Brightening the January gloom

I get all excited when we pass the winter solstice and the New Year and it’s January and there’s a whole new gardening year ahead. Then it stays dark and it rains for the first fortnight and January suddenly seems almost as miserable as November. However, I forced myself into the garden today for #SixonSaturday and found tiny points of light as some brief sunlight shone on the emerging snowdrops and other little winter flowers: These certainly helped to lift the spirits and bring some cheer. They’re not so useful on dark January afternoons and evenings though so I had … Continue reading Brightening the January gloom

Redcurrant chutney

What could be more festive than redcurrant chutney? I made this back in the summer from a redcurrant glut and put it in the back of the cupboard to save for Christmas. We opened it a few weeks ago to begin our festive celebrations. It tasted so good I was pleased that we had several jars to see us over the season and into the ‘using up the Christmas cheese’ phase in January. As well as being nice and red and festive it also tastes amazing. Here it is without the cheese: I found a recipe written in my ancestral … Continue reading Redcurrant chutney

Green and red tomato salsa

Tonight’s impromptu use of garden produce turned out rather good. I was getting impatient waiting for the green tomatoes to ripen, so mixed together some green ones with some nearly red ones, making a rather nice salsa: Green and Red Tomato Salsa If you are very lucky, as we were tonight, add a chopped cucumber – This was the complete crop of crystal lemon cucumbers this year. It tasted good but was disappointingly small and lonely. Oh well, time to start planning next year’s crop. Continue reading Green and red tomato salsa

Summer harvest begins

As we pass midsummer the harvest in the garden and allotment is really getting into full flow. The soft fruits are appearing: raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries and even some cherries this year, rescued from the tree before the blackbirds got to them. All this bounty is helping me towards my target of sixty different harvestable fruits, vegetables, herbs and weeds to celebrate my sixtieth birthday. I’ve now passed the half way point and am reasonably optimistic that I’ll meet my target – for an update see here As well as all the summer fruits, the overwintered broad beans are producing great … Continue reading Summer harvest begins

Christmas cooking

Dedicated vegetable growers will be able to make an entire Christmas dinner from the garden. I am dedicated but not sufficiently organised or successful to do that. However, we did manage to have Howgate Wonder apples for every meal on Christmas Day: some fruit salad for breakfast, some pieces of apple as part of a snack lunch and in both the red cabbage (a family tradition, cabbage from the farmers’ market) and the Christmas Pudding for the main feast. We also had our own Brussels sprouts, rosemary in the roast potatoes and bay leaf in the bread sauce. For Boxing … Continue reading Christmas cooking

Apple and walnut scones

I had a baking urge last night, just in from visiting my mother and with an hour or so to go before settling down to watch His Dark Materials* so rustled up a batch of scones. I was still using up the apples, collected from a neighbour’s box on the street a couple of weeks ago. I reckoned there was just time to make the scones. I adapted a recipe from one my trusted recipe books. Apple and Walnut Scones 250g flour (I used a mixture of wholemeal and white) 4tsp baking powder 1/2tsp salt 50 g margarine or butter … Continue reading Apple and walnut scones

… and what to do with red tomatoes

Last week I told you about my green tomato glut and what do with it. This week some of them have ripened and I have red tomatoes. Not exactly a glut but a decent crop. In the past I’ve always thought that the best thing to do with home grown tomatoes was to eat them fresh and, preferably, warm straight from the plant, but I discovered a couple of years ago, when I really did have a red tomato glut, that the best thing to do with them was to make fresh tomato soup. So I saved up this little … Continue reading … and what to do with red tomatoes

If life gives you green tomatoes…

In this strange and yet familiar year, I have tons of tomatoes but they have blight. We had to give up on the allotment tomatoes, with only a handful of useable green San Marzanos- huge admittedly – but very few. In the garden I also have San Marzano, which seems to be resisting the blight a bit better: Tigerella and Costoluto Fiorentino These giants were new to me this year, grown from a seed packet which came free with a gardening magazine. They’ve been amazing, with huge plants and prolific fruits. Yesterday I had to harvest most of them as … Continue reading If life gives you green tomatoes…

Raspberry muffins

Since it’s July and I’ve got some time off work, it has been pouring with rain, although yesterday was lovely. I was out tidying up and brought in these beautiful roses, which had become a bit top heavy on the plant, along with some pinks and red scabious I also got a good harvest of raspberries from the garden yesterday, along with lettuce, peas and redcurrants: So what better than to spend today (well about half an hour actually) making raspberry muffins? The recipe is based on the basic muffin recipe which I discovered a few weeks ago and took … Continue reading Raspberry muffins