Monday, November 23

An allotment free week

I haven't really much to report this week. We haven't been out and about nor have we been to the allotment. Although we generally do a little work when we visit the plot, the main trigger for heading there, at this time of year, is the need to replenish our vegetable stocks. Last week we had already brought home everything we needed or used vegetables in our winter stores.

Although, last week, we had some sunny spells, we also had drizzly rain and wind. It was also quite cold so all in all, other than local walks with Ruby, we haven't been encouraged to be out for extended periods. Even when the weather is dry, after all the rain, everywhere in the garden and on the allotment is wet and soggy. There's no immediate rush to get things done, so we have contented ourselves with staying at home and doing indoor things. Martyn's learning to drive a train. Fortunately, for all concerned, it's not a real one as he has crashed a couple of times. It's a computer simulation but very realistic.
We've also been busy working on a website that we manage for someone we know who has a small travel services business. His main income is generated by airport transfers so he is one of the people hit hard by Corvid restrictions.
I managed to get my photography fix by mooching around the garden searching for possible subjects.
Some things were tenaciously hanging on whilst others were impatiently preparing for next year. No doubt hoping like us for a better year to come.
Amongst other things I've been trawling the internet for more recipe ideas. I gather together recipes that I like the sound of into an electronic database.
Just over three years ago we stopped eating red meat and any processed foods so many of the recipes are based around vegetables and poultry. We eat fish too but tend to keep fish dishes plainer.
Each week I make at least one large bowl of coleslaw which makes good use of all our fresh cabbages.

I used some of our leeks, potato, carrot and frozen green beans in a vegetable gratin.
I can't track down the recipe that this was based on but, basically, you can use a mix of any vegetables you fancy. The vegetables are cooked and added to a cheesy sauce. The mixture is then topped with a mix of breadcrumbs and some grated cheese, then baked in the oven. To our homegrown vegetables I added some chestnut mushrooms and courgette and I used Gruyere cheese.
Finally some potato, onion and carrot went into a green Thai curry with vegetables based on this recipe. I used vegetable stock instead of a tin of broth. I also bought the green Thai paste and sprinkled the curry with sweet red pepper rather than chilli pepper

There’s no harvest pictures this week so I thought I'd include some photos of Ruby instead.

Two of Ruby's favourite things are having her tummy rubbed ...
... and playing with her squeaky ball.

Finally, I hope everyone is still keeping safe and well. At least last week brought some hopeful news as various Covid vaccines seem to be showing real promise.

I don't qualify for inclusion on Dave's blog for his harvest Monday theme, this week as we didn't do any harvesting but I'll still be popping over to see what other people have managed to gather in.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Thursday, November 19

Ground level

Monday, November 16

A bit of brightness in the midst of the gloom

I'm having some difficulty getting my head round this second lockdown here in England. I understand what I have to do or not do, but the decisions as to what can open and which businesses remain shut seem rather confusing. We can only hope that we achieve some benefits from these latest rulings.

Onto more cheerful topics, we had a couple of rather pleasant days last week. Although it was cold, we were treated to some sunny and dry periods. As these types of day have been in short supply, on Thursday we went for a walk around the grounds of Nostell Priory. Our booking was for two in the afternoon. We were, at first, a bit concerned by the number of parked cars but the grounds are fairly extensive so it was easy to remain socially distanced.
I wanted to try for some better photographs as potential prints for the dining room but the conditions were tricky. There was a great contrast between the brightness of the sky and the dark shadows being cast.

The sun cast really long shadows. Ruby has long legs but not as long as her shadow.
I did manage to take a few photos but still haven't mastered my camera settings and had to rely on post processing to sort out the contrast.
Many of the trees had lost most of their leaves ...
... however, there was still some colour which was reflected in the lake.
By the time we were leaving the sky was darkening and conditions were even trickier and the colours faded.
On Friday we made the most of the second, pleasant day and had an afternoon at the allotment.
Martyn, tidied one of our rhubarb beds, which I forgot to take a photo of, whilst I made a start on the chive border. For those of you who think our plot is tidy, look at this!
At the end of last year when I would have tidied the chive border, the weather kept us away from the allotment and this border was, therefore, neglected. I'm trying to bring the area back under control and made a start.
Unfortunately for me, the border is in a shaded area so I didn't enjoy any benefit from the sun and also after a while my kneeling pad had acted like a sponge and was soaking wet. I need to pop it on a plastic sheet in future.
13 November - Autumn Giant cauliflower, Kalibro cabbages, Sungold tomatoes,  leeks and chrysanthemums
As  usual we managed to gather the vegetables needed for this week's menus. We picked the third of out four Autumn Giant cauliflowers. Hopefully the last one will be OK for next week.

Martyn, cleared the tomato plants from the greenhouse and the few Sungold were those left hanging on the plants.

Although the dahlias still haven't been cut down by a frost, the remaining flowers were very bedraggled so I didn't cut any.
We dug the first leeks of the season. We sowed Below Zero, Musselburgh and Porbella but unfortunately the labels were lost before the young plants were planted out so we have no idea which are which.

There are still plenty to use over winter.

So how did we use some of last week's harvest?

Some of the cauliflower and onions  were cooked with chicken in an Indian Spiced dishThis was cooked in a slow cooker and the recipe was followed exactly, other than I mixed my own curry spices. My version looked nothing like the photo on the internet.

I'm not sure how cauliflower can cook in a slow cooker and keep it's shape - mine didn't, however, the resulting meal tasted fine.

I then used some Crown Prince squash, onion and carrot in a tagine based on this recipe.

Instead of the spices I used ras el hanout and unfortunately had to buy the courgette.

Our third vegetable based meal was Curried Cabbage which used cabbage, carrot, peas and coriander. I added a few cubes of our potatoes to make a more substantial meal and a few cauliflower florets that were left over in the fridge.

I used a tablespoon of tikka masala paste instead of the curry powder. As I felt that the curry was too dry I added a little vegetable stock too. This was served with one of Martyn's homemade naans.

As always stay safe and well

As usual, I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started. 

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett