Monday, 28 December 2009

The Allotment is still giving me treats.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas ! we had a fabulous time, it was fun and we had some lovely presents, good company, and the best bit was being with the family. But I am always glad when it's over ( I whispered that !) I long for my normal routine and also can't wait to see what the new year will bring. I love the start of a New Year, and I just want to get sowing and growing again.

I went up to the allotment yesterday, the first time in weeks and I harvested some curly Kale, a very large and a small parsnip some green regular sprouts, and some of a friends purple sprouts that she asked me to help myself to as she couldn't manage to eat them all.
The purple sprouts were so delicious that they are on my 'Must Sow in 2010' list, I just have to ask her what the variety was. The purple sprouting broccoli is just starting to sprout and I hope to be picking some in a few weeks. The perpetual spinach is still going, I must cut down on the amount next year. The garlic sown in late Autumn is up and growing well, and the autumn planted cabbages haven't really grown a lot as yet. It all looked a bit bleak and mucky up there and Rosie the scarecrow will need a complete overhaul next year, so Lot's of planning to do.

Monday's harvest

New Years Eve is only a couple of days away, so I will wish you all a lovely evening however you intend to celebrate it, and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all as well.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


This is my last post for 2009. There's not much to tell really other than just like everyone else at this crazy time of year, I have been very busy present shopping, wrapping the presents, and visiting family.

We have had a lot of snow here in Hampshire as you can see by the photo's taken this morning in the garden, just after we got back from my son's house in Surrey (there wasn't any snow there). It was just beginning to melt a little, but parts of the garden was still covered in deep snow.

Part of our journey down the motorway was like driving through a winter wonderland, it was truly beautiful, and so frustrating for me as I had my camera in the car, but obviously being on a busy motorway there was no way I could take any photo's.

I just want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and look forward to visiting your blogs in 2010.

Photo's from my garden this morning.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A lovely gift and some ugly Parsnips.

On Saturday morning I had a lovely surprise gift from Kella It's a beautiful Book marker (thong) and it's going to be well used and treasured. Thank you Kella. If anyone is interested in buying one either for yourself or as a gift then visit Kella's blog shop Creative Wishes as she has made some to sell.

I went up to the Lottie very briefly on Saturday afternoon and it was cold dismal and the ground was mushy. I truly hate it there in the winter, but I needed to check on my purple sprouting broccoli and the Sprouts, neither of which I might add were ready to pick, boo hoo ! I did however dig up some parsnips and they are the ugliest bunch of veggies I have ever seen, in fact I think they would win an ugly prize if there was one. (see the photo below !!)

However today I cut them up and made the most delicious soup 'Parsnip and Orange soup' which had onions, carrots, fresh grated ginger, fresh garlic, Orange zest and a small amount of the orange squeezed in after blending ithe soup. I must say those ugly parsnips were delicious in the soup. I will post a photo and the instructions on my recipe blog very soon.


Friday, 11 December 2009

My Collection of Christmas little people.

Here they are, out of the loft and I was very glad to see them again. We don't have a Christmas tree in our house ! for years I have had a large bundle of tall Willow branches which I decorate with lights and fairies and elves and of course the baubles, it always looks lovely and has a lot of admiration from visitors. Then after Christmas it stands in the corner of the dining room with just the fairy light, and brightens up the room especially when we have people around for dinner.

I will probably only do another couple of posts this year and then start again when things get going in the New Year. I have almost finished the present shopping and wrapped up most of them. The cards have been posted, but I always forget someone, even though I do a list every year. So I have a few cards and stamps at the ready just in case.

Have a good week-end everyone.

These two little cuties are my buy this year, they have such silly faces I couldn't resist.

The fairy at the top

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A new look Christmasy blog

I thought I would brighten the old blog with a new (temporary) Christmas look. I didn't want to change the background colour as I think white is easier on the eye for reading, But have you noticed the SNOW ? it's so lovely but didn't show (obviously) on the white background. There is a widget button on the right hand side of the blog if you want some snow as well.

I visited Denise from A Bun Can Dance and got it from her blog. I have visited a few blogs recently and it made me realise just how many talented blog writers there are out there, made me feel a bit inadequate as well, (just a bit !) I must try harder !!!

I just visited Carrie's blog and fell in love with her drunken Angel. I have a collection of 'Homespun' simple Christmas Angels and Elves which I add to every year. Some are below and I will post some more when they come down from the Christmas decks box in the loft at the week-end.

Monday, 7 December 2009

A Dark dreary day, I'm thinking of hibernating !

I am forcing myself to do this post because I know how easy it is to get out of the habit ! ( NO !that's not the right word, I don't want it to be a habit) but you know what I mean, days and weeks slip by and before you know it blogging becomes hard as there is nothing going on in the garden or allotment to blog about.

