Thursday, 24 September 2009

Recipe for Raspberry Curd and Beetroot Chutney

As requested by a few visitors to my blog here are the two recipes I said I would post.

Raspberry Curd

makes 350g

* 250 g raspberries
* 170 g caster sugar
* 50 g butter, preferably unsalted, cut into cubes
* 2 eggs beaten

1. Place the raspberries in a pan and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes, squashing the fruits with a spoon to release their juices.
2. Push the fruit through a sieve, collecting the puree in a bowl.
3. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler) and add all the other ingredients, pouring the beaten eggs through a sieve onto the puree.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well blended. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon - this should take about 20 - 30 minutes.
5. Pour the curd into small, hot sterilised jars, and seal.

This recipe was in the 'Grow your Own' magazine and taken from the 'Fruits of The Earth' cookbook. It didn't however say how long it keeps of if it should be kept in the fridge. So I contacted the author of the book , Gloria Nicol, by e-mail, and she very kindly replied saying that it should keep for at least 6 weeks in the fridge UNOPENED, and 2 weeks in the fridge after opening. It only made 2 smallish jars, which I prefer as it gets eaten before it has a chance to go off. believe me it's delicious I'm on my second jar. yummy stirred into plain yogurt.

Beetroot Chutney

This is a light fresh-tasting chutney that's really easy to make- delicious in a cheese sandwich or with a ploughman's and great with cooked meats or jacket potatoes. ( the recipes words not mine, but I agree! )

Sorry but this is in lbs & ozs, luckily my scales are too.

* 3lbs cooked beetroot - - peeled and chopped into small pieces
* 1. 1/2 lbs apples - - - - peeled and roughly chopped into small pieces
* 2 large onions ( red or white) -peeled and roughly chopped
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 lb demerera sugar
* 1/2 tsp ground ginger
* 1 pint malt vinegar
* squeeze of lemon juice

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a preserving pan or a large saucepan.
2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 45 mins
3. Put into warm sterilised jars whilst chutney is still hot and cover with lids.
4. Allow to cool and then label and store in a cool dark area. It will keep for several months, but once opened refrigerate.

Happy cooking and eating.

By the way I received my book ' Fruits of the Earth' from Amazon the other day it's really lovely with plenty of nice recipes (and photographs) to cover most kind of preserving, so very handy for us veg and fruit growers. Also you may be interested to know that the author Gloria Nicol also has a blog and website that sells 'Vintage' things and here is the link - (blog) (website)

I hope you find the recipes easy to follow, I know I did.

PS just thought I would add this Baked Beetroot recipe as well.


1) Place the beetroot's into double thickness of foil, make sure there is enough foil to bring up to seal the beetroots.
( unless they are very large leave whole and don't peel them at this stage)

2) Crush 4 garlic cloves ( again don't peel just give them a bash to crush them, so they are still whole but the taste is released) add them to the beetroot.

3) Add about a tablespoon of virgin olive oil and tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the beetroot spoon it over the beetroot & garlic. seal the foil tightly so the beetroot almost steams in the oven.

4) Bake at around 190 for about an hour ( depending on size and number of beetroots) test with a sharp knife to see if the beetroot is cooked, if not leave for longer.

5) When cooked allow to cool and take the skin off the beetroots with a sharp knife and cut into either slices or chunks.

delicious as a baked veg with the dinner or left to go cold and have it with salad or in a cheese sandwich.

I kept mine in a kilner jar in the fridge for a week I left the juices and garlic in the jar as well.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bargains, Raspberry Curd, and Chutney making.

Whilst in 'Waitrose' quite late the other day when I was shopping for some apples to put in my beetroot chutney, I spotted the bargain trolley and wandered over to have a look, WELL I couldn't believe the prices and the temptation to buy. Having just eaten the last of my carrots from the plot and having just 2 potatoes left in my storage sack, I just had to buy, these were the most generous reduced prices I have ever seen. So this is what I bought:

2 bags of organic carrots (with lovely leafy tops on) ..49 pence per bag

2 bags of organic potatoes ...(Nicola & Desiree) ........ 29 p and 49 p

1 baguette baked that morning ...................................... 10p

1 bag of fresh sweet chilli noodles ................................. 49 p

1 bag of crunchy mixed organic stir fry vegetables ...... 29 p

and then when I got to the checkout the assistant took another £1.49 off as she said it was buy 4 organic items for the price of 3, amazing !! The whole bill including my bramley apples which were £1.69, came to £2.82, so after deducting the apples all the other items were just £1.15 !

