Tag Archive | Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine recipe

Brandied Peaches & A Plum Cake Recipe

I wanted to start today by saying a big thank you to all the lovely people that leave comments on my blog.  Your comments have given me the confidence to continue writing my blog after I gave my four allotments up…..I was absolutely convinced at the beginning of the year that no one would want to read my blog when I started to just grow vegetables in my garden.

SAM_1531

I have always been conscious that my blog doesn’t really fit in with other catergories of blogs, for example it’s not just a vegetable gardening blog, or just a cooking blog, etc. as I cover lots of things that I do in my normal day to day life.

We live in a three bedroom semi-detached house, in a town near a main road…..I would love a small holding in the country, but in reality this will never happen.  So my blog is about making the best of what we have and through your comments I have realised that there are few blogs that do this and I am so glad you can relate to this.

Thank you for your continued support.

SAM_1758

.

This week in my garden I have been picking lots of tomatoes from my outdoor plants and I have got to say that my harvest is so much better on these plants than from the plants in my greenhouse:

SAM_1713 SAM_1715

However, I have found a problem with one of my plants that I have in a pot.  Unfortunately I have found a couple of tomatoes that have ‘blossom end rot’:

SAM_1714

.

‘Blossom end rot’ is caused by a calcium deficiency and it usually seen when plants are grown in pots and growbags.  There is usually enough calcium in the soil, but unfortunately if there isn’t a good flow of water to the plant then it is unable to access it, also if fertilisers are added to dry soil then this can also restrict the uptake of calcium by the plant.

.

My watering system that I use most days (on a timer attached to my hose on our water tap), hasn’t really been working very well this year.  I have found that some plants are getting too much water and some are not getting enough, so I need to be more careful about this.

I can’t save the tomatoes that are already suffering from blossom end rot, but I can pay more attention to my watering so I can correct the problem.

SAM_1394

.

My cherry tomatoes have now started producing tomatoes too and I am picking a few each day.  They are lovely and sweet and usually get eaten by my daughters in seconds….but that is fine by me:

SAM_1710 SAM_1709

This week I have managed to make some passatta with the spare tomatoes and I have frozen this to use another time.  I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to grow enough vegetables in my small garden to be to have some left over for freezing…..I have been pleasantly surprised.

SAM_1719

.

I am harvesting a lot of perpetual spinach from my garden now too (which Mr Thrift absolutely loves) and this week I made one of his favourite meals with it…..Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine:

SAM_1637 SAM_1761 SAM_1763

.

I was also given some more produce this week…..some apples from my husband’s aunt and some courgettes, beetroot, and plums from my eldest sister.  I am very grateful for these, so if you are reading this…thank you so much!

SAM_1734 SAM_1735

.

.

I made some courgette chutney with the courgettes my sister gave me:

SAM_1767

And I made two ‘plum cakes’ with some of the plums (one to eat and one to freeze):

.

A Plum Cake Recipe:

.

150g caster sugar

115g margarine or butter

140g self raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 eggs

Approx. 10 plums, pitted and halved

Icing sugar for sprinkling on the top

.

Preheat your oven to 180C/ gas 4 / 350F and grease and line a cake tin:

SAM_1749 - Copy

Beat the caster sugar and margaine until fluffy:

SAM_1743 - Copy

Sieve the flour and baking powder into the butter / caster sugar and mix until combined:

SAM_1744 - Copy SAM_1745 - Copy

Add the eggs and mix:

SAM_1746 - Copy SAM_1748 - Copy

Pour the mixture into your cake tin and then top with the plums.

Put the cake in the oven for 35-40 minutes:

SAM_1751 - Copy

Check your cake is cooked by inserting a skewer and if it comes out clean it is cooked.

SAM_1753

When it is cool, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with ice cream, custard, cream or some nice homemade natural yoghurt as I do:

SAM_1756 SAM_1766

Enjoy!!!

……………..

This week I started to think about Christmas and decided to make some brandied peaches for one of my Christmas hampers.  They take three months to mature, so it’s a good thing to do now whilst peaches are fairly cheap.  I found peeling them a bit fiddly, but I think they are worth it:

.

Brandied Peaches:

.

6 normal sized peaches

100 grams of caster sugar

Enough brandy to cover the peaches (approx. 600 ml)

1 litre sealable jar

.

