Friday, 28 July 2017

31st July: From Spade to Plate:

This week June, Kiyomi, Sarolta, Camila, Sayoko, Simone and Maria Jose joined me for the harvest and cooking session.

The weather was much better than last week, no need for raincoats and wellies. The sky is blue and we are ready to make a colourful dish.

The beetroot have benefitted from the rain and are growing well. Time to harvest them and turn them into beet burgers.

Beetroot burgers
Mixing the ingredients
making the burgers and frying them

500 gr grated beetroot
100 gr porridge oats
3 eggs
1 onion finely chopped and fried
4 tbsp chopped dill
2 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Mix, make into a burger shape and fry.

Raymond has a row of new potatoes that he would like me to dig up, so we got the forks out to reveal these treasures.  I expected little potatoes, but they were enormous, still nice though to have with  Must  a little bit of butter and mint is simple but gorgeous.
Sayoko, Sarolta and Maria Jose in action

The french beans I have been growing are low growing (dwarf french)  and climbing so nice to experience which is the easiest to grow and harvest.  We  blanched the beans, then added a little butter and lemon.
Sayoko picking dwarf french beans
Where are these beans?
Found them!
Miyoko found one too

Going back  home with our produce

For dessert, we had the blackberries we picked in the allotment with some yoghurt and blackberry paste (which we made last week). 

Most of all, we had a lovely time, sharing the work and the friendship

Figs - Victoria Road - Kirsty

If the figs are ready contact

Saturday, 22 July 2017

From Spade to Plate: 24th July: Black Berry Jam and Courgetti with Spinach and blue cheese sauce

The season of black berries has arrived!  It seems to come earlier and earlier and this year the fruits are plump and sweet, perfect for jam, cordials, fruit leathers and crumbles.
And even better to show the dear friends from the Newcomers and visiting scholars the delights of the British hedgerows.

As the weather was bad I went out before the group came and harvested 1.5kg yesterday with Thomas and Mark, bringing back memories of blackberry pick with my mum as well as with my own children in years gone by.

Today I went again to pick the berries in Garden Walk. They were large and very juicy. Turned them into 6 jars of jam.

Andrea, came today with a 2kg bag of damson that she still had in the freezer from last year. We decided to make a selection of different jams.

1. Using the Dutch Gelei suiker, half zoet (500gr sugar to 1225 gr of black berries)
2. Using jam sugar bought from ASDA (800 gr black berries to 1kg sugar)
3. Using the jam sugar and a mix of black berries and damsons.

We also turned the berries and damsons into 10 bottles of cordial and some fruit leather.

In addition the courgettes and spinach beet are abundant in the allotment so I am planning  to try out the borrowed Spiralizer to turn it into a courgetti dish.

The Spinach and blue cheese sauce came from the Riverford website.

The healthiest way to cook courgetti, because no fat is involved. Simply put the courgette noodles into a sieve and pour over a kettle of boiling water. This takes the rawness out the noodles without breaking them down too much. Strain well before adding pesto, sauce or toppings.

Glo, June, Miyoki, Simone and Michaela, Andrea, Anne-marie and Sarolta will come to share the lovely produce into some tasty dishes.

I already look forward to this next session.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

From Spade to Plate: 17th July Vegetarian Scotsch Egg

What to do with an excess of beetroot and eggs? Last week I went to the Farmer's market and had a Vegetarian Scotch Egg. It was delicious and went about looking what I had in the garden so I could replicate it. After a couple of trials, I think it would be fit for use at our Monday morning harvesting and cooking sessions.

We harvested the garlic and onions a couple of weeks ago so easy to get hold off. The beetroot is ready for harvesting as well as the parsley and chives. Looks like we have the majority of ingredients so let's see how our foreign visitors enjoy this twist to a classic British picnic ingredient. Scotch eggs.
 I have swapped the carrot for beetroot and added  1 tbsp Za'atar with the herb mixture. Rather than deep fat frying, I placed them on a baking tray and bake in preheated 190 C / Gas mark 5 oven until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
Lovely with the sweet chilli jam that I made last week
We will also pick the Rocket and turn it into a salad, with  pine nuts and parmesan cheese.


As a desert we will pick the blueberries and make some Blueberry Pancakes I used the Telegraph recipe and we will add handfuls of delicious fresh Blueberries.

Friday, 7 July 2017

From Spade to Plate: 10July : Lavendar Wands, biscuits and more

The scent of lavender is in the air, bees are loving it, but so can we.
This session we used lavender as our theme.

It was lovely to see Simone, Sam, June, Servane, Terry, Camila, Luciana with her son Theo , Kiyomi , Silvia, and Glo, we walked to the allotments picked the lavender, rosemary, chard and courgettes before we headed home to turn this abundance into tasty treats.

We made some lavender wands - a natural moth repelant, sleep enhancer, or natural car freshner.
We came to the conclusion that 7 or 9 sprigs were the best amount and that the thinner ribbon is easier to work with. Thank you Glo for giving us such lovely ribbons.

Last week we met AnneMarie, who sadly could not come this week but shared her Lavender idea. She told me that her family regularly make a refreshing  lavender lemonade drink, so inspired by her recommendation, I went on the web to get a recipe. I think it was lovely, especially when it was a warm and muggy outside as it was.

June was in charge of the Lavender Biscuits by Mary Berry, (thank goodness she had her beady eye on them as they turned golden quicker than anticipated) they were very nice but feel a few more flowers could have gone into the mixture to give a little more lavender flavour.

For lunch we had our Courgette Soup with Chard bruschetta for a light lunch, some of us had the chilled version (I made yesterday) and the other half had the hot version.  The addition of the parmasan cheese was delicious, 

In the end many of the members went on their way, lavender wand in one hand and a courgette in the other.  

A lovely way to start the week. I have been blessed with such lovely new friends.