Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘allotment recipe’

Strawberries on plate

I seem to be surrounded by Strawberries: at my allotment, in my garden and even when I visit my parents, they have a strawberry bed which is simply overflowing with fruit (I can’t resist them and always leave with a tub full). This year has been an exceptional year for Strawberries, they are at their best now and simply delicious, however you choose to eat them.

HomeBetween 1st June – 31st August Breast Cancer Care are encouraging people to support them by holding a Strawberry Tea. Simply get together with friends and family, buy or bake some cakes, add some strawberries, put the kettle on and away you go!

You can hold a Strawberry Tea at home, at work, at your Sports Club in the clubhouse, with your community group, gardening club, art group and at school.

Holding a Strawberry Tea at School is a great way to get children involved, I am sure there will be lots of eager volunteers to help make the Strawberry Treats as well as designing posters, invitations and planning the event, why not combine it with the end of term Summer Fair.

There are some delicious Strawberry recipes on their website, this is one of my favourites, it’s perfect for parties too or as a cooling and refreshing treat on a hot day.

Mini Rainbow Jellies

This recipe uses small shot glasses, you can use larger plastic cups by increasing the quantities of Jelly and adding more Strawberries, why not try different flavours of jelly and use other seasonal fresh fruits.

Makes 12     Preparation time: 20 minutes     Chilling time: 3½ hours

Ingredients

  • 35g Pineapple Jelly Tablet
  • A drop of blue food colouring
  • ½ x 35g Lime Jelly Tablet
  • 4 Strawberries sliced

What you need to do

  1. Make up the pineapple jelly with water as the pack directs. Pour half into a jug and add a drop of blue food colouring to darken the jelly slightly. Allow the jelly to cool slightly.
  2. Pour the darker coloured jelly into the base of 12 plastic shot glasses then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or until just set.
  3. Make up the lime jelly as the pack directs using half the amount of water. Leave to cool.
  4. Pour the lime jelly over the set coloured pineapple layer, then put back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  5. Press a slice of strawberry into each jelly then pour over the remaining uncoloured pineapple jelly to fill each glass. Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours or until set.

If you have a glut of Strawberries why not put them to good use; hold a Strawberry Tea, have a great time and raise money for a good cause at the same time. If you have a large crop turn them into delicious Strawberry Jam and bake some Strawberry Jam Drop Cookies or into Strawberry Smoothies.

Enjoy

Gill

Read Full Post »

If you have grown your own pumpkins this year now is the time to put them to good use and turn them into fantastic Halloween Lanterns, don’t throw away the lovely orange flesh, use it to make some delicious Mini Halloween Pumpkin Cakes.

Mini Halloween Pumpkin Cakes

  • 250g Pumpkin Flesh (peeled weight)
  • 150g Self-Raising Flour
  • 150g Light Brown Sugar
  • 100g Butter/Margarine
  • 90g Sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Juice
  • zest of ½ Orange
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Mixed Spice
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Line a 12 hole cake tin with paper cases.
  3. Grate the pumpkin flesh.
  4. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
  5. Melt the butter/margarine in the microwave and then beat in the eggs.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together.
  7. Add the orange juice, orange zest, sultanas and the grated pumpkin and stir well.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the bun cases.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and springy. 

The Topping

  • 75g (3oz) Butter/Margarine, softened
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 225g (8oz) Icing Sugar, sifted
  • Few drops of food colouring red/green

Beat together the butter, milk, food colouring and half the sugar to combine, then add the remaining sugar and beat until fluffy.

  1. When the cakes are cool, generously spread them with the topping.
  2. For ‘Snake Stew Cakes’ keep the topping messy and press jelly snakes into it or for
  3. ‘Spooky Spider Cakes’ smooth the topping and add 2 round sweets for eyes and Liquorice Strips or Strawberry Laces for legs.

These cakes make an unusual alternative to sweets for your visiting trick or treaters.

Let’s hope that we have a moonlit, dry and crisp Halloween night, as being a soggy ghost, witch or skeleton isn’t much fun.

Happy Halloween.

Gill

Read Full Post »

Blackberries are plentiful this year and picking them is another of my favourite Autumn things to do, it is also the time when farmers begin to cut their hedges so to avoid disappointment a few years ago I planted a cultivated blackberry at the bottom of my garden and this year from late August I have been picking fruit every few days. Cultivated Blackberries are definitely worth growing, producing much larger berries than their wild cousins, and are often thornless making them child friendly.

