Friday 30 June 2017

Delicious pears grown from a pip

Today  (3/9/2015)I went to see Alison on Harvey Goodwin Avenue to finish the picking of the pears.
The tree was laden and Alison told me that this is an annual event. She received the tree from her mum when she moved in. She grew the tree from a pip from a pear she bought from the supermarket.
Did not know that it could be so successful, will try it as well. watch this space.

She also had a passion fruit plant full of fruit. I always wanted to have one as the flowers are so beautiful and the fruit so decorative. It turns out the the fruit is edible, don't eat the skill, just the pips. They are sweet and crunchy a bit like a pomegranate.  Delicious.

A few weeks later Alison had dropped a little cutting off at my house. Although I had not room yet for this plant, I hope to plant it in my new garden on Victoria Road. next year.

on 1/7/2017 we took some pictures of the cutting.
It is in bloom and it even has some fruit on it! Will have to wait for a while for the fruit to ripen and see if it tastes as good as it looks, fingers crossed as signs are promising

On 27th August we started eating the fruit. One a day for with our breakfast.

Lovely sweet and giving a bit of a crunch

Monday 26 June 2017

From Spade to Plate - 26 June Peas and courgettes

Today we harvested the last of the peas and new potatoes in one of the raised beds in the garden.

June harvesting the peas

Some of our freshly picked peas
harvesting the Charlotte potatoes

Shelling peas with a few friends is so much nicer and more sociable than doing this on your own

I noticed that the first courgettes in the allotment are ready too so what better to make for lunch than Jenny's Pea fritters.
June and Hyungi on the way to the allotment with the spent Pea halms

harvesting the first courgettes

 She brought some to the Garden Walk street party and they were yummy so was inspired as with all the fresh ingredient to hand, I could share it with more friends?

As the new potatoes are ready too and are in the same bed, we harvested them today to get the bed ready to transplant some lettuces and sow some beetroot.

For Salad we will be making a Rocket, pear, walnut and parmasan salad.
  • walnuts
  • pear
  • parmesan, shaved
  • rocket leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 6 mins | Total time: 16 mins
Makes 12 Fritters

·       2 Large courgettes (skinned)
·       150g cooked petit pois
·       A good handful of fresh mint, 1 tbsp lemon juice
·       140g flour
·       1 egg
·       Salt to flavour
·       Cracked Black Pepper
·      Olive Oil, or similar frying oil

We thought that feta cheese incorporated in this mixture might be a nice addition, but we had not tried it.

We had some runnerbean chutney with the fritters. Delicious
1.     Grate the courgettes into a large bowl (be sure not to grate your fingers).
2.     Sprinkle grated courgette with a pinch of salt, stir through and leave to sit for about 10 minutes.
3.     In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (bar the oil).
4.     Once the courgette has finished resting, using your hands, squeeze over the sink with your hands to remove excess liquid.
5.     Add the courgette to the other ingredients and mix well.
6.     Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat.
7.     Take a tablespoon, and transfer spoonfuls of the fritter mixture to the pan.
8.     Flatten the spoonfuls with the back of a wooden spoon.
9.     Cook for a few minutes on either side.
10.   Eat while piping hot, or leave to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Sunday 18 June 2017

From Spade to Plate: 19th June Meditaranean heat 32 degrees

HOT, HOT, HOT 32 degrees

A little before 11, June arrived and went to her favourite corner chair. Fan on and glass of elderflower cordial. What bliss!

Then on the dot Sangjo, Sun, Ga, Kuyung, Hyungi joined us.
After a cooling glass of water, we started the harvest.
We mostly worked in the shade, however, we needed to spend a little time harvesting before we could eat.

First we harvested the onions and the garlic to make Caponata, a Sicilian dish to go with this hot weather.

The garlic we harvested  has to dry before we can use it to store, I harvested some last week which are now ready to braid. With a rolling pin we flattened the stalks as they are then easier to handle. We cut off the roots and rub off the skins  to reveal a lovely white and pink clean bulb. Ready for braiding.

