Monday, 13 September 2021

Ciabatta bread with a fig and Goat's cheese topping

 We made ciabatta bread which went down a storm. 

As the fig harvest is so good, we used the ciabatta as a base and the figs and goat's cheese with a balsamic vinegar and rocket topping. 

Instead of the balsamic vinegar we used the blackberry balsamic vinegar that was made a month or so ago.

As we had some waiting time, I showed how I normally make yoghurt. The yoghurt has just come out of the tea cozy and has set well. It will be in the fridge overnight. I will then put it through a muslin cloth to get a thicker greek style yoghurt and the whey will be just for scone making. As my old school friend Franka and her husband will be coming for tea and they love to try a real English scone (Alice's recipe)

Alice's scones


225g plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoon salt

50g frozen butter 

1 small egg 

125ml plain yoghurt

150g crumbled feta cheese

2 spring onions, chopped, or herbs or chilli flakes (optional)

A little milk to glaze


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  3. With your fingers, rub in the grated frozen butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the crumbled cheese and chopped spring onion.
  5. Whisk the egg into the yoghurt with a fork. Make a well in the flour mixture, add the liquid and stir again with a fork, making a soft dough.
  6. Gather the dough in well-floured hands and knead very lightly. On a floured surface, press out the dough with a rolling pin to not less than 1.25cm thick.
  7. Using a 5cm glass or ring cutter, firmly cut out the scones. Gather up the scraps, kneading them together to more scones. 
  8. Transfer the scones to a well greased baking sheet. With a pastry brush wipe the tops of the scones with milk mixture.
  9. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until well-risen and golden brown.
  10. Makes 6-8 scones depending on the size of cutter.
We also made some yoghurt. I normally do this using milk delivered in  returnable glass bottles so that we reduce plastic containers

How I make yoghurt 


2 cups  whole milk

2 tablespoons plain greek yoghurt


  1. In a saucepan, over low heat bring the milk to a simmer. It will take around 15-20 minutes. The freshest milk will yield you better yogurt.
  2. Once it starts to bubble turn off the heat and set aside. You notice a skin has formed on your milk, that is normal.
  3. Let it cool down to 120 degree F. 
  4. Once cooled whisk in the yogurt.
  5. Pour into a sterilized jar and tightly close the lid.  Line a deep bowl with a thick tea towel and place in the jar of yogurt. Wrap the jar up well in the towel and let it sit out in a warm part of your kitchen over night.  (you can also use a thermous flask
  6. After this time, pop the jar in the fridge and let it get cold, roughly 2-3 hours. Once chilled your yogurt will be firm and thick in texture. (you could drain this through a muslin bag to get a greek style yoghurt, keep the whey for baking)
  7. Before you add anything, keep a couple of spoonfuls aside for the next batch. At this point you can add sugar, sweetener, honey, fruit and vanilla.
  8. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Beet burger

 As my own beetroot is not ready (failed first sowing) Raymond gave me a bunch of his beetroot and thought of making some beetburgers (new recipe) and tomorrow when it is oven day I will make the beetroot and goat's cheese tart

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Preserving tomatoes

 Although the tomato season started very late and blight arrived at the allotment, I still managed to harvest about a wheelbarrow of great tomatoes unaffected by blight. The San marzano turned out well so decided to can these.

I have used some different techniques this year to see how we get on. I will try them in a month time in the hope they all have come out well.

Firstly on 24th and 25th August I used this recipe, no waterbath

Mary has another great video  on how to water bath

Then I made a couple of jars of roasted cherry tomatoes in oil

Today, 26th August I made another batch, using a mix of the two. I peeled the tomato (cross in the bottom and then in boiling water for a few minutes, making peeling much easier) did everything as no water bath recipe, put them in a jar and added salted brine 70mg to 1 litre of water, jarred the chopped tomatoes, covered in brine and topped it off with a layer of olive oil. I did however, put them in a hot water bath, to make the lids go vaccum

The skins were dried as the oven had been on and covered with some celery salt and sumac.a tasty treat to nibble on( rather than biscuits)

Before I treated the tomatoes I cut one good sample, tasted it and when it was to my taste, took some seeds to dry on a  sheet of kitchen paper, named them and will use them again next year.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Courgette curry

 courgette curry

To use up some excess courgettes this curry went down very well. Would be good with rice as well as naan bread.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Pears and apples from St Edmund College

 For the last 6 years we have had permission to pick the apples and pears from St Edmund College. This morning Mark and I went out to pick the sweet apples for Monday\s pressing.

