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Posts Tagged ‘seasonal recipes’

We have been spoilt recently with the weather and it has definitely paid dividends in the fruit and vegetable garden; regular pickings of Autumn raspberries, pumpkins, squashes and marrows maturing and ripening ready for storing, apples, pears and plums still hanging on the trees, an extra spurt of growth in the vegetables extending their harvesting season, and the onions and garlic now completely dry and ready for storing.

Today the weather has changed and is back to what you could expect for October – wind and rain with frosts on the horizon, now is the time to pick and store what you can, when storing your crops choose those that are undamaged and disease free, once stored check them regularly and remove any that are going bad, these don’t necessarily have to go straight onto your compost bin, most will be perfectly edible once you have removed the bad bits. Why not use these in a Ratatouille it’s a delicious warming one pot dish perfect for a wet and windy Autumn day and a great way to use up your less than perfect crops, the ingredients can be always be varied to suit your taste and the availability of vegetables.

Autumn Ratatouille

What you will need

  • 2 large Aubergines
  • 3 medium Courgettes
  • 2 medium Onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 green or red peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 large tomatoes or a 440g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • Grated cheese/Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh basil to garnish

What you need to do

  1. Cut the Aubergines and Courgettes into 2.5cm/1” slices then cut each Aubergine slice into quarters and the Courgette slices into similar sized pieces.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes place them in boiling water for a minute then drain and allow to cool before peeling off the skins, cut into quarters, remove the seeds and roughly chop up.
  3. Heat the oil in a flame proof casserole dish or large saucepan, add the onions and cook for approx. 10 minutes until browned and tender.
  4. Add the Courgettes and Aubergines and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the peppers, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper then mix well.
  5. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Top with the cheese and basil and serve with crusty bread, garlic bread or pasta.

This dish is packed full of vitamins and minerals and can help towards your five a day.

If you are looking for some storage ideas for your fruit and vegetables why not consider

Wooden Stackable Storage Boxes available from £19.95

Tubby Stack Pack Wooden Storage Boxes and Crates

or if you have a larger harvest to store a Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Larder, Rack or Store available from £40.00

in 4 sizes each with 4 height options

Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Larder, Rack and Store

for more information visit the Gardening Works website by clicking here.

Gill

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Doesn’t time fly its Halloween again, and I can’t wait, I have been trying out some Halloween treat ideas for next week, much to Thomas’s delight, they would be great for a party, you could use the ‘eyeballs’ as a spooky decoration.

 

Eyeball 2

Ghastly eyeballs on sticks

What you will need

  • Large white marshmallows
  • Red food colouring or red icing in a tube
  • Smarties
  • Round Black liquorice sweets or black icing in a tube
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Scissors

Eyeball 1

What you need to do

  1. Carefully trim the edges from your marshmallows to make them round
  2. Stick a cocktail stick into each one
  3. To make the veins dip the end of a cocktail into the food colouring and paint thin wiggly lines onto the marshmallow or pipe on red lines with your icing.
  4. Attach your Smartie (iris) to the front of marshmallow with icing or by slightly wetting the marshmallow to make it sticky.
  5. For the pupil cut the liquorice toffees into thin slices and stick one onto the smartie by slightly wetting it or add a blob of black icing.
  6. To serve simply stick them into a pumpkin

 

Swamp pot

Gooey swamp pots

What you will need

  • Packets of Lime Green Jelly (each pack will make approx. 3 servings depending on pot size)
  • Spooky sweets – snakes/body parts/bugs
  • Chocolate biscuits
  • Popping candy

What you need to do

  1. In a jug make up the jelly as per the instructions on the packs.
  2. Pour the jelly into your clear pots and put them into the fridge until they just begin to set.
  3. Remove from the fridge and carefully push your sweets into the green goo, arrange some so that they are sticking out and hanging over the pot.
  4. Return your pots to the fridge to set.
  5. Place your chocolate biscuits in a bag and bash into crumbs with a rolling pin.
  6. Just before serving sprinkle the chocolate crumbs on the  top with some of the popping candy for a crunchy exploding experience.

Both ideas went down well with Thomas, he enjoyed the Swamp Pots the most.

Whatever you do/make for Halloween have lots of fun.

For lots more spooky ideas/treats/games click here.

Gill

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Christmas Day is nearly here and Father Christmas is due to arrive in just over 12 hours, there is still plenty of time to make some home made Mince Pies to put out for him tonight, this is the recipe that I use; I will be making some this afternoon.

Mince Pies Med

Christmas Star Mince Pies

Ingredients

  • 16oz Plain Flour
  • 8oz Butter or Margarine
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 dessertspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 jar Sweet Mincemeat 822g approx
  • Caster Sugar

What you need to do

  1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolk, water and lemon juice together and add to the flour mixture, if it is a bit sticky add some more flour or a bit crumbly a little more water, then gather the mixture into a ball.
  3. Roll out the pastry, cut out the bases with a round cutter, large enough to fit into your bun baking trays (I use shallow trays) and a pastry star for the top with a star shaped cutter.
  4. Place the round pastry bases in your bun trays, add a teaspoon of Mincemeat and top with a pastry star.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Caster Sugar.
  7. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Makes approx 36 mince pies – enjoy.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year from Gardening With Children and everyone at The Recycleworks.

Best Wishes

Gill

P.S. Don’t forget to feed the birds over Christmas

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October truly is the month of the apple and this year growers have reported bumper crops with fruit that is tastier than ever due to the favourable weather. If you wish to taste some new or old varieties, many of which do not appear in our supermarkets, have a look out for an Apple Day near where you live. There are many organised events throughout the country where you can eat apples, make apple juice, walk round orchards, ask the experts about growing, pruning and training apple trees, bring in your own apples to be identified or to simply buy apples or even a tree.

You cannot beat a Bramley Apple for that lovely tangy taste and fluffy texture, they are very versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes – delicious! They are at their best at the moment and widely available, but of course if you grow your own they are even better!

This week is Bramley Apple Pie Week when we celebrate this wonderful apple, here is a delicious recipe for those of you with a sweet tooth, it would be perfect for a Halloween or Bonfire Night Party.

Toffee Apple Pie

Your ingredients

The pastry

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 125g Butter/Margarine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

The filling

  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Dark Muscavado Sugar
  • 50g Butter
  • 25ml water
  • 700g Bramley Apples
  • Juice and zest 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Caster Sugar for sprinkling

25cm pie dish

What you need to do

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl, rub in the butter/margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs, add the cold water and mix with a knife until it comes together, gather up and knead to form a ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for ½ hour.

Peel, core and slice the apples, sprinkle over the cinnamon, the grated lemon zest and the juice, and stir.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the water and the caster and dark muscavado sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, add the apple mixture stir and cook for a further few minutes until the apples start to soften then leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Roll out 2/3rd of the pastry and line the bottom of the pie dish, fill with the cooled apple mixture.

Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid, brush a little water around the edges of the pastry bottom  so that the lid will stick, press/crimp the edges to seal the pie and trim off any excess pastry, make 2 or 3 slits in the middle of the lid. If you wish to decorate the top, roll out the leftover pastry and cut out leaf or apple shapes, wet them underneath with water to help them stick.

Sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for 30mins until golden brown.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

You know what they say an apple a day…

Gill

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Ground Spices

This week is National Curry Week, 7-13 October 2013, so to celebrate this ‘British’ favourite I thought I would share with you one of my recipes.

The great thing about curries is that you can really put your own mark on them, adding your favourite ingredients and customising them to you or your family’s tastes, they are ideal for using up your vegetable glut, why not make double quantities and freeze some for later on.

This curry is quick and easy to make, the fruit adds a nice sweetness which will appeal to children.

Fruity Chicken Curry

Your ingredients

  • 25g butter/margarine
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless and cut into chunks)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 stick of celery (sliced)
  • ½ apple (diced)
  • ½ red pepper (chopped)
  • 75g sultanas
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

What you need to do

  1. In a large pan melt the butter, add the chicken pieces and cook on medium heat until sealed and browned on all sides (approx. 8 minutes), then remove from the pan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry until soft, then add the curry powder and stir well.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan with the celery, apple, red pepper, sultanas and chicken stock.
  4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Serves 2

Other vegetables that you could add include cauliflower, courgettes, runner/french beans, potatoes, carrots, spinach.

We are all big Curry fans in the office, especially Sylvia who regularly frequents her favourite local restaurant.

Why not give it a go; it will warm you up now that there is a chill in the air.

Gill

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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

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It’s Bank Holiday weekend, giving me an extra day to get busy in the garden, go out for a walk or if the weather is not great I usually find myself in the kitchen baking. The walk is planned for tomorrow, I was in the garden yesterday and so today with a light drizzle falling I have dug out a recipe.

I usually have a jar of honey in the cupboard and honey and lemon is such a lovely combination – we can take these on our walk tomorrow.

Honey and Lemon Fairy Cakes

Ingredients

  • 150g Butter/Margarine
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 150g Self-Raising Flour
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 50g Clear Runny Honey
  • Finely grated zest of a Lemon
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice

For the icing

  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 4 tsp Lemon Juice or Water
  • Sprinkles, Small Sweets or Sugar Flowers to decorate.

How to make your cakes

  1. Line a bun tray with 12 paper bun cases.
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5.
  3. Mix together the Butter/Margarine, Sugar and Honey in a bowl until pale and creamy.
  4. Beat the eggs and add gradually, mixing well.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  6. Sift the flour and add gradually, mixing well until light and fluffy.
  7. Divide the mixture between the 12 bun cases.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing

  1. Place the icing sugar in a bowl, add the Lemon Juice/Water gradually and mix until it is smooth and runny.
  2. Spread or drizzle the icing on the fairy cakes, add your decorations whilst wet then leave to set.

If the weather is fine there are lots of things to do in the garden click here for some ideas.

Have a lovely weekend

Gill

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