I was smiling all the way home. I will definitely be going back a hour before closing time again AND AGAIN. Oh I love a bargain.

Chutney and Curd
I have been busy harvesting most of the beetroot from the lottie, there is still some more but the ones I bought home were getting a bit large, so I have made a second batch of the delicious Beetroot and Apple chutney I mentioned recently.
I also found a recipe for 'Raspberry curd' it was in the last issue of 'Grow your Own' magazine' it is so scrumptious I really recommend anyone to try making some, it's lovely with plain yogurt and also pancakes or ice cream. Let me know if anyone would like the recipe.
The magazine printed details of the book they took the recipe from (see below, but you can't click to look inside here, only on the amazon website)
so I have ordered it from Amazon, the address at the bottom will take you straight to it.

Beetroot and Apple Chutney and Raspberry Curd

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I've been tagged.

I have been tagged by Kella she has passed on this 'You are a good Read' award for which I am very grateful, thank you Kella. It's always nice to know that what I write is of interest to others, even though in the beginning when I began my blog I really only did it for future reference for myself and to be able to look back and see what I have achieved.

Anyway where was I ? oh yes ! part of receiving this award is that I have to write 10 things about myself, here in public on this blog !!! so here goes.

1. The most important thing in my life is my family. My daughter, two son's and my four grandchildren and of course my husband. We did good and are truly blessed.

2. I hate time keeping, and I know that I drive a lot of people insane (especially previous bosses) because I hardly ever look at the time, never wear a watch and I am truly very laid back about the whole time keeping thing. ( I never let anyone down though)

3. I am passionate about anything that I take on in life, be it a craft project, my allotment (very passionate about that) my garden, a college course, a worthy cause.

4. I would truly do anything for anyone within my power that wasn't illegal or morally wrong.
(I sound like 'Mother Teresa' )

5. I detest prejudice of any kind and wish that we could all be judged as people rather than white, black, yellow, or by our race or religion, or disabilities.

6. I love being with babies and small children, they are so innocent and interesting and have an unconditional love, and cuddles in bed in the morning with the smaller grandchildren are worth waking up for.

7. I always have 'to do lists' on the go much to everyone's amusement, my two son's are list people as well (must be hereditary) not that I always get the 'to doo's' done.

8. I go to bed far too late, and would love to change that.

9. I love being a wife, mother, grandmother, housewife. A true Cancerian -I love my home and garden, I love to cook and feed family and friends. ( such a domestic Goddess !! ha ha)

10. PHEW AT LAST. I LOVE sunny days, being with friends, family gatherings, beautiful flowers, a good film, a good book, rain running down the window when I am cosy inside, a good laugh it's better than a tonic. Pottering in my garden.

Well that wasn't too bad, I thought it would take me days to write this and that 10 things would be hard to think of. Now I just have to pass this award on, so I am going to pass it to:

Pam at Hortensia

Ali at Stanley Road Allotments

Allot of veg

Pam at Pam's English Garden

Joanne at Joanne's cottage garden

I hope they will take up the award challenge, but I will understand if they would rather not.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

OH NO ! the dreaded Leek Moth Caterpillar

Well I am sorry to have to report that we on our allotment have the dreaded Caterpillar from the Leek Moth and all our leeks are being devoured by these little monster. Whats worse is that nothing can be done about it , but if the leeks are big enough ( mine are not) the white bulbous part could be saved. The little blighters eat their way down the green stems and make them into slush apparently. My lottie neighbour Jean noticed it first, then we all had a look at our own leeks and sadly most of us have them. Only the biggest strongest leeks are able to shrug the effects off, mine are all still tiny as they only went in after the potatoes were dug up.

