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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday I made naan bread and promised to tell you how I made them:
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
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.
Thank you for reading my blog today.