Start by slicing a small cross in the bottom of each peach and placing them in a bowl of boiling hot water for approx. 3 to 4 minutes:

SAM_1723 SAM_1724

Take the peaches out of the water and place them immeadiately in a bowl of ice cold water for a couple of minutes and then start to peel the skin back.  I found it difficult to remove the skin on some of the peaches so I used a peeler on the more difficult ones:

SAM_1725 SAM_1726

Cut the peaches in quarters and then slice each quarter in half again.  I discarded the stones and cut off any hard bits on the peach slices where the stones had been attached:

SAM_1727 SAM_1728

I sterilised my jar (gas 4 / 180C / 350F for five minutes) and when it had cooled down I arranged the peach slices in the jar in layers, alternating with layers of caster sugar:

SAM_1729

I then poured the brandy into the jar making sure the peaches were covered.  I sealed the jar and gave it a gentle shake:

SAM_1731 SAM_1732

I placed the jar in a cool, dark place and from now on I will shake it gently every week until it is ready in three months time.

SAM_1733

.

I think that is enough for this week, so thank you for reading my blog today.

  I will be back as usual next Friday.

Have a lovely week!

Advertisements

“If Granny wouldn’t recognise it, don’t use it”

This week I’ve decided to write about  ‘cleaning the old fashion way’.  I am not an ‘Eco warrior’ that ties myself to trees and I’m not saying I don’t ever use harsh chemicals, but I do try and minimize their use as much as possible now.

I simply feel that the old fashioned cleaning methods are just as good and often cheaper that our modern chemical cleaners.

Over the years we have all become more and more reliant on harsh chemicals and powerful cleaning products, in the hope that we can reduce cleaning time and eliminate all germs and bacteria.

I am very guilty of this as I used to proudly call myself the ‘Dettox Queen’, which I now feel very sad about, but we live and learn.

Some products contain chemicals that are toxic if ingested and when these products are used they are also released into the air of our homes and then inhaled or absorbed through our skin.

My opinion is, that this has somehow led to the increase of allergies and intolerances that children and adults now suffer with.  When I was a child most of these allergies were very rare or unheard of.  I also think that by excessively using ‘anti-bacterial’ products, we are also decreasing our resistance to bacteria and reducing our immune systems in ourselves and our children.

I remember there was a discussion on the television not so long ago, about chemicals found in breast milk.  Below is an interesting link regarding this:

www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/chems.asp

Something else that I should also mention is that chemicals can threaten the environment, animal and plant life, when they are leaked out through our drains and into the watercourses below, so I think this is a good enough reason alone for me to reduce my usage of them.

.

So this is what I use:

Old Fashioned Cleaning Products

.

Lemon juice – this is a mild acid which has a bleaching and deodorising effect.  It also dissolves grease.  It is an antibacterial and antifungal cleaner.

White vinegar – it’s cheap and harmless to use and is a good multi-purpose cleaner.  It is especially good as a glass and mirror cleaner and removes limescale easily.

Bicarbarnate of soda (also known as Sodium bicarbonate and bicarb, and baking soda) – this can be mixed with lemon juice, vinegar or just water to produce a gentle abrasive paste that is a great stain remover and a multi-purpose cleaner.  It’s good for cleaning tea and coffee stains on cups and cleaning stainless steel items.  It is best known for how good it is at deodorising smells as it absorbs odours and neautralises them, so it is good to use in the fridge, in shoes and to remove odours from carpets.

Lavender Essential Oil – I use this on some pot pourri near my toilet instead of an airfreshner.

Tea tree Essential Oil – This has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, so I add a few drops to my vinegar spray in my kitchen.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil – This oil is great for removing grease and oil, for example, around cookers.

I must stress it is always best to test these products on small hidden areas when you first use them.

.

During the rest of the week I will be writing about the different ways that I actually use the above things to clean my home.

I hope someone will find this information useful.

.

.

Tonight for tea we had ‘Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine’ served with home grown new potatoes and a freshly picked salad.

The recipe is here:

.

Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine:

500g Spinach, washed and any thick stems removed

4 Eggs

A little bit of olive oil or a knob of butter to fry

1/2 pint of a plain white sauce

Grated Cheese to sprinkle over the top

.

Fry the spinach in a little olive oil or with a knob of butter, until just tender

Make the white sauce

Arrange the spinach in an oven proof dish with four wells in for eagg each.

Break an egg into each well and pour over the white sauce.

Sprinkle cheese on the top

Bake for 12 minutes on Gas 5 / 190C / 375F and then increase heat for 10 minutes to Gas 6 / 204C / 400F

.

Spinach and Egg Florentine

 .

Finally, just before I finish for the evening, I would like to mention a little shop that I have discovered in Leicester today, thanks to a good friend.  The shop is called “Rosy’s” and she sells products that are Gluten free, wheat free and Dairy free.  Obviously this is a big help to me as my youngest daughter is lactose intolerant.  I think it’s important to support specialist shops like this as they are so few and far between and yet as I have already mentioned above, there are so many people that suffer from allergies and intolerances today.

This is a link to her face book page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/RosysGlutenFreeWheatFreeDairyFreeStore

.

Thank you for reading my post today.