Saturday, November 28, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
No, Matron hasn't been hit on the head or had a 60s trip... I'm referring to the wonderful psychadelic 'Rainbow Lights' Swiss chard which are the stars of the show at the moment. This poor specimen is another of Matron's sorry carrots! One at a time dear reader.. it might be too much of a shame to bear! I love growing Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard, it is such a good do-er right the way through Winter. I will have such a stunning show of colours like this!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Matron's Spiced Christmas Chutney
Here's another idea to use up your apples and pumpkins. I've re-used a picture from last year, this was the most amazing sweet chutney to eat with cold meat or salad. You have to prepare the spiced vinegar in advance. 3/4 pint of malt vinegar boiled up with some of your favourite Christmas spices. I use star anise, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Bring to the boil then leave to infuse for 24hours.
4lbs cooking apples
1lb pumpkin cut into half inch cubes
1lb red onion
3oz grated ginger
10oz brown sugar
rind and juice of an orange
4oz dried cranberries
4oz dried mixed fruit
1/2 pint gluhwein (mulled wine)
3/4 pint spiced vinegar
Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan except the sugar. Simmer the chutney for at least 30 minutes or until reduced. There is enough pectin in the apples and pumpkins for a good set. I found that the pumpkin does not disolve but stays in chunks so you can cut bigger chunks if you like them in your chutney! You can add more of your favourite Christmas spices to the mixture. Add the sugar and simmer until reduced further. Bottle in sterilized jars and store till needed.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Ruth's Pumpkin Soup
I have been overwhelmed with the urge to make home-made soups recently. So many wonderful veggies to chose from, it is so easy to make and healthy and tasty to boot. One soup recipe not to miss is this wonderful Caribbean pumpkin soup! courtesy of my good friend Ruth (pictured with Buddy!) This will certainly warm you up! 2lbs pumpkin diced into squares
1 scotch bonnet pepper
3 spring onions chopped
2 cloves garlic
1tsp salt & black pepper
chicken or vegetable stock
2 chopped carrots
3 chopped sweet potatoes
1 plantain, chopped (banana will do)
You can make this soup with chopped pieces of the vegetables, but I prefer to blend it to a smooth soup. Remember to put the scotch bonnet chilli into the soup whole when you cook it, but take it out before you put it through the blender - unless you can take it really hot!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I read an interesting article in the RHS magazine recently about food security (or lack of it) in the UK. By this, I mean the ability of the United Kingdom to grow and provide all the food it needs to sustain the population. It won't be long before we cannot rely on a plentiful food supply coming in from other countries. Only one tenth of the fruit that we eat in the UK is grown here, and just under a half of all the vegetables. There will come a time in the not too distant future when supplies of water and fuel become scarce that we will all need to grow our own food. Most people in the UK have no idea how to do that, and therefore it will be up to you and I - the food growing bloggers - to show them how, before they all starve to death!
Growing food locally using sustainable methods has been placed at the top of the Government's food security agenda following its first ever assessment on the safetly of the country's food supply. So all of us out here, the beekeepers, poultry keepers farmers and allotmenteers will be in great demand. I know I won't go hungry! will you?
Monday, November 09, 2009
Size Isn't Everything!
I dug up another two magnificent specimens of my Bulgarian Giant Leeks for Sunday lunch yesterday. Although spectacular to look at, and seemed to resist an attack of leek moth, I have to report, dear readers, that in my humble opinion the taste isn't up to much I'm afraid. I think that many giant-type vegetables - elephant garlic, giant pumpkins for instance, don't tend to compete on the taste front. The fresh Brussels Sprouts from Lincolnshire, however, were spectacular! Has anyone noticed a plague of little grey plastic items on their soil recently? It really annoys me that for months, even years after bonfire night I am picking these up out of my soil. I presume they are an integral part of a rocket, perhaps holding different colours, propellant chemicals etc. They fall to earth when a firework explodes and I suppose the manufacturers don't give a thought to the environment.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
A Trip to Lincolnshire
So Matron really can't do carrots? so I decided in the Spring to plant some round shaped carrots to see what happened. These are a variety called Paris Market, they seem to have fared well in a pot full of sandy compost. My soil here in London is heavy clay, so any long rooted carrots usually fork.. as you will have seen in my 'naughty vegetables' post! The warm weather in the past couple of weeks has amazingly brought about a new crop of runner beans! I had left the vines to produce some dried pods for seed next year, but a whole new crop of baby runner beans started to grow! Even after a mild frost! A lovely, if unexpected late crop.