Tag Archive | Shark Fin Melon

Allotment Paths and Using Up Leftovers

This week I finished the paths around my dad’s bit of my allotment.

I managed to get bags of woodchip from our local council for £1.00 per bag.  The paths took ten bags of woodchip, so it cost me just £10.00 to do.  I know it would have cost an awful lot more if I had gone to a garden centre to buy the woodchip.

I am very pleased with the result and I think my dad will be happy too.

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I spent the morning clearing away my old peas.  I saved the seeds from the tall growing variety I had grown.  The seeds are an old variety called ‘Peashooter’ and they are expensive to buy.

I will put the seeds in an envelope and store them in a cool dark place, until I plant them next year.

Afterwards I dug manure into two of my beds ready for next year.  The manure is two years old now and it really is well rotted and great to dig in.

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Today I took a walk around my allotment.  I was very pleased as I thought the allotment was looking particularly beautiful in the afternoon sunshine.

The Michaelmus Daisys were still looking stunning and they were teeming with bees and butterflies, it was wonderful to watch.

The sun flowers were looking great too.

The birds will soon be enjoying these seeds.

The Crocosmia that my youngest daughter planted earlier in the year, is also flowering now:

The dahlia’s that I grew from seed are still flowering well too:

A nasturtium that self seeded over the summer is now trailing over my compost heap and it is flowering nicely.

I like adding the leaves to salads as they taste peppery and it’s just something a bit different in a salad.

The green manure I planted last month, is growing well too.  It is phacelia.  I will cut it back before it flowers and dig it into the soil.

You can read about green manures here.

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I also noticed my shark fin melons are just about ready to pick.

You can read about my shark fin melon plant here and here.  I am looking forward to making soup with them.

I put my keys next to the other shark fin melon so you would be able to gauge the size of it from the picture:

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Using Leftovers

I try to use all our leftover meat and vegetables.  I really hate throwing good food away, it doesn’t make sense to do this.

Using your leftovers also saves money.

Previously I wrote about my ‘Use it up’ Vegetable Curry Recipe.  You can find it here.

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Remember the beef I bought on Sunday that was reduced from £14.14 to £3.54…  You can read about it here.  I made a lovely roast dinner for us all, but there was some roast beef left over.

The next day, I made a beef and vegetable pie with the leftovers.

It is a very easy pie to make:

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All I did was to reheat the beef and leftover vegetables in the microwave until piping hot.

I mixed them with a white sauce and covered it all with a layer of pastry.

I brushed the pie with a little milk and then cooked it in the oven for 20 minutes,

gas mark 6 / 400F / 204C.

I served it with homegrown vegetables.

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The beef and vegetables were all leftover from the day before, so again this was a very cheap family meal.

I know a lot of people reading my blog will know how to make a white sauce and pastry.  For those that don’t, I will show you how I make these things next week on my blog.

 If just one person learns how to feed their family more cheaply after reading my blog, then I will have achieved my aim.

 

Thank you for reading my blog today.

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Parsley Sauce And Taming A Monster

Today at my allotment, I tamed my monster!….My Shark Fin Melon is now so big, it had sprawled all over the netting that covers my purple sprouting broccolli and it had actually broke the cane holding the netting up, as it was too heavy.

I moved it and chopped some of the leaves off.  It actually climbs over an arch I have too, but I didn’t quite realise how big it grows and the arch has been unearthed on one side!

You can read about the shark fin melon on my blog here.

Also at the allotment today I covered my compost heap, as it was full and I now have the new compost bins that I made last week. This is the compost bin that I filled with all my perennial weeds.

I have weighed the weed suppressant down with bricks and to make sure it doesn’t come off in the wind, I have put my two trusty old wheelbarrows on top.

I just need to wait four or five years for the wonderful compost it will make.

I finally found some cucumbers ready for picking today.  I really thought I wouldn’t get any this year, so I am very pleased.  I have put some glass around them as it’s turning cold at night now, in the hope I may get some more.

I finished by finally putting away the plastic bottles that I used back in May.  The half bottles gave my small plants a bit of protection from the cold and slugs.  The act like mini-cloches.

You can see in the picture below how I store them on top of each other on canes.  In the spring I will wash them and use them again.

