Monday, 19 September 2016

Harvest Monday - late summer / early autumn

It hardly seems possible that it's already mid September, but I probably think the same every year. I wasn't expecting to post today actually, as I'm just back from a few days away, but managed to get a quick harvest from the plot and back garden before it got dark.

A happy courgette, slowly growing along, plus some beans from the back garden
I brought back one of my butternut squashes as I noticed it had a split, probably caused by the bit of rain we had recently. I'll not use it up yet but it'll be easier to keep an eye on the condition of it at home. I have four more to bring back but they're not quite as ripe as this one.
The other side is fine
A smaller bowl of tomatoes this week but still quite a nice selection
And I picked five ripe 'lipstick' sweet peppers
I've still got a few more Lipstick fruits to ripen plus more of the Quadrato ones (below). It'll be interesting to see if these turn out to be hot/sweet like the first one
I think I'll pick some aubergines this coming week, the plants are beginning to look a bit worse for wear.
There were still quite a lot of veggies left in the fridge from last week and so tonight I cooked-up a big pot of goodies, and added a tub of cooked haricot beans and chickpeas from the freezer.
Very tasty, with quinoa on the side
Oh, and I just found a pic that Jan took this week whilst I've been away - she popped down the plot for me to check on things. You can always tell her photos...much better than mine!
Thanks for reading, I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres

 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Harvest Monday - late summer

Well the tomatoes are still looking good, though there's not too many left on the plants.
And the peppers are picking up, prossibiy because the tomato plants aren't shading them much anymore. These are two Lipstick I think.
The runner and French beans in the back garden are limping along a bit now though. On the allotment they've gone stringy and aren't really worth eating....I am still picking them though (just not eating) in case we get some decent rain which gets the plants going again...if you let bean pods mature on the plant, the plant stops producing anymore. In previous years I've been harvesting them into autumn but I think the dry weather hasn't helped.
I've only picked a little bit of chard because there's been other things to use up.
I really like the little yellow summer squashes, but the plants are looking rather poorly (mildew etc) so not sure if there'll be any more.
You wouldn't think it from this piccie but the courgettes are going the same way. (I can't get down the plot for a few days so have today picked even the smallest fruits to avoid getting marrows).
I lifted some main crop potatoes...this year I've grown Golden Wonder for a change. This was from two plants, so not bad.
And we baked the spaghetti squash I was given
WhIch along with some borlotti beans from the plot..
Went into a tomatoey thing, featuring all veggies from either the plot or at home....onion, garlic, toms, courgette, sweet pepper, spaghetti squash and borlotti beans, mmm
Today I also brought home one of my winter squashes....I won't use it up for a while though hopefully.
Now, this week I volunteered at a gleaning day organised by Feedback....it was great! These are events where a farmer lets us go and pick crops leftover after harvest, which then get given on to charities etc. So about 15 of us spent the day harvesting broccoli (calabrese), cauliflowers, cabbages and marrows. It was incredible the amount of food that would've otherwise been wasted (Thank you mister farmer for letting us pick it)...and we didn't have time to pick all that was available either, so the more people who help at these events the better....you can find out more on the Feedback website. They're only just getting going in Norfolk but have been around a while elsewhere. I'm hoping to help at some more this autumn, and take a camera next time too.
 
Anyway, there were some broccoli plants which were a bit past it to harvest for the charities but still edible, so we could take some for ourselves. There were already loads of plants that had gone to flower...the bees were enjoying it though. The farm was organic and it was nice to see lots of wildlife...buzzards, hares, a huge flock of goldfinches...lovely.
 
Anyway (again), I made a big ol' pot of broccoli and potato soup, which we had with a bit of added milk and Stilton cheese (much tastier than it looks in the photo)
And we also made a big roasted veg 'allotment salad' following a recipe Jan found from the restaurant "Bill's". We roasted the spaghetti squash at the same time but didn't use it for a couple of days - it kept fine in the fridge.
With quinoa..mmm
Back to allotment veggies, I've made-up a couple more batches of fermented courgettes, and one of runner beans
I did one lot of courgettes in thin strips (thinking they might be good in sandwiches) and the other in chunks, leftover from cutting the strips to the right length for the jar. There's a vine leaf in with each too, which is meant to help keep the courgettes crisp.
Here are the ones I set up a couple of weeks back...they taste real good now
And to finish, one of the delicious figs, from my friend's allotment last week...so good.
Thanks for reading this week...I'm linking with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres

 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Harvest Monday - courgettes and apples

So the gluts are upon us ...I usually stick to fairly similar (and easy) meals but being a bit adventurous in the kitchen can help make things more interesting.
I had a large courgette left from last week and decided to have a go at fritters - one of my friends had emailed me a link to a recipe on the Guardian website - the journalist had tried out loads of different recipes to come up with the best. On a bit of a whim I also decided to double the recipe and try freezing some... but having weighed everything out in double, when I came to mix in the four eggs it seemed really sloppy...at which point I realised I'd doubled everything except the courgette, aha. I only had one other small courgette picked and didn't have time to salt it (to remove excess water), so grated the courgette into the mix along with a big carrot, and crossed my fingers. Oh also the recipe had salad onions but I used red onion instead.
 
The original courgette, salted, left for 30 mins and pressed the water out
Hey, they turned out ok
Mmm
And there were enough to freeze too, here separated by grease proof paper
Other harvests have been quite nicely varied
A couple of small sweet peppers from the lean-to
These sorts of meals always look messy but taste good
Yesterday I got some more figs too, from my friends plot. They are so good, just eaten on their own.
I picked a couple more sweetcorn but one was past its best (kernels starting to shrivel) and so went straight in the compost
Earlier in the week I picked a small tub of blackberries. They're starting to 'go over' now but I've picked and frozen quite a lot already. Elsewhere in the countryside there'll be other varieties which are later than the ones on my plot.
A large bulk of my apples from the dwarf trees were ready to harvest, with the fruit coming away from the branch with a twist of the wrist. You can see some codling moth damage too. I gently cooked-up the blackberries with some of the damaged apples, adding a bit of old quince jelly as a sweetener. I hadn't been planning on harvesting the apples so didn't take my trolley down to the plot, which meant a rather heavy rucksack on the way home, oof.
We were heading to a friend's so I also made an apple scone round, from one of Jan's Great British Bake Off books. It only tastes 15 minutes to bake, which is a bonus.
Looks just like it eh, and tasted good too. I added a bit of extra cinammon plus some nutmeg
Out in the lean-to I've picked a big bowl of toms, it was quite hard to hold the bowl with one hand, so a very quick photo taken!
I think this might be the biggest tomato I've ever grown. It's big for me anyway.
And a pepper that really looks like a pepper. This was meant to be sweet but had a hotness to it as well, which although a surprise, actually made a nice flavour combination.
Here's some of the toms before I harvested, looking out the lounge window
Then after the harvest and a further thinning of the leaves. It doesn't look that different from this angle but I did get a big trug-ful of leaves (there are more plants to the left of this view). I've tried to be a bit organised and have sown some lettuce seeds in modules, to plant in the tomato pots when they're finished cropping.
Excitingly, the aubergines are getting going. These are on the top shelf of an old set of pine book shelves, so are above head-height.
In the back garden the beans are still going strong, some growing up a wigwam and others up the fence. Looks like I'll be harvesting these for a while longer.

It also helps that we finally got some rain this weekend, a decent few hours, hooray.

 

That's me for now, thanks for reading. I'm linking in with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Hapoy Acres.