The weather today is so bad, it's like it has been night time all day, dark, grey, raining, windy, I hate it. I'm sure I never got this fed up with our weather before ! I always just took the weather as it comes, I guess it's because my main interests have become the outdoors type of gardening /growing/ planting interests, so I think I need to get a grip and get back into my indoor winter hobbies, or I will go insane.
I spent most of last week in our wonderful capital, London. My younger son is in Singapore working for a few weeks, so we have his apartment whenever we want to go there. It was a lovely break and Oxford Street was buzzing. Selfridges window displays were amazing as usual, but I think last years were better.

I know we are still in a recession, but 'Santa' selling copies of the 'Big Issue' is hilarious, and he has a dog ! what happened to the reindeer ? ha ha

I have been busy making some cards as well, but stayed up far too late last night doing them.

Does anyone else have problems with posting photo's on blogger or is it just Me ? before I press 'preview' all my photo's are where I want them to be which is on the left and right sides of the post, but when I preview they are all lined up underneath each other and only on the right hand side !! why is this ?? it is sooo frustrating. Aaaaagh

Card making to stay sane.

Well by the time I finished writing this post it really is dark and almost night time. I feel like hibernating it's so dark. I will leave you with a few photo's from Selfridges Christmas windows.

A few favourites from Selfridges Festive window.

Dick Whittington's Cat.

Cinderella with her Pumpkin.

Some fabulous shoes.

I Love these boots.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Passing on an award

I was given this award a couple of weeks ago by Jo and Kella thank you both very much and I'm sorry to have taken so long to pass it on.

By accepting the award you have to pass it on to 15 other people who's blogs you enjoy, and put a link to their blogs. I have chosen the 15 and hope they accept the award, but I will understand if they don't as some people don't like getting involved in these things. I myself have declined in the past, but I have had a change of heart. I have to say it's hard choosing.

If you accept the award and pass it on, don't forget to let the people you pass it on to know
I hope I have done all that's required.

All I have to do now is get around to letting the 15 people know !!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Little Princess

Hello everyone, have you missed me or didn't you even realise that I hadn't posted for weeks ?I have been so busy that I didn't get any time to post, and then I found it hard to get into it again. I had all the words in my head, but just couldn't get them written down, very odd !

The title of the post is referring to my little granddaughter Florence who was baptised last Sunday, and she really looked like a little princess. She was so good whilst being baptised, but by the end of the service she was fed up with it all and looked very cross, wouldn't smile and got very fidgety. The photo below was taken prior to her baptism, so that's why she is smiling.

The weather has been dreadful hasn't it, and those poor people that have had the floods, my heart goes out to them. I can't imagine how it must feel to have to leave your home, especially at this time of year with Christmas only four weeks away.

I have tried to get to the allotment so many times over the past few weeks only to be beaten by the weather. I am beginning to think someone 'Up There' is having a laugh at my expense, as on a few occasions I have actually been on my way and the sun was shining, and as soon as I turned the corner and the lottie was in sight the heavens opened and I had to turn around and go home again, Aaarhhhh !!

I desperately want to dig the second trench for the asparagus and put the manure in. The first trench was dug and filled weeks ago. If I don't get it done soon the soil wont be ready for planting the asparagus when it's delivered in the spring. I am only going to plant 10-12 as most books recommend that this number is enough to feed the average family and there is only two of us, although my daughter-in-law is partial to asparagus as well.

Today was cold, raining and windy, so definitely not gardening weather. I decided to give my study/craft room a sorting out, as most of the time I can never find what I need and have to go through all the drawers to find it. It took best part of the day and I'm still not finished. All the drawers are now tidied, sorted and labeled, so I know exactly where all my craft things are now.

So much has happened since I last posted, we have had a Christening and a funeral, and although that was a sad occasion Austin got to meet up with cousins he hadn't seen in a long time and one he hadn't seen since they were children in India.

I have started another blog 'Recipes from Allotment Heaven' the link is on the right side of this blog. There are only a couple of recipes there at the moment, but I will be adding to it, and hope you will e-mail me any of your favourites, so I can add them and put a link to your blog under the recipe.

Well that about wraps it up, I wish I could say I have been busy on the allotment or in the garden, but the weather has me beaten as I am sure it has you too if you live here in the UK.


Monday, 9 November 2009

Chickpeas and Pumpkin curry, and Raspberry canes

Yesterday I made a fabulous vegetarian curry with this Squash ( below ) which is called 'Uchiki Kuri' and I would recommend growing them as they are delicious and such a pretty fruit as well.
The recipe was in the Sunday supplement magazine and taken from a book by Nigel Slater called : - Tender Volume 1: A cook and his vegetable Patch. I had a look through it in the shop today and it's now on my wish list for Christmas (cheaper from Amazon )

I had to adapt the recipe a bit to my own style as I didn't have dried chickpeas, but had a can of organic ones, I didn't have coconut milk so used a chunk off a block of creamed coconut I had in the fridge. So I can't say if the original is better than my adaptation, all I know is it was delicious. I also added cooked french beans at the end of cooking for a bit of contrasting colour, this wasn't in the recipe either. great served with Brown basmati rice.
You will find the recipe for this dish here

'Uchiki Kuri ' Squash

Chickpeas, with Pumpkin, Lemongrass and Coriander.
(and green beans !)


