Tag Archive | Making leaf mould

Leaf Mould & A Week Of Main Meals For Under £10

This week at the allotment, I have been concentrating on my ‘autumn clear up’.  There were loads of fallen leaves from my fruit trees, so I raked them into piles and put them into my black dalek compost bin, where I keep all my leaves together.

The leaves will make a wonderful leaf mould in a year or two, which will be added to my allotment beds.  It doesn’t add any nutrients to the soil, but it is a brilliant soil conditioner.  You can read about how I make leaf mould here.

I also chopped down my Jerusalem artichokes.  I prune these when the foliage starts to turn yellow in the autumn.  As I live in the midlands, I leave them as they are after I have cut them down, but if you live in colder areas you can put a layer of straw over them so it’s easier to dig them up when the ground is frozen.

I have also planted a Rambling Rose called Rosa ‘wedding day’.  I have planted it at the base of the large plum tree in the woodland area, in the hope it will ‘ramble’ through the branches and look beautiful.  I chose this rose as I thought it looked so beautiful in the pictures on ‘Gardeners World’, when Monty Don was also planting one.  I used some of my birthday money to buy the rose, as I thought this would be a lovely way to have something that will give me many years of enjoyment.

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Today I picked some Cape Gooseburys:

My daughters love to eat these and there are still loads of them to ripen in my polytunnel (provided it doesn’t get too cold in there).  The plants are really big now.  You can see them in the picture below.  The plant I grew outside of the polytunnel didn’t do well at all and there are no Cape Gooseburys in sight.

I saved the seeds of one of the Cape Gooseburys, so I can grow them again next year.  I put the seeds on a piece of paper towel, leave them to dry and sow them again next year, with the paper towel still attached to the seeds.  It works everytime.

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Today I picked an enormous swede.  I’m not sure how I missed it before.  I also picked a cabbage that had quite a few slug holes but it was lovely inside.

The swede was enough for three pans full, so we had one pan for tea and the other two I will freeze.

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On Sunday I took my daughters shopping to buy gifts for this years ‘Shoe Box Appeal’.  We wrapped the boxes and lids separately (as advised by the website) and put all the presents into it.  My girls really enjoyed doing this.

We donated £2.50 towards the shipping expenses and then took the boxes to ‘Shoe Zone’, which is one of the designated drop off points.

I just hope that two children love our boxes.  It made us all realise how lucky we all are.  If you would like to donate a ‘shoebox’ too, all the details of ‘Samaritans Purse Uk’ can be found here.

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A Week Of Main Meals For Under £10.00

This week I thought I would set myself a challenge of cooking seven main meals for my family, for under £10.00. If I can do this, it will show people that we can and do actually live well on less’. So watch this space Jamie Oliver!

To keep the costs down, I will be using my home grown vegetables and in the style of ‘Ready Steady Cook’, I will have free use of store cupboard items, which can be found on Mondays post.

The total I have spent so far is:

 Sunday = £ 3.33

Monday = £ 0.87

So my total spent so far is £ 4.20

Tonight I made a chicken and roasted butternut squash pie and served this with vegetables from my allotment (cabbage. swede, peas and potatoes).

I made some pastry and a white sauce with the store cupboard items I have.  You can find how to make a white sauce here (just omit the parsley from the recipe).  I mixed the white sauce with the last of the leftover chicken and roasted butternut squash and then I covered it with the pastry and glazed the pastry with milk.

Tonight’s main meal cost me £0.00 to make.

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Yesterday I made naan bread and promised to tell you how I made them:

Homemade Naan Bread

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Naan Bread Recipe

1 teaspoon of fast action dried yeast

1 teaspoon demerara sugar

200 grams plain flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground corianda

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons of milk

1 tablespoon warm water

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Mix the yeast with the warm water in a cup.  Stir in the demerara sugar and leave the cup in a warm place for 5 minutes, until the yeast is frothy.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, ground coriander and baking powder together.

Stir in the olive oil, natural yoghurt, milk and the frothy yeast mix.

Knead the mixture for 5 minutes and then leave the dough in a warm place for 15 minutes, with a damp tea towel over your bowl so it doesn’t dry out.

Preheat your oven Gas Mark 1 / 140C / 275F

Split the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll into oval shapes on a lightly floured board.

Transfer the naans to a greased baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes, turning once, until they are lightly golden.

 

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

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Dairy & Egg Free Jam Tarts and Leaf Mould

Today I collected the leaves from around my fruit trees and spread them over my new woodland area.

After this, I moved a whole pile of leaves from a house next to my allotment site, as the lady wanted to get rid of them and kindly offered them to me.  I also scattered these in my woodland area.

My new woodland area

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Later, I emptied two of my black dalek bins, that I keep my leaf mould in.  I find it rots down quicker in these types of bins rather than storing the leaves in a chicken wire cage and it keeps the leaves moist.

I mix my leaves three or four times during the year to help them to rot down.

Over the last year I have tried something new.  I read that if you mix your grass cuttings into the leaves, then they rot down quicker.  Below is the leaf mould I didn’t add grass cutting to:

And the next photograph is the leaf mould I did add grass cuttings to:

You can clearly see that it has sped things up, so I will do this again next year.

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I spent time spreading the leaf mould over two of the beds where my onions and roots will be planted in the spring.  I won’t fork it in for a few weeks though, as I noticed there are a lot of tiny grass seeds that have blown over to my plot and have germinated.  The leaf mould will kill these.

Leaf mould won’t add any nutrients to your soil, but it is a brilliant soil conditioner.  I can certainly tell where the leaf mould has been added a few months later.

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I found another shark fin melon today, that I had somehow managed to miss when I picked the others.  I must work out what I want to do with them.

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I had another look at the patch where I sowed grass seed just over three weeks ago.

Before I sowed the grass seed

I am so pleased as this is how it looks now:

How it looks today

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I also noticed my nasturtiums are still flowering lovely too.  These particular ones were self-seeded.

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This is the last day I’ll be writing about dairy and egg free treats, for the moment.

Today I decided to make Jam Tarts.

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Just as a reminder, I thought I’d show you again, the dairy and egg free jam tart that I bought from Tesco’s ‘Free from’ range:

We did feel they were a bit ‘stingy’ with the jam.

Below is a jam tart I made using the easy recipe below.  I know which one my daughter would choose out of the two:

My homemade dairy and egg free jam tart.

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Dairy Free Jam Tarts

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225 grams plain flour

100 grams of dairy free margarine

A little cold water to mix (approx. 2 tablespoons)

25 grams of caster sugar

An assortment of your favourite jams

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Preheat your oven Gas Mark 6 / 200 C / 400 F

Put the flour and sugar into a bowl and rub into the margarine, until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Add the cold water, a little bit at a time, mixing with a round bladed knife until it begins to come together.  Use your fingers to bring all the mix together and knead lightly.

At this stage it is best to put your pastry in a small plastic bag and leave in the fridge for an hour, as pastry rolls out better when it’s cold.

Roll the pastry out onto a floured board.

Use a cutter to cut out ‘rounds’ and put them in cake cases.

Put a teaspoon of your favourite jam in each case

 (Do not over fill with jam, If you like lots of jam, add it when they have finished cooking).

Bake for 15 minutes.

Leave to cool for a while before taking them out of the tin.

Homemade dairy and egg free jam tarts

Please let me know if you have enjoyed my egg free / dairy free ‘goodies’ week, by leaving a comment.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.