The pears were ready to pick too and will be eaten for breakfast as they are too good to press.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Russian Apple cake

 Picking so many apples for juicing, I thought keeping some behind to make this Russian Apple Cake would be a lovely treat.

Growing vertically

 Saw this and want to make this for next year . This man is growing cucumbers but the same can be done for tomatoes.

Growing in buckets

No waste - what to do with peelings and left overs

As the vegetables are coming fast and furiously I am trying to use as much as I can.

So even the not so perfect vegetables are being used.  Today I made this Quick vegetable pickle

Any left over peelings have gone in a bag in the freezer for vegetable stock

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Marjolein's Short bread

 Marjolein's short bread biscuits;

100 gr butter

50gr caster sugar (I added lavender sugar)

50gr rice flour

100gr plain flour

pinch of salt if the butter is unsalted.

Preheat oven to 160C. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment

Beat the soft butter and sugar until well blended

Add the rice flour, flour and (if needed) salt and mix into a crumbly dough

Gather into a ball with you hands. Pat out  a disc 1 cm thick

Cut into shapes of your choice 

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Figs are ready

 I have just come back from my first (of the season) fig harvest across the road. (14th August)

Although it has not been a particularly warm summer, they are sweet and huge.  Now time to get some nice recipes as we will need them for a few weeks, before I will dry them (here is hoping for some hot sunny days)

As I picked so many lovely figs, I have decided to dry them in the food dehydrator, today

Strawberry Ice cream

 Today we made Strawberry Ice cream topped with fresh strawberries (in balsamic vinegar)

As I could not find a tin of condensed milk, we made some ourselves

Monday, 23 August 2021

Courgette Bread with tomato sauce

 Today we made courgette bread and tomato sauce.

Having been away for a few days, the courgettes became too big and the tomatoes needed processing for storage.  As I found this crock pot recipe for tomato sauce, I thought to try this one. There was a lot of juice, I made soup with it and used the thick tomatoes for paste.

We also roasted tomatoes to store in oil.

For a drink with our meal we made a refreshing cucumber and mint cordial

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Cucumber and Mint Cordial

What to do with a glut of cucumbers ?

This cordial  is very easy and tasty too. You will need 2 large cucumbers for a litre of cordial. I prefer it mixed with fizzy water others said they liked it in tonic water.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Mungbean curry and flat bread

Today was the first time that a larger group joined me in the kitchen to make mung bean curry with rice and flatbread (we used 200g SR flour, 5gr salt and 50g boiling water) if you don't have SR flour, use the link for a similar recipe.

Afterwards we walked to the allotment to enjoy yellow raspberries that are just starting to ripen, tomatoes and we picked runner and french beans to take home. We even had a groups photo before the drizzle appeared.

Friday, 13 August 2021

Mung Bean Curry, Flat bread, and apple rose pastry

This post was first published on 24/06/2020

Finishing off what is in the fridge I made this curry today,  bringing back lovely memories from 2nd february 2010

After a very stormy night a warming curry is just the job.
WE made some mung bean curry with rice and flatbread.

In September Melendra, June and I went to pick apples in Storey's way. June wrapped them in newspaper and today was the day that we turned about 15 apples into a on the stove apple crumble

In the topping we put walnuts and maple syrup instead of pecan nuts and we added

crushed branflakes in the mix.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Walnut leaves from Garden Walk

 Walnut leaves from Garden Walk.

