Archive for December, 2010

Kale is at its seasonal best round about now, plus it’s a superfood, packed full of vitamins and minerals which is another great reason to eat it at this time of year.  

Our Kale and Bacon Risotto is a delicious way to eat kale and will make a refreshing change from all that Christmas fayre!


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 crushed clove of garlic 
a few rashers of thick bacon cut into strips or diced
350g risotto rice
4 tbsp white wine
1 litre vegetables stock
200g shredded kale
50g grated parmesan cheese


Fry the bacon in a dash of olive oil until crispy then set aside

Saute the kale in a dash of olive oil until crispy and set aside

Fry the onions and garlic gently until the onions become soft and clear

Add the rice, stir well and fry for a few minutes

Add the wine and heat through until the liquid has reduced by half

Add the stock a little at a time until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, this may take around half an hour.  Add more water if there is not enough stock. 

When the rice is cooked add the kale, bacon and parmesan cheese to the risotto, heat through until piping hot and season with salt and pepper as required.

For a nice additional touch sprinkle with some toasted pumpkin seeds before serving – delicious!

For everything you need to Grow Your Own take a look at Recycleworks.

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For many people who enjoying growing their own vegetables, a move into home farming and self-sufficiency is a natural next step. 

Whether at home, school or as part of a community wide project, food produced locally and in season tastes better, is cheaper and better for the environment too!

Recycleworks have always stocked everything you could want for growing your own vegetables.  …And for home farming enthusiasts they have now launched a range of excellent quality pig arks.  


Easy to assemble and with solid wood floors they are perfect for housing two or more pigs in comfort.  Take a look at the full range here.  …And remember all prices include delivery which takes around a week.

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 Christmas is just around the corner so we wanted to grab the chance to wish you all a very merry christmas!

Thanks to everyone who has visited and supported Gardening With Children this year. 
We hope you have enjoyed all of our seasonal gardening hints and tips, activity ideas and recipes. 
We believe passionately that children who have contact with nature and the natural world are happier and healthier, and so we are here to help and encourage everyone to get out there and do some gardening with children
We have lots of new things planned for 2011 – exciting new competitions, brand new seasonal gardening ideas with kids in mind, and some delicious new seasonal allotment recipes which we will be sharing with you throughout the year … so do keep in touch
Merry Christmas from the Gardening With Children Team 

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This yummy Christmas punch is delicious for all the family and is full of fruity goodness too! 

2 litres of cranberry juice
2 oranges
2 cloves fixed into two slices of apple
dash of vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey
1 cinnamon stick

Cut the oranges into circular slices
Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and warm through gently
Serve and enjoy

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Children love to make things that they can hang on the christmas tree and what better than things they can eat too!

This recipe will make two to three dozen biscuits, depending on how big they are.  You will need some seasonal pastry cutters – stars and christmas trees will look great. 

Decorate with white icing for a frosty seasonal feel!



200g self-raising flour
100g soft butter
100g light, soft brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.
  2. Rub the flour and butter together until they look like breadcrumbs
  3. Add the sugar and spices, and mix round with a metal spoon
  4. Add the egg, mix it in to form a dough and gently knead till smooth
  5. Roll out on a lightly floured surface
  6. Cut into shapes of your choice with a cutter. 
  7. Place them on a greased baking tray
  8. Make a hole in the top of each biscuit with a kebab stick or cocktail stick
  9. Bake for 10–12 minutes till golden
  10. When cool, ice the biscuits and thread with ribbon to hang on the tree!

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If you are cooking for the birds CJ Wildlife suggest:

If you are unfortunate enough to run out of bird food, or want to make what you have left last a little longer, why not try making some bird food of your own?

Lard or dripping can be mixed in with cake crumbs or broken biscuits (avoiding chocolate ones as a chemical in chocolate is toxic to birds) to make it easier for the birds to eat if it’s too soft.

 It can also be rubbed into tree trunks or rough walls to make a “feeding stripe” for smaller birds such as Wrens and Long-tailed Tits. Mild cheese is best served coarsely grated and suet can be fed “neat”. Some people swear by crushed digestive biscuits as a supplement.

Feeding the birds not only gives them a huge helping hand during the winter months, it also brings some fascinating wildlife into the garden. 

During the colder weather in particular, all sorts of unusual varieties can put in an appearance as they hunt for food …

For a lovely range of wildlife and bird feeding goodies visit www.recycleworks.co.uk.


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Have fun during this festive time of year …and learn a little along the way, with our Christmas Quiz.  Open to both schools and families, there are 10 questions to get your teeth into.  …And this time around the competition won’t close until 9 January 2011 – to give you all a bit longer to reply during this busy time of year. 

The first correct entry out of the hat will win a great selection of windowsill gardening goodies. These will be perfect for getting your growing season started in the new year.  Included are a paper potter, two non electric propagators, two childrens hand trowels, two sets of kids gardening gloves and a kids watering can!

So here are the questions:

  1. What saint is another name for Father Christmas?
  2. Can you name a vegetable that is in season at Christmas time?
  3. True or false – candles were used to decorate Christmas trees before electric lights were invented?  (but don’t try that at home!)
  4. What did my true love send to me on the 12th day of Christmas?
  5. Mistletoe is a hemi-parasitic plant – do you know what that means?
  6. Name 3 things you can find on a nature walk that can be used to decorate the house over christmas
  7. Advent is used to describe the 24 days leading to Christmas, but do you know what the meaning of advent is in Latin?
  8. True or false – in Victorian times mince pies contained beef and spices
  9. Can you name one of the first garden flowers of the new year
  10. What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Email your answers to competitions@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk or send in the post to Gardening With Children December Competition, Unit 1, Bee Mill, Ribchester, PR3 3XJ.

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