Here is a link (below) to a good fact sheet on the little devils, and I hope none of you get them on your plot's as they sound hard to be rid of. I was so looking forward to more Leek & Potato soup, ah well there's always some in 'Tesco's' (leeks that is)

I couldn't have a post without some photo's, so here are a couple of very pretty ones that I took outside a florist shop when we were in London.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Indian spiced tomato and Pepper Chutney - recipe

I am adding this tasty recipe to the blog for future reference and for Kella who has asked me for it. It's from the 'Women's Institute' book of Preserves, see below. I would thoroughly recommend anyone growing their own veg and fruit to buy it, the recipes are very good and clear to follow.
'Lakeland' are selling the same book for £14.99, BUT I bought it from 'The Book People' online, the link is below and will take you straight to the book. and they are selling it for £4.99. postage is free if you spend over £15 ( I think that's right) and I did, otherwise a modest amount is added for P & P, so still a great saving. They also do a great range of Allotment and veg growing related books and are very cheap.

By the way they also sell the 'Hummingbird Bakery cook book , that I recommended recently in another post, and from the book people it's only £4.99, even less than I bought it for from 'Amazon' at £8.49, and it's £16.99 in my local book shop, why is there such big differences ?? it really pays to shop around doesn't it?
I originally took a photograph of the recipe page, but it wouldn't enlarge to be able to read it. Sometimes I hate Blogger !!! so here goes the old fashioned way. I have copied the recipe exactly as it says in the book.
Indian-Spiced Tomato and Pepper Chutney
Makes 2 x 500 ml (18 fl oz jars) .... ( I Put mine in smaller jars, lasts longer that way )
Preparation & cooking time : 2 hours
Although you can use Vine tomatoes for this and other tomato recipes, I've found that plum tomatoes have far less water, which means that they cook down more quickly and also produce a higher yield.
2kg (4 lb 8 oz) ripe plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 red peppers, de-seeded, quartered and sliced thinly crosswise
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 dried red Kashmiri chillies, roughly chopped
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
300 gms (10 oz) golden caster sugar
1 litre (1 and half pints) white wine vinegar
salt to taste

1 Prepare the tomatoes by cutting into quarters and removing the cores. Set aside
2 Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the seeds and dry fry for a minute or two, stirring, until the seeds begin to pop. Remove from the heat to a pestle & mortar and grind well. Add the turmeric and set aside.
3 Put the tomatoes, peppers, onion, ground spices, chillies, ginger, sugar and wine vinegar into a large preserving pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring often, until all the sugar has dissolved.
( why couldn't they have said put all the ingredients into the pan ????)
4 Cook for about 1 hour, then pick out as many tomato skins as you can (use a pair of long handled tongs, if you have them).
5 Continue to cook for a further 30 minutes. Check if the chutney is ready by dragging a channel through the mixture (with a wooden spoon) so that the bottom of the pan is visible. If the channel fills immediately with liquid, the chutney is not yet ready. Cook for a further 10 minutes and check again. The chutney is ready when the channel does not fill and the mixture is very thick.
6 Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand briefly. Add salt to taste. Carefully pour (use a jam funnel for best results) into hot sterilised jars and seal. Allow the chutney to cool completely before labelling and storing in a cool, dark cupboard. Store for at least 2 months before eating.

PHEW !! now you know why I tried to cheat and take a photo !, but don't be put off by all the ingredients as it's so simple to make and delicious. I hope you enjoy making it. +See my notes below on things I had to adapt.
One last thing, I didn't have plum tomatoes, and I also had a selection of different vine tomatoes that I had grown, this worked OK. also I only had green peppers, but I rather liked the mix of colour in the chutney. I couldn't get any Kashmiri dried red chillies, so I used some small red FRESH birds eye chillies (hot) and took a few seeds out in case it got too hot during storage, which can happen with chillies. Next time I will try and get all the ingredients the same as the recipe, but it really tasted great anyway. One more thing, try and get as many tomato skins out as possible ( as the recipe suggests ) it was a pain but worth the effort.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

This and That

A bit of a pictorial post today, as although I have lot's to write about I don't have the time. I haven't been to the allotment much since last week other than a quick visit to gather some crops, water the greenhouse and pick up the rubbish that can't be composted and took that to the local council tip.