Thanks Ena
I met a lovely lady today who gave me lots of early fruiting raspberry canes. I posted a wanted ad on Freecycle, and Ena very kindly offered me some that needed digging up. So Austin and myself went along and dug up quite a few. Some are for us and some for a couple of other plot holders. I already have late fruiting canes, so the early ones will extend the harvesting season for me. Mmmmm more raspberry curd !!

Ena also gave me some seeds called 'Pea beans' apparently grown like runner beans up a wigwam or climbing frame. I have never heard of them before, so googled it and there is quite a lot of info to be had, I just have to find time to read up on them before sowing next year.

So if you are reading this post Ena, thanks for everything and for the cooking apples as well.

I am still collecting leaves for my leaf mould and now have about 10 sacks, and still collecting. The things we gardeners do !

Friday, 6 November 2009

Perfect Curd this time !

I have made the 'Pumpkin and Ginger' Curd again, and this time it's perfect. I now know what I did wrong before, I had the water bubbling beneath the pan with the ingredients in far too hot, and the eggs curdled, also I grated the lemon and orange zest really fine this time. It was worth doing again as the texture is lovely and smooth (except for the bits of yummy stem ginger of course!).

Right texture below

Wrong Texture, what a difference !!

I think the difference in the colour is down to the lighting, not the actual curd.

I don't know what the weather was like in your area today, but here it rained almost all afternoon, and I never got to do anything on the allotment as planned. It is sooo frustrating. I still have garlic to get in and another asparagus trench to dig and prepare. I did manage between downpours to dig up a couple of my favourite Dahlias from the garden. I am leaving some of the least favourite ones in the ground, but special ones are being dug up and the tubers stored in dry compost until next spring. I also have some in dry sawdust/wood shavings. I have to admit I didn't store them in anything last winter and they lay about in empty pots, but they survived. How do you store yours ? any suggestions would be welcomed.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Keepsake boxes

I know this has nothing to do with sowing and growing, but I thought I would share these photo's with you of the beautiful keepsake box that we have bought for my granddaughter Florence's Christening which is in a few weeks time. We also bought her brother Bertie one for his christening present. They are adorable boxes and are from 'Freya Designs' they do all sorts of sizes and for all occasions, they are beautifully made and the service is first class. If you need a special gift for someone look no further than here :

The writing is very fancy, and it's lovely to have it personalised with the recipients name.

This is the largest box in the range and it really does hold a lot of special things. There is also a lovely wooden plaque inside the lid that you can write a special message of your own with a permanent marker.

This design is the' flower fairy'
I don't know if you remember that on a previous post I mentioned that my packet of Poppies from T & M didn't give a good germination rate, so I e-mailed them about it. I have since received a new packet of seeds free of charge. That was a welcome result, although it's too late now to sow them, but I have some coming along from the first packet and I will sow some more from the new packet in the spring. It certainly pays to complain, in the politest way of course !!


Almost the week-end again ! This week I have been collecting more leaves for leaf mould and preparing my two beds for the asparagus which I will plant next spring. I have dug the trenches and added gritty sand (which they love apparently) and cow manure. I'm going to cover them with black plastic and leave it covered until the delivery of the plants, I wish I had planted some last year, but I didn't have the space. I decided that I would rather give the space to asparagus as it's so expensive to buy, and I will grow less potatoes as they are as cheap as chips !!!!!!! he he

Friday, 30 October 2009

Scarecrow Witch and other chitchat

It's been a funny sort of day, the kind where I have been on the go all day, but don't seem to have achieved much, but on reflection I have tidied bedrooms, done the laundry, did the food shopping, collected leaves (for leaf mould) and did an hour at the allotment, then came home and cooked a meal. So I guess I did achieve something after all.!!

I decided to get into the spirit of Halloween by dressing 'Rosie' the scarecrow up as a witch. She is seen from the road as my plot is at the front of the allotment site. Lot's of people notice her especially children, so I thought it would be fun to dress her up a bit. Next year I'll make more of an effort and get some glow in the dark stuff, that should cause a stir - spooky !!! at night.

These 'Art Shade' calendulas are still flowering on even after the couple of frosts we have had and look so cheerful on the plot, there are even a couple of sunflowers still going strong behind them, and together they look stunning.

At last I have a new lottie neighbour to take over the long neglected plot next to mine. The plot should really have been split into two smaller plots, even our warden mentioned this to the council official who came to look at it. All of us plot holders think this too as we have seen people struggle to maintain this very large plot.
But in their wisdom ??? they still gave it out to this poor man to work on his own. He has said it is too big for him, but didn't want to turn it down as he's been on the waiting list for a long time. I have to say he is amazing, he dug all you can see in this photo in a week and only a few hours here and there each time he came up.

I planted these cabbages ages ago, in fact just days away from the last planting time recommended on the packet. They don't seem to want to grow. I am going to let them take their chances out in the big world and plant them outside under cover and hopefully I will be eating them come next spring. They are 'April' and 'Wheelers Imperial' both tasty cabbages with good solid hearts.