Cultivated Blackberry ‘Black Satin’

Blackberries to me are the taste of Autumn, they can be made into lots of delicious deserts, I love their flavour but not really their seeds so when I have a good crop I make a batch of Blackberry Jelly which we all enjoy through the winter months. As I pick my Blackberries I freeze them in margarine cartons or ice cream tubs and when they have finished cropping I then make my Jelly.

Blackberry Jelly

Ingredients

  • 900g/2lb Blackberries (Fresh or frozen)
  • 150ml/1/4 pint Water
  • Granulated Sugar or Jam Sugar with added Pectin
  • Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Place the Blackberries in a pan with the water and simmer gently until very soft, press the fruit regularly.
  2. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin – I did this the first time but it took quite a while to drain through so now I press it through a sieve, although you do not get a clear liquid you do get more pulp and more taste.
  3. Measure the liquid and reheat in a clean pan.
  4. Add 450g/1lb sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per 600ml/1pint of Blackberry liquid. If you are using frozen Blackberries you need to double the quantity of lemon juice. If you are using sugar containing pectin only add half the amount of lemon juice.
  5. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. It is at this point that I taste some of the cooled liquid and if it is a little tart I add some extra sugar.
  6. Boil rapidly until a setting point is reached.
  7. Pour into hot jars and seal down.

To give you an idea of yield last year I used approx 5lb Blackberries which made approx 3 pints of liquid and filled 10 medium/small jars.

Blackberry jelly

Delicious on toast, crumpets, and in jam sandwiches, it is also nice warmed in the microwave and drizzled onto deserts, ice cream, yoghurt, porridge or rice pudding.

A jar makes a nice gift or add one to a homemade hamper of home grown produce for an unique Christmas present.

I still have a couple of jars left from last year which will tide me over until I make this year’s batch, making jam is a great way of preserving your precious fruit have a look at out website for more ways to preserve your crop and how to make harvesting and storing fruit easier and safer.

Gill

Read Full Post »

If you are lucky enough to have a glut of tomatoes one of the best ways to use them is in some delicious Tomato Soup, I make some every year, if I have had a good crop, and freeze it to enjoy in the winter months, just one spoonful brings back that summer feeling, Thomas says it tastes better than the tinned alternative, a great compliment.

This recipe can be doubled or trebled depending on the availability of tomatoes and the size of your pan and freezer! I would recommend large fleshy tomatoes which have less seeds and juice, plum tomatoes give a good flavour too, I usually make my soup with the tomatoes that are ready often using a few different varieties. All quantities are approximate and can be adjusted to suit your own taste.

Thomas’s Favourite Tomato Soup

  • 3 lb ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Puree
  • 2 pinches dried mixed herbs or fresh if available
  • 3/4 pint Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • Knob of Butter/Margarine
  1. Chop the onion and carrot and add to the pan with a knob of butter/margarine and cook until soft without browning.
  2. Wash and roughly chop your tomatoes and add to the pan with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer for 30 – 45 minutes stirring regularly.
  4. Leave to cool slightly and then blend until smooth.
  5. Taste and add seasoning if required, if it tastes a bit tart you can add a little bit of sugar.
  6. It is at this stage that I sieve the soup which removes the skin and the seeds but if you don’t mind these your soup is ready to eat or leave to cool and then freeze.
  7. I freeze my soup in margarine tubs, a 500g tub holds about the same as a standard size tin of soup.
  8. It will keep in the freezer for 6 months.

This soup is delicious served with crusty bread or our favourite Home made Garlic Bread.

Enjoy

Gill

Read Full Post »

This year, in less than a week, London will host the 2012 Olympic Games and what better reason to celebrate and have a party. In keeping with the colours of the Olympic Rings why not make some delicious fruity kebabs and serve them with a honey and yoghurt dip. This is a great healthy dessert which may tempt children (and adults) to eat more fruit, and will also count towards their 5 a day.

Fresh fruit is at its best at the moment, if you can why not use some that you have grown yourself.

