Monday, 27 July 2020

Dwarf Fantasy Sunflowers and Blue Berries

Last week, I shared the echinacea growing in my vegetable garden plot.

Today its the turn of sunflowers. 
Although they have not been as tall and magnificent compared to years gone, they are still adding cheer and colour to the garden - so much so, our neighbours went to the garden centre and bought some potted sunflowers to put outside their front door. 
Ours came out of a packet called Dwarf Fantasy Mixed Sunflowers and were started from seed.
Indeed all are different and even different shades of yellow.
I think this is Sunzilla sunflower - very, very big sunflower - its still growing and taller than me, over five foot and came in a packet of its own.  
We do also have some Russian Sunflowers growing too, but more about them next time. 
Okay, so this is supposed to be Harvest Monday where I share homegrown fruit and vegetables with Dave from Happy Acres.  

So i have some homegrown blueberries to share. 
Turned into a Blueberry Loaf Cake adapted from thiCranberry , Carrot and Orange Bread recipe.
One Long Fiorentino Courgette with which i made pasta dish.
A handful of runner beans.
If you look closer, you will see that i also harvest the first yellow Neckargold French bean buts its looking more like a yellow runner bean. 
I f you look closely, you will note how closely have put vegetables together to make the most of the space this year.  From the right hand corner - Dazzling Blue Kale, then Perpetual Spinach, the  Long Fiorentino Courgette  and then Runner Bean wigwams and right at the back the Tall Climbing Pea frames (and some crocosmia creeping  in between the fencing from the neighbours).

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Courgette Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

It's been a bit of an unusual week.

The first part of the week I was really unwell.  I don't know what the cause was, but i was suddenly struck with feeling of being nauseas. I can only pinpoint it to going out to the supermarket for the first time and being surrounded by so many people in a way that i have not been accustomed to the past four months, so perhaps I may have picked something.  I could not remains off work for the rest of the week though, as I had a number of deadlines, priorities to meet and that may have also impacted on my stress levels. So who knows, what it was.  I am feeling much better, but still tender and as always thankful for restful weekend for a sleep in and recharging.
Again, i had planned to spend some of the time in the vegetable garden plot, but I am not kidding you - the weekends seem to bring rain. 

We have small patch in the vegetable plot where we sowed some wild flower seeds.  Poppies are coming up, but they're fragility to the elements mean they don't last long and the delicate red tissue papery petals crumple.
Food at home this week has been light and simple all this week, because of my sensitive belly. 
The natural flavours from the vegetables and  fresh herbs came through in this Courgette and Tomato Pasta.  I also liked that the courgettes retained a bit of crunch.  Even though I was enjoying this colourful plate, I was struggling to eat everything on the plate, so the remainder was decanted into a tub and put in the fridge, either for later in the evening if I got hungry again or for the following day for lunch. 

So how has your week been?! And what have you been eating for lunch?
I am sharing this Courgette Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce  with Soup, Salad and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Courgette Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 2 - 3
Ingredients2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium courgettes, diced small
3 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
Salt to taste
4 medium courgettes, halved then sliced lengthways
Method
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. In the last 3 minutes, add in the sliced courgettes, bring to a boil. then drain well and set aside.
Heat the oil in a side pan, over medium heat.  
Add the diced courgette and coo k until browned. 
Then stir in the garlic and cook for a minute.  
Stir in the tomatoes and herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Carefully toss the cooked pasta and courgette slices, stir gently to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve. 
Adapted from A Well-Seasoned Appetite: Recipes from an American Kitchen by Molly O'Neill..

Monday, 20 July 2020

Almost Homegrown Sunday Lunch and Harvest Monday

This echinacea reminds me of those ballerina dancers in those children musical jewellery boxes dancing elegantly in the breeze of the wind. 
Quite stunning, i just wish D had planted it in the border rather than tucked away under the plum tree.
 We don't have many raspberry canes this year, but what we have had has been good.
I made these raspberry muffins with some of the raspberries, but they are no match for Dave's muffin recipe, did you see his blog post last week with homegrown blueberries and homemade muffins. I want the recipe and hope he will oblige. My muffins just never seem to rise.
I mentioned in my previous blog post, that We are growing carrots for the first time in years and they seem to be doing well from the look of the healthy feathery fronds. 
Here they are thinned out carrots quite healthy actually. They are yellow carrots called Jaune Obtuse de Doubs. Some had been affected by carrot fly, but the damage was minimal. so i am keeping my fingers crossed that the carrots remaining will escape the dreaded pest.
Homegrown Sunday Dinner....well almost...the only vegetable that was not homegrown were the new potatoes.  Caramelized glazed baby yellow carrots and the last of the purple top Milan turnips, steamed runner beans and homemade vegan seitan hot' pastrami' on the side (whiich I will write more about later).
Glazed Turnips and Carrots
Ingredients
250g baby carrots, sliced in half lengthways
200g turnips, sliced into coins, blanched and rinsed, set aside
40g butter
1 tablespoon caster sugar
salt
Method
Melt the butter in a pan and then add the carrots and turnips. Stir.
Sprinkle over the sugar.
Saute gently until the vegetables are lightly browned and glossy.
Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve immediately
Adapted from Sophie Grigson's Feasts for A Fiver.  
The last time i cooked from it was a Sri Lankan Beetroot Curry 
Purple Dwarf climbing beans and runner beans, plus a cooking apple that D thought was worth rescuing 
Here are some of the runner beans and green beans seared with togarashi.  Togarashi is a Japanese spice blend made with crushed red pepper flakes, black and white sesame seeds, nori and salt and pepper.  It was lovely served as an accompaniment to a couscous dish.
Some more Champion and Telephone - tall climbing peas coming along wonderfully considering it was a slow start. 
I also picked some rhubarb sticks to make rhubarb crumble. I have plenty more to pick, so any recipes, please do share.  am sharing my Monday harvest with Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts Harvest Monday every week.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Carrot In Carrot Out