Finally we have woken up with sunshine and warmth and hope we have enough today to dry the walnut leaves.  These will be dried and used for teas for skin inflamation and hair rinses.

Monday, 9 August 2021

First apple pressing of 2021 with Kyosuke and Bella

 Yesterday I went to Lida and Graham and saw their lovely tree full of red apples.

They let me have some of them for our first apple pressing. Sadly they are thinking of taking the tree down to build an archive, so we need to enjoy the fruits even more. I also added some of Liz F apples, just to top it up so we can do 2 pressings.  The apples from Emma were good but too sour, I will use them once I find a tree with some sweet eaters (probably some of Githa's and Paul's)

Bella and Kyosuke came to help me press the apples into some lovely juice.

Nasturtium Capers

 The nasturtiums have been cheering up the garden with their yellow, orange and red flowers.

Their leaves have ended up in the salad, some of the flowers stuffed with cream cheese as a spicy but sweet treat.

The flower that were kept on have started to wilt and dry up, revealing their seeds. I don't use them very often but every now and again a recipe asks for capers, so I will be using these instead.

After 3 days in brine, I made the vinegar mix and poured it over the 'capers'. 

Here are some recipes I can use them in. 

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Walnut leaves

 Just harvested some young walnut leaves for tea and the older ones for a hair dye.

I have not used this before so a new experiment 

Cherry trees

This post was first published on 6/7/2018

Today I went to visit the old Cherry Tree in French's road and a new one on Akeman Street.
The neighbours on Akeman street were horrible and abusive, won't go there again.
The owner of the tree on French's road was lovely however, left him some courgettes as a thank you.
Courgettes are growing so fast in this hot weather, have started to dry them for use later in the season.

On Monday with the From Spade to Plate group we hope to make more cherry jam, so keeping fingers crossed that there will be enough cherries on Pauline' tree in the allotment and the ones I picked today to make enough for the group.

Whilst picking the cherries, I noticed that the walnut tree in Akeman Street was shedding some of its walnut, I have picked them up and put them in brine to pickle in a few weeks time.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Blight and marestail

 This morning I was told that blight has arrived in the allotment, I have cut away excess leaves on the tomatoes and made this potion to hopefully stop this from catching my crop.

This weed thrives in our heavy clay soil as it has saved an entire potato crop from the dreaded blight.

Horsetail has powerful antifungal properties that are effective on blight and other fungal infections (in both humans and plants!)


Here’s the recipe we used:

1. In a large glass or stainless steel pot, mix 1/8 cup of dried horsetail leaves in 4 1/2 litres of unchlorinated water

2. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 1/2 hr.

3. Cool, strain, bottle and label. The infusion will keep for a month which is long enough for you to keep reapplying to your crop. Any left overs can be used as a wonderful hair rinse.

4. To use, dilute the 1 part horsetail concentrate to 5-10 parts unchlorinated water. Spray infected plants once every week or two in dry weather or daily if it is raining.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Courgette soup with a garlic bread

A busy morning today with 7 people joining in our cooking session. The courgette chickpea soup and garlic bread turned out very well. And as a bonus we made some sunflower petal infusion, to be used in a couple of months time and it will be turned into lipbalm and hand creme.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Missed one. After 3 days of not going to the allotment, found this enormous marrow

 Missed one. After 3 days of not going to the allotment, found this enormous marrow.

So off I went to the internet and found this extremely tasty and easy courgette soup

The first of the runner beans were ready too but not enough to make a large meal, so the runner bean samosas are on the menu tonight.

The filo pastry I made before and froze to make it a quick and easy snack.

Friday, 23 July 2021

From Spade to Plate: 26 July : Lavender Wands, Cordial and more

This post was published on 7th July 2017

Today 26th July 2021 Asami came and together we made some lavender wands like we did nearly 4 years ago to the day.  We also made some cordial and with the blue berries from the garden some lovely pancakes.

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.

I made some lavender sugar for future use using a food processor

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.