Pea soup and summer pudding

My gardening is still a little restricted by my damaged arm but I’m enjoying doing some light harvesting and cooking. Today’s haul included pea soup:


WP_20180721_15_39_38_Pro.jpgMade mostly from mange tout peas with some added whole peas from the heritage salmon pink pods – all very beautiful in flower but equally good to eat

We also had some broad bean guacamole

guacamole.jpgRecipe here

Later we had summer pudding. This is a dish which looks unlikely, but was described by a young visitor as ‘the best thing I’ve ever tasted’. It didn’t last long:


Summer pudding recipe

  • Mixed soft fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants (about 500g)
  • A stick of rhubarb, cut into chunks
  • about 100ml orange juice
  • tblsp lemon juice
  • 50g sugar
  • 3-4 slices of sliced bread*

All quantities are very approximate – nothing matters too much so long as it fits in your pudding basin and you can adjust the sugar according to taste and health obsessions

  1. Heat the orange and lemon juice in a pan and dissolve the sugar
  2. Stew the rhubarb in the juice for about five minutes until the mixture is quite thick
  3. Add the soft fruit and cook for about one minute – don’t overdo it
  4. Line a pudding basin with 2-3 slices of bread
  5. Pour the fruit and juice into the basin
  6. Put the last slice of bread on top to make a lid
  7. Put a small plate on top of the pudding and add something heavy to weigh it down (I use a cast iron pestle and mortar but whatever you have around would do)
  8. Leave to cool and then put in the fridge overnight
  9. Turn out onto a large plate and decorate with some extra fruit

*The recipes usually say to use white bread and cut the crusts off. I don’t bother. Wholemeal or granary bread with crusts seems to work perfectly well. We don’t always have sliced bread in the house but because of my wonky arm, we have been buying the sliced stuff  so I can make my own breakfast without asking some one to cut the bread for me. Unsliced bread would work too but you would have to cut it fairly thin.


WP_20180718_21_44_51_Pro.jpgIn this peculiar year when the spring was frozen and the summer is dry, I have patiently watered this little pot at my back door.  It contains a much loved lemon verbena plant. I thought the winter had killed it and almost chucked it out but look what has appeared in the last few days. Patience pays.

Frog update

There were a few drops of rain today and the frogs came out to play

I counted ten at one point – that’s the most I’ve seen at one time. They range from enormous


to very tiny


WP_20180715_16_21_42_Prosometimes they come in pairs:

WP_20180715_15_50_31_Proand this one was worshipping the great frog goddess:

Frog goddessI could watch them all day.  Meanwhile, in other garden news, we’ve had a little rain and the peas, broad beans, raspberries and strawberries are abundant. This is fairly normal for early July. What is much more unusual is that tomatoes are fully formed:

WP_20180715_16_38_37_Prooutside, and showing tinges of yellow. We also have our first baby marrow:

WP_20180715_16_38_56_ProI’m still doing everything somewhat one-handed but, mostly, the garden is looking after itself.

Slowing down

There’s a heatwave in Scotland, too much going on in the day job, garden and allotment in full vegetable production. They don’t combine well with putting your left arm out of action with a (thankfully) minor injury. So I’ve had to slow down. The grass will stay long, the weeds will invade, the shrubs will grow straggly but the frogs and bees are in heaven.

frog in lilies


The lawn is full of clover.


I love it and so do the bees. I’m trying to slow down, pick the peas and raspberries and watch the tomatoes, marrows, bees and frogs enjoy the sun. Everything else will have to wait.

… oh and typing with one hand means the blog will be full of typos but like the weeds and the wildlife, they may bring special joys


Rainbow Peas

All my lovely multicoloured edible peas are now in full bloom:


and some purple flowered beans:

wp_20180704_21_12_28_pro1.jpgAnd the sweet peas are also rather good:


Red runner bean flowers and rainbow chard in the background too



WP_20180704_21_11_13_Pro.jpgNow we just need a little rain

Frog blog

I’ve been awfully busy and had to go away for a couple of days to spend time in hot cities but I’m now home and garden has gone into overdrive – peas, cucumbers, strawberries, redcurrants, lettuce, raspberries and one cherry:WP_20180630_11_19_37_Pro.jpgI’ve not had a lot of time to catch up on photographing all of these things or doing any weeding or other garden maintenance. Any time has been devoted to watching frogs, so for your pleasure, here is the frog gallery:





Sometimes you have to look really hardy to spot them. They are a bit like Quentin Blake’s wonderful Cockatoos

But this one sat boldly on a lily pad, pretending to be a frog prince

frog on lily padI have to go and do stuff, but I’ll be back to the garden and the frogs soon.