With the skins, roots and 2 garlic cloves we will make a pesticide against black and green aphids as the runner beans are badly effected this year.

After harvesting the garlic and onions,  we sowed french beans, Faraday, in the empty area which should be ready later this summer.

Whilst the girls were braiding, June started with the tomato sauce, the cooking went like a well oiled machine. Once the braid was done, the group come inside to make the caponata.
The baguette was cut, table set and together we enjoyed this tasty summer dish.

Before we left, we picked some lavender to make some lavender sugar
so that in a few weeks' time we can make some.lavender shortbread in the weeks to come, we harvest some lavender and make some
For lunch with a baguette we ate

Augergine Caponata

½ cup of olive oil
1 large onion chopped
3 table spoons of pine nuts
3 tbsp raisins
2 celery stalks
1 tbsp chili flakes
1 aubergine
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp thyme
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
chopped mint

Tomato sauce
¼ olive oil
1 onion diced
4 garlic cloves
1 carrot finely grated
3 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tblsp dried
1 can chopped tomatoes


In a larch sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, pine nuts, raisins, and chili flakes and sauté for 4 minutes.

Add the aubergine,  sugar, cinnamon, cocoa cook for 5 minutes.
Add thyme, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Bring mixture to the boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

For the Tomato sauce

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil then add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. (about 8 minutes)AA
Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 more minutes until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and bring to boil, stir often. Simmer for 30 minutes until thick.  Season with salt and serve.

The thyme and mint stalks we put in water in the hope that they would root, so that we can plant them in the garden in a few weeks' time.

Monday 5 June 2017

From Spade to Plate: 5th June 2017 - Edible flowers for my salad

As the lettuces are in need of eating, having a group of 6 keen Visiting Scholars to help harvest, cook and eat, I thought this would be a nice complement to the Asparagus and Broad Bean risotto that we are making.

Currently I have Calendula (orange and yellow), Nigella (light blue), Cornflower (dark blue), Chives (purple and oniony tasting) and little yellow rocket flowers that we can use to add to the Salad.

There are many more edible flowers that we can add to the salad later in the season and will use them as and when they are ready for use.



For now,  I make a basic dressing of Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coarse grain mustard and a little honey (from Stella's bees) and add it to the mixed lettuces that are ready for harvest.


Asparagus and broad bean risotto

From Spade to Plate: 5th June 2017
Asparagus and broad bean risotto

Preparation time: 
15 minutes
Cooking time: 
25 minutes
Total time:40 minutes
Serves: 4

175g fresh broad beans
150g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1 vegetable stock cube
1 onion, chopped
250g  Risotto Rice
75ml White wine
3 tbsp grated Parmigiano
flat-leaf parsley, chopped


1. Add the beans and asparagus to a pan of simmering water and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until just al dente. Drain and reserve the water. Use this water and the stock cube to make up 1.2 litres of stock, and keep it simmering in a pan.

2 Put the onion in a medium non-stick pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until soft and golden. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute, then the wine. Add the stock a ladleful at a time and keep stirring until each one is absorbed. This will take 15 - 20 minutes.

 3 When the rice is almost tender, add the beans and asparagus and cook for a couple of minutes to heat through. Stir in the cheese, butter and parsley off the heat and season to taste.

strawberries in vertical garden
harvesting broadbeans
harvesting broadbeans in allotment
asparagus and broadbeans freshly harvested for the risotto
baby pumpkin, have great hopes for it!

These pumpkins were harvested in September. great way to use  this plot for 2  crops. Asparagus and pumpkins

Vertical garden

Khadia and Servan processing strawberries for the icecream
Servane and Khadya
Harvesting the first onion
shelling broadbeans for the risotto

The icecream is VERY simple.

I had three ripe bananas. I cut them in little pieces and open froze them.
We picked the strawberries and added them into the food processor with the frozen bananas. Blend until smooth and eat immediately or put in the freezer for another hour or so. Not too long as otherwise it becomes very hard.

Easy and delicious! Give it a try.  (Vegan and no added sugar)