icecream maker to do the hard work

(If you haven’t got an ice cream maker, just put the blended ingrediants into a container and freeze.  Remove from the freezer every 1-2 hours and mash vigourously with a fork to break up the ice crystals)

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As there are no chemicals in the ice cream, the ice cream will be quite hard when you take it out of the freezer to use, so it is better to take it out for fifteen minutes or so before you eat it.

Then enjoy it!

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I actually made double the amount of ice cream and it filled an old two litre plastic ice cream tub and I worked out it cost me just £1.85 to make.  I’ve checked on the Tesco website and the ‘posh’ ice cream is far more expensive than that!

Within an hour of making the ice cream, some of it had disappeared out of the tub….it must have been the ice cream fairies…so beware of the ice cream fairies if you make it too.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back again next Friday

My woodland garden this week

My woodland garden this week

Have a good week!

Weed Suppressant Paths And Parsnip Crisps

When I had my first allotment in 2005, I decided to have four rotational areas which I separated with Michaelmus Daisys and I must say they look beautiful in September each year when they flower.

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At first, I would walk all over the soil to plant things and dig it all over each winter.  This was easy to do with one plot but when I took on more plots four years ago, I had to re-look at how I did things.

I decided that in between each row of Michaelmus Daisys I would have four ‘fixed’ beds separated by paths, so I didn’t need to walk on the soil.  The only exception was my potato bed, where I would remove the paths each year and dig the whole area over.

I used weed suppressant that I cut to size for my paths and held it down with small tent pegs.  However, the wind had other ideas so I had to resort to holding it down with bricks instead.

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The bricks were not ideal as the slugs love hiding underneath them and I have often fallen over the bricks when I am not looking at my feet.  Also, the wind still blows the weed suppressant about, as you can see in the photograph below, but the worse thing is the weed suppressant frays like mad where I cut it and I have strands of it everywhere, which gets tangled up in my trowel, fork and even around my legs sometimes.

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  On the plus side however, the paths have been great as I didn’t need to walk on the soil, which meant I could weed when the ground was really wet (as I could just reach into the bed) and all I’ve needed to do each year is lightly fork the soil over if I wanted to and it doesn’t get compressed.

So I decided I needed to do something different.

I thought long and hard and considered the usual options of slabs (which would be far too expensive), wood chip paths (again expensive for the wood to edge the paths) and just plain soil paths (I tried this before and I spent ages weeding them).  In the end I decided to have another go at weed suppressant paths, but this time I was determined to do them properly with no edges to fray.

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I brought the weed suppressant from our allotment shop as it is only £2 per meter (with a width of four meters wide), so this is really good value, though it is a low grade weed suppressant that does need to be doubled.

I cut it into strips that were large enough to be doubled over and I left a couple of inches extra to sew the hems.

I found the weed suppressant would not pass through my sewing machine as it keep catching underneath, so after a whole morning of trying every way possible, I unfortunately had to edge the top and bottom of it with duct tape before I could manage to machine sew it.

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I sewed the sides together and then turned the weed suppressant inside out

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I then ironed the path flat (I was supprised I could iron it without it melting, but it was fine)

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I then sewed the ends up

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And then I used some Eyelets to stop it from fraying when I pinned it down onto the ground.  I also used a bit of duct tape before putting each eyelet on, to give the weed suppressant a bit more strength.

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I spaced the eyelets just wide enough to fit the double pins that I had bought, to hold the weed suppressant down.

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I’m hoping these pins will be better than the small tent pegs I used originally… but I will let you know when it is next windy.

I laid the paths at my allotment and I am really pleased with them.  I think the paths look much better without the bricks and fraying:

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If the new pins hold the paths down, then I will try and do the rest of the weed suppressant paths around my allotment over the next year or so.

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Parsnip Crisps:

I’ve not written a recipe on my blog for ages, so I thought today I would.

I like to use everything I grow in as many different ways that I can.  At the moment I still have parsnips at my allotment and it won’t be long before I need the space for something else.

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Parsnips are lovely roasted and I especially like them in a spicy parsnip soup or a nice parsnip cake.

You can also use parsnips to make ‘parsnip crisps’, which is something a little bit different and they taste wonderful when they are served warm.

  This is how I make them:

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Parsnip Crisps

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800g parsnips

6 teaspoons olive oil

Salt to taste

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Preheat your oven to Gas 3 / 160C /325F

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Wash, peel and slice your parsnips finely (I used my food processor for quickness, as it has a slicing attachment)

Rub the olive oil all over the parsnips

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Lay the parsnip slices on greased baking sheets

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And bake in the oven for 25 minutes, turning half way through the cooking time

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While thay are still hot, sprinkle with salt and then enjoy!

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Monday at my usual time.

‘Romantic’ Seed Potatoes

I was very excited this week as I purchased my seed potatoes (little things make me happy).  I like to buy them early so I get the varieties that I particularly like to grow.  I have chosen:

‘Marfona’ which are second earlies,

‘Picasso’ which are an early main crop and

‘Desiree’ which are red potatoes.

