Friday, 29 December 2017

Who will come with me...

To 2018...
Here's the obligatory review of the year 2017.
Starting with the playlist of the 82 song titles I selected for this year's blogposts. Unfortunately a couple of songs have since been blocked so won't play, plus there are very annoying adverts, but I hope you've enjoyed my soundtrack of the year.
It was fun finding appropriate song titles for posts and tricky at times. I haven't decided whether I'll do the same thing in 2018, I'll see how it goes...

Anyway, for my interest more than yours, are the top 5 posts of the year.
  1. Five Years - the excellent news that we had a new 5-year site lease, though it still hasn't actually been signed by the landlord (grrr). But I wonder if the David Bowie track made it the most visited link..
  2. Viva Tenerife - our home-from-holidays post. I'm sure a lot of these visitors were from the Tenerife forum and also fellow street art lovers.
  3. Pretty Vacant - there must be a lot of old punks out there who couldn't resist the title... No, I'm sure this was the interest in our new lottery-funded composting toilet.
  4. Fire Starter - such a great track but I think the mention of the glass gem corn may have been the draw to this post.
  5.  Set the Fire to the Third Bar - I only posted this 2 days ago so I expect it to get more visitors. Maybe the snowy rooftop photo was appealing or perhaps it's because people have more time to sit and read during the holiday season.
My favourite memories of 2017 include the great fun allotment holders barbecue in September, the plant sale in June and the many home-made soups and salads that I enjoyed throughout the year.
I'm looking forward to a better squash grotto this year and hopefully some successful glass gem corn cobs as well as plenty of sunshine, rain only at night and PLEASE less windy weather!

Happy New Year!

And here's the last track of the year from the oddly pleasing Kelly Family...

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Set the Fire to the Third Bar

(If you're lucky enough to still have electricity) It doesn't seem to take much to knock the power out these days, but fingers crossed that ours remains on today, as that North wind plus our first bit of post-Christmas snow is making it rather chilly.
We haven't ventured out since Christmas Eve and I don't think we will today. We've enjoyed ourselves with food, drink, films, fun, presents and food... Many of our lovely gifts involved food. Look! A cheese-making kit AND we can make halloumi with it! Can't wait to try that out and there's a real Swiss fondue pan, how lovely is that?
And, as Jamie said when he gave me his present, "it's what every girl really wants" a mole repeller! Well, maybe we won't need to buy sprouts next Christmas (I know! It felt bad doing it).
 These beautiful plates are amazing - they even make washing-up pleasing.
And they were a great addition to our Boxing Day lunch, which included the carrot lox we made the other day - delish.
We love a feast of tapas, so this book will come in very handy and my Spanish lessons start again in the new year so it's handy to keep the Spanish vegetable names in the forefront of my mind! It's got some nice quick recipes for using veg that we grow.
Of course, Tenerife is never far from our minds and we've been enjoying cactus jam breakfasts and Honey Rum tipples - now that does warm you up!
My snowman cookie cutters have come in handy a few times.
And here's another handy book. It has humour and some great little tips in it, like "Seedlings will grow stronger if you brush your hands over them a few times a day".
Well, it feels like time to eat something, I think the allotment can wait another day or two...
Snow Patrol provide the great title track.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Ooh, nearly time! Merry Christmas!

We had a little visit to the plot yesterday, just to pick carrots (again). This time for making carrot 'lox' for Boxing Day lunch. Lox is smoked salmon, but the veggie alternative is delicious. The washed carrots are baked in salt for about an hour and a half - this is the closest we're going to get to snow this Christmas!
Now the thinly sliced carrots will marinate for a couple of days in liquid smoke, oil and wine vinegar.
Our allotment plots are looking weedy, wet and unloved. Perhaps we'll get a chance to tidy it up during the Christmas break... The weather has turned unseasonably mild but it's very damp so not great for working the plots or for photographs, but I thought this curry plant looked quite pretty with the water droplets on it.

We had a great evening out last night for the HAHA committee Christmas meal. Such a lovely, fun group of people who we wouldn't have met if not for the allotment.
I hope you like this Sixpence None the Richer version of  'O Come O Come Emmanuel'. I love it. MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS, see you the other side :-)

Sunday, 3 December 2017

I Feel it in My Bones

It's December. We've had a Christmas craft sale at work and I bought some pressies and we've put lovely blue lights up in our living room window so I'm feeling Christmassy already.
I had a very quick visit to the plot this afternoon to pick some carrots - I was playing safe in case I found that the last Jaune de Vert squash had gone off once I cut into it. The little robin came to see me. He must have been missing our meal worms, especially when the temperature fell to -2° in the week. Brrr, it was quite unbearable for a couple of days but today it was back up to 12°.
All the garlic is up and should appreciate the frosts we've had. And the swede look like they're getting bigger! There are a couple of huge ones growing in this raised bed. It's the first time we've managed to grow it without it bolting. I wonder if they'll last till Burns night...
The squash's skin had hardened and changed colour but I'm pleased to say the flesh was good.
I roasted the squash with a few slices of carrot and a garlic clove. I left the skin on while roasting but removed it before the next stage.
Then cooked on the hob with some cumin and paprika added to the stock. I didn't risk too much garlic as my lingering cold means I could be very unpopular in the office! It's not tasting that great at the moment - quite bland, but I'll add some more seasoning when I come to eat it - hopefully it's will be tasty.
So, although there are still signs of Summer in sheltered spots I'm glad it's a good day for the Hungerford Christmas lights switch on - this year by author, Robert Harris. I love our Christmas lights!
Christmas  - it's on its way - hooray! And thank you to The Killers for the title track ..