Five 'Munchkin Squashes' all which have been roasted, cut up and are going into a soup tomorrow for lunch. The little cucumber is the last one now, as the plants had given their best for ages and were past it, so they were composted.

I have had so many tomatoes that I decided to make this delicious 'Indian spiced Chutney' the recipe advises to leave it for a month or two before eating, Mmm ! not sure about that !! it tasted delicious straight off the spoon after I put it in the jars.

The Gladioli has flowered at last !! it is from a bargain bag of mixed summer bulbs for the cutting bed from 'Wilko's ' half price for £2.50 and loads of bulbs, the lovely spiky Dahlia ( see below) was in the bag as well, Bargain !!!

All pinked out

Sunflowers from the 'Sunflower Hedge' on the allotment.

I brought a bunch home for the house, they look wonderful. they are called 'Velvet Queen' and are multi headed and not too large, I don't like the really big ones.
We went to the 'Seaside' first visit this year, so here are a few photo's I took there.

Bournemouth Pier

Arty deckchair shot !

The 'Merry-go-round

I made a pebble heart !

Saturday, 5 September 2009

It's that time of year again !

It's that time of year again when beds have to be cleared, the last of the harvesting done for vegetables that had run their course, and plants dug up or into the soil and weeding where it's been impossible to weed whilst some crops were growing.

Personally I look forward to this time. I love clearing the beds, weeding and raking them and covering them with black plastic to keep down the weeds over winter. There are beds that have to be left uncovered, for growing Brussel sprouts, Purple sprouting broccoli and cabbages to see us through the winter and Spring, not forgetting the garlic and leeks.

We spent 3 hours yesterday harvesting the remains of the sweetcorn. I then cleared the bed and dug it over and weeded it. I also dug up the last of my carrots and a very large and deformed parsnip. I blanched the sweetcorn ( 8 cobs) for 2 mins and then froze them. The carrots and parsnip I cut up and blanched and froze them in a bag together, ready to put into soups or casseroles. I bought back a small trug/bucket of runner beans. I have enough frozen to see us through the winter, so these are going to neighbours as we are sick of eating them now.

Sadly my favourite French beans are finished and I picked the last handful today and pulled up the plants. I also pulled up the last remaining cabbages. We managed to save three firm heads, the dark outer leaves were munched by slugs and caterpillars, so we stripped them back to the middle and composted the outer leaves.

The plot already looks tidier with the sweetcorn all gone.

Parsnip, carrots and the last remaining cabbage heads. A new batch has been sown.

Sweetcorn, blanched and ready for the freezer.



This is the largest, I could just about lift it to put the wood underneath it. I can't wait to weigh it.

I found this one growing under a leaf.

This is going to be a whopper as well. Great, lovely pumpkin soup & pumpkin pie.

This one is beautiful

The 'Munchkin' squashes are scaling the wire perimeter fence. They are unstoppable.

This squash is amazing, I bought one to eat from the supermarket last year and saved the seeds. I cut off a large one and it's ripening, (the original was yellow when I bought it.) I found three more growing today.

These photo's are for KELLA, as she is keen to grow 'Munchkin' next year. I found that is I leave them to ripen and become a deep orangey yellow they aren't good to eat. They go green near the skin and as they are so small, if you cut that away there is hardly anything left to cook. So I am going back to what I did last year when I first grew them and that is to pick them when they are still a creamy yellow. I scoop the seeds out, cut them up with the skin still on and roast them in a small amount of olive oil and garlic until the flesh is soft. The skin then peels off easily with a knife and they can be eaten or made into soup with other veg added.

Just right

Too ripe


Two photo's from the Garden.

Thunbergia 'Mango' I know I showed this on a previous post, but many flowers are opening now and it looks amazing, it's such a vibrant colour.

A friend gave me a rooted cutting of this Goji berry bush and it's doing so well and flowering.

And finally (sorry about the long post) I have made some beetroot and apple chutney. I have so much beetroot I didn't know what to do with it. I even bought home a bucketful yesterday and there is still more on the plot. I Really have to get my planting amounts sorted, I grow too much of everything.