Tag Archive | Poached egg plants

Winter Vegetables And A Parsnip Cake

This weekend at my allotment I noticed that the snow drops I planted last year have begun to flower.  Where on earth is time going to?…I can’t believe it will be February on Saturday.

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I planted the snowdrops last year after my good friend passed away.  The day she died I noticed that snowdrops were in flower and they looked beautiful, so I decided to plant some in my ‘woodland area’ at my allotment.  This way I will remember her each time I see them in flower.  I will plant some more this year too, as eventually I want to see a mass of snowdrops in this area.

I still miss my old friend very much.

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I also noticed that I have some primroses in my woodland area that are in flower too.

There are also one or two early flowers on the poached egg plants and in the photograph below, you can just see a daffodil bulb poking through too:

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These are all reminders that Spring will soon be on it’s way, (though we do still have some cold winter weather to get through first).

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This weekend I brought some vegetables home from the allotment for dinner.  I have decided that I am very pleased with my winter vegetables this year:

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I put a twelve inch ruler next to the parsnips so you could see the size of them.  I tried various methods of growing parsnips with limited success, until I started to grow them in kitchen roll tubes.  This gives me an almost perfect germination rate and also nearly always gives me straight parsnips that don’t fork.

You can read how I grow my parsnips here.

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I have had a problem in the past with my brussell sprouts ‘blowing’.  I always thought that this was due to the soil not being firm enough around the plants, but I knew my soil was firm as I dug manure into it the autumn before and stomped around on it before I planted into it.

I then read that F1 varieties were less likely to ‘blow’ and I planted these last year….and I’m pleased to say I am very happy with the result.  The photo below shows a variety call ‘Igor‘, which I will definately be growing again this year:

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I am still picking carrots at my allotment.  I grow my carrots in a raised bed each year and then move the raised bed completely, to a different part of my allotment.  I fill the bed with homemade compost, leaf mould and a bag of sharp sand mixed together and this gives me good results.  After sowing I cover the bed with environmesh to keep the carrot fly out:

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You can read about carrot fly here.

I picked a monster carrot at the weekend, it weighed just over half a kilogram.  It was almost a meal on it’s own!

I put a teaspoon in the photograph to demonstrate the size of the carrot:

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The swedes are still good at my allotment too.  I love swede mashed with a little bit of butter and pepper, though I had never tried it until my husband introduced it to me a few years ago.  I think it is one of my favourite vegetables now.

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And I’m still using homegrown onions and potatoes from my storage boxes outside:

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All in all, I feel like we are living like kings on the winter vegetables that I have grown.  I’m sure they would have cost us a fortune in the shops to buy and it’s nice to know they are all grown organically, without any chemicals.

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I finished the above Sunday lunch with ‘Parsnip Cake’.  Parsnip cakes are very, very moist and taste very much like carrot cake.  This is how I made it:

Parsnip Cake

175g margarine

250g soft brown sugar

100ml honey

3 eggs (beaten)

250g self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

250g parsnips grated finely

1 apple grated

1 orange – use the juice and zest

130g cream cheese

100g icing sugar + extra to sprinkle on top

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Preheat your oven 180C / gas 4 / 350F

Grease and flour two 8 inch sandwich tins

Put the margarine, honey and sugar in a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has all dissolved.

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Allow to cool for a while.

Add the eggs to the pan and stir thoroughly.

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Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into the sugar and egg mixture and stir.

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Then stir in the apple, parsnip, orange juice and zest.

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Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cakes.

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Leave the cakes to cool.

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Make the icing by mixing the cream cheese with the icing sugar and then spreading it over the bottom layer of the cake.  Put the top layer of the cake on top and dust with icing sugar.

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Enjoy!

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Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back on Friday.

I hope you have a good week.

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My Allotment Today and A Diwali Meal

Today at the allotment I weeded around my spring cabbages.

Unfortunately the slugs have been eating the cabbages, so I had to put some more organic slug pellets around them.

I also cleared away all the dead rhubarb leaves and weeded around the plants.

I walked around my plot and noticed my poach egg plants are flowering again.  They look beautiful.

My chrysanthemums are flowering well too, considering it is their first year.  They were given to me last year, by my good allotment friend, Tina.

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Diwali – A Hindu Festival of Light and a Diwali Meal

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In Leicester, where I live, there is one of the biggest Diwali Celebrations outside of India.  Just over a week ago, on the 4th November, approximately 35,000 people attended the ‘switching on’ of the lights that decorate the road along the ‘Golden Mile’ in Leicester.  The Golden Mile is so called because it is lined with the largest selection of Indian jewellery shops outside of India.

For one night a year, the road is closed and they have a firework display and live cultural entertainment on a stage, as the ‘festival of light’ marks the start of the Hindu New Year.

Diwali is actually a five day festival.  It honors the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness.  It also marks the start of winter.

Diwali means “festival of lights,” and people light rows of lights.  The exchange of gifts is also traditional during this holiday, and many people host dinners and parties.

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We are not of ‘Hindu’ religion in our house, but we do enjoy Indian food.  So to join in the celebrations, we had a ‘Diwali’ meal on Sunday.  We lit lots of candles and enjoyed some lovely Indian food:

We had poppadum’s with mango chutney and a yoghurt and mint dip and onion bhaji’s and vegetable samosas.  The yoghurt and mint dip is so easy to make, as you just mix in a couple of teaspoons of dried mint into your natural yoghurt and leave it in your fridge for a few hours before you need it.

I cooked two different curries.  You can find one recipe here and the other recipe is a ‘Chicken and Vegetable korma’ which you can find lower down today’s blog.

I served the curries with rice and homemade naans.  You can find the recipe for naan bread here.

All in all it was a lovely meal, which we all enjoyed.

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Chicken and Vegetable Korma Recipe:

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

200 grams natural yoghurt

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

4 teaspoons turmeric

2 heaped teaspoons of garam masala

1 teaspoon chilli powder

Leftover cooked chicken

Leftover cooked vegetables

 

Preheat the oven Gas 6 / 400F / 200C

Fry the onions in the olive oil until they are soft.

Put the onion, garlic, yoghurt and spices into a bowl and blend with a stick blender until smooth, (or use a liquidiser).  It should be a creamy consistency, add a little water to thin if necessary.

Put the cooked chicken and leftover cooked vegetables into the sauce mix and completely coat them with the sauce.

Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish and cook for approximately 45 minutes, until it is piping hot.

Serve with rice, yoghurt and naan bread.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.