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Meet Abby

Young-ish lady, late 30’s, not stylish and slightly down at heel, WLTM madly ambitious green living-types for travel and adventures….

Abby 1
Check out those curtains…

 

This is Abby. She will be our tea base and home-away-from-home for the indefinite future. She is very…cosy 😉

Pictures from the inside as and when. Thanks to Deirdre and Paul for naming her and passing her on to us after doing her up and having many happy travels with her. Looking forward to many years of adventures with Abby!

Adventures in Food – Banana Rice Fritters

After making rice milk we were left with quite a bit of raw rice pulp left over. It could go to Pinky and The Brain, but we decided to do something else with it this time…

Banana Rice Fritters

You will need

Mixing Bowl

Frying pan or deep fat fryer

 

2 x bananas

2 x teaspoons of honey

Leftover rice pulp from no-cook rice milk

Mash the bananas, the rice pulp, and the honey in a mixing bowl. You might want to add a little bit of water if it seems dry and hard to work with.

Form the mixture into fritters or little fat pancakes and fry them in oil – I found that using more oil is better as otherwise the rice soaks up the oil and they stick to the bottom of the pan. I don’t have a deep fat fryer but I think they would cook nicely in there.

Serve immediately, on their own or with (suggestions from the peanut gallery), brown sugar, golden syrup or vanilla ice cream.

A good way to use a resource that might otherwise go to waste.

Adventures in Food – Broad Bean Soup A La Roz

When you have a lot of broad beans you need to think of new and interesting things to do with them. This is Roz’s Broad Bean Soup recipe, which serves six (leftovers can be frozen and re-heated).

You will need :

Large Saucepan

Blender

 

500gm Broad Beans (podded)

200gm Peas

Handful of chopped spring onions

3 x medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly

1 x vegetable stock cube

Teaspoon of chill powder, black pepper, garlic to taste

(Optional) Swirl of cream or olive oil or a sprig of mint to garnish

 

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 1.5 pints of water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Blend when soft.

Serve with garlic bread, bruschetta or a warm crusty roll or three.

 

This makes a nice smooth soup that is very tasty on a summer evening!

 

Trouble with Tomatoes

As you might know from this previous post, I struggle with growing tomatoes. Which is annoying, because they’re one of my favourite foods and I eat them all the time, and it would be really handy if I could grow my own.

This year they have grown bigger and had seemed to be doing better, but in the last week or so they’ve started looking limp and sad and they’re obviously having a hard time. It’s been warm so I’ve had them outside, but now I’m wondering if they’d benefit from being moved back into the summer house on a permanent basis.

It doesn’t help that Pinky and The Brain managed to knock one of the large pots (the Ace) over and then trample through it, so I lost a few there. But the cherry toms are also struggling and looking sad. Any tips for reviving dismal tomato plants? Or should I give them up as a bad job and try again when we get a greenhouse?

Allotment Diaries – June Update

It’s been a while since I updated on the allotment, partly due to moving house and not being able to get down there for a week or so, and partly due to other distractions. So, what’s occurring in our little patch?

Well, we’ve had some successes, and some failures. Quite a lot of failures, if I’m honest. The last two months have been very dry and some of the veg has struggled Some hasn’t sprouted at all (carrots and leeks), some has been lost to weeds and predators (lettuce and spinach) and some has been lost to over-enthusiastic “Oh, I thought they were weeds!” weeding….

On the plus side, we have a flourishing bed of rainbow chard, which I thought wasn’t going to be a goer because chard apparently struggles on clay – that might be one benefit of the hot dry weather. The broad beans have gone into overdrive (see previous post) and we have a splendid crop of early gooseberries that I’ve just picked, with a second later variety coming through. Apples and pear trees are also doing well and soft fruit is starting to come through. So it’s not all bad.

At home the tomatoes are doing better than expected, and the Morello has a few baby cherries on it despite the “help” of the dogs.

So all in all feeling quite positive for the future, and looking forward to gooseberry crumble for tea!

 

Adventures in Food – Easy Broad Beans, Italian Style!

We have a positive glut of broad beans (fava beans, for our US chums) at the moment. You could eat them with human liver and a nice Chianti, or you could follow Roz’s suggestion and eat them Mediterranean-style. This works best for young and tender beans – as they get older they get tougher.