Frog and bee paradise

This weekend has been all about the frogs and the bees.  We’ve always had frogs in the garden, even before we built the pond and we were delighted when they moved into the water.  We don’t see them very often as they are, rightly a little shy, what with cats prowling about.  This weekend though they have been sitting in the pond, poking their little noses in the air, catching flies or other delicacies.  Last night I counted six, tonight there were nine. Don’t you just love them?

WP_20180624_10_13_04_Pro (1)



WP_20180624_15_27_32_Pro (1)There was even one at the allotment this evening

wp_20180624_19_27_31_pro.jpgYesterday I spent the whole day in the garden, planting, weeding, generally tidying up and, while I was there, noted down all the flowers that were attracting bees.  I came up with the following list: campion, clover, foxglove, raspberry, radish, thyme, sage, escallonia, cotoneaster, borage, daisy. Bees are much harder to photograph than frogs as they don’t stay still for long. I managed to catch this one on a beautiful red scabiousWP_20180623_14_04_00_Pro.jpg

Watching the frogs and bees has been part of my #30days wild challenge. They have certainly repaid my patience. Maybe it’s because I took the time to really look, or maybe it’s the warm weather. Either way, I’m delighted.




Cucumber frame

I finally got round to building my second lego brick raised bed. The first one is doing well:


with tomatoes, lettuce and Swiss chard all looking fairly happy. The sea shell is supposed to stop people from poking their eyes out.  I planned the new raised bed so that my trusty plastic cloche will fit over it, making it into a kind of cold frame – or perhaps a cucumber frame, which I’ve always had a strange fancy for:WP_20180622_20_12_40_Pro

My seed house already has its maximum three cucumber plants.


The strange thing about this year’s cucumbers is that I sowed two varieties: green ones, Marketmore, and yellow Chrystal Lemon. Only four seeds germinated and I assumed they were all the same, hoping that they would be the Chrystal Lemons as they are so good. It seems though, that I have two of each.

I don’t know what happened there but it does mean that I have one spare green one to plant in the new raised bed. I’ve also put in a courgette and some very small basil seedlings


This will be slug paradise of course but I’m hoping that the frogs that inhabit that part of the garden will work to keep them under control*

Meanwhile summer vegetable production is seriously under way. The allotment has been producing rhubarb and the first strawberries. From the garden, we’ve had a garden salad, including the first cucumber and the first red onion:



And today I spotted the first mange tout peas:


*and by the way, I discovered that they don’t like cider. My experiments with cider filled slug-pubs caught a lot of fruit flies and one snail in the course of a week so that didn’t work.



The last couple of days’ rain has brought on some new growth and the peas are finally romping away. I’ve been enjoying the way their tendrils grasp at whatever passes near them:



They go where they choose, often attaching themselves to a nearby plant:


This one attached itself to a neighbouring onion. My mixed and overcrowded planting often leads to these happy relationships.



The thing about having your young people around for the weekend, is that, despite the piles of socks, papers, laptops and musical instruments tripping you up at every turn, the random kitchen equipment lying on your best chairWP_20180617_10_14_22_Pro.jpgthe suddenly full washing basket and the contrasting simultaneous disappearance of all the bread and milk with the appearance of enticing things in plastic boxes in the fridge, you also find in your kitchen, half-empty bottles of flat, cheap cider:

WP_20180617_10_16_42_Pro (1).jpgalongside an inexplicable bag of screws, a bottle of off milk and a very large suitcase. Your average parent might start screeching at this point but, for me, this is garden and blogging fodder. The cider has been offered to the slugs for their delectation and delight:

wp_20180617_10_26_15_pro-e1529230299438.jpgcomplete with flowery border. I’ll let you know what they think.

Everything else (except the off milk) has been left where it was dropped, in optimistic anticipation that it will be tidied up one day.  We love it when you’re at home, guys. I might just make another cake to share with you.