Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Pickling time!

its that time again, the whole house smells but its worth it when you open that jar in a few months time. Or a week if you cannot wait that long.

one i did this week was the nigel slater recipe in the guardian a few weeks ago, with the remaining tomatoes in the greenhouse. It made only a couple of jars but looks promising.

Last night it was the beetroot relish which is firm favorite in this household.

900g raw beetroot grated
450g onions
675g cooking apples
450g raisins
1 litre white wine vinegar
900g granulated sugar
2 tbsp ginger

basically throw it all in a large pan and bring to boil and simmer then for a few hours. I use the grater on my processor with the onion, beetroot and apple so they are all the same size/texture which seems to work really well with the finished product.
I am going to do another 2 batches over the next week or so, if i have enough jars!!

A couple of weeks ago i also made 'red pepper, tomato, chilli and courgette chutney'
I did two versions, one which had a heavier spices element, a curryish flavour, and one without. Both are very good if i do say so though.

The 'without' version was

5 red peppers, chopped
1.4kg tomatoes chopped
8000g onions
1.6 kg courgettes, diced and salted to remove water, then rinsed
5 large garlic clovers
7 red chillies, hot, leave seeds in if you wish.
60g ginger finely chopped
225g light brown sugar
500mls white wine vinegar.

simmer for a few hours and bottle, will make a good few jars.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Tue 13/10

And i spent pretty much the whole day at the plot, it was about 5 degrees this morning at just gone 9am when i went across but the sun was very warming, as was the weeding and digging over!

The last thing i did was sort out the one end of the plot that has been bothering me, i had been thinking about the rhubarb and moving it, i dont now how many years it has been there and its in an awkward corner, so i dug over a space at the other end of the plot next to the gooseberry and with some manure in the bottom put the divided crowns in. Hopefully they will take, and in a few weeks i'll cover the tops with compost to feed over the winter. The roots of the rhubarb i removed were massive so i suspect the plant has been there for quite a while.

I also drained and moved the smaller blue water butt, and then covered the area with the recently freed tarpulin. I'm going to tidy this area up next year, just cover for the winter to kill of the weeds.

The new home for the rhubarb.

This was the runner bean and pea area, weeded and leveled. The broad bean shoots are at the end.
Bean trench dug! Really glad i got this job done today whilst we had the weather, i wouldn't have fancied doing it if the weather had turned.
I had earlier removed the last sunflower plant, and one of the courgette plants which had pretty much stopped producing fruits, so they went into the bean trench along with the runner bean remains. I then sowed the few broad bean seeds i had left into the mound of soil alongside the trench. I just think that if they do grow i can just turn them into the trench when needed and they should provide extra nutrients then.
The area that had the sunflower and courgette dug and weeded, and sown with mustard seed green manure. A few of the strawberry plants had not taken and died so i replaced those with some of the spares i still had in the garden.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

photo special!!

These are from a week ago when i remembered the camera on the way out the door! The good weather has disappeared over the last week now and i'm supposed to be down there now but i'm waiting in for somebody. Not my idea of time well spent.

Anyway, below is the bottom half of the plot, the courgette plant next to the ever growing sunflower is still producing, the dug over area either side is where the strawberries are. The area that has been covered since i got the plot almost 3 years ago is now dug and free!! It actually felt like an accomplishment to have finally done it. The area will probably need green manuring over winter to get some nutrients back into it.

The bean canes are now down and i will weed that area next and dig the bean trench. Next to that is the massivly overgrown beetroots, some are far to big now for use, they will be to woody with no sweetness in them, but they will do good in the trench.
Note plot area dug and cover free!
Long shot of the whole plot, in the foreground is the gooseberry which needs a bit of pruning before next year, and a late producing courgette plant which has just starting fruiting!
Max helping to weed and dig holes.
Strawberry rows either side of the courgette/sunflower monster.
The winter lettuce and pumpkins 'snowman', of which there are three good sized ones.

Some of the carrots, all grown by the kids.
Outdoor cucumbers, quite successful grown up the trellis on the plot.