Fruity Olympic Kebabs

What you will need

  • Wooden Skewers
  • Fresh fruit in the colours of the Olympic Rings:
  • Blue – Blueberries
  • Yellow – Pineapple, Melon, Banana
  • Black – Grapes, Blackberries, Plums
  • Green – Grapes, Kiwi, Apple
  • Red – Strawberries, Raspberries, Watermelon, Plums
  • Wooden Skewers

For the Yoghurt Dip

  • Greek or natural yoghurt
  • Runny Honey

Method

  1. Wash and cut up the fruit into bite sized pieces.
  2. Carefully thread the fruit onto the skewers in the colour order of the Olympic Rings (as above).
  3. Put the Yogurt into a shallow bowl and drizzle over the honey.

To eat

Simply dip the skewered fruit into the yoghurt or spoon it over the fruit.

Enjoy

GillUnion Flag Kneelo Garden Kneeler

P.S. Why not look the part at your party with an attractive Union Jack Kneeler their luxurious layer of memory foam makes them extremely comfortable to sit on as well as protecting your knees with their shock absorbing EVA foam when you are gardening.

They make a great gift too!

Read Full Post »

Be a smash hit this Wimbledon, take advantage of our abundant summer fruits and make an ace Strawberry Smoothie which everyone will love – a winner every time.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler, is quick and easy to make and a great way to use up very ripe or frozen fruit.

Perfect fruit for a smoothie

Wimbledon Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 8 Strawberries (Hulled) approx.
  • 110ml (4floz) Milk
  • 120g (4oz) Plain Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Strawberry or Vanilla Ice Cream

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients together except for the Ice Cream and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into glasses.
  3. Serve with a spoonful of Ice Cream on top.

Serves 2.

Enjoy!

Gill

Read Full Post »

To celebrate National Jam Week next week, 18-24 June 2012, why not make some delicious Strawberry Jam. Strawberries are one of the first fruits to come into season but they all seem to ripen at once and do not have a very long ‘shelf life’ once picked, so why not turn your crop into a delicious treat that you can enjoy well into the winter months. This is a great way to preserve your crop if you have a glut or if you want to take advantage of the plentiful supply in the supermarkets.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 1500g strawberries
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1250g Sugar

Method

  1. Wash your strawberries; remove the green tops as well as any soft/bruised spots and cut any large fruits into smaller pieces.
  2. Put the strawberries into a large heavy based saucepan.
  3. Simmer gently until hot, and then add the sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Raise the heat and boil rapidly stirring occasionally until setting point is reached (To check for setting point chill a plate in the fridge and put a small teaspoon of jam onto it and allow to cool. Push your finger through the jam, if setting point has been reached the skin on the jam should wrinkle up when pushed and the jam either side should remain separate).
  6. Remove any scum off the top of the jam.
  7. Spoon the jam into hot, sterilised jars and seal down.
  8. Leave to cool, label and store in a cool place.

This recipe will make approx. 4 x 500g jars.

Jam is a delicious topping on ice cream, rice pudding, croissants, scones, jam tarts, pancakes, waffles as well as on toast and of course in Britains favourite and our children’s favourite ‘jam butties’.

Yum, Yum!

 Gill

P.S. Have a look at The Recycleworks website under Summer Harvest for more great ways to Press, Preserve and Dry your fruit crops.

Read Full Post »

Preparations are well underway all over the country for the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June. Bunting is being made, entertainers are being booked and street parties are being organized, if you are having your own Party, Street Party or BBQ why not make some of our delicious Red (Strawberries), White (Mascarpone/Cream) and Blue (Blueberries) Jubilee treats.

Fruity Jubilee Cheesecake

  •  400g (approx) Strawberries and Blueberries
  • 250g Digestive Biscuits
  • 100g Melted Butter
  • 600g Soft Cheese
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 100g  Icing Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  1. Put the biscuits into a plastic food bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin until they become crumbs.
  2. Gently melt the butter in a pan and add the biscuit crumbs mixing thoroughly.
  3. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin in an even layer and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
  4. Mix the Soft Cheese with the Icing Sugar gradually adding the cream and the vanilla extract and beating until smooth.
  5. Spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base and smooth down removing any air pockets.
  6. Place in a fridge overnight to set.
  7. 30 minutes before serving remove the Cheesecake from the fridge.
  8. Place the cake tin on a can or a cup and slowly pull the sides of the tin down then carefully slide the Cheesecake off the base onto a serving plate (if you can).
  9. Wash your Blueberries and Strawberries (slice in half if large) arrange on top and decorate with sprigs of mint.