Broad Beans

Keep the beans in their pods and slice them into good size-chunks. Steam them gently for about five minutes (or microwave them if you don’t have a steamer – it works equally well) until they are soft.

Stir in garlic (garlic puree, in our case) and a little lemon juice, and some black pepper if you have it to hand.

Serve immediately as a side – we had them with a quinoa and tomato bake but they would probably also go very nicely with grilled chicken or fish.

This makes good and tasty use of the pods that would otherwise be composted. Try it!

Adventures in Food – Broad Bean Tips

First of all, a little bit of a Kermitflail that we actually got food from our allotment for the first time – how awesome is that?

We planted the broad beans at the beginning of November and they’re flowering beautifully. We don’t have any actual beans yet, but what we do have are broad bean tips. It’s been recommended to me that I pinch out the growing tips of the broad bean plants, both to reduce the chance of blackfly and to divert energy into fruit production.

“Pinching out” basically means taking hold of the fat growth tip and a couple of leaves around it and twisting or pinching them off the top of the plant (very easy, not complicated or scary!) Save these tips and leaves and bring them home…

Wash them and check carefully for bugs and beetles – we found a few which may have been the beginnings of blackfly, so I think we timed this pinching out just right. If you find any tips that are infested discard them (You don’t need the extra protein!)

I simmered them for 2-3 minutes in a pan with some frozen veg and served them as a side to a steak and ale pie; you could possibly also eat them raw as a salad veg or in a stir fry, or with pasta?

It just feels like a nice additional bonus harvest. Waste not, want not!

Tomatoes – If at First You Don’t Succeed…

I had a bash at growing tomatoes on my window sill a few years ago, and my efforts literally failed to bear fruit. But I ruddy love tomatoes and between us we eat an awful lot of them, so I’m going to have another go.

Usually my main problem is either over or under-watering things I’m growing in pots, so this time around I’m going to have a go at making a couple of self-watering containers out of old soft drink bottles, as described by Juliet Kemp in Permaculture in Pots. I’ll let you know how I get on!

It’s all about experimenting…

Allotment Diaries – March 30th 2017

One of the things I’m looking forward to about our Grand Adventure is taking a boring and uninspiring patch of land and creating greater biodiversity on it, encouraging wildlife in all sorts of forms. So it was nice at the allotment today to see a few signs of returning biodiversity in what has previously been a muddy spludge. A quick survey today spotted bees, butterflies, hover flies, ladybirds, and an awful lot of spiders having a party in the bottom of the cold frame.

The broad beans are flowering (that’s where the butterflies are hanging out) and Chris and I planted a salad bed – lettuce, radishes and quick-growing spring greens all went in, so let us (haha!) see what happens there!

Allotment Diaries – March 2017

Maybe it’s that the tree is in full bloom, or the flowers are out, or the sun is shining. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time since October you can sit on the ground without immediately getting soaked to the skin. But for whatever reason, it feels like we’ve turned a corner with the allotment. For the first time, it’s beginning to feel more like a food-producing patch and less like a lengthy re-creation of the Battle of the Somme.

Flowers at allotment march

I kind of wish I could remember what I planted here – the plan says “Flowers” 🙂 Whatever they are they’re pretty.

(ETA – Roz tells me they’re crocuses 🙂 )

Sowed two drills of spinach behind the cold frame, next to the garlic. We still have plenty of spinach seeds left, either for taking to the new house or for later sowing (see, I’m learning here!)

The hazels are starting to come into leaf and there’s new growth on the raspberries which means we didn’t kill them with over-zealous pruning. And the autumn olive seedlings, which I fully expected to fall over and expire the minute I turned my back on them, are still upright and apparently doing well.

The hyssop didn’t make it, but I’m not altogether surprised as it was borderline when I put it in the cold frame. Rosemary and marjoram are both thriving though.

Grass needs a trim, but cutting the grass requires being there at a time other people are there to get access to the lawnmower shed. Will probably have to go down of a Saturday morning, rather than in the afternoons when it’s nice and quiet and I can pootle about and do things in my own slow and inefficient way… 🙂