I bought the potatoes from a nursery in Enderby, as I like to be able to pick the exact number of seed potatoes that I need for each row at my allotment.  It was fascinating to see the amount of different varieties of seed potatoes that they stock.  I must say they have an amazing choice.

However, the best price per kg for seed potatoes that I have found this year, is at Wilkinsons.  Unfortunately they don’t stock the varieties I wanted, but If I wasn’t fussy then I would definately buy them from there.  They are also selling some potatoes loose this year for the first time, so you can also just buy the exact number of potatoes you require, rather than buying a bag.

I have now put my seed potatoes in seed trays to ‘chit’ them.  You don’t really need to ‘chit’ main crop potatoes but there isn’t really anything else to do with them until April.

As per normal, I am the most romantic wife around and I have the potatoes ‘chitting’ in our bedroom, as it is the coolest room of the house.  It’s a good job Mr Thrift is a tolerant man:

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This week at the allotment I removed the environmesh over my overwintering onions and weeded.  A couple of years ago I lost most of my overwintering onions to the ‘allium leaf miner’ (you can read about it here).  When I harvested my onions last year, they were great after I covered them with the enviromesh, so I did the same thing again when I planted this crop.

After weeding I replaced the cover again.

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I also forked my green manure into a couple of beds.  I sowed ‘Phacelia’ in the beds in late summer and then chopped it down just before it flowered, but I find it never seems to die completely and keeps growing.  So now, I cover it with weed suppressant for a few months to make sure it dies back and then I fork it in.

I then covered the two beds with plastic to warm the soil ready for my onions in February or March:

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I also spread some manure around my rhubarb plants.  I have placed a bin over one of my plants to ‘force’ the rhubarb.  This way I will have lovely pink tender rhubarb a couple of weeks earlier than my other plants.

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  I inherited the rhubarb when I took on my plot number two, so unfortunately I don’t know what variety it is.  What I do know is it is a very early variety and it’s actually starting to grow already:

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Back at home I have started my seed sowing.  I used toilet rolls filled with compost to sow my broad beans in.  I sowed an overwintering variety called ‘Aquadulce’.  I will leave them in my greenhouse until they germinate.  You can plant these broad beans directly into the ground at the end of October but I find that mine always seem to get eaten by mice, so by planting them at home it ensures success.

I also sowed my leek seeds and I planted some garlic.  I am a bit late planting my garlic but it should still be ok:

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I am still harvesting things from my allotment and this week we have had some cabbages, carrots and a swede.

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One of the cabbages was huge and I have loads left in my fridge:

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One bit of bad news this week is we finished the last of my butternut squashes (which were also stored in my romantic bedroom with my pumpkins).  I made a butternut squash soup and it was lovely and thick.

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Finally, I picked my last red cabbage from my allotment and I decided to make some pickled red cabbage.  If you have never pickled red cabbage before, it is really easy to do:

All you do is wash the cabbage, shred it and then cover it with salt:

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Cover it and leave it overnight:

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Rince the salt off the cabbage and then put the cabbage into a sterilised jar and cover with pickling vinegar.

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Leave for a month before eating.

Enjoy!

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back again on Monday at my usual time.

What Do You Do With Hundreds Of Courgettes?

I always look forward to the first courgette of the year as it means summer really is here.  I get excited watching it grow, waiting for the day I can pick it:

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When I do pick it, I nearly always use it in a lovely courgette, onion and cheese omelette and we always comment on how lovely it is to have the courgettes at last, as it seems such a long time since we last picked them the year before.

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The first couple of weeks are like a ‘courgette honeymoon’, as it’s so lovely to use them in our summer meals.

Every day I check for more courgettes on my plants and the plants keep producing them.  They just keep coming…

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…and coming…

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…and coming…

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…and coming!

In fact by mid-summer they seem to be laughing at me and ‘popping out’ overnight from where they have been hiding and every basket of goodies havested at the allotment has a least a couple of courgettes in:

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So what on earth can you do with all the courgettes that you pick?

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I have read quite a few articles in books and magazines on this subject, but half the recipes I’ve read are not really realistic for everyday meals, or are really time consuming recipes (and I haven’t got too much time to cook the courgettes as I’m too busy picking them).

So I thought I would talk about what I do with the millions of courgettes that I grow:-

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I use courgettes in everyday meals like pasta bolognaise, curries and chilli’s…

Pasta Bolognaise

Pasta Bolognaise

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I also use them in pies like my Chicken, Courgette and Broccoli Pie.  You can find the recipe here.

Chicken, Courgette and Broccoli Pie

Chicken, Courgette and Broccoli Pie

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Courgette Frittata’s are nice too.  The recipe is here.