 

Fruity Jubilee Pavlova

  • 4 Large Egg Whites
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 2tsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300 ml Double Cream
  • 400g (approx) Strawberries and Blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 150C, Fan 130C, Gas 2.
  2. Line a baking tray with Greaseproof Paper.
  3. In a clean, dry bowl beat or whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks then add a few spoonfuls of sugar at a time and continue whisking until glossy and smooth, fold in the cornflour and vinegar.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto the greaseproof paper in a circle about 22cm in diameter making a slight dip in the centre.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 120C, fan 100C, Gas ½ and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.
  7. Just before serving whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon on top of your pavlova.
  8. Wash your Blueberries and Strawberries (slice in half if large) arrange on top and decorate with sprigs of mint.

Both these recipes can be made the day before and finished off just before serving.

Whatever you are doing have a great time and let’s hope the sun shines.

Gill

Read Full Post »

On my Allotment things are really starting to grow despite the cool and wet weather.

Onion Sets

The onion sets I planted in March are really doing well, I planted out 7 rows with only one bulb ‘missing’, usually a lot of them are pulled out by the birds but as a deterrent I placed my old autumn fruiting raspberry canes (which I had just cut down) across the bed and this seemed to work, I would recommend covering sets with fleece, netting or cloches until the sets have rooted. Back in November last year I planted some winter onion sets these were not as successful with about a quarter ‘missing’ probably down to mice/rabbits/frost or the wet weather, but I managed to carefully transplant them to make 5 rows. The sets become well rooted over winter with a small amount of top growth but come spring they really get growing a lot faster and produce an earlier crop of onions. My onions and garlic need to be kept weed free and well watered in dry weather, the onions will benefit from a top dressing of general fertilizer such as organic Chicken Poo in about a month.

Elephant Garlic

I bought 3 elephant garlic bulbs from The Recycleworks as I had not grown these before and I was rather curious because of their large size, I planted these at the end of March and I am very pleased as they now have some very strong healthy tops.

We still have some of last years leeks left which are delicious especially in Leek and Bacon Quiche, Leek Parsnip and Potato Bake and Leek Soup.  They will need eating soon before they go to seed and I need their space to grow peas, which is one of my next jobs.

The strawberry plants have plenty of flowers on them but quite a few have been caught by the weekend frosts I would have covered them with fleece if I hadn’t been away.

I planted most of my seed potatoes at the end of April a little later than I intended due to the weather. When their shoots emerge they will need ‘earthing up’ by scraping up the surrounding soil to create ridges along the rows of plants.

Greenhouse Tomato

In the greenhouse I have planted out my tomatoes in their final growing position and provided canes for support as they are indeterminate varieties (this means that I will need to remove the side shoots that grow between the leaf node and the main stem) and they grow taller than bush varieties.

Seeds I need to sow next include: Sweetcorn – singly in 8cm pots. French Beans – singly in 8cm pots. Herbs – Basil, Coriander and Parsley – a few seeds per 8cm pots, Rocket – in a small seed tray. Mixed Salad Leaves – in a small seed tray. Courgette –singly in 8cm pots sowing the seeds on their edge. Pumpkin – singly in 8cm pots sowing the seeds on their edge. Sunflowers – singly in 8cm pots.

Sowing Mustard and Cress

I must remember to ask Thomas if he can sow some more mustard and cress seeds in his Mini Propagator the last batch has nearly all been eaten, they are delicious in salads and sandwiches and are great fun for children to grow too.

Mustard and Cress ready to eat

Must get on, lots to do

Happy Growing

Gill

Read Full Post »

Who can refuse a slice of delicious, warm, buttery, garlicky bread definitely not me my mouth is watering now. Garlic bread makes a great starter, side dish or anytime snack. It is simple to prepare with few ingredients and a great favourite with children who will love to help you make it. The taste is so much better if you use your own home grown Garlic.

Ingredients

  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 ciabatta bread or baguette (not too thin)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400F/200C/Gas mark 6
  2. Peel and crush garlic
  3. Cream butter and garlic together
  4. Finely chop the flat-leaf parsley and stir into the butter
  5. Get your bread and make slits about 3cm apart along the top making sure not to cut right through
  6. Generously spread the garlic butter between the slices
  7. Place the bread on a piece of foil and wrap loosely
  8. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, if you want a crusty top open the foil and bake for another 5 minutes

The smell and taste is absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »