Thursday 31 August 2017

Grape and Apple cordial

I received a call from Glo (26CRHC) to say that her grapes were ready to harvest. She had had loads herself but wanted to make sure that something nice was done with these sweet, seedless purple grapes.

On the way there I remembered that I had seen some amazing cooking apples in the hedge so decided to cycle past to see if they were ready. They were so picked enough to fill my panier and went on my way. Offered Glo some for her breakfast and set off to pick the grapes.

This morning, I decided to use some of them for the coming week's breakfast treat but the turn the rest into grape and apple cordial, this time I am using the steamjuicer rather than the press.
Although I once bought it from Tchibo you could also buy it online for £30

First Apple pressing of the season

The apple press is coming out of hibernation.
A chilly morning followed by a gloriously sunny morning.  It always is a sign of autumn being on the way.
Walking by 203VR  I noticed that eating apples are ready, so armed with picker and wheelbarrow I set off to return 1 hour later with a barrow full of delicious eating apples. I managed to tidy up the garden and pavement in time to see Sandy and Brice have a chat and be home in time to turn this lovely produce into 20 litres of gorgeous apple juice.

As my wheelie bin was full (of blighted tomatoes😞, I emptied one from the allotments (had trimmings from the garden in it so used it as a base layer for the next compost row) and took it home to fill with the pressing left overs. (checked with Linda if that would be fine)

I returned later to give D and Ron, and Margaret a bottle of apple juice and as I saw David on the way there, gave him some juice too. Could not have been any fresher. (well, the juice I drank when pressing was the best of course, such a treat!)

As on Sunday we have our annual bring and share in the allotment, I went to pick all the eating apples of Alyson T's tree. She does not harvest them as she does not like them much, so thought to mix them with the crate I took of Fernando's cooking apple tree to make a  truly local juice. I will turn them into juice tomorrow with Ruth's children and some members of the Cambridge Abundance group.

Should be a nice occasion, always very sociable.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

end of August and one more day of strong sunshine forecasted

As the US is battling with hurricane Gert, I am expecting lots of rain and wind in a week or so, so now the weather is hot for another day, I decided to turn a cardboard box into a solar drier so that the tomatoes I harvested yesterday with the from Spade to Plate group can be turned into sundried tomatoes.
 Some very large tomatoes from the back garden. Next year, I need to grow more red, blight resisting cherry pear tomatoes (had too many yellow ones, albeit sweet and delicious) a few red ones would have been nicer for the gaspacho and sun dried tomatoes.

sundrying red and yellow tomatoes with salt and basil. in 11.55 am
Just made a sundrier for the tomatoes, the apples are drying on the washing up rack
Selection of tomatoes to be dried

From Spade to Plate: Sundried apples and tomatoes

Making a sunbox
This morning I found a perfect box for my Sun box so I can dry my tomatoes
It was perfect because my oven tray fitted exactly and it was not too deep

I got some aluminium foil, scissors and spray glue to line the lids.

These are the apples I am drying in the sun, it is very hot inside it and expect them to be dry within hours

Here I am drying the apples on a rack and on sticks.
One day in the sun and Githa's apples became divine treats.

Monday 28 August 2017

From Spade to Plate: 28th August Gazpachio, bean salad and poached pears

Coming back from holiday and 10 days of no harvest the garden is full of goodies that need immediate attention.

Constanza, Serolta, maria Jose and June picking sunflowers

The tomatoes have started to show signs of blight so will be harvested immediately and turned into soups, sauces, cakes and will be dried.
Where are the tomatoes?

yellow pear and cherry tomatoes for the soup

Today we will make a Gazpachio as it is lovely and warm outside, a perfect cold soup for a hot day.

1kg tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 cucumber
2 garlic cloves
100ml olive oil
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
pepper and salt

Maria Jose dishing up the Gazpacho
Cut the vegetables roughly and put in fruit processor together with the oil and vinegar.  Puree until very smooth if too thin add some bread crumbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with finely chopped cucumber, yellow tomatoes and basil.