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Following on from my post on Friday regarding child poverty, (which you can read here), I have another cheap and easy family recipe.

I think a lot of people will know how to make this meal anyway, so apologies to you, but if I can help just one person who doesn’t usually cook, to feed their family more cheaply, then I will have achieved my aim.

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Today I am writing about Fish in Parsley Sauce.

I buy skinless, boneless frozen fish fillets for convenience and I cook them separately in a foil parcel with a few splashes of lemon juice, for 25 minutes, Gas Mark 4 / 350F / 176C.

I find this way the fish keeps lovely and moist during cooking.

While the fish is cooking I make the Parsley Sauce:

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Parsley Sauce

50 grams margarine

50 grams of plain flour

600 ml milk

2 heaped tablespoons of fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley

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Melt the margarine in a milk pan.

Take the melted margarine off the heat and add the flour.  Mix in until no flour is visable.

Add a little bit of milk and beat it in, until it is totally combined.

 Keep doing this until all the milk is mixed in.  There should be no lumps.

Bring the sauce to the boil, stirring all the time.

When it has boiled mix in the parsley and simmer for two minutes.

Pour over your cooked fish.

I have worked out that the Fish in Parsley Sauce that I made today cost me less than £2.00 for a family of four.  I managed to find a readymeal of Fish in Parsley Sauce and it costs £3.99 .  I would put money on it, that it doesn’t taste as nice.

I served mine with homegrown vegetables.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

Shark Fin Melon and Toad In The Hole

The cabbage I picked today

I was very pleased with a cabbage that I picked today.  It has taken a long time to grow.  In May I had nearly given up with most of my cabbages, as the flea beetle had virtually distroyed them.

This week I have been concentrating on an overgrown patch on my allotment plot number two, which is next to my ‘leaf mould’ area.

It was overgrown with brambles and weeds and I had already cut it back in the spring, with the intention of sorting it out a few weeks later.  This unfortunately never happened and this was the result.

That will teach me to do half a job!

After a morning of working hard, I managed to clear the brambles and weeds and I put a covering of weed suppressant, to stop them from growing back.

I was very pleased with the result.  The plan for this area is that eventually it will have another poly-tunnel on it, that’s when we finally manage to save up for one.

I re-used the weed suppressant that I already had around my large plum tree, on my fourth allotment plot.  It was used to kill all the couch grass around the tree by leaving it in place, since the spring.  It has done it’s job brilliantly.

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This year I have been growing one or two unusual things.  One of the things is a ‘Shark Fin Melon’.

The ‘Garden Organic Team’ from Ryton visited Eco house in May and told us about some exotic plants to try and grow and even gave us some free seeds.

I planted the Shark Fin Melon seed in May, underneath a half cut plastic bottle and hoped for the best.  Though I have had loads of foliage growing (it’s quite a monster), I have only just found the fruit growing on it, probably due to the rotten summer we have had.  However, if I keep my fingers crossed, we may have a good autumn, (or am I wishing too much there) and it may still have time to grow.

There are details about the Shark Fin Melon here.

Shark Fin Melon

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Following on from my post on Friday regarding child poverty, (which you can read here), I have decided to post some more cheap and easy family recipes.

I think a lot of people will make these simple meals anyway, so I apologise to you, but if I help just one person who doesn’t cook, to feed their family more cheaply, then I will have achieved my aim.

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Toad in the Hole

(to feed a family of four, with good sized portions)

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100 Grams Plain Flour

2 Eggs

300ml Of Milk

8 Sausages

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

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Preheat your oven Gas Mark 7 / 220C / 425F

Grill the sausages until nearly cooked.

While the sausages are cooking, pour the oil into a large shallow tin and put in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so the oil is piping hot (this is the secret to a good Yorkshire pudding)

Put the milk, flour and eggs into a bowl and whisk with a hand blender until thoroughly mixed together.

When the sausages are nearly cooked, put into the hot oil and immediately pour the batter over them.

Cook for approximately 25 -30 minutes.

Toad In The Hole

I’ve worked out that the Toad in the Hole cost me just £1.16 to make.  So it’s another very cheap meal for a family of four.

Tonight I served it with home-grown vegetables and gravy, but it is equally nice with mashed potatoes and a tin of baked beans.

Today’s Harvest

Thank you for reading my blog today.