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Courgette Frittata

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I also add them in the Pasta / Pizza Sauce recipe I make.  After it is cooked I whizz the sauce up with my stick blender and no one ever knows and then I use my sauce as normal.  You can find my pasta / pizza sauce recipe here.

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Courgette chutney is one of my favourite chutneys.  I use this recipe, but replace the scallopini’s (patty pans) with courgettes.  It keeps for ages and is lovely served with cold meats and on sandwiches.

Courgette Chutney

Courgette Chutney

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I also use courgettes to make savoury scones.  Cheese and courgette scones are absolutely delicious and can be frozen ready to pop into lunch boxes in the morning, before work and school.  The recipe for cheese and courgette scones is here.

Cheese and Courgette Scones

Cheese and Courgette Scones

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One of the favourite things I make with courgettes is a Chocolate Courgette Tray Bake Cake.  No one ever knows the cake has courgettes in and this way the kids get a few extra vitamins, without realising it.  The recipe is here.

Chocolate Courgette Tray Bake Cake

Chocolate Courgette Tray Bake Cake

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One other thing I do with my courgettes is to freeze them.  I have a bag of sliced courgettes and diced courgettes which I open freeze on trays before bagging up, so they don’t stick together.  I never blanch my courgettes first and they always seem to be ok for use over the winter.

I also bag up grated courgettes in the exact quantities ready to make the courgette cheese scones.  This way I can just take a bag out of the freezer the night before, to defrost ready to make the scones.

Courgettes sliced and diced ready for freezing

Courgettes sliced and diced ready for freezing

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Finally, I use the courgettes in different soups.  A particularly nice soup is a Courgette, Potato and Cheese soup.  The recipe is below:

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Courgette, Potato And Cheese Soup

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500g potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 pint of vegetable stock

1 kg of courgettes, washed and chopped into small pieces

1 bunch of spring onions, washed and sliced small

100g grated cheese

Salt and pepper

Ground nutmeg to serve.

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Put the potatoes into a large pan, cover with the vegetable stock and bring it to the boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the courgettes and simmer for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Put a few spring onions aside to garnish the soup when you serve it.  Put the remaining spring onions in the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

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Add the cheese, stirring it until it has melted.

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Take the pan off the heat and use a stick blender or liquidiser to smooth the soup.

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Return the pan to the heat and bring back to the boil, adding salt and pepper as required.

Serve the soup with a sprinkling of ground nutmeg and garnish with the remaining spring onions.

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I hope you enjoyed my blog today.  If you do anything different with your courgettes, it would be lovely to hear from you, so please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

I’ll be back on Friday at 4pm.

Have a good week.

Preparing Onion Beds, Brussels And A Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

The weather has been strange this week.  We woke up to a layer of snow on Monday morning and have had snow showers on and off all week.  It has been so cold.

On Tuesday it was -2C outside, which is way below average temperatures for March and the weatherman reported that this time last year, the temperature recorded was 18C!

Never the less, I have managed to get a few jobs done at the allotment.

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This week, I managed to pick the last of my Brussels.  I cleared the bed and forked it over.

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I was very pleased with my Brussels this year, as I only had one plant out of ten, that had ‘blown’ sprouts on.

 ‘Blown’ sprouts are just sprouts that have opened, they don’t look as nice, but they can still be eaten.  I was always led to believe that this happens if your soil isn’t firm enough.  However, for the last couple of years I have dug the soil in autumn, danced and jumped on the soil around my plants and still they have ‘blown’.

Last year I decided to buy an F1 variety that apparently were less prone to ‘blowing’ and I’m very pleased to say, it worked.

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This week, I also managed to edge the other side of my summer raspberries with ‘lawn edging’ from Wilkinson’s.  It looks neater now and I’m hoping it will stop the fox from pushing the soil onto the path next to it.

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Another job I managed to do, was rake some blood, fish and bone into the soil, ready to plant my shallots and onions sets, in a couple of weeks.

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 Afterwards I re-covered the soil with plastic to keep the soil warm.

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My shallots are still sitting in pots in my cold greenhouse at the moment.

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Finally, this week I noticed my spring broccoli is beginning to sprout.  My youngest daughter will be pleased as she loves it.

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Mother’s Day

On Mother’s day last Sunday, I decided to have my favourite meal, instead of our usual ‘Sunday roast’.  I chose to have a homemade pizza, jacket potatoes, salad and homemade coleslaw.  You can see how I make homemade pizza here.

My Olympic Pizza

My Olympic Pizza

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I thought I’d share with you, how I make the coleslaw, as it’s very easy to make and tastes lovely and creamy:

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Homemade Coleslaw

½ white cabbage shredded finely

2 carrots grated

1 onion grated

150ml mayonnaise

2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

Juice of ¼ of a lemon

1 teaspoon caster sugar

Black pepper to taste.

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Mix the cabbage, carrots and onions together in a bowl.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.

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Enjoy your lovely homemade coleslaw!

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I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.

I’ll be back again on Monday.