We are growing carrots for the first time in year sand they seem to be doing well from the look of the healthy fronds, but I think its a little while when we come to harvest them. So it is no surprise that D has been coming home with a bag every time he has gone to the supermarket. I then wonder what to do with them, the last time i made Chilli Carrot Pasta Salad, but sometimes they have found their way to the compost bin. 

Here are a few recipes that have featured at home of late. 
D actually made coleslaw with them on of of the days, served with homegrown peas and broad beans and homemade  panko crumbed Seitan Chick n. 
Last week I saw Johanna's Carrot Oat Slice and decided to make them as a change from our usual oat bars aka flapjacks.  
My carrot oat slices were not as glossy and golden on the top as Johanna's, but they were satisfying. A healthy cross between carrot cake and oat bars. Johanna recommended prunes and nuts, I didn't have any nuts in the house, or prunes - so just added a handful of raisins. 
I also made this Curried Carrot, Green Pepper and chickpea recipe as a wrap filling, not that dissimilar from Coleslaw Curry.
But instead of rolling it up, this time I pressed them in my panini press - Sorry I didn't get a picture, hunger pangs would not allow me too. But here is a picture of a similar recipe, if you want to get an idea of what the finished dish looked like
I am sharing this curried toasted wrap filled with mildly spiced carrots, green pepper and chickpeas  with Soup, Salad and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen
And if you tempted by these healthy carrot treats, follow this link to Johanna's blog for the recipe - it's also vegan!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Harvest Monday: Glorious Greens from the Garden

Monday Harvest 

Glorious purple stemmed kale and raspberries. 
Couple of courgettes.  I think I said it last week, i have been disappointed in our courgettes, not the seed but the damp weather has been rotting so many of them. 
Harvested tray of peas and runner beans.
Climbing Champion Peas fattening up
Peek inside the greenhouse - we haven't harvested any as of yet, but our neighbour was gleefully telling us over the fence that he harvested his first orange tomato this week - his cheerfulness was so uplifting.
Tree tomatoes! No actually, these are plums. 
Progress on the pear tree
Progress of the cooking apples. 
Last of the Purple Top Milan Turnip.  I will sowing some more seeds at the weekend in the space where the broad beans were.  Oh  I didn't say, I have pulled out all the broad beans, they were not doing well, plus there were smothered with black fly.
Ending with these wide open roses that have been attracting the bees
am sharing my harvest with Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts Harvest Monday every week.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Peanut Butter Pancakes and Groundnut Curry with Kale

I am already whimpering at the thought that tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off, I have to return to work (albeit I am still working from home).

The weeks annual leave does not feel enough, that I am contemplating taking another week off in not too long.
I feel like I have hardly done anything worthwhile.  

Then D gently reminded me that I did a lot of learning.  And this is true, I did a lot of reading, I even attended a on-line Cyber School.  We went for a walk and discovered for ourselves the most magnificent tree. I've done some gardening.  I have overslept without feeling guilty.  I have stayed up late and watched some films and documentaries and mostly and more importantly.  I switched off from thinking about work and got to rest and I guess that is what matters. 

Monday, 6 July 2020

Runner Bean Pasta Salad and Harvest Monday

In contrast to my harvest last week, this weeks harvest seems abundant. 

Everything is beginning to come along now.
We have raspberries that have been enjoyed both with homemade waffles and Greek yogurt and honey.
I have put the red gooseberries into a tub and in the freezer for later. The strawberries and wild strawberries were used last in a Wild Strawberry Cake
I was fortunate to spot this courgettes, a day of two later and it would have been more of a marrow. 

The small end was used to top a pizza along with nasturtium flowers and young leaves. The rest was used in a omelette that D made.  Omelettes are D's speciality, not mine. 
Purple dwarf Hestia climbing beans, Champion and Telephone garden peas and some Runner Beans.
The runner beans were used in this Lemon and Mint Bean Pasta Salad
Other harvest from the garden - Purple stemmed kale, the name escapes me at the moment and some Purple Top Milan Turnips.
am sharing my harvest with Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts Harvest Monday every week.
I am also sharing this Lemon Mint Runner Bean Pasta Salad with Soup, Salad and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen
Like most of my pasta salads, not much to it.  Its olive oil and lemon juice, minced mint from the garden, sliced runner beans that were parboiled in salted water and spring onions.  Stirred into some cooked pasta, then seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and lunch was ready.