Saturday, 26 November 2016

Bath Time!

Tonight's the night! The loofah that I've been talking about since buying the seeds last January, is  going to be used!.

Taa-daa! It actually looks like a loofah!
A bit skinnier and darker in colour than what I've seen before. And there do seem to be a few seeds trapped in there, but you surely can't deny it doesn't look out of place in the bathroom :-)
The seeds and pulp took a lot of washing out - it would have been much easier with a hose,
But the skin peeled off quite easily.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My Favourite Colour!

Look at the colour of that Kohl Rabi! I haven't fiddled with the photo but the camera flash has made it a perfect match for the lovely glass bowl. Turns out cameras do lie ;-)
Unfortunately two of the larger pumpkins in the greenhouse were starting to rot at the top, where the rain got at them (we really need to re-seal the roof seams). I chopped a healthy chunk out of one of them and have another week of pumpkin soup - shame, I was looking forward to using parsnips for a change but felt I couldn't waste it.
I think some creatures may enjoy that edible house over the next couple of weeks. I only took a couple of handfuls of the seeds and roasted them in pumpkin oil with paprika and a small sprinkling of sugar.
Less sweet is how our Halloween pumpkin looks now!
I noticed that the Florence fennel in the raised bed has sprouted. I'm hoping that will survive to next week and then maybe I'll have carrot and fennel soup; if I don't look at the pumpkins perhaps they'll go away!
But the big chunk has been turned into curried pumpkin soup this evening. Lovely onions fried in turmeric, cumin and paprika while the pumpkin was roasting in the oven.
The kohl rabi are for tomorrow night's version of  'neeps and tatties' to have with a veggie haggis - we know it's not Burns Night, but still it's so tasty :-)
I ate one of the Jack-Be-Little pumpkins with dinner last night. It was a good way to eat it. I chopped the top off and scraped out the seeds. A little bit of butter and 4 minutes in the microwave - perfect for a light lunch. But I made a fried patty out of the cooked flesh and had it with a tortilla and some chilli beans - very tasty!
That's the loofahs on the lower shelf. I'm taking them into work where our office is so warm and dry they'll hopefully dry out very quickly.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Gunpowder, Poison and Soup

Sorry about the title. It's the best I could come up with based on "gunpowder, treason and plot" ;-}
There's the gunpowder. A fabulous fireworks display at Newbury Racecourse last night. I know lots of animals hate fireworks - our cat, Jaffa, used to go into hiding if there was even a distant bang - but I have to admit we love to see and hear them.
And, here's the poison. Spindle berries. They're growing in the hedgerow around the allotment and are so pretty, but extremely toxic. The pink shell explodes to reveal the orange berry and those colours together are fabulous!
And, of course, here's the soup. Yes pumpkin again, but this time with carrot, onion and garlic and plenty of pepper. I left the skin on again.
The Jack-Be-Little pumpkins are quite hard to cut up but once cooked the skin is thin enough to get a spoon through, so fine for the blender to deal with and there weren't any scratchy-throat bits when I ate the last lot I made.
We visited the plot to pull the carrots and collect the other ingredients from their storage in the greenhouse. The loofahs are in there too but have a lot more drying out to do. I might bring them indoors.
The part of the plot with the sprouts, chard, kohl rabi and carrots doesn't look too awful.
But the rest of the plots look very sad and we should be clearing and tidying, but the inclination isn't here at the moment. All that dead growth collapsed after a couple of frosts we had last week followed by a lot of rain.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

So It Begins...

Someone needs to eat all the remaining pumpkins (Jack-Be-Little and Jack-of-All-Trades) and it's mostly going to me, so here goes with the first pumpkin soup of this year's season...
They look like peach slices, don't they. I removed the seeds and stringy pulp. The seeds were too small to bother saving; there'll be plenty more for toasting/roasting from the large pumpkins.
I thought I'd get through four of the Jack-Be-Little pumpkins but there was only room on the tray for two. I didn't add any flavouring, just olive oil - the flavouring was a teaspoonful of the Sicilian spices added to the onions while I fried them up.
I turned the slices once while roasting and tasted one of the chunks - quite a subtle sweet flavour.
Once nicely browned I added them to the fried onion (one of our big onions from the plot, spices (not too many this time) and vegetable stock. I left the skins on as I saw on someone else's blog.
A 10-minute blending session later and voila! The skin broke down almost completely so I'm glad I didn't put effort into attempting to skin those little chunks.
That's about 2 pints of soup, it should keep me going for at least 3 days of workday lunches. Now I need to do a bit of searching for other recipes...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Feast for Halloween

I copied Shaheen's spiders idea from Allotment 2 Kitchen for our starter. You wouldn't believe how fiddly they were though! The cheese toasty stars were just a bit too small for the olive spiders, but you get the gist.
The main was a cheesy vegetable bake - all from the allotment: parsnip, potato, carrot,
beetroot and onion. With a bit of black garlic in the sauce.
It looks a bit burnt, but that's just the cheese sauce, which had gone nice and red from the beetroot to make it suitably Halloween-y.
I sliced all the veg thinly and thought they'd all cooked pretty well in about 1½ hours but Jamie  thought they were still a bit undercooked. He's used to eating veg slightly more crunchy than he'd choose to cook them :-)
Earlier we'd visited the allotments to put a Jack-o-lantern in the gateway - another nice bit of carving by Jamie. And we put a light-up ghost balloon on our plot on a long string, but not sure how many people would have spotted that - unless they were going along the canal and saw it over the hedge!