The beans that we sowed a few weeks ago are ready for harvest and we will turn them into a warm bean salad Ă  la Jamie Oliver.

As a desert we will have poached pears with chocolate ice cream and a splash of blackberry cordial
To make the syrup I use 1 liter of water to 250gr sugar and  a vanilla pod.
June picking her pear for the dessert

Sharing our meal together

A bag of eating apples appeared on my doorstep this morning, so we will turn them into some nice nibbles, Personally I will dry them in the sun the next few days

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Monday 14th August - From Spade to Plate, Vegetarian Sushi

Having some lovely Japanese and Korean friends, I decided to make some sushi with a difference. The vegetarian version, especially as there will be a few ingredients on my allotment that we can use to make an authentic Japanese/Dutch vegetarian sushi!

We  went to the allotment and picked: tomatoes, cucumbers, the first carrot of the season and a few bunches of lavender.

We spend a lovely morning making the sushi and lavender bags.

In addition we used

Smoked Courgettes (rather than smoked salmon)
Pickled cucumber
cream cheese
sesame seeds

June Picking lavender

Sarolta and Camila making lavender bags

June and Yuji harvested the lettuces from the back garden which we used to make a salad using the left over ingredients from the sushi making.
The sauce was oil, balsamic vinegar, whole grain mustard and a little sugar.
In addition to the vegetables,  I added walnuts and Gorgonsola dolce.

From Spade to plate: Wednesday 9th: Gluten Free Courgetti - Bami

With all this rain the courgettes have grown into Marrows in a very short time.
The good thing is that we have managed to borrow a very good Spiralizer that would do the job to turn these monsters into delicious healthy 'noodles'.

When my friends turned up the weather was as forecasted, wet and autumnal.
This morning I had gone to the allotment to get the leeks, courgettes and runner beans, as I did not think it was necessary for us all to get wet and cold.

Sarolta turning the marrow into noodles
We turned them into courgetti noodles  with a Bami topping -

Using leek,  Pak choi, carrots, french and runner beans, courgettes from the gardens. We noticed that the Bammi Goreng pack thatvI bought in Holland was not gluten free, so when checking the package for what spices to add, we added coriander, tumeric, garlic, ginger and cumin.  When the vegetables were cooked we added the cougetti noodles and served with (gluten free soya sauce)  silver onions, pickled cucumbers and fried bananas.
The fried eggs (free range eggs from Susan and Mike's hens, thank you) turned it into a delicious meal.

We did manage to go into our garden for a little bit, so we picked the french beans that i have been growing in  the bottles and the Pak Choi, that planted itself a little while ago, so a nice surprise.

Whatever the weather was outside, the friendship and chatter was warm and kind.
Another lovely day.  We are blessed.

Monday 7 August 2017

From Spade to Plate: Spinach , new potato curry with garlic flat bread

As the summer has been so good to us, the vegetables in the allotment are in abundance

The interest in our group has grown too, 12 people wanted to join this Monday but as my kitchen is not big enough have decided to have two groups this week.  6 guests and me, would work well (me thinks!)

Maria, Servane, June, Akiko, Ryoko and Miyoko

What a surprise, reunited again!
The first meal we made was a Spinach, new potato curry with coconut, serviced with rice and flat bread

Ryoko picked the tomatoes and basil for a  simple tomato salad
This is how you use the picking stick, years of experience, showing the next generation
Noticed that the apples are ripening too, will pick some with the group to give them a taste of what is to come. Those apples that were slightly blemished, we turned into apple stew, topped by a few juicy black berries

Maria showing her picking technique
apple stew with cinnamon and black berries

Tuesday 1 August 2017

1 August - my lovely garden

One year ago we moved into our house on Victoria Road and  planted up the garden.
I am so grateful for all the delicious food and joy it has given our family and friends.

Our Garden February 2016
view from the kitchen  1st August 2017
View from the kitchen 1August 2016
Beetroot ready to be harvested
Chickpeas, lettuces and cucumber
Blueberries, had a daily harvest for more than a  month
Yellow pear tomatoes in bottles, sweet and self watering